Chapter 134: Decisions
Long day at work T_T but I managed 1 chapter, forgive me if there are alot of errors O_o did this on my phone, ran it through spellcheck on docs/word/grammary but idk if i get everything. Too tired to proof and editors busy or went mia lol.
“Darling, are you sure we shouldn't have ended things there?” Lingqi asked as they rode away from the large tent that Liu Biao had erected for the meeting.
“Yea brother, if you wanted to we could have ended things in there.” Ai said.
“We could have, but that would have caused more problems in the long run. Although Zhuge Liang has many informants and supports within this province, the Liu Clan has been its rulers for many generations. So they are very deeply rooted in the province and its people. If we were to kill or capture their leader at a meeting to negotiate peace, the people would fight to the bitter end with us. Their army would increase to include all of the civilians inside the city. Meaning at the end of things we would have had to kill off everyone within Dark Sea City.” Zhang explained.
“However that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing, the destruction of Dark Sea City would set an example for the rest of the province and either scare them into surrendering or drive them to also fight to the bitter end. While on the other hand if Liu Biao surrenders, we can use his forces and bolster our own and cooperate with our other forces heading south, we would be able to easily sweep through all obstacles.” Zhang also stated.
“Boss, what about the issue regarding his sons. I know that Liu Biao guy is a pretty good people person but weren't his sons a big issue? Imagine the amount of trouble those two fellows would cause once their old man is made into a duke and governs over the south.” Gan Ning asked.
“I was thinking of telling him to send his sons to Aurora or to place them under one of you three to serve as your apprentices. That way we can mold them into useful people while keeping them hostage, preventing Liu Biao from getting any funny ideas once he is given power.” Zhang said with a smile.
Zhang also mentions a series of ways to keep Liu Biao’s power in check and under his influence. For instance, not allowing the southern regions to maintain a substantial military force. There were also plans for men from the south to be sent to Aurora to be trained and stationed in Aurora.
Overall Zhang, Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi had a fairly good picture of how they would carve up and control the south once the invasion was over.
Upon returning to their camp and entering his tent, Zhang withdrew a map made from golden silk and placed it atop a large table. This map, of course, was the map that he had obtained a long time ago that depicted the ever moving dragon’s veins.
Once the map was laid out on the table, mountains and forests began to form on to, along with the depiction of a dragon’s head at a location roughly a day’s travel from where Zhang was camped.
“We finally are close enough to one that it won't disappear by the time we get to it. Now I'll finally be able to break, though.” Zhang said.
After stepping into the seventh level of cultivation his progressed had stalled. None of the beauties nor Zhang were able to break through to the eighth level due to the lack of cultivation materials available and the low density of essence in the air. Had he been in the Underworld where the essence is abundant then breaking through would not be an issue at all.
So considering how hard it was to obtain cultivation materials within the warring states region, Zhang’s best bet was to locate a dragon’s vein. He would periodically check for them but they were either nonexistent or too far away.
The veins ran beneath the earth and would often move from one place to the next. They generally only stayed in the same spot for roughly ten to fifteen days. Considering the speed, he could travel by horse, Zhang had never been able to reach any of the veins that had appeared on the map before.
But luckily for him, while moving through the Dark Sea Province, a vein appeared and judging from its location on the map it would only take him a day’s travel from Dark Sea City. Hence, the reason why he gave Liu Biao three days’ time to decide whether to surrender or not.
This would give Zhang two days to travel and one day to absorb the abundant energy from the vein. One might wonder why Zhang did not allow himself a larger time frame to absorb the essence from the vein, by the answer is simple.
Although the vein itself possessed a nearly inexhaustible amount of essence, the locations that show up on the map was merely spots where its essence had seeped through the earth and rose to the surface. The vein itself was located deep underground, far from the reaches of man.
Meaning only a portion of the vein was available for absorption. But nonetheless, this portion would still be of massive help.
“Once we consolidate our rule, I'll send some people to dig all the way down there.” Zhang thought. Such a project, of course, would need an unbelievable amount of manpower and massive funds to accomplish but all of this would be available to him once the Warring States Region was united under one rule.
After confirming the location of the dragon’s vein, Zhang, the beauties and Little White departed from camp. If they brought along all of their soldiers and generals, then there was without a doubt that the vein would be depleted in next to no time. So for once they decided to be greedy and hog the vein to themselves.
In the end, there was no one to rely on but yourself anyway.
While Zhang was away, control of the army would be given to Sima Yi due to his seniority but if big decisions had to be made the two of them had to work together.
Atop their fiery mounts and clad in dazzling white armor, Zhang and the beauties rode over vast fields and rugged mountain paths.
The further they got away from Dark Sea City the more serene the scenery became. Once they had left the fifty-mile radius around Dark Sea City, small villages comprised of a few dozen homes would often pop up.
These places interacted so little with the outside world that it seemed like they did not know a war was happening at all.
Unlike the usual suspicious gazes and fearful expression made when strangers rode into villages while clad in armor, these people looked in intrigue and awe.
Due to the time that they had departed from camp Zhang and the beauties had to camp outside for the night. Well, one wouldn't call it camping because with a wave of his hand Zhang had withdrawn their magical carriage from his inner spatial ring.
To allow their horses to move at maximum speed they had not traveled within the carriage, but thankfully it could be stored away within an interspatial ring, so it could be used for other purposes.
So as the stars appeared overhead and illuminated the skies and while the moon smiled down and radiated the night, our prince and princesses were all seated around a warm campfire.
“So which one of my beautiful wives will be cooking dinner tonight?” Zhang laughed.
Ai gaze shifted toward Yuying, while Yuying’s gaze shifted to Ling, whose gaze finally landed on Lingqi.
“I can make dinner but considering the amount of time I spend dealing with poisons, I think I'll end up getting everyone sick.” Lingqi said with a laugh.
While Lingqi was threatening everyone with poison, Ai began to whistle and pretend she didn't know what was happening.
After some funny looks and failed attempts to get someone else to cook, it was decided that everyone would cook one dish.
Soon a meal consisting of five dishes were laid out within the magical carriage. Ai had called dibs on the easiest but more essential dish of all, the rice. While the other beauties each made a simple dish of their own. Zhang had outdone everyone by going into the woods and coming back with a large boar which he grilled over an open fire.
So after a hearty meal filled with weird looks, everyone crawled into bed. Once in bed, no one would fall asleep for at least a few hours of course since an epic war was still raging on and neither side was able to show clear dominance.
While Zhang and the beauties were headed toward the dragon’s vein, within the confines of the provincial lord's within Dark Sea City, Liu Biao could be seen pacing back and forth through his study.
With only three days to make a decision that may lead to his demise, Liu Biao’s head felt like it was going to explode.
There were currently five scenarios playing out over and over in his mind. The first was one where he refused Zhang’s offer and Dark Sea City was sieged, resulting in his death. The second scenarios were not too different besides the fact that he manages to repel Zhang's forces but later ends up dead because after Aurora’s forces withdrew, the Dark Sea Army was no longer strong enough defend itself against the other southern provinces, which would also result in his death.
The third scenarios were one in which Liu Biao chose to surrender and Zhang’s army sweep through the southern provinces, crushing all who stand in their way. But the end result would be that Liu Biao outlived his usefulness and is killed by Zhang.
The fourth scenario is one where Zhang’s forces are defeated and dispersed by the southern alliance and the Dark Sea Province is persecuted for defecting. This, of course, would result in Liu Biao’s death also.
Lastly, there was the fifth scenario where everything ends well and Liu Biao becomes duke of the southern lands.
Liu Biao felt that odds were entirely against him because no matter what he did there was only a one in five chance of surviving this situation. Currently, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, without a clear way out.
“Damn it…” Liu Biao cursed as he sweeper his arms and caused everything on his desk to drop into the ground.
“What's wrong father?” Liu Shan said as he entered the room. He had been passing by and heard the commotion so he wanted to check if everything was okay.
“Shan, come here.” Liu Biao said.
Once Liu Shan arrived in front of him, Liu Biao began to speak.
“What do you think we should do? Should we surrender or should we fight?” He asked in a dejected tone.
“Neither, I say we pretend to surrender and secretly work with the other provinces to put an end to Aurora.” Liu Shan replied instantly without a thought.
“You think we can establish contact with the other provinces without Zhuge Liang noticing? It wouldn't be too farfetched to believe that he has placed spies and subordinates throughout the southern region.” Liu Biao retorted.
“If we don't surrender we have to fight, if we surrender we have to fight….” Liu Shan said with a sigh.
“How about we call for a meeting with all of the government officials within the city and see their opinion.” Liu Shan suggested after a long pause.
“Hmph most of those fools know nothing and all their good at is sucking up. You really want to give them a say in a decision that can bring about the end of our province?” Liu Biao snorted.
“Then how about spread news that we did fight against Aurora but lost, while in actuality we surrendered.” Liu Shan suggested.
“Fool, that would defeat the purpose of us surrendering in the first place. That Zhang fellow wanted us to surrender to set an example for the rest of the provincial lords. He wants to show them that if they surrender to him they will receive benefits without suffering any disadvantages.” Liu Biao said.
“Then we should take a gamble and surrender.” Liu Yuan’s voice echoed as entered the room.
“If all paths lead to death then we might as well pick the path that gives us the longest time to live. We need not think too far in the future when the problem is at our doorsteps.” He said.
Although both of Liu Biao’s sons were playboys, Liu Yuan was the brighter one of the two.
Of course despite Liu Yuan’s suggestion, he, his brother and his father would have to spend the next two days on finalizing their answer to Zhang.
Meanwhile within the New Moon Province, Xiao Hua was having the time of her life.
She had totally forgotten or well chose to forget, about her mission to track down the person who knew how to open the Reaper’s Coffin. Instead, she had sent her subordinates on a wild goose chase while she herself spent her time enjoying various tourist attractions and delicacies.
She who rarely ever got an opportunity to leave the order was going to enjoy this one chance to it's fullest.
“I hope we never find out who it was.” She thought as went from stall to stall down a busy street buying up various foods.
“I wonder where I should go next, maybe Aurora or Starmist will be fun.” She thought while nibbling on some food.
In the depths of the Underworld, the Yama was still processing through all of the paperwork that had to deal with the Underworlds influx of residences.
By now he had stopped cursing Zhang and his rage had subsided. Of course, there was still the occasional mumble when more paperwork showed up on his desk.
“That damn rascal…” He would say with a sigh.
Before when he was anger was at its peak he had been ready to order for an additional floor to be made within the eighteen levels of hell, especially for his silly son in law. However, the thought of never being visited by his daughter and grandkids had kept his anger in check.
“I'll lock you so deep down there that you'll never see the light of day again…” He went on and on before he changed his mind.
“Hopefully, my grandchildren won't come out a rascal like their father.” Was something the Yama would also often say after giving up on the idea of making a floor in hell for Zhang.
Very much like Liu Biao, the Yama was extremely torn on what to do.