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Chapter 368 - What Is It?
Grand Commandant Fang Qingtian was once again feeling ill from the heavy snow these few days and was resting at home during the assembly today. The emperor had not planned to ask him over at all.
The Grand Commandant was only left with a few days. If such a matter had triggered his mood, he might not be able to take the stimulation.
The old man’s unique Ingenious Volition was a mythical cultivation method that saw through one’s heart but such a method shunned volatile emotions. The Old Grand Commandant had used Ingenious Volition again for Yang Botao’s case previously and while it did not look unusual then, he was actually still burdened with a heavy burden that sapped his vitality. If he were to be triggered again, it might not end well for him.
After all, Fu Baoguo was the sole remaining prized disciple of the Old Grand Commandant and was seen as his successor.
The Old Grand Commandant’s other disciples had all fallen in the battlefield, only to returned wrapped in horsehide. If he were to suddenly hear that Fu Baoguo was about to face the entire Empire of Dongxuan alongside the God of War, Han Sanhe’s effortful attack and was overcome with emotion, that would be adding fuel to Yutang’s fire.
"How goes the war?" the emperor asked. Leaving the court full of officials and left with only two to three people, His Majesty no longer put up a confident front.
His worry had floated to the surface.
"This war allows no room for optimism." Leng Daoyin sucked in a deep breath before releasing a long, white wisp of a dragon.
The weather was simply too cold. Even when they were in a palace, the hall was too spacious.
"Yes, I know this war allows no optimism but why would Dongxuan pick such a time to launch an assault? There’s simply no certainty of a victory for them!" The emperor frowned.
"Was it simply because Han Sanhe was pressured to the point of insanity that caused this current situation?"
The emperor was rather indignant. "I really can't imagine what the Dongxuan emperor is thinking. If he really can’t stand Han Sanhe, just get rid of him and his family! But no, he wants to let this old man lead an entire army out. It’s the dead of winter now! Snow and ice everywhere. Who leads troops at this time of the year?"
"Your Majesty is right. This is where we benefit more from nature compared to Dongxuan. Winter is a more suitable season for defense than to attack. It’s to our advantage."
Leng Daoyin frowned thinking. "This isn't an obvious advantage. Didn’t the east defense line just build a new fort? It might not withstand the continuous attack of an army. Yet, this is where the final victory or defeat of this war lies."
"There is another issue. The eastern defense has only two hundred thousand soldiers." His Majesty frowned. "Fu Baoguo has only gone there for over a month. There isn’t adequate preparation; the foundation, which is far from stable, is also a huge problem."
"The forage and ordnance isn’t the issue, nor is the salary." Leng Daoyin sighed, "Ultimately, our side holds the advantage of nature in this war. As long as the main marshal remains calm and doesn’t act recklessly, the most this war will be is... upsetting."
As he spoke, he turned suddenly to face Qiu Jianhan. "Old Qiu, what say you?"
Qiu Jianhan’s brows were locked in a deep frown as well as if he was in deep contemplation. In truth, he had barely heard Leng Daoyin’s words due to his concentration.
Leng Daoyin gave the distracted man a slight shove. "Old thing, are you daydreaming?"
Qiu Jianhan suddenly came back to himself and said, "That’s right. This is an issue. The empire cannot have another civil war."
Both the emperor and Leng Daoyin were stunned.
Cannot have another civil war? Where did this come from?
We were discussing an external disaster, why did you come up with this out of nowhere?
What is this distracted old man thinking?
"What are you talking about? Enchanted and still mumbling about your dream last night?" Leng Daoyin frowned in irritation.
Qiu Jianhan blinked and his eyes refocused. "Pardon?"
His Majesty smacked his forehead, looking like he had a headache.
Leng Daoyin was baffled, not expecting the old man to be so muddled.
What are you trying to do? How could you be so distracted during such an important internal discussion?
"We were speaking of the eastern warfare." Leng Daoyin said weakly, "You would do well to share at least a fart of a thought."
That was the true nature of a rogue. Everyone knew he was teasing the old marshal about farting. Normally, the rogues would now argue and sooth the awkward atmosphere.
"What thoughts? What fart?" Qiu Jianhan was still dazed but he sat up at once and muttered his agreement, "That’s right, that’s right. The fart should be released! It should!"
His Majesty, hearing such a mismatched reply, spat out the tea he had just drunk and coughed.
"I admit defeat." Leng Daoyin said helplessly as he wiped his face clean of the tea spat by the emperor.
"I see, you were talking about the war with the Empire of Dongxuan." Qiu Jianhan sighed. "I understand. It is not a serious matter. With Fu Baoguo and plenty of room for warfare tactics, there will be some difficulties but it won’t shake the empire’s core. We can prepare backups and get ready to assist at any time. No worries there, none at all."
His Majesty and Leng Daoyin exchanged looks of horror.
Not a serious matter? No worries? Then what was considered worrying?
How could it not shake the Empire's core? Any misstep would disarray the nation!
Is this old antique thinking is something even more severe than this?
Something far more serious than a nation's upheaval?
A nation's subjugation, perhaps?
Both of their faces looked calm, but their hearts lurched in their chests.
"What were you pondering about just now? Speak up, quickly, and let us gain some knowledge too!" Leng Daoyin asked, scratching his head.
"Even if it could really impart knowledge, it has nothing to do with you. You? Dismiss yourself quickly." Old Marshal Qiu rolled his eyes and urged the guest out on behalf of the emperor, with much impatience.
Leng Daoyin was beside himself with rage.
F*ck you! Dismiss yourself quickly? You antique, you dare be so bold? Do you dare to dismiss me right in front of His Highness? Do you think I’m your son?
"You!" Leng Daoyin was huffing angrily.
"Why aren’t you leaving yet?" Qiu Jianhan stared at him and said in an oddly distracted tone, "Can’t you see this old man wants to discuss military issues with His Majesty… oh… it's you, Old Leng..."
It was as if he just recognized Leng Daoyin and said apologetically, "Sorry, sorry. I didn’t see that it was you just now."
Leng Daoyin's jaw dropped, looking at Qiu Jianhan like he was seeing a ghost.
What did you f*cking say? Didn’t you know it was me? I’ve gone to the morning assembly with you, discussed things with you, got asked here by His Majesty with you, spoke to you for a good half day… and you say you don’t know that it was me you were talking to?
"This matter is really rather important. I'm afraid you have to leave." The old marshal patted Leng Daoyin’s shoulder apologetically. "Seriously, just run along now."
Leng Daoyin’s eyes were wide for a good moment before he said, gritting his teeth, "I wanted to tell you; you are an old, useless junk who should die, but I didn’t know if I should say it here!"
I have to leave? Please! Does your family know you’re so arrogant? Are they not afraid that you’d be beaten to death when you go out with such an arrogant attitude?
Leng Daoyin felt like fainting.
This is so embarrassing!
Qiu Jianhan and the emperor exchanged glances.
Seeing that Old Marshal Qiu reacted like that when he came back to himself, His Majesty knew how severe the issue was. Something that could distract Qiu Jianhan to this point could not be anything petty; perhaps it really involved a nation's subjugation?
The emperor’s heart began to beat faster.
No longer caring about courtesy, His Majesty said in a low voice, "Please wait outside the hall, Marshal Leng. If this matter is nothing important, I’ll summon you in and both of us shall beat him up together. My place here is no place to play the part of a rogue!"
Well, if the emperor himself said so...
Leng Daoyin pinched his nose and said, "Alright, alright. I’ll leave."
He then glared at Qiu Jianhan and spat on the floor, "Old bastard! You wait for your father!"
Only then did he leave reluctantly.
They need not be like this over a discussion of a matter… Old Marshal Leng Daoyin was completely oblivious to the fact that his words earlier had backfired! The father of an old bastard would have to be a bastard too! An older bastard!
Leng Daoyin left unhappily, openly showing his emotions.
Following the departure of Marshal Leng, the emperor turned serious at once. "What happened? Why are you like this today?"
Qiu Jianhan had put Leng Daoyin out of his mind. It would seem that the matter weighing him down was nothing petty and was fairly significant! This matter was even more important than the imminent war with Dongxuan in Qiu Jianhan’s heart!
What could it be?
Thinking about it, His Majesty felt an inexplicable sense of nervousness as well. He could vaguely tell that what was worrying Qiu Jianhan was related to him and the royals... but what in particular?
"This matter…" Old Marshal Qiu was still contemplating if he should say it and if he was right in chasing Leng Daoyin out so urgently just now. More importantly, what consequence would it garner when he revealed his thoughts?
While he was still having second thoughts and contemplating his actions, mulling over his choice of words, he suddenly caught the emperor’s gaze. Old Marshal Qiu Jianhan had a sudden realization that if he were to retract everything and turned back right now, the consequences would be very serious!
This was Yutang’s ultimate supreme, a presence that could never be played for a fool.
If it was a small matter, it was still acceptable to pull off a prank. If he continued to treat such a serious matter lightly, then he would really become the butt of the joke.
"It’s like this." Qiu Jianhan was resolute now. "Supreme Wind came to my residence last night and told me something important. This has kept me up all night and I don’t know what to do."