Peaceful South Plan
“What!” Rody jumped from his chair.
Camus also laughed and said, “Isn’t it hard to believe? I was also surprised but the information is reliable. It looks like God is protecting the Empire.”
Rody thought carefully and asked, “Even if that Wuya is seriously injured, why would they immediately admit defeat and ask for peace?”
Camus sighed. “Speaking of which, I really admire Wuya. This person is strong, unyielding, smart and cunning. Normally, the mountain people are all simple people. However, Wuya, at the age of twenty had already become the head of the Flame Tribe. He then used some unknown ways and made the Flame Tribe more prosperous. After that, he conquered the neighboring tribes and the Flame Tribe became the most influential tribe in the mountains. I heard that in the coalition of the nineteen tribes, there were many that opposed him. However, he somehow managed to force them all to submit to him. The people of the mountains are simpletons by nature. They are brave and ruthless. They will not serve others so easily. However, all nineteen tribes have now submitted to him. I am worried that if he is allowed to develop and combine the strength of all the other tribes, he would become another Reuenthal in less than three years. If that happens, another large kingdom would be founded in the mountains!”
Rody could not help but asked, “Is this Wuya really so formidable?”
Camus gave a wry smile as he replied, “He is certainly a formidable person. However, for some reason, he was attacked by an assassin and almost died. Although the mountain tribes are united under his rule, the barbarians are still unable to break away from their ruthless nature. Wuya is unable to manage the Flame Tribe because of his injuries. The other tribes started to fight amongst themselves and called for the reelection of a new chief. Hehe. Wuya is injured and cannot battle with us. Now he can only temporarily give in and negotiate with us.
Rody thought for a moment before asking, “In this case, do we really negotiate with him? Isn’t it better to send troops into the mountains to surround and suppress them? We would stabilize the situation in one fell swoop!”
Camus shook his head and smiled coldly. “Seth, you think too simply! If it is possible to go into the mountains to surround them, I would have done so years ago! The mountain is large and if we cannot find the enemy, we would only end up walking in circles! The mountain people have lived there for hundreds of years and the mountains are their territory! Ten years ago, there was a rebellion in Xier. After I quelled the rebellion, I led troops into the mountains hoping to destroy them in one swoop. In the end, laugh if you must, I almost lost my life in the mountains!”
“Oh?” Rody showed an expression of disbelief. He did not expect the arrogant Camus to acknowledge his own failure.
Camus coldly looked at Rody and continued, “There are many paths in the mountains and the paths are narrow and winding. It is difficult to travel using those paths as only one person could pass through at a time. Besides the paths is the bottomless abyss. Some of these places are filled with lush forests. In the humid weather, there are a lot of poisonous insects! There is also the poisonous miasma in the evening which can be fatal! The mountain people are familiar with the terrain and will not fight outright with you. They will hide in the mountains and wait for you to tire out. Then, they will ambush you repeatedly before retreating into hiding again.”
Rody looked imposing as he thought to himself. He then asked, “So, General Camus, are you suggesting that we negotiate with them? What are the conditions set by them?”
Camus slowly said, “They want the Empire to recognize the status of the mountain’s Tribal Chief. The mountain people are willing to declare itself a vassal of the Empire. However, the mountains will be the territory of the mountain people!”
“Impossible!” Rody immediately shook his head, “How can we decide such things? Even if we were to agree, His Majesty the Emperor would not agree! On top of that, we are merely Commanders-in-Chief of the Southern Region. We do not have the right to decide such things.”
Camus’ expression did not change and he lightly said, “I obviously know that. This is why we should just oblige and pretend to negotiate with them. Wuya was stabbed probably because the other mountain tribes are dissatisfied with him. There is also disunity among them. We could sow internal discord. I heard that Wuya is on the verge of death. The mountain people are more concerned about physical strength. Although Wuya is smart, he is now unable to fight those who go against him. We just need to take this opportunity to provoke and create disorder among them. The worst that could happen is that the tribes will merge and elect a new chief. As long as the chief is not Wuya, they would pose no threat! A bunch of barbarians who only know how to shoot arrows will never be a threat! I am only wary of the talented Wuya who is very clear headed. His strength was also so outstanding that he was said to be the strongest amongst the mountain people. He was the one who initiated the proposal of asking the Empire to acknowledge their chief while declaring themselves as the vassal of the Empire. These are not ideas the barbarians could think of. It would be too much of a threat to the Empire if Wuya continued to lead the mountain soldiers!”
Rody sighed, “Fortunately, he had been attacked by an assassin… But, how could a person of his ability get injured by an assassin? Is there really someone from the mountain people who can assassinate him?”
Camus shook his head and replied, “I do not know. Whatever it is, this is beneficial for us. I still think we should go and negotiate with them. We should find a chance to sow discord. If this does not work, then we can offer them some benefits and cause more chaos in their current crisis. As long as Wuya falls from power, I will no longer need to heed the rest of the mountain tribes!”
Rody thought for a moment and then he could not help but point out, “This is not a bad idea. However, it is just a temporary solution! Even if Wuya falls from power, the rise of the mountain tribes would only be delayed for several years. In the future, there may be a second or even a third Wuya. By then, the same problem would arise again.”
Camus looked at Rody with a complicated expression. He was silent and thought to himself for a long time before saying with a smile, “Follow me!”
After that, he took Rody’s hand and dragged him out of the Governor-General’s office.
Standing at the entrance of the office, Camus pointed to the pedestrians on the streets. Although there was a major upheaval the night prior, that seemed to have no effect on the city. With the implementation of martial law, there were fewer pedestrians on the streets than usual. However, the Purple Leaf City was still the main city in the South. As a result, there were still a lot of pedestrians on the streets.
“Do you see those people?” Camus’ tone sounded deep. “Among those people are some that are from the Empire, some of them are mountain people and some of them have mixed blood.”
Rody nodded, looking puzzled.
Camus slowly explained, “Before I was thirty years old, I only understood that the opposing side is the enemy and that the sword is the best weapon! However, when I came to the South, I have gradually learned a lot of things that I had never known.”
Rody looked at Camus silently and patiently waited for him to continue.
Camus sighed and continued, “The mountain people are brave and ruthless. This is part of their natural instincts. It is not possible to conquer them with the sword! Kill them? How many of them can you kill? There are millions of mountain people. Are you going to kill all of them? This is absolutely impossible. Even if you use a strong force to subjugate them, they would still be able to cause disorder. A few hundred years ago, Abbas the Great had conquered the Southern Region. The mountain people who lived on the plains were all chased into the mountains. At that time, the population of the mountain people was less than two hundred thousand. However, after a few decades, they still managed to cause trouble. They had constantly caused trouble in the Southeast and soldiers were always sent to destroy them. If the Empire is a giant, then the mountain people are like a giant’s flea. It would suddenly appear and cause disturbance. Once you hit it, it would run away and hide!”
“This is why the mountain people cannot be dealt with the same way as the people of the Northwest Region. The mountain people will never surrender. However, they can be assimilated. Look at the people on the streets. In the last few years, the mountain people have integrated with the people of the Empire to the extent that there is hardly any difference between the two. Aside from their facial features, they are already similar in the way they dress, the way they apply make-up, their lifestyles, and their habits. For this kind of people, the more you oppress them, the more they would refuse to surrender. When they become strong and powerful, they would remember their grievances and oppose you with hatred.”
Camus bluntly said, “Seth, during the era of Abbas the Great, one of your ancestors, the late Duke had killed a lot of people in the Northwest. The grassland people of the Northwest were killed in a bloody massacre by your ancestor. The grassland’s rivers ran red with blood… The result? They hid in the grasslands and harbored their hatred. They refused to have any dealings with the Empire… Hehe. You also saw what happened in the Northwest after they had gained power.”
“However, the mountain people are different. Although they had been conquered for a long time, they were still willing to integrate with the Empire. After more than a hundred years, the only pure blooded mountain people left are those tribes who lived together in the mountains. The rest of them have already been assimilated.”
“Ten years ago, when I arrived to suppress the riots, I did not kill too many people. That was because I knew that there was no benefit in killing more of them. That would only deepen the hatred between both sides and made the problem even more difficult to resolve! The only solution to the problems in the Southern Region was to wait! I must wait for the mountain people to integrate with the people of the Empire until the mountain people became people of the Empire!”
Rody heard that and was suddenly enlightened. He looked at Camus with surprise and replied, “General Camus. I did not expect you to have thought so far ahead… but… according to what you said, how many years is required to solve this mountain problem?”
Camus gave a wry smile, “I do not know. Perhaps one or two generations. I have been here working hard for ten years. However, the few Governors-General who were dispatched by the Empire… hmm… they view the mountain people as barbarians. They are afraid of the mountain people and hate them to the core. Here I am, trying to appease the mountain people, but the Governors-General antagonize them and all my efforts were in vain… Sigh…”
Rody was silent for a long time before saying, “The sword can only provide a momentary, not permanent, peace. General Camus. I finally understand your intentions.”
Camus lightly said, “After hundreds of years later, there will no longer be any division of the mountain people and the people of the Empire. Then, the South will be able to have peace.”
Rody’s mind stirred and he asked, “What about the Northwest? Can the Northwest use the same method to resolve their problem?”
Camus shook his head and sneered, “The mountain people are different from the grassland foreigners in the Northwest. The people of the grasslands are naturally aggressive! They believe in the wolves! They ride horses from a young age and once they become fit and strong, they would naturally expand their borders! However, the mountain people are different. Although they are brave and ruthless, they are not as aggressive! They are like the bears of the mountains. Although ferocious, as long as they have sufficient territory, they would not venture outside! They are attached to the mountains and are reluctant to leave. All they want is their own territory!”
Camus paused for a moment before continuing, “Besides that, they now have the intentions to build a nation and have stood up in defiance of the Empire. If that happens, assimilation would no longer be possible. However, if you want to use force like how Abbas the Great suppressed the grasslands… hmm… with the Empire’s current strength…”
After that, Camus stopped speaking and did not continue. Both of them felt dejected.
After a long time, Camus sneered again and said, “I have said so much that I almost forgot my purpose of coming here. This negotiation must be done. However, the current question is who would be the one to go?” As he said that, Camus intentionally or unintentionally looked at Rody.
It then dawned on Rody. In the Southern Region, the most influential people were Camus, that Governor-General and himself. For the negotiations, sending an unimportant person with a low position would not only be useless but also displayed insincerity. However, Camus was absolutely unable to leave. After all, he was commanding the Southern Legion and was a deterrent to the attacks of the mountain people. The Governor-General was a bungling oaf and nothing good would come out of it if he went. The only person that could go would be Rody himself.
After thinking for a while, Rody smiled and replied, “General Camus, I understand. Looks like I have to take a trip to the mountains.”
Camus looked serious and sternly said, “I want to warn you that this journey will be incredibly dangerous. After all, the mountain people are ready to rebel. If they were to suddenly turn hostile, you may lose your life!”
Rody’s heart shook and then he slowly laughed, “I am the Duke of the Tulip Family. I will not so easily lose my life in the mountains! I would also like to meet this Wuya. I want to see him for myself and find out why he is so highly regarded by you… Hehe, you said that he is another Reuenthal. Last time when I was in the Northwest, I did not have the chance to meet Reuenthal. This time, I must not miss this opportunity.”
Camus gave Rody a glance and slowly replied, “Good! However, you must be careful. Wuya is regarded as the best warrior of the mountain people, yet he was attacked by an assassin. That assassin must be very powerful and I am afraid it will not be so easy to deal with him…”
Pausing for a moment, Camus sighed and slowly said, “Seth. I had met you when you were younger. To tell you the truth, all these years when I heard of your actions in the Imperial Capital, I thought that the Tulip Family would be over in this generation. I did not expect that when we finally meet…”
He looked at Rody with a profound expression and said, “This was not expected of your family!”