Chapter 267 – Liu Bei’s Scheme
Night already fell in the City of Wancheng, however the newly-restored Administration office had been really bright. This is because Lu Bu had been stayed up late for the last two days since that “ambush”. Staying up late in time of battle, is very common, but the thing is, it had been peaceful lately. With Sun Ce is in truce with Lu Bu and Liu Biao and Lu Bu were in a honeymoon time. If one can say, the one who should be in real busy right now, should be Liu Mang not Lu Bu.
Why is that? That is because Liu Mang’s incentive for recruiting commoners, providing them with 2-mu farmlands, and 30% of grain tax, moved commoners hearts and they decided to go to Yang Province consecutively. When Lu Bu read the report, he just smiled bitterly at Liu Mang’s order. He also didn’t do anything to prevent Liu Mang’s orders as he had seen pre-Liu Mang Shouchun’s condition by his own eyes. The Emperor Yuan Shu, Yuan Gonglu cut off his tendon to feed himself, leaving Shouchun destroyed leaving several hundred miles of fertile farmland desolate. Previously before Yuan Shu was based in Shouchun, Shouchun flourished but no matter how good the land is, if you did mismanage on them, it will become a deathtrap. So when Liu Mang regained Shouchun, he needs massive population to cultivate the land. So the basic move when promoting your land, is to provide better benefits from other warlords.
With one adult got 2-mu fertile farmland and 30% grain taxes, the profit is only in small amount, but a profit is still profits, therefore Lu Bu assign Chen Gong to assist Liu Mang’s idea. Right now, the very reason Lu Bu has been really busy, is because of the emigration. Last two nights, the emigrants comes in at midnight, but the amount is so great, that Lu Bu thought they are being attacked. At that time, Lu Bu quickly prepared Bing Province Wolf Cavalry to counterattack, however, those people stopped their steps right below the wall. An entire 100,000 people stopped and yelled, that Prince of Shu recruited them and they come to answer that call. Since Liu Mang is Lu Bu’s son-in-law, Liu Mang’s policy is Lu Bu’s policy and he had a duty to answer them. Therefore, Lu Bu quickly open up gate and helps to escort those commoners to go inside the city.
If only 10,000 people, Lu Bu wouldn’t had a big headache as 10,000 people can be handled by civil officers only. Those people need to be refuged, feed and then delivered to Shouchun. That is if only 10,000 people, but right now, there are 100,000 people at least and the number kept increasing. It made, Lujiang’s population doubled with only just emigrants, made Lu Bu losing sleep in these past two days.
A nearby civil officer then said “Milord, here is the report of new arrival!!!” He provided a report that 3,000 people who need to be fed. Those people who already left around 15,000 and more than 40,000 people who just arrived. Lu Bu then said “Very well then, register them all and compile them. After that, send them to Shouchun!!!” Lu Bu calculated that these 100,000 people can definitely develop Shouchun with the most minimum is Shouchun’s land wouldn’t be idle and Liu Mang army can reach provisions self-supporting, and this is the best thing of them all. He really didn’t predict that this amount of commoners would be attracted to him. Lu Bu’s only issue right now is to provide those emigrants food and drinks. His grains and provisions are amounted to 200,000-shi in City of Wancheng’s warehouses with most of them was snatched from rebelling nobles’ possessions when Liu Mang wipeoutted all of them. Therefore, as long as everything is OK, these amounts will suffice.
Suddenly, there is a guard who came in and said “Milord, there is a royal messenger from Xu Du looking for an audience!!” Lu Bu was stunned and quickly said “Royal messenger?!” and put his hand on his chin and thought Although The Emperor is in Xu Du, this royal messenger is definitely acting under Cao Cao’s orders. Right now, Cao Cao is struggling in Guandu. Is he going to purchase ballistae? But Hanyang had said ballistae cannot be sold to Cao Cao for the moment. Then what to do?! Right now, the best course of action is to let Yuan Shao and Cao Cao to lengthen their confrontation. Because if Cao Cao or Yuan Shao reached fast resolution, then their next target would be Lu Bu, because once Lu Bu was developed, he will be a threat toward them. Lu Bu who only owns 2 counties and Liu Mang who just owned Shouchun is no match for them and with their current strength, they are nothing compared to those two strong warlords. Lu Bu just waved his hand and said “Audience denied. You go back and tell the messenger. Nothing can be discussed, not ballistae not anything!!!” Lu Bu’s impression of Cao Cao still bad. After all, the wound being expelled from Xu Province is still there. Also, even though Cao Cao fears Lu Bu, Lu Bu knew that he had yet to score even one victory from him.
“Understood, Milord!!!” The guard responded and was about to go to the messenger when he was halted by Chen Gong who just gestured his hand to stop his walking, then the guard kneeled down again. Lu Bu then said happily “Oh, Gongtai. Finally you came!!!” He said with an expression of relief. These days, Chen Gong has not been around as he was assigned to Shucheng County to comfort the commoners, supervised reconstruction, leaving Lu Bu to organize City of Wancheng. Now with Chen Gong back, naturally he can dump back the responsibility to Chen Gong. “Really, a messenger?!” Asked Chen Gong toward the messenger. Lu Bu answer Chen Gong quickly “If you have been a bit later, that royal messenger of Cao Mengde, would have been sent packing. He definitely want to ask for ballistae, which is an impossibility!!!” Chen Gong thought Eh, Cao Cao want to buy ballistae? Something’s not right here. Royal messenger can only be used by Emperor of Han Dynasty himself and can be considered court eunuch/ imperial attendant. Cao Mengde despised eunuchs since Ten Attendant’s Rebellion because of their misuse of power. And even if Cao Cao wants to buy ballistae, he should had send a negotiator not a royal messenger. Is he really resorted to extorting our Lu Bu army with imperial decree? This is a serious matter. We said that we are subjects of Han, but how many who are really loyal to Han? Even Liu Zhang and Liu Biao who are related to the Emperor by blood, played ignorance to Emperor’s plight, let other people. At present, who doesn’t know that the Emperor is only a puppet emperor? Chen Gong then took a deep breath and thought again Maybe this Royal Messenger is a real one. Cao Cao will not be so stupid to send a royal messenger to extort Lu Bu. Doing that, will only made his reputation fall and will make him and Lu Bu truly irreconcilable.
Chen Gong then asked “Is the Royal Messenger bring imperial decree?” The guard said “Yes, sir! The Royal Messenger said that the Imperial Decree is for Milord!!!” Chen Gong then said “Milord, this royal messenger was not sent by Cao Cao for he bring imperial decree!!!” and whispered “Milord, Cao Cao is not so foolish to do that. If he done that, he would incur your wrath and he will suffer pincer attack from you and Yuan Shao. This imperial degree was sent by His Majesty!!!”
When Lu Bu heard that, he quickly goes out to welcome the royal messenger himself as per customary rites which states that when an Emperor sends an imperial decree, a warlord must greet and receive it personally. However, since this is chaos times, Lu Bu invited the royal messenger and his party to his office, eliminating any chance of being ambushed. The court eunuch then comes in, followed with imperial guards, he quickly give salutation and said “I am Palace Gate Attendant Director, Qin Huai. I pay my respects to Marquis of Wen!!!”
Palace Gate Attendant Director? Everyone was surprised when they heard of his title. Qin Huai’s title is really high as he had salary of 600-shi, on par with a provincial governor. In this day and age, becoming a court eunuch is very prestigious as when Emperor Ling still in power, they can abuse their power limitlessly to the point that if you want to advance in governmental careers, you need to lick the ass of 10 Attendants. Even Cao Song, Cao Cao’s father, can only become an official after bribing them. Emperor Ling called Zhang Rang as Father Rang. Lu Zhi, Liu Bei’s and Gongsun Zan’s mentor, can only become a lowest Palace Gate Attendant because he is poor and cannot afford to pay any bribes. At that time, becoming court eunuch is very desirable. But, after Emperor Ling died, dusk fell on that occupation as Yuan Shao wipeoutted every last of Ten Attendants and the prestige of Han plummeted to the lowest of low. Also it made those who follow Emperor Liu Xie suffer big time, therefore although he is very high in title, he is respectful and polite toward him.
Lu Bu then kneel down, followed with Chen Gong and everyone in the office, and said “May this servant asks boldly, under whose order that Lord Qin grace this servant a visit?!” Qin Huai then said “His Majesty sends us. His Majesty wishes to give a decree toward Marquis of Wen and His Highness Prince of Shu.” His Majesty Lu Bu thought. Then this is really not Cao Mengde’s but what decree His Majesty send to us? Lu Bu then said “Lord Qin, please read it.” Qin Huai then nodded “Yes, sir!” And he quickly pulled out golden silk cloth from his pocket and said in big tone “HEAR THE IMPERIAL DECREE!!!” followed by everyone kowtowing toward the decree and said “May Your Majesty lived for ten-thousand years to come!!!” Qin Huai continued “Spake The Emperor, the nation is in chaos, commoners had no ways to make a living. It is the fortune of our great Han that this generation had Prince of Shu Liu Mang. He took pity to nation’s hardships and want to save commoners from fire and abyss. He reduced taxes and shared his field with commoners, this is a truly good fortune of Han. We bestowed Prince of Shu Liu Mang, with one pair of pearls from Donghai, 100 jin golds and We sealed Prince of Shu as Han Sagely King, this We say!!!” Eh, sealing Liu Mang as Sagely King? Lu Bu and Chen Gong looked each other. What can lead to this? Both are thinking the same thing at the same time. Those who were called Sagely King need to make big contributions to the society and populace, such as Confucius and Duke of Zhou and the last one is Mencius. Those two people had either formed a school of thought or had pacified Han. But Liu Mang is just finished capturing Shouchun and had yet to cultivate the Shouchun land. Also, although the tax already lowered until 30%, it didn’t warrant enough for Liu Mang to become sage. Also becoming a sage is basically one had stopped to become human and had become half god. This may become a big dilemma for people as Sagely King and Emperor’s influence is almost as big and people will be confused on who to follow, the Emperor or Sagely King.
Lu Bu calmed himself down and asked “Lord Qin, is this decree not false? Qin Huai answered “This decree is definitely not false, Marquis of Wen, Master Chen. Please see the decree for yourself.” Qin Huai then give the decree to Lu Bu. It is truly written as Qin Huai has spoken before and had the Han’s imperial seal, therefore this decree is truly written by Emperor. Chen Gong then asked “Lord Qin, do you know what is the story behind this decree?!” After saying that, Chen Gong signalled all of his guards and subsequently they left the hall. Qin Huai then acting as if he is flustered and said “Marquis of Wen, Master Chen. I am not clear on the details.” And then he acted “Phew, it is so hot in here. If very hot, then my head is really fuzzy, I can’t remember anything.” I am asking for a bribe, you know Thought Qin Huai. Lu Bu and Chen Gong who noticed that quickly said “Hahaha, Lord Qin. You are right, in hot days like this, one must use cool water or ice to cool oneself down. Here, Master Chen already brought you a lot of ice. Please cool down and enjoy yourself. Afterall, we are subjects of His Majesty!!!” Lu Bu then pointed at a big box and pointed toward several carts outside.
Qin Huai then smiled and said “Oh, this will sufficed.” Chen Gong then said to his bodyguard “Open them all!!” The guard then opened and there are a lot of golds, pearls, and jades with golds amounted at least 100 taels. Qin Huai then said “Oh, now that I have cooled down, I remember. It was General of the Left, Imperial Uncle Liu, who presented a memorial to The Emperor. Praising His Highness Prince of Shu a lot.” Qin Huai’s attention then turned into those three boxes. Lu Bu and Chen Gong just ignore him and said together “Liu Bei?!” Liu Bei never had good reputation with Lu Bu. Only hatred between them. From Xu Province struggles, to Battle of Shouchun and Huainan’s Fried Chicken, all painted by Lu Bu vs Liu Bei confrontations. If logically speaking, Lu Bu and Liu Bei must be in a decisive battle right now, similar to Cao Cao and Yuan Shao in Guandu. However, Liu Bei now give promotion to Liu Mang. What is Liu Bei going to do. Lu Bu then said “Lord Qin, please leave the office.” And then he and Chen Gong discussed about Liu Bei.