Chapter 25: Surrender
“Young master, you’re finally back!”
Qiu Xing and Dong Chen were eyeing him tearfully, anxious. Ye Yin chuckled. “What’s wrong with you two? I’m completely fine, what are you crying about?”
Qiu Xing bit her lip. She finally couldn’t hold back her tears. “Young master, how could you do that?” she sobbed. “How could put yourself in such danger? You scared us to death! How could you visit the Zhi (郅) city lord without telling us!”
“Alright, alright. I’m fine, stop crying. If you keep on crying, your eyes are going to get swollen and ugly,” Ye Yin teased. But Dong Chen clenched a fist, gritting her teeth.
“Alright, I promise that next time I’ll tell you beforehand.”
“Young master, we don’t care whether you unify the country or not, we only wish for your safety. There cannot be a next time.”
Ye Yin sighed, holding his hands up in surrender. “Alright, alright. I promise there won’t be a next time, is that fine?” Ye Yin sighed again, then muttered to himself, “I spoil you all too much.”
“Young master,” Qiu Xing started to say, “You have already acquired the Mong troops and everything else has been prepared. Why did you put yourself in danger?”
Ye Yin patted his clothes and sat down. “I am not going to use the Mong troops to attack. There is no way to assure their safety if I do. No matter how strong they are, they are still human. I cannot be so selfish to have the Mong people sacrifice for our sakes. Not only that, if any are injured, they will start to question the authority of Aman and will be bound to become traitors. They will also become hostile towards Zhi (沚) nation, which will be dangerous and evolve into an international conflict.”
“Then why did you risk your safety to go to borrow troops?”
“Boost morale!” Ye Yin smiled at the two befuddled girls. “Before we had entered West Zhi (沚), I had already thought of an idea on how to obtain Zhi (郅) city, that is for them to surrender!”
“Surrender?” Dong Chen echoed.
Ye Yin nodded. “Yes, surrender!”
“Young master, you said before that Zhi (沚) nation’s city lords are all essentially small emperors, unwilling to hand over their authority, so why would they surrender and hand over their power and troops?”
“I was talking about East Zhi (沚). And who said the city lord had to hand over his power? He is one of the generalswe are going to use. What is he going to use to fight with if he hands over all his troops? Am I going to lead troops instead?”
“Not going to hand over his authority? But in order to firmly control Zhi (郅) city, his authority must be handed over, otherwise…” Dong Chen was puzzled.
Ye Yin raised a brow, smiling yet not smiling. “Among the city lords and county lords of Zhi (沚), there are also those who truly wish for for Zhi (沚) to grow strong, for example Shi Xia, or even the Zhi (郅) city lord, Zhu Ziliang.”
He stood up and opened the window, breathing in fresh air. Ye Yin felt completely free. Although he had been on the move the entire night, achieving his goal successfully left him feeling refreshed. He looked back at the two girls, then smiled. They were watching him anxiously.
“Zhu Ziliang is quite a talent. Under his leadership, Zhi (郅) city has been in good order, thriving much more than other cities. However, this is not what he wants. What he wants is to lead soldiers into battle and see East and West Zhi (沚) reunite and see it grow strong. He is also one of the few to recognize the danger the four surrounding nations are, so he doesn’t care who becomes the emperor or the position of Zhi (郅) city lord. He only wishes that when it comes to war, he will be able to command soldiers.”
“Then why doesn’t he himself…” Qiu Xing murmured.
“Why doesn’t he become the emperor himself?” Ye Yin smiled, shaking his head. “He is unable to. He is capable of becoming a general and rushing into the battlefield and has talent, but not for ruling. This is something he himself is fully aware of, so he has been waiting, waiting for someone to swear loyalty to, the one who would revive Zhi (沚) nation. Me borrowing troops from the northern territory was in large part for Zhu Ziliang.”
“Young master, are you going to allow Lord Zhu to command those troops?”
“No. That is not possible. As I said before, I will not allow the Mong people to fight on my behalf. The authority to command the Mong will always lie with Aman. If I allow Zhu Ziliang to command them, he will use them on the front line instead of Zhi (沚) people. To him, the Mong are outsiders, easily disposable.”
“But young master, you could just tell him, warn him that this would endanger the border of Zhi (沚)…”
Ye Yin waved offhandedly, breaking off Qiu Xing’s words. “There is no use. To Zhu Ziliang, the Mong are a small nation of people, incapable of rivaling the Zhi (沚) nation in his mind. He completely looks down on them. This is his shortcoming.”
“If that is so, then why did young master borrow the troops?”
“I already said this. Boosting morale, essentially propaganda. I needed backing if I wanted to speak on even footing with General Zhu.”
“But young master, you left last night empty handed. Where are those Mong troops? It has already been many days since we left the northern territory, but me and Dong Chen have not seen them still.”
Ye Yin smiled profoundly. “How would Zhu Ziliang surrender to me if he didn’t see the troops. Also, remember to address him “General” in the future. He prefers that address more than ‘Lord’.”
“Young master, you still haven’t explained how you made General Zhu capitulate to you.” Qiu Xing stomped her foot. Ye Yin smiled. “Secret!”
Dong Chen pulled Qiu Xing’s sleeve, telling her not to keep on asking. If their young master didn’t want to speak, then there was no way he would.
How Ye Yin had convinced Zhu Ziliang would remain an enigma to later Zhi (沚) historians. Ye Yin would always smile elusively but not reply when this topic was raised and Zhu Ziliang would also avoid answering. Every time someone asked, he would appear very solemn, not saying a word. Even the future emperor was not able to wheedle it out of them in front of an audience*.
*Think about it, they were directly opposing the emperor in front of others. That’s an insult to his face lol, shows both “Ye Yin” and Zhu Ziliang’s high standing.
Many years later, when Zhu Ziliang was a high commanding officer, there was a time when he and his subordinates went out drinking. Because they were all drunk, one subordinate had the guts to ask about the incident. Although Zhu Ziliang was also drunk, he did not reveal anything, only saying on phrase: “Ye Yin is a good friend, but a terrible enemy!”
Ever since then, young minister Ye Yin was even more revered. People would say it was better to face General Zhu a hundred times rather than face their young minister once.
“Young master, what do you plan next? His highness and General Li are waiting for your commands!”
“Next, we are going to obtain Xingjiang county!”
Dong Chen frowned. “Young master, Zhi (郅) city is already in our hands. We can obtain Xingjiang any time.”
“It is not as simple as you think! Although like Wutian, Xingjiang is considered under Zhi (郅) city’s jurisdiction, with the current chaos in Zhi (沚), each county is already used to governing itself. On the surface, it listens to Zhi (郅) city, Xingjiang could betray Zhi (郅) city any time. The Xingjiang county lord is also completely loyal to the West Zhi emperor, so we can only obtain it painstakingly! There is no room for negotiation. Do you now understand why I did not agree to when you all proposed to first obtain the counties now?”
Dong Chen and Xiu Qing shook their heads. Ye Yin pointed at a map. “Wutian is east of Zhi (郅) city while Xingjiang is west. You two’s plans were to first steathily station infiltrate troops in Xingjiang’s vicinity, and then attack with the cover of the night, attacking Xingjiang fast as lightning, and then join in the middle to outflank Zhi (郅) city and attack from both sides.”
Dong Chen nodded. “Based on reports, our number of troops is smaller than Zhi (郅) city’s, so it would have been difficult to seize Zhi (郅) city with our troops alone, but Xingjiang’s number of troops is much smaller, so it would have been much easier. If we then joined our troops with Xingjiang’s, wouldn’t it have been much easier?”
“But you didn’t realize that to attack Xingjiang, you would have first needed to bypass Zhi (郅) city. How could such big movements go unnoticed?”
“That’s why we would move at night!”
Ye Yin shook his head. “Little girl, you’re too naive! This is an army, thousands of men and horses. You think that it’s possible they can go unnoticed? Zhu Ziliang is no fool! He is farsighted, talented in military affairs. How can you, who have only read a few military tactics on paper, compare? You’re still too inexperienced!”
“But his highness and General Li agreed!” Dong Chen grumbled.
“That is because you are my subordinate. They were only giving me face. Enough, stop pouting. Even if you first step was pulled off successfully and the troops were brought to nearby Xingjiang, how would you have instantly stormed Xingjiang? It would have dragged on and Zhi (郅) city would have brought reinforcements. You would have ended up fighting two fronts. The soldiers are also exceptional, given by the West Zhi (沚) to Zhu Ziliang to guard the border. The Xingjiang county lord himself, although mediocre, is crafty. If pressured, he might run amok and destroy everything indiscriminately. I want to have Xingjiang intact. Even Zhu Ziliang has a headache thinking of how to counteract this possibility. Can you guarantee the county would be undamaged?”
Dong Chen opened her mouth to speak, but Ye Yin stopped her. “Even if you successfully seized it, how would you integrate their soldiers? Remember, those soldiers are chosen by the emperor himself, exceptionally loyal.”
Dong Chen’s head drooped. “Young master, I did not think over the issue thoroughly enough!”
Ye Yin smiled. “You really are fond of studying war tactics, wanting to use them yourself, but remember, you have never experienced war before. This is your weak point. First, you must gain experience and learn to combine what you’ve learned on paper with what you’ve learned from actual battle. In a days, I am going to recommend you to General Zhu for a job. Make sure you learn how to command troops from him.”
Dong Chen nodded delightfully, touched. “Thank you, young master!”
“Alright, you two may take your leave. Be prepared. Tonight, we are going to Yue city.”
“Yue city? What about Xingjiang, young master? Are you going to disregard it?”
“General Zhu is still here. I already handed over the responsibility to him. I trust he will definitely hand over an intact Xingjiang county to me. Right now, are priority is in Yue city. Tonight, we are going to journey there. Prepare your belongings.”
The two got up and left. After Qiu Xing quietly closed the door, she sighed. “Young master didn’t rest yesterday night and tonight will also… Day and night is flipped.”
“Right, these days, young master is truly tired. We should let him have a good rest! There are still things to do tonight!” Dong Chen dragged Qiu Xing away. At the same time, Ye Yin heard a voice from far away.
“Qiu Xing, how do you suppose young master convinced the Zhi (郅) city lord to surrender?”