Chapter 45: Please Tell the Truth
Ye Yin continued, “East Zhi is near Dongling. It is customaryto prefer the pen to the sword. They are satisfied with the status quo and are well managed, but with the lack of military, East Zhi does not have good commanders. Meanwhile, West Zhi is near Xili, so the people are quite tough. Thus, West Zhi has a good military instead. From the very start, I planned for East Zhi to provide for its people and increase agriculture. I want East Zhi to become the Zhi nation’s reserve, to provide for the Zhi nation’s troops. West Zhi will defend Zhi nation, its sword. So, Brother Jianli, the generals you brought will have something to do. After the situation stabilizes, they will train new recruits and expand the army. That is why I did not protest when you only picked people who knew how to fight, but I did not expect you to completely lack people who could reconstruct the nation.”
“I understand. When I return, I will immediately instruct them to train new recruits and strengthen the army.”
Ye Yin spoke softly. “Yes, but strengthening the army will arouse suspicion from the four other nations. You will station soldiers by Yulong River to create the facade of tension with East Zhi. In addition, West Zhi’s agriculture cannot be abandoned, there needs to be enough for them to be self sufficient. Agriculture is a nation’s throat. We must be careful that nothing chokes it.”
But Hua Jianli was confused. “Did you not say that East Zhishould focus on agriculture? Why should West Zhi continue with farming? If West Zhi runs low on food supplies, why can’t we just transfer food from East Zhi to West Zhi?”
“You bonehead, it’s a wonder how you’ve made it this far without thinking. How can we simply transfer food over? Are you trying to announce to the world that Zhi nation has reunited?”
Hua Jianli scratched his head embarrassedly. “Haha, I didn’t think of that. You know that I’m not afraid to go off to war, but my brain becomes putty when it comes to this.”
Ye Yin shot him a glare. “Even if we wanted to transfer food in the future, there would be many problems. East Zhi is very far from West Zhi. The food would have to cross Yulong river. Under an emergency, that would not be carried out easily, so West Zhi cannot afford to wait for relief if it runs out of food. East Zhi also needs soldiers who can appear in an emergency.”
“Emergency? Little Qi, are you thinking of Dongling? It was rumored the emperor had his eyes on East Zhi, and he has the world renowned prime minister Ren Fengyao by his side. Little Qi, if you go against him, what are your chances of success?” Du Luo spoke profoundly, a hidden meaning in his words.
“What are you bringing him up for?” Ye Yin’s expression flickered unnaturally for a moment. He looked away indifferently. “Dongling currently doesn’t have the time to deal with Zhi nation. Once it has the energy, Zhi nation will already have developed. Once the time comes, it won’t be so easy for him to beat me!”
An imperceptible hint of mirth flitted through Du Luo’s eyes. As if afraid that Du Luo would bring up Ren Fengyao’s name again, Ye Yin changed the topic quickly. “Oh right, Brother Jianli, when you return, you must also strengthen the navy. As far as I know, West Zhi has a navy, but it is extremely weak, so we must strengthen it as soon as possible. Of course, we have to give the appearance that it is to fight East Zhi.”
“Why?” Hua Jianli did not understand. “What’s the point of establishing a navy? Nanrong?”
Ye Yin humphed. “Nanrong has even sent a man as powerful as Nangong Piaoran to observe East and West Zhi, which means Nanrong won’t stay silent. How can we simply wait for them to attack?”
“But Nanrong is only connected to West Zhi via the Fengyang mountain pass. Although the Nanrong navy is powerful, their army is weak. Even if they strengthened their army, they would not be able to cross the Fengyang pass. A mountain pass has the power to stop a thousand soldiers. There is no way Nanrong can reach Zhi nation through the Fengyang pass.”
“But what about other places? What could their navy do?” Ye Yin cast a sideways glances.
“Other places? There is only one place West Zhi is connected to the sea: west coast. But there, there are many reefs. Furthermore, it is all sheer cliffs and precipices. They could not climb up there.”
Ye Yin rolled his eyes. “You cann yourself a genius tactician? Have you ever looked a map before? Idiot! What about the four estuaries? Don’t forget that the Yelong river is connected to one. If Nanrong forces its way all the way to Yelong river, East and West Zhi will be immediately cut off. The situation will become difficult to control.”
Hua Jianli nodded furiously, immediately understanding. “Right, how could I forget about the four estuaries! Dammit!”
“This isn’t even the scariest scenario. The most terrifying scenario is if Nanrong, Dongling, and Xili joined hands. Faced on all fronts, Zhi nation would surely perish.”
Hua Jianli’s expression immediately became heavy. He stood up abruptly. “I shall return now and follow your every order.”
Ye Yin nodded. “Mm. Everything must be handled as quickly as possible. Once I resolve this poison, I will immediately join you in An city.”
After sending Hua Jianli off, Ye Yin was ordered to lie down. Seeing Zhuo Ran leave with a cold expression, Ye Yin was a little confused. Normally, Mr. Zhuo spoke little, but was kind. However, he seemed angry today. Was it because he had stayed too long in the study?
Ye Yin remained puzzled. He couldn’t help but ask, “Brother Du, doesn’t Mr. Zhuo seem angry?”
You were alone with two men in a room for so long, no wonder he’s angry! He and that person are fellow disciples, perhaps his report that you stayed with two men for a whole afternoon has already reached Dongling. Although he thought this to himself, Du Luo said without batting an eye, “He is a doctor, so of course he has great consideration for your body. You were in the study for a whole afternoon without resting, of course he would be angry.
“Oh,” Ye Yin said simply. Although he kept feeling something was off, he could not put his finger on it. Du Luo’s explanation did seem reasonable, so he stopped thinking about it.
Remembering something else that had remained on the back of his mind, Ye Yin sighed deeply. He looked at Du Luo in the eye. “Brother Du, you can tell me the truth now!”
Du Luo did not understand. “Truth?”
“Nangong Piaron!” Ye Yin reminded.
“Nangong Piaoran? What about him?” Du Luo opened his eyes. “Didn’t I say that Nangong Piaoran is about to arrive?” His tone was slightly unnatural.
“Brother Du, I have said before that you’re bad at telling lies. I didn’t ask earlier because Hua Jianli was here, but now… Brother Du, when you said that Nangong Piaoran would return in a few days, your face did not express happiness at all.”
Du Luo was at a loss for words. Ye Yin waved offhandedly. “Don’t tell me that it was because you were in the middle of being angry at Hua Jianli. I won’t believe that lie. Perhaps your expression could be angry, but your eyes? The eyes are the window to the soul. Why was it that when you said it, your eyes were filled with worry? Brother Du, Nangong Piaoran was never able to obtain the antidote, correct?”
Du Luo’s expression darkened. “Little Qi, why are you always this sharp? Nangong Piaoran was indeed unable to obtain the antidote, because the only one was already used by the current empress. An antidote for Skypath does not exist any more in this world. However, Nangong Piaoran was able to bring back the recipe of the antidote.”
Ye Yin smiled faintly. “I guessed as much. Although Nangong Piaoran is someone to be beware of, based off of my observations, he is someone who definitely keeps his promises. If he sent news he would return in a few days, then he definitely obtained either the antidote or the recipe for the antidote. Brother Du, if we have the recipe, what are you worried for? Is it hard to find the ingredients?”
Seeing that Ye Yin had already seen through everything, Du Luo did not try to hide anything anymore. “The ingredients are indeed rare, but don’t worry, someone will bring them.”
“Someone will bring them?” Ye Yin did not understand. “Who? Who would help me look for ingredients? Brother Du, are you hiding something else from me?”
“No!” Du Luo said immediately. “What could I hide from you? You’re so clever, so keen, even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to! Nangong Piaoran found the antidote recipe, so naturally he would also gather all the ingredients as well.”
Ye Yin gently shook his head. He looked at Du Luo straight in the eye, his gaze dim. “Brother Du, you responded too quickly. You’re only making matters worse. Brother Du, I won’t pressure you, because you will never harm me. You know that.”
Reverse psychology? By saying he would not pressure him, his tone hurt, his expression grieved, was this not pressuring him? Cunning! But he could not tell the truth, or else there would be much trouble. It was best not to let this fox face that person, or else the one to suffer would definitely be himself.
His thoughts flying in all directions, Du Luo said, “Actually, I was talking about Mr. Zhuo. Nangong Piaoran did find a few ingredients, but there were a few rare ones he could not find in a short period of time. He would be able to find them with time, but time is what you lack so… but with Mr. Zhuo here, there should be no problem.”
“Mr. Zhuo?” Ye Yin smiled at Du Luo with narrowed eyes. “I don’t understand. Lanzhi and I are not close with Mr. Zhuo, which is why we politely address him as ‘Mister’, but you are supposed to be his friend. Why do you also call him Mr. Zhuo?”
This fellow was definitely waiting for this blunder. Du Luo pretended to be unhappy. “Who said he is my friend? I found him from a friend I met when traveling and am not close to him. At the time, your circumstances were worsening, so I had no choice but to contact all my friends to see if they had any ideas. One of them asked Mr. Zhuo to come. Because Mr. Zhuo has a special identity, I merely claimed he was my friend.
Who said he couldn’t tell lies? After being with this little fox for so long, he was not a completely honest man any more!