Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 60 Part 2
Chapter 60 Part 2
It was Lu Shi Qing who intercepted Nanzhao’s grain and grass the day before yesterday.
Xi Ju didn’t deny it, and replied in his not-so-fluent Han language: “When I don’t see Assistant Minister Lu, I’m always fine.”
“Hearing Your Highness’s words, Lu feel deep regret. In fact, Lu also wondered, why is it every time Lu meeting Your Highness, it’s always in this fighting and killing scene.”
He smiled, showing a mouthful of shiny white teeth in the dark night: “You Han people have a saying ‘ill-fated relationship’.”
Lu Shi Qing seemed a little surprised, let out a low “Oh”: “Did not think that Your Highness is so knowledgeable. If so, you must also hear a common saying among us Han people called ‘turning hostility into jade and silk‘.”
Xi Ju laughed loudly: “It’s too awkward, I don’t understand.”
Lu Shi Qing stretched out his hand to the golden tent and said, “So, you might as well allow Lu to enter and listen to Lu’s explanation.”
Hearing this, Xi Ju glanced at the three thousand elite cavalry behind Lu Shi Qing.
He naturally understood his concerns, turned around with a smile and ordered: “Retreat a hundred zhang (one zhang is 3.3 m or around 10 ft), and don’t approach unless I order it.”
This cavalry team was the local army of Chongzhou in Qianzhong. Lu Shi Qing did not lead the army out of the capital so he didn’t draw attention to himself, but when passing through Chongzhou, which relatively had an elite military strength, he mobilized the cavalry with the tiger tally given to him by Emperor Huining in advance.
Since the beginning of the war, Qianzhong and Lingnan, which were adjacent to Diannan, had sent troops as support, but due to improper tactics, they were repeatedly blocked outside Diannan by Xi Ju. It wasn’t until Lu Shi Qing led these three thousand people to give a surprise attack by detouring all the way and intercepted Nanzhao’s military report, that they broke through the enemy’s line of defense without much effort.
It was also because of this that when Xi Ju heard the grain and grass had been suddenly intercepted, he knew that the person coming must be a strong enemy. So when he encountered the night attack, he simply gave up the confrontation to avoid unnecessary damages.
After all, he guessed that Lu Shi Qing’s purpose was not to capture the defend army camp, but to have peace talk with him. Because he received something in advance.
A few days ago, Nanzhao soldiers in the Diannan border handed over a jade ring to the camp, saying that it was sent by Chang’an. He knew the cause and effect at a glance, and knew that the person who gave the jade ring was showing favor to him, thereby reminding him of the fire in his own backyard.
It’s just that he didn’t understand the reason for the other party’s show of favor at the time, and it wasn’t until he combined with Lu Shi Qing’s night attack just now that he realized that this jade ring was to express the sincere friendship of the envoy of Great Zhou, hoping to avoid confrontation between the two sides.
Since the other didn’t want to fight, why should he fight this battle.
Lu Shi Qing entered the golden tent alone with Xi Ju. To show his sincerity in the peace talks, he sat down and brushed off the dirt on his lapel, and asked, “Can Your Highness lend some clean cloth to Lu first?”
Xi Ju asked someone to fetch a brocade handkerchief for him, and said seriously: “It’s okay if you don’t wipe it. What you are wearing now is much more decent than at Shangzhou’s post station.”
Lu Shi Qing choked, remembering the good deeds Yuan Ci Xian did back then, gritted his back teeth in resentment, and told nonsense with straight face: “Oh, Lu’s fiancée is really naughty, she burned my coat as soon as she was unhappy.”
This time, Xi Ju was the one who choked.
Although back then he forced the marriage only for political reason, not because he truly admired Yuan Ci Xian, but in the end he failed. He even failed to take the person from Shangzhou into captivity, so Lu Shi Qing’s words seemed to have sprinkled some salt onto his scars.
Xi Ju suddenly glanced at the jade ring on the table, and immediately realized: “It turns out that the one who gave me this jade ring is Assistant Minister Lu’s fiancée.”
Great Zhou was also received influence from foreign countries, and there was a custom of using jade ring as a token of love between men and women. Lu Shi Qing raised his eyelids and frowned. This dark-skin person whose face couldn’t be seen at night, what kind of shit was he talking about?
Xi Ju put the jade ring on his little finger, and seemed to think it was a good fit, so he didn’t take it off, and said, “Assistant Minister Lu, please start your explanation.”
Lu Shi Qing sneered in his heart, lost the patience to go back and forth with him, and said bluntly: “What Lu wants to say is very simple. If Your Highness continues to attack the north, there will be two disadvantages. The first is for you – in the end you will lose the hearts of the army, the people and the king one after another. I don’t need to say it, you also know it well. The generals around you are not all loyal to you, otherwise you will not fall into the trap I set up.
“Beside them, the people in your country and your father are not very supportive of you launching this war. The reason is that Nanzhao can no longer afford such a protracted war.
“In recent years you have frequent confrontation with Great Zhou, and the chaos of war and conscription have caused the population of your country to decline sharply, and the people cannot farm normally. At the same time, the food, weapons, and horses needed for the war are constantly increasing, and Nanzhao’s treasury is becoming increasingly empty. If this continues, you as the crown prince, may be disliked by the people, and your father will choose a more suitable person to replace you.”
“The second is for Nanzhao — you will onlyfor Tubo, and end up hurting yourself. You know very well that the main force in this battle is your Nanzhao army, and the reason why Tubo, who originally had a good relationship with Great Zhou, could be easily enticed and agreed to cooperate with you, is to use your hand to attack all the way north, invide Hexi, which they coveted for a long time, and get a piece of Great Zhou this big pie.
“But you must remember that Tubo is not only close to Great Zhou, but even more adjacent to you. Tubo that gets Hexi will become more and more prosperous, and while Tubo prospers, Nanzhao will decline. In order to store enough strength to compete with Great Zhou, sooner or later Tubo, which has become stronger, will first aim at Nanzhao first. At that time, Great Zhou will happily become the fisherman who reap the benefits when the snipe and oyster fight.
“After talking about the disadvantages, let’s talk about your two gains from this war. First, to strike at Diannan Prince. Second, to occupy Jiannan. But these trivial benefits are nothing compared to the disadvantages that Lu said. And you might as well ask yourself, whether your subjects can understand the great sacrifice you make for a mere Second Rank Prince with a different surname and a mere small land.
“Finally, I would like to tell you the benefits of withdrawing the troops. You only need to make Tubo give up the covenant with you first, then you will have the upper hand in this cooperation and even in the political exchanges with it in the future, and win a steady stream of benefits – food, gold and silver, labor, and even land. Even if you lose the war, you can use these benefits that can be seen, accepted and understood by the people to appease the whole country. Great Zhou is willing to give you this opportunity to earn profits and recuperate. After tonight, Lu can go to Tubo for you to lure him to withdraw, as long as you agree to the peace talks right now.
“Of course, if you still insist on not withdrawing after hearing these words…” Lu Shi Qing smiled lightly, “Lu is not afraid to die under your sword but judging from the situation in your country, afraid you will meet me in the underworld soon enough, and continue this ill-fated relationship. You also said it was always fine when you didn’t see me.”
After he finished speaking, he glanced at the jade ring on his little finger: “Is Your Highness satisfied with Lu’s explanation tonight?”
Five days later, Tubo broke the covenant and withdrew its troops, and Great Zhou was able to take a breather and made counterattack, forcing Nanzhao to retreat, and driving the enemy out of the country all the way. At this point, the war that lasted just twenty days came to an end.
When the news reached Chang’an, the whole court was overjoyed and astonished. Yuan Ci Xian was so excited that she almost packed up her bag and went to the south to meet Lu Shi Qing, but was stopped by Yuan Yi Zhi with an axe.
She had no choice but to wait for him while counting her fingers every day, never leaving the house, and asked each morning and evening if there was any news from the south. But that Lu Shi Qing was really good, from the beginning to end he didn’t send a single letter to her. The waiting Yuan Ci Xian was so angry that she lost her patience and simply stopped asking.
First month was approaching the end, and Second month was the time when the red apricots blossomed outside the wall, whether he came or not.
On the eighth day of Second month, Yuan Ci Xian dragged her brother and mother to Furong Garden to take a walk on the green that hadn’t fully emerged, just to relieve boredom. She originally planned not to think about Lu Shi Qing, but unexpectedly while she walked around the garden, she unknowingly climbed up to the bamboo building where they met before.
At that time, she came here to see Zheng Zhuo, but when she reached the top floor, she first saw Lu Shi Qing who was dressed in garish silver and vermilion color.
She was suddenly curious, that day she invited Zheng Zhuo to eat lychees, and she was in the same boat with Zheng Zhuo, if Lu Shi Qing remembered these things now, what would he think.
She secretly sat beside the long desk in the small room, imagining his mood with a little secret joy, and kept giggling non-stop. When she came back to her senses, her mother and brother, who originally accompanied her to the bamboo building, disappeared together.
Her mind was wandering for too long.
Yuan Ci Xian was taken aback, and quickly got up to look around. But suddenly she saw a person standing with his hands behind his back at the end of the long corridor outside the small room, and he seemed to had been looking at her for a long time.
Seeing her staring, the man pulled the corners of his mouth, and asked proudly and arrogantly: “Yuan Ci Xian, why are you sitting and giggling here by yourself?”