This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.Chapter 10: Wealth
No palace would have many realm seven cultivators. If there were too many, it would be too great a threat to the safety of the emperor in the palace.
Yet there would not be too few realm seven and lower cultivators in the palace. Many cultivators would cultivate their entire lives in the palace. They would be strong but the outside world would not know of them. From the experiences of past dynasties and generations, a certain number of cultivators were enough to stop assassinations from enemies, and delay enough for the army to arrive.
The Donghu palace built on the mountain followed the experiences of the past. There was a cultivation branch called the “Secret Sect”. For their entire lives, they would get treatment just below the emperor. They would receive anything that Donghu could give them. Their value in existence was to ensure the safety of the palace, and to assassinate the leaders of rebels inside of Donghu.
No one in Donghu could imagine that a cultivator could kill his way directly into the palace from the main path, slaughter his way in front of the emperor, and then kill the emperor before leaving the palace.
“It is the ascetic from the divine mountain.”
A monk in deep purple robes and wearing a coronet looked at the departing old monk with the wood staff, and was unspeakably shocked. He had arrived at the last moment. Most cultivators in the palace did not sense his arrival.
Yet seeing the wood staff in the old monk’s hand, he knew he could not stop this old monk.
“He is the legendary sect uncle of our sect.”
When the monk spoke, an ascetic cultivator in ragged clothes came to his side. Looking at the old monk’s back, he slowly nodded, and then bowed respectfully to the old monk solemnly. Then he said, “Back then when he went to Changling, his cultivation realm was unfathomable, yet he was not this terrifying. I originally thought he returned with serious wounds and would grow old in the divine mountain. I did not expect his cultivation to increase greatly.”
“Great Sun Dharmaraja.”
When this monk and ascetic cultivator appeared, many respectful voices sounded from the palace. Most people knelt to the ground to show their piety. With the death of the Donghu emperor, this monk and the ascetic cultivator became the highest figures in the palace.
“Why did he do this?” The monk with the gold coronet looked at where the old monk had disappeared, his lips trembling.
“You do not need to understand why he did this, the key is that he did it.” The ascetic cultivator in ragged clothes sighed. “He is realm eight. He cannot fight a country on his own, but he can do something like this because he has absolute confidence. Also, Donghu has countless cultivators willing to die for Donghu, but not many willing to die for Yelu Zhenying.”
The monk wearing the gold coronet thought of how he stopped at the last moment. He was silent for a while, and then he turned to the ascetic cultivator. “Ananda, what do you think we should do?”
The ascetic said without hesitation, “He said we should be on good terms with Wuzhi, so we will.”
The monk wearing the gold coronet said, “Yelu Canglang is the great general in Wuzhi. Have him return.”
The ascetic nodded. “All right.”
The monk’s expression relaxed slightly. He looked at the corpses over the mountain paths and the blood with sad eyes. But he also sighed. Inside, he felt more admiration towards the old monk. He admitted that this tactic to achieve the goal would have the least number of people die.
When the monk and the ascetic reached an agreement and gazed at where the old monk had disappeared like they were relieved of a burden, Ding Ning was in the large tent of the Wuzhi queen dowager, and saw the wind and snow smash like lead on the ground.
“If there are no surprises, Donghu will quickly ally with Wuzhi,” he said slowly to the old woman sitting on the thick carpet behind him. “What restricts the Wuzhi the most is grain and seal weapons.”
The old woman stilled and smiled bitterly. She said, “Sir must have already discovered that we have started rationing in recent days.”
“There is no need for rationing.” Ding Ning shook his head and said, “Rationing will lose the confidence of the men towards winning, especially after so many have died in battle and you moved so far. When the snow melts, food and seal weapons will not be a problem.”
“Sir speaks of Donghu?”
The old woman was puzzled. Even if Donghu’s situation was completely as they thought, Donghu itself did not have enough food. Also, Ding Ning was mentioning seal weapons.
Wuzhi, except for some meteors, rarely had mines to produce seal weapons. The same was with Donghu. Even though they had gotten some of the Qin armies seal weapons during the previous battles, most of them had been discarded during the retreat. War alone could not get enough seal weapons to outfit the army. Ordinary means, other than mines, were knowledge of how to create seal weapons, and also cultivators and craftsmen who knew how.
“After the winter passes, and when the snow melts next spring, Chu will open trade with you and Donghu,” Ding Ning looked at the old woman, and said calmly.
The old woman was in unimaginable shock. She was so shocked that she could not speak.
“Most of the military grain will not come from Donghu, but will be delivered to Donghu for free.” Ding Ning looked at her and continued. “Chu will provide some mines and craftsmen to make seal weapons.”
The old woman finally focused and thought for a moment. She said, “But the Chu situation is not stable. Doing it so openly, I fear that even Consort Zhao cannot control it.”
Ding Ning shook his head and said, “Chu will not work for free. The money for these things will come from Qin.”
The old woman was stunned and unconsciously said, “Ba Mountain Sword Field?”
Ding Ning glanced at her and said, “Not just Ba Mountain Sword Field.”
The old woman was not an ordinary person to have the power of Wuzhi in her hands. So she took a deep breath and understood. She said, “The old powers.”
Ding Ning did not speak. No denial meant silent agreement.
The former old powers of Changling were the true power holders and controlled astounding wealth. Even now, when all the old powers of Changling were in decline, even though the expert called Ye Xiao, was just a leader that could not be in the open. Where most of the wealth when those enormous old powers had been killed was a mystery.
Among all the old powers, those thought the richest were two families- the Lu and Gongsun families.