The military doctor came very quickly, checked Wei Chongrong’s pulse and said: “Your Highness, the little prince’s pulse is calm. Except for a slight weakness, there is no major problem. He can rest for two days and will recover soon.”
Wei Zhao breathed a sigh of relief when he heard this, and while watching the military doctor treat the wounds on his son’s hands, he ordered someone to bring some soft and easy-to-digest food. Wei Chongrong was trapped in the tunnel for nearly two days without a bit of food, so he couldn’t eat much at once.
Earlier, Wei Chongrong was in good spirits, even a little exuberant, as if holding his breath. Now that he saw Wei Zhao, he naturally relaxed. He lay on the bed drowsy before the food was delivered, and his eyelids glued together, unable to be separated.
Wei Zhao called him gently and asked him to eat before going to sleep. Wei Chongrong muttered something, turned over, and didn’t reply. Wei Zhao shook his head helplessly and could only let him sleep first. Unexpectedly, Wei Chongrong suddenly opened his eyes and sat up on the bed.
“Rong’er, what happened?” Wei Zhao was taken aback by Wei Chongrong’s abnormal reaction.
Wei Chongrong rubbed his eyes, forced himself to wake up, and asked, “Daddy, did you arrest all the nobles of the seven clans of Fuyu?”
Wei Zhao nodded and replied, puzzled: “Yes.” Whether they were men, women or children, he didn’t let go of any of them.
Wei Chongrong then asked again: “What are you going to do with them? Kill them all?”
Wei Zhao was silent for a moment, then nodded and said, “Yes.” The only people he would spare were the civilians and slaves of Fuyu.
Wei Chongrong hurriedly said, “There are two people, you must spare them.” Fortunately, he didn’t fall asleep just now, otherwise he would have made a big mistake.
“What people?” Wei Zhao said curiously. Wei Chongrong wasn’t going to show mercy to Helian Zhuo, was he?
“One is Tuoba Xianhan, the other is Luojia, Helian Luojia.” Wei Chongrong yawned as he said, “Daddy, I’m so sleepy, just keep them for me, and I’ll explain it to you slowly when I wake up.”
Wei Zhao was a little surprised when he heard Luojia’s surname, but Wei Chongrong had deliberately brought it up, so he would definitely do as he was told.
Wei Chongrong slept for another day and night. When he woke up, the situation in Qingjia City had undergone earth-shaking changes.
Except for Tuoba Xianhan and Luojia, whom he was asked to spare, Wei Zhao ordered the beheading of all the nobles of Fuyu’s seven clans and didn’t accept surrender. Afterwards, he announced to the people of Fuyu that they could choose to stay and become the Great Yan’s subjects. The court guaranteed that they would have fields to cultivate and their taxes would be at only half the level of the rest of the country. If they insisted that they were Fuyu people, they could take their transferable property and move to the area north of the Arslan Mountains before the end of the year, and no one would stop them.
Faced with such a choice, Fuyu people who were used to being slaves, were suspicious. In the past, they could only rely on the nobles to survive; even the fields were the property of the nobles, let alone the harvest they grew.
The Great Yan had captured Qingjia City and beheaded all the nobles of the seven clans, causing panic. Many Fuyu people speculated the Great Yan would do what the Zhengao had done in the past and drive them to extinction, thus taking over their homes and lands.
To their surprise, the Great Yan not only didn’t kill them, but also let them choose for themselves. Those who stayed behind were given fields to cultivate, and if they planted fields for five years and paid taxes, the land would be theirs; those who wanted to leave were not prevented from doing so, and could take away anything they could carry.
They all say that there is no pie in the sky, but suddenly a big one fell down, knocking all the Fuyu people unconscious.
The situation in the city stabilised, the established policies were announced, and Wei Zhao took the time to meet Farida. Luojia, who was only four years old, obviously didn’t understand what happened. When Wei Zhao entered the house, he was happily playing with the spinning top without even looking at him.
Farida looked at her son tenderly and said calmly, “What are you going to do with us, mother and son?”
Wei Zhao’s gaze also fell on Luojia, and he said after a long time: “Leave Lingzhou and never come back.” After the fall of Fuyu, the Great Yan established Lingzhou in Fuyu’s homeland, and Wei Su ordered tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians to be moved from Yanzhou and Yunzhou to settle there.
“That’s it?” Farida was taken aback, as if she didn’t expect Wei Zhao’s conditions to be so simple.
Wei Zhao sighed and said: “I let you go because you saved Rong’er. And I let your son go because he is Rong’er’s younger brother.”
Farida smiled calmly: “In that case, I don’t thank you, I should thank the little prince instead.” Her bet, after all, was the right one.
Wei Zhao waved his hand, indicating that she was welcome: “A good deed deserves a reward, it’s just a courtesy, you do not need to be polite. Rong’er is still asleep, so you don’t need to thank him either. Take your son and hurry up, there are horses and money ready for you outside.”
Farida’s eyes lit up, “I can go anywhere?” For a long time Fuyu was a place where she didn’t want to be.
Wei Zhao curled his lips in amusement: “You can’t stay in Lingzhou. Apart from going home and taking refuge with Khan Vaziri, where else can you go? Is it possible that you want to go south to enjoy the scenery of the Great Yan?” It was not that he didn’t know what Farida had done, but he didn’t plan to pursue it anymore.
Farida raised her eyebrows slightly and said proudly: “I’m going to find Shuxiya, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Wei Zhao didn’t want to talk to her, so he turned and left. He didn’t tell Farida that the real reason for letting her go was not Wei Chongrong. She was the granddaughter of Princess Xin’an. The Great Yan owed too much to that beautiful princess, so he didn’t want to put her descendants to death unless he absolutely had to.
Wei Chongrong was woken up by hunger. Even before he opened his eyes, he shouted for someone to deliver the food.
The speed of the delivery was also very fast, but when Wei Chongrong saw the visitor, he was stunned: “How come it is you?”
Tuoba Xianhan put a bowl of warm white porridge on the table, cupped his fist and said, “Wang Qin sent me to serve you.”
Wei Chongrong was surprised and overjoyed. He did ask Wei Zhao to keep Tuoba Xianhan alive. But he never expected that Wei Zhao would put him by his side directly, and he was simply delighted. He jumped off the bed, put on his shoes and ran to the table, and suddenly his smile was gone: “I’ve just escaped from the tunnels after so long, and this is what you’re giving me to eat?” Wei Chongrong had always been a meat lover, but for breakfast today, let alone meat, there were not even pickles.
Tuoba Xianhan cupped his fist again and said, “This is the order of the military doctor. You have not eaten for nearly three days and can only drink white porridge.”
Just white porridge, white porridge would be fine if it was thicker. Wei Chongrong picked up the bowl, didn’t even use the spoon, and drank the porridge cleanly in one go. After his stomach was barely coaxed, Tuoba Xianhan brought him hot water, asked Wei Chongrong to wash his face, and gave him clothes to change into.
Wei Chongrong took the clothes and said in a daze: “My father asked you to be my servant?” Wasn’t this too wasteful?
Tuoba Xianhan smiled indifferently: “Wang Qin only told me to follow you, I have to do whatever you want me to do.” Wei Chongrong nodded, thinking that it was almost the same. With Tuoba Xianhan’s skills, it would be a waste to have him serve as a guard, not to mention being a servant.
As soon as Wei Chongrong changed his clothes, Wei Zhao sent someone to summon him, saying that he had something to tell him.
“Daddy, what are you looking for me for?” In front of outsiders, Wei Chongrong called Wei Zhao “Father”, but when they were alone, he still preferred to call him “Daddy”, which he felt was more intimate.
Wei Zhao’s expression was calm; he took his son to sit down beside him gently. After a brief pause, he asked, “Do you want to see him?”
“Who do you want me to see?” Wei Chongrong’s face was puzzled, and he only understood when he saw Wei Zhao’s somewhat complicated expression. The person he was talking about was Helian Zhuo. So he shook his head and said, “I don’t want to see him. Anyway, we met. There is nothing to say.”
Wei Zhao patted Wei Chongrong on the back of his hand and sighed softly: “It’s okay if you don’t see him…” He killed all the others, leaving only Helian Zhuo. He was afraid that Wei Chongrong would wake up and want to see him, but it turned out he didn’t have such intention at all, which was a bit unexpected to Wei Zhao.
For the sake of the fact that Helian Zhuo finally ordered the search to stop and didn’t kill Wei Chongrong, Wei Zhao wasn’t going to give him a hard time and wouldn’t torture him slowly. It was weirdly pointless anyway; the past was the past, let it all go.
Wei Chongrong raised his eyes to look at Wei Zhao and frowned slightly. He didn’t know if it was his illusion; he somehow felt that Wei Zhao today had an odd attitude towards him. Wei Chongrong thought for a while and suddenly asked, “Where is Luojia, what did you arrange for him?”
Wei Zhao was surprised that he remembered, and replied: “I told Farida to take him away, and they will never return to Lingzhou.”
Wei Chongrong thought the result wasn’t bad, so he didn’t ask more questions. He actually didn’t feel anything about his so-called younger brother.
After a moment of silence, Wei Zhao added: “Rong’er, have you already had breakfast? If you have, you can come with me and help me with something.”
Wei Chongrong didn’t ask what it was, frowned and said, “I haven’t had breakfast yet.” That bowl of white porridge, thin like water, didn’t count.
“Then have breakfast before going.” Wei Zhao explained to Wei Chongrong what he wanted him to do.
Fuyu was a country of slavery. Slaves belonged to nobles and worked for them for many years without payment and without personal freedom.
Wei Zhao killed all the nobles in Fuyu, gave the original slaves the status of commoners, and allowed them to freely choose where to go. He didn’t expect anyone to thank him, he just hoped that the establishment of Lingzhou would go smoothly and this year’s spring ploughing and autumn harvest wouldn’t be missed.
Unexpectedly, the Fuyu people were used to being enslaved; now they were suddenly free and unable to adapt. Moreover, they had a serious distrust of Wei Zhao and the soldiers under his command. Many people neither said they wanted to leave nor to stay, which made the preparations for the establishment of Lingzhou progress slowly.
Wei Zhao had no choice but to invoke Wei Chongrong’s identity as the “Second Prince of Fuyu” to lend credibility to his words.
Ji Xin thought that Wei Zhao was just acting out of desperation and that the Fuyu people would be damn stupid if they believed Wei Chongrong. But they did, and those who wanted to leave silently began to pack their bags, while those who wanted to stay lined up to register, all in an orderly manner.
In this regard, Wei Chongrong was also surprised. Did he have a face that looked trustworthy? Why did those people believe the same thing when it came out of his mouth? No wonder Wei Zhao had to bring him all the way here, it was originally for this reason.
Facing Wei Chongrong’s question, Wei Zhao didn’t answer, leaving him to think for himself. Tuoba Xianhan provided him with a little food for thought, that is, Fuyu people believed, in fact, not him, but his identity; they needed to find a support point for their faith.
Wei Chongrong was puzzled, and finally chose to accept this explanation. Indeed, the Fuyu people believed in ancestors, ghosts and spirits. Instead of making them abandon their original beliefs, it was better to give them a new one.
Wei Zhao maintained a bit of caution in his attitude towards Wei Chongrong. At first, Wei Chongrong thought that his adventures had scared Wei Zhao and didn’t take it to heart, thinking that he would be fine after a few days, no big deal.
Unexpectedly, after a while, not only did this situation not improve, but it became worse. Wei Chongrong really couldn’t figure it out, so he simply stopped thinking about it and went into Wei Zhao’s room in the middle of the night with a pillow and asked him directly what was wrong.
Wei Zhao obviously didn’t expect that Wei Chongrong’s reaction would be so direct, and he was speechless for a while.
Wei Chongrong became anxious and asked, “Daddy, is there anything we can’t talk about? You look like this, I feel so strange. It feels like you are trying to please me. We don’t need to be like this, right?”
Wei Zhao bit his lip and said after a long time, “Rong’er, have you ever blamed Daddy?”
Wei Chongrong was confused and wondered, “What can I blame you for? What is going on?”
He had been tense for days, but Wei Chongrong was not reacting. Wei Zhao felt helpless and said in a muffled voice: “The Fuyu people kidnapped you to negotiate terms with me, but I didn’t agree to anything, even though they said they were going to kill you. Did you…”
When Wei Chongrong heard this, he hurriedly interrupted Wei Zhao’s words and said anxiously: “Daddy, what are you thinking about? No matter who it is, it is impossible to agree to the other party’s conditions under such circumstances. Whoever agrees is an idiot!”
Wei Zhao was speechless; the corners of his lips rose slightly. He didn’t want to admit that he almost became the idiot his son mentioned.
Wei Chongrong spread out his limbs and occupied most of Wei Zhao’s bed, putting himself in the most comfortable position, ready to sleep.
As Wei Zhao lay down beside him, he felt that all his worries were instantly swept away and his mood became extremely cheerful.
The affairs of Lingzhou were gradually on the right track, but the officials of Lingzhou were slow to arrive. Not only could Wei Zhao not go back, but Ji Xin couldn’t leave either. He had to help Wei Zhao deal with the mountain of government affairs.
Ji Xin complained many times. His Little Monkey had never been away from him for so long. When he returned to Yujing, Little Monkey might have forgotten him. He missed his son, he missed Jun Qing, he was about to go crazy, and he couldn’t wait to grow wings and fly back.
When it came to Jun Hua, Wei Chongrong’s heart was also itching, but Wei Zhao said that even if the officials of the ten counties of Lingzhou and four counties of Youzhou were all in place, they would not be able to go back this year, so he had long been mentally prepared to be forgotten by Jun Hua.
The restoration of Youzhou and the establishment of Lingzhou were included in the military oath Wei Zhao had made before his expedition. Back then, taking into account the lessons of Ji Yu, Lu Ziqian and Li Kang, many people didn’t say anything but thought in their hearts Wei Zhao would make a joke out of himself.
In just three months, Wei Zhao completed the goals set before the war ahead of schedule. The news spread back to Yujing, and the whole court was shocked. For nearly three hundred years since the foundation of the Great Yan, there had been more than one emperor who recovered the lost land. Wei Su became the first in history to gain the new territory.
Because the war was going too smoothly, with one more prefecture, fourteen counties and hundreds of vacancies, the Ministry of Personnel was immediately overwhelmed with work. Where could they find so many suitable officials?
Youzhou and Lingzhou were both important border areas and bitterly cold places. Responsibilities were great and conditions were poor. Those who were capable were unwilling to go. Those who were incapable, the emperor didn’t want to send. The job was pushed onto each other, and nothing was done.
In the end, the emperor was furious. The people who fought in the war didn’t complain, but those who were sent as officials after the war complained. So the Ministry of Personnel ranked the seniority and examined the performance, checked the ones who should be moved, the ones who should be promoted, and finally put together the list of officials.
When the new officials took office and Wang Qin was holding the fort, Wang Changning could finally return to Yujing.
The first prefecture governor of Lingzhou was Shangguan Yuan. He was the second son of Shangguan Xiang, the god of medicine, and the younger brother of Shangguan Xuan, the current head of the Department of State Affairs. When Wei Chongrong saw this old acquaintance, his mood was very complicated. No one could predict what direction the talented Shangguan family would go in the future.
Qingjia was originally the capital of Fuyu and wasn’t renamed after the establishment of the prefecture. It became the most important of the ten counties in Lingzhou. The position of the first county governor was taken by Xie Qiu, a former scholar, to everyone’s surprise.
As everyone knew, Xie Qiu was the only beloved son of Princess Yuankang and the emperor’s dearest grandson. He could have gone to any place he wanted to, but he volunteered to come to Lingzhou, making the officials of the Ministry of Personnel the happiest.
Wei Zhao greatly praised Xie Qiu’s choice. With his work in Qingjia, his resume would become extremely good-looking.
Xie Qiu warned Wei Zhao that because of his outstanding military achievements, there were now all kinds of theories in the capital, many of which provoked his relationship with the Eastern Palace, so he had to be careful and prepare in advance.