Jun Hua nodded slightly, quickly adjusted his expression, and together with Wei Chongrong, formally greeted Jun Qing and Ji Xin.
After sitting down, Ji Xin didn’t plan to chat with his son and son-in-law but asked directly: “Rong’er, do you know about Zhuxia’s invasion of Nanyue?” He had been stationed in Yizhou for many years and had his own sources of information.
Wei Chongrong nodded and said solemnly: “Yesterday I just received Xianhan’s pigeon. He writes that Zhuxia’s momentum is fierce and Nanyue can’t resist it. I guess they will ask His Majesty for help. The messenger from Nanyue will arrive in Yujing soon.”
“Once Zhuxia takes the four southwestern counties of Qiongzhou, it will form a siege on Yizhou. If you were still in Yao’an, you could directly send troops to help, so as to prevent the problem before it happened. But unfortunately you weren’t here, and the defenders of Yizhou didn’t dare to act without permission,” Ji Xin said with a sigh.
Nanyue was three thousand li away from the capital, and half of the way was mountainous roads. It would take at least a month for Nanyue’s messenger to arrive in Yujing and for Wei Lan to make a decision. By then the overall situation would be decided, and it would be much more costly for the Great Yan to take action. However, the situation on the southern border made it impossible for the Great Yan to stay out of it. Zhuxia and Nanyue who were evenly matched were the most beneficial to the Great Yan. If either side was weak, the Great Yan was bound to send help, otherwise Yizhou was in danger. Zhuxia’s choice of timing for such an attack was really unique.
Wei Chongrong had a feeling earlier that Wei Lan hurriedly calling him back to the capital for marriage wasn’t consistent with his style of handling things. But then he thought: Wei Lan was the emperor, no matter how capricious he was, he wouldn’t be joking about the interests of the Great Yan, even if he was not happy to see Wei Chongrong making achievements.
Today, Ji Xin said the same thing. Indeed, if Wei Chongrong were still in Yizhou, in the early days of Zhuxia’s attack, he would be able to send troops to stop them on the grounds of “the general in the field doesn’t hear the emperor’s order”, and he would never let the situation deteriorate to this extent.
Wei Kou was the queen of Nanyue, so even if he sent troops without an edict and Wei Lan wanted to hold him accountable, the Empress Dowager would protect him. Besides, his assistance to Nanyue wouldn’t be unconditional. The four southwestern counties of Qiongzhou had been occupied by Nanyue for nearly 300 years, and it was time to return them.
But Wei Chongrong returned to the capital and it was impossible for Tuoba Xianhan and others to be so bold. If Zhuxia attacked the Great Yan, they wouldn’t hesitate to counterattack. But Zhuxia attacked Nanyue. There was no way for Tuoba Xianhan to do anything except to watch the changes and report to Wei Chongrong in time.
Wei Chongrong thought for a while, and pondered: “It may be just a coincidence that His Majesty called me back to Yujing. After all, it was my father who asked for permission for my marriage. But Zhuxia must have prepared to attack Nanyue for a long time and they knew my whereabouts very well.”
Calculating the time, he was still on his way back to Yujing when Tuduo launched an attack on Nanyue. Tuduo’s momentum was extremely fierce. Nanyue had lived in peace under the protection of the Great Yan for more than two hundred years. It had put its weapons in the storehouses and released its horses to Nanshan a long time ago(1). They couldn’t resist and were naturally defeated.
Jun Qing frowned slightly and said coldly: “If nothing else, as soon as the messenger from Nanyue arrives in the capital, His Majesty will make you rush back to Yizhou. Rong’er, Hua’er, you must all be prepared as soon as possible.” This marriage of theirs was a little untimely.
Jun Hua nodded silently. He had limited knowledge of the situation on the front line of Yizhou and he really didn’t dare to say much. If he said something wrong, he would be a laughing stock. Little Monkey grew up in Yizhou and knew the situation in both Nanyue and Zhuxia like the back of his hand.
Fortunately, the two sides in the discussion were mainly Wei Chongrong and Ji Xin, with Jun Qing occasionally expressing his opinions. Jun Hua and Ji Hui only needed to listen, and no one asked them to say anything specifically. Even so, Jun Hua was doing its best to analyse the situation, just in case.
After lunch, Ji Xin was still not satisfied and dragged Wei Chongrong to the study, and Ji Hui followed like a little tail.
Jun Hua was going to go too, but was stopped by Jun Qing, who said that he had something to say to him alone.
“Daddy, what are you going to tell me?” Facing Jun Qing alone, Jun Hua was nervous and excited.
Jun Qing sat down on the couch in front of the window and beckoned Jun Hua to come and sit next to him before saying, “Hua’er, the situation in Yizhou is very complicated. You must not be whimsical, let alone act on your own, so as not to add unnecessary trouble to Rong’er.”
Jun Hua nodded softly and said obediently: “Daddy, I understand.” How could he possibly be whimsical?
Who knew that Jun Qing would say solemnly: “Don’t answer so quickly, think clearly before you say anything.” His eldest son had been spoiled by Ji Xin and Wei Chongrong since he was a child. He was quite uncontrollable and when he became wayward, he simply didn’t know how high the sky was.
Jun Hua was stunned for a moment, and then said seriously: “Daddy, I’m not a child anymore, I know what I do.”
Never mind the calm expression on Jun Hua’s face, in fact, he was in a panic a long time ago. He thought that his answer didn’t conform to the character of Little Monkey but it turned out that he was too quick to agree and Jun Qing decided that he was perfunctory. It really shocked him.
Jun Qing stared into Jun Hua’s eyes, and seeing that he was calm and not joking, he relaxed and said, “Hua’er, you are already married, that is, an adult. In the future, you have to think clearly when you talk and do things. Also, you must pay attention to your body…”
Jun Hua was taken aback when he heard this. Why did his body need to be paid attention to? It was not the original him who would have a headache and fever at the slightest wind chill. Little Monkey’s body was many times healthier than his, and he couldn’t help feeling envious.
Seeing that his son was puzzled by his words, Jun Qing frowned slightly and could only say in more detail: “You were young when you took Suyun Pill, and you’re newly married at the time the medicine is the most effective. It’s easy to get pregnant, so don’t be negligent.”
Jun Qing was thinking of the time when he had made this mistake. He had gotten pregnant without realising it and had sparred with Ji Xin, almost losing his son.
Jun Hua had an epiphany and instantly blushed, hesitating for a long time before saying, “Daddy, I will pay attention.”
It turned out that Little Monkey had already taken Suyun Pill, which was something Jun Hua didn’t expect. He thought he wasn’t too old to take the medicine after getting married. But it seemed that his feelings for Wei Chongrong had been determined very early, otherwise how could he have had such courage.
A few days later, a messenger from Nanyue arrived at Yujing and begged to see Wei Lan, handing over handwritten letters from Ruan Shao and Wei Kou.
The Great Yan was known as a warrior state, and Emperor Taizu’s bequest was also to recover all the lost land. Even without Wei Kou, it was inevitable to send troops to help Nanyue in view of the balance of the situation on the southern border and the loss of land during the previous dynasty. Not to mention that Wei Kou was still Wei Lan’s sister.
In Wei Chongrong and Ji Xin’s opinion, Wei Lan would never ignore this matter. As for whether he would send Wei Chongrong back, this was not a big problem. No matter who it was, any general who could lead the Yizhou troops would not just listen to Wei Lan’s command.
But what they didn’t expect was that Wei Lan would actually suppress the matter. Not to mention sending someone, he didn’t even say whether he was going to send troops or not.
Wei Zhao couldn’t wait for an answer, so he went directly into the palace to ask Wei Lan. If this matter dragged on, Zhuxia would completely swallow the four northern counties of Nanyue. At that time, Zhuxia would have a topographic advantage and it would be much easier than before to launch an attack on Yizhou.
Wei Lan curled his lips and smiled, threw Wei Zhao a stack of memorials presented by the Ministry of Revenue, and said indifferently: “Imperial Sister is in trouble. As a younger brother, how can I not want to save her? It’s just that the Ministry of Revenue is out of money, what can I do? Zhuxia fights with Nanyue. In fact, it doesn’t concern us, does it?”
Wei Zhao didn’t even look at the memorials thrown by Wei Lan, a chill flashing in his eyes. Wei Lan said that the Ministry of Revenue had no money. He believed this. When Emperor Xingzu was alive, he launched many consecutive attacks against Tiele and Fuyu, and spent all the money accumulated over several generations.
When Wei Ming ascended to the throne, he was the poorest emperor in the history of the Great Yan. Not only did the national treasury have no money, but the emperor’s private treasury was almost empty. This situation only improved slightly at the end of Tai’an, and the national treasury barely had a positive balance.
However, after Wei Lan succeeded to the throne, he started promoting water conservation and farming. Although it wasn’t a waste of money, the national treasury once again became empty. It was an indisputable fact that every income the Ministry of Revenue got was allocated to a corresponding place even before it was received and nothing could be saved at all.
Wei Zhao looked at Wei Lan quietly for a long time and said calmly: “It is true that the dispute between Nanyue and Zhuxia has nothing to do with the Great Yan, but once Zhuxia integrates the northern part of Nanyue, Your Majesty can’t be ignorant of what kind of threat it will pose to Yizhou, right?”
Wei Lan raised his head and sneered: “A small country, nothing to worry about. During the reign of Grandfather Emperor, Zhuxia invaded Yizhou several times, every time trying to steal a chicken and losing rice. Fourth Uncle doesn’t think that Fourth Brother can’t do what Hou Zhennan and Hou Pingnan could do, right?”
When Wei Lan said this, Wei Zhao immediately understood that it wasn’t that Wei Lan was ignorant about the situation on the southern border. On the contrary, he was so well aware of it that he was going to do his best to delay until the situation reached the worst possible point. Then he would send Wei Chongrong back to Yizhou to untie the knot that couldn’t be untied.
Thinking of this, Wei Zhao saluted and said, “Since Your Majesty has already planned this, I will not say anything else, so I will take my leave.”
Wei Lan raised his eyebrows and smiled: “Walk slowly, Fourth Uncle. The safety of Yizhou is in the hands of Fourth Uncle and Fourth Brother.”
As he slowly exited the Xuanshi Hall, Wei Zhao looked back and his expression was cold. If anyone who was familiar with him could see him now, they would know that he was ready for a murderous move.
Hearing Wei Zhao’s paraphrase of Wei Lan’s words, Wei Chongrong almost jumped up: “Is His Majesty really a biological son of Uncle Emperor?” With the temperament of Wei Ming and Jun Feili, how could a son like Wei Lan be born to them, it was simply incredible, it should be a mistake.
“Rong’er, don’t talk nonsense!” Wei Zhao stopped Wei Chongrong quickly.
- An idiom meaning the country was peaceful and had no use of troops