Wei Chongrong curled his lips and looked unconvinced. The Great Yan was the country of the Wei family, but the person sitting on the dragon chair didn’t care. So why did he have to worry about it if Tuduo really attacked Yizhou? It would be Wei Lan who would be responsible for the crime of losing the land.
Earlier, when Wei Chongrong learned that the situation in the south wasn’t good, he carefully pondered over it, but now, he didn’t think of going back to Yao’an. Wei Lan was dragging his feet until now in order to give him a mess that was impossible to clean up; he would be crazy to seek his own death.
Wei Zhao didn’t care about his son’s attitude and just said blandly: “Rong’er, do you think this matter has nothing to do with you?”
Wei Chongrong snorted coldly and asked rhetorically, “Father, don’t you see what kind of attitude His Majesty has towards me? He has deliberately dug a pit for me and is just waiting for me to jump into it. Why should I listen to him, I haven’t lived enough yet!”
With Wei Lan’s connivance, the situation in the south changed drastically in less than a month. By the time Wei Chongrong could return to Yizhou, Tuduo would have a topographical advantage and could launch an attack at any time. It wouldn’t be easy to defend Yizhou and it would be impossible to talk about helping Nanyue.
But Wei Lan wouldn’t care about this. As long as Zhuxia set foot in the Great Yan, it would be Wei Chongrong’s crime.
Hearing this, Jun Hua couldn’t sit still and said angrily: “His Majesty’s move is simply unworthy of being a monarch.” Since returning from Wang Changning’s residence that day, Huaixi had not appeared for a while. No matter when, it was Little Monkey who was there.
Jun Hua’s words were rebellious to the extreme but Wei Zhao didn’t react much when he heard them. He only said calmly: “If the monarch wants the subject to die, the subject has to die. As long as His Majesty is still sitting in that position, he is the ruler of the country, and you are not qualified to resist.”
Jun Hua raised his eyebrows carelessly: “He is playing with fire… It’s not like the Great Yan didn’t have emperors who had been deposed.” Wang Qihuai back then was the eldest son of Emperor Yingzong and was named the Taisun as soon as he was born, but he was deposed three months after succeeding to the throne.
“Wang Qihuai protected his mother’s clan and offended almost all the noble families of the dynasty. It was not surprising that he was deposed.” Wei Zhao didn’t accuse Jun Hua of speaking out of turn but only added some details that he had missed, “Nowadays His Majesty has not provoked such anger.”
Wei Lan was only targeting the military power in Wei Zhao’s hands. In government affairs, he wasn’t as naive and ignorant as Wang Qihuai and didn’t make mistakes that he shouldn’t have made. Sending troops to help Nanyue was obviously to maintain the security of Yizhou, not just for the sake of the relationship with Princess Yunmeng. But Wei Lan delayed on the grounds of the emptiness of the treasury and instead of thinking that he was ruthless, many courtiers felt that he was pragmatic and was acting for the benefit of the Great Yan. On the contrary, Wei Zhao had a heavy army and was militaristic, just like Emperor Xingzu, who cared only about military success and not about the lives of the people.
Wei Chongrong rolled his eyes angrily and asked sullenly: “Father, you don’t mean to say that His Majesty has gotten the situation into this state, and when he issues the decree, I will have to take Little Monkey to Yizhou to seek death, do you?”
Wei Zhao’s expression remained unchanged as he said calmly: “Disobedience to the emperor’s decree is a capital crime, Rong’er, do you want to fall into this trap?”
Sensing something unusual in Wei Zhao’s words, Wei Chongrong had a flash of inspiration and asked with a smile: “Father, do you have any other arrangements?” He suddenly realised: since when was Wei Zhao a submissive person? If Wei Lan wanted him dead, there was no way Wei Zhao would be unresponsive.
Wei Zhao nodded slightly: “I can’t say it’s an arrangement at the moment, but if His Majesty endangers the country founded by our ancestors, neither I nor the Minister of the Imperial Clan can sit idly by. It’s just that there is a prerequisite for it, that is, Rong’er, you must take back Yizhou and Qiongzhou completely.”
“Yizhou? And Qiongzhou?!” Wei Chongrong’s eyes widened in disbelief. Wei Lan had already said that the treasury had no money; who would pay for military expenses? Without enough silver, how could he recover the lost land? Those mountainous areas in the southwest were extreme places to march and fight.
Without waiting for Wei Zhao to explain, Jun Hua suddenly said excitedly: “Father, I understand, is it because Zhuxia occupied the four counties of Qiongzhou that we have a reason to make a move, and only after subduing Zhuxia can we get the evidence we want.”
In the past, they all had suspected that Wei Lan and Tuduo had colluded. Unfortunately, the evidence was insufficient. Later, Wei Lan ascended the throne as the emperor, and the investigation was even more impossible. However, Zhuxia’s actions were so weird that it was almost impossible to say that no one had instructed Tuduo.
Wei Zhao nodded approvingly when he heard Jun Hua’s words but Wei Chongrong was still unhappy. His father spoke lightly about taking back Yizhou and Qiongzhou to prove that Wei Lan and Tuduo had colluded, but he had no money and no support. This battle was not easy to fight; it really made his brain hurt.
Seeing that his son had already twisted himself out of shape, Wei Zhao said softly: “The southern border is mountainous. There is no need to fight openly like with Tiele and Fuyu. You have to find another shortcut. The troops of Yizhou are familiar with the terrain over there. As long as you use them well, you have a chance.”
Wei Chongrong glanced at Wei Zhao and sighed: “People are not a big problem but what about money? You can’t just expect horses to run without letting them graze, right?” When Wei Su attacked Tiele and Fuyu back then, the money was spilled like water.
Wei Zhao patted him on the shoulder and reminded him: “Zhuxia is much more affluent that Tiele and Fuyu, I don’t know how many times more. Rong’er, as long as you conquer Yisha, you don’t need to be afraid that there will be no silver.” Wei Lan would definitely not help them with money, so they could only think of their own way.
Wei Chongrong was completely taken aback. He didn’t expect that Wei Zhao would have such an idea.
Wei Zhao paused for a moment and mused, “Rong’er, you know without me saying it what consequences will await us if we lose this battle.” Back then, at Wei Ming’s deathbed, he had promised him in all sincerity that he would do his best to assist Wei Lan.
However, Wei Lan’s vigilance towards Wang Qin’s family far exceeded Wei Ming’s expectations. Wei Zhao didn’t want to break his promise to his brother, but what Wei Lan wanted was his son’s life. Choosing between two evils, there was no doubt what choice he would make.
Wei Chongrong changed his previously argumentative expression and said solemnly: “I understand, Father, don’t worry.” He would definitely not be willing to die for Wei Lan, but he would be very willing to completely recover Yizhou and Qiongzhou and get rid of Wei Lan in the process.
After a few more days, Wei Lan’s edict finally was issued, saying nothing more than how cruel Zhuxia was, how innocent Nanyue was, how difficult the court’s situation was and how capable Wei Chongrong was. In short, Wei Lan gave him the task of sending troops to help Nanyue but without asking for money or people.
If Wei Lan could choose, he would simply want Wei Chongrong to return to Yizhou alone, just with the title of General Zhengnan. However, it was impossible for the Ministry of Revenue to really not pay a tael of silver, and equally impossible for the Eastern and Western Camps not to send a single person.
Jun Hua was definitely going to follow Wei Chongrong back, and before he left, Jun Qing caught him with another round of instructions, which Jun Hua forgot as soon as he turned around. How could such a coincidence happen? They had only been married for a few days, there was no way they would have good news so soon.
On the way south, Jun Hua asked Wei Chongrong why Huaixi wouldn’t show up anymore.
Wei Chongrong was silent for a long time and then asked him if Jun Hua was happy or unhappy about it. Anyway, he couldn’t answer this question.
Jun Hua thought about it for a long time and didn’t answer. His feelings were so complicated that it was hard to describe them in words.
During the Tai’an era, Ji Xin was stationed in Yizhou for more than ten years. Later, Wei Chongrong took over, and everything was working smoothly. As soon as Wei Chongrong returned to Yao’an, Tuoba Xianhan reported to him the latest military situation between Nanyue and Zhuxia.
“Just three days ago, Tuduo led his soldiers to Jing’an. The two sides fought fiercely. In the early hours of yesterday, Zhuxia finally broke into the city.”
Wei Chongrong slapped the table heavily when he heard the news, and then ordered: “Xianhan, continue to stay in Yao’an and pay attention to the movements of Zhuxia’s people. I will take my men to Dongshan Town.” Honghe County bordered both Zhuxia and Nanyue, and Dongshan Town was the only route to send troops to Nanyue.
“Brother Rong, I will go too.” Jun Hua saw that Wei Chongrong didn’t make arrangements for him and hurriedly raised his hand to state his position.
Wei Chongrong nodded silently. He felt safer to take Jun Hua with him than to leave him alone in Yao’an.
Due to the overwhelming momentum of Zhuxia’s army, which quickly captured the four northern counties of Nanyue, the Great Yan lacked sufficient knowledge of the current situation in Nanyue. The day after arriving in Dongshan Town, Wei Chongrong decided to sneak into Nanyue himself to check out the enemy situation, and asked Jun Hua to stay behind in Dongshan Town.
Who would expect Jun Hua saying that his qinggong was better than Dongfang’s, so he could accompany Wei Chongrong and let Dongfang stay behind.
Wei Chongrong thought for a while and agreed. He was just going to take a look and didn’t intend to alert anyone. There was no difference between taking Jun Hua or Dongfang.
Meanwhile, in the main hall of the already occupied Nanyue Palace.
Tuduo sat on a high throne and looked at the members of the Nanyue royal family kneeling in front of him, his eyes full of derision.
He glanced back and forth before suddenly saying: “I have heard that the queen of Nanyue is the princess of the Great Yan, a rare and stunning beauty. I wonder if she truly deserves this fame.” No matter when, his interest in beauty was undiminished.
As soon as Tuduo said this, everyone’s faces changed a little, and many people turned their heads involuntarily and looked at Wei Kou, who was hugging a pair of children.
For a long time, the people of Nanyue respected Wei Kou very much. However, it had nothing to do with her personality, but with her identity as the princess of the Great Yan, which was really important to Nanyue. When Wei Ming was still there, for the sake of his precious daughter, he gave Nanyue a lot of preferential treatment.
However, after Wei Lan ascended the throne, this situation changed. He didn’t seem to value his sister very much. This time when Zhuxia attacked Nanyue, Nanyue pinned its best hope on the Great Yan, but until now, they had not seen reinforcements coming.