Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 84
Governor's Mansion, Discussion Room
The Governor nodded his head slightly to acknowledge everyone bowing to him. He then hurriedly strolled into the room, taking the lead chair, "Subordinate officials pay our respects to his excellency the Governor!"
"Dispense with ceremony!" The Governor said, smiling. It was clear that he was in high spirits. Having been nearly assassinated, watching his first military charge crumble without results, he should be in a worse mood. However, providing the policy that would alter the future of the country for the better atoned for all the mistakes he had made. In fact, finding a solution to the pirate problems was such a big deal that he was going to be rewarded handsomely.
The people before him were his own close knit group of officials. He had summoned them all here today to discuss something of great importance.
The Governor gently tapped the table and spoke, "All of you present here today already know why we are here. Whatever ideas or opinions you have, do not hesitate to share them!"
A tall and lanky official then stood up, "Governor, your excellency. You've summoned us here today to discuss the matter of lifting the ban on sea trading routes. However, there are many dire consequences of doing something like that. In order to remedy this, we have to build a strong navy, which would cost money too. All these was evident in the previous dynasty. I urge your excellency to reconsider."
This man was Li Cheng, and was extremely capable, upright and to a certain extent inflexible.
Hearing the concerns raised by Li Cheng, the Governor laughed. The Governor understood that this man was upright and could be somewhat rigid, but was very capable. As long as an idea was properly explained to him, and there were no foreseeable loopholes, he would follow through with the idea to the end.
The Governor glanced at his surroundings, everyone casted doubtful glances at him. He then smiled, "Everyone present here is wondering why I'm such a strong advocate for opening the seas for trade and travel once more, and even handed in a policy to the Emperor regarding this matter."
All the officials looked towards the Governor with looks of puzzled expressions. Li Cheng stepped forward, "Your excellency is correct. This low ranking official is puzzled and wonder why the imperial court would accept your request to open the seas. I ask for your excellency to explain."
The minute Li Cheng finished speaking, he realized that he spoke in a rather harsh and brusque tone. He then continued, "Your excellency is fully aware that this low ranking official managed to become a Grand Scholar. I had to swear to help the nation and the citizens, and not be afraid of anything in the process of helping them achieve a better life. This is why I have to question your excellency."
Having an official as narrow-minded for a subordinate really caused the Governor a headache. What's worse was having a narrow-minded official that was extremely upright. This same official had been shown grace and favor by the imperial court, and yet was demoted because of these same faults. However, his character remained the same. The Governor looked at Li Cheng and laughed, "You with your strong-willed character. Servants, come, bring the document on the Pirate Extermination policy and hand it out to these noble officials."
The minute the Governor instructed, a servant stepped forward and brought out a silver tray with a pile of documents. Each person received a copy of the document, their contents were all the same.
Li Cheng received it and started reading. At first, he was astonished. After reading for sometime, the look on his face was that of comprehension. The logic of this book could be used to nip the pirate problem right in the bud. Only when he had finished reading did he speak, "Your excellency, this is such a brilliant idea. Implementing this would cause the pirates to disperse and we shall no longer have to deal with them. In future, whenever your excellency has an order, this official will not hesitate to obey."
Every official sighed deeply after they had finished reading through the documents. This policy was so simple that nobody had any trouble understanding, and yet nobody could think of it. This was what's so amazing about it. Furthermore it was a plan that was blatantly legal, without any hint of deception or craftiness. When it gets implemented, it will sweep these pirates away for good.
"Your excellency is bright and brilliant. With such a plan, you wouldn't ever have to worry about pirates again." All the officials stood up and started congratulating.
"Ha ha" The Governor laughed before speaking once again, "Today, I've summoned all of you here to share insights and opinions on this policy. Please speak your mind so that the thousands of people living by the coasts are able to live in peace."
"Your excellency, this is the first major issue. The pirates are prevalent all around the seas as we speak, the sea routes pose a dangerous mode of transport. After the introduction of the policy, these pirates will lose their main source of income, and thus will do everything in their power to ensure that the policy will not succeed. Hence, this information must not leak out to them. If they are aware of the details before it's being implemented, they will be able to thwart it."
The Governor listened before nodding his head, "His excellency Li is absolutely right. The pirates will not take kindly to the passing of the policy. That is where the problem lies. Does anyone have any other opinion to offer?"
Someone else stood up, "Your excellency, as with what his excellency Li just mentioned, paving a route free of pirates would be difficult. In order to succeed, we would need to build up a navy and start establishing a channel of transport. The earliest this can be completed is within this year. The latest would be several years from now. The earlier stages of this process would be rather tricky as we could be vulnerable to attacks by pirates. Thus, we would need the imperial court to provide assistance on this regard."
"You're right, your excellency. One of the problems we're facing right now with this strategy is the fact that the navy is only trained to deal with matters within our small seas, and not out there beyond our borders."
The rest of the officials started muttering their agreement as they broke out into discussion. Someone then spoke out, "Your excellency Governor, this subject has something to say."
"Oh, it's you. Eh…." The Governor waited for him to bow before continuing, "You're Zhang Chan. If you have any opinions to voice, please go ahead!"
This Zhang Can was a highly ranked official once he was outside of this court, however was still much junior compared to most of the people here and the Governor himself. He then addressed everyone, "Fellow Sirs, actually it's not necessary that the first thing we do is to start building a safe path."
"I've read thoroughly the policy on Exterminating the Pirates and it actually speaks of a way to do this."
"The only reason these pirates are able to roam the seas with such strength is because they have numbers. For every 10 pirates, 3 of them are Japanese vagrants and the other 7 are bandits. These bandits are actually the sea merchants belonging to our motherland. They decided to form pacts with the Japanese vagrants and act in their own interests."
"The pirates do indeed have formidable strength, although it's still insufficient to control the entire sea channel. Once the sea starts to open up for trade, the richer and more influential sea merchants will naturally establish their own trading routes."
"The Governor is already fully confident that all these will play out according to how he designed the policy. Within the plan, there's another plan that everyone here failed to notice. He's already taken all these into consideration, and even solved them."
Hearing this, the Governor too was rather shocked. He didn't expect the policy to contain another plan within. He then hurriedly said, "Continue to speak your mind!"
"Once the seas are cleared to be opened for trading and transport, it will naturally cause the demise of the pirates. They would be unable to fight with us any longer, since their manpower would start leaving to trade legally. Then, the Governor can start spreading the word that the imperial court only allows three ports all over the nations."
"This way, the imperial court would be able to exercise control over these ports effortlessly. Furthermore, the places where the pirates could potentially attack becomes smaller, and their strength will gradually reduce as well."
"Generally speaking, building something for the first time will never achieve perfection. If the Governor wishes to open the entire sea for trading, when problems arise, it will be a big problem. Additionally, it's easy for pirates to attack as well. Compared to having three ports, where problems would be solved easily when they arise, and the problems will be smaller as well."
"We shall wait for the structure and the navy to be established, and the merchants will have a taste of sweet profits. Then, we can start gradually establishing more ports. By then, the ranks of the pirates will reduce drastically, and all that remains of them would be the Japanese vagrants."
When the Governor heard this, his eyes were sparkling and his heart was racing rapidly in excitement. This was indeed a checkmate move. In fact, when he looked at the document and read it in details, all that had been mention was within the document, just not written explicitly. He then smacked the table and yelled, "Good, this is very good."
He then turned around and said to Zhang Chan, "Do not return to the city to serve as an official. Stay by my side and be my aide. I will write a letter to the imperial court. You shall be promoted a rank as well."
When the discussion was over, everyone within the room approached the Governor and congratulated him, "Your excellency, once the policy is being implemented, these pirates will be levelled for good. Having your excellency around is the blessing of our prefecture and nation."
The Governor waved his hands and smiled, "All of you are mistaken. This policy was not drafted by me. In fact, it was Top Scorer Pei Zi Yun who thought of this. It's just that this person has already joined a Dao sect, and thus is unable to become an official. This placed me in a spot, as I had no idea how to reward him."
The Governor was a man of his word, having promised Pei Zi Yun. He was not greedy for glory, and thus told everyone the truth.
An official named Liao Ge stepped forward, "Your excellency, this person cannot become an official, and refuse land as reward, and yet the imperial court has a special way to reward people like these. The imperial court will confer an additional title on top of the Daoist Master title the leader of Green Cloud Monastery currently possess."
Liao Ge had already planned this in advance with the Governor. He was to bring this up at the end of the discussion, after everyone was impressed by Pei Zi Yun. The Governor then twiddled his beard, "As of now, the leader of Green Cloud Monastery holds the title of Daoist Master. If we confer another title on the leader, he would become a True Sovereign."
The officials heard these and looked at Liao Ge before understanding what was happening. They knew that the Governor was trying to use the success of this policy to confer an additional title on Free Cloud Sect. Everyone had different thoughts running through their minds.
Li Cheng stepped forward, "Your excellency, since this policy was hatched by Pei Zi Yun, we should reward him. Pei Zi Yun is now a Daoist and we can confer an individual title of Daoist Official on him. Additionally, we should also confer the title on the leader of Green Cloud Monastery and elevate him to True Sovereign status."
"No, that's not appropriate!" An official stepped forward to intervene, "Your excellency, conferring a title should not be taken lightly. I urge you to reward him by giving him some land. To ask the imperial court to reward him this way, would be akin to asking the court to reward him with power and prestige. Is that how a Daoist acts? For rewards of power and prestige?"
When the Governor heard this, he was about to reply when Liang Ge stood up and said, "Your excellency, there are several rules in place which describes how and when Daoist sects should be rewarded. Just because someone has left home to cultivate doesn't mean they're ineligible for rewards."
As he said this, he stood up with his chest out and started reading off the book before him, "The establishment of the dynasty will only be successful if the deities cast their protection. With the protection of the heavens upon their descendant, the Emperor, he shall rule the vast lands. Should anyone of the spiritual realm be deserving in terms of merit and contribution, he can be rewarded by being conferred a title upon him and his sect."
After this entire text had been read out, the official who disagreed with rewarding Pei Zi Yun blushed a deep shade of red. He then sat down and remained quiet.
Hearing these, the Governor nodded his head in agreement. He then smiled, "His excellency Liang has a good opinion and we should that. His excellency Liang will draft a letter commending Pei Zi Yun and recommending that the imperial court confer an additional title on Green Cloud Monastery and Pei Zi Yun. I shall deliver it directly to the court."
Liang Ge then replied, "Yes, your excellency Governor."
The official who had disagreed with them looked on at Liang Ge in spite and hatred.
As they concluded the discussion for the day, the officials left the venue like a swarm of bees as they discussed the events that had transpired. The official who had disagreed with them openly waited until he was out of sight, in his ox-cart. He then instructed his servant beside him, "The Governor is requesting the imperial court for a title for Pei Zi yun. It seems like Pei Zi Yun has chosen to side with the Governor. Go and tell this to Master Hou."
This official had sided with Ji Bei Hou a long time ago. When the servant heard this command, he glanced suspiciously in all directions to make sure he wasn't being watched before hurriedly heading off.
When the servant reached Hou Mansion, the sky was already dark and the wind was getting stronger and stronger. He called out for a guard and passed a note to him. Shen Zhi received the note a short while later. The servant prostrated himself the moment he saw Shen Zhi walking over, "This slave is following his master's orders to deliver a letter to your excellency."
"Rise." Shen Zhi brought the man in and listened to whatever he had to say. For the most part, he didn't interrupt him but allowed him to speak. When he had finished, Shen Zhi brought him to the north eastern block. There, Shen Zhi entered a room before asking the servant to enter, where he met Ji Bei Hou.
Ji Bei Hou listened attentively to what the servant had to say. He looked out at the white patch of snow before him, and sighed loudly, "Mister Shen, fate is scary and unpredictable!"
Ji Bei Hou then said softly, "When I first joined the military, there was luck all around me and I even managed to win the favor of the Emperor then and everything went smoothly. After the establishment of this new dynasty, everything changed. Everything I did started failing."
"This Exterminating Pirate's policy looks extremely simple, and yet once it's being set into motion, I will have no way to fight against it."
"According to principle, this Pei Zi Yun should be closer to us than the Governor!" Ji Bei Hou sighed loudly once more, "And yet he chose to help the Governor and make enemies out of us."
As he said this, he forced a cold laugh, "My son joined Free Cloud Sect and I've always been supporting him. Who would've thought that Free Cloud Sect decided to join the Governor's side, and waste all my efforts and resources spent helping them."
"The policy that Pei Zi Yun came up with to get rid of the pirates is extremely smart and brilliant. I have problems believing he did it himself. I've thought about this for a long time and found it to be impossible. I suspect the leader helped him with it and intended to keep it a secret. This means that Free Cloud Sect ruined everything for me."
"Call third young master here tomorrow morning. I've punished him and shut up in the room to ponder over what's important. Without me, what is he a third master of. Now that Pei Zi Yun wishes to make an enemy out of me, I need to get rid of him. Shen Zhi, think of a strategy. We need to get him killed soon."
When Ji Bei Hou was speaking, he had a strong killing aura radiating around him. Shen Zhi trembled slightly listening to him, and was someone afraid as well. He then sighed, knowing that Master Hou's hatred for this man is limitless.
Although Pei Zi Yun was a genius, once he stood on the opposing end of Ji Bei Hou, the only other alternative was to kill him.