Chapter 265: Besieging the Capital
“Liu Yingshi, Prefect of Bao Chang, in possession of thirty thousand mercenaries, petitioned Emperor Yuankang  to move Great Yan’s capital to his city. Upon the emperor turning down the petition, the prefect rebelled and endorsed royal descendent Weichi Xujie as the emperor of Later Yan. Prefect Liu Yingshi has set himself up as the regent and endowed Weichi Xujie with the title of Emperor Kaiyuan, indicating the founder of the dynasty.
“Many provinces in southern Great Yan have flocked to Emperor Kaiyuan’s banner. Great Yan has lost the majority of its territory and Later Yan controls the waterways. Trade routes have been cut off, and reserve provisions are all being intercepted by Liu Yingshi…”
Huzi slowly finished reading out the secret report and clucked his tongue in amazement. “This Liu Yingshi is crazy! He responds to a rejected petition with putting up a new emperor? He makes off with the grain that the capital had previously gathered and surveils the waterways. Won’t this cause a food shortage for the capital and its surrounding cities and towns?”
Pang Xiao nodded thoughtfully. “These kinds of people always rear their heads in chaotic times. Liu Yingshi is a crafty individual, and what he’s done puts us at a great disadvantage.”
“Why does it?” Huzi asked, baffled. “Later Yan is cutting off all supplies for the capital. Isn’t that perfect for our siege?”
“That’s true, but I set my gaze on the entirety of Great Yan. Previously, we’d only needed to conquer the capital to subdue the nation. However, Liu Yingshi’s antics have broken Great Yan into two, and we’ll need to deal with Later Yan even after taking the capital.”
The prince rose to pace. “Great Zhou’s coffers are stretched too thin. We could’ve grit our teeth and endured if we’d controlled Weichi Yan after taking the capital. But even if we do so now, we only close our hands around those in the capital city. We’d be destroying only the former Yan Dynasty. This isn’t a good development.”
Things had become clear to Huzi. “Liu’s got some really great timing huh!”
“Let’s set all that to the side for now. We can worry about things after we take the capital. Even if Later Yan bears Yan in its name, Great Yan must die in Great Zhou’s hands.”
“Precisely! The capital city now is a lonely island cut off from supplies. It won’t hold out for long.” Huzi brimmed with pride and confidence.
“We need to do so as soon as possible.” Pang Xiao drew close to the map to peruse an appropriate strategy. He had to end the war as quickly as possible, because Qin Yining was located in the capital, a city now suffering from shortage of food.
He didn’t want her to go hungry.
Pandemonium reigned in the capital.
The government had just auctioned off large numbers of ceremonial titles to improve the merchants’ standings. Grain was being continuously carted into the capital, but the people had a scarce few days of joy before news came that the supply carts were being ambushed and Later Yan had formed with Bao Chang as its capital.
Bedlam gripped the people!
This city was the heart of Great Yan, and their emperor was Emperor Yuankang. What the hell was this Later Yan??
It was plainly a bunch of traitors and thieves up to no good, making up excuses to steal food from those in the capital and the defending army!
Panic-stricken commoners flooded the yamen and Xuan Su Temple, wanting someone to give them comfort and guidance. But no matter which they visited, both places had their doors firmly shut.
The people then turned to grain merchants to stock up on food, but all of the stores were closed as well. Meanwhile, the official granaries of the city were under heavy guard.
Charged emotions sent the people charging into the streets and disappointment drove them back home. After a few days of upheaval, some started leaving the capital with family in tow.
But three days later, heavy guard was imposed on the outer gates as well. Entry and exit were strictly regulated, and all those attempting to flee with their family were forcefully sent back.
Someone clashed with the soldiers, shouting, “The capital is about to fall and us commoners have nothing to eat or drink! Are we supposed to just sit here and wait to die?? We’re going to Later Yan in the south!”
He was dragged away before he finished, stripped of his pants, and caned forty times. Now hanging to life by a thread, his wife and children wailed and sobbed as they carried the man back home.
Scenes like these happened at every city gate. Filled with terror and anxiety, the people started resenting the government.
The government couldn’t protect them and didn’t allow them to run away, no matter some were saying that Great Yan deserved to die…
Weichi Yan was in a sorry state.
He charged into the emperor emeritus’ residence. “Royal father! Chaos engulfs the streets! Weichi Xujie’s pronounced himself emperor and claimed all land along the coast, south of Bao Chang! He’s set himself up with some Later Yan Dynasty! Royal father, if you still refuse to tell me where that silver is, Great Yan really will fall!”
The former emperor was on his side in bed, leisurely puffing hookah and squinting in enjoyment at clouds of smoke.
“You’re the emperor of Great Yan. You’ll hold things up whether or not the nation falls. What does that have to do with me?”
Weichi Yan stared incredulously at his father. “Royal father, do you not care at all about this country? You were once its ruler! What use can you possibly have for such a large sum of money? Do you still want to go out and start a country of your own? Or do you want to use it all yourself? How much money can one use in a lifetime? Will your conscience stand for this?? The thing to do now is to bring it forth to safeguard Great Yan!”
“Pah! Even if it falls, it’s not I who was the ruler that brought it death! What am I worried about? Stop bothering me, get out!” The former emperor took another puff and waved Weichi Yan off like he was shooing a fly.
A furious hum filled Weichi Yan’s mind as the room grew dark in front of him. If it wasn’t for Lu-gonggong’s quick reflexes, the emperor would’ve stumbled to the ground out of rage.
Such was his royal father!
This was the real reason why he’d handed over the throne!
Not because of Weichi Yan’s talents or education, and not because the emperor emeritus had truly wanted to. It was because there’d been no one else to be the scapegoat for the fall of a dynasty!
Unable to hit or curse his father, impossible to win in argument or persuasion, a dispirited Weichi Yan shuffled down the long passageway. He tilted his head to an azure blue sky, his eyes full of miserable despair.
Did the heavens really want to end Great Yan?
“Tell me, should We have agreed to moving the capital?” He turned to Lu-gonggong at his side.
The eunuch quickly responded, “Your Majesty, you might’ve been met with an ambush at Bao Chang! There’s nothing good about Liu Yingshi. Perhaps he doesn’t really want to move the capital, and just wanted to lure you there. He wants to be the master of Great Yan!”
Weichi Yan smiled wryly. “I know that, of course. That’s why I turned him down. But had I agreed, the nation might be fine. I might not have to be the ruler of a conquered nation, and the historians wouldn’t write so ill of me.”
Lu-gonggong lowered his head. As a eunuch, there were many subjects that weren’t his place to touch upon.
A guard sprinted over at this time. “Your Majesty! The Valiant Tigers have commenced their ultimate attack! The Duke of An is keeping the city gates shut and refuses to meet them in battle, but the Valiant Tigers have imposing momentum and have surrounded us on all sides!”
White as a sheet, Weichi Yan howled at the sky. “The heavens wish to end us! The heavens wish to end us!”
As Qin Huaiyuan helped the Duke of An steady the defenses, Qin Yining had gathered all of the Qins to announce her decision.
“Move? Daughter Yi, where are we moving to at this point in time?”
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