Don’t Tell Me This Is The True History Of The Three Kingdoms! - Volume 10 - Chapter 8
VOLUME 10 CHAPTER 8: DON'T TELL ME THIS IS THE CALM AFTER THE BATTLE OF FAN CITY (8)
Meng De POV
(The troops are coming back! The troops are coming back!)
Court was now in session and we had not gotten through many items on our agenda before I could hear the ministers and officials gossiping away. I do not know what they are discussing or how this news had spread but they really like to talk about things that are about to but have not yet taken place. Their voices are not loud but the palace hall is not small and the echoes are loud and greatly irritated me as I read out the items to the little boy who was sitting in front of me.
(I heard they lost badly.)
(Only 10% of the troops survived, it seems.)
I ignored them but their gossip was endless and continued on and on which was truly vexing. By now, I could tell what they were talking about and stopped talking as I turned back to look at them. I really do not care what they talk about in their private discussions but Court is in session and they are being very disruptive.
(I wonder what they were doing to have lost this badly.)
(They had so many troops that they could have just taken the city if they charged out at the enemy.)
Even after I stopped for a while, their gossip continued with no end, further infuriating me. Everyone had already heard this news a few days ago yet why are they still discussing it as if they just heard it today? I do have to admit here that part of the reason for my irritation is because of the loss yet I cannot possibly try to silence them publicly as this would be far too rude and improper.
Ben Chu, who sat beside me, was very unhappy as well and was muttering under her breath as she frowned. I looked at her and saw that she was staring at the floor with a very dark expression.
’’Ben Chu, it's fine. Calm down.’’ I said as I patted her thighs.
’’Un...’’ Ben Chu grunted as she balled her fists. Her expression did not change in the least but it looks like I have put a lid on her anger for now. That is for the best as no one wants to start a fight in Court after all.
And just as I was feeling relieved, light footsteps came from outside the palace hall.
’’Report!! I have an urgent letter!’’
Ben Chu and I did not turn when the yell came but we were in the minority as everyone else did so.
’’Hu,’’ I sighed and got up as I swung my sleeve, ’’Enter.’’
A man in long, white robes answered and came running in. Before he came before me, the entire Court seemed to explode in gossip. I looked at them and saw them discussing various things like my generals or Ben Chu's generals with their neighbours as though they were concerned patriots. Some of them noticed my gaze and would promptly shut up but most of them did not even look at me.
I took 2-3 steps back and stood beside Ben Chu as I whispered, ’’Please watch yourself, Ben Chu.’’
To be honest, I might be even more infuriated and unstable than her right now. I really do not understand why they have to send a letter to me every time they go through a Pass when everyone knew about this already. The past few days, letters have been coming in everyday to report that Li Dian and Cao Ren had passed through so-and-so Pass from the Pass generals and not Li Dian and Cao Ren who only sent 1 letter which reached me the day before yesterday.
’’Imperial Chancellor.’’ He greeted me as he came closer. He looked haggard and was drenched in sweat as he reached behind and searched through his rucksack for a long while as I waited awkwardly with my hand outstretched towards him.
I already knew what the contents of the letter was but it was still an ordeal to personally receive news containing the failure of one's own subordinates in Court. I have to admit that everyone within and without of Imperial Court has likely been waiting for this to happen and for me to become the laughing stock. Of course, Ben Chu has also become the laughing stock as well.
Indeed, if this were normal times, Ben Chu would be laughing and pointing at me along with the rest. Unfortunately, she is probably worst off than me even though the officials and ministers did not laugh at her as much as they did with me.
But all these are minor issues. Losing such a large number of troops and even 2 generals was a terrible loss. I did say that they should try and expend Ben Chu's troops but I never expected that things would end up like this.
’’Here, Imperial Chancellor.’’ He said as he came up to me and interrupted my thoughts.
’’Ah, un.’’ I returned to reality and looked at envelope and received it, not forgetting to smile as I did so.
I then swept my gaze across the Court, making everyone shut up before looking at the Son of Heaven. He was his usual self and completely ignored what was happening as he ordered a eunuch to peel an orange for him. Well, that works for me of course.
’’Ahem,’’ I cleared my throat and opened the envelope before taking out the piece of silk and quickly looked it over. I already knew what the letter was about so all I looked for was an exact address.
’’Un... Alright.’’ After about a minute, I nodded and kept the envelope and letter in my sleeve as I saluted the courier, ’’Thanks for your hard work.’’
He shook his head and smiled before realising that it was a little awkward and saluted me before turning to leave. He seemed to be curious about its contents and was hoping I would read from it but I did not feel there was a need to do so as it was all garbage anyway.
’’Umm...’’ Just then, several officials and ministers got up and asked with concerned expressions, ’’Where is the defeated army now?’’
’’’’Yes, yes.’’’’ Several others chimed in as well.
When she heard 'defeated army', Ben Chu's head sank even lower. I really wonder if those officials did that on purpose.
’’The defeated army has just passed through Lingying county and will reach Xuchang in half a day.’’ I repeated what the Lingying Prefect had reported and added, ’’But everyone need not worry. The defeated army is in good shape throughout the journey and once Court has ended, I will send out troops to receive them.’’
’’But how did a 30,000 strong force lose against a measly Xinye?’’ Someone asked. His voice was low but he said these words firmly. I looked over and it was the bunch of royal relatives as I expected.
’’You lot really know how to talk huh?’’ Ben Chu could not hold back any longer and spoke up before I did.
I knew that what Ben Chu had to say next would not be pleasant and forcefully took over from her, ’’Isn't it a little unbecoming to be engaging in such gossip now that things aren't looking good on the frontlines?’’
’’Hmph,’’ A royal relative snorted as he turned up his nose, ’’Isn't it even more unbecoming of you to lead soldiers of the Great Han who eat the food of the Great Han and lose in a battle where you had a numerical advantage?’’
’’Winning and losing is part of life. One cannot expect to win every single battle after all. And besides there were many reasons for this defeat. Firstly, there were deployment mistakes made during the skirmishes that occurred. Secondly, the enemy employed devious strategies that my subordinates unfortunately fell for. It is well and good to bask in the glory of victories but one must also not forget to remain dignified in defeat. Besides, our troops made an orderly retreat and the dead have been buried. What is unbecoming of this?’’
’’Un...’’ The royal relative was completely shut down by my words.
’’We lost huh?’’ The Son of Heaven on the throne finally spoke up and looked at us after our exchange. And when he did so, all of us, Ben Chu, I and the other 1,000+ officials and ministers, bowed.
’’Yes, our army has been defeated and is retreating from Fan city. They will be in Xuchang shortly.’’ I continued after Court settled down.
’’I see.’’ The Son of Heaven said and nodded. I suspected if he really understood but did not say anything and merely bowed and nodded.