The woman who was the official of Qin State was full of life, her eyes gleaming; she was of natural beauty
She could order all the other officials of Qin State, especially those few former Cangzhou officials, to leave the grand hall; so she must have a very high status in Xianyang, and had a connection with Tong Yan.
These facts revealed her identity. On the other hand, she didn't try to conceal who she was from Jing Jiu; otherwise, she wouldn't take the risk to come here in the first place.
Seeing Zhuo Rusui suddenly coming out from behind the post, Bai Zao tilted her head a bit and asked perplexedly, "What are you doing here?"
Zhuo Rusui replied droopily, "There is nothing you can do now."
Thinking of what Zhuo Rusui said, she guessed something vaguely. "Are you waiting for him?" she asked, but she wasn't so sure as she looked at Jing Jiu.
"Yes," Jing Jiu confirmed.
Bai Zao couldn't understand why, as she asked, "He is the emperor of Qin State. Since Chu State has no strength to resist the invasion, why would he take the risk to come here?"
Jing Jiu said, "Your Big Brother is a proud person. He should be glad to come here, to witness how I look when surrendering my throne."
"Being proud doesn't necessarily mean that he would be so contented as to forget his responsibility," Bai Zao said while shaking her head.
Jing Jiu said, "According to my calculation, he might not be that contented, but he has definitely forgotten his responsibility."
It was obvious that this statement had deep meaning in it.
Bai Zao fell silent for a moment and pressed, "How did you guess it?"
"Calculating is not guessing," said Jing Jiu.
Bai Zao stared at his eyes and said, "But you have calculated it wrong in the end."
Zhuo Rusui nodded vigorously by her side.
Jing Jiu said, "If you didn't come, he would probably come. Of course, nothing is absolute."
Remembering the quarrel she had with her Big Brother in the palace of Xianyang, Bai Zao remained silent for a while, then asked, "If he came here, what would you do to him?"
Zhuo Rusui remarked impassively, "We surely wouldn't invite him to a dinner; of course we would kill him."
Bai Zao glanced at him and demanded, "Are you sure you can kill him?"
"I'm very strong," Zhuo Rusui said. "And this is not Xianyang. He doesn't have three thousand armored guards as his turtle shell; so he would be killed here for sure."
Though he didn't mention another person in this statement, both he and Bai Zao were well aware that Jing Jiu was also very powerful.
Bai Zao said, "Now that I came, you can kill me right here."
If she were the ill-fated princess of the previous dynasty, it would be meaningless to kill her. However, if she was really the ill-fated princess, why would those officials listen to her?
Jing Jiu had thought a long time ago that the strategies of taking over the world that Qin State followed over the years had been made by her and Tong Yan; in recent years, it was she who had made the strategy regarding the invasion of Chu State. Her status in Qin State was extremely important. As such, to kill her or use her as a hostage to threaten the Emperor Bai would be meaningful for Chu State.
Yet, Jing Jiu said nothing, and didn't do anything.
"As I said earlier, it's finished since it is she who came."
Zhuo Rusui continued irritatingly, "Though I stayed behind closed doors on Tianguang Peak, I knew about the relationship between you two. There is no way he will kill you."
Neither a young mistress nor a Cultivation practitioner as pretty as a fairy lady would be pleased with such a comment; and they might get quite angry because of embarrassment.
But Bai Zao was pleased to hear the comment. She raised a thumb secretively toward Zhuo Rusui to show her appreciation.
Seeing the thumb as resembling a green onion, Zhuo Rusui felt even more helpless. He turned toward Jing Jiu and said, "Over the years, I have been outside killing the participants, and you have stayed inside the palace to rule Chu State. The two of us have a good chance of defeating the two of them, no matter from which angle one looks at it. However, your state is on the brink of being conquered, and I'm getting old; what should we do next?"
Jing Jiu said after some thought, "I haven't thought it through yet."
Zhuo Rusui said, "It looks like your method is not working; at least it hasn't been proven workable yet. I think I have to proceed with my own method."
Having said that, he turned around and walked toward the outside of the palace hall. The breeze ruffled one of his empty sleeve and his hair; and a few streaks of white hair could be seen on his head.
The figure of Zhuo Rusui disappeared into the morning sunlight. It was now quiet in the palace hall.
Bai Zao walked to the front of Jing Jiu, and asked while staring at his eyes, "What method did he talk about?"
"You are so smart that you should be able to figure it out," Jing Jiu said.
More often than not, the people who understand you are not your loved ones or your enemies, but those who are qualified to be your opponents.
In the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror, it was Tong Yan who had guessed Jing Jiu's idea and had the ability to prevent him from carrying out his idea.
That was why Jing Jiu would rather lose Cangzhou to Qin State than let Tong Yan live, this in an attempt to gain more time for his plan.
Though he had gained ten more years, it was unfortunately not enough for him to succeed.
Bai Zao displayed a bewildered expression, as she exclaimed, "You want to break through the upper limit here?!"
Jing Jiu said nothing, as he turned around and walked toward the back of the palace hall.
Bai Zao followed behind him. "This is impossible…" she said. "Even if you are an exceptional genius and don't want to take the normal path, the rules are still the rules."
Jing Jiu didn't say anything. He came to the bedroom chamber, took off his hair band, sat on the bed, and took out a few pieces of paper.
His black hair poured down like a waterfall, which was very distinctive in comparison to the paper as white as the snow.
Seeing this, Bai Zao flashed a sweet smile. She sat on the bed and said, "Regardless, I will win the competition."
Staring at her eyes, Jing Jiu said calmly, "Not necessarily."
Though Bai Zao's face felt hot due to blushing, she was courageous enough not to evade his stare.
Many years ago, the two of them met on this bed when they were merely two or three years old.
They grew up now, and this bed seemed to be smaller; but they were so close at the moment, right in front of each others' eyes.
Jing Jiu handed over the paper slips and said, "These are my terms."
Bai Zao didn't take the paper slips. She looked at his face and said while forcefully suppressing her embarrassment, "I'll accept everything you say."
This was not to show her benevolence as a victor; it was because she knew clearly that Jing Jiu wouldn't request many outlandish terms since he had decided to surrender.
She explained to herself this way in her mind.
The green bird outside the window had turned her head somewhere else.
In an ordinary storehouse of the local merchants, Zhuo Rusui was cutting his hair. After he had cut his hair short in a messy way, he started replacing his broken arm carefully with an iron one.
The negotiation was over soon. It was because Qin State had agreed to most of the terms requested by Chu State. Since Chu State agreed to surrender, those terms were not so important.
The name of the state had to be changed; the Chu army had to be rearranged; the capital of Chu State was changed to the southern capital, which was guarded by the Cangzhou army now.
King Jing was coronated as the Southern King. He might move in the Royal Palace soon.
The real benefit Chu State would get was in the aspects of taxing and the power of justice and governing; in other words, the populace had gotten all the benefits of surrendering.
Emperor Bai was famous for his cruelty. It was not so easy for the negotiation to get such an outcome. As the news of the negotiation spread in the capital of Chu State and farther places, it still caused a big disturbance, because it was nonetheless the demise of the state. Few people could withstand such a humiliation and pain.
Jing Jiu was coronated as the King of Mountain. He became the symbol of humiliation and was laughed at by everybody in the world.
The weeping and swearing could be heard everywhere in the capital of Chu State. All the scholars and poets employed their talents as much as possible to write poems, to express their sadness regarding the demise of their state and their anger toward the incapable emperor. However, the scholars and poets didn't even realize that relief could be found hidden in many of those poems.
The Cloud-Flowing House was the most popular brothel in the capital of Chu State. Yeyun was the most popular girl in the Cloud-Flowing House.
Those who could sleep with her were the young masters of either the wealthiest or the most powerful families.
One night, she was accompanying the son of King Chenjun.
The son of Chenjun King had consumed a great deal of alcohol. He commented on the political affairs of the imperial court for half a night, most of which were targeted at the emperor, accusing him of being stupid and incapable and giving away the prosperous land inherited from his ancestors to others.
If it were before, nobody would dare criticize the emperor like this, even though he was well known as the retarded emperor and didn't take care of the state affairs while staying in the palace. Yet, the situation was quite different now. Everybody knew that Chu State would not exist any longer, and the emperor wouldn't live for much longer either; so nobody cared about such comments.
The son of King Chenjun didn't forget to mention the kin relationship between his family and King Jing before he passed out due to the over consumption of alcohol.
In fact, the kings in the capital all had some sort of kin relationship with King Jing. Yet, according to his description, his father had grown up with King Jing, and they were good friends. And they didn't stop contacting each other even after King Jing betrayed Chu State and joined Qin State. He claimed that his family would be able to obtain important official positions in the new imperial court…
Looking at the son of Chenjun King sleeping soundly, Yejun remained silent for a long time. Then she took out a small knife and cut his throat.
Afterwards, she took a brush pen and dipped it in his blood, and wrote a short poem.
The poem expressed her hatred toward the officials of the imperial court and the emperor and the pain she felt of losing her state.
One line of the poem was: "None in Chu State is a real man."
The son of King Chenjun was murdered by a prostitute. It was still a shocking incident even during the moment of the downfalls of the state and families.
Yejun was captured and locked in the prison. Even though her poem became famous and that particular line of the poem spread quickly in the capital, she still couldn't avoid the consequence of being sentenced to death by having her flesh sliced bit by bit.
Before her sentence was carried out, a eunuch entered the prison noiselessly and brought her out.
She and the eunuch left the capital in a horse-drawn carriage over night. After having traveled for several days and nights, they arrived outside the West Camp, which belonged to the Zhao army now.
The carriage was brought directly to the central tent.
The Master Eunuch He, wearing a black overcoat, came to the front of the carriage and pulled up the curtain. As he saw the pale prostitute with the picturesque eyes and brows, he remained reticent and said nothing.
These were all trivial matters in comparison to the demise of Chu State.
Jing Jiu was well known as the retarded emperor; it was evident that his title of incapable emperor had been proven accurate. Yet, the reputation Jing Jiu had a hard time to get rid of was the emperor who had lost the state.
The Chu inhabitants were good at words and literature. Soon, numerous poems and articles denouncing Jing Jiu came out. Those words and poems were truly remarkable, full of emotions and sharp criticism. The scholars in the distant Scholar Palace of Qi State had also written a few long articles to denounce the emperor and implicate the affairs of Zhao State.
Surprisingly, Mister Yun Qi didn't view the affair like everybody else. Instead, he had a positive evaluation of the Chu Emperor, and even praised him lavishly.
The commission of Qin State had returned to Xianyang covertly.
More than ten days later, along with the autumn rain, King Jing and the army of Qin State arrived outside the capital of Chu State, ready to officially take over the imperial court.
It was just then that the people outside the city saw a band of black smoke rising up in the capital; judging by the direction of the smoke, it should be in the Royal Palace.
Witnessing the smoke, the Grand Scholar Zhou suddenly saw blackness in front of his eyes and passed out.
King Jing narrowed his eyes, reflecting on something.
As the cold autumn rain drifted down continuously, the fire that the Grand Scholar Chen and the Minister Jin failed to start was burning violently in the Royal Palace.
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