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The Empress’ Livestream

The Empress’ Livestream

The Empress’ Livestream
Chapter 649 - Unifying Wanzhou (II)

Chapter 649: Unifying Wanzhou (II)
In his previous life, Her Majesty had established the Jiang dynasty. In the early days of founding the dynasty, there had been never-ending unrest and natural disasters everywhere. The surviving evil members of the Red Lotus Group had seized the opportunity to revolt and the dying embers of the Group were revived. Although they did not cause any great damage, their actions had cast a gloomy haze over the new dynasty and caused the people to become anxious.
Some extremely daring rebels had recklessly spread the rumor that the empress was a demoness. Putting that aside, they’d even attempted to assassinate her several times.
If they went to the core of the matter, one would even find that the Red Lotus Group had been involved in the death of Her Majesty.
Every time he thought of this, Wei Ci felt his emotions getting out to control.
“But …” Qiguan Rang showed a slight hesitation.
With a hint of coldness, Wei Ci’s thin lips moved lightly.
“The battlefield is chaotic. The rebels intend to open the city for the Red Lotus Group. When an army is in a state of disorder, one can easily die if he is not cautious. Isn’t this normal?”
If they didn’t deal with unstable fellows like this, were they supposed to celebrate the New Year with them?
Qiguan Rang wanted to leave this for Jiang Pengji to deal with, but Wei Ci made a logical point.
Destabilizing elements only became more dangerous the longer they remained. It would be better to eliminate them.
Wei Ci thought of something else and said, “Previously, our lord promised An Cui that she would give him a tenth of her money and men after the battle… You would have selected those captives early on. We can retain those who are useful. As for the others who are stubborn and radical, it is better to get rid of them…”
Killing captives was something that would damage one’s reputation. Wei Ci did not want Jiang Pengji to dirty her hands with that. It was better to throw this foul matter to An Cui.
According to An Cui’s ability and the style of the Red Lotus Group to court disaster, the latter would surely cross the limits of the former.
When An Cui had finished using this group of people, what waited for the Red Lotus Group would be nothing but death. An Cui would abandon them after achieving his goal.
It did not prick Wei Ci’s conscience to throw the potential danger represented by the stubborn followers into An Cui’s lap.
Qiguan Rang was keenly aware that Wei Ci had stressed the words “stubborn and radical.”
Most of the captives had been selected for their strong physique, youth, and healthy bodies. Those who were old, weak, sick, or disabled were not taken into consideration. But Wei Ci had made clear his attitude. He did not want anyone with “problematic thoughts” around. The captives’ physiques and possession of all four limbs were secondary conditions.
This anomaly caused Qiguan Rang to become curious and also more vigilant at the same time.
Wei Ci knew that Qiguan Rang was suspicious, so he explained, “The teachings of the Red Lotus Group were inherited from a certain evil cult during the Period of Sixteen Kingdoms… Wenzheng, you’re well-read, so you would naturally know how many evil cults caused mischief during the initial stages of the founding of the Great Xia Dynasty after they unified the Sixteen Kingdoms. They were resurrected several times and incited others. They instigated the common people and caused devastation and chaos in many areas… We can’t let our guards down around the Red Lotus Group. It’d be better if we don’t keep those with a problematic mindset.”
Indeed, this reasoning could convince Qiguan Rang.
Putting aside the long-term effects of this matter, there were two religions – Buddhism and Taoism – that were rivals on equal footing. Their believers could be found across the five countries.
Although the Red Lotus Group was not on par with these two giants, all three were religions, and they could vaguely see each other’s shadow.
Although Buddhism and Taoism were not traditional powers, their influence on the general condition of the world could not be ignored.
It would be annoying if the Red Lotus Group came to have such extensive followers and could incite the people everywhere to make trouble.
Qiguan Rang nodded in reply.
“Okay, I’ll take note of it.”
The battle was an unprecedented victory. The total number of captives numbered more than 23,000. Others were either killed on the spot or later died due to serious injuries. Those who were still alive were transported to the military area for medical treatment. The Women’s Battalion had transferred many staff members to their ranks at the last minute. Even with that measure, they were extremely busy.
Qiguan Rang sent some men to clean up the battlefield, clear the corpses, search for those still alive, and recover the arrows that could still be used…
Although his lord was a rich tyrant, the war was an expensive affair. He wanted to save wherever he could.
The medical district was probably at its busiest in the following days.
Those with superficial injuries would be all right after their wounds were cleaned and bandaged. After their wounds healed, they would be able to jump around as normal. They would even get a merit award for their military service.
Those with broken arms and legs, whose abdominal cavities had been stabbed open, who had broken bones embedded in their internal organs, who had large pieces of flesh missing from their bodies… There was nothing the doctor could do about such heavy injuries except try his best. Whether the patient lived or died was up to the Heavens.
Some people could not endure the agony of their injuries and died because of the pain.
Most of the injured soldiers died after the battle, not on the battlefield.
Many died from their serious injuries despite receiving medical help.
Even if they pulled through, if the wound became contaminated during the healing period, it would easily fester, preventing the wound from healing. The patient would then pass away.
Fortunately, it was still winter in the twelfth lunar month. The weather was not hot and humid, and the chances of inflammation and festering of the wound were reduced by a lot.
However, the death rate was still higher than the survival rate.
On the other side, Jiang Pengji let the men have a rest day. After this, they broke camp and set off on the journey to attack Fenghu County in accordance with the plan.
As it happened, the day before the attack on Fenghu County was the Lunar New Year.
Before breaking camp, Jiang Pengji ordered some people to buy enough pigs and sheep from the commoners with silver money or their equivalent in rice and grains.
On the day of the New Year, the soldiers in charge of cooking slaughtered the pigs and sheep.
The pigs’ blood was collected and coagulated into cubes, which were used as ingredients after preparation.
The viscera was properly dealt with, its rank odor removed. Ingredients and spices were added to the viscera which was cooked to make a side dish.
The pork bones were boiled to make a thick white bone broth. Spices were used as part of the broth base. The smell of the bone and meat broth was so strong it could almost waft its way into Fenghu County.
As for the pork and mutton, every part was the flesh was taken out.
Some of the meat was directly boiled in plain water, while fungus was added to another portion of meat and made into a pot of stew. Just by looking at the color, one couldn’t help but drool.
There were stir-fried pork ribs with salt and chili, stir-fried shredded pork, Kung Pao Pork… they could also mince the pork to make meat buns…
Besides all that, the cooks also prepared some raw meat and pared bamboo sticks. The soldiers could make meat skewers and roast them on the fire.
The assistant cook had prepared the rice by using the seasoned broth as the water.
“Today is the New Year. Everyone, eat without restraint,” Jiang Pengji announced.
Marches were always hard, and such a rich meal was rarely seen, even on a New Year.
The soldiers gathered in groups of three to five. They ate their New Year’s Eve dinner around the bonfire. A cooking frame was wedged over the bonfire and a pot hung on it. All sorts of mountain ingredients and pieces of meat were cooked in the pot. The fresh and delicate soup gurgled… As the hot soup and rice went down their stomachs, the soldiers felt their entire bodies warming up.
In contrast, Fenghu County was cold and deserted.
Strong soldiers were stationed outside the city. Hardly anyone was celebrating even though it was the New Year’s.
The soldiers guarding the city were the most pitiful. They squatted atop the high city walls in their thin and worn clothes that couldn’t do much to fight against the cold. Their stomachs were empty and cramped with hunger. The rumbling stomachs were singing a song, a song about the Red Lotus Group presenting a bold front to conceal their weak defense… Many could not help but look into the distance. Jiang Pengji’s army had set up camp there. They could not see anything but the flames from their campfires that burned and leaped.
Sniffing hard, they could detect the faint smell of food in the air.
Even though they were far apart, they seemed to be able to hear the bustle of noise and excitement from there.
“How nice…” a soldier guarding the city murmured in a low voice with a strong undercurrent of envy. His head began to simulate the taste of delicious food…
The more he thought about it, the more saliva he secreted, and he ended up swallowing huge mouthfuls of saliva. It was as if there was thunder rolling in his stomach as it rumbled loudly.
In Fenghu County, the Red Lotus leader guarding the city received a report from outside. He became fretful and irritated.
“What an annoying motherf*cker! Since they’ve messed with me, I’ll overturn their nest in the middle of the night!”