That very same night at the Prime Minister’s manor in Great Zhao, after sending all the servants out, Diwu Qing Rou dressed in a white robe stood alone in the middle of a gazebo with his hands clasped behind his back. Looking at the dark night sky, he stood silent for a long time.
Autumn was very cold! The wind gently wisped through the sky; the sadness of separation was hard to be rid of…
Diwu Qing Rou continued to stand motionless.
A long time after, there was the sound of sigh in the dark quiet night. Diwu Qing Rou quietly asked, “Brother, you left already?”
The wind continued to wail, but there was no answer.
Diwu Qing Rou slowly turned around. Behind him was a beautifully carved table made of ordinary wood; all the corners were worn. Of course, it was made a few decades ago. On the table, there was six food dishes and a wine jug already laid out.
Four wine cups were placed in the four directions: east, west, south, and north.
Diwu Qing Rou slowly walked toward the main seat and sat down. He picked up the wine jug and poured himself a cup. He stared at it for a long time and put it back down again.
“I still don’t believe that you have left!” Diwu Qing Rou murmured, “Your identity, your resources… whether to the enemies or to me, you are an enormous asset. As long as you are a dominating force, no one can kill you so easily like that!”
“So I will continue to believe that you are still imprisoned!” Diwu Qing Rou shook his head and smiled bitterly. He picked up the wine cup and drank it all in one gulp. At the time he picked up his cup, a tear fell from the edge of his eye and fell into the cup.
Diwu Qing Rou swallowed the wine mixed with the taste of a sad tear. He closed his eyes and listened to the sound of his heart. His pale face became flushed from the powerful wine aroma, but he did not open his eyes. He dropped his head slightly and whispered, “But I did not think that in this fight for the world, the person going against me would be another hero!”
Diwu Qing Rou’s voice emphasized the word ‘hero’; it was filled with sarcasm.
“World domination, who will be the boss?
Nine Heavens, I will be the only dominating one!
Cleanse the world of millions and millions of common people!
Generals will make a sea of blood, and soldiers will make bones!”
Diwu Qing Rou muttered quietly, “Second brother, this is the first poem I wrote. I still remember when I had incited you to respond!”
“Millions of generals and leaders will fall!
Yellow sand will make armors for scholars! (TLN: Buried!)
Looking at the entire heavens and unite it!
Life aspirations, I will join with you!”
Diwu Qing Rou sighed,
“World domination is only for those who are daring.
Being daring is the stories of heroes.
Heroes lead millions of troops in conquest.
Fighting until the ground is covered in white bones,
Just to add another volume for the emperor!”
“You meant that a hero can a general or a leader, but he cannot be a ruler! Kings are fierce and ambitious, but being fierce and ambitious makes a hero. Planning and strategizing with talents reaching the nine levels of heaven that would make a ruler who controls the whole world! When you said these verses, did you ever think that you would die by the hands of a ‘hero’?”
Diwu Qing Rou laughed; the sound trembled as if he was laughing in a state of fear. He raised his cup and gulped down the content. Then he immediately filled it with wine and said with a quivering voice, “Second brother, you had said that once we are successful, you would sit down and get drunk with me! You said it was because you have never seen me truly drunk! Today, I will fulfill your wish!”
He once again raised his cup in the direction of the distant sky filled with stars and bowed. Then he drank it all down in one gulp.
“You always said that my life is too tiring, that I live with too many lies, and that I could not live a happy life… Today, I will toss everything aside and get drunk with you!”
The wind seemed to be wailing quietly; the flowers and trees swayed with their leaves rustling in the wind as if his younger martial brother of yesteryear was still talking to him and raising his arm to point to the vast country!
Still seeing everything as fun and games! Still young and frivolous!
Diwu Qing Rou shook his head and chuckled; a tear fell down… At this place, all by himself in the dead of night, this unrivaled hero who remained composed in the face of danger finally could no longer control his true emotions.
“Prime Minister…” A voice softly called out from behind him.
“Bu Chu is here to get drunk with us two brothers!” Diwu Qing Rou never turned around. He knew that at this time, besides Han Bu Chu, no one else would dare to take half a step in here. If they did, it could only mean death!
Han Bu Chu walked toward him with a jar of wine. He smiled and said, “Prime Minister, I especially came tonight to get you drunk!”
“Good! Good!” Diwu Qing Rou laughed, “Sit!”
“Bu Chu, how long has it been since the four of us sat and drank at this very table?” Diwu Qing Rou pointed and said, “At the time, you were guarded and kept close count of how much you drank. After each cup, you would make a line on this table with your nail, Hahaha… You see, the marks you made are still here!”
“Prime Minister!” Han Bu Chu’s heart felt bitter. He looked down at the remnants of the years gone by and hot blood started to rise to his head, “Prime Minister, you still keep… this table…?”
“Life is like a dream! When I wake, I want to keep traces of it!” Diwu Qing Rou whispered, “Do you remember? At the time, the person sitting on your left was Number One, and the person facing you was Yun He!”
“You drank eight cups at that time, but you drew nine lines!” Diwu Qing Rou laughed as he seemed to travel down memory lane, “Because of that, Number One said you were cheating and using trickery.”
“Haha…” Han Bu Chu also laughed loudly. He seemed to gazed into empty space as memories came flooding back, “Just like that… it’s already been more than ten years…!”
The two silently drank a few cups. Of course there was something in Han Bu Chu’s mind, but he still did not dare to bring it up to Diwu Qing Rou so he could not do anything else but accompany Diwu Qing Rou one cup after another…
“Speak!” Diwu Qing Rou slightly tilted his head and looked at Han Bu Chu.
“Prime Minister, this time… does King level leader Kong’s action disrupt your plans?” Han Bu Chu asked with extreme caution.
“Of course Kong Shang Xin was acting recklessly in this matter, but it was my mistake. I should not have sent Kong Shang Xin there!” Diwu Qing Rou sighed, “I thought about his personality, his leadership, and other aspects before sending him; but I forgot a very important thing, human nature!”
“Yes, human nature!” Diwu Qing Rou sighed again, “People are not plants; who can be emotionless? Back then, when Kong Shang Xin was being hunted down in Middle Three Heavens, he did not have any place to go. He ran to Lower Three Heavens; on the threshold of death, his body was riddled with injuries. Yin Wu Fa and his brother saved him; this is a debt of life! While he was always composed, as the saying goes, ‘A good man will die for his bosom friend’. This is also a pillar of Jiang Hu!”
“Seeing Yin Wu Fa’s horrific condition, how could he remain indifferent?”
“Human nature is a very wondrous thing. In certain conditions, a coward can become a dauntless warrior. And the greatest of heroes can turn into a timid mouse. In a dangerous situation, a reckless person could take over while a wise man could become more confused than a child because of one little issue!”
“I have thought about this, but I missed one key thing.” Diwu Qign Rou laughed, “My mindset has fallen into the habit of a powerful official. I have grown accustomed to the ways of the royal court in calculating gain and loss. It is my mistake, not Kong Shang Xin’s!”
“Utilizing people incorrectly, this is my big mistake!” The Prime Minister lifted his wine cup and said softly, “In the future, I will have to careful in this aspect!”
“Your words have enlightened me! The Prime Minister is truly remarkable!” Han Bu Chu said. These words were not mere flattery. People in high positions like Diwu Qing Rou, how many could make such a profound analysis of themselves? In addition, he also admitted his mistake in front of his subordinate.
With that mind, Diwu Qing Rou was truly worthy of his position! And the Diwu Qing Rou who was completely sober… was most terrifying!
“Moreover, Kong Shang Xin’s action has proven one thing…” Diwu Qing Rou said gravely, “That is that Number One is dead!” When he got to this point, a deep pain appeared in Diwu Qing Rou’s eyes. He had to close his eyes as his heart throbbed with emotions.
Han Bu Chu also became solemn.
They were both intelligent people; there was no need for further explanation.
“King level leader Kong and Yun He sent news…” Han Bu Chu said hesitantly.
Diwu Qing Rou waved his arm and interrupted Han Bu Chu. After quietly filling his cup once again, Diwu Qing Rou said, “Let’s talk about King of Hell Chu a little!”
Han Bu Chu hissed softly, “This person… is truly difficult to fathom!”
“Hmm, then let me speak!” Diwu Qing Rou smiled, “Bu Chu, this King of Hell Chu… According to his methods, I can recognize that he is a talent that only comes along every thousand years! He has your careful calculating characteristic and Yun He’s composure. But he is even more daring than Gao Sheng. There seems to be one more thing… His strategies are flawless!”
Han Bu Chu quietly sat and listened. What he loved most was being able to quietly listen to Diwu Qing Rou analyze a person. And from there, he pointed out the person’s weaknesses and strengths as well as how to deal with that person. This was Han Bu Chu’s enjoyment.
“To start, King of Hell Chu joined with Du Shi Qing’s group. Then he went into Iron Cloud Citadel and created Heavenly Armament Pavilion as a foundation for him to jump straight to the position of Bu Tian Pavilion’s leader!”
“From this period, we can see that while King of Hell Chu is still young, he is very meticulous. Each step has a clear target. Each move he makes hits directly in his opponent’s weak spot!”
Of course Diwu Qing Rou did not believe King of Hell Chu to be the King level master as rumored.
“Let’s talk about his first step. Chu Yang took advantage of Du Shi Qing being occupied by many thoughts and the fact that he saved a lot of people. This world is filled with situations where people are ungrateful and don’t repay their debts; even though Du Shi Qing is a physician, he could not avoid thinking so. That day, a person suddenly came to repay his debt, Du Shi Qing was probably happy beyond words. This is completely understandable! Plus, Du Shi Qing did not want to go to Iron Cloud, so his state of mind was weakest at that time! Therefore, Chu Yang was completely successful in his talk of repaying a debt.”
“In this first step, Chu Yang made use of human nature!” Diwu Qing Rou said profoundly.
Han Bu Chu gently nodded.
“As for the second step, when Du Shi Qing entered Iron Cloud, any clearheaded person would know my plans. Therefore, Iron Cloud military sent people to pretend to be bandits to kill Du Shi Qing. But Chu Yang helped them out of their difficulty without even exposing the enemies’ identity and allowed them to leave. This is key! You people only saw this as an ordinary event and ignored the deep meaning behind it.”
“Without this step, his Heavenly Armament Pavilion could easily be destroyed!”