Chapter 61

Edited and Proofread by KitKat

It is said that whatever’s in your thoughts during the day will come back to you in your dreams.

That night, An Chang Qing dreamt about his last life. There were many things that he had forgotten and the dream this time was like a reminder. He could clearly tell that he was dreaming.

In the dream, Xiao Zhige was still in Yanzhou and he was left alone in the Wang Manor. He was reading in the study when he heard the servants chatting idly outside. Back then, the servants were careless and inattentive towards him but An Chang Qing did not care. He continued to read until soft sobs were heard some distance away.

He followed the sound and found that it was a young maid crying, covering her face when she spoke, “So many… so many have died. My hometown is near Sishui River. No one dares to deliver my letter. I don’t know if my family is still alive…”

Two other maids said nervously, “Do you want to die! Steward Wang specifically told us not to talk about this!”

The crying maid became furious, “There are thousands of people living in the Sishui area. Not everybody has joined the rebellion but the Third Prince has poisoned them indiscriminately! And now we can’t even talk about it!”

“Stop talking!” Another maid covered her mouth and looked around with vigilance, “His Majesty has declared that everyone in the Sishui area belong to the Common Man’s Army and… they all deserve their deaths.”

“… If your family is really in the Sishui area… we can only mourn for them in secret.”

The young maid could only cry in despair…

An Chang Qing knew he was in a dream and tried to wake up but instead, he was warped to somewhere else.

He was standing inconspicuously in a bookstore picking out some reading materials. Nearby were some scholars speaking in whispers.

“They say the Third Prince was assassinated by the rebels. Do you think it’s true? Some people said it was actually The Northern Warlord who did it.”

Another scholar looked around and said in a low voice, “It’s got nothing to do with the Northern Warlord. The way I see it, it’s retribution.”

“How so?” 


The scholar gave a disgusted look and elaborated, “Do you remember the uprising two years ago? My family lived not too far from the Sishui area. To wipe out the rebellions, the Third Prince poured poison into the upstream of the Sishui River. The rebellion army drank from the river water and fell seriously ill. The Third Prince took advantage of this and massacred everyone in the Sishui area.”

One scholar said, “This method was absolutely cold hearted.”

Someone else said, “All is fair in war. It’s excusable given the circumstance.”

“Excusable?” The scholar from before sneered, “You only say that because you don’t know the other half of the story. The Sishui River doesn’t end in Suzhou, it branches out and extends across the southern provinces. The Third Prince pouring poison into the river not only killed the rebels but also polluted it along with the soil. The crops harvested were infected with poison, causing many people living along the lower reaches of the Sishui River to fall fatally ill!”

He continued with indignation in his voice, “Later when the court found out about this, instead of providing aid, the higher ups decreed that these people had supported the rebellion. Troops were sent to round them up for beatings guised as interrogations. The villagers were either killed by the poison or beaten to death by the soldiers. In half a month, the Sishui River banks were lined with corpses. If my family hadn’t managed to escape, we would’ve been killed as well!”

A scholar listening to him said with doubts, “Did you make this up? How come we’ve never heard about this?”

“These were orders from above. Anyone who dared to speak of it was beheaded. Nevermind if you don’t believe me but the Third Prince dying at the hands of the rebels is his retribution!”

Sishui… the rebellion army…

An Chang Qing woke violently from his dream. He sat up with a forehead drenched with sweat.

He finally remembered. No wonder the word Sishui sounded so familiar. It was referring to the Sishui rebellion!

“What’s wrong? A nightmare?” Xiao Zhige was woken up by the sounds. He saw An Chang Qing dripping with sweat and hurriedly took a handkerchief to wipe his forehead. 

An Chang Qing was still partially trapped in the dream. His eyes were unfocused and seemed as though he was in a trance.

Xiao Zhige got up and opened the window for ventilation when he heard An Chang Qing speak, “I had another dream. Something big will happen in the Sishui area.”

Xiao Zhige saw the look in his eyes and knew it was not something trivial. He poured him a cup of water and stroked his back, “Calm down, speak slowly.”

An Chang Qing took a sip of water. He tried to calm the surging emotions and said, “I dreamt that to wipe out the rebellions, the Third Prince poisoned the upper reaches of the Sishui River. Those affected were not just the rebels but also the commoners living further downstream…”

An Chang Qing had now fully recalled this event. After hearing the murmurs in the Wang Manor, he had done more digging and could more or less figure out the cause and effect.

After the Third Prince poisoned the river, the rebels who drank from the river water immediately fell sick. He then took this opportunity to decimate the rebellion of nearly ten thousand men, an effortless battle. When he returned to Yejing, Emperor An Qing lavished him with gifts and praises. But the Third Prince was only able to bask in the limelight for a short time because not long after, local officials reported that due to his actions, the people living south of the Sishui River were falling ill one after another; the crops were dying and the river was filled with dead fish.

If this news had come out right after the Emperor had just showered the Third Prince with gifts and praises, it would’ve enraged the public and ruined Emperor An Qing’s reputation. And so, he had ordered for the news to be blocked and turned those afflicted into rebels, beating them into silence. Anyone who dared to mention this was to be killed without hesitation. 

Because of this, the rebellions that came after were all the more difficult to deal with. Even after Xiao Zhige had ascended the throne and sent out troops to request for peace, the insurgents who had lost all faith in the court refused to back down. Xiao Zhige had no choice but to engage in battle with them to stabilize the country.

In the past, An Chang Qing did not understand but now he was fully aware that no sins would go unpunished and no secrets could stay hidden forever; especially when so many had died. The Third Prince’s death was most likely the work of someone seeking revenge. 

An Chang Qing was shaking with fists clenched, “So many lives… it shouldn’t be like this…”

Xiao Zhige grabbed his hand and comforted, “Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”

He knew that his father treated the people as insects and his younger brother was never an innocent child but to think that they would do such a thing! That said, logically speaking, it was nothing strange that they could resort to such methods.

His younger brother wanted to compete for the throne but to do that, he needed to make a big contribution. At the same time, his father had always been self-centered and the deaths of commoners were just a number to him.

It would’ve been fine had he not known but now that he does, he could not turn a blind eye.

Regardless, even if they were rebels, they were still the people of Da Ye.

Xiao Zhige’s eyes darkened as he pulled the disturbed An Chang Qing into his arms and coaxed him back to sleep. After making sure that he was sleeping soundly, Xiao Zhige got out of bed quietly and rode straight to the barracks.

It’d been several days since the news had reached Yejing. If his calculation was right, the Third Prince would arrive at Sishui soon. He had to hurry if he wanted to save these people.

He personally wrote two letters, one to Shen Tu Xu and the other to the leader of the Common Men’s Army.

The Common Men’s Army which had become a formidable force was led by a skillful butcher who could slay a tiger with his butcher knife. The second in command was his brother, an upstanding scholar. The two brothers, one contributed strength and the other knowledge, were the binding force of the rebellion.

After sealing the letter, Xiao Zhige was about to send it to the messenger but felt unsure. He called for Xie Ling to discuss and finally decided to have him deliver the letter to enforce its credibility.

Shen Tu Xu tended to be wishy-washy in his judgment and his ability was inferior to his father’s. The upside was that he had followed all his father’s teachings and treated the soldiers and people with kindness. It’d be a great advantage if they could get him on their side.

Xiao Zhige placed his hands behind his back and faced skywards. To this point, he had done what he could. All that was left solely rested on heaven’s will.


Xie Ling traveled non-stop to Suzhou and requested a meeting with Shen Tu Xu.

Shen Tu Xu was quite surprised to see him. Suzhou lies right next to Yanzhou and had been fighting side by side against the Beidi people. Since they shared a common enemy, the two states had a fairly good relationship with each other. 

Shen Tu Xu went out to personally receive Xie Ling.

Due to the urgency of the matter, Xie Ling went straight to the point. After carefully picking his words, he relayed to Shen Tu Xu all that Xiao Zhige had instructed him to.

Shen Tu Xu’s expression became worse as he listened, “This… Do you have any evidence? Poisoning the water has been despised since ancient times. Why would the Third Prince resort to such a method?”

Poisoning the water supply could destroy the enemy soldiers but at the same time, it was also harmful for the common people living nearby. Any general with a conscience would not succumb to such means. 

“There is no evidence. But even if it isn’t true, this will bring no harm to your army or the people.”

Xie Ling spoke with sincerity, “Wangye wanted to bring this to your attention because he couldn’t bear to see the innocent people of Suzhou suffer. If the Third Prince had indeed decided to use this method, all General Xu had to do was to dissuade him based on the rumor that the Third Prince was planning to poison the Sishui River. This will allow your people to avoid a big disaster. On the contrary, if the Third Prince succeeded in poisoning the river, many innocent lives would be lost. I hear that a large number of your soldiers have families living along the Sishui River. I’m afraid at that time, your troops will lose their morale…”

Xie Ling did not have to say more, Shen Tu Xu had already understood the situation. He paced back and forth while contemplating. After a long while, he said, “I’ll believe you for the time being. But where does this rumor come from? And what about the rebels? How should we deal with them?”

“Wangye will make arrangements for this rumor to spread. As for the rebels, they are after all Da Ye’s citizens. If it weren’t for the court squeezing their blood dry, they would not have protested. If the General can have a sincere talk with them, there is always a chance of turnover.”

Shen Tu Xu sighed heavily and nodded, “How did it come to this?”

Seeing that he had succeeded in enlisting Shen Tu Xu, Xie Ling quickly set off to the Sishui area where a more challenging task awaited.

7 thoughts on “TTBE 61

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