Chapter 263 “three birds with one stone” (Part two)
“One cannot always take a tough stance when it comes to things like negotiations. In order to make the other side take a big step forward, we need to first make a small step backwards. Who knows, like us, Hamuye may also be waiting for an opportunity to get off the stage.” Dadaneier thinks for a second, “I believe this is an excellent chance for the Duke to propose the withdrawal of the 20,000 soldiers stationed in the grassland…… Of course, the deal cannot be made public. Otherwise the citizens of the empire will misunderstand our intent and take us for traitors. Underneath we will withdraw those soldiers and on the surface they are compensating us.”
“What else?” Du Wei happily smiles at Dadaneier.
“Also… … I feel this is the perfect opportunity to pocket these men…. That would be the best outcome! From what I heard, the bosses back in military headquarters had long wanted to retract this force. After all, their expense far exceeds their worth. If we propose this now, it’s likely we can persuade this force to join us.”
“Won’t work!” Mini 250 Guptad shakes his head: “Throughout the history of the empire, there have only been cases of private armies turning into imperial forces! Whoever heard of imperial soldiers demoting themselves into private soldiers?! The military would never agree to this plan!”
Dadaneier smiles once again and turns to Longbottom: “That’s why this will depend on General Longbottom to work! And of course, we cannot be so direct in saying we will take this army off imperial hands. To the soldiers and to the bosses back at military headquarter, that will be too shameful to pass. Therefore, we will say as a token of loyalty to the state, Duke Tulip is willing to look after the expenses of these 20,000 personnel. At the same time, we will make a request to have these men stationed along our province’s border, all in the name of troop shortages of course. My lord, just think. If this force stays on our land and is completely supplied by us -eat, drink, wear – eventually they will come to rely on us! Slowly and surely, they will fall into our hands. Though nominally they are still imperial soldiers under the government’s control, but in reality they are your private army.”
Du Wei’s eyes grew deeper at the thought.
Lastly, Dadaneier took one long look at Longbottom: “There’s another detail that may require some sacrifices on General Longbottom part.”
“I know you hate the empire’s military command and swore never to return, but….. In order to help the Duke succeed in his greatness, we need you to break your oath.” Dadaneier turns around to look at Du Wei: “Duke, you just need to propose your intent to bear all expenses and write another document on your behalf. The content should be about your loyalty and as a token of devotion for their help; you are offering General Longbottom to be their captain! While the central command is bogged down by other matters, they will likely agree to your request! By then, the soldiers are paid by us and…. Besides, General Longbottom is their original commander. With his authority and prestige, it won’t be long before we control those men!”
Finally, Dadaneier concludes: “The truth is the military and the Regent will definitely know of our plan. However, it’s clear the Regent trusts your Dukeship from how he made you fully responsible for this negotiation. It’s not like central command doesn’t want to rid themselves of this burden, we’re simply paving the road for them! As for the people of the prairie, they will most likely agree to our conditions. That is of course after we make them bleed hard from the compensation, three birds with one stone so why not?”
This gush of ideas left everyone dumbstruck! This includes the well learned Philip as this scholar watched Dadaneier with amazement in his eyes.
Though Dadaneier remains quiet and doesn’t talk much, he’s not known to be exceptional despite being responsible in his duties. Who could have thought this man can come up with such a great plan?
Rather it was Du Wei whom broke the silence, “In this case let’s give it a try. Philip, you stay and help me draft a letter first…. Now then everyone, you can leave for now while me and Dadaneier go over the plan.”
After sending everyone away – including Philip – to leave only the two of them alone, Du Wei’s first word was a long sigh: “My friend…. You didn’t come up with this tactic did you?”
Dadaneier smiled and scratched his cheek like he was caught red handed, “Your Dukeship is correct. I, Dadaneier, don’t have such a good mind. Hmm….. This ploy was thought up by the Marquise. She knows you’ve been fretting over the negotiation recently. So last night, she deliberately called me over and told me to pass this idea onto you when the chances arise. She said as a woman and an outsider, she’s not in a position to directly interfere with state matters.”
Du Wei only ‘hmm’ in return and didn’t say more.
Only then did Dadaneier realize something and immediately kneeled down with a face full unease: “My lord, are you blaming me? I’ve already sworn my loyalty to you. The reason I decided to pass this idea to you is because I also felt it was a good idea, not because of any sentimental attachment to the Lister House. I will never have a change of heart!”
Du Wei hurries to pick up his old friend: “My friend, you are mistaken. Both of us went through life and death together, nothing can change that bond between us. The reason I became distracted is because of my admiration towards the Marquise’s intelligence. Such a tactic really is good. Although she’s a woman, one can’t help but admire someone like her.”
After a pause, Du Wei turns to Dadaneier: “Hmm, let’s do this then. Since the Marquise gave me such a great idea, I must show some gratitude so help me ask if she needs anything. Also….. Our business in the North, you can set it up to give the Lister family ten percent more profit on our deals.”
Dadaneier grins: “I think the Marquise wouldn’t care much about money since the Lister House is rich to begin with….. Hmm, your honor, if you wish to express your gratitude, why not go see the Marquise instead?”
“Heyhey!” Du Wei happily coughs twice: “Dadaneier, it can’t be that you also want to set me up for marriage now are you?”
Dadaneier turns serious: “Your honor, I indeed do. However, the reason isn’t due to my origin from the Lister House. I only feel that the Marquise with her unrivaled beauty is a great match for your intelligence and great foresight…… Although the age difference is a bit steep, but I can see the Marquise is sincere. For your cause, the Lister House will be a great asset to have.”
Du Wei tapped Dadaneier’s shoulder: “I understand that you’re not doing this out of selfishness, but my marriage…. I don’t want to settle so early. And….. Political marriage isn’t my thing. I’m very willing in coopering with the Lister House, but must there be marriage between both families for there to be an alliance?”
On the contrary, Dadaneier shakes his head, obviously not agreeing with Du Wei’s view: “This is your personal business, but as a Duke, your identity is different. Your marriage naturally involves more than you what you wish! To be perfectly blunt, if you’re a commoner then who you marry is your private affair. But as a lord, your marriage is no longer just your affair. The truth is, most of us are in favor of you closing the knot with the Lister Household. I talked with Sir Philip before and even he is faintly showing his weight towards this idea. It’s just that we all know you have Ms. Vivian on your mind so we didn’t have the heart to tell you….. And, forgive me for saying this, you’ve already went through your coming of age ceremony! Within the empire’s noble circle, which young noble isn’t engaged at a young age? Considering your identity and status, you don’t even have anything set…. This is absolutely inappropriate.”
Du Wei remains silent for he knows Dadaneier spoke the truth. What can he do? Only he knows his own problem.
He’s not some innocent boy. In fact, he wouldn’t mind a one night stand here and there. It’s true Mrs. Lister is beautiful and he’s been tempted to take her on many occasions, but that’s purely based on carnal lust as a man. If it was just a fling with a lover then he can accept that.
But marriage? Screw that!
The only one to give him the idea of wanting to spend the rest of his life together was that immaculate littler stutterer.
As for the previous night where he nearly pacified that female prisoner and ended up stopping midway was all because of his strange emotions towards Vivian.
More importantly, Du Wei may not be in the innocent camp, but he’s no animal that can’t control his lower part.
It’s not a problem conquering that female assassin last night; the problem lies with what comes afterward.
That girl’s after all a member of the Snowy Mountain, and the Shaman King’s disciple at that! There’s enough trouble in his hand already, he’s in no mood to get more by “tarnishing” the Shaman King’s disciple!
“Damn it…… Why is it that others get to be the playboy when they reincarnate and I only get to play the innocent good boy? Thinking about it, the whole thing is kind of hilarious!”
Mrs. Lister … … Mrs. Lister … …
Du Wei thought and thought, then suddenly laughed: “It’s true having someone else convey my thanks isn’t very sincere. Let’s do this then, tell her ladyship I would like to have dinner with her tonight.”
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