Chapter 237 “win-win”
The news of Du Wei going off to “reward” the Northwest Army really did spread like wildfire. For those that didn’t know the ins and outs of the whole situation, these ignorant fools really thought the Northwest Army earned some great merit.
Although the Tulip soldiers held some criticism towards this gesture, but Du Wei’s ever expanding influence over these people eventually suppressed any grudge roaming through the ranks.
Spending over two days to prepare the huge gift, Du Wei then had Alpha attach the magnificent looking banner to a gigantic pole stretching as high as seven to eight meters in height. Using a carriage and four healthy looking horses, Du Wei intends to make the trip like this with only 200 guards accompanying him to the enemy’s roost.
Some had raised doubts over the small security team, but Du Wei quickly explained his thoughts for this: “I’m going to the enemy’s den, bringing 200 or 2000 won’t make any difference when the other party has over 200,000 soldiers standing by.”
As he closed in to the Nuling Province, he made sure to openly display the banner; in fact, he was so forceful about showing it off that even the neighboring villages outside his travel route got wind of it.
This was especially true when he finally entered Nuling Province. Out of his own deliberation, he intentionally slowed down his pace to test the water because he wanted to know the Northwest Army’s reaction to his coming.
Though Governor Bohan didn’t make an appearance when Du Wei entered the old man’s territory, but this loyal subject of the empire did send word to the local garrison forces that they are to protect Du Wei and his convoy along the way.
Back when the battle for Anglia City came to an end, Du Wei’s aid, Philip, already rushed over with a letter written by Bohan himself. This letter should’ve been in Du Wei’s hand long before the battle began, but because he wasn’t in Loulan City, the matter was pushed back.
As for the context inside the letter, it was mostly explaining how Governor Bohan went ahead and sent his own troops into Du Wei’s territory without permission to fight the native soldiers roaming the Desa Province.
Other than that, there wasn’t much else besides one other phrase: “For the state!”
Bohan believed that even if he doesn’t explain it in detail, Du Wei would still be able to grasp the meaning behind that one phrase.
Just like how the old man predicted, Du Wei’s first reaction when he read the letter was appreciation and gratitude.
“My Lord, we will soon be inside the Northwest Army’s sphere of influence after we pass that small town ahead of us.” Sitting next to Du Wei, Philip was looking out the window with a faint sadness on his face: “Since I brought it up, I really feel sorry for Governor Bohan. He may be the governor of Nuling Province, but he only controls about half the province under his name. Also, he’s constantly under the pressure of the Northwest Army stationed inside his territory; it must be difficult for him.”
“Oh?” Du Wei gave a faint smile.
Phillip points his finger out the window and sighed: “Your dukeship, look outside…… To be honest, the more I learn about the terrain and state of affair in the Northwest, the more envious I become of Governor Bohan! Looking at it from a geographic standpoint, the Nuling Province is way better than our Desa Province. At the very least, they don’t have to worry about the threat of the natives because we are there to act as a buffer. Then looking at the land, Nuling is way more fertile than our Desa Province. You can see it in their population; it’s twice the size of our province! Though with your dukeship’s wealth, money and food isn’t an issue you can’t solve; however, the main problem we have is our soldiers!”
When he got up to this point, Philip looked towards Du Wei to see if he should continue. Seeing there was no discontent on his lord’s face, Philip felt it was safe to continue speaking: “My lord, even if we round up the numbers in our rank, the soldiers under our command is at best 20,000. I know you are a bit dissatisfied with the recruitment method of General Longbottom, but you should also think about it. There are only so much people in our territory, 800,000 to be exact. Even if we openly recruited, how many more do you think we can get? Let’s assume every family out there contributed their most abled body man to the cause….. Let’s not discuss the possibility of that happening….. But if it did, the number still wouldn’t be that significant. According to the calculation of me and my brothers, 50,000 troops should be the limit we can manage. Discounting the old, the young, and the women’s, we could forcefully conscript up to 300,000 young men, but such a feat would no doubt cause panic to those down below! Unless it was a life or death situation, that idea is out of the question.”
Nodding in acknowledgement, Du Wei didn’t rebuke because he already knew all this way before Philip brought it up.
Considering the population in his own territory, the idea of creating a 200,000 strong army is extremely difficult.
“More importantly, there is a bigger problem on our hand.” Phillip smiles wryly: “Even if we want to recruit soldiers, we won’t be able to out recruit the Northwest Army. My lord, did you forget the wartime decree?”
Standing between two provinces, the Northwest Army may have over 200,000 soldiers under their banner, but life and death is something unavoidable, as such, there will always be new and retiring soldiers moving in and out of that gigantic entity.
Of course, the biggest influx of flesh blood is usually derived from the locals living in the Northwest.
In accordance with the war time decree, once every two years, the Northwest Army is permitted to recruit new soldiers in order to replenish their ranks. Even more troubling….. The wartime decree states that the Northwest Army gets priority over the new recruits if the matter coincides with the local garrison forces.
This way around, the difficult job of recruiting new soldiers in this sparsely populated land becomes even harder.
“This is why I’m so envious of Governor Bohan.” Philip smiled painfully: “Nuling Province may be home to the Northwest Army, but its greatest asset is its population, its way bigger than our Desa Province! What this mean is that the possible candidates capable of joining the army also increased exponentially ‘if’ the Nuling Province was ours. According to my calculations, pulling in 100,000 soldiers shouldn’t be a problem at all and it also wouldn’t have any adverse effect on the territory. My lord, my biggest concern right now is the season for recruitment. It’s not the main season at the moment, but when the New Year rolls around, the Northwest Army will be making their rounds across the land. When that happens, we can expect quite the headache.”
“I understand your words, but you can’t just increase a population at will. For a parent to raise a child to adulthood, they will need at least 10 to 20 years. And if we follow conventional means, the time frame needed to increase our population will likely take three to two generations. Assuming we did encourage the citizens to procreate…… Do you think a family will pump out so many kids if they can’t afford it?” Du Wei shakes his head: “Philip, I’ve been thinking about all this from many angles and found that there are so many problems hindering us. Adding in the issues thrown at us by the Northwest Army….. It gets even harder!”
Smiling sadly, Philip replied: “Your honor, I think we should talk with Governor Bohan. Though you two don’t get along too well, but after what happened back in Anglia City, I believe this is the turning point for us. Bohan may be a bit of a power hog when it comes to authority, but he is still loyal to the empire. At the very least, our stance coincides with him regarding the natives and the Northwest Army. He got the people we lack; we just need to find a way to help him tap into that resource for us.”
Money is definitely not the issue here because Bohan was able to come up with the auction system. Then there’s only one reason left as to why Bohan is facing so much trouble when recruiting more soldiers: his status.
Unlike Du Wei whom is a Duke and a noble, Bohan is only a governor.
According to the blasted war time decree, the wage and food supply of the local garrison forces must be distributed by the Northwest Army, meaning Bohan must send the money up before his own men can receive their wage.
A similar example to what Bohan is experiencing should be Sin City where Du Wei is snatching a lot of his new recruits. Before Du Wei came along, the soldiers stationed at that prison could barely feed themselves, let alone be properly equipped.
On this point, Du Wei is luckily able to bypass the problem faced by Bohan because a noble as big as a Duke can conscript his own private army.
“It wouldn’t be bad to cooperate.” Philip smiled: “You are free to build up your military power and Bohan can rid himself of the salary constraint placed on him by the Northwest Army. Win- win, right?
Du Wei was interested now: “Elaborate!”
“When the autumn conscription rolls around, we can make a deal with Bohan. According to imperial law, cross province conscription is permitted so long as the proper paper work is sent up to the high command. Considering your status and popularity, I believe those in the capital wouldn’t make things difficult for us.”
“And Bohan is going to agree to all this?”
“That is the key here.” The way Phillip was laughing right now is extremely sly and cunning, almost like Du Wei when he’s scheming something… … It must be because Philip spent too much time around Du Wei.
“We can make an exchange with him.” Philip explained: “Unlike him where he is constrained by the war time decree, we are perfectly capable of bypassing it. If you negotiate with him…. For example: he can take half the soldiers we draft.”
Du Wei is a smart man so he already knew what Philip was getting at: “What you mean is that he can take half the soldiers and use our ‘Tulip’ name to mask the issue. This way, those soldiers will still be under his command while bypassing the hindrance from the Northwest Army, right?”
“Correct.” Philip softly replied: “If that Bohan is not at ease, we can just let him appoint the commanding officers. Also, we can even build a military base camp along the border of the two provinces and have the troops stationed there….. If we go that far, what else can he complain about?”
“Good idea!” Du Wei did not dilute his compliments: “Philip, you are growing into a fine aid.”
Smiling in satisfaction, Philip continues to speak: “My lord, this is a good idea, but we still need Bohan to nod. Given Bohan’s personality, that guy might put a crazier condition forward, HAHA.”
“Let him put all he want.” Du Wei smiled: “If he wants some benefit, I be happy to give him. Anyways, I owe him this much when he went as far as to sacrifice an entire unit for me….. Besides, I’m not lacking money.”
“Then without further ado my lord, pen a letter and I will make a visit to the governor right away.” Philip urged.
Du Wei thought for a moment and shook his head: “No, it’s best not to leave any evidence behind for this type of thing. Who knows what would happen in the future, it might become lethal. I will personally make a visit to Bohan on the way back.”
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