Chapter 36: Third World (8)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The Liang Empire suffered from a snowstorm and mass riots before Emperor Liang had time to recover from the loss of national strength caused by trying to resist the invasion of Northern Hu people in the past few years. Even the most powerful Dynasty could not withstand such a series of attacks. Today’s Liang Empire, after all, had the decadent appearance that it would fall, and the mountains and rivers will go down day by day.
Just as the so-called ‘one drum to decline, and three to cause exhaustion,’ the Imperial Army did not have high morale, but now, on the battlefield, they had been defeated in succession and were even more disorganized.
The balance between victory and defeat was slowly tilting, and many people saw this change. Some were too busy to jump off the damaged warship and climb up another branch; some were wise to protect themselves and stand idly by; some took the opportunity to make waves and make a name for themselves.
For a time, all kinds of people were in a state of affairs, and the deserters in the Imperial Army came out one after another, even a whole group of people and horses directly surrendered their ranks and armors. The city guard commander, knowing that he wasn’t invincible, ‘opened the gates to steal,’ only hoped to preserve his fame and fortune. Even the essential court ministers secretly sent envoys, hoping to shake hands with Zhou Mo and ‘conspire with a major cause.’ Zhou Mo’s army also had a lot of talented people and people with lofty ideals, all the while growing power. After all, chaotic times were the easiest to turn into a hero.
In the world, the only one who tried vainly to save the declining situation was probably the Liang Royal Family, whose hearts were lost.
Zhou Mo’s army attacked the city and finally arrived in the Liang capital. Emperor Liang led his relatives to flee in a hurry. When everyone was waiting for the new emperor to take office and change the Dynasty, Zhou Mo suddenly voiced that he was still a person of the Liang Empire and loyal. He didn’t do this to become king of the world, but for the sake of the lives of the people, to save them from the devil’s claws of the fatuous and inhumane emperors.
Standing on a high platform, Zhou Mou, dressed in his military uniform, had a loud voice and tears in his eyes. He rightly and verbally refused the request of all generals to wear the yellow dragon robes. Instead, he chose to continue to follow the lineage of the Liang Royal Family and choose a young and wise prince from the royal family to support him as a young emperor.
For a while, everyone was caught by the sudden reversal and were shocked and bewildered, but ultimately, because of the prestige of Zhou Mo, they said nothing as he knelt down three times and knocked nine times to the confused young emperor.
Now that the royal lineage continued, there was nothing to say for those old ministers who were stubborn and hard-headed and unwilling to have two masters. Even the escaped Emperor Liang lost his sole ‘orthodox’ advantage and was no longer able to set off any storms. He was soon caught and banned for life.
Everyone was quick to accept the result.
The new emperor was young and inexperienced in government affairs, and Zhou Mo was naturally the Regent. The old and the young people were satisfied with the ‘orthodox’ that could maintain the beam. They dared not say a word of nonsense. And all the people who followed Zhou Mo to fight all over the world also added officials to the rank and made great achievements. Although Zhou Mo was the regret and could not be called emperor, he practically held the throne. It did not seem so important whether or not there was a ‘false name’ of an emperor in politics.
As for Zhou Mo’s great benevolence and righteousness, the people all over the world praised him for his’ devotion to duty’ to the Liang Dynasty. Although he was forced by the fatuous emperor to raise the anti-flag, they still could not forget his original intention of loyalty to the country and that he refused the temptation of the throne. It was really amazing and admirable.
Quickly, the new court came into operation. Corrupt officials from the former Dynasty were deposed off with their families. Zhou Mo also issued a series of decrees for resting. He was skilled as if he were not just a general of military origin, but a true emperor from an early age. The couriers felt this was unexpected, and with their own careful thinking, cautious responses to this high-powered man became thoughtful and did not know the depth of the Regent.
Bai Duan also entered the Ministry of Works, from an ordinary carpenter to a minister in the court. Although the rank was not too high, anyone could see Zhou Mo’s trust in him, but because Bai Duan was not familiar with political affairs, he let him temporarily follow the others and accumulate more experience.
Of course, no objection had been raised to such an arrangement. After all, the weapons invented by Bai Duan caused everyone to be fearful and had long been famous in the world. No one would question his ability and worth.
Although he had settled down in the capital, had his own residence, and would also take over for the old carpenter, most of the time, Bai Duan still lived with Zhou Mo, went with him to eat, sleep and go to court. It was now Bai Duan’s turn to worry about Zhou Mo’s body, often reminding him to relax earlier. After all, the world was decided at the beginning, everything needed to be done, and there were a lot of accumulated political affairs, which often made Zhou Mo stay up until dawn.
Late at night, Zhou Mo’s study was still bright. Bai Duan pushed open the door and tapped gently on the door threshold to attract Zhou Mo’s attention.
Hearing the noise, Zhou Mo raised his head and laughed before he said anything.
Now it was winter, and seeing Bai Duan in a fox coat and snow-white fur, Zhou Mo already realized his desire to pamper his lover with beautiful clothes and jade. Although the lessons learned from the previous Dynasty could not be excessively extravagant and wasteful, ordinary affluence was not a problem.
Putting down the brush in his hand, Zhou Mo stood up and welcomed Bai Duan in. He took his cold hand and rubbed it. He said with reproach, “It’s so cold, why didn’t you take a hand stove to warm your hands?”
“It’s just a few steps.” Bai Duan glanced at him, strolled to the table, and looked at the stacked pieces. “So much more to deal with?”
“Yes, it’s a mess, a lot of trouble.” Zhou Mo complained and smiled after seeing Bai Duan’s shirt, cloud sleeves, and a simple ribbon, reminding him of his first meeting with Bai Duan.
At first sight, Bai Duan was perfect in elegant clothes, standing on the roadside, bustling, as if by mistake, he looked like he had escaped from the world of fairies.
Of course, at that time, he was full of vigilance and scrutiny of Bai Duan and had no time to pay attention to his beauty. Later, Bai Duan gradually adapted to society, rarely wearing ancient clothes, which made him feel regretful but only with the memory of the exquisite taste.
Nowadays, Zhou Mo was satisfied to just looking, and Bai Duan was quite suitable for this dress, with his long hair and shaggy appearance than the modern short hair, so Zhou Mo could not help loving him even more.
Since his lover came to him on his own initiative, Zhou Mo was too lazy to continue to pay attention to those complicated political affairs – he had handled the important matters properly anyway, and the remaining details were not needed in this moment and a half.
Put away the pamphlets on the table, Zhou Mo made a pot of scented tea and sat down opposite him with Bai Duan. Bai Duan sipped his tea, hesitated for a moment with his cup in hand, and finally asked the question he had doubted for a long time. “Big Brother… Why did you take this position?” He paused and frowned slightly. “Don’t fool me with what you said to others before. I don’t believe it at all. Big brother is not patriotic, nor did you do it for the Liang Dynasty and the Liang Royal Family, there really was no respect, was there?”
Zhou Mo smiled softly, “My younger brother still understands me. Yes, I did not refuse the throne for the sake of loyalty to the Liang Royal Family.”
Bai Duan could not help leaning over and asking, “Why is that?”
“Because I don’t want to be the emperor at all.” Zhou Mo shook his head.
Bai Duan twisted eyebrows and tilted his head to the side. “Is being the Emperor…no good?”
Although he had read a few history books, he also knew how attractive the throne was. Since ancient times, countless heroes had broken their heads and sacrificed their lives for it, and even fragmented bones, flesh, and brothers were everywhere.
“The emperor was once naturally good, sitting on top of tens of thousands of people, but he became rich, and correspondingly, the more he gets, the greater his responsibility and the more restraints he receives.” Zhou Mo shrugged his shoulders. “I am a lonely man. If I were to become emperor, the first requirement of those idle courtiers would be to fill the emperor’s palace, to accept beauties into my harem, and create heirs, which is exactly what I hate to do.”
When Bai Duan was stiff, he subconsciously avoided the scorching eyes of Zhou Mo, bumping into his chest and being at a loss. He felt that he seemed to understand the meaning of Zhou Mo’s words, but thought it was somewhat unbelievable. He instinctively rejected Zhou Mo’s words of ‘filling the harem, creating heirs,’ but his mind was in a mess, and he could not think about why he had such a reaction.
Zhou Mo did not give him a chance to escape.
Previously, Zhou Mo was too busy with politics to formally put the most crucial love affair on the agenda. Now, his sweetheart just came to his door and put forward the topic of ‘pleasure,’ how could he not take it down without making a fuss?
Reaching out and putting Bai Duan on the back of the table, Zhou Mo felt Bai Duan’s hand shrink. He immediately tightened his strength and grasped him tightly. “My dear brother, do you understand what I mean?”
Zhou Mo secretly laughed at himself in his heart, but Bai Duan had no time to take care of the problem. He stumbled and fell, his mind blank, “What…meaning? “
“You understand, don’t you?” Zhou Mo smiled softly. He raised his other hand, lifted up Bai Duan’s chin, and leaned over his lips for a shallow kiss. “I have long admired you.”
Bai Duan’s face instantaneous turned red, he broke away. Immediately, Bai Duan stood up quickly, stepped back a few steps, and drew away from Zhou Mo.
Zhou Mo sighed in his heart that Bai Duan world was so used to physical work that his strength was much higher than he was used to. Soon afterward, he rose up and approached Bai Duan slowly, “If I were emperor, no matter how excellent and talented I am, I would not escape the criticism of those troublesome people who think that I am part of the lucky generation which serves as a monarch. Once I said that I would not leave heirs behind for you, it would be a disaster to the country and the people and endanger the society with unforgivable sins. But if I’m not the emperor, you and I are just ministers and have the same status, no one is qualified to point fingers at my private life under the banner of ‘society.’ Whether I marry a wife or have children or not, even if I like a man, I would not have children. No one can blame me for growing old with you. Brother…Duan, do you understand?”
Bai Duan raised his head in panic, looked into Zhou Mo’s sincere and affectionate eyes, but soon turned away in a panic. He opened his mouth but did not know how to answer.
Bai Duan was ordinary folk, and he never heard of other men loving each other. He had received the education of marrying a wife, having children, and inheriting since childhood. He never thought that he would join hands with a man for a lifetime. Moreover, that man was his eldest brother, who he had great respect and admiration for.
“I laid down this world for the sake of the common people, and gave up the throne for you.” Zhou Mo’s voice was gentle and firm, which was deeply spread into the center of Bai Duan’s ears.
Bai Duan stepped back a few steps, shook his head slightly, then turned around and walked. Zhou Mo watched him flee in a hurry but did not catch up. Instead, he smiled, his eyes were full of ambition and certainty.
He knew that Bai Duan’s escape this time was only due to a sudden and unacceptable accident. Bai Duan had a forthright nature and would certainly not escape for too long, so he could calmly wait painstakingly. Now the frog had been boiled in warm water, and the window paper had been successfully pierced. Zhou Mo would soon be able to taste the delicious food at the table and eat quickly.
Zhou Mo, who was full of hope for the future, was in a good mood, and even with the full table of government affairs, it seemed that they were not so disgusting.
He closed the door of his study, sat back at his desk, sipped tea, and continued to write and read. He had to settle this mess before Bai Duan could figure it out. Otherwise, he would have to hold a beautiful woman at home… Who wanted to waste time on this mess?!