Editors: Chichén Itzá
“Extraordinary acts require extraordinary actions.” – Excerpt from Remarks of the Emperor
While everyone was somewhat unsure of Wufeng’s actions, he had already started on the second phase of his strategy. With his current rank, he will not be able to realize all his goals, which is why he has begun preparing to ensure his promotion. However, for his ambition to come to fruition, the training of the recruits could not be neglected, which is why he had left Liang Chongxin in charge.
The ranks directly above that of a company commander are those at the battalion level. However, Wufeng was not aiming to be one of the staff officers from the battalion; instead, he aims to become the commander of the battalion itself. That being said, to be promoted even one rank higher at the moment with his promotion was not long ago was quite hard, to be promoted two ranks directly to the position of the battalion commander could be said to be near impossible. The decision of who can be appointed to that type of rank lies at the brigade level, which in turn, reports to the divisional command. Thus, if he wants to quickly rise up the ranks, he must carefully prepare connections at the division command.
The encampment of the third division lies just outside the north gates. The commander is an old-fashioned middle-aged aristocrat named Hockel, a relative of the minister Pike from the Department of Military Affairs. He lives inside the city and is rarely seen in the headquarters, only dropping by on Mondays to delegate the work to his deputies. His most trusted aide is called Djabou, a lazy, selfish, and greedy individual, who has earned the hate of all the other staff officers. However, since he has the backing of Hockel, there’s nothing that could really be done.
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After evaluating all his options, Wufeng decided that he would approach this individual, sending out street informants to trail Djabou. He learned through the reports that Djabou has the habit of going to a tea shop in the eastern part of the city called Moon Gazing Pavilion in the afternoons to listen the storytellers. Wufeng also started going to the Moon Gazing Pavilion every afternoon, changing outfits each day to prevent suspicion. During his observations, Wufeng found that true to the rumors, Djabou is a very stingy person, only ordering the cheapest jasmine tea, occupying the best table, and refusing to tip the storytellers. If not for the accommodating nature of the Pavilion, how could an individual such as this be allowed to remain inside?
Wufeng sometimes would also sit by Djabou’s side. They would occasionally be discussing the tale being told by the storytellers, the most popular being the epic of how the six great families of the eastern continent united to form the great Tanghe Empire over four hundred years ago.
By Wufeng’s design, after less than a month, the constant interactions between the two had made them into good acquaintances. Wufeng would also sometimes pay for Djabou’s tea and tip the storytellers in his stead, but when Djabou offers to return the favor, Wufeng always refused.
Djabou isn’t a slow individual either, and during one of their sessions, he asked Wufeng if there was something that he needed help with. Feeling that their relationship is strong enough, Wufeng didn’t hide anything, directly revealing his ambition for higher promotion as well as his desire to seek Djabou’s help. After some consideration, Djabou felt that there was no risk about his request, only possible gains, so he agreed to Wufeng’s appeal.
Wufeng’s plan was simple, what he needed from Djabou was to convince commander Hockel to visit the Fourth Brigade for an inspection of the troops. With Djabou’s compliments of Wufeng’s successes and recommendations for promotion, Hockel without a doubt will agree. Under no extraordinary circumstance, all that is needed for the appointment of a lieutenant colonel of a battalion is the assent of the major general of the division. As such, since Wufeng is confident of his prior preparations with his company, all that is needed now for the plan to success is the Djabou’s positive influence with Hockel. They agreed that as soon both sides are ready, they would carry out the plan.
As Wufeng finishes his planning with Djabou, Liang Chongxin and the rest of the company’s three-month intensive training is also coming to an end. When Wufeng evaluated the troops, he found that they were even better than his original expectations. Seeing this, Wufeng is both pleased with his correct choice of aide and confident in the success of his plans for promotion.
At the ceremony announcing the end of the training, Wufeng also read out the list of names of those who displayed great abilities, complimenting them on their successes, and promising to recommend them for better positions.
At the same time, Wufeng also got in contact with Djabou, giving green light for their operation. A week later, the Fourth Brigade of the Third Division received notice that the General of the Division will personally inspect the troops of their brigade. Because of Hockel’s general lack of participation in affairs of the division, the brigade leadership placed great importance in this visit, giving special attention to ensure that the preparations were exemplary.
Three days later, Major General Hockel arrived along with the rest of the divisional staff. During the inspection, Hockel asked to see the progress of the new recruits, a request that the Fifth Battalion was only too happy to oblige. During their performance, the discipline, skill, and energy displayed by Wufeng’s company was both commendable and clearly better than the rest, gaining the approval of officers.
Similarly, General Hockel was also very pleased. Seizing this opportunity, Djabou greatly complimented Wufeng. After learning that Wufeng was also born from the aristocratic class, Hockel felt that not only was Wufeng young and talented, but also have great pedigree, making him a young talent that should be nurtured. Immediately, Hockel proposed to the other officers of the Battalion that Wufeng should be promoted to a more important position.
As the General made this proposal, the rest of the Divisional staff also expressed their approval. Seeing this, the Brigade leadership immediately took action, immediately approving the Wufeng’s promotion to the command of the Fifth Battalion of the Third Division, Fourth Brigade. The current battalion commander was transferred to the second battalion, the command of the second transferred to the first. The first battalion commander was promoted onto the Brigade staff. Under Wufeng’s recommendations, Liang Chongxin was also promoted to replace him as company leader.
As noon rolled around, the Fourth battalion leaders invited the division leaders to dine at the famous Raising Immortal Pavilion. Wufeng was forced to attend as well. During the celebration, Wufeng toasted for the rest of his superiors, an act that was encouraged among the others as well. Just before they dispersed Wufeng discreetly handed a purse filled with a hundred ducats to Djabou, which he knowingly accepted.
In two short years, Wufeng had been promoted from a regular soldier to the commander of a force that is almost a thousand strong men. He became the pride of all the recruits, gaining their utmost respect. During the ceremony where he accepted his appointment, Wufeng gave a speech:
“Brothers, two years ago, I was just like the rest of you sitting here. However, with two years of hard work and opportunities, I was fortunate enough to become everyone’s leader. I’m not in any way smarter than everyone here, but the one thing I do know is being diligent. I hope that everyone will become like me, willing to put in the effort to grasp these opportunities.
When you walk onto the battlefield, you will face many opportunities, but their size is proportional to their risk. The enemy will not go easy on you simply because you are a recruit. I hope that when the time comes for you to be baptized in fire and blood, you will face that test as a real warrior, grasping those opportunities with your own ability. Only with your own sweat and tears now will you be able to be bleed less on the battlefield and grasp more opportunities.
I hope everyone will aspire to your comrades in the third company, to surpass them. Brothers, don’t waste any more time, for opportunities are created with our own two hands. Work for the sake of your own future!”
After his speech, the crowd immediately roared their approval. When looking back at this moment, historians didn’t feel that the wording were all that elegant. However, due to the way that it was delivered, it had raised the enthusiasm of the soldiers, paving the way to future success.
The year 689 did not remain peaceful. Just as Wufeng was leading his men into another round of intensive exercise, an unpredictable event disrupted his plans. The young nineteen-year-old was unexpectedly thrown into the slaughter of the battlefield, but this would also become an opportunity to boost his own authority.
As Autumn approaches, the nation was supposed to go into harvesting season. However, because of the drought and plague of locust in the Northern parts of the Empire along the Yanyun, Beiyuan, and Heshou commanderies, many prefectures was unable to harvest a single grain of crop. Yet, in order to prepare for future wars with the Luo Bei nomads to the North and the West, the Empire not only refuse to lower the tax but even took more from the warehouses of the wealthy, causing the price to skyrocket. As minor protests erupted all over the region, they were put down with an iron fist, greatly destabilizing the realm.
On the Libya prairies north of the Empire lies several nations. While their strength couldn’t be compared to the Tanghe Empire, they couldn’t be neglected either. The inhabitants of these nations were also quite different from that of the Empire. Descendants of another race that migrated here, these groups were the products of intermarriage between its original people and those of Caucasian complexion.
The culture, religion, history of these nations was also quite similar, leading to good relations between them. Located to the north and northeast of the empire, they are the Cisro Empire, Karman Empire, Poole Kingdom, and the Dorton Kingdom with Karman Empire being the strongest. While the Dorton Kingdom remain neutral, all the other nations have a tense relationship with the Empire, leading to many conflicts, the most recent one being seven years ago. The only nation that has an amicable relationship with the Empire is Jalocke Dukedom, nesting between the Karman Empire and the Poole Kingdom.
Karman Empire’s capital is the city of Budley, and on the Stanley Avenue lies a magnificent building, the Prime Minister’s Palace. To the eastern part of the building is a secret room, and in it sits a short and stubby middle-aged man, listening to the reports of another man with great attention.
“Right now the small riots have already been suppressed by the local police. However, with support from the intelligence of our operatives, a few has managed to band together forming a sizable revolt, but…” The man stopped his report here.
Turning his attention to the man, “What? If you have something, then speak.”
“Your subordinate doesn’t think that they will be successful even if they band together.”
“Oh, and why is that?”
“They are only farmers and slaves. While some of them are capable, even if we provide them with intelligence, without training and supplies they will only face failure.”
“This problem doesn’t require your attention, you only need to continue to provide them with intelligence. However, limit yourself to just give them intelligence, do not get more entangled, we cannot allow anyone to find out our involvement. Remember these words and immediately report any big change.”
“Your subordinate remembers, if there’s nothing else, then I’ll leave first.”
“Alright, remember to rest, you need to take care of your health.”
“Thanking the Prime Minister for his care.”
As the man left the secret room, the stubby man fell into deep thought, “I had never really had any hope for that group of rubble, this scheme’s only point is the exhaust the Empire’s supplies, the more prolonged, the better. Opportunities are created by men.”
If not for introductions from others, then no one will believe that the short stubby man sitting here was actually the Prime Minister of the Karman Empire who holds the nickname of “Minister Iron Hand”, Gomez.