As he slowly retrieved his blood-stained fist, Wu Qi glanced coldly at the officials of Hai Province who knelt down in the square. "How dare a weakling such as this try to plot a rebellion? Now, does anyone here wish to do the same?" He asked coolly.
The officials of Hai Province threw themselves to the ground, their foreheads touching the boulder-paved floor. "We will never do that! A traitor like him should be executed!" They shouted in unison.
With a cruel slaughter, Yu He had easily achieved the goal of deterring the local officials of Hai Province. As the Prefecture Overseer, he had the rights to kill any of the officials who worked under him. Together with the miserable scene where thousands of heads were rolling about in the square, even if the officials were harboring some evil intentions, they had no other choice but to hide the thoughts deep in their hearts, and then slowly crush them and throw them in the wind.
The corpses of Mu Hai and his clan members served as a warning to the officials of Hai Province - the Yu Clan of Zhong Province had arrived. It was a wake-up call for them that Hai Province had a new master, and that they only had a few days left of the good life they used to enjoy.
Standing in the square with a thick layer of blood underneath his feet, Yu He looked up at the sky while he announced the appointments he had for his retinues.
The Military Minister of Hai Province Military Court - Wu Qi.
The Punishment Minister of Hai Province Punishment Court - Yu Mi.
The Grand Oracle of Hai Province Directorate of Celestials - Yu Gu.
The Agriculture Minister of Hai Province Agriculture Court - Yu Ni.
The other officials, such as those in charge of civil affairs and the livelihood of the people, were also replaced by the members of the Yu Clan whom Yu He brought here. As large as it was, the population of Hai Province was not more than ten million, and it was divided into five counties. The original County Governors were stripped of their positions and transferred to the other courts as deputy ministers, while their positions were replaced by Yu He's retinues.
All the deputy ministers and officers of the various courts in Ningbo City, as well as the deputy governors and officers of the five counties, were also replaced by Yu He's men. With the assignment, the local officials of Hai Province were completely deprived of their rights. Unless they wanted to fight against Yu He, they had no choice but to accept it.
Yu He's second order was to split out a large piece of land in the southeast part of Hai Province, and each of the five counties were to send two hundred thousand men to cultivate and develop the new county. He gave no explanation for the order, but Wu Qi knew that the land was his reward, and that the one million people were the capital Yu He gave him for the development of the land.
What would become of this vast wilderness in the southeast part of Hai Province would depend on Wu Qi's ability. Yu He did not name the new county, nor did he appoint any officers to the county. It was clear that he wanted Wu Qi to handle everything himself, and he would not interfere in any of Wu Qi's decisions.
Silently, Wu Qi cupped his fist at Yu He to express his gratitude. He knew that it was a goodwill from Yu He, and it left him a little troubled. It appeared to him that Yu He was a man of his word, but Princess Zhang Le was trying to take over his Hai Province. Wu Qi felt a little sorry for him.
But soon, the little bit of guilt was crushed by Wu Qi. In the world of cultivators, either one went forward or he would be left behind. Of one did not devour others, others would devour him. Wu Qi had learned the cruel law of the jungle. At worst, he would let Yu He live in wealth and splendor for the rest of the life, and he couldn't care less about the rest.
Hai Province occupied a vast expanse of land. While it was the best place for the Underhand Sect to develop and expand, it could also be the foundation for the Great Yan Dynasty. As Wu Qi and Princess Zhang Le had become husband and wife, he had to control it in his hands for both personal and official reasons.
Yu He had established his authority in Hai Province through a great bloodshed. As he glanced satisfyingly at the nearly one thousand officials who knelt before him, he waved his hand gently and said, "Report to your duty base on my appointments. Somebody, throw the bodies of traitor Mu Hai and his clan members out of the city and feed them to the wild animals. No one is allowed to bury them. Hmph! Let all the people of Hai Province know that this is the consequence of colluding with Immortals and betraying Great Yu!"
Wu Qi and Yu He's retinues roared with a deep voice, while the officials of Hai Province responded dejectedly as they rose to their feet, looking for their future superiors and ready to hand over their powers. Afterward, Wu Qi gestured at Yu He and went straight to the Military Court with a few hundred-men Lieutenants of Hai Province.
Hai Province was only a ninth-grade province. Although it covered a vast region, it was sparsely populated, and the annual tax income was too little to make a difference. Therefore, the size of Ningbo City was not large, and its Military Court only comprised of three palaces surrounded by trees. It could never compare to the mighty appearance of the Military Court in Zhong Ning City, which occupied several thousand acres of land.
Just like the other provinces, the Military Court of Hai Province was situated in the west part of Ningbo City. The west was the position of White Tiger, and it represented war and massacre. Therefore, the palaces were built in this part of the city. The palaces stood in a row from east to west, with their doors facing the west, meaning to absorb the aura of the massacre from the west. They were simple in construction, and they looked crude, with no decorative patterns on their surfaces.
Unlike the magnificent palaces of Zhong Province, there were only two stone pillars in front of the Military Court, and the fire bowls above them were the size of a basin, with flames rising only two feet in the air. Not only could the green light emitted from the flame not shine through the city, it could not even cover the palace itself. The oil used in the fire bowls of the various offices in Great Yu was expensive incense oil, the mixture of Merman oil and ambergris. However, as Hai Province had limited tax income, it was impossible for them to burn so much incense oil day and night as in other richer provinces.
From the westernmost, the first palace was the office where the Military Minister of Hai Province used to issue military orders and handled military affairs; the second palace was a great hall where meetings were convened and guests were hosted; the third palace was the living quarters for the Military Minister. It had dozens of chambers, enough for hundreds of people to live in, and two side-halls, which served as the living quarters for servants, maids, and personal guards.
All in all, although the size of the Military Court in Hai Province was very small, it had all kinds of facilities.
Below the three palaces, through a secret door in the second palace, there was a small armory which stored a great array of weapons, including bone talismans, armors, arrows, crossbows, swords and so on. There was even a large number of energy stones dedicated to the three small flying ships that belong to the Military Court.
Wu Qi was sitting in the main hall of the Military Court, quickly going through some scrolls of account and cases sent to him by the previous Military Minister, Huang Liang, and the five hundred-men Lieutenants. Although the main hall was a small place, it was dimly lit. It seemed that Hai Province was really poor, as they were reluctant to light a few more candles. It filled Wu Qi's heart with a bitter helplessness.
Hai Province did not have a strong army. There were only five hundred-men Lieutenants in Ningbo City, and together, they ran an army of five hundred soldiers, whose cultivation base was extremely weak. The lieutenants themselves were only as strong as thirty-sixth tier Heaven Immortals. Although the former Military Minister, Huang Liang, was stronger, he was also as strong as a thirty-sixth tier Heaven Immortal only. All five counties in Hai Province had a Military Court each, which was managed by a hundred-men Lieutenant and thirty to fifty soldiers.
Together, the Military Court of Hai Province had only a Military Minister, ten hundred-men Lieutenants, and an army of seven hundred and eight soldiers. The military power of this ninth-grade province could not even form a one-thousand men army. It made Huang Liang, the former Military Minister, fail to be promoted even as a thousand-men Lieutenant in Great Yu's military rank.
Shaking his head discontentedly, Wu Qi tapped the table carved out of rock in front of him with a finger and sneered, "How is Hai Province going to defend the territory and the people with only an army of seven hundred soldiers? If there are itinerant cultivators building their bases in Hai Province, how are we going to deal with them?"
Huang Liang's face flushed as he lowered his head and muttered, "We cannot afford too many soldiers with the current financial status of Hai Province!"
The soldiers of Great Yu were paid handsomely, and if they were killed or disabled in battles, they would receive a great pension. With a population of fewer than ten million people, seven hundred soldiers were the limit that Hai Province could afford. Not only did the Military Court have to equip these soldiers with armors, bone talismans, and many other weapons, it had to maintain three small flying ships, as well as allocate expenses for the various pills and decoctions required by seven hundred soldiers during training. It was a fact that Hai Province could not afford more soldiers.
With his finger gently tapped at the list of soldiers, Wu Qi frowned and looked up at the ceiling.
Yu He brought close to a thousand retinues here, and Yu Huai had also given him three thousand private guards. Presumably, these three thousand private guards were the force which Yu Mu had secretly assembled, and he had allocated them to Yu He so as to make him look great. Now, the army of private guards had been incorporated into the personal guards of Prefecture Overseer. As the supreme commander of the province military, the Military Court had only seven hundred soldiers. It was something that Wu Qi could not tolerate.
"Starting from tomorrow, I want you to recruit new soldiers. The number of soldiers in Hai Province must be raised to ten thousand within three days!"
Not allowing Huang Liang to refute, Wu Qi raised a finger and said, "Just find me ten thousand soldiers, and I'll find a way to cover their expenses!"
Huang Liang, who was a tall and burly man with black hairs all over his body, was taken aback. "An army of ten thousand soldiers? In a poor province such as Hai Province? Are Your Excellency kidding us?"
Wu Qi gave him a fierce glare and shouted, "I'm not here to tell you a joke! I just want ten thousand soldiers, and I'll find a way to afford them! Do as you are bid, and I'll settle the rest!"
After a brief moment of pondering, Wu Qi nodded slowly and said with a smile, "A new official works hard to show his efficiency, and what is better for establishing my authority than killing some people? Hehe, even the Prefecture Overseer had killed someone, so how can I, the Military Minister, not follow? Huang Liang, go to the Directorate of Celestials and request one hundred Oracles from the new Grand Oracle, Yu Gu!"
Huang Liang looked at Wu Qi in shock, then he stammered, "Your Excellency, y-you want to kill someone?" He thought of the thousands of heads that rolled about on the square and felt a chill creeping across his neck.
Looking sideways at the frightened Huang Liang, Wu Qi sneered, "I'm not going to kill you, but... Well, do you know that there is an itinerant Immortal in Hai Province, naming himself Reverend Yao Yue?"
"Reverend Yao Yue?"
Huang Liang and the five hundred-men Lieutenants let out a miserable howl and stepped backward at the same time, throwing themselves to the ground!
Huang Liang's face was as pale as paper, and cold sweat kept breaking out of his body.