After narrating a bit of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and three chapters of Investiture of the Gods, the color of the sky darkened.
Before leaving the imperial palace, Ren Baqian thought of telling the empress about the salt well. However, upon recalling that he wasn't fully confident of success, he put aside the idea. If he screwed it up, it might affect his value in the empress' eyes. Eventually, he decided to use this plan to exchange for merits when he had a higher position in the future.
If he did this after the sweet potatoes had ripened, it wouldn't impact him much even if he failed.
After returning to the beast park, Ren Baqian found some mutton to eat and went to sleep.
The next morning, after he woke up, he took the camera, walked around the beast park, and took pictures of places that he deemed beautiful.
He did not dare to take any pictures of the animals in the beast park. After all, they looked very different from the animals on Earth. If he took pictures of them and posted them online, things could easily go wrong and his secret might be exposed.
Wanting to flaunt but trying to keep it a secret at the same time was what Ren Baqian faced now.
When Ren Baqian recalled the empress's words yesterday, he suddenly became slightly interested in the days before the Dayao Nation was founded. He immediately went to find Teng Hulu and Tie Dao to ask them about it.
The two of them were keeping watch over a few huge wooden vats while resting under the shade. The wooden vats were filled with animal hides soaked in water.
After hearing Ren Baqian's inquiry, the pair told him what they knew.
Most of Dayao people were from the mountains. This was something that Ren Baqian already knew.
Seventy years ago, the Dayao people that Ren Baqian saw now were actually aboriginals. They were called barbarians by outlanders. This was mainly because they lived in tribes that scattered across the Sixty Thousand Mountains in the west and north of Dayao and they made a living out of hunting.
There was a vast, continuous stretch of mountain range that surrounded the west and north of the Dayao Nation. There were countless ferocious beasts and numerous aboriginal strongholds within it.
Originally, there had been a nation on this plain, and it was called the Hao Nation. At that time, the Hao Nation had been established for more than three hundred years. Its regime was brutal and extravagant. The ruler of the Hao Nation was licentious, tyrannical, and corrupted.
Aboriginal girls were strong and healthy, and their looks were extraordinary: completely different from the weak and delicate girls of the Hao Nation.
It was unknown whom the Hao emperor listened to when he decreed for the aboriginals to present one hundred girls as tribute. If they refused to obey the decree, he would send armies to annex them.
The aboriginals weren't under the jurisdiction of the Hao Nation, so along with their temperament, they naturally did not care about the decree. They beat up the messenger of the Hao Nation and threw him down a mountain.
Upon getting this report, the Hao emperor was furious and he immediately sent fifty thousand troops to suppress the aboriginals. He even ordered his armies to destroy the aboriginal strongholds and send the young aboriginal girls back to the Hao Nation to serve him.
The aboriginals mainly lived in strongholds, so they did not have many defenses. Five of the aboriginal strongholds were destroyed on the spot. Every man in the strongholds was killed and every girl was seized. The Hao Nation's armies then continued to advance into the mountains.
By this time, the aboriginals reacted. Fury spread across the mountain range like a wildfire. Upon hearing this news, the youths of the aboriginals gathered. However, due to a lack of time, only a small number of men gathered. Using the mountains and forests as cover, they formed layers of defense to stop the advancing of the Hao Nation's armies.
After breaking through three layers of defense, the Hao Nation's armies were stopped at the fourth layer, unable to advance anymore.
Both sides had suffered heavy losses.
Even though the aboriginals had an advantage in physical size and strength, they still lost several thousand men in the process of stopping the fifty thousand troops.
The armies of the Hao Nation weren't used to fighting in mountains or forests, and they suffered even greater losses, losing nearly ten thousand men.
At this point in time, the person who suggested to the Hao Nation's emperor to seize the aboriginal girls proposed another plan.
Why did the aboriginals dare to disobey the emperor of the Hao Nation? This was because aboriginals made a living out of hunting wild animals, wore animal hides, and picked wild fruits. They did not need any external resources, and, thus, they could live freely in the mountains and forests. Furthermore, it was very difficult for the Hao Nation to attack them. Otherwise, this situation wouldn't have occurred.
To make the aboriginals give in, the Hao Nation had to make sure these people could not survive in the mountains any longer. Doing so would force them to listen to the Hao Nation.
An essential resource that every aboriginal tribe needed, which was also in abundance, was salt. Within the mountain range, there was a salt flat from which every aboriginal tribe got their salt from.
As long as the Hao Nation poisoned the sea flat, those aboriginals had to listen to the Hao emperor if they wanted salt. This plan could obtain victory for the Hao Nation without sacrificing any of its soldiers.
Upon hearing this plan, the Hao emperor was overjoyed. He immediately ordered someone to carry out this plan.
At the same time, he had another idea. Even though the Hao Nation was stronger than the aboriginals it was still slightly weaker than the Yun Nation and the Chen Nation. If they could make those aboriginal youths join their ranks, their strength would significantly increase.
Eventually, the salt flat was poisoned, and the aboriginals suffered great losses.
Ya Peng, Dayao's first emperor, had half of his stronghold either die or suffer from injury. After he had finished grieving, he immediately contacted other strongholds to set up a resistance force. The resistance army bypassed the tens of thousands of the Hao Nation's troops and mounted a sneak attack on a city near the mountain range.
Now, a blood feud had arisen between the two sides.
At this point in time, a person arrived to seek refuge with Ya Peng. He said that the Hao emperor had caused him to lose his family and he wanted to seek revenge.
Initially, Ya Peng even asked someone to keep an eye on that person and guarded against him. However, after that person sincerely came up with plans and advice for Ya Peng and even helped him to destroy the remaining forty thousand Hao Nation's troops, Ya Peng began to trust him.
At that point in time, the anger of the aboriginals had been slightly appeased. After the remaining forty thousand Hao Nation's troops were annihilated, their survival was no longer threatened. However, since the salt flat had already been poisoned, they could only loot cities to obtain salt. Therefore, all the strongholds had to unite together and loot various Hao Nation cities for salt.
One had to admit that this was the Hao emperor's own doing.
Subsequently, the losses that the aboriginals suffered began to increase.
At this point in time, that person offered another proposal to Ya Peng, saying that they could not possibly loot cities for salt forever. He suggested Ya Peng occupy a few cities first, stabilize them, and then use them as negotiating chips to obtain salt from the Yun Nation and the Chen Nation.
Ya Peng agreed with his words.
He contacted more strongholds situated in the depths of the mountain range and made that person a military advisor. Then, they launched an invasion upon the Hao Nation and occupied four Hao cities in one go.
The fifty thousand Hao troops had been destroyed, and the remaining troops had to guard the east and south of the Hao Nation. Furthermore, the Hao emperor was licentious and tyrannical, causing rebellions to break out everywhere in the Hao Nation. And by sending troops to suppress the rebellions, the military strength of the Hao Nation depleted even further.
Initially, the Hao emperor thought that the aboriginals were only interested in seizing salt, so he focused on suppressing the rebellions. As such, he did not care about the aboriginals for a period of time, causing the four cities to fall easily into their hands.
At that juncture, the military advisor spoke yet again, saying that the fate of the aboriginals was in others' hands. He added that no matter who became the emperor, rebellions would continue to break out and the Hao nation would still refuse to trade salt to the aboriginals, and this cycle would continue endlessly.
The higher-ups of the Hao Nation were corrupted, their military force had insufficient manpower, and they faced rebellions no matter where they went. Therefore, the military advisor suggested that this was the best opportunity for the aboriginals to invade the imperial palace, kill the main culprit, set up a new nation, and make sure their descendants can live in peace and work happily.
Previously, using the plans of this military advisor, whether it was destroying the forty thousand Hao troops or seizing the four cities, the aboriginals did not suffer huge losses. Hence, everyone trusted him and listened to him.
This proposal, which had never went across the aboriginals' minds before, piqued their interest now. The prosperity that they had seen in those Hao cities made them green with envy.
That military advisor spoke once more, suggesting that since they had insufficient troops now, they should contact more aboriginals deep within the mountain to send reinforcements.
He said if they launched an invasion now, the Hao Nation would definitely place its attention on them. He suggested that they should just occupy the four cities they had currently, put on a non-aggressive front, and contact the Yun Nation's and the Chen Nation's merchants to trade for salt using the resources from these cities. This way, the Hao emperor would lower his guard against them and focus on suppressing the rebellions.
After listening to the military advisor, Ya Peng felt that it was a good idea. Even though the Sixty Thousand aboriginals in the depths of the mountain range had other ways of obtaining salt and it wouldn't be easy to persuade them to participate in this campaign, Ya Peng still sent messengers to convince them.
And just like what the military advisor had expected, the Hao emperor did not expect these aboriginals to harbor designs on him and placed all his attention on suppressing the rebellions.
Another eight months had passed. During these eight months, the aboriginals stayed in the four cities without launching a single attack. This caused the Hao emperor to lower his guard. At the same time, the internal battles ongoing within the Hao Nation increasingly intensified. The Hao emperor had mobilized all his troops to suppress the rebellions.
There were very few troops guarding the north and east of the Hao Nation.
At this point in time, a huge number of aboriginal warriors marched out from the depths of the mountain range. They joined forces with Ya Peng and his troops and marched towards the imperial city of the Hao Nation. Since the living environment of these aboriginal warriors was extremely harsh and they had to face various fearsome wild beasts, their strength was much more powerful than the ordinary aboriginal troops.
Along the way, they attacked every city they came across and crossed every river they encountered. The two most difficult passes were opened up for them in the middle of the night. It turned out that the military advisor had arranged some men inside without them knowing.
Using only ten days, the aboriginal troops fought all the way to the imperial city and executed the Hao emperor in front of everyone.
Initially, Ya Peng and the aboriginals just wanted to seek revenge and seize the necessary resource of salt. In the end, under the manipulation of the military advisor, they annihilated the Hao Nation.
When the Hao emperor saw the military advisor, he was extremely shocked. When he knew he saw the military advisor for the aboriginals, he went crazy and revealed everything.
It was at this moment that everyone knew this military advisor was the same person that encouraged the Hao Nation's emperor to seize 100 girls from the aboriginals and poison the salt flat.
The military advisor did not stop him or defend himself. He let the Hao emperor let everything out.
After the Hao emperor finished talking, the military advisor revealed another shocking information. The rebellions that broke out in Hao Nation were actually arranged by him. He had connections with several of the rebel armies.
His aim was to destroy the Hao Nation.
He had planned everything for fifteen long years: including these two years of planning for the military campaigns, it would be a total of seventeen years.
By now, it could be said that everyone was played by him, be it the Hao emperor, the aboriginals, or even the rebel armies.
Those rebellious armies thought that the aboriginals were trying to seek revenge. This was something that the military advisor had kept on emphasizing to them. They also did not expect the aboriginals to attack the imperial city and establish a nation. This kind of thing had never happened before in the past. If it weren't for a blood feud, the aboriginals wouldn't have marched out of that mountain range.