"Command them to issue a circular in Du Shi Qing's name. Get in touch with the aristocratic clan sects which used to favor Du Shi Qing! Keep in mind the things we have agreed upon; you have to say exactly the same to them!"
Diwu Qing Rou spoke with confidence, "This will not decide the outcome of war. However, we will obtain a lot of manpower. That will greatly strengthen us!"
"Also, spread this rumor — Du Shi Qing has gone missing… Do you know how?" Diwu Qing Rou was talking idly about important matters as he organized the plans.
He contemplated and realized that it would be very difficult to win this war even if his wisdom, and Great Zhao's manpower and resources were put to use.
[I must win… no matter what.]
He was engrossed in his little smug moment. Suddenly, he noticed that Jing Meng Hun's complexion had turned pale. His body was also shivering slightly, while his forehead was covered in cold sweat.
"Seems like something's up. What is it?" He couldn't help but inquire.
Jing Meng Hun was sweating profusely. This First King level expert could no longer stand steadily. He spoke in a stammering voice, "Prime Minister, there... there is a little... a little problem..."
"Hmm?" Diwu Qing Rou's complexion turned pale.
He was feeling a pang of sadness in his heart.
[What time is it now? — The time to boost morale! And you are stammering and looking all flustered… Isn't that an indication of something inauspicious? Moreover, would it not give rise to bad thoughts in everyone's mind if a man of your stature behaves in such a way?]
"What is the problem, King Level Master Jing?" Diwu Qing Rou's looked at him keenly. It seemed as if a hawk was looking at its prey.
"Prime Minister, I have something to report..." Jing Meng Hun knew that he could not drag it any longer. He fell to his knees and said, "This subordinate is guilty... Du Shi Qing's family members mysteriously disappeared a few days ago... I sent many groups to investigate, but didn't find anything..."
Diwu Qing Rou's hand had been stroking his beard; suddenly, it stopped moving.
This was a very strange feeling.
Diwu Qing Rou's painstaking efforts to create the atmosphere of decisive battle… the sense of urgency… the feeling of sure-shot victory… the confident war planning — all this was suddenly destroyed beyond repair.
This situation could be compared to that of a person who has diarrhea and is squatting to flood the latrine pit… However, just when it was about to happen… that person suddenly had constipation… His rear got choked and nothing came out…
Diwu Qing Rou had an impulse to kick Jing Meng Hun to death as he saw him kneel. Jing Meng Hun had knelt only twice in front of Diwu Qing Rou.
The first time was when he had joined Diwu Qing Rou. Now was the second time. Diwu Qing Rou usually didn't allow Jing Meng Hun to kneel since he held the authority of the First King Level Master of Golden Horse Riders Department.
However, Jing Meng Hun was on his knees since he was aware of the affects of this incident… and the sort of reaction it would provoke out of Diwu Qing Rou...
This is why he didn't hide the incident, and told about it.
He could have waited to explain later if it was an ordinary situation. After all, it was too much to blurt out on such an occasion. However, Diwu Qing Rou had included Du Shi Qing's family members in his plans.
Jing Meng Hun was familiar with Diwu Qing Rou's character and working methods — Diwu Qing Rou always advanced step-by-step; while fortifying each step! He arranged each and every matter with his own hands. Even an insignificant matter could turn into a big-bad thing that could ruin the entire nation when pushed forward by Diwu Qing Rou. Even a small conflict could turn so significant that it could topple high-ranking imperial officials from their position of power under Diwu Qing Rou's supervision.
Du Shi Qing's matter was raised at such an advanced stage of discussion… after waiting for so long… What did it represent? It represented the importance of Du Shi Qing's strong backing to supplement their war potential. Moreover, it was related to their war plans. Diwu Qing Rou would've deployed dozens of war generals to exploit the matter of 'the disappearance of a saintly doctor' as a tool for victory if Jing Meng Hun had executed the plan properly.
These high-ranking generals would leave the capital once the meeting came to an end. They would rush to the places where their respective troops were stationed the same night. Afterwards, they would exhaust themselves into making preparations as per Diwu Qing Rou's war plans.
In other words, Du Shi Qing's matter would be treated as a military mission.
But, what would he do when the time of Du Shi Qing's family emergence would come…?
This could shake the morale of the Three Armies, and might have serious repercussion.
Therefore, Jing Meng Hun didn't dare to hide it. Moreover, he could only say it on the spot! Otherwise, Diwu Qing Rou would've made unpredictable changes in his plans, and the consequences could've been serious and beyond redemption.
"Disappeared..." Diwu Qing Rou's eyes flashed. He gently put his hand down. He exhaled a long breath and said, "Gone missing... I see... they have gone missing..."
Then, he chuckled and said, "It's not a big deal. It was just supposed to be an icing on the cake. There will be no loss even if it's not a part of the plan. King Level Master Jing shouldn't take it very seriously."
Diwu Qing Rou's forbearance was exceptional. His facial expression turned calm in the blink of an eye even after hearing such news. The fluctuations in his facial expressions were unnoticeable if not looked carefully.
[This thing has already happened. Scolding or punishing Jing Meng Hun in everyone's presence would only make it worse. This might also affect the morale of the troops because these military general might start to feel that 'everything has gone out of Prime Minister Diwu's control'. That would really be awful.]
Therefore, Diwu Qing Rou displayed calmness… as if this matter was not worth mentioning.
However, Jing Meng Hun knew that he was going to be miserable soon.
It was estimated that he would be dealt with in the most horrible of ways as soon as this conference ended.
"We will proceed with the meeting now," Diwu Qing Rou smiled. He turned towards everyone and was about to speak when he realized that he could no longer use the speech he had prepared. …he was unable to continue for a moment.
This sudden bad-news had made a fool out of him.
"Ah..." Suddenly, an idea came to his mind. He sighed and said, "I had been planning to make use of this matter for a long time. It was not really important. However, it could help reduce the casualties of our officers and soldiers if the war broke out."
Diwu Qing Rou's eyes were full of pain and sorrow. He looked at the generals and said, "This matter is inadequate now. I am very disappointed even though this matter is insignificant." His voice sounded extremely honest and sincere.
"Prime Minister, please do not worry about it. Even if this is inadequate now, you still have us. We will never disappoint you. Prime Minster, we will always be by your side," Han Bu Chu spoke like a typical sidekick. He had hastily stood up as he saw that the atmosphere had become depressing.
He knew that Diwu Qing Rou needed someone to interrupt and comfort him. Of course, Diwu Qing Rou did not need to be comforted. However, he definitely needed such a pretext.
"Right! I feel lively again… all thanks to you!" Diwu Qing Rou looked at him appreciatively. Then he continued, "How do you to fight in a war? With swords? With weapons? No! It's the people who fight in a war!
"Our soldiers are going on the expedition to unite the lands under the heaven! Each and every one of these men has a mother and a father who have raised them as their flesh and blood. They have a loving wife, children, and respectable parents waiting for them back home! However, they abandon everything and enlist in the army to go to the battlefield during the war… but for what?
"They do this for the Great Zhao! For our dream of uniting the world! For their homeland! To protect their nation!" Diwu Qing Rou said as his eyes turned red. His voice was full of pain as he said, "Countless capable soldiers have laid down their lives in that ice-cold battlefield ever since I — Diwu Qing Rou — assumed command of the army. …those valiant men have turned into a pile of bones. But their heroic souls still fly above our military flag…
"I cherish them!" Diwu Qing Rou looked towards the generals with eyes full of emotions, "I, Diwu Qing Rou, cherish them! For my officers, for my brothers, for my fellow soldiers, for my ministers! I, Diwu Qing Rou, am willing to use all sorts of crafty plots and schemes… just in order to attain a safe living space where they all can live in peace.
"I, Diwu Qing Rou, am willing to bear an evil reputation for them. I am more than willing to use any means beyond the battlefield… even if it is despicable and dirty. I will gladly bear all these charges… And that is because each of my arrangements and conspiracies can save many of my soldiers from dying.
"And I can do anything to achieve this goal!" Diwu Qing Rou said in a sorrowful tone, "I shall conspire even if I have to use my own blood to fuel it. It will be worthwhile if it can save even one soldier from dying.
"Therefore, I am very disappointed by King Level Master Jing's mistake…" Diwu Qing Rou raised his head and closed his eyes. He continued, "… because this will get hundreds or perhaps thousands of my brothers killed in the battlefield. I… am unwilling to let that happen!
"I am unwilling to let that happen! I am unwilling to let go, ah..." Diwu Qing Rou caressed his chest and heaved a long sigh. His voice was hoarse. It seemed as if it had come straight from the depths of his heart.
"Prime Minister!" More than 30 high-ranking officers and generals of the Great Zhao stood up, and knelt down before Diwu Qing Rou; a neat clamor echoed in the hall.
Everyone's eyes were filled with glistening tears since their emotions had been stirred up.
Diwu Qing Rou's speech didn't come off as an argument or an excuse. However, it did a splendid job of eliminating the doubts from everyone's minds.
Only a good commander empathizes with his soldiers and cares about the life of each and every one of his subordinates.
Soldiers go thousands of miles away from their homeland to break through the enemy lines. They get thirsty, covered in blood, stranded, and sleep in their saddles. There's no guarantee of them living tomorrow even if they are alive now! But what do they do this for?
Their monthly pay cannot even buy them a 'cup of the tea' the nobles drink. However, they still put their lives on the line. For what?
Sometimes, a letter from the hometown can make the entire camp wail at the same time. Sometimes a proclamation letter of breaking off the engagement can depress the entire battalion. Sometimes, such iron-blooded men die together at the hands of the enemy…
…these soldiers hadn't even succeeded in obtaining rank, fame or fortune. Their future and fate could betray them at any time. What they really needed was recognition. They wanted someone to understand and acknowledge their sacrifice. Only that could support these soldiers in persevering the thousands of miles of that border region.
And Diwu Qing Rou's speech had been like the highest form of recognition and praise.
All the great generals felt sour inside their noses as a warm feeling nestled in their hearts. If this speech would be relayed to the troops… then it would be enough to make every soldier of the Great Zhao to charge forward and break through the enemy lines for Diwu Qing Rou. They wouldn't bat an eye even if they were to die!
They would die with a smile on the faces if they came to know that they would be putting their lives-on-the-line for such a commander.
This speech was more effective than any pre-war mobilization speech!