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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

vyshan

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Yes, the older weapons have their flaws, but an old weapon is surely better than no weapon.
A weapon is a weapon and the villagers need all that they can get.

Even in the midst of a greater crisis, people still have their own personal struggles as well. Hopefully Bei Lin's spat with her father doesn't develop into a deeper, more serious rift; it's always tragic when a family tears itself apart.

And as for the bigger picture, I can't help but suspect that the Great Teacher's generosity comes with certain strings attached. Nevertheless, given that the village will likely soon be fighting for its own survival soon, it's not really an offer they can easily refuse.
Yea, even in crisis people have their own conflicts and dramas. The Yiguandao faith certainly has disrupted some of the things in the village, especially when you have people like Bei Lin convert. As for the conflict with her father, one will have to wait and see how that is resolved.

In regards to Zhang Tianran, next chapter shall show more about what is going on there. Though to the villagers there were no strings attached, but most of them have little understanding of politics that are shaping the nation. To them it was a gift by a generous man, but he didn't take over Shandong without also being skilled in politics.


Also I am wondering on feedback for my writing, things that can help me become a better writer. :)
 
Last edited:

Specialist290

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Also I am wondering on feedback for my writing, things that can help me become a better writer.
Overall I haven't noticed any thing glaringly wrong from a grammatical or "mechanical" perspective, though most style guides advise using a comma rather than a period at the end of a quote if the sentence continues. One thing that did stick out to me on a reread of the latest chapter, though:

“Do you think these extra guns will help us?” the magistrate asked Zhen.

“They aren’t modern weapons but they are weapons. A bullet from an antique kills someone just as effectively as a bullet from the latest gun.” Zhen said.

“True, so with the guns we got in the past and these guns, we might just stand a chance.” The magistrate stated.

“I have been drilling the men. Thankfully the refugees have been rather good at supporting our militia.” Zhen said.

“All the help will be needed” the magistrate said.

“Have we received any word from the government?” Zhen asked, with the sort of hope that he knew would not come.

“No. the country is in chaos from the countryside to the capital. We should not expect any soldiers from the government to arrive any time soon.” the Magistrate said.

“Let us hope then that when the battle dawns, the bandits will not be supported themselves.” Zhen said.

“Agreed. I recommend you begin the fortifications for the attack, they could come soon and we want to make sure that they can’t just take the place.” the magistrate said.

“Very well. I shall have the refugees and militia build a wall.” Zhen said and then left to ensure that such a fortification was prepared.
When it's clear that there are only two people speaking, you probably don't need to put "he / she / X said" every single line in the conversation, though you can keep a few in every few lines or so just so the reader doesn't have to go back all the way to the beginning of the dialogue if they forget the order. I'd probably have cut a few out like so:

“Do you think these extra guns will help us?” the magistrate asked Zhen.

“They aren’t modern weapons but they are weapons. A bullet from an antique kills someone just as effectively as a bullet from the latest gun,” Zhen said.

“True, so with the guns we got in the past and these guns, we might just stand a chance.” The magistrate stated.

“I have been drilling the men. Thankfully the refugees have been rather good at supporting our militia.” Zhen said.

“All the help will be needed.” the magistrate said.

“Have we received any word from the government?” Zhen asked, with the sort of hope that he knew would not come.

“No. the country is in chaos from the countryside to the capital. We should not expect any soldiers from the government to arrive any time soon,” the Magistrate said.

“Let us hope then that when the battle dawns, the bandits will not be supported themselves.” Zhen said.

“Agreed. I recommend you begin the fortifications for the attack, they could come soon and we want to make sure that they can’t just take the place.” the magistrate said.

“Very well. I shall have the refugees and militia build a wall,” Zhen said and then left to ensure that such a fortification was prepared.
 
Chapter 11 - The Final Meeting

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Leaflets for the soldiers

Muten took a deep breath as he walked towards his superior’s office. Chen Xiaolu had summoned him to yell at him for some other problem that has fallen on him and naturally Chen was taking it out on him. Still he was his superior and he had to be shown the politeness and respect that his rank bestowed upon him even if the man did not deserve it in Muten’s opinion. As he opened the door to the office, he saluted his superior officer before the man started to yell at him.

“So Manchu Princeling, can you explain this?” Chen Xiaolu stated and slammed some of the leaflets on the table. The leaflets were inflammatory denouncing the Germans and more important Wu Pefiu, describing and illustrating Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun as the puppet of the Kaiser.

“This is the first time that I have seen them” Muten said

“They appeared in the barracks of the men under your command.”

“You state that…” there was an unstated threat in the air from Xiaolu’s words.

“With the chaos in the city, I have been having my men do whatever we can to keep order. If anything they were likely confiscated from people trying to spread dissent among the populace.” This was not a lie in the slightest. The city was in chaos and focus was on keeping order and a good bit of dissent had been taken by the men from the populace.

“Find out who it is or it will be on your head. I want whoever is behind it punished and disciplined.” ‘Of course he wanted both’ Muten thought.

“As you command, sir, it will be done.”

“Good if it is not done in the next few days, it will be on your shoulders.” The tone of Xiaolu’s words stated clearly that this wouldn’t just be a demotion, it would be an execution. Muten saluted his officer and then left the room. Thankfully he was able to sway his captain to give him a couple of days and in a few days Xiaolu would no longer be a concern to him. Soon it would be the other way around.

The Final Meeting
Muten was not sure of this meeting as he headed to the tea shop. It was a small private chamber in the back. Here he was to meet with several others of this plot to oust the Zhili. He knew what must be done and he hoped others did as well. He was aware of whom most of them were due to correspondences, still this meeting was to be held and the plan was to be put fully into motion.

“Let's get down to business, we do not have much time here.” Zhang Yi mentioned.

“Did the Baoding operation proceed as planned? Sun Xing asked.

“It did.” Muten said.

“Good. That is one thing we do not have to worry about.” Xing replied. He was referring to the mission to help evacuate the university overnight. While Muten was not involved in that operation, he was well aware of it.

“What about Zhang Tianran will he and his men arrive in time?” Sun Xing questioned.

“Hard to say. My reports have him and his men giving out supplies freely to villages on his march to the capital.” Zhang Yi said.

“Freely? He is expecting nothing in return?” Sun Xing asked.

“Don’t be naive. Giving them freely away ensures loyalty to him. We will have to be careful in the future or else we may find the peasants rising up against us.” Li Jinyuan said.

“Just we need a fanatic with a peasant army.” Muten commented.

“Thankfully he is on our side.” Sun Xing said.

“What of the telegrams and radio?” Yi asked.

“I made sure that they are no longer an issue.” Jinyuan said.

“I do hope they remain the case.” Yi said.

“They shall.” Li added.

“Finally, there is the matter of the emperor. Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun have been summoned to meet with the son of heaven himself.” Sun Xing stated.

“Then we must be prepared. This could go splendidly for us or it could come crashing down on us.” Li Jinyuan said.

“I will be in the forbidden city.” Muten said. Left unsaid but which was clear to everyone was that Muten would be there to keep an eye on the emperor and protect him from Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun.

“The National Assembly shall be secured.” Zhang Yi stated.

“Remember we have but one chance at doing this and saving China.” Yi said.

“Good. we all know what we must do.” Muten said.
 

stnylan

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I hope that they are not being overconfident.
 

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I hope that they are not being overconfident.
Find out in the future... ;)

It's a race against time -- and Muten has more at stake than most.
Indeed. If the plan fails I doubt the Zhili will be kind to the manchu nobility should the plot fail.

Also I apologize for the shortness of this chapter. Next one should be longer.
 
Chapter 12 - The Battle Of Jianzhou

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The burning of the fields

The army of the Bandit Xu Weizhou had arrived and now was the moment Chen Zhen had ensured that the village was not going down without a fight. The village was barricaded. The village had been turned into a makeshift military commandery. Bei Lin along with Yifeng and some of the refugees had set up a hospital near the center of the village. While they had few supplies of Medicine they had enough they hoped and prayed that it would be enough. Both Wu Quanxu and Jiang Wu were there supporting them. The militia were along the walls armed with all the weapons that they could have gathered. The sounds of the Bandit force arriving had caused them to sound the alarm. One of the militiamen ran to the tallest watchtower and began to sound the bells and alarm.

“Everyone inside now!” Chen Zhen shouted upon hearing the alarm and then turned to one of the militia men. “Get everyone in the fields in the town. I don’t care if you have to drag them into the town. Get them inside now or they will be dead. The Bandits shall spare us no mercy.”

The militia man ran off to the fields and soon the vast majority of the farmers and villagers who were working the fields had managed to get inside the barricaded village. Then they saw the force of the bandit army. Chen Zhen was unsure just how big it was but it was larger than any force that he saw or dealt with. Ancestors preserve it was a large force.

The villagers watched as the farms and fields that they worked on were burned to the ground, the crops that they had started to plant burned to ash and ruin. Then came the screams of dying men. It turned out that not everyone was able to get behind the walls in time. The Bandit Captain himself took out his sword and used it to slice open the heads of those unfortunate to be caught outside. The screams of dead and dying men and women could be heard by the men and women guarding the walls and then they went silent. It was the silence that creeped him out the most.

“Remember your training!” Chen Zhen shouted and leveled his rifle at the opposing force.

For a long moment that lasted just a couple of minutes yet felt like it went on for an eternity, no one fired a single shot. Chen Zhen had told them to preserve their ammo till they were in range. Then a gun went off. Chen Zhen was unsure if it was his side or the bandits but in either case a firefight was now upon him. Soon bullets went flying throughout the village.

“Keep your head down” He shouted as he shot his rifle.

After a few moments of intense firing the bandits suddenly stopped firing. It was here that Chen Zhen could hear the groans of anguish from the men who had been shot during the engagement. A couple of the men were dragged over towards the makeshift hospital that had been set up.

“Have we won?” A villager said next to him. A bit nervous but hopeful that the answer would be yes.

“No. This is a trap of some sort but I am not quite sure what.” Zhen answered back.

Then one of the villagers came running as fast as he could and spoke. “Zhen. they are coming by the river. They have river boats.”

That explained everything. They were waiting to draw out the soldiers. Yet this could obviously not be ignored. He grabbed his gun and pointed to Weijia and said “Weijia you command the wall till I get back. We must not let this break. I will deal with the ships.”

Blood on the River
Chen Zhen raced over towards the docks of the village as he did so he spotted Zhang Tielin standing guard watching the bandit boat come closer. There were two boats and they were filled with even more bandits. If they arrived at the village then it would be all over. The village couldn’t hold at against such a force. Then he saw his friend Tielin and an idea came to him.

“Tielin do you still have any of the fireworks left from the New Years?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how they can help us.” he said.

“I want them placed on several barges and sent towards the bandits.”

It was at that point that Tielin broke out in a grin. Clearly delighting in this plan.

“Let's make Guan Yu proud.” he replied and then raced after the fireworks. Zhen and Tielin were hurrying to pack them onto the river boats as fast as they could. While they were packing them on to the tiny fishing boats, bullets started whizzing through the air from all sides from the barricade at the entrance to the village to the river. Groans and yells soon added to the sound of gun fire.

“Jiayin can you light the ships?” Zhen shouted towards Li Jiayin. The man grabbed his bow and lit the arrow on fire and shot three arrows one right after another onto the fishing boats as they approached the bandit barge. For a moment the sounds of battle seemed to stop.

Then there was a loud kaboom and high pitch whirl as the fireworks blew up the bandits boat. The sound of the explosions was deafening all the bullets and the screams from both the bandits and the villagers seemed so distant to Zhen. then the sounds came roaring back that seemed just as deafening. Despite the day the sky was a light with the sparks and colors that the fireworks made. The river turned red from the blood. Then there was another explosion as the bandit motor exploded. Zhen and the villagers ducked from all the shrapnel that was sent flying.

Death and Flames
Chen Zhen rushed back to the barricades, the gate had been forced open and bullets were firing into the barricade with force. As the bandits rushed into the village, the villagers fled backwards to their homes and the buildings of the village itself as cover from the bullets flying above. Chen Zhen had used the local tea house as cover shooting from behind the wooden walls and using the window to fire back at the bandits. This would go on for an hour as the two sides shot at one another.

Then the Bandits started to pull back beyond the gates of the village. It was at this moment that Chen Zhen heard one of them shout, “Xu Weizhou is dead!”

That news boosted the morale of the villagers as they saw them retreating. They charged after them and bullets kept firing. Some of the militiamen who were equipped with spears impaled the bandits. Soon the bandits were in the trucks that they had used to drive here and the few survivors were speeding away. Watching them leave. No one could believe it.

“Victory!” A villager shouted. Then another and another. Soon the whole village was shouting ‘Victory’.

Yet for their victory, not all was good. They had won a major battle now came the time to assess the damage. The crops and fields were burned, the fishing boats had gone kaboom. Chen Zhen walked towards the hospital and saw a number of men and at least one girl under Lin’s care. Their groans and agony was palatable. Elsewhere along the village he had noticed that some of the villagers were laying still on the barricade. Then there were the poor men who got captured early in the day. As the sun started to set he knew he would have to begin digging graves for the fallen men. He hoped this was the last of bloodshed like this he would have to see.
 

stnylan

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A victory, but hardwon. Let us hope it is not an empty or fruitless one.

He's shown quite a bit of initiative in a stressful situation as well.
 

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The fields have been burned, and many good men lie dead, but the village itself has been saved thanks to Chen Zhen's quick thinking. That should at least buy them some time to rebuild what they can, and maybe even find or negotiate for new stockpiles to replace their lost harvest.
 

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A victory, but hardwon. Let us hope it is not an empty or fruitless one.

He's shown quite a bit of initiative in a stressful situation as well.
Well these bandits are done with but remember this is the warlord era. And don't forget across the sea lies the empire of Japan....

The fields have been burned, and many good men lie dead, but the village itself has been saved thanks to Chen Zhen's quick thinking. That should at least buy them some time to rebuild what they can, and maybe even find or negotiate for new stockpiles to replace their lost harvest.
Yea, the village is saved now to rebuild it before another conflict arises.
 

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Well these bandits are done with but remember this is the warlord era. And don't forget across the sea lies the empire of Japan...
Aye indeed. That is what I meant about it being empty or fruitless. This is not a world where one can long expect to weather the storm.
 
Chapter 13 - Protecting the Emperor

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Chapter 13 - Protecting the Emperor


[The throne room in the Palace of Heavenly Purity]

While Muten knew the real reason he was at the forbidden city, there was a second personal reason for being her. That being the Princess Yunxin. One of the youngest sisters to the emperor, despite the chaos afflicting the land, it was she who put him at ease. Today though was not the day was going to be the case. Cao Kun and Wu Pefiu were going to meet with the Emperor and it was likely to be bloody. He kept his pistol close at hand. Still he did want to spend some time with the princess.

Upon seeing Yunxin, she ran over to him smiling. She bowed towards him and he bowed towards her. It was clear that she was happy to see him and despite the dark circumstances that he knew were going to go down, Muten was glad to see her as well.

“It is so good to see you”

“I wish we could spend more time together but the city is still in chaos.”

“Come I will have a servant prepare tea for us.”

She took his hand and guided him towards her wing of the Forbidden city, which was in the inner sanctum of the city as she was a princess. Muten was thankful that he would be able to keep an eye upon the road towards the palace itself. As they arrived, one of her handmaidens began to brew the tea. After a couple of minutes she poured two cups of silver needle tea for Muten and Yunxin.

“I do hope that the chaos of the city will come to a close soon. I heard some peasants sought to burn the gates of the Forbidden City before the soldiers arrived.”

“Don’t we all.But even after the city is restored to order it likely means I will be off to fight, either in the south where chaos is reigning or in the north.”

“If only things were like the old days.”

“If things were like the old days, there would be no cinema.” Muten said, smiling as he sipped his tea.

“Perhaps when this chaos is all over I can star in my own movie.”

“Well you are a princess, perhaps you could. It could even be a racing film.”

“A film of me racing, now that would be something to watch.”

“Indeed. Hopefully there will be some downtime between restoring order to the city and restoring order to the country, so we can drive the cars again.”

“I will beat you.”

As he sipped his tea from the palace, he noticed that Cao Kun and Wu Pefiu walked past the main path towards the imperial palace. They were flanked by a number of attendees. While Muten could not see their guns he did not doubt that they had them on. The feeling of lightness faded and he knew today was the day of truth. The princess looked over towards the window.

“Oh those two. It's nothing to worry about. You need to relax more.”

She made his heart calm and light but it was clear she did not know what was coming. She was naive and blissfully ignorant of this plot and for that he was glad. Muten was prepared to take life but he didn’t want Yunxin’s hands to be stained with blood. He took a breath and then smiled sweetly to her. “You are right it is nothing to worry about.”

“I do hope that I can drive again. With all the chaos I have been cooped up in the city and I want some freedom. It's why I like driving. I can go as fast as I want.”

“When this is over, I promise we can go and drive around.”

“You promise?

“That I do.”

No sooner had he said those words, then the sound of gunfire broke the mood and caused chaos throughout the emperor. Screams sounded throughout the room.

“Fuck!” Muten swore under his breath. The guards in the room were mostly ceremonial from his few visits to the emperor. The actual imperial bodyguards with guns often were fewer. But moreover this was an ambush.

“What is going?”

“Your brother is in danger.” Muten said in a rapid tone as he stood up.

“What..but...Cao and Wu wouldn’t.” the tone in her voice was utterly confused and nervous. However nervous she was showing, it was clear that she was starting to grasp at the last moment what was going on.

“I shall see you soon, do not worry”

With those words he sprinted down the hall and towards the throne room. He had no idea how much time he had. He quickly pulled out his pistol and slammed in the magazine into his pistol and cocked it as he rushed down the hall. The sound of bullet fire getting louder and louder.

As he rushed into the imperial palace it was an utter chaos and bullets flying everywhere. He ducked behind one of the ancient pillars. Several of the imperial guards lay on the ground. Precisely artifacts were broken and filled with holes as if they were swiss cheese. Meanwhile a manchu guard slammed his sword into a Zhili guard and then grabbed the zhili’s pistol and shot another one in the face before getting shot in the head by another one of Wu’s guards.

Muten fired his pistol as often as he could into the Zhili guards. He was trying to find Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun.Muten himself kept firing into the crowd of Zhili soldiers. Running out of bullets he rolled from pillar to pillar and grabbed a pistol of a dead Zhili soldier and shot another one in the face. As he fired a bullet would lodge itself into his shoulder though he kept firing at the guards.

After an hour or two of firing the battle came to an end. As the battle came to an end the adrenaline coursing through his veins returned to normal levels and as such the pain roared against him. Grunting in agony from being shot in the shoulder, he took the time to survey the battlefield.

The throne room was an utter mess. Manchu guards and Zhili guards lay on the ground dead. Among the bodies was the captain of the Imperial guard as well as Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun. The room was covered with bullets. Priceless artifacts dating centuries back were smashed and filled with bullet holes. The ancient pillars were covered in bullet holes. In short the throne room for the son of heaven was utterly trashed.

“Go tell his majesty… that.. He is safe.” Muten shouted at one of the servants slumping against the pillar in pain. The Servant bowed and then ran off to find the Emperor. Muten took the time to rip off some of the dead Zhili’s soldier uniform and tie a bandage around his arm.

A short time later the emperor enters the throne room. He is flanked by his brother Pujie as well as several imperial bodyguards all carrying submachine guns. The emperor is nervous and appalled at all the bloodshed as gazes down at the bodies. Seeing the emperor, Muten immediately stands up and then kowtows before him, while he is still in pain from the battle he does the best to mask it as he kowtows to the emperor.

“Dearest Brother, I believe it’s time for you to make a speech” Pujie says towards his brother.

“I,” Puyi begins to reply, his voice uncertain, “I am not sure I can do that.”

Pujie looks to give a reply when the doors are thrown open and Li Bingzhi walks in. At first the guns are drawn to the general. Muten was well aware of Li, he was one of the higher ranking generals in the army. It was long suspected that he had monarchist sympathies but he was also a member of the Zhili clique like many in the army. The guards were concerned that another confrontation with the Zhili was about to begin. That was until Li kowtowed to Puyi, his face nearly touching the floor.

“Your Imperial Majesty, the City is being secured as we speak. However, Jiang Baili and several other Zhili generals have retreated to Luoyang! They are planning a campaign to destroy us and take Beijing!” Li said. Muten wondered if Chen Xiaolu was among those who fled south. Knowing Xiaolu the answer was almost certainly yes and the next time that the two met would be on the field of battle.

This news brought relief to the imperial guards and the emperor’s brother who lowered their guns. Pujie moves over to Puyi and whispers something to him. Muten wasn’t sure what it was. While he had spent time with their sister, the emperor himself or his brother was another matter altogether. Puyi took a deep breath and then walked outside. His bodyguards followed, followed by his brother and then Li Bingzhi and Muten. A number of people had gathered outside the throne room. Nearly everyone who was in the imperial city that day was there wanting to know what happened and if the Emperor was alright. Puyi nervously attempts to gather himself before speaking.

“I, the Xuantong Emperor, Son of Heaven, formally proclaim any members of the Zhili clique who do not swear fealty to me by tomorrow no-” Puyi’s voice cracks and he takes a moment to steady himself before speaking again, “Who do not do so by tomorrow noon to be traitors to the Great Qing!”
 
Last edited:

Specialist290

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The first act of the coup appears to have gone off relatively smoothly, as such things go. The Emperor is safe, surrounded by his Manchu "rescuers," and Muten has a nice story he can tell about how he rescued his princess from the captivity of the evil militarists (with a few embellishments, I'm sure ;) ).

That being said, it sounds like the Zhili clique isn't entirely out of the fight yet -- and even if they can be defeated or held off, who knows what sorts of jackals and vultures might swoop in and try to fill the power vacuum (and deal with inconvenient loose ends) now that the de jure central authority has collapsed entirely?
 

stnylan

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Well that worked out tolerably well for our conspirators.
 

vyshan

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The first act of the coup appears to have gone off relatively smoothly, as such things go. The Emperor is safe, surrounded by his Manchu "rescuers," and Muten has a nice story he can tell about how he rescued his princess from the captivity of the evil militarists (with a few embellishments, I'm sure ;) ).

That being said, it sounds like the Zhili clique isn't entirely out of the fight yet -- and even if they can be defeated or held off, who knows what sorts of jackals and vultures might swoop in and try to fill the power vacuum (and deal with inconvenient loose ends) now that the de jure central authority has collapsed entirely?
Yea, the Zhili aren't out of the fight yet and most of the Qing terrtiory is under their control. Don't forget the Fengtian Clique and Japanese support is to to the north and to the south you got the warlords whom are republican who seek to overthrow the Qing. The fight to restore china still has a long way to go.

Well that worked out tolerably well for our conspirators.
So far that has been the case indeed.
 
Chapter 14 - Liberating Handan

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The news coming from Beijing was contradictory beyond all measure. First was the report that Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun attempted to kill the Emperor but failed. Then there was the talk no, that was actually false rumors. What really happened was that they killed the emperor and proclaimed the Republic of China. Some rumors said it was KMT terrorists who killed the emperor. Others said, no that isn’t true, the KMT terrorists killed the Jade Marshall. Ren Jiyu wasn’t sure what to believe coming out of the capital, he did know that Xu Chen was a threat to Handan and an insult to good governance and that he had to rely on the men loyal to that and not whichever faction was fighting over the capital.

Ren Jiyu though still had to deal with Xu Chen and his psychotic madness. Chen would go soon. That was clear, the chaos in the capital meant that it was going to be now or never. The work in the government to oust Xu Chen was ongoing. He hoped that this worked because if it failed then his whole family would be executed by the psychotic killer. The bureaucracy had been turned against Xu Chen, Jiyu knew that many of his fellow ministers and bureaucrats could stand Jiang because he at least had the sense to have orderly government, but Xu Chen was a whirlwind of chaos and alienated the ministers. The proclamation from Puyi gave them the justification for arresting Xu Chen.

As Jiyu made his way with soldiers behind him to arrest Xu Chen. Zhang Jin was with him marching with the soldiers. His mind was racing with numerous thoughts as he approached the ministry. Would this succeed? Will his wife and daughter be safe? Will this bring peace to Handan? How would Beijing react? What is Jiang going to do? All these thoughts and more raced through his head. He took a deep breath and pushed the door to the Ministry opened.

The workers at the ministry were surprised and the vast majority of them quickly moved out of the way of the soldiers as they marched through the halls. Jiyu looked around the ministry and walked towards one of the secretaries that was trying to get out of the way. She had a panicked expression upon her face as he approached.

“Miss, Which floor is Xu Chen on today?”

“The… The fourth.”

“Thank you. Word of Advice, I would head home for the day.”

With that Jiyu and the soldiers began to climb the stairs. They split up into several columns and moved to the different stairs in the building this way Chen’s escape would be cut off. The soldiers had their guns at the ready as they climbed up their stairs. As they checked the rooms carefully as they walked by on the fourth floor they made their way to the central room where most work was being done and where Xu Chen was holding a meeting with some other ministers. As the door slammed open Xu Chen shouted back, “What is the meaning of this?”

“By the order of the Son of Heaven himself, you are hereby under arrest Xu Chen.” Jiyu said in a serious venomous tone.

This just brought a barking laugh to the man. “The Emperor is dead. Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun killed him. Good fucking riddance to the Manchu dogs.”

“Bark all you want, you mad dog. We have the orders from Beijing.”

“You side with the Manchu barbarians over your own people. And now you think you have the power here. Guards kill him.”

The guards reached for their guns but the soldiers that Jiyu had brought with him opened fire. Jiyu for his part immediately ducked and reached for his pistol and then stood up and started to shoot every bullet into the man. The scene did not take more than a few minutes but Xu Chen was dead along with his guards.

“So much for arresting the man.” Zhang Jin retorted.

Jiyu and the soldiers made their way to the governor’s estate where Mao Jie was speaking to a large crowd of people. There were soldiers stationed throughout the area keeping an eye on the people. Zhang Jin and Ren Jiyu had to push their way through the crowd to even get close to the steps of the governor’s estate. As they approached the steps of the estate, Jie looked towards them and stepped up to speak on the radio transmitter.

“The other day, Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun attempted to assassinate the son of Heaven himself. They however failed and were killed for their treachery. The emperor in his mercy informed the members of the Zhili clique that if they denounced Wu Pefiu and Cao Kun and supported the National government then they would be forgiven for supporting the assassins. Our governor Xu Chen however refused to do such a thing. He instead ramped up his barbarity towards the people of Handan. For this action he has been deposed as acting governor. I, Mao Jie, am taking over the administrative duties of governor till elections can be held and a new governor can be elected. May we see a return to peace and prosperity. Long Live China for ten thousand years!”

As he ended his speech the journalists that were surrounding him began to take photographs of the man while the audience clapped in support. Ren Jiyu hoped that the city would actually have peace again but he was unsure. There was chaos throughout China and reports from the south were disconcerting.

Ren Jiyu for his part decided to return to his town house in the city. He thought that his life would have ended today and right now he wanted to spend time with his wife and daughter. Killing Xu Chen was the first time that he killed someone and it felt awful. The one thing that he knew would cheer him up was spending time with his family. As he returned to his home and opened the door, he hugged his wife and smiled at his daughter.

“I am glad you are safe.” His wife said holding him close.

“So am I. Awful work but it must be done.” He replied.

“Are things going to be better now, father?” his daughter asked.

“I do hope so.” He replied smiling to her.

“I heard on the radio that the Honored Teacher is helping the Emperor. No idea who he was but he sounded important. Maybe mother will be the next Honored Teacher.” She said.

“Maybe I will take that title and have you and your classmates address me as Honored Teacher Wu Xin.” His wife said in jest smiling towards their daughter and laughing about it before she went to the kitchen to begin making dinner ready for her family.
 

stnylan

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So much for an arrest indeed. But maybe it is for the best - less paperwork for sure.
 

Specialist290

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That honestly went a little more smoothly than I expected. Hopefully Mao Jie remains reliable and doesn't get corrupted by his newfound power.

I have to imagine that the same scene is probably playing out in cities all over China at this moment, some more successfully than others.
 

vyshan

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So much for an arrest indeed. But maybe it is for the best - less paperwork for sure.
Less Paperwork indeed. However the next chapter will shed some light as to his future and paperwork will be the least of it.

That honestly went a little more smoothly than I expected. Hopefully Mao Jie remains reliable and doesn't get corrupted by his newfound power.

I have to imagine that the same scene is probably playing out in cities all over China at this moment, some more successfully than others.
Yea. China is a bit chaotic atm.

Also this is going to being the end of the Book 1. Book 2 will see us dealing with going beyond the borders of the Qing. The Zhili clique must be routed and defeated and only battle will end this. Chaos looms in the south with the people trying to take over the corpse of the League of the Eight Provinces. In Sichuan a famine is underway in the land of many warlords and opium king pins. The shadow of Fengtian and Japan looms in the distance...
 
Chapter 15 - Victory and plans

vyshan

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[Emperor Pu Yi and Empress Wanrong]

It was not long later that Muten stood at the gates of the Forbidden City overlooking the city. He was standing on the Meridian Gate on the left side of the gate. Above him flying proudly for the first time were the banners of the Qing. The imperial army officers flanked the gates of the walls of the Forbidden City. Muten himself was stationed on the left side of the Wall. Muten stood tall with pride, his rifle by his side and his uniform crisp and sharp as a modern officer should be.

Down below near the gates were his family members. As Nobility they were allowed to be closest to the gates and closer to see the emperor. They wore their most elaborate and ornate robes. Clothing that many had not worn in years was being worn again. This was a day that the many Manchu clans had long awaited, the real restoration of power and status. The Zhili clique that ruled everything were gone and now the nobility can resume their role. This was a day where he felt pride in what he had helped to achieve.

Looking out over the crowd, it was a swarm of people. Everyone in the entire city had come out to see the Son of Heaven. While he lived in the capital and was used to being surrounded by a crowd of people, never before had he seen so many in one locale. People who just a decade ago were angry that the emperor was restored had now come to cheer him. Muten could not help but smile at how the change of fortune. There was much work to do in actually defeating the Zhili clique and restoring China but today was a day to celebrate.

Before the emperor arrived, the Qing national anthem played throughout the area. The beating of the drums echoed and followed by the rest of the musical instruments. As the pace of the anthem picked up speed, it would then drop as the singer began to sing the anthem. Muten glanced towards the woman and for the briefest of moments towards the singer and quickly recognized that it was Yunxin, one of the emperor’s youngest sisters. Though he stood still and in formation as was expected of him, inwardly he had a smile at just seeing her. It was clear to everyone that she had a gift for singing and even with the microphone she was crystal clear for many to hear.

Cup of solid gold,

Underneath the aegis of heaven,

All of civilization will cease to toil,

United in happiness and mirth.

As long as the Qing rules,

Our empire is emblazoned by light,

And our boundaries are vast and preserved.

The sky stretches infinitely,

The sea brims with turbulence.

Then as soon as she was done singing the drums returned and the music picked up pace again. Before there was a slower beating of drums. It was this beating that corresponded with the Emperor’s entrance at the center of the Meridian Gate. He was decked in his full imperial regalia. Following right behind him was his wife, empress Wanrong and his brother Pujie.

When the emperor arrived Muten watched as everyone kowtowed before him. As far as he could see people were kowtowing before their emperor. As Muten himself brought his face near the flow kowtowing it looked like a wave as people all kowtowed before the emperor. How much this was planned by politicians and bureaucrats and how much this was done out of genuine loyalty, Muten was unsure of. When the Emperor began to speak he spoke loudly and clearly

When the emperor arrived the crowd cheered for their emperor before they kowtowed before him. The people who once scorned his name now cheered for him. The cheer was deafening as it seemed like the entire city was happy to just get the briefest of glimpses at the emperor. It took some time for the people to quiet down as the emperor himself began to speak. Muten noticed that the man seemed rather nervous still he listened to every word.

“Recently, I was attacked by Cao Kun and Wu Peifu and I barely escaped with my life..” The emperor says pausing, while many would assume for dramatic tension, Muten believed it was out of nervousness. Nevertheless it did the trick and the crowd was suitably horrified. Pu Yi then continued. “I am Safe however! Thanks to the loyal men who stood by my side. I am merciful and know that not everyone who served under them agreed or supported their treason to China and her Emperor. So, I, the Xuantong Emperor, Son of Heaven, formally proclaim any members of the Zhili clique who do not swear fealty to me by noon tomorrow to be traitors to China! China shall be whole once more! Order shall be restored and prosperity to all shall occur!”

Muten was unsure who shouted it but soon everyone was shouting “Ten Thousand Years” while they remained kowtowing towards the emperor. The work though now was to translate this victory into real action. Muten figured that it was the comment about restoring order and prosperity that got people more excited. The past few months of chaos were just that chaotic, and the people of the capital wanted the rightful order to be restored.

A few days later, on June First, 1936, Muten was summoned to a meeting in the military headquarters. The city was still chaotic but since the emperor’s speech order was being restored to the city. As Muten walked towards the meeting, he wondered what was next. The zhili were not defeated, and the army command was in disarray. That had to change. When he arrived he recognized Li Bingzhi there as well as several fellow officers. There were several men he had no idea who they were. Muten Saluted Li as he entered.

“So you are the Officer who helped to defend the Emperor during the assassination attempt. Good to meet you.” The aging man spoke crisply but with a light sichuan accent.

“This is Yang Sen, a general from Sichuan who has pledged loyalty to the central government.” Li Bingzhi explained to Muten and the others.

“Before we proceed south we must secure the North China Plain. The territories of Chahar and Tangshan must be secured. The Border with Zhang Zhoulin’s Fengtian Clique must be reinforced lest he decides to take advantage of the chaos.” Yang stated to which others agreed.

“How many men did the Zhili take with them? Won’t we need to rebuild the command structure?” Muten asked.

“Agreed. The army structure will have to be rebuilt. Before the actions by the Zhili leadership was aging now that is even worse sad to say. Adding to the fact that many officers have refused to surrender and joined them in the south. Once the North China Plain is secured we shall take account of the army command and reorganize it.” Li explained.

“What of Shanqing, will aid from them be arriving soon?” asked another man.

“The Honored teacher is first dealing with the treacherous Chen Tiaoyuan.” The envoy from Shanqing stated.

“I thought he was on his way to Beijing.” Li asked.

“The Zhili traitors are not likely to just let him walk through their territory without harassing him and with the conflict with Anqing his focus is drawn southward.”

“So once the Zhili and the Anqing are dealt with, the Zhang Tianran shall provide the aid that he has promised us?”

“The Honored Teacher will remain true to his word.” The envoy stated.

“What of Sichuan? Will they be pledging loyalty to the Central Government?” One of the other officers spoke up.

“First they have to figure out who is even leading them. I do not know who took over after I left Sichuan for Beijing. What I do know is that their is a famine in the region and refugees have been fleeing the violence.” Yang Sen stated.

“Has any aid been dispatched?” Muten asked

“I do not know. But I shall inform the Ministries to send men to the region. Dealing with the famine will show that the emperor cares and more importantly that the central government is on their side. Hopefully whichever warlord has seized power will be motivated to align with us.” Li stated to which everyone nodded in agreement.

“I want every officer to prepare to move southward. The plains shall be secured soon and we will need to march to Luoyang and take the Zhili Citadel. We expect that there will be heavy resistance in the march south. The Zhili will have fortified the city and the Yellow river will protect them. So by your ancestors, keep the artillery that you have secure. Understood?”

“Yes sir.” The other officers, including Muten spoke aloud.

“Good you are dismissed for the day” Li said which prompted the officers to salute him in return.
 
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