Lin Dongqing’s Benevolence
Perhaps they considered their Queen’ face as something they couldn’t view. That’d explain why Shishiang didn’t dare to look up. I incorrectly assumed the boy standing beside the Queen was an aristocrat’s son when he was actually part of the royal family.
I conveyed, “Since it is your request, we cannot feign ignorance. We will come and assist as per your request. With that said, out of consideration for you, I think you do not want others to know that you asked foreigners to partake in this war. As such, we will not directly involve ourselves. However, we will provide you with firearms, gunpowder and an instructor. That will give your outnumbered forces an advantage. In addition, our navy can provide you with cannons and cannon fire support to harass their rear lines.”
“Is that it?”
The Queen was displeased with the help we provided. That was the best we could do, though, as I didn’t know what the deal with the ships that appeared of nowhere was. If it was just a trick Sisi came up with, I couldn’t send our soldiers to their deaths. To add, we didn’t stand to gain anything from their internal conflict. We could get everything we wanted from the negotiations. Hence, there was no reason for us to exchange our soldiers’ lives for it.
I solemnly explained, “That is the best we can do. Could it be that you and your nation would bow your heads to allow another nation’s army to come here? Also, is this not beneficial to you? If our army refuses to leave once they are here, would you be able to drive them out? I made the decision taking you into account.”
“I am not convinced that you would be considerate of me.”
“That is not something that I need to prove. I am purely naming my conditions. We can only provide you with that much assistance. The rest will be funds and supplies. I am not Queen Sisi. I do not have the authority to command her military.”
Queen Sisi might provide them with more help later on, though it wasn’t something I could promise on the spot without her permission. The Queen understood that there was a limit to what I could make calls on, as well. The Queen could ask for more reinforcements afterwards, but she had to play to my rhythm given the status quo and time limitations.
“All right, then. I shall agree to your terms. In saying that, let me make it clear that my demands are also very simple. My nation must remain intact. I can give you money but not land. I will not budge on that. Even if you take our land, my citizens will force you to give up.”
Despite not knowing what she had in mind, I didn’t think she had any contrivances or plan to lower herself. She was defeated, yet made bold statements. Nevertheless, I needed something more important, so I needed to discuss the next matter.
“Then, we need to ensure that our businessmen and explorers will be treated friendly and fairly while they are here. If they err, we ask that you communicate with us so that we may resolve it together as opposed to you killing them of your own volition. Additionally, I hope you can provide our businessmen with freedom and a chance to compete. I ask that you do not force our businessman to lower their fees and prices unreasonably or limit us. We ask that we can come and go freely. As I said, we never had any intention of occupying your land. We merely want to communicate with you as you normally would. You finally believe our intent, right?’
The Queen blankly glanced at the boy, who shook his head subtly. Shishiang only dared to get a glimpse of me from the ground. That was enough to show his strong distrust, though. The Queen turned back to me.
“Are you certain that this is your Queen’s will? Are you sure that you can confirm these terms and conditions and will not go back on your word?”
“If we were going to renege on our word, I would not be here to have a peace talk with you and attacking you instead. I can guarantee that everything I have said is approved. If you do not believe me, I can sign an agreement with you now, and it will represent Her Majesty.”
“Let us sign an agreement, then. I can accept your terms and conditions. I shall allow your businessmen to be active here. However, if we discover that your soldiers have disguised themselves as businessmen to carry out hostile activities in our territory, we will punish them.”
“I can guarantee that will not happen.”
Notwithstanding my guarantees and offer to sign an agreement, the Queen still doubted me, not that I could blame her. I didn’t expect someone who needs to start paying the victor just because she lost to understand the way we thought. I was confident that lots of factories would pop up in their nation. Our nation alone couldn’t consume as much as we produced.
We needed their market. Very soon, their economy would depend entirely on premium products without the premium price tags. Those in their nation who went bankrupt as a result would become our employees. At which point, they’d cease to exist as anything more than a name. That was my true aim. Occupation and conquest are meaningless. Control is king. If you push too hard, the people will be apprehensive and might even resist. To the contrary, people could never oppose a nation that provided cheap goods and food. Moreover, we didn’t invade their nation.
I didn’t and don’t believe that any two nations’ peace talk agreement would be signed so fast and casually. A negotiation that would’ve usually taken months to be inked and signed was completed overnight. I practically used all of my fuel and motivation on the agreement. I split hairs of every semantic, but the agreement would go on to keep their nation loyal to the empire for decades and centuries in the future.
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