Phailak wrote:Lai nodded to the Commander's words, thinking it wise to let the argument die with his final retort instead of adding more fuel to the fire. It did amuse Lai that Guang would assume the council would take place in order to appease people or redeem some ill they felt towards Ma Dieu's clan. Fei Lai did not share such animosity towards his opponents, it could cloud judgement and allow for missed opportunities. Such accusations towards Ma Dieu when Wu had been the first to engage was a bit ironic and Lai continued to believe that first defeat at Xuyi was the real cause for the Commander's strife. If the man really felt the loss of men to be so great, he was in the wrong business. War was a terrible thing but a necessary one.
Lai tabulated in his mind and as suspected there was not much support for Ma Dieu though the nomination for the Emperor was well enough received. Lai shared the concerns for history repeating itself, yet something had to be attempted. It was a risk to have the young naive Emperor's ear exposed to men such as Yi Guang and Xiang Hin, yet no one could deny their talent and they might still serve the Emperor well.
"After hearing the interventions, I have a proposal for the Son of Heaven, the Prime Minister and his advisors to consider. It is quite obvious none of the Lords are ready just yet to simply relinquish power and land. Perhaps the Emperor and his entourage, should Commander Yi and Duke Xiang still wish to serve, reside in the palace in Chen temporarily with their own guards and loyal subjects. I believe the Prime Minister should resume his post as Prime Minister of Chu. I am not sure how a personal guard can be acquired for the Son of Heaven, perhaps each Lord loyal can provide a portion, I am sure my brother would match it. Yes they will be surrounded by men of Ma Dieu and Zhu Lizhi's in Chu, but they will still be an independent force. It is the best compromise I can think and still allow for my brother to protect the interests of the Empire as suggested."
Hin was pleased, reason seemed to be prevailing. At least the various factions were open to ideas and discussion. "If you would not mind clarifying a few points, Marquis? You stated that those who chose to serve the Emperor directly would reside in the palace at Chen... Temporarily. I am uncertain as to the nature of 'temporary' and what would happen after. Would this be a term of... Evaluation of the loyalty of commander Yi and myself? Or do you suggest that the Emperor himself should reside at Chen only temporarily... Or have I mistaken your meaning entirely?
Further, this arrangement would beg a question: With such a force 'surrounded' by the armies of Ma Dieu and Zhu Lizhi... What recourse would it have if there was a difference of opinion regarding what was and was not in the interests of the Empire?"