King Zhuangwang from Inactive Regent to Overlord-Ending
He set about improving domestic governance by employing capable politicians. While carrying out political reforms, the king recruited more troops and rigorously trained them to prepare for a major attack against Jin to avenge its defeat in Chengpu.
From the third year, when Zhuangwang took the throne, Chu won successive victories over the Yong and Song states as well as the Rong tribe. He also viewed troops along the border with the region directly administered by the king of the Zhou Dynasty. King Dingwang became so frightened by this show of military might that he sent Wangsun Man, one of his ministers, to pay tribute to Zhuangwang.
When meeting the envoy, the first thing Zhuangwang asked about was how heavy were the nine tripods, huge bronze containers in the imperial ancestral temple. As nine tripods were deemed a symbol of supreme power, inquiring about their weight inferred a challenge to the king's authority. These aggressive moves boosted Chu's influence and prestige.
Several years later, Zhuangwang finally commanded his troops northward to assault Jin in defiance of its dominance. A decisive battle broke out between the two states in Bicheng. Given the lack of consensus among its squabbling commanding officers, the elite force of Jin, which boasted 600 chariots, was eliminated almost overnight. By this time, King Zhuangwang, who had maintained low profile over three years, had risen to prominence, becoming an overlord after Duke Huangong of Qi, Duke Wengong of Jin and Duke Mugong of Qin.