Editor: Areth Kyntaul
His Majesty Makes a Wise Decision That’s Just and Leaves Him Void of Concern (Part 1)
This dynasty doesn’t hold just morning conferences alone. There are also afternoon and evening conferences. They are held at Chongwen Hall and Hongwu Hall, and the location will be determined based on the contents to be discussed.
The morning conference had wrapped up and the Emperor had finished lunch. By the time he came to Chongwen Hall again, there were already two vassals awaiting him. They were the Assistant Minister Zhang Chunfeng, Assistant Minister Zhang, as well as the current Prime Minister, Li Si, old Prime Minister Li. These two individuals were the pillars of the Imperial Court, so the Emperor heavily relied on them to handle national affairs.
As soon as Assistant Minister Zhang saw the emperor, he immediately demanded, “Your Majesty, since it has been decided that the Orange Prince shall not be executed, please decide on his sentence.”
Yesterday’s conference turned into quite the quarrel, and it took a lot of effort to decide that the Orange Prince wouldn’t be executed.
Assistant Minister Zhang was the pillar of the faction that wanted to have him executed to appease the people.
Even if it was decided that they wouldn’t execute him, in the end, he wasn’t going to let him continue enjoying the peaceful, unconcerned, wealthy lifestyle of a prince in his territory for the rest of his life. He wanted to at least strip him of his royal status, take back his territory and have demoted to a commoner.
Only in that way would the vassals of the Imperial Court, and people of the world, be satisfied.
Hence, he couldn’t wait to bring it up, despite the Emperor being the one who called them to the hall. He wanted to gain the initiative; otherwise, he might be in a passive position, if the Emperor gains the upper hand.
The Emperor looked neither sad nor happy. He basically looked akin to a block of wood. He slowly sat down and cleared his throat.
“I call you two elders here today regarding the betrothal proposal from the new master of the Gold and Silver Sect. I wanted to ask for your opinions.”
The Emperor acted as though he didn’t hear what Assistant Minister Zhang initially said, and instead spoke with confidence and composure.
“As you two are aware, Jin Wangsun requested a marriage. It was so sudden that I’ve now got a headache over it. The importance of the Seven White Champion Princes to the Capital is obvious, but what about the Gold and Silver Sect…?”
“Your Majesty!” Assistant Minister Zhang got angry, as His Majesty ignored what he said. He cut him off in a loud voice, “May I ask if you heard what I said, just now, Your Majesty?”
Chongwen Hall immediately turned silent. The Emperor silently looked at Assistant Minister Zhang, but didn’t speak. After a while, he continued, “Where was I?”
It was as though he had been diagnosed with dementia, and Assistant Minister Zhang didn’t exist.
The Emperor returned the topic of the importance of the Gold and Silver Sect, as well as the pros and cons of the marriage proposal.
“Your Majesty! Yesterday, you and Her Majesty utilised underhanded means to do away with the Orange Prince’s capital punishment. Are you going to act deaf and mute, to cover the Orange Prince’s crimes, today?” Assistant Manager Zhang took a step forth and then continued fuming, “Your Subject may be old, but shall not allow this to happen in the Imperial Court!”
“Insolence!” The Emperor’s rage showed on his face. He aggressively shouted, “Zhang Chunfeng! I showed you respect as my teacher, but you spoke before I spoke in the hall. When I went to speak, you continued to cut me off. Do you still even consider me the Emperor?! You clenched your fists and stepped forward. What do you intend to do?!”
Zhang Chunfeng’s heart jolted. He crossed the line just before, due to carelessness. He stepped back and said, “Your Subject was wrong.”
“You know your mistake? If you knew what wrong you committed, you wouldn’t be pushing me, over and over again. You know how hard it is for me to deal with it, yet you continue to force me down that route. What a remarkable man you are, Zhang Chunfeng, Assistant Minister Zhang. You’re perfectly impartial, aren’t you? You want to talk about crimes? I shall talk about crimes with you, then. Where are you, Wang Tushui?”
Eunuch Wang, who was next to the Emperor’s throne, poked his head out. He had his eyes narrowed and was wearing a smile, “Your Servant is here. This is what you asked for, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor took hold of it, then threw it at Assistant Minister Zhang, without even checking it beforehand.
“Look for yourself!”
Assistant Minister Zhang grabbed the white sheet of paper.
There was something written on there with the letters closely spaced closely.
Assistant Minister Zhang looked at the Emperor’s expression with puzzlement, before opening the sheet of paper to read the contents.
The first line was enough to rain on his parade!
The sheet of paper recorded how his grandson was in cahoots with bandits of the pugilistic world and established an infamous gang that bullied the masses. At the end of it were his grandson’s signature and fingerprint. Assistant Minister Zhang was so furious that he couldn’t stop his body from trembling.
He wanted to speak, but he didn’t know what to say when he opened his mouth. His Zhang family was a family of scholars, with many of their family members serving as officials of the Imperial Court. They were an influential family in the Capital.
He never expected a bastard like his grandson to exist.
He was trying to reason with His Majesty, only to discover that his family had been committing these horrendous deeds. If His Majesty made an issue out of it, the Zhang family would be doomed.
Therefore, his only option was to kneel, clench his teeth and bear with it.
“For this beast to do this, the fault lies with me for not teaching him better. Please severely punish him. I will not be biased!”
“My Entourage gave me this report days’ ago. I didn’t bring this up yesterday, because I did not want you to look bad. Don’t worry, Assistant Minister Zhang. He erred, but I will not blame your entire Zhang family, and even less so, you. However, you must understand that human beings are not holy beings that never err. Pushing somebody too far is not an act of graciousness.”
Assistant Minister Zhang had things to say, but he couldn’t find a way to speak in the spur of the moment, so he had to thank His Majesty for his leniency, first and foremost.
“Next is the Orange Prince’s sentence.”
“Ah?” Assistant Minister Zhang was dumbfounded for a moment.
‘What? His Majesty pulled this stunt, just to reduce the Orange Prince’s sentence? How did he already come to a conclusion?’
“Draft up an edict.” The Emperor composed himself and then, in a steady voice, declared, “Date. Second Prince, Li Chengzhi deceived the nation and insulted its ruler. His actions violated morals and his crimes were heinous. However, the heavens are benevolent. There has been no precedence of executing a Prince since the establishment of this dynasty, thanks to the benevolence and lenience of my ancestors. As a descendant of my ancestors, I dare not violate what they have set and hereby declare this the first time this is done. Out of consideration of his mother, the Empress, and her many merits, he shall be spared the death sentence.”
“However!” The Emperor paused to emphasise the contrast, “He may be spared the death sentence, but punishment for his crimes is inevitable. I hereby declare that Li Chengzhi shall be stripped of his status as royalty, demoted to a commoner, and is no longer a member of the royal family, henceforth. He is to never be involved with scholastic, agriculture, artisan or merchant industries. As long as I am instated, he is it never be conferred the status of nobility. He is to never set foot in the palace and not to see old enemies!”
The Emperor felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off him, upon finishing his edict in one breath. He then gave Assistant Minister Zhang a smile.
“Assistant Minister Zhang, what do you think of my decision?”
Assistant Minister Zhang was stupefied. The Emperor severely reproached him, but the edict he made was completely identical to what he was after.
As a matter of fact, the Emperor was more meticulous than he expected. It turned out that His Majesty had planned to strip him of his status, forbid him from stirring the four industries and seeing enemies again. That completely eliminated any possibility of the Empress secretly assisting the Orange Prince on a materialistic level.
‘However, as the Emperor’s thinking is in line with mine, why did he have to harshly reprimand me? I asked for the scolding. Why did I bring that upon myself?’
During his moments of confusion, the old Prime Minister suddenly remarked, “What you said is too sound and reasonable, Your Majesty.”
While Assistant Minister Zhang was wondering how he ended up getting kicked when he was down, he suddenly had a spark of enlightenment. He recalled the Emperor saying ‘Pushing somebody too far’, and it clicked for him.
“You are impartial in your judgement. Your Subject greatly admires that. If there is nothing else, Your Subject shall leave now.”
As expected, the Emperor didn’t stop him, “Please feel free, Assistant Minister Zhang.”