Editor: Areth Kyntaul
His Majesty Makes a Wise Decision That’s Just and Leaves Him Void of Concern (Part 2)
The old Prime Minister didn’t say anything, besides that, from beginning to end. He had his eyes slightly shut as if he paid no heed, yet he had, actually, been indifferently watching the entertaining show.
Prime Minister Li Si had served for three reigns. They called him the Tree that Doesn’t Fall in Politics. He had served as Prime Minister since the time of the Emperor’s grandfather. That his steady run had remained for three reigns was attributable to his knowledge on how to be a vassal and how to carry himself as a person.
He deliberately didn’t involve himself when His Majesty asked Assistant Minister Zhang to come, because he was digging a hole for Zhang Chunfeng. If an outsider had witnessed the ploy that the Emperor had used on Assistant Minister Zhang just before, they’d be utterly confused. Prime Minister Li, however, knew perfectly well what was going on.
It’s true that Zhang Chunfeng is a pillar of the current Imperial Court. It’s also true that he is talented, knowledgeable, and good with words to the point that he is unequalled. Additionally, it’s a fact that he is an upright individual with a clean reputation. He doesn’t back down just because the opposition holds higher power, and even the Emperor shows his former teacher respect.
If he didn’t possess all those favourable characteristics, he wouldn’t have been given the powerful Assistant Minister post in the Ministry of Personnel; which allowed him to control all manner of civil servants and scholastic tests for government posts.
However, despite sporting the face of an intelligent individual, deep down he was still just a scholar who didn’t know how to adapt.
Yes, perhaps His Majesty still loved the Orange Prince as his son and pitied him. However, the Emperor, who’s now over fifty, is no longer the young man that acted according to his emotions anymore. He was definitely no longer the student that had to be guided by Zhang Chunfeng. He was now the monarch of a nation. He had his own way of thinking and his own plans. There was no way he didn’t kill the Orange Prince, purely because of the fact that they were father and son.
The Emperor is a wise monarch. It wasn’t as though he couldn’t kill the Orange Prince in order to placate the people, because he, himself, was aware of the severity of the circumstance. He was different from the Empress. He didn’t come to ignore the Orange Prince’s sentence, and not consider it part of the equation.
Had Zheng Chunfeng tried to slowly calculate his moves, this time, this date next year might have been the Orange Prince’s death anniversary.
Should the Orange Prince have been killed? Yes.
Was the Emperor aware of that? Yes.
Was he capable of overcoming his emotions to go through with it? Yes.
So how was the Orange Prince able to escape that fate this time? That was because Zhang Chunfeng had been giving criticism without end for the past month. He repeated the same show every single day during the conferences. Therefore, getting numerous vassals to join his cause was an idiotic move on his part.
Monarchs will always suspect those that threaten their power, even a benevolent dead ruler, or if it was for work.
While the community is equally shared by all, monarchs and vassals can stay out of each other’s ways, but can also fight so intensely that the lands turn barren.
Prime Minister Li Si had witnessed that himself, on more than one occasion. He knew that to say and what not to say.
He knew even better what his monarch was like.
Emperor Yuansheng was never a weak monarch. He was different from his father. Unlike his father, he didn’t kill or use cruelty. He was a good Emperor, but at the same time, a bold and strong Emperor.
Thus, he wasn’t the type to lower his head in the face of numbers. To the contrary, that would encourage him to dislike the group and retaliate.
The Emperor looked at the Prime Minister. He was pleased with the Prime Minister. He laughed and said, “Hahahaha, Prime Minister, you have been an elder for three reigns for good reason. Nothing escapes your eyes.”
The Emperor stroked his own beard, “Assistant Minister Zhang is a talented man and a respectable, good vassal. The Imperial Court can’t operate revolving around the Emperor’s personality. Similarly, it can’t revolve around any particular vassal, even if he is of high status and as pure as a clean slate. Today, I wanted to let him know that I can tolerate his arrogance, and I could also keep him in check if he wants to push his agenda.”
The Prime Minister chuckled.
“I imagine that you did not call me here just to watch you destroy him.”
“You are correct. Besides giving Zhang Chunfeng a reminder, I had another matter to discuss with you.” The Emperor took out a sheet of paper from the drawer of his desk and then handed it to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister took it with two hands.
The Emperor solemnly said, “This is a letter written personally by the former master of the Gold and Silver Sect. The letter arrived this morning. He sincerely begged me and mentioned his long friendship with me. He also said that he’d be willing to turn over nearly half of the Gold and Silver Sect’s territory, in addition to the Golden Crow Moon Eater blade as a wedding gift. He pleaded me to betroth Hong’er to his son.”
After he read the letter, the Prime Minister slowly asked, “Your Majesty, do you have an idea?”
The Emperor looked at the Prime Minister and instinctively nodded.
“Putting aside my friendship with Old Jin, it’s a loss for me no matter how I look at it.” The Emperor sat back on his chair and relaxed his forehead, to release some of his fatigue. “Prime Minister, you possess vast knowledge. Tell me, who in the martial world is the strongest nowadays?”
Old Prime Minister Li tried to knock the question away, “You are making things hard for me by asking me that, Your Majesty. I am a civil servant. I am ignorant when it comes to martial arts. I think that it would be more appropriate for you to consult your Entourage or the Qilin Guards, regarding this.”
The Emperor quickly responded, “Don’t be modest, Prime Minister. I know that you are knowledgeable about both old and recent things. Nobody knows more about recent things than you do. It’s just that I’m aware that you don’t like to stand out, and hence called you here alone.”
The Prime Minister looked as though he was ill and couldn’t withstand the wind. There was a fire burning in the hall, yet he still wore three inner and outer layers of thick clothing. But even then, he would still feel cold.
However, the Emperor wasn’t ashamed to seek the knowledge of such an elder.
“As you hold me in such high regard, I shall give my two cents. I am not knowledgeable about the pugilistic world. Therefore, should I say something not factual, please do forgive me.”
“Sure. You are too modest, Prime Minister.”
The old Prime Minister slightly frowned, as though he as focusing his thoughts. However, he spoke at a relatively fast pace, nonetheless, “The martial world has been split into four groups for a long time, now. If we do not include the Southern and Northern Xinjiang, then there essentially four competing groups.”
The Emperor had yet to hear anybody say that, so it was evident that the Prime Minister was truly knowledgeable. What he had said just moments ago was a mere humble statement that was worded differently to how it would’ve been said in the pugilistic world.
The Emperor joyfully responded, “Please, go on, Prime Minister.”
“The traditional three largest orthodox sects, namely Shaolin, Wudang and Mount Daluo have competed for a long time. Their disciples are still active in the pugilistic world, but it is rare to hear of them doing anything major. That is because the three leaders of those respective sects have long stopped pursuing fame or gains, and thereby limited the development of their disciples.”
“At present, the most active sects among the orthodox sects would be the four major sects, namely, Emei, Kunlun Mountain, Canghai Heavenly Sect, Mingjing Palace. These four sects are relatively active.”
“These seven aforementioned sects all have long histories that possess the knowledge of countless profound styles; hence, no other sects can compare. There are the occasional standout individuals from other sects, but they struggle to rise to prominence.”
“As for the unorthodox sects, they would, of course, be the League of Assassins, Demon Sect and so forth, so there are four main unorthodox sects, with countless minions. You could name any from the four major unorthodox sects and they would possess skills among the top tiers in the pugilistic world. For that reason, the unorthodox are by all means stronger than the orthodox sects. You asked who could be considered the strongest. While my answer may be rude, I must say it. I would say that the unorthodox sects are stronger.”
“The third group is the Seven Champion White Princes, who provide protection to the Capital. Not only are they sects in the martial world, but are also the equivalent of nobility and ministers, and thus, lords of a region. In fact, they are essentially a self-established mercenary group that has been given permission to operate by the Imperial Court. Their strength far surpasses a sect. They are people who go through weal and woe with the Imperial Court in name, yet act as though they are Erlang. They are your subordinates in name, but you cannot command them. As such, it is difficult to grasp whether they are friend or foe.”
“The fourth group is our Imperial Court. The Imperial Court possesses all of the militaries in the land and the skilled fighters on Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings. It is thereby a powerful force in the pugilistic world. However, if we were to take the influence of the Imperial Court out of the equation, leaving just the three offices in, then we are indeed the weakest among the four groups.”
The Emperor was delighted by what he heard. He smacked the table, “Beautiful! What you have just said is music to my ears.”
The Emperor continued with delight and consolation, “The Imperial Court needs to take care of the pugilistic world. Relying on the three offices alone is insufficient. I went through so much effort, yet managed to only rectify the Demon Sect. I want to do something about the other three unorthodox sects, but I’m powerless to.”
“Therefore, I have to depend on the Seven White Champion Prince’s strength. The Imperial Court gave them their glory and special rights, but we can only use their power when we’re in precarious circumstances. If any of them were to have rebellious thoughts… Jiangnan is right next to the Capital. How would I defend against them?”
“That’s why the Gold and Silver Sect’s sincerity has attracted me. I can leverage their territory to expand into Jiangnan, where the Seven Champion White Princes are.”
“Prime Minister, let us be candid. Who I choose as my Fuma is but just a decision away for me.”
The Prime Minister smiled and responded, “Your Majesty, you mean to say that you would rather choose the master of the Gold and Silver Sect, who provides a much more realistic benefit than the plain disciple of Mount Daluo, who is an ordinary disciple, no less?”
“It’s true that I don’t like Jin Wangsun; however, I don’t have a good impression of Ming Feizhen, either.”
The Emperor then heavily snorted, before carrying on, “Ming Feizhen is a slippery individual. I heard Yiren mention him many times and had a small hint of liking for him. At the Flying Fish Pavilion, I heard the assassin Fu Xiang, personally, say…”
“Sigh, he said that Yiren and that fellow were having an affair. I wanted Yiren to separate from him, before teaching him a lesson. But then he became the winner of the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament and got connected with Hong’er. It was so unexpected.”
The Prime Minister stroked his beard and responded, “I saw him yesterday, too. He is far from handsome, but based on a facial reading, he is popular with the opposite sex. He is bound to have many women clinging to him in a messy relationship. Indeed, he is not fit for the Princess.”
“Exactly. Exactly. I thought he was a womaniser with one glance.” The Emperor then quickly followed up, “As for Jin Wangsun, he’s a little overbearing, but nobody can compare to his family background. Further, I can see that he does have some feelings for Hong’er.”
“So you want to come up with a reason to betroth the Princess to Jin Wangsun?”
The Emperor calmly nodded, “Exactly. That’s what I’m getting at. Would you happen to have any other opinion, Prime Minister?”
The Prime Minister pondered it in silence, for a long time. In the end, he said, “I agree with your opinion, Your Majesty. Betrothing the Princess to him will be very beneficial to the Imperial Court.”
“All right! We’re going with that then!”
As soon as he finished, footsteps could be heard from outside. A low-ranking eunuch ran over, as fast as his legs could take him, and almost tripped over at the door.
The Emperor revealed an angry look. Eunuch Wang rushed forward to shout, “Insolent servant! Are you looking to die?! Do you know where this place is, to be so rude?”
The low-ranking unique couldn’t catch his breath, “Bad news. Bad news, Your Majesty! Reporting, Your Majesty, V-Virtuous Consort’s family sent a message. Th-They said, the Prince’s maternal uncle and Her Majesty’s father got beat up!”
The Emperor was currently elated because he had come up to conclusions and had ideas for several things. He had been about to leave the palace to take a trip to Heavenly Garden with the Prime Minister, to see a musical that was currently all the rage in the capital.
Upon hearing this news, however, his anxiety levels shot through the ceiling, “What in the heavens?! Men, come help me change. I must personally go and save them! Prime Minister, are you coming with me?”
Perhaps it was because he hadn’t brown-nosed anybody in a long time, but when the Prime Minister heard the news, he didn’t want to be outdone. As a result, he puffed his chest out, and with a stern look, replied, “I am duty-bound!”
And so, a monarch and his vassal got changed, and brought along a few subordinates, as they sped to Bright Lane in a grand fashion.
*Erlang – For those who have forgotten, is the god with a third truth-seeing eye on his forehead.
**The Erlang reference is a direct reference to the phrase “They are your subordinates in name, but you cannot command them.”
*Facial Reading – The act of reading one’s fortune by their facial features.