The Human Emperor - Chapter 117: King Song Loses Influence!
A frenzied wind blew past, and the dark skies and ominous clouds loomed above the capital, as though reflecting King Song’s mood.
‘Rest well at home’, it was just four simple words, but it created a huge fissure between him and the royal court. It wasn’t a command, and it didn’t say that he did anything wrong either. It was a simple letter of ‘friendly’ advice that excluded him from the royal court.
‘The orders of the emperor are absolute’. No matter how much preparations he did in advance, it had all gone to waste.
“To think that…”
King Song clenched his fists and he slowly shut his eyes. A frosty feeling grasped his heart.
He had been in the royal court for twenty years now, and he had forged a deep bond of trust with the emperor. This was the first time King Song was given such an edict. The content of it was simple, and there wasn’t any additional adornment to it.
Cold intentions emanated from the imperial edict, and King Song could feel them clearly. Using such a method, the Sage Emperor had clearly expressed his view.
“King Song, receive the edict!”
Eunuch Yu lifted the edict highly as he glanced at King Song coldly.
“Yes, you’ve been troubled, gonggong!”
King Song received the imperial edict from Eunuch Yu’s hands respectfully.
Holding the imperial edict in his hand, King Song fell into a daze. He sat blankly in the main hall for an entire day.
King Song, receive the edict!”
Eunuch Yu sneered coldly as he passed the edict in his hands over. This was already the second day that King Song received such an edict. There wasn’t even a single change in its contents!
The third day, the fourth day! …
Initially, King Song was still filled with determination. He wanted to contact the various officials and create a storm in the royal court so as to stop the Sage Emperor.
But as the days went by, King Song’s heart grew cold.
“Your Highness, this isn’t good!”
Lu Ting walked from the left to the right of the main hall, worried about the turn of events.
“This is already the fifth day. His Majesty seems to be determined to stop you from going to the morning assembly. Without your presence to hold up the situation in the Bureau of Punishments, royal court, and Bureau of Military Personnel, the situation is getting out of hand.”
“It is fortunate that Lord Wang Gen is still around, so the situation in the royal court is still under control yet. However, there are many matters that requires one’s attention in the Bureau of Punishments and Bureau of Military Personnel every day. Without Your Highness’s presence, it won’t be long before someone takes over your original responsibilities. King Qi is already trying to send people to replace you. If this goes on, King Qi will succeed in slowly excluding from the royal court.”
Even though King Song couldn’t attend the morning assembly, Lu Ting could. However, he was only an academic, and he didn’t wield any influence in the royal court.
Thus, he could only watch on in panic.
King Song sat at the top of the main hall in a daze. The actual situation was much worse than what Lu Ting had said, King Song was well aware of it. His Majesty was using this method to slowly expel him from the royal court.
Different from the other occasions, King Song could clearly sense his cold and stiff determination.
After being involved in governance for more than two decades, this was the first time King Song was losing influence in the royal court.
“The imperial edict arrives!”
Carrying the imperial edict, Eunuch Yu walked in with wide strides, as he did in the past few days. A contemptuous smirk hung on the corner of his lips.
“In place of the heavens, the emperor proclaims: King Song has been too worried about national affairs and overexerted himself, so he is specially excused to rest well at home. Without my consent, he is not to attend morning assembly! End of the edict.”
The moment Eunuch Yu finished reciting the edict, King Song and Lu Ting’s face paled. This imperial edict seemed no different from those before, but a few additional words were added behind. ‘Without my consent, he is not to attend morning assembly’!
These few simple words changed the entire meaning of the edict.
“How did it turn out like this?”
Shocked, Lu Ting stared at Eunuch Yu with widened eyes.
“I knew it, I knew it! I knew it would turn out like this! …”
King Song’s heart turned completely cold.
‘Without my consent, he is not to attend morning assembly’, these few simple words were the greatest blow to King Song. Even though he didn’t fault King Song, and he didn’t strip him of his nobility as well, these few simple words had effectively expelled King Song from the royal court.
From now onward, without the Sage Emperor’s orders, King Song wasn’t allowed to attend morning assembly, needless to say, participate in the governance of the empire.
“Your Highness, receive the edict!”
With a smirk on his fair face, Eunuch Yu passed over the imperial edict with a single hand.
How audacious was it for a mere eunuch of the royal court to mock a king? If not for the Sage Emperor’s imperial edict, how could he possibly dare to do so?
“Thank you, Yu-gonggong.”
With a pale face, King Song respectfully received the imperial edict from Eunuch Yu.
“Your Highness, pardon me for interfering, but I wish the best for you for the Consort Taizhen incident!”
Leaving behind these words along with a cold sneer, Eunuch Yu turned around and left.
If the master was unhappy, it was impossible for the servant to be happy. Everyone in the royal palace knew that the number one figure opposing to the Sage Emperor and Consort Taizhen coming together was King Song Li Chengqi.
Thus, all of the eunuchs in the royal palaces viewed him as their enemy, and naturally, Eunuch Yu wouldn’t treat King Song amiably either.
After Eunuch Yu left, the main hall descended into a lengthy period of silence.
Looking at the imperial edict in King Song’s hands, everyone’s heart felt heavy.
Soon, everyone would know that the most prestigious ‘Daming Palace’ would become a faraway existence for King Song.
(Daming Palace is where the morning court assembly is held in the palace.)
Unless with the personal consent of the Sage Emperor, he didn’t have the authority to step into the Daming Palace ever again.
Lu Ting looked at King Song in worry.
No one could have imagined that the Consort Taizhen incident would develop to this point. Initially, everyone thought that their greatest opponent was King Qi and the Yao Clan, who supported Consort Taizhen. As long as they could triumph over them in the royal court, they would be able to change the mind of His Majesty.
However, at this moment, everyone realized that from the start to the end, there had only been one ‘opponent’, the Sage Emperor.
King Qi and the Yao Clan were simply obeying imperial orders.
“I couldn’t have expected it, I truly couldn’t have expected it! …”
King Song slumped onto his chair at the top of the main hall, seemingly taken a heavy blow from this matter.
Being excluded from the royal court and losing his influence wasn’t what that got King Song down. What that got King Song down was that the valiant and astute emperor, also known as the wisest emperor in the long history of Great Tang, would actually exclude him from the royal court over a mere woman.
This was what that King Song couldn’t accept.
Even though losing influence in the royal court was unbearable, he still couldn’t turn around to support Consort Taizhen. This was the responsibility of a subordinate, and the emperor’s reputation was at stake. King Song would never support Consort Taizhen!
“… Looks like that lad was right!”
A long sigh suddenly sounded in the hall. King Song heard Lu Ting’s familiar voice.
“Academic Lu, what do you mean?”
King Song lifted his head in surprise.
Lu Ting’s words were abrupt and it came from nowhere. King Song had no idea what the other party was driving at.
“Does His Highness still remember Wang Yan’s third son, Wang Chong?”
Lu Ting shook his head slowly. There was a peculiar tone to his words.
“Of course I do, didn’t I meet him at the Four Quarters Embassy? Why is Academic Lu suddenly bringing him up?”
King Song was surprised. He couldn’t understand why Lu Ting would mention the child at this moment.
“When we left that day, I paid close attention that child’s expressions, and I have a feeling that he knew that we would fail.”
Lu Ting spoke frankly.
“How could that be?”
King Song abruptly stood upright. A look of disbelief appeared on his face.
The royal court was complicated and many factors could influence the result of even a seemingly simple matter. Until the last moment, not even veteran officials like them, who had immersed themselves in politics for more than several decades, could know the result.
How could a teenage child like him be so certain?
Lu Ting simply smiled silently.
Lu Ting liked promoting talented juniors, and the capability that Wang Chong displayed didn’t seem to just stop at the level of ‘talented’.
The attention that Lu Ting paid to Wang Chong was much more than the latter could have ever imagined.
“His Highness, do you remember him asking you about the Consort Taizhen incident? Thinking about it now, it seems that he intended to persuade us, but in the end, perhaps knowing that he wouldn’t succeed, he chose to use another method instead.”
Lu Ting spoke.
King Song was taken aback. A grim expression slowly crept onto his face. If that child was really as Lu Ting described him to be, then he was indeed extraordinary.
Thinking about it now, it did seem like Wang Chong intended to persuade him.
But back then, regardless of whether it was him or Lu Ting, it was impossible for them to truly listen to his words.
“Academic Lu, what do you mean? Do you expect me to turn around and support Consort Taizhen?”
King Song’s face darkened.
“Your Highness, I have no intentions of changing your mind. However, don’t you think that there is a deeper meaning to that child’s words? He seemed to be hinting us to pay King Shou a visit.”
“I have a feeling that he knows something. His Majesty’s attitude toward the Consort Taizhen incident is bizarre, and it is completely different from how he is before. I feel that we should look for King Shou. Perhaps, we might find something unexpected there.”
Lu Ting said.
King Song fell silent. Graveness warped his face.
If it was before, he would have immediately disregarded Lu Ting’s words. However, after so many affairs, especially after receiving five imperial edicts, King Song’s attitude toward this matter changed greatly.
King Song had never thought about the reason behind the bizarre attitude of the Sage Emperor. He had never considered why the latter was willing to go this far for a woman. He also didn’t know much about Consort Taizhen either.
All he knew was that she was King Shou’s wife.
In the past, he wouldn’t have spared this woman an additional glance. But suddenly, King Song felt extremely curious about her.
He wanted to know what kind of lady it was that could induce such a change in the Sage Emperor.
Time slowly passed and the silence in the main hall continued.
Instead of urging him, Lu Ting stood by the side, waiting patiently for King Song’s verdict.
After an unknown period of time, a long sigh echoed in the main hall.
“Make preparations. I will go to King Shou Residence to visit Mao-er!”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
Delighted, Lu Ting hurriedly got up and walked outside.
A moment later, King Song left his residence in a carriage, headed for King Shou Residence.
Every morning, the officials and the emperor would gather at Hanyuan Hall (also the main hall) of the Daming Palace to report on the issues of the empire to converse and settle them.
This is the center of the politics and governance of the empire.