The Human Emperor - Chapter 118: Mister Yin Shan!
Even though King Song left early in the morning, he returned extremely late.
“Your Highness, how is it?”
Alighting from the carriage, Lu Ting hurriedly stepped forward to welcome him. In reality, ever since King Song left, he had been waiting at the same spot anxiously for his return.
But for some reason, Lu Ting could sense that King Song’s mind was discomposed. On top of that, he seemed extremely exhausted, as though he had just undergone several large battles.
With a lowered head, King Song didn’t say anything at all. Deep creases sat on his forehead. Despite having followed King Song for so many years, this was the first time Lu Ting was seeing him in such a state.
All of the guards, servants, and maids had already been ordered to evacuate this area long ago.
The matter regarding King Shou was a huge affair. Thus, Lu Ting had told the old butler to ensure that no one was eavesdropping into their conversation.
“I have no way of explaining the matter to you easily. ——Let’s go in first!”
Cautiousness leaked from King Song’s voice. This was the first time Lu Ting saw King Song act so warily.
Lu Ting thought that it was sufficient to send away the guards and maids in the area, but from the looks of it, the matter with King Shou was much graver than he had expected.
Sealing the main hall, experts were stationed in the perimeter of the hall while the old butler stood at the entrance. With such security, even a fly would find it hard to infiltrate the hall.
“Mao-er has spoken!”
After ensuring that there was no outsider, King Song tensed expression visibly loosened:
“Initially, when I asked him about the matter, he kept avoiding the topic. If not for the fact that I had watched him grow up and His Majesty’s imperial edicts, he would have probably kept mum about the matter until the end of time.”
“What did King Shou say?”
Shocked, Lu Ting asked almost instantaneously.
The furrow on King Song’s forehead tightened.
“He didn’t reply my questions directly. He only kept hinting me to not oppose to Consort Taizhen!”
Lu Ting exclaimed in shock. However, he swiftly recovered and continued asking:
“Could it be that King Shou is unwilling to go against His Majesty’s will?”
King Shou was the victim of the Consort Taizhen incident. The pain of having one’s father steal one’s wife wasn’t something that anyone could understand.
But King Shou was a filial son. It didn’t come as a huge shock for him to advise King Song to not oppose Consort Taizhen.
“That’s not it!”
King Song shook his head grimly, refuting Lu Ting’s conjecture:
“That’s what I thought so too, but the truth isn’t like that. Mao-er didn’t say it directly, but he kept hinting me that the matter isn’t as bad as others put it out to be, and he isn’t as wronged as others thought!”
Lu Ting gasped. This time, he was truly shocked. The Consort Taizhen incident was clearly an act of the emperor stealing his son’s wife, and this was a fact known by all of the officials.
It was also a well-known fact that King Shou and Consort Taizhen had been together for several years, and they were deeply in love. This was precisely the reason why so many officials were against the Sage Emperor’s decision of inducting Consort Taizhen into the palace.
On this matter, everyone was sided with King Shou!
“What does King Shou mean? Is there some hidden secret to this matter?”
Lu Ting asked in astonishment.
This storm in the royal court had pulled all of the officials in Great Tang into it, and this included even the minor officials and governors.
Many people angrily criticized Consort Taizhen, as well as King Qi and the Yao Clan who supported Consort Taizhen, and they sent innumerable letters to the emperor in hopes that he would reconsider the matter as well.
However, no one considered King Shou’s view for this matter.
And no one tried to ask King Shou about it either.
Everyone thought that King Shou was the greatest victim of the incident. No matter how heartless one could be, it would be impossible for anyone to disregard the condemnation of the world to ‘rub salt on King Shou’s wound’ and consult him on this matter.
If not for the five imperial edicts which had effectively expelled King Song from the royal court, he would have never considered visiting King Shou.
“I couldn’t have imagined that it would be like that.”
Perplexed, King Song shook his head.
“The Consort Taizhen incident should be extremely straightforward. I even went to Mao-er’s marriage banquet and gave him a pair of jade lions. I really can’t fathom what kind of hidden secrets there was to this matter.”
King Shou’s attitude, as well as his obscure words, seemed to have pulled a layer of mist on this matter.
“Your Highness, can you tell me about your meeting with King Shou in detail?”
Lu Ting suddenly asked.
King Song nodded. Lu Ting was his aide, and if he couldn’t even trust Lu Ting, then there was truly no one he could trust. There were too many strange bits to the matter, and King Song needed to borrow the wisdom of others to make sense of it.
Thus, King Song explained the happenings during the visit in detail. In the midst, Lu Ting would occasionally interject to raise his doubts, and most of them were about King Shou’s expression and attitude while he was speaking.
When King Song was finally done recounting the affair, Lu Ting fell into a long silence.
“Your Highness, we have truly overlooked many details of the Consort Taizhen incident. Even though I don’t know what kind of secret is hidden within, King Shou clearly isn’t as upset as we thought he would be.”
King Song nodded. This was also his take on the matter.
“But Your Highness, have you ever thought about this? Since King Shou has said that he isn’t as upset and wronged as outsiders put him out to be, then why doesn’t he step out to clarify the matter? After all, King Shou has always been filial to His Majesty.”
“If he steps out to clarify the matter, His Majesty wouldn’t have to face so much opposition on this matter.”
King Song was stunned.
“You mean to say that Mao-er is lying? That’s impossible! I’ve watched him grow up, he wouldn’t do such a thing!”
King Song immediately rejected Lu Ting’s conjecture.
“Your Highness, there are only two possibilities. It is either that King Shou had lied, and nothing he said is the truth, or that King Shou was speaking of the truth, and the reason why he didn’t step out to clarify the matter is because someone stopped him. However——”
Lu Ting took in a deep breath. These were words that he was reluctant to speak of:
“Your Highness, King Shou is a member of the royal family, a king of the empire. Given his noble standing, who could be capable of silencing him?”
“You mean His Majesty!”
King Song’s body trembled and his head tremored. Subconsciously, the thought flashed through his head. Li Mao was conferred the title of King Shou from the Sage Emperor. Even though King Song was his imperial uncle, putting aside his seniority, the both of them were actually of the same standing.
Even he and King Qi would be incapable of silencing him, needless to say the others. There was only one person in the entire Central Plains who was capable of doing so.
That was the Son of Heaven sitting in the royal palace, the one who possessed unparalleled authority in the Central Plains, the Sage Emperor!
But even King Song didn’t dare to harbor such thoughts. If King Shou had revealed the truth, the opposition that His Majesty met with could have been reduced. Yet, why did His Majesty stop him from speaking?
In that instant, the hall fell silent. Neither of them dared to say anything.
“Chaos, it’s all chaos…”
Confusion reflected in King Song’s eyes as he gazed at the ceiling. For the first time, King Song felt as though there was a translucent curtain pulled before his eyes, causing him to be unable to see anything clearly.
“Make some preparations. I want to visit the royal palace!”
Countless thoughts flew across King Song’s head, and in a split moment, King Song made up his mind.
“Your Highness, you wish to meet the Sage Emperor?”
Lu Ting was stunned. He knew that it was impossible for the Sage Emperor to meet him given the current state of affairs.
King Song’s reply was beyond Lu Ting’s expectation.
“I want to meet Consort Taizhen!”
The sky had already dimmed, but King Song acted far swifter than Lu Ting had imagined. That night, King Song’s carriage was already ready to go.
The gates to the royal palace usually closed upon the onset of night, and today was no different. However, as a member of the royal family, King Song possessed unique privileges. He was allowed to enter the royal palace to meet the emperor even after the gates had closed.
Even though the carriage was ready to go, King Song didn’t set off immediately. He wasn’t intending to visit the royal palace alone.
“Yin Shan pays respect to King Song!”
An elderly figure dressed in a black robe and a straw hat appeared before King Song’s carriage. There was a black veil hanging down from his straw hat, concealing his facial features.
The elder’s body was bent, and his face was slightly tilted toward the ground, as though he was intentionally trying to hide his appearance from everyone except for King Song.
At this time, even Lu Ting, who King Song had always trusted, was shoved to one side.
“Mister Yin Shan, I apologize for troubling you. Back then, my father promised to not bother you for any normal matter, but I’ll have to trouble you to go on a trip with me to the royal palace today.”
The doors to the carriage opened, and King Song stood respectfully by it.
“Hehe, Your Highness, there’s no need for you to be so formal with me. Regardless of whether it is the old King Song or Your Highness, you are both trustworthy men. The previous King Song had only asked for my assistance for a couple of occasions, and it is already six years since you last asked for me.”
“Given that Your Highness has a need for me, how can I remain idle?”
Mister Yin Shan chuckled. His voice was deep and hoarse, and there was an inexplicable eeriness to it.
King Song nodded as he walked to the side. With a lowered head, Mister Yin Shan slid into the carriage silently as though a bundle of shadow.
King Song didn’t know much about ‘Mister Yin Shan’, he only knew that the other party was a talented personnel of his father.
His father was extremely respectful to Mister Yin Shan, to the point that respectful seemed like an understatement. The old King Song had once advised him that unless necessary, do not bother Mister Yin Shan easily.
If not for the five imperial edicts, the fact that the Consort Taizhen incident implicated the entire royal court, and the bizarre words of King Shou…
King Song would have never troubled Mister Yin Shan.
“Let’s set off!”
King Song instructed, and the carriage started to move. The sceneries outside flew by and the rumbling of the carriage sounded, but the interior of the carriage was eerily still and silent. Neither King Song nor Mister Yin Shan spoke a single word.
Right after Mister Yin Shan walked into the carriage, he automatically chose the seat at the corner, melding together with the shadows, as though he had an innate fear of sunlight.
Soon, with a loud creaking sound, the gates opened and King Song’s carriage successfully entered the royal palace…