The Human Emperor - Chapter 120: Second Persuasion to King Song
“He’s finally here. He came earlier than I expected!”
Hearing Shen Hai and Meng Long’s report, Wang Chong’s eyes lit up. A gleam flashed through his eyes as he calmed his cultivation and walked out of the courtyard.
Even though Lu Ting didn’t state the matter he was here for, Wang Chong knew it was definitely regarding the Consort Taizhen incident. He hadn’t paid much attention to the royal court, but he knew from the rumors that the Sage Emperor had prevented King Song from attending the morning assembly for several days already.
Wang Chong thought that it would at least take a dozen more days before King Song would wake up, so he was caught by surprise by the other party’s arrival.
Wang Chong met Lu Ting in the lounge of the Wang Family Residence.
Lu Ting was seated by the tea table. Holding a porcelain teacup in his hand, he seemed to have waited for quite awhile. Upon seeing Wang Chong, his eyes immediately glowed in agitation.
The fifteen-year-old Wang Chong was dressed in a grayish training slacks fastened casually by a piece of fabric at his waist. Accompanied with his pitch black hair, crescent brows, and bright eyes, he looked dashing.
Lu Ting had never noticed in the past, but Wang Chong seemed to exude composure and confidence that was absent in those of his age.
Everything that he did seemed to have a motive behind it. Regardless of whether it was the incident at the Vast Crane Pavilion or the words he left them at the Four Quarters Embassy, his deeds had already made it impossible for one to view him as an ordinary child.
In fact, there were times when Lu Ting unwittingly thought of him as a fellow peer.
This was something completely unimaginable to the Lu Ting of the past.
“Lu Ting greets gongzi!”
Lu Ting abruptly stood up and bowed deeply.
“Lord Lu, there’s no need for formalities. I am unworthy of your bow!”
Wang Chong smiled.
Wang Chong found Lu Ting an extremely interesting person. He thought that he had hidden his deeds at the Vast Crane Pavilion well, but it seemed that the other party had already seen through his ploy right from the very start.
Wang Chong even dared to bet that Lu Ting had played a huge role in convincing King Song on the Consort Taizhen incident.
“Hehe, gongzi is indeed a formidable person. To think that you would be able to guess the matter regarding the Consort Taizhen incident accurately! You are definitely worthy of this bow!”
Lu Ting couldn’t help but chuckle.
It was just a moment ago that he thought Wang Chong was mature like an adult when Wang Chong asked the obvious, as though a child.
“What do you mean? I don’t recall saying anything?”
Wang Chong feigned ignorance.
“Hehe! At Four Quarters Embassy, wasn’t gongzi trying to persuade King Song to not oppose Consort Taizhen?”
Arching his back, Lu Ting went along with Wang Chong and asked.
“Lord Lu, you must have remembered wrongly. I don’t recall persuading King Song before. I only advised King Song to visit King Shou so that they could rekindle their relationship.”
The smile on Wang Chong’s face deepened.
“Gongzi, please don’t jest with me. I admit that the matter then was my fault, alright? If you have any opinions, feel free to speak. I will do my best to advise King Song! …”
With a bitter smile, Lu Ting admitted defeat.
Wang Chong suddenly started laughing.
Lu Ting couldn’t help but burst into laughter as well.
It was best not to expose some matters. Back in the Four Quarters Embassy, Lu Ting had shared the same thoughts as King Song even though he didn’t voice it out. The both of them thought that Wang Chong was lacking the principles that a subordinate should possess, and this had caused rift in their mutual trust.
Without mutual trust to serve as the foundation of their relationship, it would be impossible for them to work together. Thus, Wang Chong intentionally feigned ignorance to get Lu Ting to admit defeat.
Only after resolving this issue and getting past this rift could they continue to work together.
“Lord Lu, I will take your words for it then.”
Pointing a finger at Lu Ting, Wang Chong smiled.
“Of course, I mean my words. Chong gongzi has already proven yourself with your capability, so how can I dare to say anything else?”
Lu Ting said.
This wasn’t mere pleasantry but honest words from Lu Ting. Neither the matter at the Vast Crane Pavilion nor the Consort Taizhen incident were ordinary trifling matters.
Lu Ting admitted that even though Wang Chong was young, his insight and wisdom toward these matters far surpassed even him.
Yao Guang Yi suffering a setback from him served as the best evidence of his capability.
“Chong gongzi, due to the Consort Taizhen incident, the Sage Emperor ordered for King Song to stay out of the morning assembly and rest at his residence instead. This is a huge matter. Gongzi, please follow me to the King Song Residence, His Highness is waiting for you.”
Lu Ting said earnestly.
“I’ll be troubling Lord Lu then.”
Seeing Lu Ting’s grim expression, Wang Chong immediately nodded.
Thus, the two of them entered the carriage and left for King Song Residence.
Some time later, Wang Chong met King Song in the main hall of the King Song Residence. King Song, Lu Ting, the old butler, and Wang Chong, these four were the only ones in the main hall.
Other than them, there were no one else.
The doors to the main hall were tightly shut, and experts were stationed throughout the entire residence, be it the corners or the roofs. Even though this was Wang Chong’s first time at King Song Residence, he could clearly sense a heavy atmosphere looming in the area.
“Chong gongzi, can you tell us now?”
In the hall, everyone’s eyes were gathered on Wang Chong, The matter between King Shou and Consort Taizhen had plagued King Song’s mind for quite awhile, and he couldn’t wait any longer.
In King Song’s view, if there was a person that knew of the secrets hidden within the matter, that person had to be Wang Chong.
If not for Wang Chong’s reminder, King Song wouldn’t have thought of visiting King Shou, and he wouldn’t have found out that Consort Taizhen, despite being wedded, was a virgin!
When King Song met Wang Chong in the Four Quarters Embassy back then, he even chastised the other party for being unprincipled. But now, he didn’t dare to harbor such thoughts anymore.
“Does Your Highness think that I know of the truth?”
Just when everyone was waiting expectantly for Wang Chong’s reply, Wang Chong’s reply left everyone astonished.
“You don’t know?”
King Song was shocked. The reason why he invited Wang Chong over was because he was certain that Wang Chong carried the key to their doubts. He didn’t expect Wang Chong to say that he didn’t know anything either.
“Your Highness is overestimating Wang Chong. I would like to know the truth as well, but I truly don’t know much about the matter.”
Shaking his head, Wang Chong smiled bitterly.
Be it in his previous life or his current life, the Consort Taizhen incident was a mystery to Wang Chong. In fact, on the road here, when he learned from Lu Ting that Consort Taizhen was a virgin, he was even more astonished than the latter.
While he knew that Consort Taizhen and King Shou had no offsprings, he couldn’t have imagined that Consort Taizhen was still a virgin.
Given the overwhelming odds against the matter, how could Wang Chong not be surprised?
King Song expected an answer from Wang Chong, but Wang Chong didn’t know any better than him either.
“Chong gongzi, this isn’t what you said earlier. If you don’t know the insides of the matter, why would you advise His Highness to meet King Shou?”
Lu Ting frowned as well.
In a panic to bring Wang Chong to King Song, he didn’t ask about the matter along the way. On the other hand, it was Wang Chong who kept asking him about the matter concerning King Shou and Consort Taizhen.
“Your Highness and Lord Lu are mistaken.”
Without hiding anything, Wang Chong revealed the details of his glimpse of King Shou. Naturally, he left out the part regarding encountering this incident in his previous life.
“That is to say, you only suspected the matter because you saw King Shou?”
King Song couldn’t hide the disappointment in his eyes. The greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment. He thought that Wang Chong would know the answer, and he felt a little let down upon realizing that it wasn’t the case.
“Hehe, I believe that this isn’t the matter that Your Highness should be worrying about.”
Wang Chong glanced at King Song and smiled.
“Is the truth really important? I would like to ask that regardless of what the truth is, has Your Highness considered your next course of action?”
Hearing those words, King Song and Lu Ting’s face immediately turned grim. Graveness also crept onto the old butler’s impassive face.
“Your Highness, regardless of what the truth is, there are only two possibilities. The first possibility is that His Majesty has taken King Shou’s wife for his own, violating the teachings of the past sages. If that is the case, then nothing more has to be said.”
“The second possibility is that there’s a hidden story to the matter, and the truth isn’t like what others assumed. If that is the case, then has Your Highness thought of how your next course of action?”
Wang Chong faced King Song’s gaze with composure.
These words were brazen, and if it was in the past, Wang Chong would have never dared to say such words.
But that was then.
This time, King Song was the one who invited him over.
And the impacts of the Consort Taizhen incident were huge. King Song, big uncle, and the Wang Clan would be affected by the outcome of this incident, Wang Chong couldn’t simply ignore it.
Wang Chong knew that there wasn’t much time left for King Song.
“Wang Chong, how can you talk to King Song like that?”
Lu Ting berated.
King Song shook his head as he fell into deep contemplation. If Wang Chong had dared to speak to him like that in the past, he would definitely fly into a rage.
But the situation was different now. The five imperial edicts had awoken him, and he was calmer than ever.
“Wang Chong, what do you intend to say?”
King Song sighed deeply. His figure suddenly seemed extremely weary.
“Your Highness, it is just a matter of time before the Consort Taizhen incident is concluded. There isn’t much time left for Your Highness!”
Wang Chong sighed before speaking with a much gentler tone.
It was a little bizarre for a fifteen-year-old child to speaking such words.
However, neither King Song nor Lu Ting nor the old butler found anything off about this situation. They seemed to have accepted Wang Chong’s attitude unknowingly.
“… Your Highness, Your Majesty has already made a clear stand on the matter. Your Highness and my big uncle have led the officials to oppose to His Majesty and Consort Taizhen, and in order to protect Consort Taizhen, His Majesty even went to the extent of issuing five imperial edicts to evict Your Highness from the royal court. Since that was the case with Your Highness, then has Your Highness thought about what would happen to the other officials? When this matter comes to an end, what do you think Consort Taizhen would do?”
“If Consort Taizhen were to become the queen, what does Your Highness think she would do to those who opposed to her back then?”
Wang Chong’s tone was casual, but to the others, it felt as though a huge bomb had fallen into the main hall.
“You mean that the other officials will be implicated by the matter as well?”
King Song’s face finally distorted. All along, he had been hesitating over his next course of action, whether he should continue opposing to Consort Taizhen and His Majesty or not.
Wang Chong’s words caused his heart to run cold.
He was too concerned over the Consort Taizhen incident that he neglected the potential impact that this matter would have on the royal court and the other officials.
“Impossible! His Majesty will never do that. That’s half of the officials of the royal court!”
King Song’s face was ghastly pale.
“Does Your Highness really think so?”
Wang Chong sighed deeply. If King Song didn’t change his attitude toward this matter, then the events would surely go down this route.
No one could understand why the Sage Emperor was so protective toward a woman, but this was a fact. Consort Taizhen’s place in the Sage Emperor’s heart was much greater than many people imagined.
The reason for that was destined to be a mystery that no outsiders would ever learn of.
The main hall fell silent. King Song’s eyes were closed, and cold sweat was seeping from his forehead.
Lu Ting wasn’t any better either!
Lu Ting was staring at Wang Chong as though he had seen a ghost. This young man’s insight toward important matters had far surpassed his imagination.
While he and King Song were still busy uncovering the secrets behind the Consort Taizhen incident, Wang Chong was already thinking about the consequences of the matter.
At this time, Lu Ting couldn’t help but feel glad that he had noticed Wang Chong at the Vast Crane Pavilion and that he had invited Wang Chong over.
Otherwise, who knows when they would wake up from this.
Just by thinking about how half of the officials of the royal court would be implicated by the matter, Lu Ting couldn’t help but shudder in fear.
In an instant, the hall fell completely silent. Only the sound of agitated breathing could be heard.
Seeing this sight, Wang Chong nodded slightly. Given that King Song and the others could realize the severity of this matter, Wang Chong’s effort at the Four Quarters Embassy wasn’t in vain.
“… Has Your Highness thought about the consequences when half of the court officials are demoted or exiled, and King Qi and the Yao Clan start taking charge of the royal court?”
“Old Master Yao is concerned about his reputation, so the Yao Clan might not do anything extreme, but what about King Qi? Given King Qi’s personality and his way of doing things, does Your Highness think that King Qi would give up this kind of opportunity? If the decision making of the royal court and the military were to fall into the hands of the Yao Clan and King Qi, who valued their personal interest above that of others, what does Your Highness think will happen to Great Tang?”
Wang Chong advised earnestly.
At this moment, Wang Chong finally spoke all of the words he had bottled up inside.
Back then, in the Four Quarters Embassy, there were many words that Wang Chong didn’t say and couldn’t say either. However, the weight of these words was different, especially after King Song had received five imperial edicts.
King Song’s complexion gradually grew more and more awful. The old butler and Lu Ting didn’t look any better either. They had never considered the matter from Wang Chong’s perspective.
“Then, what do you think that I should do?”
King Song finally raised his head and stared at Wang Chong. King Song no longer dared to underestimate him because of his youth or his outer appearance.
At this moment, King Song had already thought of Wang Chong as a young strategist, an extremely important one at that.
“Hehe, that is a choice Your Highness will have to make. Private affairs or national affairs, which one does Your Highness value more?”
Wang Chong smiled, knowing that King Song’s determination was already wavering.
“You are saying that we should neglect the teachings of the past sages, and the responsibility of a subordinate?”
King Song refuted.
“Then, the honor of a subordinate or Great Tang’s national affair, which one does Your Highness deem more important?”
Wang Chong replied fearlessly.
King Song sighed deeply, and a deep feeling of defeat welled up in him. He knew what he had to do!
“Actually, Your Highness shouldn’t blame yourself for this matter. In this matter, King Shou wasn’t hurt, Consort Taizhen wasn’t hurt, and His Majesty wasn’t hurt. Isn’t this sufficient? If it is a matter regarding the welfare of the nation, then the interests of an individual should be shelved aside. As long as it is beneficial for Great Tang, why should Your Highness be concerned with the loss of honor?”
Wang Chong consoled.
In truth, Wang Chong felt deep respect for King Song. If it was any other person placed in King Song’s situation, he would have already given up long ago. Only a person as upright as King Song would be tortured by this matter.
“If it is a matter regarding the welfare of the nation, then the interests of an individual should be shelved aside! Well said! Well said!”
King Song sighed deeply, and he regained a little of his previous imposing self.
“But even if I want to do anything now, it’s already too late!”