The Human Emperor - Chapter 1997 - Wang Chong's Status!
Chapter 1997: Wang Chong’s Status!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
“Heh, we are not the ones Lord Prime Minister wants to greet, yes?” Wang Chong suddenly said, a faint hint of derision in his eyes.
“I have long heard of Lord Prime Minister’s gregarious manner, but I did not think that Lord Prime Minister’s connections would even go so far as distant Youzhou in the northeast, and you would already be familiar with the new Andong Protector-General that few have met. As expected of the model for my generation! This one is full of admiration!”
Li Linfu’s smile instantly froze.
Li Linfu had clearly not expected Wang Chong to give him no face at all in front of so many people.
But it took only a second for Li Linfu to get ahold of himself, smiling as if he had heard none of the implication in Wang Chong’s words.
“A good joke, Your Highness. I’m afraid that Your Highness must have developed a misunderstanding over the incident at the gate. An Yaluoshan is a new honored subject of the court, one who has rendered great service for the empire. As the Prime Minister, I must naturally go to personally welcome him to express the courtesy of my court. I did not expect Your Highness and the new Andong Protector-General to have past quarrels. This truly left me surprised.”
‘Honey in mouth, sword in belly.’ Li Linfu had so quickly adjusted himself, treating everything as a misunderstanding, that even Wang Chong was forced to admire this conniving man.
The old fox had stood firm in the court for many years, experiencing all sorts of storms and maintaining an iron grip on the Prime Minister position while remaining unexposed. Great skill and ability could be found on this man. Considering that he was Prime Minister, it was incredible how he was able to endure it all, swallow all his pride, and make up an excuse for everything while remaining unperturbed the whole time.
Wang Chong leaned forward and coldly whispered, “Hmph, Lord Prime Minister, it is enough that you and I know. What’s the point in trying to deceive yourself by deceiving others?
“And besides, Milord does not think I don’t know what you’ve done, do you?” Wang Chong said through a message technique.
Li Linfu instantly grimaced.
But after saying this, Wang Chong paid him no more mind.
“Your Highness, Lord Zhangchou, it’s about time. Let’s head in!”
Wang Chong waved his sleeve and walked around Li Linfu as if he had never met the man.
“Lord Prime Minister, we’ll be taking our leave. Excuse us!”
King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong gave hand salutes before walking past, showing none of their past deference.
Sometimes, one was unable to see the truth of matters in the past because one had simply not considered the possibility. But both of them had seen Li Linfu help An Yaluoshan at the gate deal with Wang Chong, and not even Li Linfu’s eloquent tongue could change this.
Li Linfu’s words were only able to deceive himself.
Those who walked different paths could not conspire together. As they no longer walked together, they naturally no longer needed to keep up the excessive courtesy. When they looked back at various incidents, including those involving Consort Taizhen, King Qi, and even the recent selection of women for the ‘Sage Emperor’, Li Linfu had probably played an inglorious role in all of them.
The group quickly departed.
Behind them, Li Linfu simply stood there, speechless, his face shifting between green and white.
This was the first time since he had reached this post that anyone had ever disrespected him this much!
Li Linfu quickly got ahold of himself. His eyes coldly flashed as he turned around and walked off, pretending nothing had happened.
Several quick-witted minor eunuchs spotted Wang Chong’s group and came forward.
“Your Highness, Lady Xu, everything is ready and waiting. Please, this way!”
Wang Chong nodded. After saying a few words to King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong, he went to the right with Xu Qiqin.
The hierarchy of the Imperial Court was strict, and every official and general had his proper position. King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong were not seated with Wang Chong.
“Your Highness, please come this way!” a minor eunuch said, and Wang Chong followed.
The Pavilion of Petal and Sepal formed a gigantic ‘U’, with the officials and foreign emissaries arranged on the two sides. Behind them were palace maids holding water jars engraved with golden turtles. On each table covered in golden cloth was a golden goblet, studded with red jewels, and a few plates of food.
Wang Chong looked around and saw that the majority of seats were full. Those seated around him were almost all the most powerful of the emissaries sent by the foreign countries.
Wang Chong quickly focused and took his seat on the right side of the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal’s ‘U’, one of the seats closest to the Sage Emperor’s throne.
The right side was a position of respect, and Wang Chong’s seat could be considered the most eminent seat in the entire feast of all countries, even above Prime Minister Li Linfu and King Song. There was currently no disputing Wang Chong’s current status.
As for Xu Qiqin…
Their relationship was no longer much of a secret in the court. Moreover, during the Battle of Talas, Xu Qiqin had performed a great service as the logistics backbone for the war effort, transporting food and weapons onward to Talas. This number one beauty of the capital had also performed a great service in the Rebellion of the Three Princes.
Even the blind could see that the Xu Clan’s young lady loved the Great Tang’s King of Foreign Lands.
The Bureau of Rites official responsible for assigning seats had decided, from the moment he saw the name of the Xu Clan’s young lady, to put her next to Wang Chong.
The moment Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin sat down, several palace maids came forward and filled their cups with fragrant palace wine.
With Wang Chong’s entrance, a subtle shift took place in the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal. Many foreign emissaries began to take their cups, stand up, and walk over to Wang Chong.
“The emissary of the Samanid Dynasty pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of the Buwayhid Dynasty pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of the Ghazni Dynasty pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of the Jushi Kingdom pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of Greater Balur pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of the Khmer Kingdom pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
“The emissary of the Siam Kingdom pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands!”
The emissaries gathered around Wang Chong. Some of them were already vassals of the Great Tang, some were kingdoms from the far west, and others, like Khmer, were small kingdoms far from the continent that few people had heard about.
Wang Chong’s ships had discovered this small kingdom on the way to the Promised Land, so they had conquered it and made it into a vassal of the Great Tang.
The emissaries respectfully came forward, all of them representing their empires or royal households in paying respects to Wang Chong.
These emissaries wanted to use this chance to entertain Wang Chong, but Wang Chong refused them all.
The emissaries had gone above and beyond accepted etiquette when dealing with Wang Chong, attempting every method to get close to him. Bystanders could see that any emissary that received a few additional words from Wang Chong would become incredibly agitated, as if they had been endowed with some immense glory. They couldn’t help but feel conflicted about this.
“A subject is so respected in so many countries! In my Great Tang, there is only the King of Foreign Lands.”
One of the officials sighed.
In his heart was both admiration and envy.
Prime Minister Li Linfu was also greatly conflicted.
But all of them knew that envy could not gain them anything. Through arduous efforts and campaigns, Wang Chong had destroyed the most powerful empire of the continent, Arabia, thus gaining his current status. These countries were trying to get on Wang Chong’s good side because they feared that they would be Wang Chong’s next target. They feared the power of the Great Tang.
In a certain way, this was proof of the Great Tang’s power.
Wunu Shibi and Irbis Shiyun next to him exchanged a glance, and then they stood up and walked over to Wang Chong.
“Western Turkic Khaganate Great General Wunu Shibi pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands, the Nine Provinces Protector-General!”
“Ü-Tsang Empire Great General Namri Songtian pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands, the Nine Provinces Protector-General!”
“Mengshe Zhao Great General Duan Gequan pays respects to the King of Foreign Lands, the Nine Provinces Protector-General!”
Several voices sounded out at once, each coming from a different direction, and the hall fell silent. Everyone turned to the speakers.
The crowd parted, allowing Wunu Shibi, Namri Songtian, and Duan Gequan to walk over to Wang Chong.
The emissaries had all instinctively backed away at the sight of these men. When it came to national power, other than the now-vanquished Arabia, Ü-Tsang, the Eastern and Western Turks, and Mengshe Zhao were the strongest countries present at this feast of all countries.
The strong ate the weak. The stronger the country, the greater its weight.
“What business do you have?” Wang Chong grunted, his face turning cold. His attitude was completely different from how he treated the other emissaries.
The Great Generals stiffened when they heard Wang Chong’s cold tone.
“Your Highness, Wunu Shibi has no ill intentions. This one brought the First Prince with him simply to explain to Your Highness that we Western Turks are sincere in our desire to establish good relations with the Great Tang. In participating in this feast of all countries, we wish to express to the Great Tang that the Western Turks are willing to be friends with the Great Tang for all time!”
Despite Wang Chong’s cold treatment, Wunu Shibi was not angered. He bowed and spoke so meekly and deferentially that he was like a subject speaking to a sovereign.
Ü-Tsang Great General Namri Songtian came over with Prince Mangri Rinda and said, “Your Highness, Ü-Tsang also has no ill intentions. At the city gate, Namri Songtian had merely heard that Your Highness was going to appear and went to pay a visit. Namri Songtian had no intention of getting in touch with An Yaluoshan. If Your Highness is not happy, Ü-Tsang will naturally not dare to get involved with them.”
Mengshe Zhao Great General Duan Gequan also lowered his head and respectfully said, “Your Highness, Mengshe Zhao has learned its lesson and is willing to be friends with the Great Tang for all time!”