The Human Emperor - Chapter 1999 - The Feast Begins! The Countries Offer Their Congratulations!
Chapter 1999: The Feast Begins! The Countries Offer Their Congratulations!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Gao Shang, standing at An Yaluoshan’s side, suddenly sensed a sharp and piercing gaze on his body. He raised his head and immediately saw Wang Chong surrounded by the foreign emissaries. He shuddered and instinctively lowered his head to avoid Wang Chong’s gaze.
Wang Chong was no mediocre character. This was something he had learned long ago from studying Wang Chong’s dossier.
This was also why he had used a substitute to avoid Wang Chong when entering the capital.
But the feast of all countries was too important. Even with all his tricks and stratagems, Gao Shang had no choice but to come in person.
Wang Chong sneered as he noted that face in his memory and turned to An Yaluoshan. With a thought, he immediately activated the True World ability.
Wang Chong soon felt another familiar feeling. He could see that An Yaluoshan was wrapped in a mysterious energy that completely concealed him.
Ripples of a ritual tool!
I’d like to see what you’ll try! Wang Chong mentally jeered, and quickly looked away.
The feast of all countries was merely a one-time celebration. If An Yaluoshan had come merely to take part in the festivities, there was no need to be so secretive. In his clumsy attempt to conceal his guilt, he had essentially admitted to it.
But Wang Chong was in no rush. He had come today precisely to deal with any trouble that might occur.
“Heh, Sir Eunuch, thank you for the trouble!”
An Yaluoshan gave a hand salute and smiled. As he spoke, he subconsciously avoided Wang Chong’s gaze. Under the guidance of the old eunuch, he was swiftly taken to the left side of the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal, his seat far on the other side of Wang Chong.
“All of you should return to your seats!”
Wang Chong withdrew his gaze and waved his hand, upon which the foreign emissaries dispersed.
Wunu Shibi and Namri Songtian still wanted to argue, but one glance from Wang Chong was enough to silence them. They were forced to bow and return to their seats.
A few moments later, a bell was struck.
This was the third bell of the feast of all countries, and the final one.
“Close the gates!”
“Close the gates!”
“Close the gates!”
The eunuchs began to shrilly cry out, their voices traveling from the insides of the palace to the gates.
A few moments later, the two vast palace gates slammed shut. With this, all the guests of the feast of all countries had arrived, and it was now time for the feast to formally begin. Only exit was permitted now.
“The Sage Emperor has arrived!”
The palace gates shut, and a few seconds later, clear chimes began to ring, and countless palace maids and guards began to file into the two sides of the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal.
Each palace maid held a flower basket that was full of the petals of flowers freshly picked from the imperial gardens. As the chimes rang out, they tossed the petals into the air, creating a picturesque scene in the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal.
Behind the palace maids were two rows of heroic Golden Guards. They held halberds in their hands and wore swords at their waists as they stalwartly marched into the two sides of the ‘U’.
“The consorts and concubines have arrived!” a voice loudly called out, and a gust of wind blew a fragrant scent into the two sides of the pavilion.
The crowd was instantly dazzled as the consorts and concubines came in, each as beautiful as a fairy, and took their seats on the sides.
The Pavilion of Petal and Sepal was divided into two parts. One was a lower ‘U’ where the officials and foreign dignitaries were seated. There was also an upper ‘U’ where the consorts and concubines were seated.
Wang Chong was somewhat surprised. This was his first time taking part in a feast at the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal, and it was also the first time he had learned that the consorts and concubines would also be taking part in this celebration.
“Look at that!”
As he was thinking, Xu Qiqin prodded his arm and looked in a certain direction.
Wang Chong followed her gaze and immediately spotted a familiar figure.
Wang Chong was startled. On the right side of the hall, Wang Chong had spotted Consort Taizhen with the other consorts.
Consort Taizhen remained beautiful, but her complexion was somewhat sallow, and she seemed absentminded, as if she was looking for something.
“The one left most dejected by His Divine Majesty’s change in personality is probably Her Majesty,” Xu Qiqin sympathetically said.
Wang Chong said nothing. There had been many rumors about Consort Taizhen as of late, but when he saw Consort Taizhen’s dejected appearance, Wang Chong breathed a sigh of relief.
This ‘Sage Emperor’ was not the Sage Emperor. He had been rather worried, but it was clear from Consort Taizhen’s expression that what he had feared had not taken place.
Wang Chong scanned the crowd, but he saw no sign of Crown Prince Li Heng or Wang Zhongsi, a fact that made him frown.
After the Eastern Palace incident, it was rumored that Crown Prince Li Heng was no longer so highly regarded. It seemed that the loyal Prince from the Rebellion of the Three Princes had fallen out of favor with the ‘Sage Emperor’, but Wang Chong had never imagined that the Sage Emperor wouldn’t even let him appear at the feast of all countries.
As for Wang Zhongsi, he had long ago been appointed as Crown Prince’s Junior Guardian. He was to serve as Li Heng’s guardian and teacher, but it seemed as if he had been implicated in this incident and had also not been invited.
Understanding this made a dark cloud of worry flit across Wang Chong’s brow. But he quickly put these matters aside. As the chimes rang out, a majestic figure garbed in a dragon robe was escorted into the hall by eunuchs and guards, swiftly making his way toward the center of the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal.
“May the Emperor live ten thousand years!”
All the officials and foreign dignitaries in the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal stood up and bowed, Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin amongst them.
All of the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal fell silent.
On the raised platform, the ‘Sage Emperor’ saw all these people paying respects to him, and his face grew excited.
Do you see it? This time, We have surpassed you! the ‘Sage Emperor’ smugly thought, and there seemed to be a reply from deep in his mind. A moment later, the ‘Sage Emperor’ swiftly turned his gaze toward the front.
He shot a glance at a white-haired and wrinkled eunuch to his right.
The old eunuch understood and immediately came forward, extending a hand and unrolling a decree. He began to loudly speak.
“Acceding to the will of the heavens, the Emperor declares!
“At present, the world is at peace and prosperous, and all the countries are in harmony. Though Hua and Hu may differ, they are linked by blood and heart. Thus, this feast of all countries is held to express to all the world that Hua and Hu are family, that we are all brothers. Thus is the Emperor’s will!”
“May the Emperor live ten thousand years!”
Everyone cried out in unison, their shouts shaking the walls.
The ‘Sage Emperor’ listened to the thunderous roar, squinting as he looked around at the foreign dignitaries and the prosperous capital. An intense pride and satisfaction welled up in his heart.
“Everyone, please be seated!” he majestically declared.
“Thank you, Your Majesty!”
Everyone bowed and sat back in their seats.
A bell rang out, and the eunuch began to speak once more.
“Emissaries of all countries, come forward!”
“The emissary of Ü-Tsang pays obeisance to the Sage Emperor, the Son of Heaven, and offers a sacred white yak bone as a tribute to bless the Sage Emperor with a long life!”
“The emissary of the Ghazni Dynasty pays respects to the Sage Emperor, presenting this ancient Cintamani jewel to bless the Sage Emperor with a long life!”
“The emissary of Ozmish Khagan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate pays obeisance to the Emperor of the Great Tang, presenting this tribute to bless the Sage Emperor with a long life!”
“The Western Turkic Khaganate offers this tribute…”
“The Khmer Kingdom offers this tribute…”
“Mengshe Zhao offers this tribute…”
“The Jushi Kingdom offers this tribute…”
The foreign dignitaries came up for their audience, presented their gifts, and humbly prostrated on the ground.
Wang Chong coldly watched, feeling nothing from these audiences. But on his throne, the ‘Sage Emperor’ loudly laughed, and with each tribute, his smile grew wider and wider. He was completely immersed in happiness.
Wang Chong knew that this was a feast held entirely to amuse and please the ‘Sage Emperor’.
As Wang Chong frowned, Xu Qiqin spoke in a warm and gentle tone. “Although there have been feasts held at the Pavilion of Petal and Sepal before, and the Chamberlain of Dependencies has claimed that all countries have paid homage before, only this once is it a feast of all countries in both name and reality!”
Unlike Wang Chong, Xu Qiqin was relaxed and enjoying the feast of all countries.
“What does it matter if all countries pay homage? It is like duckweed floating on the surface, completely meaningless!” Wang Chong indifferently said.
Though he was not opposed to this feast, he did not support it either. Even though this sort of feast placed little burden on the resources and finances of the Great Tang, he still did not support it.
“Everything has two sides. With pros come cons, and with cons come pros…”
Xu Qiqin shook her head and smiled.
“Did you not notice? Though the Sage Emperor was the one who wanted this feast, the happiest are the people of the capital.”
Wang Chong turned around in shock. Outside the walls, countless torches burned in the darkness, and under these torches were packed crowds who were looking in the direction of the pavilion.
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