The Human Emperor - Chapter 230: The Unchangeable Tides!
Chapter 230: The Unchangeable Tides!
Even if Zhangchou Jianqiong were to fail, he would still remain a great power in military circles. His standing as the Protector-General of the Southern Protectorate Manor was in particular not something one could simply overlook.
Even though the Wang Clan didn’t fear Zhangchou Jianqiong, making such a powerful enemy would be an unwise decision. Going a step further, if he were to be pulled into the sphere of influence of King Qi and the Yao Clan, that would be truly disastrous.
“What is King Qi and Yao Guang Yi’s stance on this matter? Has Zhangchou Jianqiong approached them yet?” Wang Chong asked.
“Unknown.” Wang Gen shook his head but, at the same time, commended his nephew with his eyes. Wang Chong’s nose for politics was impressive, and he could arrive at the crux of the problem with little having been said.
Indeed! Zhangchou Jianqiong hadn’t had much contact with the powers in the capital, be it Wang Clan or Yao Clan.
In other words, no grudges had been created with any faction here yet, and his moves would be unfettered by past history. While he could approach the Wang Clan, nothing was holding him back from doing the same with the Yao Clan.
“The Yao Clan hasn’t expressed their stance yet. This is what has made the entire matter even more troublesome. We cannot determine whether Zhangchou Jianqiong has come into contact with our rivals yet or not.”
“If we were to express our support for Zhangchou Jianqiong, given our relationship with the Yao Clan, there is a high chance that they would oppose him. On the other hand, if we were to oppose Zhangchou Jianqiong, even if the Yao Clan also intended to oppose him initially, they would still then at least show slight support. This way, regardless of how the matter goes, the Yao Clan would likely stand to win.”
Wang Gen frowned deeply as he expressed his musings on the matter. If the issue wasn’t so difficult, he would never have come to look for Wang Chong. In politics, even the calmest winds could easily generate the strongest waves.
Who knew how many prestigious clans had fallen due to a single misstep?
There was no other viable option for the Wang Clan but to move cautiously.
Meanwhile, very few people in the Wang Clan were qualified to know and discuss this matter, but Wang Chong was one of them.
“So, big uncle is unsure whether Zhangchou Jianqiong will succeed or not?” After a moment of contemplation, Wang Chong sought confirmation from his uncle.
“That’s right!” Wang Gen nodded his head grimly. There was nothing for him to hide before this nephew of his. In truth, he had considered this matter for a very long time already.
“Big uncle, rest assured. Zhangchou Jianqiong will definitely be able to step into the capital’s political scene!” Wang Chong said deeply.
“What?!” Wang Gen exclaimed in shock. He quickly shifted to get a better look at Wang Chong, only to see the latter’s tranquil expression and composed gaze. The boy appeared to be very confident of this matter, as though everything was within his grasp.
While Wang Gen did intend to seek Wang Chong’s opinion, he didn’t expect the latter’s reply to be so decisive.
“Chong-er, what makes you so certain?” Wang Gen asked gravely. It was inconceivable to him how Wang Chong could be so confident about such a huge variable. At the very least, Wang Gen would never be able to decide on this matter so quickly.
“Big uncle, do you trust me?” Wang Chong chuckled.
“Child.” Wang Gen couldn’t help but chuckle dotingly after hearing those words. If he couldn’t even trust this nephew of his, he wouldn’t have come here in the first place.
“Zhangchou Jianqiong will surely become the new Minister of War.” Wang Chong pressed on seriously.
“It’s just that, even if he becomes the Minister of War, that doesn’t mean that things are in our favor. Zhangchou Jianqiong would never ally himself with the Wang Clan or the Yao Clan, but clearly, rejecting him outright isn’t a wise decision either.
“Since he openly expressed his intentions for the position, there must be something he’s after. With the situation still uncertain, many others will be hesitating, just like big uncle. Knowing it’s just a matter of time before Zhangchou Jianqiong becomes the new Minister of War, why doesn’t big uncle write a letter at this moment to express support for him? This way, Zhangchou Jianqiong would know of our goodwill toward him.
“Given his personality and his goal, he would surely go around publicizing the matter; he’s determined to obtain the position, after all. However, you mustn’t admit to this matter verbally or express a stance, especially not in the royal court.
“We’ll use this to find out whom Zhangchou Jianqiong is liaising with. Plus, when things become desperate for him, he will certainly send someone to big uncle. It wouldn’t be too late for big uncle to express your support for him officially then.
“We can win Zhangchou Jianqiong’s goodwill while simultaneously avoiding painting a target on the Wang Clan!”
Cupping his lower jaw, Wang Chong analyzed this with a lowered head. Normally, he would not involve himself in court politics, but the matter regarding Zhangchou Jianqiong was too critical.
It would affect the Wang Clan’s future. He had no choice but to take it seriously.
“Chong-er, you mean that the reason Zhangchou Jianqiong is publicizing his intent is because he’s confident? Other than the Wang Clan, he must have contacted many more factions—perhaps the Yao Clan, King Qi, or even the prime minister. This is the main reason you want me to send a letter to express my support; am I right?”, Wang Gen replied deeply after realizing something.
“Un.” Wang Chong nodded his head. However, at the same time, he was thinking about something else.
The reason why Wang Chong knew Zhangchou Jianqiong would be able to overcome the precedent of failures and rise up to the position of Minister of War had nothing to do with his analysis. It was simply the path of history!
It was a form of destiny that events would unfold in this manner.
“Since that’s the case, I understand what I should do,” Wang Gen chuckled mildly. He felt as though the weight that had been pushing him down for several days now had finally been lifted. After chatting a while longer with Wang Chong, he left without raising the alarm at the Kunwu Training Camp.
Wang Chong watched as Big Uncle Wang Gen’s carriage slowly disappeared in the distance. The final inch of a smile on his lips slowly faded and was gone. Grimness took its place.
“And so, Zhangchou Jianqiong will once again enter the political main stage and become the Minister of War. How… unexpected.” Wang Chong sighed inwardly, worry etching deep lines into his brow as he gazed into the distance.
What Big Uncle Wang Gen saw in the arrival of Zhangchou Jianqiong was the change in the winds of political fortunes; the upcoming faction struggles among the various powers of the royal court. What Wang Chong saw was the future of the empire.
Some things seemed to be unavoidable.
Wang Gen couldn’t have imagined how intensely Wang Chong’s heart jolted when he heard that Zhangchou Jianqiong was coming to the capital. Like a giant wheel, destiny seemed to roll straight onward, unable to be stopped by anyone.
He knew that the Protector-General of the Southern Protectorate Manor would surely fulfill his ambitions and become the Minister of War.
However, what none could imagine was that Zhangchou Jianqiong’s departure from the border regions would leave a massive breach in the southern defense of Great Tang.
Wang Chong would have surely tried to stop him, but he knew it would be futile. Here was an ambitious man, one who had already held himself back at the borders for two decades now, and his tolerance was reaching its limit.
If Zhangchou Jianqiong had chosen to express his intent implicitly instead, there might still be a chance. Unfortunately, he had already issued a public announcement. He had decided to lay all his cards down, and his determination was resolute. Nothing and no one could stop him at this point.
Never would Wang Chong underestimate the decisiveness of a great general of the Central Plains. Given his current standing, it would be impossible for him to persuade a man of the latter’s standing.
Even if he could stop him this time, it would only be a matter of time before Zhangchou Jianqiong tried a second time and a third time, and once he finally succeeded, there would be another fearsome enemy for the Wang Clan to deal with in the capital.
Why else would Wang Chong not attempt to influence the great general through Big Uncle Wang Gen? Besides, a favor for a favor; Zhangchou Jianqiong had done him a huge favor in the regional commanders incident, and he couldn’t possibly burn the bridge he’d already crossed.
It seems like Yang Zhao is determined to push Zhangchou Jianqiong up this time around! Wang Chong’s thoughts returned to Yang Zhao.
There was one more detail that he didn’t share with his big uncle. The reason why he could be so certain that Zhangchou Jianqiong would become the Minister of War was due to Consort Taizhen’s support. Simply put, her influence in the royal court was too lacking at present.
Only with Zhangchou Jianqiong onboard would Consort Taizhen garner true backing in the royal court, stabilizing her position. Otherwise, she would be too susceptible to all the threats lurking around her.
To this end, she would surely give her full support in pushing Zhangchou Jianqiong forward!
Yang Zhao also shared those same intentions. In fact, chances were he was even more excited to see Zhangchou Jianqiong become the Minister of War than the man in question.
Everyone thought that Zhangchou Jianqiong was being overly ambitious, but in Wang Chong’s view, Yang Zhao was probably the real mastermind behind everything. He was the only one who could move Consort Taizhen, as well as being the only one who could align the Protector-General’s interests with his own.
In the current political scene, Yang Zhao was considered no more than an ant, but Wang Chong knew that everyone was simply underestimating him. His future standing would surpass even Yao Guang Yi. While it would be pushing it to say that he would rival Yao Chong and Duke Jiu, he definitely wouldn’t be too far from their level.
Yang Zhao was much keener than others realized.
Understanding the qualifications he lacked, he’d chosen to push Zhangchou Jianqiong forward, assisting him in getting to the position of Minister of War.
“With an insider all jobs become easier.” Only with Zhangchou Jianqiong installed could he, Yang Zhao, successfully ascend up the stage and achieve his ultimate ambitions.
With the fervent backing of both Yang Zhao and Consort Taizhen, Zhangchou Jianqiong’s rise would be unstoppable.
In his previous life, due to Big Uncle Wang Gen standing on the wrong side, he had made an enemy out of Consort Taizhen. In this life though, perhaps due to Wang Chong’s mitigating influence, he had become more prudent.
This was one thing that made Wang Chong feel relieved.
Without a doubt, it should be about time for him to appear. A figure floated into Wang Chong’s mind as he sighed deeply.
As Zhangchou Jianqiong was initiated into the affairs of the capital, that person would surely take the position as Protector-General of the Southern Protectorate Manor.
Neither of these two matters were within Wang Chong’s current abilities to stop, and he couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of helplessness wash over him.
The great tides could not be reversed with the strength of a human. All he could manage was to go along with the flow while slowly, tirelessly diverting it down a different path.
“Looks like I’ll have to push things forward!”
TL Notes: Zhangchou Jianqiong is a true historical figure. He lived in Xuanzong’s (the Sage Emperor’s) era as well.
However, he isn’t well-recorded in some of the well-known historical records, despite playing a large role, and according to Baidu, the reason for this was that he had recommended the promotion of Yang Zhao. Zhangchou Jianqiong was a loyal subject, but his recommendation of Yang Zhao is regarded to have led to disastrous outcomes. Therefore, historians felt that his name “wasn’t fit to be recorded.” As such, there are only brief details on him in chronicles of the time.