The Human Emperor - Chapter 4: Crisis of the Wang Clan
Without a doubt, this was one of the happiest meal he has had in awhile.
The laughter over the meal never stopped. Madam Wang’s face was filled with delight and she kept placing food on Wang Chong’s plate. The food on Wang Chong’s plate piled high as though a mountain, making it impossible to put anything else on it.
On the other hand, Father Wang wasn’t as stern as he was before. Under Madam Wang’s piercing glare, he placed some food on Wang Chong’s plate as well.
“Third Brother, incredible!”
Upon seeing this sight, the little sister of the Wang Family was surprised. She shot her elder brother a glance. At this moment, she couldn’t be any more impressed with him.
She thought that her brother would fall under this calamity and she had already mentally prepared herself to witness a tragedy of the mortal world. She didn’t expect that with just a few words, not only did her parents not blame him, they were even chuckling and complimenting him. Even her father, which was an austere man, took the initiative to place food on his plate.
The Wang Family’s little sister couldn’t help but feel envious. She had been in this household for such a long time but never did she receive such treatment.
“Father, I don’t care, I want it too!”
Her face puffed up and she pushed her bowl to Father Wang.
“You are a lady, look at how you are behaving!”
Father Wang’s face was stiff and his words caused the Wang Family’s little sister to feel indignant. Tears welled up in her eyes. Taking the scene in sight, Madam Wang didn’t know whether she should reprimand her or laugh:
“Here! Mother will give you some food!”
“Brother will give you some food too!”
Chuckling within, Wang Chong also grabbed some food for his little sister.
“Thank you, brother.”
A smile finally appeared on the little sister’s teary face. She began to dig in happily once more, seemingly having forgotten all of the indignance she had felt previously.
The family dug into the food happily.
“Father, I heard that you are going to meet Lord Yao?”
In the midst of the meal, Wang Chong casually spoke.
In an instant, the atmosphere over the dining table changed and became slightly stiff. Madam Wang hurriedly shot Wang Chong a glance and little sister’s chopsticks stopped in midair in fright.
Everyone in the family knew that Father Wang didn’t like talking about work at home, and neither did he like anyone interfering in his job.
“Where did you hear that from?”
Father Wang lifted his head and said without a change in his expression. However, Wang Chong clearly saw a slight frown flashing across his father’s forehead. It was clear that he was displeased by Wang Chong’s action of bringing up this topic.
Gedeng, Wang Chong’s heart skipped a beat. Even so, he could only continue speaking of the matter. After all, this matter was extremely important to him. If he could not change this course of events, all of his previous hard work would have gone to vain.
“I just happened to overhear it when father was speaking about of this matter to mother.”
Wang Chong said. His heart was beating furiously out of nervousness. Whether it would be a success or failure depended on what he was going to say next.
Father Wang’s forehead twitched slightly. At this point, he suddenly recalled that he seemed to have informed his wife, Zhao Shu Hua, of this matter. However, he had only spoken of the matter at home once. To think that Wang Chong would happen to overhear their conversation.
“Indeed, there is such a matter. Why are you bringing this up?”
Wang Chong’s good performance previously had worked its wonders. Father Wang did not get mad instantly and instead, he asked him to continue speaking of the matter. Clearly, he was treating him as an adult now.
Indeed, it wasn’t appropriate to treat a person who was about to join a military training camp to prepare for war as a child.
“Lord Yao had never been in good relationship with father. Furthermore, the both of you don’t have much contact. Yet, he took the initiative to arrange a meeting with father this time. I fear that he might have bad intentions.”
Wang Chong slowly explained.
Wang Chong knew that father didn’t like his family interfering in his work affairs. These words shouldn’t have come from the mouth of a fifteen-year-old child, but Wang Chong didn’t have a choice.
In his previous life, that Lord Yao, Yao Guang Yi, under the name of work, invited his father, who he never interacted with, for a meeting.
It wasn’t that his father was not guarded against him. If Yao Guang Yi had tried to pull him over to his side during the meeting, his father would have flatly rejected him. Yet, this Yao Guang Yi was extremely cunning. He didn’t say anything during the meeting and instead, he pulled father for a drink and chatted about miscellaneous matters.
After which, Yao Guang Yi intentionally pointed out the matter to King Song.
King Song is one of the relatives of the royal family and he is involved in military affairs of the country. He is one of the few people who wield great authority among the clan of the royal family. Due to Wang Chong’s grandfather, King Song trusted Father Wang deeply.
On the other hand, the reason why Wang Yan was able to become a general who wielded actual authority at such a young age was highly due to King Song’s contribution as well.
Father had a ‘secret meeting’ with the King Qi’s loyal servant, Yao Guang Yi, and given the hostile relationship between King Song and King Qi, how could King Song not get angry at the situation?
If it was under usual circumstances, it would be nothing much.
However, King Song and King Qi was current vying with one another in the royal court, both on the surface and in the shadows. The current situation was volatile and a lot of King Song’s students and old friends had been poached by King Qi. This caused King Song to be isolated and his authority in the royal court had fallen tremendously.
This incident had agitated King Song, causing him to become suspicious of his subordinates. At such a moment, his father had a private meeting with Yao Guang Yi. It was clear what King Song would think of him.
Furthermore, his father had an extremely straightforward and inflexible personality. He knew that King Song was suspicious of him, yet he claimed that he did not speak of anything with Yao Guang Yi, that the two of them only drank together.
How could two opposing authoritative officials in the royal court meet privately for just a drink? How could King Song possibly believe such a story?
Not only did his father’s words not dispel the suspicions King Song had towards him, it made King Song believe that his father had betrayed him and King Qi was intentionally sending him over to humiliate him in his face.
After which, Yao Guang Yi intentionally misled King Song and created a series of incidents by the border, causing the misunderstanding between King Song and his father to deepen.
He thought that the entire Wang Clan had decided to side with King Qi upon seeing that he wasn’t in a good position.
As the saying goes, the deeper the love, the greater the hate. Given their close relationship, King Song found the ‘betrayal’ of the Wang Clan unacceptable.
This incident had struck a heavy blow to him. He found it even harder to accept than when dozens of his students and old acquaintances had abandoned him for the enemy. King Song was completely disappointed with the Wang Clan.
When Wang Chong’s grandfather was still alive, King Song, on accounts of their past fellowship, only stripped Wang Yan of his authority over the army. However, when his grandfather passed away, King Qi started to oppress the Wang Clan, which had already lost King Song’s protection.
In a few short years, the prestigious Wang Clan was forced out of the royal court of the Great Tang Empire.
King Song was the head of the faction which supported an aggressive stand against those who were standing up against the Great Tang. After his fall, no one was able to oppose King Qi in the court. As such, the Great Tang Empire’s stand towards those against them became weaker and weaker. Eventually, it resulted in the catastrophe that caused its downfall.
One could say that this matter wasn’t only detrimental to the Wang Clan and King Song, it was a catastrophe for the entire royal court!
All three factions were the losers in this battle. Even King Qi himself wasn’t the final winner.
Wang Chong was well aware of how deep the impact of this matter was.
The entire Wang Clan and the destiny of the royal court changed from that moment. Even at his father’s moment of death, he was unable to put this matter down. He lamented that the greatest mistake in his life was to accept Yao Guang Yi’s invitation and not explaining the matter clearly to King Song.
Wang Chong remembered all of these clearly.
In his previous life, Wang Chong lived in a daze, pushing away everything from him. He thought that he didn’t hold any emotions to this family of his. Eventually, when he awoke and started to cherish all that he had, it was already too late to change anything.
This was one of the deepest regrets that Wang Chong had.
Since he knew how things were going to advance, Wang Chong was determined not to watch by the side as his family and homeland were destroyed.
Thus, he had to stop this matter!
Just that, it wouldn’t be easy for Wang Chong to explain this matter to his father.
“There’s no need for a child for you to interfere in this matter. I know what I should do.”
Father Wang said flatly. His face was still impassive.
The Yao Clan and Wang Clan were hostile toward each other, but this was a matter of the previous dynasty. A long period of time had passed and Wang Yan himself didn’t really have a grudge with Yao Guang Yi.
It wasn’t that Father Wang was unaware of the conflict between King Song and King Wang. He tried act as though he was oblivious to the matter, but he was afraid that by doing so, he would he would fall out with either side. Thus, he decided to meet him privately.
After all, there wasn’t much of a grudge between the two of them.
At most, if Yao Guang Yi tried to pull him over to his side, he would just have to reiterate his stand firmly and reject it firmly. This matter would then be settled. If Yao Guang Yi chose to continue pestering him after he rejected the invitation to this meeting, that could pose as a potential trouble as well.
Studying the expression on his father’s face, Wang Chong was panicking.
His father was a classic military man. In terms of leading an army to slay the enemies, his father was in no way inferior to Yao Guang Yi. However, in terms of political fights and scheming, Yao Guang Yi far beyond his father’s league.
Both sides weren’t even of the same level!
Yao Guang Yi knew his father’s character and set this trap up for him, knowing that he would fall for it. If father still embraced his attitude of ‘As long as I operate righteously and transparently, there is nothing to fear’, he would be caught off-guard and fall under Yao Guang Yi’s hands.
By then, it would be too late to regret.
“Chong-er, since your father had said so, you shouldn’t touch on the matter any further. Hurry up and eat.”
‘No one could know a person more than his own mother’. Upon looking at Wang Chong, she instantly knew what Wang Chong was up to. Thus, she shot him a glance to urge him to stop.
She understood her husband’s character too well. He hated people discussing work over the dining table. It was already a blessing for him to tolerate Wang Chong so far.
A single phrase ‘I know what I should do’ had displayed his attitude toward this matter clearly. This matter was already decided and all discussion should stop here. If Wang Chong were to continue on, Father Wang would really get furious.
Wang Chong panicked within. Naturally, he was able to tell the intentions of his mother, but this matter was of grave importance. If things didn’t go well, everything here, this dining hall, the entire Wang Clan and even his uncle would all be reduced to nothing.
The entire Wang Clan would be expelled from the political scene of Great Tang. His father didn’t know about Yao Guang Yi’s schemes, so he wasn’t guarded against him yet. Wang Chong had no choice but to continue pushing the matter on.
Even if his father would be enraged, even if he would be criticized by his father, this was something he had to do.
“Father, this matter is of utmost importance. I think that perhaps you should inform King Song of it in advance. At the very least, if anything goes wrong… The situation wouldn’t be too bad.”
Wang Chong contemplated for a moment and decided to change another approach. He used a softer approach to bring up his own suggestions instead. After all, stopping his father from attending the meeting was not a viable solution. His father wasn’t a child and being too obstinate on the matter would just infuriate him.
Thus, Wang Chong could only think of an alternative solution. Instead of shooting down Yao Guang Yi, he decided to bring up King Song instead.
“This is an affair among adults, you need not bother yourself with it.”
Father Wang’s expression was cold and he stood up from the table:
“You all carry on eating. I still have matters to attend to and I will be leaving first.”
After which, he turned around and leave without even finishing his meal.
Mother Wang stared grudgingly at Wang Chong. Wang Chong could only sigh. He knew that this one time off performance was insufficient to win his father’s trust.
“At the very least, he didn’t lash out.”
Wang Chong thought.
Even though on the surface, this meal ‘ended unhappily’, Wang Chong knew that given his father’s personality, his action of refuting him should have infuriated him.
Yet this time, he only looked displeased. This was a huge improvement. It seemed that his words had some effects on him.
As long as his father informed King Song of his meeting with Yao Guang Yi beforehand, his efforts would have not been in vain. This matter had to be done by his father personally. Not even he could represent him and do it in his place.
“Looks like I will need Ma Zhou for this matter!”
Wang Chong thought worriedly.
His father’s personality was too obstinate. The moment he made a decision, he wouldn’t change it easily. Changing his mind with just a few words was something impossible.
It was due to this personality that his father suffered many injustices when his opponents made use of it against him.
Wang Chong’s attempt to convince his father had failed, so he could only look for another solution. No matter what, he had to prevent this matter at all cost.
After coming up with a reason, he hurriedly bid his mother and little sister farewell and left the dining hall.
I have explained in Library of Heaven’s Path before and I will explain again uh.
Emperor -> Sovereign of the country.
Ancient China often operates via the feudal system. There is a central government (led by the government) and a group of fief lords (landowners) under them.
Such a system is natural, given the size of the country and the ineffectiveness of a government ruling over the entire country (given that they didn’t have telephones and effective methods of transport then).
Thus, the emperor would confer nobility to other people and they may (or may not) be granted a plot of land for them to rule over.
Normally, in the fight for the position of emperor, many princes would die. Some of the remaining princes would be conferred as ‘Kings’ (which is the highest level of nobility with exception of the royal family then). Sometimes, they would be given their own land to rule over. Sometimes, they would be given a position in the royal court. Sometimes, they would just be king in name (Meaning, they have the nobility but wield no actual authority).
Some meritorious subjects can be granted the title of ‘King’ as well.
Clan of the royal family
Only the sons and daughters of the current emperor can be considered as the royal family.
I don’t know if there is an official translation for the term for the relatives of the royal family in Chinese, but I’ll just term them as such.