The Human Emperor - Chapter 40: An Act of Wonderment
“Good child, good child, you have truly grown mature! …”
Wang Chong’s mother was surprised and delighted. She was so agitated that she had to keep on wiping away the tears that were streaming down her face. Without even looking, she could tell that her son’s performance had won the approval of all members of the Wang Clan.
She had four children, three sons and a daughter, and of which, she worried the most for her youngest son.
Which mother doesn’t wish for their own son to become accomplished? Isn’t this what all mothers dream of?
At this very moment, her child had finally grown up and matured. This was something she felt relieved and delighted over.
Big Uncle Wang Gen asked. His voice was no longer as stern as before
Clearly, Wang Chong’s words had moved him, and the impression of the useless Wang Chong in his mind had changed completely.
“I’ve studied the lands by the borders and there weren’t too few things that Yao Guang Yi could manipulate to his advantage. For one, my father could simply ignore his moves, and that would render his helpless. At the same time, it was nearly impossible for Yao Guang Yi to make a move on his campsite as well. Thus, the most probable possibility was through the Hu.”
Wang Chong said. His gaze was bright and calm, and as he spoke, he exuded the aura of a sage. Seeing this sight, those who were familiar with him were astonished.
They had watched Wang Chong as he grew up, and they had never seen such a quality on him.
“This child has finally grown up.”
Big Aunt Wang Ru Shuang thought as she nodded her head in approval within. She was delighted with his changes. Previously, when she heard that Wang Chong had caused a huge trouble in the Vast Crane Pavilion, she was extremely infuriated. She felt that this child was too immature and would never grow up.
But now, she did not dare to harbor such thoughts anymore.
“They said that even the most mischievous and unworthy boys would awaken one day. Looks like Chong-er had finally woken up.”
Big aunt was overjoyed.
Even though she had married into another family and she could only be considered as half a Wang Clan member, she and her husband shared a fate with the Wang Clan.
The youngest and most unworthy son of the Wang Clan had suddenly awoken, and furthermore, he showed outstanding talents. This was something for the Wang Clan to celebrate over.
“I have analyzed the matter carefully, and this was the most possible tactic Yao Guang Yi would use. If I guessed wrongly… I won’t talk about that. But if I guessed correctly, Yao Guang Yi would surely leave the capital soon to head for the borders, and facts had proven that my conjecture is right!”
At this moment, he should have passed their test. Looking at big uncle’s expression, it seemed like he was satisfied with the results of this interrogation. This way, he would be able to explain the situation to grandfather as well.
However, Wang Chong knew that this level of contribution wasn’t sufficient to receive the approval of all members of the clan. In fact, it wasn’t even enough for him to enter the core of the clan.
At the very most, he had only reversed the impression big uncle, big aunt, uncle, father, and the rest had of him. If he wanted them to respect his opinion, he still needed to display his talent openly and show more of his capabilities!
“Big uncle, the incident by the border has already ended. Even though Yao Guang Yi had suffered two consecutive defeats, the Yao Clan’s foundations are far from being rattled. If I’m not wrong, Yao Clan’s Old Master Yao would soon head to grandfather to request for a truce.”
Wang Chong said.
“What? Old Master Yao would request for a truce with our Old Master? How is that possible!”
Upon hearing Wang Chong’s words, shock appeared on everyone’s faces.
“Wang Chong, you must be joking! Old Master Yao is an old wily fox, and given his standing and identity, how could he possibly request for a truce with your grandfather? Isn’t that admitting defeat before grandfather? He would never do such a thing!”
Wang Chong’s cousin, Wang Zhu Yan, was the first to question his words. After which, the eyes in the entire room shot toward Wang Chong. They were unable to comprehend why he was so sure that Old Master Yao would request for a truce.
It was true that the Yao Clan had been made a laughingstock, but this didn’t hinder their authority and influence. At the very most, they just failed in an operation to do the Wang Clan in.
Yet, Wang Chong claimed that the old retired wily fox of the Yao Clan, a figure whose stomp would tremor the entire capital, would request a truce with their own Old Master. This was something inconceivable to them!
However, Wang Chong’s grim expression showed how serious he was on this matter. Thus, everyone waited quietly for his explanation.
“Heh, cousin, you didn’t think sufficiently deep into the matter. If we just consider the fact that the Yao Clan had lost to the Wang Clan in this battle, it wouldn’t count as anything much, and Old Master Yao wouldn’t need to come out personally to settle the matter! However, did you all forget? Old Master Yao had recently reported our Wang Clan up to the emperor!”
Wang Chong sneered coldly.
It was as though a strike of lightning had flashed across the main hall and everyone’s eyes lit up. They suddenly understood the meaning behind Wang Chong’s words.
“Right now, not only did the Yao Clan need to resolve the displeasure of the Wang Clan, they had to settle the displeasure of His Majesty. Everyone could tell what the Yao Clan was up to after what Yao Guang Yi did by the border. Given His Majesty’s wisdom, did you all think that he wouldn’t be able to tell what was going on?”
“At this moment, the old wily fox Yao had to come out regardless of whether he was willing to or not. Yao Guang Yi’s standing had yet to reach that kind of level, so the old wily fox had no choice.
“Hmph, they truly did themselves in this done. That old wily fox was looking for it!”
Wang Chong sneered coldly.
Wang Chong wasn’t speaking nonsense. Right after he heard that Yao Guang Yi’s ploy had failed, he had been thinking about this matter. Currently, Yao Guang Yi wasn’t capable of placating the wrath of the emperor. In the entire Yao Clan, only Old Master Yao wielded such capability.
Unless the Yao Clan decided to discard their honor and riches, otherwise, Old Master Yao had no choice on the matter. On this matter, he paying a visit to grandfather and requesting for a truce was the best solution.
Even though the Yao Clan’s Old Master might not utter a single word of apology, he had little choice but to pay a visit to Wang Chong’s grandfather at the Four Quarters Embassy. He also had to enter the royal palace to admit his faults and beg for forgiveness with the emperor.
This was something he had no choice but to do.
“If I’m not wrong, the Yao Clan’s Old Master would probably start making a move within these two days.”
Wang Chong smirked.
Initially, everyone thought that Wang Chong was spouting nonsense and they were unmoved by their words. However, as they listened on, their eyes slowly brightened and eventually, they became agitated.
“Chong-er, I realized that you have really changed!”
Big Aunt Wang Ru Shuang scanned Wang Chong from top to bottom with a curious gaze, as though this was the first time she was meeting with the real Wang Chong:
“It was impossible for you to say such words in the past. Looks like the incident with Ma Zhou was a blessing in disguise. At the very least, you have matured from it.”
“Hehe, Ru Shuang, no matter what, Chong-er is from the Old Master’s bloodline. Even though he might have his moments of folly, there is no way he could be lacking. I think that the current him is the true him. Perhaps, in the past, he might have just placed his thoughts elsewhere.”
Wang Chong’s uncle, Li Lin, was a bearded tough man. Even when seated, his back was entirely upright. With a single look, it was clear that he was from the military.
In reality, his uncle Li Lin was truly a military man. However, different from Wang Chong’s father, Wang Yan, he was a member of the Imperial Army. He was an extremely masculine man and perhaps due to his job scope, he tended to be reticent and spoke few words.
Different from big aunt and big uncle, Uncle Li Lin did not hold any bias against Wang Chong. As the saying goes, it is impossible for a great man to bore a meek son. In his perspective, the current Wang Chong was the true Wang Chong.
“Hehe, uncle, you shouldn’t praise him too much. He’ll get complacent!”
Even though Madam Wang said so, she was actually overjoyed.
No one disliked their own children being praised. Wang Chong’s performance this time had impressed everyone, such that even his big uncle who didn’t like him didn’t say anything about it.
He had truly made his mother proud today.
“Father, if it is truly as Little Brother Chong had said, grandfather would definitely be overjoyed.”
Wang Zhu Yan chuckled behind her hands.
Wang Chong’s grandfather was a nemesis of the Yao Clan’s Old Master, and from very long ago, they had been fighting against one another. Neither side was willing to submit to the other.
If the Yao Clan’s Old Master went over to grandfather to apologize for his son and request for a truce, grandfather would surely be over the moon.
Wang Chong’s big uncle, Wang Gen, sat there quietly, neither agreeing or disagreeing to Wang Zhu Yan’s words.
Even though Wang Chong’s words were only speculation on his part, Wang Gen knew that there was a high possibility that things would unfold as Wang Chong said. Yao Guang Yi had suffered a setback at the border due to Wang Yan, and the first thing he thought of was to come to the Wang Family to ask about the matter.
If not for Wang Chong bringing it up, he would have totally forgotten about the issue with Old Master Yao.
“No wonder Old Master would send me here. Most probably, he already knew of the happenings at the Yao Clan!”
Suddenly, everything was clear in Wang Gen’s mind. He glanced at Wang Chong once more, but there were many complicated feelings in his mind.
His third brother, Wang Yan, had a total of three sons and one daughter. Putting aside the two elder brothers, now even the most useless third son was proving to be a useful asset. This would destabilize his position and authority as the eldest son of the Wang Clan.
The authority and influence Old Master had passed down to him would definitely start to spread thin, and to him, this wasn’t something good.
But on the other hand, the Wang Clan was reliant on one another for survival. It wasn’t a good thing for the other party if either he or Wang Yan were to fall.
This time, if not for Wang Chong’s sudden display of talent in foreseeing the Yao Guang Yi’s ploy, the Wang Clan might be facing a disastrous catastrophe at this very moment.
As a whole, if more talents were to appear in the Wang Clan, the more likely it was for the Wang Clan to flourish. On this aspect, it was a good thing to him as well.
For a moment, Wang Gen was conflicted.
“Big uncle, even though the Yao Clan had lost this time and Old Master Yao was going to request for a truce with grandfather, we mustn’t let down our guard.”
Wang Chong was clear at reading faces and he knew what his Big Uncle Wang Gen was thinking. If in his previous life, Wang Chong would definitely shirk off his responsibility and stay out of this affair if he saw his big uncle behaving like this. But in this life, Wang Chong understood that a catastrophe was about to befall Great Tang.
Before this catastrophe, the Wang Clan must not be embroiled in any internal fights and weaken itself.
Wang Chong needed to unite all possible strength that he could tap into, and this included his big uncle. For this motive, just displaying his capability wasn’t sufficient. He had to change his big uncle’s attitude toward him and have him feel goodwill toward him. At the very least, his big uncle shouldn’t be hostile toward him.
“Even though the Yao Clan has lost this time, they didn’t lose willingly. I think that they might pull some strings privately while requesting for a truce with us.”
“With His Majesty’s attention on the matter, they wouldn’t be able to lay their hands on my father, big uncle, uncle, and little uncle. However, it would be hard to say the same for the others in the clan. I heard that big uncle is planning to move cousin’s official position?”
TL: In here, cousin refers to Wang Gen’s elder son.
Wang Chong shot a meaningful gaze to Big Uncle Wang Gen.
Wang Gen had been seated on the main seat of the hall calmly all along. But upon hearing Wang Chong’s words, his entire body jolted as though it had been electrified. He abruptly sat upward and stared at Wang Chong with a look of disbelief.
He had been involved in politics for decades, and so, he was able to grasp Wang Chong’s words at once. At that instant, cold sweat drenched his entire back.
Everyone had their own selfish motives. In order to counteract Wang Yan’s influence in the military, he had secretly placed his eldest son’s, Wang Li, name on the royal court’s promotion list.
He hoped to use Old Master and his own influence to send his Eldest Son Wang Li to a higher position. He hadn’t alarmed anyone of this matter, but privately, he already had the Bureau of Military Personnel handle it.
If the Yao Clan were to make a move on this matter, that would be disastrous!
Thinking of it, Wang Gen could no longer remain seated!
Based on Wikipedia on Tang Dynasty’s governance:
(Note, as the administrative structure changed throughout the timeline, it is hard to say for sure the situation it was then. This is just a brief idea)
Instead of ‘fief lords’, they split their territory into multiple lands and had officials (prefects) govern it. At the same time, there were imperial commissioners monitoring the land. These prefects had to answer directly to the central government (the emperor), and they were forbidden from amassing their own army. By splitting up their lands to small portions, they made it so that it was almost impossible for them to rebel.
Alright, Imperial Army:
As far as I know, the Imperial Army is usually the only army that is allowed to stay in the capital. It is answerable and listens straight to the commands of the emperor (The emperor will usually delegate the job to someone trustworthy though, but ultimate power still lies with him). If I am not wrong, it is against the law for a general to bring his own army into the capital, and this is to prevent uprisings from occurring.