The Human Emperor - Chapter 410: Countermeasures!
Chapter 410: Countermeasures!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The forest and hill were quiet, Li Heng and Li Jingzhong not saying a word as they looked with anticipation at Wang Chong. Even the distant Huang Qian-er seemed to sense something and she too looked from afar at Wang Chong.
“What’s the latest that you need to enter the palace?”
“I have to go tonight. I have only two hours at most,” Li Heng replied.
Time was very short. If not, he would not have so urgently sought Wang Chong.
“It seems that I won’t be able to rely on Big Uncle this time!”
Li Heng’s words instantly caused Wang Chong’s heart to sink. When he got the news of Li Heng’s matter, he had instinctively thought about seeking out his big uncle.
In this aspect, his big uncle had accumulated a vast amount of experience. Though this might not guarantee that he could fathom the heart of the Sage Emperor, the foundation of decades could at least offer Wang Chong some clear advice.
But Old Eagle had sent news that some incident had taken place in the Imperial Court that had delayed his big uncle. He wouldn’t be available for four to six hours.
In other words, he could expect no help from his big uncle.
Right now, Wang Chong was truly fighting alone.
It seems like I can only rely on myself, Wang Chong mentally said to himself, his brow furrowed tight.
There was a massive risk associated with this matter. If he did it well and helped the Fifth Prince avoid this disaster, Li Heng would have enormous trust in him. This, coupled with the matter of Li Heng’s blood reformation, would truly make him a member of Li Heng’s inner circle.
Though this seemed like a minor matter now, in the future, even if he spent the entire fortune of his clan, he might not be able to get into the good graces of this future Son of Heaven of the Great Tang and become a member of his circle.
This chance would only come once. If he succeeded, he would gain Li Heng’s absolute trust and become a future valued minister of an Emperor, just like his grandfather.
But similarly, if he failed, Wang Chong would pay an absolutely massive price. All the effort he had put in beforehand, including Li Heng’s blood reformation, would be written off in one go, and Li Heng would even begin to doubt his abilities and keep his distance.
And the most disastrous result would be that his meddling would lead to a large shift in the Great Tang’s fate.
Like how the Wang Clan had not gone extinct, King Song had not been demoted, the Regional Commander system had not been completely eliminated, and he had become sworn brothers with Yang Zhao…
All these things were completely different from his memories. If all these things could be altered so greatly, who could guarantee that Li Heng, this future true dragon and Son of Heaven, would not be buried?
These were all things that Wang Chong had to consider.
How can one catch a tiger cub without entering the tiger cave? Perhaps I should start changing things…
Wang Chong looked at the expectant face of Li Heng before him, a thought flashing through his mind. The current Li Heng was still far from that skilled and intelligent Emperor with great ambitions.
It was the experiences from the earlier part of his life and Li Jingzhong’s influence that caused his personality to have so many flaws.
It was only because of this weak personality that when faced by this difficulty, he couldn’t make up his mind and went to find Wang Chong.
But if this were the future Emperor famed for his talent and intelligence, he would have never acted this way.
Ice three feet thick would not form from a single day of cold. If Wang Chong wanted to change his personality and remove those weak and indecisive elements, making his personality more valiant, resolute, and persistent, this might be his best chance.
“Your Highness, do you believe in me?” Wang Chong suddenly asked.
Li Heng froze for a second before blurting out, “Of course!” Wang Chong had basically given him a new lease on life. If he didn’t trust in him, he wouldn’t have come running to this place.
“Then it’s fine! Your Highness, if His Majesty questions you, you should give it your all. Don’t hide anything, and don’t show a single sliver of fear!” Wang Chong firmly stated, his eyes gleaming with incredible resolve.
Wang Chong’s determination stunned and surprised Li Heng and Li Jingzhong.
“But won’t that make me a target? Won’t all my brothers regard me as an eyesore, a thorn in their side?” Li Heng said in shock. “Moreover, His Majesty might think that I was intentionally hiding things from him.”
“A blessing won’t be a disaster, and a disaster can’t be avoided. The fact that Your Highness can cultivate has already spread throughout the court. Your Highness cannot change this. This being the case, what use is there in Your Highness’s continuing to hide it?” Wang Chong said calmly.
“But what about Imperial Father? How will Imperial Father see me? He will only think that I’m a deep schemer who was intentionally hiding things from him. When the time comes, he will definitely be furious. What happened to Eighth Brother was enough of a lesson!”
Li Heng spoke with fear and unease.
The Eighth Prince, Li Long, was once dearly beloved by the Sage Emperor. Though his rank was very low, he was treated as well as the First Prince and Third Prince. But Li Long colluded with a minister in court, and when that minister was exposed, so was the Eighth Prince’s involvement. The Eighth Prince strenuously denied any relationship with this minister, repeatedly declaring before the Sage Emperor that he had never associated with him.
Later on, the Sage Emperor became infuriated and exiled the Eighth Prince to the cold palace, stripping from him his status of prince. The Eighth Prince Li Long was both fearful and stunned, both sorrowful and regretful. In the end, he died of depression in the cold palace.
This happened ten years ago.
There was no one who did not know of this incident within the palace. All the princes now knew that though His Majesty could disregard the struggles between the princes, did not mind the princes colluding with ministers, he would not accept deception from anyone!
There was no crime with more onerous penalties than the crime of deceiving the Emperor, because that carried the death penalty. Once one became branded with the crime of deceiving the Emperor, one could essentially bid farewell to a life in politics!
Wang Chong sternly said, “Your Highness, you are wrong. If His Majesty were sure that you had deceived him, you wouldn’t even be summoned into the palace and he would have already dealt with your crime. His Majesty’s summons is proof that His Majesty does not completely believe the Third Prince and still has a little hope in you. Moreover, Your Highness still does not understand that every step in the palace is frightening, and the War of the Princes is incredibly dangerous. At the moment, the only person that can save you isn’t me, nor is it anyone else, only His Majesty! Only His Majesty can be your greatest backer!”
“Imperial Father is my greatest backer?”
Wang Chong’s words struck Li Heng and Li Jingzhong dumb. It was evident that this was the first time anyone had said such things to them.
“Your Highness, do you still not understand? Only by obtaining His Majesty’s favor can you truly be at ease. Anything else, whether it’s hiding in Kunwu Training Camp or doing your best to be inconspicuous, aren’t even solutions. Only His Majesty can truly ensure your safety.”
Wang Chong sighed.
“In truth, if you use this opportunity well, it won’t bring you any harm. On the contrary, your performance in front of His Majesty is an excellent chance to get good treatment.”
Although Wang Chong did not have much concrete experience in politics, he had read many history books.
He still had a clear understanding about the essence of the War of the Princes that other people could not even hope to achieve.
At the root, the War of the Princes was just a group of people fighting around one man, and this man was the Sage Emperor, the Son of Heaven, who looked down from on high.
The lives and deaths of all the princes, their happiness, their anger, their sorrows and complaints, were all in the grasp of this man.
If one did not clearly understand this and was lost in the moment or in the struggles, then one might end up winning the battle while losing the war and truly lose out.
Li Heng and Li Jingzhong had become speechless long ago. It was obvious that the pair had never even considered the idea Wang Chong was discussing.
“But if I do this, His Majesty will believe that I’ve deceived him in the past, or that I’m a deep schemer, or that I’m too shrewd…” Li Heng said anxiously.
“You are wrong,” Wang Chong said sternly. “His Majesty has grand plans. To the north, they extend to the Yin Mountains. To the south, they reach to Jiaozhi. To the east, they stop at Goguryeo, and in the west, they reach the Cong Mountains, and then to the Western Regions, the Abbasid Caliphate, and Charax Spasinu. The current power and prosperity of the Great Tang Empire was created through His Majesty’s rule. His Majesty esteems a person’s courage and power. If Your Highness continues to cower in fear in the hopes of not offending His Majesty, that will be like driving a carriage north to reach the south, climbing a tree to catch a fish, walking backward on the path. If Your Highness can show your true strength and also proactively express your desires… I believe that not only will His Majesty not rebuke you, he will even view you in a new light!”
His thoughts grew clearer and clearer. The current Son of Heaven was a martial sovereign who appreciated strength. The presence of so many Hu Great Generals on the border was the manifestation of this appreciation.
As long as one knew the heart of the sovereign and acted according to what he liked and appreciated, one would be fine. The heart of a sovereign was difficult to fathom, but anyone could see his will.
Though something might go undergo myriad transformations, none of them would stray far from the original. It was just like how even if there was a thick fog before one’s eyes, as long as one could determine which direction was north, one would never get lost.
This was Wang Chong’s first foray into the most dangerous War of Princes in all of the Central Plains. Wang Chong was deeply aware that with this step, he could never turn back.
“…Your Highness, just think about the path His Majesty took to gain the throne and you will understand. His Majesty had to walk through blood and fire with each step. If he did not possess a mighty strength and a firm will, he would not have reached his current place. If Your Highness continues to cower and yield, do you really think His Majesty will view you as useful?”
Wang Chong had been watching Li Heng’s reaction all this time. He knew that his words from before weren’t enough, so he tossed in one last piece of kindling onto the fire.
As expected, Li Heng’s body trembled as he heard Wang Chong’s last words, his expression immediately transforming. None of the princes did not know of that period of history when the Sage Emperor was still a minor player.
The palace coup before his ascension was spoken of like a legend.
Li Heng had heard this story frequently ever since he was a child, so he was naturally familiar with the details. In Li Heng’s heart, his imperial father was a god.
Wang Chong’s words were finally working.
“Your Highness, you have nowhere left to retreat. Only by pressing forward and giving it your all will you have a sliver of hope! This will be your only chance,” Wang Chong said.
“But if he does this, His Highness really will become everyone’s target!” Li Jingzhong said nervously. “His Highness has no backer in the palace, so it’s impossible for him to defend against the other princes. If his performance is too dazzling, the other princes will want to get rid of him even more.”