The Human Emperor - Chapter 90: Patriot!
In the hall, everyone was dumbfounded. No one understood what was going on. In the past, the old master would have already flown into a temper. To think that he would calmly ask for Wang Chong to present the greatsword forward!
In the entire hall, Cousin Wang Li was the first one to react. He could vaguely fathom something, and a contemplation cloaked his face.
Big Uncle Wang Gen unintentionally saw the look on his son’s face and heaved a long sigh. Complex emotions swam in his eyes.
“Oh, there are words on the sword?”
The moment the old master unwrapped the black cloth wrapping the sword, a few ancient words appeared on the handle. His interest was immediately piqued.
“Yes, this is the name grandson has given this sword.”
With a lowered head, Wang Chong replied.
Lifting the ‘greatsword’ from the black cloth wrapping it, the old master could see that there was no beautiful agate or gemstone or it. The entire ‘greatsword’ was black. Simple and practical.
And the word on the sheath made the old master’s eyes twinkle:
“This sword is called Patriot Sword!”
At the same moment, Wang Chong’s voice echoed in the room.
“Chong-er, how can you come up with such a name? Grandfather is a highly-esteemed minister of the royal court, and he has contributed greatly to it. He was the one who stabilized and laid the foundation for the country, and even His Majesty hold him with high regard. How can a simple word like ‘Patriot’ encompass his merits? Aren’t you being too flippant with your sword?”
Before the old master could speak, Big Uncle Wang Gen saw the word on the sheath of the sword and frowned. Wang Chong’s previous performance has left him impressed, and it could be seen that he has put great effort into it.
However, Wang Chong’s efforts seemed to crumble here.
Wang Gen’s father was a respected minister in the Great Tang Empire, and the only one who could compare up to him was Old Master Yao of the Yao Clan. Using the word ‘Patriot’ was severely underestimating his father’s contributions and standing in the Great Tang Empire.
In the end, Wang Chong was only a fifteen-year-old child. He might be capable in other aspects, but he was still lacking in experience in politics.
“Big uncle, you’re mistaken! Nephew isn’t trying to encompass grandfather’s contributions through this sword, but to express the words in grandfather’s heart!”
Kneeling on the floor, Wang Chong turned to his grandfather:
“‘The emperor’s worry is the subordinate’s humiliation, and the emperor’s humiliation is the subordinate’s demise’. If the emperor is worried over the affairs of the nation, the subordinate would take it as a humiliation. If the emperor is humiliated, the subordinates would die to express their guilt! Thus, during the Western Han era, when Crown Prince Lai Dan was killed, Chang Hui charged into the Western Regions regardless of the danger to destroy Kucha. This is what a patriot is!”
(Western Han BC 77)
“When Gu Ji was killed, Chen Tang wrote a report to the emperor, ‘Those who dares to sully the strong Han will be destroyed, no matter how far they may be’, and destroyed Zhizhi Chanyu. This is what a patriot is!”
(Western Han & Xiongnu, BC36)
“During the era of Emperor Ming of Eastern Han, Ban Chao was ordered to lead an army to the Western Regions, and at Shanshan County, he met an envoy of the Xiongnu. The armies of the Xiongnu were powerful, and their defenses were incredible. Ban Chao said that ‘One couldn’t obtain a cub without entering the den of a lion’ and led 72 Han soldiers to slay the Xiongnu, thus expelling them from the Tarim Basin. This is what a patriot is!”
(Eastern Han, AD28-75)
“If everyone is a patriot, grandfather wouldn’t have to busy himself despite having retired, His Majesty wouldn’t have to open this Four Quarters Embassy, and our Great Tang wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining its prosperity!”
Kneeling on the floor, Wang Chong spoke earnestly.
Even though these words were directed to his grandfather, these words also sent Wang Chong into contemplation.
Wang Chong was never able to understand his grandfather, until many years later in the future, when he was assigned as the Grand Marshal of the Central Plains during perilous times, he finally understood the thoughts his grandfather had back then!
Only when one was in the same position would one understand the responsibilities that came with it!
When Wang Chong finally stood on the position, he realized that what was in his consideration was no longer personal gains, but the prosperity of the entire empire.
In his previous life, the Central Plains met with a tragic calamity. By the time Wang Chong took over, the power of the Great Tang has already been divided into small fragments. Wang Chong exerted every single ounce of his strength, but alas, he was alone. Despite dragging the war on for several decades, he was still unable to reverse the ultimate doom of the Central Plains.
This was the greatest regret in Wang Chong’s heart, be it in this life or his previous life!
For countless nights in the past, upon thinking of the heavy responsibility that he had to shoulder, Wang Chong found it hard to sleep!
When he was alone and unable to persist on anymore, Wang Chong once thought that if everyone in the world could stand by his side and work together as one, how wonderful would that be!
Just like what Wang Chong said, if everyone was a patriot, Wang Chong wouldn’t have ended in tragic defeat, and the Central Plains wouldn’t have fallen.
If everyone was a patriot, everything would have been different.
Just that Wang Chong couldn’t say it out loud. He could only make use of grandfather’s birthday to express these thoughts of his. In this world, he was probably the only one who understood grandfather, but grandfather… may not necessarily understand him!
Initially, everyone was confused by what Wang Chong was talking about. However, when Wang Chong spoke his final word, everyone’s faces immediately became agitated.
“Hahaha! Great, great, great! Chong-er, well said! Well said! …”
The old master was still impassive to Wang Chong’s words in the start, but at this moment, carrying Wang Chong’s sword, he couldn’t help but laugh heartily.
“To think that I, Wang Jiu Ling, would find a soulmate in my grandson, this is truly gladdened! Gen-er, you don’t understand. None of you all understand. Perhaps, in the entire world, only Chong-er understands!”
Big Uncle Wang Gen was astonished. The old master was austere, and he rarely smiled. This was his first time seeing the old master laughing so happily.
“Also, Gen-er, there’s something you spoke wrongly about. 《Commentary of Zuo: Duke Cheng of Lu, Year 16》: ‘If a day comes when many patriots emerge, they would become an unstoppable force’. Chong-er’s words aren’t belittling me. On the contrary, this is the highest compliment he could offer me. ——Chong-er, stand up! I will be accepting this Patriot Sword!”
The old master stood up from his seat, and amidst everyone’s astonished gazes, he bent down and helped Wang Chong up.
Wang Ru Shuang widened her eyes. She stared at the old master, then at the assisted Wang Chong, and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
The old master was still one of the most powerful officials in the country, a towering existence.
From young, Wang Ru Shuang has never seen anyone who was given such treatment from her father, and this was including her and her three siblings.
Wang Ru Shuang couldn’t understand why her father would regard Wang Chong so highly when all he did was to gift him a sword.
Wang Ru Shuang stared at Wang Chong, and this time, she was truly shocked. As a lady, she didn’t understand governance, but Wang Ru Shuang knew that Wang Chong has done something incredible.
Standing beside her, Li Lin was also stunned.
He has witnessed Wang Chong’s performance for himself, and his superior, Zhao Fengchen, was filled with praises for him. However, the standing of Zhao Fengchen and the old master were miles apart.
“Chong-er’s words must have struck a chord in the old master’s heart…”
With a contemplative look, Li Lin muttered. His understanding of Wang Chong has been refreshed yet again.
On the other hand, Wang Chong’s big aunt, Xing Yuan Chun, was completely different from them two. Upon seeing the old master personally helping Wang Chong up, her complexion turned extremely awful.
As for the old lady sitting beside the old master, although she frowned upon hearing that Wang Chong intended to gift a sword during such a festive occasion, she couldn’t help but smile at this moment.
“Yay! Yay! Yay!”
Wang Family’s little sister didn’t know what was happening, and neither did she understand what Wang Chong has said. However, seeing grandfather, grandmother, and everyone happy, she raised her fists and cheered loudly.
——That stern atmosphere a moment ago has frightened her, and she didn’t dare to move at all then.
Wang Chong’s mother rubbed her eyes in delight. The matter just now caused her to panic to the point that tears were about to fall from her eyes.
“Come! Chong-er, stand beside your big uncle, along with grandfather.”
Holding onto Wang Chong’s words, the old master said.
“Shu Hua, you should get in line as well.”
Wang Chong’s mother felt agitated, overjoyed, and proud. Every time, when it came to her father-in-law’s birthday, she was always fearful that she might commit any mistakes.
Ever since her marriage into the Wang Clan, this was the first the old master was regarding her so highly, even calling her name.
“Grandfather, I think I’ll stand with my mother instead.”
Looking at his mother, Wang Chong said.
“Hehe, go ahead.”
The old master was taken aback, but he didn’t stop him. Filial piety stood at the top of all morals. Rather than getting offended by Wang Chong’s actions, he felt heartened instead.
“Men, help me keep this sword. Place it carefully at the highest point of my study.”
The old master beckoned the Imperial Army guards by the side and ordered.
His face has a healthy glow, and compared to before, he was clearly in high spirits.
Given the offsprings of the Wang Clan were gathered together and the old master was in high spirits, the crowd began to talk about the casual affairs within the clan. Even the reticent old lady from before began chatting with the others amiably.
This was mainly an exchange between the elders of the clan, and other than Cousin Wang Li, who was able to speak up from time to time, the others of the third generation, Wang Chong, Wang Liang, and Wang Zhu Yan, could only stand obediently by the side.
By the side, the bored Cousin Wang Liang glanced at Wang Chong and shot him a thumbs up. Wang Chong chuckled and gestured back.
“How is it? Shall we go out and play?”
Wang Chong secretly gestured with his hands.
“For some fresh air?”
“I’ll pass as well.”
Wang Chong shook his head. In the past, he and Wang Liang were unable to stand such a dull gathering. As such, whenever Cousin Wang Liang went out, he would invite Wang Chong along.
However, having lived two lives, Wang Chong’s state of mind has already matured.
To Wang Chong, even a simple family gathering was a great bliss to him.
Only after losing will one understand regret.
Only after repossessing will one learn to cherish.
Seeing Wang Chong ignore him, Wang Liang lost interest quickly and turned away. Chuckling, Wang Chong could guess what was going to happen next.
“AHH! My stomach hurts! Grandfather, grandmother, I will be going out first!”
Clutching his stomach, he yelled. Before anyone could speak, he already ran out.
Upon hearing his words, the chatter in the hall abruptly paused. The old master and old lady inconspicuously shook their heads, but they didn’t stop him.
On the other hand, Wang Ru Shuang’s face steeled.
Uncle Li Lin also shook his head helplessly.
During that era, as said before, women were not allowed in politics.