The Human Emperor - Side Story Chapter 10: Question-and-Answer Session Between Father and Son!
Side Story Chapter 10: Question-and-Answer Session Between Father and Son!
Time slowly passed. With the end of the Spring Rain Banquet, the peace talks with the Turks were brought to the forefront, where they continued to remain a hotly contested topic. Word soon reached the ears of the people.
“Did you hear? During the Spring Rain Banquet, the Turks wanted to engage in peace talks with us, and all the conditions favored them! Shameless scoundrels!”
“True! If it weren’t for the Third Prince pointing out the problem, we would have been in trouble!”
“But has the Third Prince really changed? It hasn’t even been a month, but we’ve already had two major incidents. It really makes you think!”
“Besides that, when the Third Prince went out on an inspection tour a few days ago, he appeared to have a completely different demeanor. He really has changed!”
For a moment, everyone from the storytellers in the tea houses to the peddlers and laborers who only knew a few words was talking about Li Taiyi.
As the people chattered, they failed to notice an opulent bronze carriage slowly rolling past them in the direction of the Imperial City.
The one seated in the carriage was none other than the man of the hour, Li Taiyi.
Li Taiyi heard the avid conversation of the common folk, and a hint of gratification appeared on his face.
His efforts had not been in vain.
After the last few incidents, Third Son Xuan’s wretched reputation had finally changed, making it much easier for him to get to work.
Most importantly, he had achieved his goal.
Because of him, everyone had placed their attention on the critical area of the Yin Mountains.
Dropping the curtain, Li Taiyi focused.
The bronze carriage continued forward, past the palace gates and along the red walls. Very quickly, it came to a stop.
“Third Highness, we’ve arrived.” A voice came from outside.
After patting his clothes, Li Taiyi got off.
In front of him was a grandiose and towering golden palace that seemed to pierce into the clouds.
Four generals in full armor stood at the four corners of the palace, their eyes domineering as they stood like guardian gods with storms of energy circling around their bodies.
Raising his head, Li Taiyi saw a set of white jade stairs that led all the way up to the doors of that massive golden palace.
From a distance, he could see the words written above the doors in a bold and majestic manner.
These words were imbued with an enormous weight, and even from a distance, one could feel their majesty.
This was the first time Li Taiyi had been here since he had arrived in this world.
Though he was a noble Prince, Prince Xuan had such a poor reputation that he was refused entry to the court and to the residence of the Emperor, Taiji Palace.
This was the first time since his reincarnation that he had come to this place.
Li Taiyi broke out of his daze and began to climb the steps, getting closer and closer to the towering Taiji Palace.
Cough! Cough! “Such audacity! A mere Right Remonstrator dares to act so impudently, opposing Us in the court! You have no respect for Us!”
Even before Li Taiyi had entered the hall, he could hear the Emperor coughing and cursing, and he was instantly left dumbfounded.
This was the first time he had heard the Tang Emperor so furious.
But a moment later, Li Taiyi got a hold of himself. There were numerous vexing matters in the court, and while such a situation was not often seen, it was rather normal.
“Your Majesty, calm yourself.”
The Tang Emperor’s old attendant, Eunuch Li, frantically tried to soothe the Emperor while bringing up a saucer of black medicinal liquid.
The Tang Emperor exhaled, took the medicine, and drank it down in a single gulp, after which he slammed the jade saucer down on the table of zhennan wood.
Suddenly, the Tang Emperor saw Li Taiyi, and only then did he put away his anger.
“You are dismissed.”
The Tang Emperor waved his hand and ordered Eunuch Li to withdraw.
Eunuch Li departed with the jade saucer, leaving Li Taiyi alone with the Tang Emperor.
“Your son pays respects to Imperial Father!”
Li Taiyi took a few steps forward and bowed.
“Not bad. It seems that your mother was correct. You truly have changed.”
The Tang Emperor waved his hand and spoke in an absent-minded manner, but his eyes were profoundly staring at Li Taiyi.
Li Taiyi was taken aback by his words, and an almost imperceptible light flashed in his eyes. He quickly responded, “It is due to the teachings of Imperial Father and Mother.”
“Mm, We are most gratified to see our errant son correcting his ways.
“We have already ordered that your allowance for food and clothing be restored in full.”
The Tang Emperor saw the respectful look on Li Taiyi’s face and gave a slight nod.
In the past, if Xuan had heard that his punishment was being undone, he would have undoubtedly shown happiness on his face, but now, he was calm and unflustered.
Perhaps he really has grown up!
The Tang Emperor could not help but smile upon seeing how Li Taiyi had changed.
“Many thanks, Imperial Father!” Li Taiyi loudly said.
Li Taiyi could not fathom the Emperor’s thoughts.
Although the Tang Emperor had returned his allowance, he still didn’t quite understand what this meant. After all, in his previous world, what he ate and what he wore… could be called hellish. Even a Prince who had been stripped of his privileges ate far better than he did.
It was basically paradise!
“Right, We summoned you for a certain matter.”
The Tang Emperor’s voice thundered in Li Taiyi’s ears.
“On the matter of the Turkic peace talks, We did not make a decision at the Spring Rain Banquet, but this is a matter concerning two empires and is no small matter.
“We now ask you: how do you think the peace talks should be handled?”
Li Taiyi immediately felt a piercing light landing on his body, and with a start, he realized what was going on.
His father was testing him.
…And also giving him a chance!
His father had never before tested him on politics.
His first brother and second brother had had to pass similar tests before they were placed in important positions.
If he answered correctly, his father would greatly change his opinion of him, which would be an enormous boon to his future plans. But if he answered incorrectly, he would fall all the way back to zero.
His father would believe that what had occurred at the Spring Rain Banquet was a sudden impulse on his part. In the future, it would take many times the effort to once more win his father’s favor.
Surprisingly, after a few moments of thought, Li Taiyi gave an answer completely different from the one he had given at the Spring Rain Banquet. “Imperial Father, your son believes that if the Turks sincerely seek peace, there would be no problem in agreeing. In this way, the burden on the common folk of both countries and on the treasury would be reduced. Moreover, we would be going with the flow and announcing to the world the magnanimity of the Great Tang!”
“Then, if the Turks are not sincere?” the Tang Emperor quickly asked.
“If not… then the Turks are harboring great ambitions!”
Li Taiyi lowered his head, and as he spoke, his eyes erupted with a frightening and chilling light. He could never forget how these Hu had destroyed the glorious civilization of the Central Plains and brought about an age of darkness.
“There is naturally no need to talk peace. In addition, we would need to reinforce the armies on the northern border and heighten their vigilance. We might as well kill that Turkic First Prince so as to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies and remove a future problem!”
Li Taiyi’s voice was tinged with killing intent.
If not for his sensitive status, and if not for the fact that the Turkic First Prince was an emissary to the Great Tang, he would have already done the deed.
This man could speak the Tang language and seemed very familiar with the behavior of the people of the Great Tang. If such a person took the Turkic throne, he would undoubtedly pose a major threat.
“Those not of our people are certain to think differently. In the end, the Turks are our enemies! Your son believes that there will come a day when he utterly defeats them, and perhaps even brings them under the rule of the Great Tang!” Li Taiyi forcefully said.
Taiji Palace became so quiet that one could hear a pin drop, and the Tang Emperor’s eyes flickered at these words.
Li Taiyi’s performance had truly taken him by surprise.
On his disappointing third son, he felt an intense will to fight!
The Tang Emperor couldn’t help but get emotional.
In the past, he, too, had once thought about striking the north and seizing the steppe.
This had been his dream when he followed his own father on his campaigns, but after numerous campaigns on the border, he was well aware of the power of the Turks.
After many years of clashes and being suppressed by the Turks for all that time, he had lost his aspirations.
In the end…
Infantry could not suppress cavalry!
As if he knew what his father was thinking, Li Taiyi suddenly said, “If Imperial Father is concerned about how the Great Tang’s soldiers can fight against foreign cavalry, your son has a way.”
“Oh? What method?”
The Tang Emperor was surprised.
His son had never expressed any interest in military affairs in the past. What was his solution?
Recalling Li Taiyi’s exposure of the corruption at court and his incisive remarks at the Spring Rain Banquet, he immediately focused on his son.
Though these two incidents had seemed unintentional on Li Taiyi’s part, the Tang Emperor vaguely felt that they were on purpose.
Moreover, upon seeing how serious Li Taiyi was, and perhaps frustrated from the setbacks he had faced against the Turks over many years, the Tang Emperor found himself looking forward to what he might hear.
“Ballistae!” Li Taiyi solemnly said.
“What are ballistae?” the Tang Emperor questioned.
“Cavalry can be fought with master archers, but master archers need five years of training, thus making them difficult to train en masse. Ballistae can take their place. These are large crossbows mounted on war carts that are used to launch large bolts, and these bolts can be launched in unison,” Li Taiyi said.
The Tang Emperor creased his brow in thought.
He had never heard of this thing that Li Taiyi had brought up. He knew of crossbows, but not of these ballistae.
“Where did you learn of such a thing?” the Tang Emperor said, not immediately expressing his opinion.
“Imperial Father, the ballista weapon is actually something that the Bureau of Works of the Great Tang has been researching for some time, but it is not well-developed, so it has yet to be used in the army at a large scale. While your son was ‘playing’ in the palace, he came across the designs, which is why he knows of them,” Li Taiyi respectfully said.