RHE: Chapter 1942: Secret Meeting!
Chapter 1942: Secret Meeting!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The imperial censors were loose-lipped because they were tasked with the duty of supervising the realm. They had the privilege to speak so flippantly about the Emperor's conduct, but the others did not.
Moreover, the Sage Emperor was an energetic ruler whose civil and military accomplishments made him stand out amongst other rulers. It was a bit too much for the imperial censors to call him an incapable ruler.
King Song stood up and spoke comforting words. "Everyone, quite a few incidents have happened recently, but His Majesty is still the Great Tang's Son of Heaven. Whether it's the selection of talents or the construction of the Peace Pavilion, these are all within His Majesty's authority, and the Great Tang has the finances to bear the burden of constructing the pavilion. As for not attending the court… I am confident that this is only a momentary thing. After all, His Majesty is the reigning sovereign. We simply need to wait, and the court will naturally begin to operate normally again!"
The imperial censors had fierce personalities, but in front of so many other officials, they still needed to keep some dignity for the Emperor. Moreover, the others could not mimic the imperial censors and also speak of 'incapable rulers'.
King Song turned to Wang Chong and said, "Wang Chong, after thinking it over, I find the recent incidents far too strange. His Majesty has never been one to delight himself with women, so why would he suddenly want a large-scale selection of women to enter the harem? Moreover, His Majesty was always one to issue a decree commanding the Prime Minister and other major officials to handle court affairs if he could not attend. It is not like him to withdraw from court without a word. There's something strange about this incident, some story that we don't know.
"Moreover, this matter has already caused panic in the court and amongst the people. Fortunately, it only started recently, but if this goes on any longer, the people will grow more and more concerned, and troublemakers will start to get restless. No matter what, we have to resolve this matter to avoid that development."
Wang Chong was the youngest of the officials present, but in terms of status, he outranked everyone except the Crown Prince.
Wang Chong was also the King of Foreign Lands, personally invested by the Sage Emperor. In terms of title, he was equal to King Song, and his string of military achievements placed him above.
And when it came to favor, no one could compare to Wang Chong. This was also why everyone had gathered here today.
"That's right. Wang Chong, Imperial Father favors you the most, and you're the one with the greatest understanding of Imperial Father. We can't let this situation persist!" Li Heng added.
Everyone began to focus their gazes on Wang Chong, and the entire hall fell silent.
In the corners of the hall, Xu Keyi and Su Shixuan were stunned. At some point, their liege had become one of the most powerful officials in the court, as they could see now.
Wang Chong said nothing, but he had countless thoughts on his mind.
Without him realizing it, after taking a massive detour, the entire world had seemingly returned to its original course.
Defeating the coalition of Mengshe Zhao and Ü-Tsang, crushing Arabia, and thwarting Ü-Tsang had changed the fate of the court and the people of the Central Plains, but it had seemingly not changed the Sage Emperor's fate. Wallowing in women, building new palaces, not attending court… the behavior of the Sage Emperor in the end days of the Great Tang was emerging once more.
Even though these incidents differed slightly from his memories, they were clearly of the same nature.
After a long period of thought, Wang Chong finally spoke. "On this matter, there is no need for everyone to be anxious!
"The Sage Emperor's absence from court is only a momentary matter. It won't be long before the Sage Emperor attends court again. There is no need for everyone to worry."
Wang Chong spoke with an infectious confidence.
Everyone was greatly surprised to hear this.
"Your Highness, is what you say true?" the other officials blurted out.
Foremost of their worries was the fact that the Sage Emperor was not attending court.
As subjects, if they could not see the sovereign, their avenues of communication were essentially blocked, and even those with the most extraordinary of abilities could not display them. And the imperial censors could do nothing if they could not even submit their memorials of criticism. But everything changed if the Sage Emperor attended court.
Wang Chong only gave a slight nod.
Although the Sage Emperor's various acts appeared very strange, ever since the Xia and Shang Dynasties, even the most incapable of rulers did not remain absent from court for too long. More importantly, Wang Chong clearly remembered that the matter of the Sage Emperor not attending court lasted for only a very brief period.
Everyone was invigorated by Wang Chong's reaction.
They didn't understand how Wang Chong could be so certain, but his confidence bolstered their own. All of them knew that Wang Chong was never one to speak without reason. If that was what he said, that was what was going to happen!
Only King Song slightly frowned.
The group discussed several other matters of court before quickly dispersing.
"Wang Chong, are you really certain that His Majesty will appear soon?"
King Song intentionally lingered behind so that he could ask this question.
Li Heng had also stayed behind, and he also turned to look. He was also curious to know the answer.
Even though Li Heng resided in the palace, he found it very hard to see the Sage Emperor after that incident. Not even he was sure that the Sage Emperor would appear in court soon.
"It's a long explanation, but if all goes as expected, His Majesty should appear in court in a few days. In addition, when the time comes, Lord Zhangchou, please send someone to promptly notify me."
Wang Chong turned to Zhangchou Jianqiong with his second sentence.
The two of them had become friends through the war of the southwest and had fought alongside each other during the conquest of Arabia, an experience that had drawn them even closer together.
Zhangchou Jianqiong nodded. He was also at a loss for what to do. Meanwhile, Wang Chong served as everyone's hope and had clearly become one of the empire's lynchpins.
Wang Chong paused before turning to the Crown Prince.
"In addition, Your Highness, can you get in touch with Eunuch Gao? There are some things I need to personally ask him."
The Sage Emperor's recent actions were far too abnormal, and as an outsider, he could only wildly speculate. But if there was anyone in the empire who knew the truth and could give an explanation, it was Eunuch Gao.
As the Sage Emperor's most faithful and senior official, Eunuch Gao had followed the Sage Emperor since he was a teenager. He was the most loyal official in the Great Tang, and Wang Chong was confident that he would be even more worried about the Sage Emperor's condition than himself.
Li Heng instantly shuddered, his face grimacing.
"What happened? Did something happen to Eunuch Gao?"
Wang Chong saw his expression and felt his heart thump.
"This… In truth, I also wanted to ask Eunuch Gao what was going on, but I couldn't find him."
Crown Prince Li Heng bitterly smiled.
Wang Chong paled.
Eunuch Gao was the eunuch director of the inner court, responsible for all the eunuchs and palace maids of that part of the palace. Moreover, Eunuch Gao was incredibly loyal to the Sage Emperor and never left his side. How could he not be found?
The hall grew still. While Zhangchou Jianqiong was just as shocked as Wang Chong, King Song and Li Heng were unperturbed. It was clear that King Song had known about this as well.
"After the Eastern Palace incident, I actually already began to search for Eunuch Gao. This was because I discovered that during the incident, the eunuch at Imperial Father's side was one I had never seen before, not Eunuch Gao. You understand that the Eastern Palace is no ordinary place, and Imperial Father would never bring anyone else except Eunuch Gao.
"At the time, I thought that Imperial Father had sent Gao Lishi on another mission, but I realized later that something was wrong. Eunuch Gao had not left the palace, but he was also not at the Sage Emperor's side, and I could not find any trace of him in the rest of the palace."
Li Heng worriedly frowned.
"But my greatest concern was that when I was searching for Eunuch Gao, I discovered that everyone around Imperial Father had been switched out. I never imagined a situation like this, nor do I dare to recklessly speculate!"
The mood became oppressive, and even Zhangchou Jianqiong turned grim.
He suddenly understood why Li Heng had come out of the palace for this meeting, and also why he had lingered behind.
It seemed that Wang Chong had also realized something and had waited until the end of the meeting to ask this question.
Eunuch Gao was gone and everyone around the Sage Emperor had been switched out. This was no small matter, and if it got out, it was certain to send shockwaves through the court!
The hall was quiet, the mood strange. If this had happened before the Rebellion of the Three Princes, they would have immediately believed that the First Prince was plotting a coup, but the rebellion was over, and Li Heng would never harbor treasonous aspirations. But this left them even more confused.
Wang Chong turned to King Song. King Song had known the Sage Emperor the longest, and if something had happened in the palace, King Song would probably be the first to know.
Given their relationship, Wang Chong truly wanted to hear King Song's opinion.
King Song understood Wang Chong's meaning, and after a few moments of silence, he gave his opinion.
"Eunuch Gao should be safe for now!"
The Sage Emperor had only grown abnormal recently, and Eunuch Gao possessed extraordinary strength. If something had really happened in the palace, there would have undoubtedly been a great commotion.
"The selection of talented women and the building of a new palace will not have too great an influence on the country at large. From this, I determine that Eunuch Gao should be safe!"
Wang Chong and Zhangchou Jianqiong could only frown. If Gao Lishi was safe but also not at the Sage Emperor's side, this was even stranger and more confusing than if something had happened to him.
Starve, Hypersheep325's Notes:
Written by Huangfu Qi 皇甫奇. Translated by Starve, Hypersheep325. Edited by Desertdoe, Welmar, RED, Michyrr.