Within the minister’s estate.
Minister Xu was playing go1.
The man across from him was around forty. His face was thin with a long mustache. His honest and profound bearing was rather eye-catching.
“Teacher seems a little unsettled today. Is it because you were summoned to the palace this morning?”
Minister Xu let out a laugh and placed a piece down on the board.
“His majesty is ill and the crown prince continues to struggle with the Jin Prince. It’s truly not a good thing for our nation.”
The man smiled wryly and also placed a piece down on the board, “This shouldn’t be something we as court officials should worry about. His majesty is merely ill as of now. Even if he weren’t there, we still have the crown prince.”
“I’m afraid the Jin Prince’s side isn’t that simple. There will be some moves.” Minister Xu suddenly sighed: “Lin Jian that old fellow has been intelligent all his life, but seems to be muddled in his age. His majesty’s sudden illness truly exceeded his expectations, as well as the expectations of those behind him.”
That man merely smiled once more and placed another piece down.
Some people were able to think things through, and some were not. His teacher was someone who thought things through. His status was already so high, why the need to lust after more? But people’s thoughts differed, and there would always be those who couldn’t think things through! When things were prosperous, everyone benefitted. When things were chaotic, everyone would suffer. The wisdom of the ancients always rang true.
“Teacher, do we need to make the Jin Prince leave the capital? This is probably what the crown prince wants to see.”
Minister Xu muttered to himself for a few minutes before stroking his beard, “No need. It’s better to quietly observe the changes.”
“Aren’t you worried about the nation’s stability?”
These words made Minister Xu smile bitterly, “His majesty himself isn’t worried. Why should we do more than we should?”
“Things might get messy.”
“You’ve only been appointed as the right imperial censor not too long ago. It’s best to keep yourself safe. Let them duke it out if that’s what they want.”
“People will say your student isn’t doing his job.”
“Haha, with the current state of affairs, even your teacher isn’t willing to meddle in other’s business. There’s no need for my student to rush ahead.” Minister Xu laughed before saying with a quiet voice: “The capital’s investigation bureau is a mess at the moment. The crown prince will definitely not allow the Jin Prince to peacefully remain in the capital. You don’t have that many subordinates, it’s better not to stand out. Regardless, we aren’t looking for these merits. It’s better to observe from the side.”
“Your student understands.”
Within the room, only the sound of go pieces being placed could be heard.
Minister Xu looked at his student across from him and suddenly said emotionally: “Little fellow, you normally appear calm and plain, yet you also turned out to be someone who worries for his country.”
This forty year old man was called little fellow by Minister Xu. But that was indeed that case, since Minister Xu was approaching seventy.
“Aren’t you the same?”
Minister Xu froze and then laughed bitterly, “I guess we’re the same, it’s just a shame that….”
He didn’t finish his sentence but his student Zhao Jing Heng clearly understood.
Although they had the will to improve their nation, they didn’t have the means. Although Emperor Xi wasn’t some incompetent ruler, he also wasn’t some wise monarch. He was headstrong and opinionated, his thoughts overly conservative. He was bound by convention, unwilling to innovate and change.
The Grand Xi Dynasty appeared to be prosperous and at peace, but no one knew better than people like them what truly lay beneath the surface.
The wealthy were too wealthy and the poor commoners still remained in poverty. There were too many corrupt officials covering for each other and operating outside of the law. The saying that the rich left their meat and alcohol to spoil due to overabundance while the poor starved to death was precisely describing this situation.
Sometimes it wasn’t good too have too much ambition. His teacher was such an example. He remained low key within the officials, muddling along while restraining his pride. Being able to reach his position as minister was due to his tactfulness.
His character became tactful and he did things tactfully. He refused to touch anything he shouldn’t be touching.
Who would have thought this seemingly upright and outspoken righteous Minister Xu was actually such a tactful mediocre person?
His righteousness and outspokenness was only within the confines of what was permitted.
People would only become discreet and change due to having suffered enough. Minister Xu was an example. Therefore, as his student, Zhao Jing Heng wouldn’t have to squander his time away, wouldn’t have to suffer all sorts of setback before understanding this reasoning. This was his fortune, but he ultimately couldn’t come to peace with it!
“Teacher, do you still remember your original intentions?”
These words made Minister Xu silent for a long time, his expression absent-minded.
“The crown prince isn’t a wise ruler….” These words came out of Zhao Jing Heng’s mouth with great difficulty, “The Jin Prince isn’t either.”
The black go piece in Minister Xu’s hand suddenly fell to the floor. He forced a smile, “Then who do you think would be a wise ruler?”
Zhao Jing Heng slowly shook his head, “No idea.”
“Since we don’t know, we might as well just keep watching.”
Keep watching. How long do they have to keep watching for?
The Yun Prince also received information regarding the capital’s movements, but not as quick or thorough as the Jing Prince’s.
Emperor Xi was unconscious, the crown prince was in charge of the nation and the Jin Prince hung around the capital with his leg lame, but the Jing Prince still showed no signs of movement. The Yun Prince was unable to sit still.
He wasn’t one to worry about things, and many of the things he did were for the sake of his wife and children. His biggest wish was to live out his days as a carefree prince with them. This was why he had thrown everything he had accumulated so far to the Jing Prince.
After handing everything over, he had truly become carefree. But after spending a few days idly, he realized the Jing Prince didn’t show any signs of movement and became worried. This time he didn’t have the energy to mess around with that stiff-faced brother of his, and directly rushed over to the Jing Province’s Jing Prince Estate. He didn’t give any advance notice, and when his subordinates reported the arrival of a maternal relative, the Jing Prince was shocked.
His maternal relatives were all in the estate already. Where else were there any maternal relatives? Only after Eunuch Fu went to take a look did he find out it was the Yun Prince.
This fellow was too gutsy!
The Jing Prince thought this as he went to meet the Yun Prince.
The fatty wasn’t smiling indecently for once, and was very solemn instead.
“You could have sent a letter if there was anything.” The Jing Prince said dully as he sat down across from him.
“This personality of your really needs to change. Why are all your actions so slow and unhurried? Things are already going through the roof on that side, and here you are without any reactions.”
“Didn’t this humble prince tell you via letter that I’ve already started moving?”
The Yun Prince rolled his eyes and said angrily: “I haven’t seen any signs of it.” He continued fussing, “At this rate, I should really consider whether it’s better to just steal my mother from the palace and escape with the entire family.”
The Jing Prince looked at him in astonishment. He didn’t expect this person to have such an idea.
“What about your subordinates?”
“They can completely disband.”
“All the land under the heavens belongs to the emperor, and all the people his subjects.”
The Jing Prince slowly said these words, and took a sip of his tea.
The Yun Prince slumped in his chair dispiritedly, and lamented: “I’m regretting it now. If I had known, I would have bet on the crown prince or the Jin Prince. Why would I bet on such a slow person?”
“Would you dare?”
Fine, he wouldn’t dare!
The Yun Prince wiped his face. Let’s not mention whether the Jin Prince or the crown prince would care for what he was offering, their first reaction would have been suspicion. What were you planning by collecting all these resources? He was too weak, and they could snuff him out with a pinch of their hand. He really didn’t dare contact those people.
“You’re just taking advantage of my kindness. No matter what, I’m still older than you by a bit. It’s not right to treat your older brother so unreasonably.”
“You’re only older by a few months.”
“Even if it was only a single day, I’d still be older!”
“You risked discovery just to come and tell me this?”
Seeing them stray off topic, the Jing Prince said this with an apathetic expression.
“I came to urge you to quickly, swiftly, hurriedly start moving. Otherwise it’ll be too late.”
“Already started.” The Jing Prince paused and said again: “Now observing the changes.”
“If you keep observing, neither of us will be able to escape. Are you unaware of the dangers? Come, come, come, let me tell you about it…..”
The Yun Prince shifted in his chair and his words came pouring out, “Both of them are narrow-minded people. If the crown prince ascends, he definitely wouldn’t let us off after five or ten years. Don’t look at his upright expression, he’s actually extremely ruthless. He’s the “submit to me, or perish” kind of person. Even if we behave honestly, he will just give as a little more time to struggle at death’s door.”
“Don’t doubt my words. The crown prince and the empress may look extremely honorable, but in reality there had always been someone annoying them. The amount then increased to three. The crown prince has been overly stifled, and will definitely go to extremes in the future. As for the Jin Prince, there’s even less need to mention him. If he can ascend, it’ll be with the help of the Qi Prince. The Qi Prince is vicious and has no respect for anyone. The Jin Prince tolerates him for now so he can succeed, but how could he possibly continue to tolerate him afterwards? Furthermore, the Jin Prince is very clear about his own background. He naturally won’t allow any vassal princes to exist….”
The Jing Prince was a little surprised. Who would have thought old fourth had considered things so deeply? If it wasn’t for his past life, he would never have thought things through so clearly himself. Unexpectedly, the Yun Prince was able to figure things out to such an extent just based on a few pieces of knowledge.
“Your analysis is very good.”
You said it! The Yun Prince sniggered in satisfaction in his heart, but he appeared fearless on the surface, “No one understands those two better than me!”
“Suffered a lot in the past?”
The Yun Prince’s face turned rigid, and then he smiled, “That’s right. Those are personal enemies, so I naturally have to understand them clearly to know how to counterattack.”
“This prince didn’t offend you, right?”
These words made the skin on the Yun Prince’s face tremble, and he seemed a little embarrassed, “I remember you giving me a plate of cakes when we were young.”
That time was the hungriest he’s ever been in his life. This person gave him a plate of cakes, and he happily prepared to bring it back to share with his mom. Who knew that he would be spotted by the vile Qi Prince before he could make it back? He had flipped the plate over and forced him to crawl all over picking it up.
The Jing Prince froze. He seemed to remember this happening in the depths of his mind.
At that time he didn’t have to worry about food or clothing. He had a capable high-ranked eunuch protecting him. But he knew that the Yun Prince had a hard childhood. His majesty said he was too fat, and ordered him to lose weight. People used this as an excuse to harass the mother and son pair.
The Yun Prince’s eyes were glazed in reminiscence, but it was only for a brief moment before his mischievous smile reappeared, “You have to do your best, ok? My beautiful life in the future is depending on you.”
The Jing Prince looked at him with a complicated gaze and didn’t speak.
The Yun Prince shifted in his chair once more, “You’ve really started moving? Why haven’t I seen anything?”
The Yun Prince also had spies in the capital. The Jing Prince knew this clearly.
“If you could notice it, everyone else probably would as well.”
“Why don’t you tell me about it? Let me sleep a little more peacefully back home.”
The Yun Prince looked at the Jing Prince with a complicated gaze and lamented: “Fine, don’t tell me if you don’t want to. Just remember that whatever schemes you use, you can’t be too much of a sissy.”
Sissy? What’s that supposed to mean?
“Just keep that in mind. If necessary, it’s fine to use some dishonorable schemes. We’re just trying to survive here. Also, your subordinate, that barbarian whatever. He’s extremely skilled. If there’s no other choice, just have him go assassinate both of them.”
The Yun Prince’s words grew more and more wild, and made it even harder for the Jing Prince to understand.
“What are you talking about?”
“You don’t have to worry about the meaning. Just keep it in mind. I won’t chatter on any longer. I have to hurry back. The consort will get angry again if I’m late.”
The Jing Prince knew that the Yun Prince had a ferocious consort back home who was famous in the capital. He didn’t say anything and had Eunuch Fu send him out.
He sat there and continued to think about the Yun Prince’s words. Sissy, Barbarian Yan, assassinate….for some reason he couldn’t piece these things together.
Since he couldn’t figure it out, the Jing Prince no longer thought about it as usual. How was sissy supposed to be interpreted in this instance? Did his habit of remaining silent give him the wrong impression?