Thank you anonymous donor for your support! 2nd sponsored chapter threshold reached, probably to be released this weekend.
On this day, the court broke out in argument once again over the matter of the empress’s conferral.
This topic was recently the dry tinder that would catch fire with the slightest spark. The moment it was mentioned, unending arguments would break out.
All the officials had their own opinions. Some wanted to abide by the former emperor’s wishes while others wanted to abide by ethics, principles and virtues.
Those who wanted to abide by ethics, principles and virtues were all older officials. Their way of thinking was more rigid and inflexible. They were steadfast in their beliefs that “seniority and social status needed to be distinguished. Your father remains your father, your mother remains your mother…..abiding by these relationships was the proper way to elevate worldly foundations. Humanity’s laws and regulations are decided by these ethics…without ethics, there would be no order. Fathers may no longer be fathers, sons may no longer be sons, up won’t be up, and down won’t be down. The way of the world would devolve into chaos….”
This string of words had recently been extremely overused. Even some of the less rigid officials would spout a few lines of these virtues.
This was because these sayings were truly reasonable. Every time those who supported the posthumous edict encountered this, they were quite at a loss. Today, the supporters were ill at ease once again when an official stood out. His words were few but they immediately drew blood.
“What about the three principles? They are that of a monarch and his officials, a father and his son, and a husband and his wife. Why is there a need to argue over such a simple concept?”
Putting it this way was truly a little shameless.
Those who brought up ethics, principles and virtues all focused on the “ethics” part, saying that fathers were fathers, mothers were mothers, and this couldn’t be disputed. To do so would be to go against proper human relationships, and would mess up established customs.
These words were going against the Jing Emperor. They were hinting that he had to fulfill his filial duties and abide by these relationships, conferring the former empress as empress dowager and overruling the former emperor’s edict. After all, his edict was going against these conventions. If he didn’t, he would be failing his filial duties.
No one said this plainly, but everyone understood it.
The Jing Emperor understood as well.
As for this official, he also brought up the ethics, principles and virtues, but from a different perspective. He focused on the three “principles” instead: that of a monarch and his officials, a father and his son and a husband and his wife. If the monarch wanted an official dead, he would have to die. A son would have to comply with his father’s wishes and a wife had to obey her husband’s orders.
The former emperor was the monarch, the father and also the husband. Why would they not obey him? The new emperor did want to fulfill his filial duties, but he also couldn’t violate the orders of a monarch and also the orders of his father. Why were they using ethics and convention to criticize him?
Both perspectives were reasonable. Their reasoning was the same but their opinions contradicted each other. Both sides believed they were in the right, and each had their own logic. Therefore, a lengthy argument broke out once again.
As for the Jing Emperor who had the final say, he remained ambiguous and didn’t express any opinions.
Since the former empress’s situation hadn’t been settled, the matter of the new empress and concubines had been shelved aside as well.
Although the Jing Emperor had ascended, he still lived at the eastern palace with his family.
Regarding her aunt’s situation, Xiao-Shi also felt angry for her at first. She felt that the former emperor was really unkind. It was fine to just die, why did he have to pass such a fraudulent posthumous edict?
But as the days dragged on and her own conferral as empress into the records kept getting delayed due to her aunt’s matters, Xiao-Shi started getting anxious.
The Xiao clan had also sent someone over to the eastern palace and asked her to speak with the Jing Emperor about her aunt’s situation. However, she had never been able to convince him of anything, and her own status was currently in an awkward situation.
When the Xiao clan sent someone over a second time, Xiao-Shi started complaining.
The person they sent over was naturally Xiao-Shi’s birth mother. Even the second madam of the Xiao clan, Xiao-Shi’s nominal mother, had come as well. Xiao-Shi’s complaints were also relayed back to the clan. Her status was currently awkward. She was still the crown prince consort, but the crown prince had already become the emperor. But to say she wasn’t the crown prince consort, no new title had been conferred yet. Everyone in the palace currently called her imperial concubine Xiao-Shi. But what kind of imperial concubine? There were many different types.
Furthermore, Xiao Hua’s stomach had gotten big again so Xiao-Shi was even more resentful and panicked. If she gave birth to another prince after giving birth to his eldest son and daughter, Xiao-Shi would have even less of a position. As of now, Xiao-Shi was dead set on officially confirming her position on the empress’s throne.
The Xiao clan thus ended up in an awkward situation.
Should they continue to struggle and try to preserve the empress dowager’s position, or should they first obtain Xiao-Shi’s position as the empress? The former empress’s matter had been stuck this whole time, and Xiao-Shi’s situation also wasn’t good. This was a very difficult decision. Without a doubt, Empress Xiao was more important than Xiao-Shi, and an empress dowager was more important than an empress. Empress Xiao was also the true and proper descendant of the Jing Duke Estate’s main branch. Therefore, the Xiao clan decided to ignore Xiao-Shi’s complaints.
Seeing the Xiao clan refuse to help her, Xiao-Shi harshly criticized them in front of Madam Xiao. She said the Xiao clan had never treated her as one of their own, and only viewed her as a tool. Back then they forced her to marry a mute for their own benefits, and annulled her arranged marriage to her cousin. Now they once again overlooked her for someone else’s sake.
Madam Xiao understood who Xiao-Shi was talking about. She herself also had some complaints in her heart, and naturally complained to Xiao-Shi’s father as well once she got back.
While arguments were breaking out all over, Xiao Hua’s days were rather peaceful.
When the former emperor’s mourning period started, she had to kneel and cry in front of his coffin every day. Even Zhuo’er and Yi Yi had to go. The two children had gotten quite a bit thinner, and Xiao Hua’s pregnancy had also been disturbed by her crying. In the end, the Jing Emperor decreed that she could go back to nourish the fetus. The two children were still young, and didn’t have to remain the whole time. It was fine if they just showed up.
Only after lying in bed for half a month did the imperial physician allow Xiao Hua to get up.
On this day, the Jing Emperor didn’t return to the imperial study after court, and went to the eastern palace instead. After getting to Xiao Hua’s pavilion, they first ate before getting in bed to rest.
Xiao Hua lay on her side and massaged the Jing Emperor’s temples.
“The empress’s matter hasn’t been concluded yet?”
“They love to argue, so just let them argue.”
Xiao Hua smiled teasingly, “Doesn’t majesty get a headache from all the arguing?”
The Jing Emperor shifted his position and rubbed his cheek against Xiao Hua’s large stomach. He wasn’t going to tell her he was tired every day. He just wanted to have her massage him, and lie in bed like this for a while.
Having just succeeded the throne, there were many things he had to do. It wasn’t just Empress Xiao’s conferral. Of course, he had gotten a better understanding of the Xiao clan. To be able to mobilize so many people to support the former empress’s conferral meant that the Xiao clan truly couldn’t be underestimated.
In fact, he didn’t mind if the court argued about this matter the entire time. Keeping everyone occupied made it easier to accomplish other things.
The Jing Emperor wouldn’t share such bothersome things with Xiao Hua. She just needed to remain here properly where he could see her and raise the fetus.
“Did the baby kick you again?”
Xiao Hua felt her own stomach, “Not too badly. Much more obedient than Zhuo’er and Yi Yi back then.”
After five months of pregnancy, the baby had long since started moving around.
“I’ll sleep a while. Still have to go to the imperial study later.”
Xiao Hua didn’t say anything else. She shifted and lay down beside him, preparing to take a nap together.
Having argued for over a month, no one knew why they were arguing anymore.
At first it was over Empress Xiao’s conferral, but in the end it became an argument over their own principles.
On this day, after they finished arguing, the Jing Emperor didn’t say that they would continue the next time as usual. Instead, he spoke a few words.
His general meaning was this: You’ve all argued for so long and We have given everyone sufficient opportunity to express themselves. But you’ve failed to live up to expectations and never managed to come to a conclusion. Since we’re at a deadlock, let’s just go along with the former emperor’s wishes.
Although these weren’t his usual words, everyone understood what he meant. The officials were stunned. They thought about what they went through this entire month and suddenly felt they were truly idiots.
The emperor wasn’t in a rush, but they as officials had all been hopping about anxiously. Why didn’t they think to probe out the new emperor’s opinion first?
Actually, it wasn’t that they didn’t do any probing. It was just that the Jing Emperor had always been able to keep his composure and never revealed any clues. Only when he opened his mouth did everyone become astonished.
The Xiao clan was powerful. They had a former empress, the future empress and a potential empress dowager. There probably wasn’t any emperor who would be willing to have two Xiao clan women with such high status in his rear palace.
Actually, it wasn’t just the emperor who wasn’t willing. Many officials weren’t willing either.
The court instantly fell silent.
Whether it was due to the emperor’s final decision or their own faction’s struggles, those with some political acumen no longer dared meddle in this matter. The officials who were under the Xiao clan’s orders still wanted to make a fuss, but seeing the current situation they also didn’t dare speak up. If they spoke up at this time, they would be labelled as having ulterior motives. No one could afford to wear this hat.
It had to be said that the Jing Emperor played this hand out very well.
I’m very opinionated, but I’ll watch you guys struggle first. Since you couldn’t come to a consensus, don’t accuse me of making decisions without consulting others, and don’t accuse me of being unfilial. Since even you guys weren’t able to come to an agreement, you should be able to understand my difficulties.
Some even wondered whether the officials who had brought up the three principles and the five virtues initially were ordered to do so by the Jing Emperor.
When all was said and done, the Jing Emperor’s unfathomable face gave them a lot of pressure. Things were thus temporarily decided.
Once it was decided, it was easy to carry out.
Empress Xiao was conferred as an imperial concubine. Due to her special circumstances, the word “royal” was added to her title. But no matter how many words were added, there was only one difference between a royal imperial concubine and an imperial concubine: the former’s title sounded a little better.
It could definitely not be compared to an empress dowager. The empress dowager was the emperor’s mother figure, and needed to be respected. She would live in the Cining 1 Palace and enjoy being worshipped by the harem, and even the emperor and empress. During official ceremonies, her seat would have been above the emperor’s…..
Royal Concubine Xiao’s various thoughts didn’t need to be mentioned. The words “you’re truly ruthless” had been repeated in her mind countless times.
After the former empress’s matter was settled, it was time to arrange Senior Concubine Xu’s matter.
The former emperor’s posthumous edict proclaimed the senior concubine as the empress, and she would be buried along with the emperor. However, he wasn’t the one who had written this decree. Instead he had left it to the new emperor for some reason.
Perhaps it was to avoid hurting Royal Concubine Xiao’s heart too much? But looking at her current situation, it didn’t seem he was that benevolent. Regardless, no one could figure out his intentions.
The Jing Emperor didn’t think too much about it either, and conferred former Senior Concubine Xu as the Virtuous Loyal Empress, burying her together with the former emperor. Of course, there was still a spot saved for Royal Concubine Xiao with the emperor. It was just that the emperor now had two empresses in his tomb.
That wasn’t quite right. There would be three empresses. The Jing Emperor didn’t forget to confer his own deceased mother the title of the Saintess Empress Dowager, and had her moved into the emperor’s tomb.
After the former emperor’s affairs were settled, it was time to settle his own affairs.
The most pressing was to confer his empress.
Compared to the matter of Royal Concubine Xiao and the Virtuous Loyal Empress, the Jing Emperor seemed to be dragging his feet this time. Seeing the Jing Emperor not moving, someone became anxious. An official submitted a memorandum to the emperor. The Jing Emperor didn’t say he wouldn’t do it, but merely said that due to the royal concubine’s matter dragging on for so long, he and his family still lived in the eastern palace.
What he meant was “As the son of heaven, We haven’t even been able to move in yet due to your incompetence at coming to an agreement. Why are you more impatient than Us?”
This old official’s face had turned red in shame. Those who weren’t in the know didn’t think too much about it. Those who were could infer a few clues.
It was said his majesty had an extremely favored concubine who had given birth to the eldest prince and princess. She was currently pregnant once again. In comparison, Imperial Concubine Xiao had been married to his majesty for over a decade without any offspring.
Could this be preparations to change out the empress?
The officials who wanted to borrow the new emperor to make a name for themselves were thrilled, and secretly began making preparations themselves. When the time came, they definitely couldn’t let his majesty do something so muddleheaded.
Those who wanted to see the Xiao clan become a joke naturally sat calmly during the storm. You guys thought this Xiao clan would have two empresses within the palace. Now the old one was screwed over by the former emperor, and if the young one gets screwed over by the new emperor, they would become a laughing stock in the capital.
Did quite a lot of research. Feels like the ancient people were harmed quite severely by this three virtues and five principles. Feels like it was something schemed up by the emperors to indoctrinate the people.
I feel Jiajing2 was extremely badass. A single emperor could argue against his entire court and still come out on top, ignoring those who rammed themselves to death against the palace of management’s doors. For the sake of the emperor conferring his own dad as the former emperor, the unwilling officials actually rammed themselves to death. This showed how outlandish the emperor’s thoughts had been.