Chapter 158

The empress soon received the news after the event.

She paced back and forth neurotically in the hall, her hand tugging at her handkerchief.

“……how dare she, how dare she?…..why wouldn’t she dare, she has someone supporting her….”

Seeing the empress muttering to herself this entire time, Nana Zhao couldn’t endure any longer and spoke.

“Empress, you have to be steady now. The royal concubine has already erased all the traces. They don’t have any proof.”

“…..why do you indulge her so? Why? Why?”

“Empress!” Nana Zhao called loudly and finally woke up the empress who was lost in her own world.

“Empress you shouldn’t be thinking about these things at the moment. Because of this event, the royal concubine lost a large amount of her people before finally covering everything up. They won’t be able to trace it back. You must remain calm and not reveal anything. Otherwise, everything would be ruined!”

“Is it really covered up?”

The empress was a little on edge. This event had truly given her a fright. Just from the report, she could imagine the scene. Several tens of people had been beaten to death just like that. It was said the ground in front of the justice department had been covered in blood, and still hadn’t been cleaned up yet.

“Yes, empress definitely won’t be implicated in this.” Nana Zhao’s expression was patient as she spoke one word at a time.

“That’s good, that’s good…..” After muttering for a while, the empress started coughing. Once she started, she wasn’t able to stop until her face was red and she was out of breath.

A palace maid brought over some medicinal pellets and helped the empress swallow them. She then brought some water over to soothe her breathing. The empress finally recovered. Cai Lian took the handkerchief in the empress’s hands and gave her a new one. The old handkerchief was stained with blood.

Cai Lian was worried in her heart. The empress had been coughing up blood more and more frequently. How could this continue? Unfortunately, her words weren’t of any use. The imperial physicians were also helpless regarding this matter, and could only tell the empress to remain calm.

Remain calm? It was already good if the empress could remain calm for a single day. That side was clearly favored and she still insisted on having people report to her about the movements over there. Wasn’t this just making things hard on herself!?

After clearing up the copper basin and the other things, Cai Lian took the bloodstained handkerchief and prepared to have it burned.

“Big sis Cai Lian, what are you up to?”

She hadn’t expected to run into someone and she wasn’t able to hide the handkerchief in her hand. Cai Lian could only say: “This handkerchief got dirtied so I’m going to go wash it.”

That low-ranked palace maid leaned in intimately. She smiled and said: “Such a small thing doesn’t require you to do personally. I’ll help you wash it. Hey, why is there blood?”

Cai Lian’s face turned rigid, “I accidentally cut my hand and used it to wrap it up.”

“Big sis Cai Lian, are you ok? Should I help you apply some medicine?” The low-ranked palace maid appeared worried.

“No need, no need. It’s just a scratch and it’s no longer bleeding.”

“En.” The low-ranked palace maid’s face bloomed in a smile. She took the handkerchief and left while saying: “I’ll send it back to big sis once it’s cleaned.”

Cai Lian was left standing there in fright.

Not many people knew that the empress was coughing up blood. The bloodied handkerchiefs were never reused. She had them burned. Cai Lian didn’t understand, but since she was the empress who wouldn’t lack for anything, it was quite normal for her to get rid of a dirtied handkerchief.

However, the empress had never told her to keep this a secret. Therefore, it’s fine if she let Cui Ju help her wash it, right? She had also made up an excuse for it.

Cai Lian thought this and felt relieved.

…..

What a crisp sound, the tea cup was shattered on the ground.

Bai Shao couldn’t help but shiver. This was already the royal concubine’s third shattered cup in the past few days.

“They were all beaten to death?”

“En.”

“For this trivial matter, this seat has already lost several people. Now another few deeply hidden people have been lost. This old eunuch is really vicious. How did I not notice him before?!”

“Concubine, calm your anger!”

The royal concubine laughed a couple of times, her expression weird, “Calm what anger? This is a good thing. Since they wish to go to war, then I’ll truly stir things up. Let’s see how the emperor plans to clear things up this time.”

After a while, the royal concubine spoke again: “Nana Zhao, keep an eye on the empress. That person has way too many failures and not enough successes!”

“Yes.”

***

The beatings this time stirred up the entire rear palace, and also the entire court.

The previous emperor had just died less than a year ago. Theoretically, the new emperor should be showing filial piety and modesty, and shouldn’t be making such a fuss.

But he had acted and had so many people beaten to death. Although they were all servants, the blood had stained the court. The previous emperor had died less than a year ago and the new emperor hadn’t changed his title yet. This was all going against convention.

Of course, these conventions weren’t rules, and didn’t have to be followed. But new emperors normally abided by these conventions in case they got criticized. Only the Jing Emperor broke off from the norm.

The officials naturally couldn’t criticize the emperor, so they could only criticize the general managing eunuch and the prime senior concubine behind him.

Actually Eunuch Fu was only criticized in passing. After all, he was someone who followed the Jing Emperor and obeyed his commands. He wasn’t ordered by the senior concubine. But since the prime senior concubine had appeared in her carriage at the time, everyone could naturally make a fuss and say she was the mastermind.

Therefore, the prime senior concubine became a demoness.

Those officials naturally didn’t use this word in front of the Jing Emperor. They merely said the prime senior concubine was using her seductive wiles to confuse and shake up the nation. Her methods were cruel and her heart was vicious, and wasn’t suitable to be the crown prince’s mother.

Not only did the officials jump out and say this, even Minister Lin stepped out at this time. Minister Xu on the other hand didn’t express any opinion.

What the officials said in the first part could still be ignored. They were at most saying the prime senior concubine’s character wasn’t good. The last part was the main point of this situation.

Just this point made it clear to the Jing Emperor that someone was provoking trouble once gain. Bringing up the prime senior concubine was a ruse. Their goal was to get rid of the crown prince.

Since ancient times, mother and son had always complemented each other. If the prime senior concubine couldn’t retain her position on her throne, there would naturally be someone saying the crown prince’s status wasn’t enough to be the crown prince, and ask the Jing Emperor to reconsider. With “such” a mother concubine, the crown prince’s character naturally wouldn’t be good either.

The crown prince’s character was always of the utmost importance, and since his character wasn’t good, he naturally didn’t qualify to be the crown prince.

The Jing Emperor was silent in the face of the court’s reactions. He didn’t say anything and didn’t listen to anything. He also didn’t express any opinions. Some officials submitted memorandums but he pretended to be mute and didn’t even respond to them. You can say whatever you like, We aren’t going to respond to it. We’ll pretend not to have heard.

He’ll respond a little if they talked about something else. But the moment the prime senior concubine was mentioned, the Jing Emperor turned into one of the hall’s ornaments. The court couldn’t just come to a standstill over this matter, so everyone was very sullen.

If they could, they definitely would have grabbed the Jing Emperor by his neck and yelled: would it kill you to say something? Even if you play dumb, you can’t play it so obviously.

What was more extreme was that not only did he ignore the officials, he even ignored Minister Lin’s memorandum. As one of the prime ministers, he was the head of countless officials. The emperor normally respected the prime ministers. No matter if it was the monarch or the officials, they should each give the other some face.

Since the Jing Emperor didn’t give Minister Lin any face, for the sake of his dignity Minister Lin reported himself as ill.

The next day, the Hall of Supremes was a lot emptier. Around ten or so officials had all called in sick, and already submitted their leave of absence request.

The court was extremely silent but the Jing Emperor pretended not to notice. The Hall of Supremes had never had never been so silent, it was enough to hear a pin drop.

Minister Xu finally walked up and submitted a memorandum saying that there was flooding around the Yellow River. Only then was the silence broken. Several other officials started submitting memorandums here and there.

Before the court was adjourned, the Jing Emperor said “Peng Hai Rong didn’t come today, right?”

This Peng Hai Rong was one of the few officials who had asked off due to illness.

The official responsible for the roll call had a bitter expression as he stepped out and said: “Yes, majesty.”

The Jing Emperor stood from his throne and said faintly: “Since he didn’t come, there’s no need for him to come in the future. Minister Xu, find someone to take his spot.”

“Yes, majesty.”

“Court adjourned—-”

After the Jing Emperor left, the officials looked at each other. They turned around and wanted to get Minister Xu’s opinion, but realized he had already left at some point.

Minister Xu and Right Imperial Censor Zhao Jing Heng was walking in the palace hallway.

“Minister Lin was dealt a stuffy blow this time. His liver’s probably going to be sore from anger once he gets the news.”

Minister Xu flashed a smile, “I told you noble households aren’t that simple. Did you think Minister Lin was willing to be the nail that stuck out? He just didn’t have a choice in the matter. This also has to do with his loss of dignity. He probably thought his majesty would definitely give him some face. Who would have thought he encountered someone who doesn’t play by the rules.”

“His majesty’s personality is truly tough as iron.”

In the relationship between monarch and officials, the monarch also had to compromise sometimes. In the two times the new emperor had exchanged moves with his officials, the Jing Emperor had proven himself to be extremely opinionated.

Of course, his abilities had also been extremely good. The first time he let them argue and occasionally had people fan the flames. Once they grew tired of arguing, he made his decision, making no one able to say anything. It was due to their own incompetence, unable to compromise after arguing for so long. It wasn’t We who acted on Our own.

This time he followed the saying “silence is golden” and was extremely patient. Furthermore, he didn’t express any opinions. He waited until they grew worried and angry and decided to “threaten” him.

But officials only had two ways to threaten the emperor. One was to “call in sick”, which was to say “I’ve got issues that prevent me from working”. Another way was martyring themselves in protest. But no one was tired of living enough to kill themselves in protest at the moment. Especially not over an imperial concubine. This wasn’t being a martyr, this was being a fool.

Of course, this wasn’t to say these officials didn’t have the determination to do so. It just wasn’t necessary for this situation.

The Jing Emperor’s silence was a sort of probe. If there really was an official who jumped out and killed himself, he naturally wouldn’t sit still. Unfortunately, in this contest of patience, it was the emperor who ended up triumphing over his officials.

When Minister Lin led the way in “calling in sick”, the officials had already lost.

Because of these officials banding together to threaten him, the emperor had been “angered.” Since you aren’t willing to come work, then get lost. We have plenty of people. Of course, this could be applied to all of you.

This sort of attitude couldn’t be adopted right from the get go. Otherwise, he would be a tyrant, someone who refused to listen to any advice.

As a monarch, the Jing Emperor naturally couldn’t let this thought spring up in his official’s minds. The moment it did, they would feel they had no say in court anymore. For the sake of their nation and for the sake of succession, the Jing Emperor definitely wouldn’t let this happen. While it may seem satisfying, it was actually extremely dangerous to the development of the nation.

The Jing Emperor’s current actions gave the officials the feeling that “We were forced to do this by you guys. We had no choice.” But where did the limits of his actions lie? Those who were in court today naturally didn’t have to analyze it, but those who “called in sick” had no choice but to do so.

It was just a “small matter”, or rather someone else’s matter. It wouldn’t be worth it to lose one’s status over it. Especially Minister Lin. How could he be willing to lose his seat? Could he take this risk?

The Jing Emperor clearly favors the senior concubine. Their daughter had been harmed and fallen into the water so he was already irritable. He had only seized some people to try and catch the mastermind, but ended up being hassled by these officials. They criticized his wife and his children, and were just short of pointing at him and calling him muddleheaded. Anyone would get angry at this.

A commoner’s anger causes blood to spill five feet. An emperor’s anger causes corpses to cover a thousand miles.

This time the emperor was angered, but not as far as to cover a thousand miles in corpses. But no one dared guess whether he would say tomorrow “Minister Lin didn’t come? Since he didn’t come, no need for him to come anymore”. After all, the Jing Emperor was “angered”. Even if he spoke out of anger, if those words came from his mouth, Minister Lin wouldn’t have the face to reappear in court again.

“Minister Lin can’t afford to gamble.” As his old opponent, Minister Xu was certain.

“Especially since his majesty even told me to find someone as the replacement today….” Speaking to this point, Minister Xu cupped his hands and started laughing loudly.

Zhao Jing Heng also couldn’t resist letting out a smile, “This majesty is really a unique person!”

“Isn’t he the wise monarch that you’ve been wanting?” Minister Xu spoke meaningfully.

Zhao Jing Heng froze, and lightly coughed, “That remains to be seen….”

Minister Xu patted him on the shoulders heavily and stepped forwards with wide strides. His actions showed a hint of excitement.

The next day, Minister Lin recovered from his sickness as expected. Those who had called in sick the day before had naturally all recovered as well.

Author’s words:

Since Repressed Jing is getting busy, Xiao Hua naturally won’t fall behind.

10 thoughts on “Chapter 158

  1. It seems foolish to me for the officials to bring up the crown prince not being worthy of his position. All the emporer’s children have the same mother, which shows how favoured she is. No way would he take away their second son to be raised by someone else. Changing the crown prince because of his mother only works if other women in the harem have sons.

  2. What’s wrong with these officials? The crown prince is barely 5 years old, aren’t they focusing on the wrong thing right now? Shouldn’t they wait a few more years before they start to pick faults with him in a way that don’t make them seem too eager, or at least until some other woman in the harem gives births to other sons for the emperor?

  3. They’re used to an Emperor who doesn’t deal with the back court. I think they’re trying to use strategies that would work with the deceased Emperor, not realizing the new King in town plays by a different set of rules.

    BTW, the next generation of officials are gonna be the patient kind. Otherwise they won’t win against Jing, or might give themselves hernias from being enraged lol

    1. This line of speculation is excellent. The officials really are used to how things used to go with the previous emperor, and they also don’t know enough about Emperor Jing’s personality to make good guesses about how he’ll act. And, IMO, they’re all way too impatient to jump out and stir things up.

  4. Thanks so much for the double release ♥️

    Ahhh, the more the author writes about politics, the more I’m satisfied. They have a really good grasp of how to illustrate power struggles and keep it interesting. It’s really uncommon that novels in this genre manage to make the romance AND the political scheming interesting; usually the latter is just, idk, inexplicable actions performed by cannon fodder in a way that makes you worried for their mental health. Whereas here, it’s all too obvious why the former Empress is going all out, and why the officials are going along with it.

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