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Chapter 1967: w.a.n.g Chong’s Determination!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
“Even though the area is remote, making extraction difficult, it’s not a problem. Order the great clans to immediately begin building cement roads toward those three areas. In addition, take twenty million taels of gold and another thirty million obtained with the a.s.sistance of the Bureau of Revenue and the Chamberlain of Palace Revenues. Post announcements throughout the county saying that anyone willing to go to these three places to mine for coal will have their travel expenses paid by the court and be given free mining tools. In addition, all of the coal they mine will be theirs and can all be sold to the Imperial Court!”
w.a.n.g Chong’s eyes had a profound light as he spoke.
Su s.h.i.+xuan trembled as he raised his head in shock.
Fifty million taels of gold!
And the court would pay travel expenses, give free mining tools, buy any coal that was mined, and allow the people to keep the coal that they didn’t want to sell!
This order was certain to send an earthquake through the Great Tang, and countless people would probably rush to those three areas to mine for coal.
Fifty million taels of gold was no small number. Normally, the annual expenses for the Great Tang’s army of six hundred thousand soldiers did not exceed ten million taels of gold. This sort of policy had never been implemented in the history of the Great Tang.
No normal person would have the daring to propose such a policy!
Su s.h.i.+xuan quickly left with the order.
He could already predict how this order would prompt numerous people in the Central Plains to excitedly rush toward that place.
w.a.n.g Chong was left alone in the hall, and all fell silent.
A few moments later, w.a.n.g Chong moved aside a thick book, revealing a letter.
After glancing at the letter, w.a.n.g Chong internally heaved a sigh.
This letter had been sent by a major official in the court, and it recounted matters that had taken place therein. The incident w.a.n.g Chong was worried about the most had taken place.
In the s.p.a.ce of a few days, the ‘Sage Emperor’ had withdrawn his decree.
The officiating powers bestowed on Prime Minister Li Linfu, w.a.n.g Chong, King Song, and the other officials had been removed, and the ‘Sage Emperor’ had reappeared in Taihe Palace to preside over government affairs.
Although the ‘Sage Emperor’ attended court, the Imperial Court was in chaos. In short order, five imperial censors who had opposed the ‘Sage Emperor’ were removed from their posts and driven out of the court.
In addition, the ‘Sage Emperor’ had experienced a ma.s.sive personality s.h.i.+ft. Many court officials, eunuchs, maids, and guards that w.a.n.g Chong and other major court officials had never heard of were promoted and rewarded.
The ‘Sage Emperor’ immersed himself in pleasure, even going so far as to promote the parents and brothers of a palace lady simply because he liked her.
Not only that, when a merchant brought a performance troupe into the Imperial Palace and had them perform for the ‘Sage Emperor’, he was immediately made a Count and allowed to join the Bureau of Personnel as an Auxiliary a.s.sistant Minister.
All of these matters were so absurd that they stirred up indignation both within and without the court.
Promotion of officials in the court required a performance evaluation. If they wanted the job, they needed the appropriate ability and experience. To so casually award official posts would cause no end of trouble and impair the functions of the court.
And this was not all. When the Minister of Personnel noted that the official posts of the Great Tang were limited and it was not possible to promote so many people, the ‘Sage Emperor’ immediately transferred twenty-some officials of the court to Lingnan.
But come night, he seemed to find this inappropriate and sent them to the border, even though there simply weren’t that many empty positions on the border.
Thus, many officials were utterly bewildered.
Never had policies been so frequently changed, and the entire court was in panic.
w.a.n.g Chong had already received many letters from current and retired officials asking him to resolve the situation.
In the past, w.a.n.g Chong might have stepped forward long ago, getting in touch with King Song and Zhangchou Jianqiong to actively implore the ‘Sage Emperor’ to change his mind and stop all this from happening. But after finding those lost records and understanding the truth, w.a.n.g Chong immediately understood that the situation was more complicated than it seemed.
The true and false Sage Emperor… Third Son Xuan… Which one is the real Sage Emperor? How should I proceed?
w.a.n.g Chong looked upward, and his right hand began to unconsciously tap against the armrest of his throne.
w.a.n.g Chong had never imagined this development. He had always believed that the ‘Sage Emperor’ had suffered a backlash from trying to reach the Divine Martial realm, leading to the current situation. It was only now that he realized just how far from the truth this was.
The man at court was no longer the Sage Emperor, but that ‘Third Son Xuan’.
This was precisely why his actions appeared so unusual.
Was this what Eunuch Gao was implying when he said that the situation would get worse?
w.a.n.g Chong raised his head and muttered.
His mind was a complicated vortex of emotions.
Eunuch Gao undoubtedly knew the truth. This was why he had burned the palace records, and the fire at the Yan Clan was probably for the same reason. It was not certain that Old Master Yan knew about the ‘Sage Emperor’, but he still chose to cover for this sovereign of the ages.
This was because the wise ruler that everyone revered should not have had an unbearably stained record. Old Master Yan had probably struggled for a long time before making this decision.
Countless thoughts ran through his mind, and as w.a.n.g Chong thought about the ‘Sage Emperor’, he recalled the chess match between them.
The Sage Emperor had asked if he could trust in w.a.n.g Chong, trust that he could protect the Great Tang.
“Your Majesty… did you already know?” w.a.n.g Chong muttered, an indescribable feeling in his heart.
Your Majesty, be at ease! I will protect the Great Tang, but not in your place. This world needs your strength. I will bring you back no matter what!
w.a.n.g Chong clenched his fists.
The calamity was coming, and the Central Plains—no, the world—was facing an unprecedented disaster. In this dangerous era, imperial authority and bloodline were not as important.
This era needed a true guardian, one that could protect all its people.
As for that ‘Third Son Xuan’ in the court…
If this continued, w.a.n.g Chong would have to stop him no matter what.
“Prepare my carriage! I’m going to the King Song Residence!”
w.a.n.g Chong’s eyes flashed with an intimidating light.
At this moment, Taiji Palace was awash with laughter, and the charming voices of women punctuated with the loud laughter of a man could be heard.
Outside the hall, the sounds of decadence left the Dragon Guards feeling very awkward.
It was the duty of the Dragon Guards to protect the Sage Emperor, a position of utmost importance. Taiji Palace, as the center of political power in the Great Tang, was a solemn place that outsiders should have found as difficult to enter as ascending to heaven. But now, it had become the ‘Sage Emperor”s pleasure palace, and the Dragon Guards were his lookouts.
They had never in their worst nightmares imagined this.
But as was their duty, they pretended to hear nothing.
“Your Majesty, terrible news…” A voice came from outside. The speaker was a portly official who panted for breath, swaying back and forth, as he rushed toward Taiji Palace.
The Dragon Guards slightly frowned at this. Even at this distance, they could tell that this man was a merchant.
In truth, this man had been a merchant, but because he had offered a host of beauties to the ‘Sage Emperor’, he had become an Auxiliary a.s.sistant Minister of the Bureau of Personnel.
The Dragon Guards turned their heads away from this man, disdain in their eyes. But the Auxiliary a.s.sistant Minister seemed to not even see them, going straight past the Dragon Guards and into Taiji Palace.
Auxiliary a.s.sistant Minister of the Bureau of Personnel, Zhao Changfu!
The ‘Sage Emperor’ had decreed that Zhao Changfu could go through the entire Imperial Palace as he pleased, even Taiji Palace. No one was allowed to stop him!
Zhao Changfu’s figure soon vanished into the depths of the hall.
“Hahaha, Beauty Zhao, Beauty Chen, We are the ruler of the realm, and all the realm belongs to Us. Once the Peace Pavilion is built, We will place all of you in the Peace Pavilion. At that time, you will both be made Consorts of Peace.”
Various beautiful women packed Taiji Palace. Some of them were gorgeous palace ladies while others were women offered by outsiders. And amidst all of these beautiful ladies, a tall and imposing figure was seated on a throne.
The same figure, the same appearance, exuded a completely different demeanor.
If one did not know that this was the ‘Sage Emperor’ ahead of time, they would find it very hard to match this man to the revered and majestic sovereign beloved by the people.
“Your Majesty, it’s bad! There’s a big problem with the Peace Pavilion…” At this moment, an anxious voice came from outside, and soon, a portly official covered in sweat prostrated on the ground.
“Your Majesty, we just learned that in the area in the Lingnan Circuit where the wood for the Peace Pavilion was to be obtained, all the trees have been cut down. At present, there is no material to build the Peace Pavilion,” Zhao Changfu said in a trembling voice.
The ‘Sage Emperor’ lunged to his feet, his face pale.
The trees of the Lingnan Circuit grew extremely tall, and the wood was also of very good quality. This area had always served as one of the lumber providers to the Imperial Court.
Just a moment ago, the ‘Sage Emperor’ had promised to the beauties at his side that he would build them a grandiose palace of unprecedented size and magnificence, one that could hold many concubines. But a moment later, he learned that there was no wood to be found in the Lingnan Circuit to build his Peace Pavilion.
This humiliated the ‘Sage Emperor’.
And how could the trees meant for imperial use in Lingnan all have been cut down so quickly?
“Just what is going on?” the ‘Sage Emperor’ coldly said, leaning forward with an expression of rage.
“Your Majesty, your lowly subject does not know the exact details, only that the King of Foreign Lands ordered that all of the trees be cut down in a single day to use for building boats,” Zhao Changfu said.