The Cost of Opposing the Ninth Lord

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“Old seventh.” The Emperor was exhausted, as he looked at the officials that were still kneeling on the ground with wounds covering their bodies. He felt an urge to push all of these people into the lake, but he could not. He could only ask Xuan Tian Hua: “Say, how should this matter be handled?”

Xuan Tian Hua, however, insisted on not giving him an answer, only telling him: “You are the emperor. You should be clearer on what to do than son.”

“You mean that it can only be done the way an emperor would handle it?” The Emperor looked at Feng Yu Heng with a bit of despair… To act as an emperor, he could not push away all of these officials for the sake of a girl. Among the people kneeling, there were lowly fourth and fifth ranked officials, but there were also the minister of the Board of Punishments and the minister of the Imperial Court of Justice. If he was to push aside these people today, news of it would spread around the capital. The word would be that the Emperor only favored the ninth prince and only has the son of Imperial Concubine Yun in his heart. Further, he favored the future ninth princess to the heavens. For the sake of letting Feng Yu Heng have a position in the palace, even officials like the minister of the Board of Justice and the minister from the Imperial Court of Justice would be pushed back. He even used a branch to hit people. His reputation as the ruler would be completely ruined.

The Emperor closed his eyes, and his heart trembled with anger; however, it was at this time that Xuan Tian Ming spoke up, saying: “You won’t let my wife meddle with things? You won’t let her enter the palace? That’s great! This prince really must thank my lords! Over the years, this prince has always been wondering why the daughters from other families could spend their days going around and buying accessories or clothing. They either spend their days having fun or eating out, or they just spend their time sleeping lazily at home or think about how to get a handsome husband. The lives that they live really are easy. But why does this prince’s wife need to spend her days worrying about the country’s matters? The Hundred Herb Hall that was opened in the capital does not sell as much medicine as it gives out, and it suffers a monetary loss each month. It’s all because A-Heng said that she wants to share Father Emperor’s burden. The size of Da Shun is large, and she can’t possibly concern herself with all of it, but when it’s in the capital, she wants to do all that she can to share Father Emperor’s burdens. But my lords have said it. Hundred Herb Hall does not need to remain open. In the future, she won’t need to worry about the matters of the country. This prince really must thank my lords for this. You have freed A-Heng.”

As he spoke, he sincerely bowed to these officials then winked at Feng Yu Heng without being noticed. He then continued: “From this day forward, Imperial Daughter Ji An will be enjoying her days idly in her manor. The Hundred Herb Hall in the capital will no longer be open for business. When idle, she will go out for a stroll and spend some money on accessories. In the future, she will no longer enter the imperial palace. Un, it will be settled like this.” After saying this, he smiled toward Feng Yu Heng, “Dear wife, what do you think?”

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Of course, Feng Yu Heng had to give him face, thus she immediately smiled and said: “I was thinking of doing this long ago! Tomorrow, this imperial daughter will go and have them close Hundred Herb Hall.”

The two sides had expressed their attitudes, and the officials kneeling on the ground all let out a sigh. The mission handed down to them by His Highness the eighth prince had finally been completed. Although there had been numerous complications in the middle, in any case, this was the outcome that His Highness the eighth prince wanted. As for the two people that had suddenly been killed, they really did not know who had done it. In their hearts, they wondered, it should not have been His Highness the eighth prince, right? But the situation had not been investigated clearly. Nobody could speak wildly. They could only speculate internally.

The Emperor did not know what sort of plot the two were hatching, but Xuan Tian Ming’s words left him with many feelings. Thinking about it, indeed, the young misses of other families lived quite freely, but A-Heng lived a much more difficult life. Although she was not lacking in money and never lacked for nice things, compared to the contributions that she made to Da Shun, it was far too little. Moreover, the girl had gone onto the battlefield with old ninth, and she had put forth her utmost to gain territory for Da Shun. Now that she was going to be pushed away, how could he endure it?

The Emperor looked at Feng Yu Heng; however, he did not know what he should say. He just stayed frozen in place until Feng Yu Heng bowed to him then took the initiative to say: “A-Heng thanks Father Emperor for the years of doting love, but from this day forward, I fear that I will no longer be able to come into the palace to visit Father Emperor. Father Emperor’s health is not great. Please take care.”

With just a few words, tears nearly fell from the Emperor’s eyes. Although he still felt that old ninth was using some set of tricks on these damn old geezers, he still could not bear to watch these children be bullied, but what could he do? The law did not punish the majority, and the ruler could not use his power to deal with so many officials; moreover, he was clear in his heart that these people had the support of old eighth. This child had always been wanting to compete with him to see who had the ability to ascend the throne. He was their father and had to provide each child with an equal opportunity. The imperial family was meant to be like this. He definitely could not act willfully and only think of old ninth. If he did, even if old ninth did ascend the throne, it would be denounced, and people would say that he relied on his relationship with Imperial Concubine Yun to ascend the throne. He could not allow his most-beloved son to be spoken of like this. As for old eighth, as long as he was not like the late old third, who attempted to usurp the throne. As for the competition between the princes, just let them compete. He also wanted to see who exactly had the ability to settle the world!

“Governor.” The Emperor pointed at the two corpses and said in an exhausted voice, “Immediately begin investigating the cause of their deaths. You must be sure to find the true culprit. We will be keeping an eye on this case. Do not disappoint Us.”

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Xu Jing Yuan quickly kneeled in front of the Emperor and expressed himself: “Would Your Majesty please be at ease. A satisfactory conclusion will be brought forth within ten days!”

This was a boast from Xu Jing Yuan. The case would be solved within ten days. His family members wiped away some sweat on his behalf.

The palace banquet came to an unhappy end, and just as everyone was preparing to bow then disperse from the palace, someone summoned the courage to mention: “Your Majesty, this sort of thing happened in the palace, and it happened on the first day of the new year. It’s a big matter that is extremely unlucky. It also shows that the security in the palace is not secure. The imperial guards must not shirk responsibility.”

Once these words came out, Xuan Tian Ming immediately shot a cold look. There was a large group of the imperial guards that he had led. Was this not a direct attack on him? His brow moved slightly; however, his arm was held back by Xuan Tian Hua, as Xuan Tian Hua quietly whispered into his ear: “Keep calm, they came here with support. That something happened in the palace was also very clear for all to see. You cannot avoid responsibility for this. It would be better to let them be and see what sort of outcome they will bring about.”

Just as Xuan Tian Hua had managed to stop him, someone on the other side had already begun suggesting that Xuan Tian Ming relinquish command of his portion of the imperial guards. The Emperor trembled with anger, and even Zhang Yuan could not bear to continue watching, loudly saying: “You are pushing far too hard!” But in the end, he was just a eunuch and ended up being criticized.

The Emperor had been able to figure it out. Those people would not give up without reaching their goal, but what could he say? Two people had died during the new year. What exactly were the imperial guards doing? At a time like this, even if he wanted to protect them, the reasoning was not there. This time, the old emperor decided to get fierce, as he stomped his foot and loudly said: “Alright, We shall accept it. Old ninth, you cannot avoid responsibility for this matter. Hand over the military tally for the imperial guards!”

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Xuan Tian Ming did not say anything and reached into his pocket. Pulling out the military tally, he threw it toward the Emperor.

The tally flew through the air and passed by where the princes were located. The gaze of the eighth prince, Xuan Tian Mo, followed the movement of the tally. He watched it until it landed in the Emperor’s hands. He even found that the Emperor was looking toward himself. His gaze seemed to have revealed the slightest bit of greed, but he did not know if it had been seen by his Father Emperor.

The military tally returned to the Emperor’s hands, and someone immediately suggested that the eighth prince, who was frequently away with his troops, receive it, but the Emperor also had something to say: “What is it, will His Highness the eighth prince not be going back to the South after celebrating the new year? Since that’s the case, that’s fine. The rights to the imperial guards will be given to old eighth. Old eighth, hand your rights to your troops in the South to old ninth. Once the new year’s celebrations have ended, have him go South to receive them. You won’t need to go back. You can stay in the capital to take care of the imperial guards.”

The Emperor had a stoic expression, and all manners of delight could be seen in his eyes. The official that had thought of himself as extremely smart in scamming Xuan Tian Ming’s rights to the imperial guards was immediately dazed! He thought at first that he was helping the eighth prince with a great matter. Taking away the ninth prince’s rights to the imperial guards was a great contribution, right? From that moment forward, he would have a proper standing at the eighth prince’s side. He would not be a worthless person, and he would be far more fortunate than he was now. His family would also prosper from it.

He had been enjoying this beautiful daydream; however, he was instantly dropped back into hell by the Emperor’s words. That person kneeled in a daze and subconsciously said: “Your Majesty must be joking, right?”

The Emperor snorted coldly: “Rulers do not joke around.” He then looked toward the eighth prince, Xuan Tian Mo, and said: “Old eighth, We are talking to you!”

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Xuan Tian Mo was already on the verge of breaking down in anger. He believed that his abilities and adaptability were extremely good. He would definitely not be like old third and old fourth, who were thoroughly stupid; however, he absolutely never thought that there would be such a stupid pig in his faction. His lifespan really was shortening from this. The right to command the troops in the South was the foundation that he had worked hard to obtain for many years. He even established a small court in the South. He had also made contact with the small countries in the desert and made plans with them. Once the right to these troops was handed over, he would have lost all of his bargaining chips. He would immediately have transformed from a tiger into a tiny kitten. Could a cat’s paw cause any pain?

Xuan Tian Mo immediately kneeled and loudly said: “Father Emperor, this is not a joke that can be told! Son has been in the South for many years and is clear on the situation over there. At present, it’s not stable from any side. For an unfamiliar general to go over there now would be extremely detrimental to the wellbeing of the country!”

“Eighth brother’s words are contradictory!” At this time, Xuan Tian Ming spoke up, “This prince went to the South before the end of the year, and eighth brother said that the situation was indeed quite cozy, but this prince is also not an unfamiliar general. Having been in the South for many months, although my understanding of the situation is not completely thorough, it is pretty close. If this was anyone else, I fear that it may become chaotic, but if this prince goes, that sort of situation would not occur. Eighth brother need not worry.”

Xuan Tian Mo hatefully gnashed his teeth: “Ninth brother, do not use Da Shun’s security to joke around.”

“Impudence!” The Emperor became furious, “It was Us that said it. Are Our words a joke? They called for old ninth to hand over the military rights to the imperial guards, and old ninth handed them over. What is it, now that We want you to hand over the rights to the troops in the South, it’s not so convenient? Could it be that the words of these officials have more weight than Our words? Old eighth, as We see it, you’ve spent too long away. You’ve forgotten that there is still a ruler in this country. You’ve forgotten that We are your Father Emperor!”

This huge accusation was placed on his head. The eighth prince knew that his pressuring of Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng had touched the Emperor’s bottom line. If he did not hand over the military rights now, the situation would not be easy to handle. Forget it, either way, he had been planning to think of a way to not return South after the new year in order to delay the matter in the desert. This was perfect. Either way, the troops in the South only obeyed his orders.

He nodded and held a military tally in his hand and handed it to the Emperor…

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