The Human Emperor Chapter 650
Chapter 650: Audience At Court Iii
Chapter 650: Audience at Court (III)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
King Song had warned Wang Chong before he left that he had to be cautious, because King Qi would definitely think of a way to make problems for him through his unfamiliarity with the tedious rules of protocol. During this entire process, Wang Chong had been exceptionally vigilant.
In addition, he had done everything that the old official had talked about, leaving nothing to be criticized. Even the most inflexible official from the Bureau of Rites wouldn't be able to find any problems with his performance. And yet Wang Chong was sure that he was about to make a mistake.
It was a mistake that, though unnoticed, was extremely severe.
However, this was an audience before the Sage Emperor. At an important occasion like this with so many officials attending, King Qi shouldn't have been so bold as to do anything too brazen. But then what had he done?
His gaze accidentally swept over the last few steps of white jade in front of him. Buzz! Suddenly, Wang Chong recalled a few things. The old official had once mentioned a number: nine symbolized the Yang hexagram, represented all things and completeness. Nine symbolized the ultimate, which is why the Supreme Sovereign of the Nine and Five and the five-clawed dragon all symbolized the Emperor.
In all protocols and ceremonies, the most taboo were the words 'nine' and 'five'. One had to be extremely careful around such things, as one could easily end up committing a treasonous offense.
Wang Chong's gaze immediately shot toward the steps and he began to count. One, two, three, four, five When he reached nine, he paled and understood.
Wang Chong glanced at the officials from the Bureau of Rites and Chamberlain of Dependencies in front of him, a sharp light flashing through his eyes.
The Imperial Stairway of white jade in front of the Taiji Palace was known as the Path of the True Dragon. Until one was summoned, one was forbidden from reaching the top. Ordinary civilians without any sort of rank or title particularly had to pay attention to this or end up committing lese-majeste.
The number of the true dragon was nine, so the ninth step of the Imperial Stairway absolutely could not be touched.
These officials had intentionally stood a few steps back while reading the decree. If he had not noticed, he would have ended up kneeling on the ninth step, thus offending the dragon.
In all the protocol of the ceremony, this was the greatest disrespect!
A thought passed through Wang Chong's mind as he immediately understood. Wang Chong didn't know what would happen if these officials succeeded, but this single charge of disrespect was probably enough for King Qi to deal with him!
In the past, Wang Chong wouldn't have cared what the Sage Emperor awarded him with, and even if King Qi had his way, the Wang Clan had nothing to fear with the power it wielded. But at this moment, Wang Chong needed to possess sufficient status to realize his dreams and aspirations, to save the people of this world!
As these thoughts made their way through his mind, Wang Chong quickly made a decision. Bzzt. As he was kneeling, Wang Chong's robe trembled and he silently took a step back. Thump!His knee landed on the tenth step.
"Wang Chong receives the decree!"
Wang Chong raised his arms in the air as his voice echoed through the palace.
Woosh! The officials instantly widened their eyes and paled. An error of a single hair had led to a miss by a thousand li. Wang Chong had only needed to take a single step back to foil their plan.
And what most disturbed them was that they couldn't tell if Wang Chong had noticed something and avoided it on purpose, or if it was all just coincidence.
Watching from the back, King Qi was stunned, staring at Wang Chong as if he had just been slapped in the face. But his expression immediately turned pale and savage.
Bastard thing! Didn't I already plan everything? How did a flaw like this appear!
The smug smile on his face as he had prepared to watch Wang Chong fall into his trap immediately disappeared.
If looks could kill, those officials standing on the Imperial Stairway would have had their bodies pincushioned with arrows, their heads rolling on the ground, their deaths repeated countless times.
Hearing nothing from above, Wang Chong raised his head and looked up.
After their initial daze, the officials quickly regained their composure.
"Acceding to the will of the heavens, the Emperor declares:
"The youngest son of the Wang lineage, Wang Chong, expending his whole fortune and providing his own weapons, defeated Dalun Ruozan, Geluofeng, and Huoshu Huicang in the southwest By dealing a major defeat to the Mengshe-Tsang army in the southwest, he has benefitted the Great Tang, benefitted the country, and benefitted the one million civilians of the southwest. He has been summoned to the palace to be rewarded as an expression of divine will."
The official from the Bureau of Rites holding the decree appeared somewhat pale, but he kept very good control of himself, showing nothing on his face.
"May the Emperor live ten thousand years!"
Wang Chong kept to the protocol taught to him by the old official, bowing before straightening his back to face the three officials standing before him.
"Young Master Wang, there are three divine decrees. This is the first. Take good care of it!"
Wang Chong faintly smiled, his gaze passing over them as he received the decree and fully stood up.
But this faint smile was enough to alarm and frighten these officials. It was like this seventeen-year-old could see all their secrets.
This was a very strange feeling. They were clearly much older than Wang Chong, yet this smile was enough to make their hearts waver.
"Young Master Wang, His Majesty has yet to appear. Wait here for the summons!"
After passing on these words, the officials hurriedly left, not daring to delay.
But the mood in front of Taiji Palace only grew more lively, many people watching with anticipation.
This was Wang Chong's first time being rewarded by the Sage Emperor, so he didn't understand the entire process very much. But the old officials watching from the observation platforms knew the process.
Wang Chong's reward for his feats in the southwest was certain to be generous. Given what had happened just now, there would be three decrees in total.
The first decree was to announce the purpose of the Sage Emperor's decree, the Sage Emperor's pronouncement to the world of his intentions.
The second decree would be the true contents of the reward.
But even now, no one knew what sort of reward the Sage Emperor would give to Wang Chong.
"The victory in the southwest is no minor affair. The Mengshe-Tsang army lost more than four hundred thousand soldiers, far more than the Great Tang. Such a wondrous achievement, and the entire world is watching. I wonder what sort of reward he will be granted?"
"There will definitely be no small amount of silver and gold. To assist the southwest, the Wang Clan expended several million taels of gold. Whether out of emotion or reason, His Majesty should compensate him. But I wonder what other reward there will be?"
"The Great Tang hasn't conferred a noble title in a long time. The Bureau of Rites has been stubborn all this time, but I'm guessing that His Majesty will make an exception this time. But will it be baron, viscount, or count? But aren't many first-rank officials in the court only counts as well? At his young age, can Wang Chong become one?"
"The people have also been saying that he could be made a general, but Wang Chong has never been in the military. Although the Kunwu Training Camp is also a part of the military, he has no assignment in the army, nor is he registered anywhere. To suddenly be made a general is too much of a promotion. I wonder how His Majesty will get around it?"
The officials privately began to converse with each other.
There was no one more interested in this matter than Wang Chong's big uncle, Wang Gen.
"Chong-er, starting from today, you'll ascend into the heavens!"
Wang Gen stroked his black beard as he gazed at the top of the jade steps, excitedly observing Wang Chong. His curiosity toward the reward the Emperor would give to Wang Chong was not one bit inferior to anyone else's.
But Wang Gen was absolutely sure that the reward would not be small.
Time slowly passed. Wang Chong gripped the edict as he stood silently on the jade steps.
After what seemed like both a second and endless years, Wang Chong heard footsteps in his ear, even though his eyes could see nothing new.
These steps were neither slow nor fast, each step made with confidence and ease. As these footsteps approached, Wang Chong suddenly felt like a massive golden wave, towering to the heavens, was sweeping toward him.
Rumble! The entire Taiji Palace and the whole of the Imperial Stairway seemed to shake before this mighty wave.
What a powerful energy!
Wang Chong blinked and broke free of his daze.
The Taiji Palace was the center of the Imperial Palace, the center of the Great Tang. It naturally couldn't shake, and with the Sage Emperor, the strongest expert in the land, presiding over all, nothing would be able to move it.
Not to mention the many officials watching on the Imperial Stairway.
There was no doubt that this had all been an illusion.
But for someone to shake him like this at his level of cultivation meant that they were incredibly powerful.
Wang Chong raised his head and saw a figure, slightly plump and dressed in the cloud brocade robes of a eunuch. His pace was steady and leisurely.
"Young Master Wang, we meet again."
This eunuch held a decree in his hand as he gave Wang Chong a refreshing smile. He was like a laughing Maitreya Buddha, naturally exuding an aura of warmth and affection.
Wang Chong's eyes widened. He instantly recognized this person as the eunuch who had paid him a visit in prison during the Regional Commanders incident.
Besides this, Wang Chong also knew him to have an earthshaking name: Eunuch Director of the Inner Court, Gao Lishi, Eunuch Gao!
While Li Jingzhong, the current attendant of Fifth Prince Li Heng, would be known in the future as a treacherous minister, Gao Lishi had a far more thunderous reputation as the most virtuous official throughout the ages!
In all the dynasties of the Central Plains, he alone was worthy of this reputation.
Gao Lishi did not originally have the surname Gao. His birth name had been Feng Yuanyi. By now, very few people knew of this name. The previous Emperor had conferred the Gao surname on him, resulting in the future Gao Lishi.
Gao Lishi had accompanied the Sage Emperor as he grew up. He was single-mindedly devoted to him, never abandoning him or leaving his side.
In his last life, Wang Chong had heard that when the Sage Emperor died and Eunuch Gao heard of this tragic news, he was so overcome by sorrow that he vomited blood and died. Across all the ages and dynasties, there was only one such person like him.
When Wang Chong heard of this news, he developed a very deep respect for this amiable and plump Eunuch Gao who seemed like the reincarnation of the Maitreya Buddha.