The Human Emperor Chapter 658
Chapter 658: Courtesy Before Force
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Hmph, who cares if you're a new marquis? No one can stop my Xu Clan from putting its own daughter under house arrest. I would like to see what sort of tricks you can play.
Xu Henian was inwardly furious.
"Come, lay out the incense table. Let us go out and welcome our guest!"
Xu Henian led a large group of maids, servants, and guards in a majestic procession marching toward the main gate.
The gate of the Xu Clan suddenly flew open. The gloomy-faced Xu Henian stepped out, followed by the clan guards.
A bronze carriage was parked outside. Xu Henian immediately noticed that a young man dressed in a crimson ceremonial robe was quietly standing next to the carriage, his back to the gate.
The gentle breeze ruffled the young man's sleeves, causing him to exude an aura of elegance and grace.
"Lord Xu, I have long awaited this first meeting!"
Hearing the activity behind him, Wang Chong smiled and shook out his sleeves before turning around. At the age of seventeen, Wang Chong was in his prime, and as a descendant of a clan of ministers and generals, he possessed a lofty demeanor that no ordinary scion could possess. Coupled with the fair and handsome face he had inherited from his parents and the calm and composed attitude that he had tempered on the cruel battlefield
The current Wang Chong exuded an aura of serenity and elegance that anyone would admire.
A dragon among men!
This was the thought that anyone who met Wang Chong would have.
'Appearance arises from the heart, and one's circumstances alter according to one's heart.' After the baptism of the southwestern war, Wang Chong's every move and action exuded an admirable aura. No sign of that good-for-nothing wastrel could be seen on him!
Even Xu Henian, who had arrived at the head of such a majestic procession, was dumbstruck.
Wang Chong was much more handsome and elegant than he had imagined.
"Hmph, we are honored by Young Master Wang's presence. What noble errand brings you here?"
Xu Henian quickly regained his senses and gave a cold snort. He stared unkindly at Wang Chong with clearly little intention of letting him in.
Wang Chong faintly smiled, in no rush whatsoever.
So this is Xu Qiqin's big uncle, Xu Henian.
Wang Chong took measure of the middle-aged man who had appeared at the gate. Although he had interacted with Xu Qiqin many times and knew the people of the Xu Clan, he had not met a single one of them.
This person is resolute and steadfast, but he's lacking a little daring. King Qi probably used him to alter the Xu Clan's attitude and have Xu Qiqin placed under house arrest.
While Wang Chong's face showed no expression, his mind was working through countless thoughts.
The moment he returned to the capital, he had found out that Xu Qiqin had been imprisoned in the Xu Residence by her big uncle and father. She was cut off from the outside world and was even banned from stepping outside her room.
Although he wanted to help Xu Qiqin escape the constraints of her clan as quickly as possible, Wang Chong did not act rashly. Only after the reward ceremony did he finally pay a visit to the Xu Clan.
"Lord Xu is too respectful. The Xu Clan is a renowned and noble clan, a master of the art of logistics. Wang Chong had long ago wished to visit but only today found the time."
Wang Chong clasped his hands and gave a deep bow.
"In addition, this one had long ago made an appointment with Young Lady Xu, but Young Lady Xu never arrived or gave any reply. This one was concerned and so came to pay a personal visit."
"Ha, was there something like that? Why didn't I know?"
Xu Henian coldly snorted, a harsh light flashing through his eyes. He was well aware of Wang Chong's intentions. There was no appointment. It just served as a convenient excuse.
Xu Qiqin had been imprisoned in the residence for more than a month, with not even a fly being able to get in, much less any message.
"In addition, Qiqin is currently ill and not receiving guests as she recovers. If Young Master Wang wishes to see her, I advise Young Master to return to your residence and wait for Qiqin to get better. It will be completely fine for Young Master to visit then."
The moment Xu Henian finished saying these words, he immediately adopted the attitude of someone declining visitors. He had opened the gate and met the visitor, leaving no grounds to criticize him.
Wang Chong was young, and so if he dared to rush to someone else's residence and publicly denounce them, it would be like a novice trying to show off in front of the master. He was looking down too much on the Xu Clan.
"Lord Xu, my nephew has personally come to pay a visit. Is Lord Xu intending to refuse him at the door, not even serving him a cup of tea?"
A dignified voice suddenly spoke as the door of the carriage opened. A calm and composed figure emerged, his every movement imbued with the aura of a high official of the court.
Xu Henian paled at the sight of this figure. He had only seen Wang Chong, never expecting that Wang Chong's big uncle would accompany him, but he had been sitting inside the carriage this entire time.
Wang Gen had heard every word exchanged between the two.
"Lord Xu, since my nephew made an appointment with your niece, let the two of them resolve their difficulties. Lord Xu wouldn't interfere and forcefully refuse for your niece, right?"
Wang Gen stared at Xu Henian, his expression extremely unkind. Given a closer look, one could even see a hint of burning anger on his face.
Wang Chong was currently the most talented and most capable individual of the Wang lineage, the one that everyone in the clan hoped would inherit the influence of the Old Master.
Under his hands, the Wang Clan could reach even greater heights.
And in a single event, the Sage Emperor had conferred upon him the title of marquis, a fief, and even a courtesy name amply displaying the Son of Heaven's favor to Wang Chong. In the capital, countless nobles and clans were viewing the Wang Clan in a new light and clamoring to establish a relationship with it.
In just the few days since Wang Chong had entered the city, the Wang Clan had received countless marriage proposals, and some of them were from clans with even greater influence than the Xu Clan.
These clans all wanted to marry their most outstanding daughters to Wang Chong, but Wang Chong had agreed to none of them, and it was no easy task to gain Wang Gen's nod of approval.
Given Wang Chong's current status, ordinary girls were not fit for him. But Wang Gen hadn't expected that when Wang Chong paid a personal visit to the Xu Clan to see Xu Qiqin, her big uncle Xu Henian would reject them at the door.
This greatly displeased Wang Gen.
"This Lord Wang has misunderstood. Henian would never dare."
Xu Henian bowed, his forehead dripping sweat. The power of the Xu Clan primarily rested in the Bureau of Personnel and the Bureau of Revenue, in positions that wielded little real power. An important official like Wang Gen who wielded real authority stood on a completely different level.
Xu Henian would dare to refuse Wang Chong at the gate, but he would never dare to do so to Wang Gen.
Wang Chong was a junior, so it was fine to reject him. Wang Gen, however, was a peer of the same generation, and if he were to refuse him, he would not merely be ending their relationship but committing a fatal offense.
This was no wise course of action. After all, although the Wang Clan was not as powerful as King Qi, it was still a faction that no ordinary clan could recklessly offend.
"But my lowly niece truly is recovering from an illness."
There was no way of recovering a fired arrow. Xu Henian had already declared that Xu Qiqin was ill and had already offended the Wang Clan. No matter what, he could only grit his teeth and continue on this course.
But before Xu Henian could go any further, he was interrupted by roars of laughter.
"Hahaha, Xu Henian, you really hid it well! In the southwestern war, your niece made such a massive contribution yet you didn't even make a noise."
"You cant harm yourself too much for the public good, not this much Xu Henian, I know that you're very humble and self-effacing, but you can't pull down your niece's contributions as well!"
"The southwestern war was a major affair and Young Lady Xu worked night and day. It's no wonder she collapsed from exhaustion."
"Since she's ill, it's even more right that we pay her a visit."
The earth trembled as simple yet dignified bronze carriages rolled in from the other end of the street. Under Xu Henian's flabbergasted and dumbfounded gaze, the carriage doors opened and imperial censors of the court began to walk out.
"Xu Henian, your actions can be called knowing the situation but not reporting it. You'll have to make an account of yourself to the Emperor above Your Xu Clan made such enormous contributions! How could you hide and not report them?"
An imperial censor with his little finger missing from his left hand laughed as he walked forward. Xu Henian could tell at a glance that this man was the Severed Finger Imperial Censor Zhang Xiao.
Although he was missing a finger, no one in the court would ever dare to look down on him. Back when the Sage Emperor wanted to personally lead an expedition, with the entire court failing to persuade him otherwise, Zhang Xiao ended up cutting off his finger to display his will, further threatening to smash his head open on the floor of the palace. These efforts finally succeeded in changing the Sage Emperor's mind.
Everyone felt deep veneration for Zhang Xiao because of this incident and addressed him as the Severed Finger Imperial Censor. He was approved of by all and regarded as an upright and plainspoken individual.
Xu Henian felt dazzled at the sudden appearance of all these imperial censors, his mind a complete blank. Contribution? What contribution did the Xu Clan make? Why didn't he know? And why had imperial censors appeared here?
"Hahaha, still pretending? Xu Henian, this is a little overboard. If Young Master Wang hadn't told us, just how long were you planning to hide your niece's contributions?"
Another imperial censor stepped forward, his head shaking as he chuckled. In his hand was a golden scroll.
"But this matter isn't up for you to decide. The Imperial Court is duty-bound to reward contributions and punish wrongs. The young lady of the Xu Clan made such great contributions that the Imperial Court can't not reward her. Xu Henian, prepare to accept the reward."
Xu Henian was stunned. As he glanced at the smiling Wang Chong, he faintly understood, his face instantly turning green and red.
He had believed all this time that Wang Chong was planning a public denouncement, but it turned out that Wang Chong had actually helped the Xu Clan obtain a reward. Xu Henian had been trying all this time to distance the Xu Clan from the Wang Clan and cozy up to King Qi, at the same time making this attitude known to the rest of the capital.
But at this moment, in front of so many imperial censors from the court, not even King Qi at his most openminded would believe the Xu Clan's stance.
The younger generation will surpass the older!
Xu Henian closed his eyes and mentally gave a long sigh. Whether he wanted it or not, the Xu Clan and Wang Clan would now appear to have an extremely close relationship in the eyes of the public. Not even Xu Henian could change this.
And the Xu Clan had no means of refusing this gift sent by Wang Chong.
"Milords, please enter."
Xu Henian gave a long sigh and stood aside, allowing access into the Xu Clan Residence.