The Human Emperor Chapter 823
Chapter 823: Court Debate Selection Of Protector General Ii
Chapter 823: Court Debate, Selection of Protector-General! (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Imperial Censor Hao stood out from the ranks and sternly said, "This subject proposes Tongluo Great General Abusi for the post of Qixi Protector-General! Great General has rendered many services for the court, and his strength is no less than Fumeng Lingcha's. This subject believes that with him present, Qixi will remain safe and untroubled."
The Tongluo Great General had originally been watching the proceedings with a detached eye, but Imperial Censor Hao's words were like a bolt out of the blue, immediately causing his expression to contort. He had been perfectly fine listening to the argument between King Song and King Qi, never imagining that he would be touched by the flames.
"Your Majesty, I cannot!"
Abusi immediately kneeled down, his head pressed to the ground.
"Since the era of His Majesty Taizong, the Tongluo people have always stood guard at the sovereign's side. Abusi is willing to always stand guard at Your Majesty's side. This lowly subject appreciates Imperial Censor Hao's intentions!"
Abusi's complexion had gotten much paler.
Qixi Protector-General might have been a position of great status and prestige, but it was currently everyone's target, with countless ambitious people aiming for it. Even imperial clansmen like King Song and King Qi were struggling for it. By recommending him at a time like this, Imperial Censor Hao might as well have put him onto the roasting rack to be cooked.
Besides that, the Protector-General post might have had a high status, but how could it compare to being close to the sovereign? Fumeng Lingcha had wasted so much time and energy trying to get into the capital to be close to the Emperor, so was he going to do the exact opposite and run off to distant Qixi?
With Imperial Censor Hao interrupting King Song and King Qi and recommending Great General Abusi, and then Abusi flatly rejecting the offer, the atmosphere in the hall quickly became lively, with everyone eager to step forward.
Yang Zhao stepped forward and sternly declared, "Your Majesty, this subject recommends Protector-General Xianyu Zhongtong—" But he was interrupted before he could even finish speaking.
"Lord Yao, are you joking?" said Assistant Minister of Personnel Liu Shao, standing next to a large coiling dragon pillar, with a chilly voice. "Xianyu Zhongtong is already Annan Protector-General. Is this not enough? You want him to hold two posts at once? If we follow this train of thought, shouldn't we also recommend Andong Protector-General Zhang Shougui, Beiting Protector-General An Sishun, and even Anxi Protector-General Gao Xianzhi?"
"Hmph, how is Xianyu Zhongtong like those other Protector-Generals? In the southwest, Mengshe Zhao has been completely subdued, and Ü-Tsang's Ngari Royal Lineage has completely collapsed and will need decades before its sun that has sunk into the west can finally rise back up from the east. The southwest is peaceful and free of war. Has the Andong Protectorate done this? The Beiting Protectorate? So why isn't Xianyu Zhongtong suitable?"
Yang Zhao held his head high and confidently went on, "In addition, Xianyu Zhongtong is already a Protector-General, so there should be no problem with him assuming the post of Qixi Protector-General, with everything done smoothly and skillfully. Please take note of this proposal, Your Majesty!"
The bystanders in the hall all chortled in derision. They could all see what Yang Zhao was up to. The people of the southwest were trying to spread their influence to the northwest and increase the power of their faction.
Yang Zhao and Liu Shao were still arguing when another voice butted in, "Your Majesty, this subject proposes the Duke of Guo, Chai Zhiyi1, and the Duke of Tan, Feng Zhiru!"
Minister of Revenue Zhou Jing held up his ceremonial tablet as he continued, "The ancestors of the Duke of Guo and the Duke of Tan were both subjects who rendered great service in the founding of this country, following Emperor Gaozong and Emperor Taizong in their conquests of the world. They are both loyal to the Great Tang, devoted and free of ulterior motives. In addition, both clans have many ministers and generals in their line, with strategies and martial arts being passed down through the generations. If they take the position of Qixi Protector-General, Your Majesty will be able to sleep without worry."
Zhou Jing's words immediately made the hall much quieter. Even Yang Zhao, so anxious to increase his influence, had decided to shut his mouth, a fearful look in his eyes.
The Founding Dukes!
The appearance of these people in any place would immediately create an incredibly thorny problem, with all the other factions immediately becoming extremely cautious. The reason was simple. 'The Founding Dukes' did not refer to just one or two clans, but an enormously powerful and ancient faction. These were storied clans who had begun to operate at the founding of the Great Tang. They were ancient trees, with vast canopies and roots deeply entrenched in the Great Tang, so inextricably linked with the imperial household that they were almost one.
Although those Founding Dukes were gradually beginning to wane, no longer shining as dazzlingly as their ancestors, no one in the Great Tang dared to underestimate them.
With Zhou Jing recommending Duke of Guo Chai Zhiyi and Duke of Tan Feng Zhiru, no one would believe that there was no one backing him. Right now, none of the officials present knew if it was just the Chai Clan and the Feng Clan backing Zhou Jing, or if this was the collective will of all the Founding Dukes. But either option meant that this struggle had entered a whole new phase. Even the long-silent Founding Dukes were beginning to show themselves, apparently hoping that they could flex their power in the military by getting the spot of Qixi Protector-General.
With this faction involved, everyone found themselves at a loss for what to do.
Silence continued to reign in the court. Many of those officials who had wanted to recommend their own trusted aides began to hesitate, wanting to speak but also unwilling to make enemies with that ancient faction.
"Your Majesty, this subject would like to recommend the Smoke Signal General Zhang Zhengbei of the border!"
Finally, someone decided to break the silence. Minister of Personnel Zhou Jing was instantly enraged. The Feng Clan and the Chai Clan were both powers with deep roots in the court. He had been preparing for this moment for ages, but he had never expected someone to try and cut in at this time.
Bastard! I'd like to see just who wants to make enemies of the Feng Clan and the Chai Clan…
Zhou Jing turned his head to give a resentful glare, but he was immediately left in a daze.
Zhou Jing had originally believed that someone who dared to make enemies with the Feng Clan and the Chai Clan had to at least be one of the Six Ministers or Assistant Ministers, or one of the officials ranked at lower rank one, upper rank two, or lower rank two at the worst. But this person was a minor official of lower rank three, an auxiliary official of the Bureau of Military Personnel, a whole two ranks beneath him.
But this wasn't the crucial part. What was important was that although Zhao Qiang was a minor official, everyone knew the person backing him.
The First Prince!
Zhou Jing paled as he realized who he was contending with.
Does even the First Prince want to throw his hat into the ring for Qixi Protector-General?!
Zhou Jing suddenly recalled that the Smoke Signal General that Zhao Qiang spoke of was rumored in the court to have joined the First Prince's faction, but there had been no evidence to prove this collusion. In addition, the First Prince had never had any dealings with Zhang Zhengbei, and without any proof of any close relationship, no one had taken the rumors seriously.
But this was clearly no longer the case. If Zhao Qiang was speaking on the First Prince's behalf, then he had a real problem on his hands. The Feng Clan and Chai Clan undoubtedly represented the oldest and most deep-rooted faction of the Great Tang, but the First Prince was one of the contenders for the throne, a potential successor to the Sage Emperor. To fight with a future Emperor over the position of Qixi Protector-General was truly unwise.
This is going to be difficult!
Zhou Jing instantly began to frown. It was obvious that events were not proceeding how he predicted. Meanwhile, the other officials had also noticed the same thing that Zhou Jing had. Even King Song and King Qi, Imperial Princes of the Great Tang, couldn't help but frown.
What is Ying-er trying to do?
King Song's brow was tightly creased as he silently thought to himself. In the meantime, Zhao Qiang continued to speak.
"…Zhang Zhengbei has guarded the border for seven to eight years. In Beiting, he has always been extremely proactive, pushing back large and small Turkic raids seventy to eighty times in a single year. In addition, he is always willing to go to the aid of the other border forts. The Turks are extremely cautious when it comes to his stretch of the border and even now don't dare to cross. In addition, last year, when Beiting Protector-General An Sishun launched a suppression operation of the north, Zhang Zhengbei rendered great service, killing the greatest number of Turkic soldiers and capturing the most. He is extremely hawkish when it comes to the Western Turks. This lowly subject believes that if Zhang Zhengbei is chosen for Qixi Protector-General, he will definitely be able to fend off the Tibetans and the Turks, stabilizing Qixi."
A rude voice interrupted this profuse praise. "Hmph, Zhao Qiang, do you understand what brazen lies you speak? Is the Qixi Protector-General some random post that any nobody could take? Is it a post that one can receive after scrounging up a little merit on the border? Perhaps you think that the Great Generals of the Western Turkic Khaganate are just furnishings? If Zhang Zhengbei is so great, why doesn't he attack the commander tents of the Western Turkic Khaganate? If the Western Turkic Khaganate leads an army westward and Qixi is lost, will you accept the responsibility? Are border conflicts the same as battles between Imperial Great Generals? I can't believe the nonsense I'm hearing!"
In a place not far from Zhao Qiang, lower rank three official Ye Zhun of the Bureau of Revenue walked out from the ranks. Ye Zhun was thirty-six or so, and his complexion was clean and fair, his eyes narrow. In both age and rank, he occupied the same position as Zhao Qiang.
"Your Majesty, this subject wishes to impeach Zhao Qiang for dereliction of duty, for criminal neglect! Qixi Protector-General is such an important position, and yet Zhao Qiang actually recommends a minor border general. He must be harboring evil intentions. This subject believes that he should be executed!"
The word 'executed' immediately had the officials in the hall on their guard. This debate over the next Qixi Protector-General had suddenly begun to smell like a battlefield.
"Ye Zhun, you're speaking nonsense. Zhang Zhengbei is proficient in Hu languages, and he has many Hu officers under him, giving him a unique advantage in commanding Hu soldiers. He would command a natural obedience as Qixi Protector-General, and both Hu and Han would be united. Wouldn't this be excellent? It is you, Ye Zhun, who is too loose with the tongue. Your Majesty, this subject wishes to impeach Ye Zhun for disturbing the court and disrespecting the sovereign. Your Majesty, please punish him!"
Zhao Qiang was red in the face, incensed by Ye Zhun's rebuke.
1. This 'Zhiyi' is 治仪, while Wang Chong's acquaintance Chai Zhiyi uses 志义. They share the same surname, so they might be related. Perhaps this clan has a tradition of naming their successors with names that sound almost identical?