The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1234
Chapter 1234: Wang Chong Attends Court
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
A night quickly passed. On the morning of the next day, after Wang Chong bathed himself, changed his clothes, and did his toiletries, the maids of the residence unhurriedly assisted him with putting on the red imperial robe signifying his identity as King of Foreign Lands. After adjusting the violet-gold crown on his head, grasping the imperial sword granted to him in one hand while gripping the dragon token of the King of Foreign Lands in the other, he strode confidently out of the residence and into a gorgeous golden and red sedan chair, all as his mother and the servants watched on.
"Young Master is so impressive!"
"Young Master is really handsome! With his red imperial robe and violet-gold crown, even Pan An and Song Yu1 would feel inferior before Young Master."
The charming maids blushed as they gazed at the eight-carrier sedan chair. When they had been helping Wang Chong put on the imperial robe, their hearts had been madly thumping. At some point, Wang Chong had matured from that hedonistic young scion into a hero of the entire Great Tang. The demeanor he had tempered through battle imbued his every movement with astonishing charm that could tempt any young maiden.
Wang Chong's mother Madam Zhao stood at the gate, her eyes reddening and a grateful and excited look on her face.
Today was Wang Chong's first session of morning court, and nothing could make Madam Zhao more excited. All her investment had finally paid off.
Starting from this moment, the most good-for-nothing child of the Wang Clan had also become an adult and could now stand in the court like the Wang Clan's Old Master and display their talents.
"Raise the chair!"
Outside the Wang Family's gate, with a loud call, eight muscular guards stood up, raising the red and golden sedan chair and carrying it off toward the Imperial Palace. As Wang Chong set off, the sound of firecrackers going off could be heard behind him.
Wang Chong sat in the sedan chair, in the center of two rows of guards, and was swiftly carried to the Imperial City. After passing through many streets, he finally appeared before the palace gate.
By the time Wang Chong arrived, there were already many sedan chairs in front of the palace gate.
The Great Tang's morning court session began at the fifth watch (5am – 7am), and some of the more important officials would even get up at the fourth watch. Wang Chong could be considered to have arrived rather late.
Many of the sedan chairs at the gate were empty. It was a law of the Great Tang that the sedan chairs for officials could at most send them up to the gates of the Imperial City.
But when Wang Chong arrived, he had noticed at a glance a sedan chair with the symbol of the Wang Clan. His big uncle Wang Gen had been waiting for him for some time.
Once Wang Chong stepped forward, Wang Gen began to walk with him to the Imperial Palace while assiduously explaining to him the taboos of the Imperial Court.
"Chong-er, this is your first time attending morning court as an Advisor-in-Waiting. Remember, in morning court, it's more about watching, listening, and learning. Before speaking, you must be absolutely certain of your words and think about them again and again. In addition, all the officials and generals have their own grade which decides where they can stand, and you can't just choose a place. Although the Imperial Court has granted you the title of King of Foreign Lands, the position that you use to participate in politics is what determines your grade, which is your post of Advisor-in-Waiting. But you are still royalty of the court, a King of a different surname ennobled by His Majesty, so other than the fact that the place where you stand is different, you have few other restrictions in the Imperial Court.
"The Imperial Court is different from the battlefield. There are many conventions and many restrictions, and things aren't decided just because one has a high enough status. In addition, a large tree attracts wind, and the Imperial Court is much more complicated than it was before. While you were on the border, many people had no means of doing anything to you, but when it comes to the Imperial Court, particularly when it comes to memorials sent from various areas and petitions urgently seeking resolution, if one cannot speak substantively, one will become the laughingstock of the court. Such incidents will become ways to attack you, and King Qi and others like him might even use these incidents to stir trouble and mar your reputation."
"Chong-er understands!" Wang Chong respectfully said.
Although Wang Chong had already become a much-admired Great General and hero on the battlefield, the Imperial Court was an utterly strange and unfamiliar place where martial strength could not solve any problems. Back then, when Great Tang War God Wang Zhongsi was at his most glorious period, he had been forced to leave Longxi's Big Dipper City and resign his posts to take up the position of Crown Prince's Junior Guardian in the palace precisely because he had fallen into a trap in the Imperial Court.
A place where one could not see the smoke and fire of war was far more dangerous than a place where one could see such things.
Wang Chong had long ago understood this point.
But probably not even his big uncle knew that he did not share his big uncle's opinion. He had his own plans for this morning court session.
In this early morning hour in the Imperial Palace, the Golden Guards had already opened the way. Golden Guards lined the palace avenues from the palace gate all the way to the site of the court session. Even someone unfamiliar with the Imperial Palace could simply follow these lines of Golden Guards all the way until they found the place where the court debates were held.
As Wang Chong listened to Wang Gen's lessons, he continued farther in. Along the way, all the Golden Guards who saw Wang Chong showed deep respect in their eyes. Whether it was the Imperial Army, the Golden Guards, or the protectorate armies on the border, anyone who was a Great Tang soldier was brimming with respect and adoration for Wang Chong.
But the civil officials Wang Chong met along the road were not so kind. Although they didn't dare to say anything too extreme about Wang Chong, given his status, a few critical comments here and there were unavoidable.
"Hmph, shielded by officials, three titles in one year, and becoming King of Foreign Lands at such a young age—does the Imperial Court even have rules anymore!"
"He's just an immature brat without even a proper beard. Putting him on the border is fine. After all, young men are full of spirit and rash courage. But what's this about allowing him to participate in political affairs? Or are old officials like us unable to compare to a single youth?"
"Sssh! Softer! This person is the King of Foreign Lands, riding high on the waves of success. Try not to cause any trouble. A clan with four generals and ministers!"
"What King of Foreign Lands? This is clearly an Asura King who's gone numb to the thought of killing people! Truly bone-chilling!"
Groups of people stood in the distance, softly whispering into each other's ears, but at Wang Chong's level of cultivation, no matter how softly they tried to speak, their words still rang out like peals of thunder in his ears.
"Chong-er, there's no need to worry about them. These are all old officials who have already spent decades in the Imperial Court. You've been promoted so quickly that it's hard for them not to grumble."
Wang Gen faintly smiled as he spoke. The officials of court came from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them had been promoted because of outstanding achievements, others had noble backgrounds, and others had been recommended for being filial and righteous, and some had performed well in the imperial examinations… and there was no distinction in these criticizers between those of King Song's faction and King Qi's faction.
"In truth, it was the same for me back when I entered the court," Wang Gen added.
Wang Chong couldn't help but smile at these words. The matter naturally wouldn't be as simple as his big uncle described it to be, but Wang Chong had already been through many great storms. He did not take these critical comments to heart.
"Big Uncle, let's go!"
With a wave of his sleeve, Wang Chong walked inside with Wang Gen.
"Foul brat, remember that there are no relatives in the Imperial Court. Inside, just call me Lord Wang," Wang Gen said, cracking a rare joke.
"Yes, Lord Wang!"
Wang Chong couldn't help but laugh.
The Taihe Palace was serene and somber, and when Wang Chong walked in, many officials had already lined up according to their grade. Wang Chong, wearing his red imperial robe, confidently strode in, immediately becoming the center of attention. The officials who had been whispering to each other suddenly fell quiet, and countless of them began to take measure of the rising young star that was the King of Foreign Lands.
Although Wang Chong had become famous in the war of the southwest, quite a significant portion of the influential officials of the court had not even seen him before. To these people, only those who were able to squeeze their way into the dazzling Taihe Palace were worthy of being seen by them.
Wang Chong's young figure elicited different emotions. There were admiring gazes, envious ones, appreciative ones, ones brimming with hostility and ones brimming with kindness.
In the face of all these illustrious and influential politicians of the Central Plains, in the face of so many complicated gazes, Wang Chong was confident and unperturbed.
His eyes swiftly swept over the gathered officials, and in a few short moments, he spotted a familiar figure.
Beneath a cinnabar coiling dragon pillar, King Song was standing motionless in his imperial robe. King Song had been avoiding Wang Chong this entire time, even refusing Wang Chong's personal visits to his residence, but no matter how much he tried to evade, he could not run away from the morning court session.
As if sensing Wang Chong's gaze, King Song turned his head and glanced, but after taking this glance, he immediately turned his head back around, avoiding Wang Chong's eyes.
But this glance was enough for Wang Chong. At that moment, Wang Chong could sense that King Song's heart was filled with worries and he seemed to be immersed in some immense cloud of confusion.
It seems like the old butler wasn't lying, Wang Chong inwardly muttered.
At times, one didn't need words to communicate. At the very least, Wang Chong had confirmed one thing. King Song was still King Song. He had not changed, though it seemed like he really had encountered a very difficult problem.
As Wang Chong quietly thought to himself, he suddenly heard a cold snort at his ear. At the same time, he sensed a malicious and hostile gaze turning on him.
Wang Chong turned his head and saw another noble and powerful figure standing distantly opposite to King Song, their demeanor just as mighty and impressive. But this person had a sinister aura that could not be found on King Song. The officials surrounding this person were all coldly laughing at Wang Chong, none of them hiding the hostility in their eyes.
A thought flitted through Wang Chong's mind. This was not his first time seeing King Qi. He had already met him during the ceremony in which he was made a Marquis, but this was the first time they were so close to each other, in the same hall, as colleagues.
Wang Chong coldly laughed and then fearlessly and rudely glared at King Qi, showing no sign of backing down.
King Qi's face instantly turned dark and gloomy, and with a cold snort, he turned his head away.
1. Pan An was a poet of the Western Jin Dynasty who was known for his good looks. Song Yu was a poet from the Warring States period and is believed to have composed many of the poems in the Songs of Chu.