The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1244
Chapter 1244: Revealed The Instigator Behind The Curtain I
Chapter 1244: Revealed, the Instigator Behind the Curtain! (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"King of Foreign Lands, do not blame me for not warning you! Zhang Chaoshu is Assistant Minister of Revenue. His assignment to this position was only after many verifications by the Bureau of Personnel and Bureau of Revenue, and the Imperial Court investigated and confirmed that he truly did have outstanding achievements. Civil officials are different from generals. Do you know what the result will be if you slander an important official and disgrace his reputation? Now that you have made this accusation before the Sage Emperor, if the investigation turns up nothing, this old man will not let you go!" the Grand Preceptor said, his face ashen.
Wang Chong had even produced evidence, leaving the Grand Preceptor with no other option. Whether or not the accusations were true, Zhang Chaoshu would have to submit to an investigation.
"Something that's half true and half false can't be considered false, and something that's half false and half true can't be considered true. Does Grand Preceptor not understand this principle?"
Wang Chong grinned at the Grand Preceptor. He naturally understood what tricks these people were up to, but they were all petty trifles before him.
"Moreover, Grand Preceptor, be at ease; I have even more evidence at my place… and in a few days, I will send it all to the Imperial Court!!"
The Grand Preceptor trembled in shock, immediately left speechless. Meanwhile, Zhang Chaoshu's face had turned ghastly pale.
"Your Majesty! This subject has nothing more to say. In order to prove this one's innocence, this subject is willing to submit to the Imperial Court's investigation."
Zhang Chaoshu finally walked out and bowed to the figure seated in the upper reaches of the hall.
With the situation at this point, this was his only choice.
When the court session concluded, Wang Chong was the first to emerge from the Imperial Court, his expression aloof and his hands held behind his back.
Unlike his first day at court, the civil officials were all glum and silent today, all of them fearfully staring at Wang Chong's back.
It had only been two days, two court sessions in which Wang Chong had served as Advisor-in-Waiting. But on the first day, he had savagely denounced the Grand Preceptor, King Qi, and Li Linfu, leaving no part of their body unbruised. On the second day, he had caused the Assistant Minister of Revenue, Zhang Chaoshu, who had made the proposal for dissolving the prefectural armies, to be imprisoned. Wang Chong's conduct could be described as swift as the wind, harsh as lightning.
At this moment, no one dared to treat him as an eighteen-year-old youth. Even King Qi had a rather grave expression when he emerged from the court. King Qi had come to the sudden realization that Wang Chong had become even more difficult to deal with after only a year.
The Tiger of the Empire, Zhangchou Jianqiong, rushed to catch up to Wang Chong and said, "Wang Chong, it really was as you predicted. With Zhang Chaoshu being seized, the rest of the civil officials have been cowed. Although we still can't escape the suppression of the civil officials just yet, nor can we alter the proposal to reduce the number of soldiers, at least we won't have a further intensifying with policies like 'dissolving the prefectural armies'."
He now felt sincere admiration for Wang Chong. Ever since that incident more than half a month ago, Zhangchou Jianqiong's brow had been constantly furrowed with worry. As the Minister of War, he had not only been unable to protect the Bureau of Military Personnel, but had also failed to mount an effective counterattack. On the contrary, even he had found himself muzzled. Wang Chong's appearance was like a ray of hope, and he was probably the only person capable of breaking the current stalemate.
"However, is this incident really enough to get at them?" Zhangchou Jianqiong asked. "The Confucians won't let this matter go so easily!"
Zhangchou Jianqiong was much older and had much more seniority than Wang Chong, but with regards to this matter, not even he had realized that he was valuing Wang Chong's opinions more and more.
"This is why I wished to speak with Lord Zhangchou. The Bureau of Military Personnel shares a very close relationship with the Bureau of Punishments. I hope that Lord Zhangchou can use this connection to increase the number of men assigned to this case!"
Zhangchou Jianqiong's eyes narrowed and he suddenly grimaced.
"Wang Chong, you mean…"
"In normal circumstances, this wouldn't be necessary, but there's no harm in being safe. They can even have old officials who served in court for ten-some years retire, so who knows how far they can go?" Wang Chong sternly said.
Zhangchou Jianqiong took in a deep breath, a profound look in his eyes.
Wang Chong quickly put the matters of court to the back of his mind. Exiting the Imperial Palace, he soon boarded his carriage.
What he had to do next was far more important than the matter of Zhang Chaoshu.
After setting off from the Imperial Palace, he did not return straight to the Wang Family Residence, but instead had his carriage turn onto a street it had never taken before.
Wang Chong hadn't been sitting in the carriage for long before Zhang Que's voice came from outside, anxious and curious. 'Your Highness, did we really get Zhang Chaoshu?"
"How did you know?"
Wang Chong opened his eyes. He had not told anyone about the matter of Zhang Chaoshu, and Zhang Que could not enter the Imperial Palace. He normally should not have found out so quickly.
"Heh, Your Highness, don't blame me once I explain. Last night, when I was paying a visit to Master, I noticed a document on Master's table. Moreover, when we were setting out from the palace gate, I glanced back and saw that when the servants of the civil officials were leaving, they were all quiet, not as loud and raucous as they usually were. It was clear that something had happened," Zhang Que said.
Wang Chong couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at this explanation. Zhang Que's master was naturally Old Eagle, but Wang Chong hadn't expected Zhang Que to be so quick-witted. Although he had not been in the Imperial Court, he had been able to conjecture at the truth from only a few clues.
Wang Chong nodded. He knew from his understanding of Zhang Que's personality that he wouldn't give up unless he knew the answer, so he gave Zhang Que a brief summary of what had happened in court. Although Wang Chong had greatly simplified the story, Zhang Que was one of Wang Chong's primary intelligence officers, so this version was enough for him.
"Your Highness, do you really have more evidence on him?"
Zhang Que looked expectantly at Wang Chong.
Zhang Que was dumbstruck, his entire body frozen by this answer.
Wang Chong sat in the carriage with his eyes half-closed, giving no explanation. The Confucians had prepared for a long time, leaving their position nigh impregnable. Wang Chong even had to exert enormous effort to obtain information on Zhang Chaoshu, but those two reports were far from enough to pin any charges on Zhang Chaoshu. However, Wang Chong's goal had never been to pin any crime onto Zhang Chaoshu.
As he was thinking, turmoil came from outside, and he could hear Zhang Que's surprised and angry voice.
"What are you doing? Let go!"
"Is this the King of Foreign Lands?"
The voice of an old woman came from outside, accompanied by fits of coughing.
Zhang Que was flabbergasted. He had been following Wang Chong's orders and leading the carriage eastward, but for some reason, an old woman selling vegetables had suddenly rushed out and barred the carriage's path, grabbing the reins.
The old woman had a cold and severe expression, and a basket was still hanging from her other hand, stuffed with vegetables, but her gaze was completely focused elsewhere.
It was extremely dangerous to charge out in front of a carriage, but this old woman seemed to not care at all.
"King of Foreign Lands, do you dare come out for a meeting!"
The old woman clenched the reins as she stared at the carriage compartment.
Seeing that there was no response, the old woman yelled once more, "King of Foreign Lands, do you dare come out for a meeting!"
Finally couldn't hold yourself back.
Wang Chong was lightly tapping his right index finger, his eyes half-closed and his face emotionless. At this time, he was as calm and composed as ever.
Fwoomp! The carriage curtains suddenly parted, allowing Wang Chong to get a view of the old woman outside. The woman was wearing an apron stained with vegetable juices around her waist, and her silver hair was neatly bound together. Although her face was covered in wrinkles, her eyes were clear and bright, completely at odds with her age.
"We finally meet," Wang Chong indifferently said to the old woman, his face emotionless. He did not seem to be speaking in a tone with which one would address an old woman. The atmosphere was extremely bizarre, and Zhang Que was left speechless by the scene.
"King of Foreign Lands, you have succeeded. I admit that in this matter, I truly overlooked this flaw, allowing you to seize upon this weakness, but you have not won."
The old woman's eyes were wise, and her words did not fit her status at all. Sitting on the carriage, Zhang Que felt his heart tremble. Anyone, no matter how slow they were, would be able to tell by now that there was something strange about this old woman.
"You were behind everything, right? The Grand Preceptor, King Qi, the Prime Minister, perhaps even the First Prince—you're using all of them. But just who are you? I really didn't think that there was someone like you within the Great Tang, able to use all these people at once. Speak: just what are you up to with all this?"
Wang Chong's expression was grave as he went straight to the point.
On his way back from Khorasan, Wang Chong had felt as if his entire mind was drowning in a sea of fog. But by using Zhang Chaoshu, Wang Chong was finally able to see a hint of the sun, forcing the instigator behind the curtains to come out and meet him.
"Hah, my goal in coming here is very simple. I hope that the King of Foreign Lands will give up!" the old woman said.
"Give up? Give up on what?" Wang Chong coldly smiled. "Give up on the Great Tang and let the foreigners on the borders and Arabia to the west invade? Or give up on stopping you, allowing you to dissolve the prefectural armies so that you can make the empire into a hell on earth in the future?!"
"Can war solve all problems? Even if you can protect the country and give it a momentary peace, can you protect the empire for an entire age? Wars have no end. Today, you have swept over Arabia, killing a million soldiers. All of the Great Tang regards you as a hero, but have you ever thought about what the people in other countries thought of you? Have you ever thought about Arabia?"