The Records Of The Human Emperor Chapter 1261
Chapter 1261: Consort Taizhens Unease
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Now that Wang Chong thought about it, given Yang Zhao's personality and the fact that he had been appointed as the Chamberlain of Palace Revenues by the Sage Emperor, placing him in control over the finances of the entire empire, Yang Zhao was completely capable of intervening in this deal. How could he not be moved when he saw such a massive sum of seven hundred million taels of gold flying away, and how could he possibly accept it?!
After all, he had printed a total of one billion taels' worth of gold yuan certificates.
"Worthy brother, don't look at me like that. I know that this wasn't actually the most glorious thing to do, but when this seven hundred million taels of gold was already in our mouth, we were forced to give it back. Those Confucians were really too unjust when it came to this matter…"
Under Wang Chong's stares, Yang Zhao's voice got softer and softer.
"Haha, Big Brother, you're overthinking it! There's no need to worry about this matter. You did nothing wrong, and in fact made the best decision! In fact, you've made a major contribution on this matter!"
Wang Chong heartily laughed.
Greed was greed, but it sometimes led Yang Zhao into making the most correct decision. Since Yang Zhao had exchanged three hundred million taels of gold for gold yuan certificates, the losses inflicted by the Confucians in the peace negotiations with Arabia were somewhat more acceptable.
Yang Zhao, through his own special method, had reduced the losses for the Great Tang.
"Is– is that right?"
It was Yang Zhao's turn to be taken aback. He originally believed that he had made a grievous error, but unexpectedly, Wang Chong was practically hailing him as a hero.
"Heh, as long as you haven't placed the gold that was exchanged for the gold yuan certificates into your own pocket, there should be no problem at all," Wang Chong indifferently said.
"What are you saying? How could I ever do such a thing!?" Yang Zhao immediately roared, though his expression was slightly unnatural.
Wang Chong silently smiled. Given Yang Zhao's personality, how could he not extract a little profit? But as long as it wasn't too much, Wang Chong wouldn't expose him.
Yang Zhao took a sip of his tea. After putting it down, he had a sudden thought and brought up another matter.
"Right, worthy brother, besides the gold yuan certificates, I have another, more personal matter that I would like to trouble you with and see if you might offer any help."
"Hah, if you have any problems, just tell me them all now. If I can be of any help, I will do so to the best of my abilities," Wang Chong leisurely replied.
"This– well, it's actually not helping me. Worthy brother, you're smarter than me. This time, my younger sister entrusted me with a few words in the hopes that you could help her analyze them," Yang Zhao sternly said.
Wang Chong was caught by surprise, immediately sensing that the matter Yang Zhao was talking about was different from what he had imagined and focusing his mind.
"In truth, it's a rather long story. You also know that my younger sister has always been infatuated with the Sage Emperor, but for some reason, His Majesty has recently been strange, completely unlike what he was before."
Yang Zhao's brow creased as a look of recollection appeared in his eyes.
"The Sage Emperor?!"
Wang Chong's body trembled in shock. He had never expected that the second matter Yang Zhao had come to find him for was related to the Sage Emperor.
"…Everyone knows how much the Sage Emperor favors my younger sister. For the sake of bringing her into the palace, he didn't mind opposing almost the entire court. But recently, His Majesty has decreased the frequency of his visits to Yuzhen Palace, and each visit is very short, not even enough time to get the seat warm. There are times when His Majesty will be happily chatting away with Her Majesty, and then a moment later he will have left without any warning or reason. And even now, when my younger sister has gone of her own volition to see His Majesty, the Sage Emperor will use various reasons to refuse her… Such a thing has never happened before!"
Yang Zhao appeared extremely worried as he spoke. His glory and wealth as well as his current post as Chamberlain of Palace Revenues were all due to his younger sister, Consort Taizhen. If she fell out of favor, everything he had would be like dust. This was Yang Zhao's deepest fear, far surpassing his unease over the gold yuan certificates.
Yang Zhao himself hadn't understood what was going on, but Wang Chong was already feeling wary, an ill foreboding on his mind.
"…I'm now rather worried that my little sister has lost the Sage Emperor's favor. Worthy brother, of all the people around your foolish brother, you are the one who notices the most. Last time, you also wrote two poems that were of much delight for my sister. Help me think and understand what's going on. My younger sister and I have pondered the matter for a long while, but we still don't understand. Was it something that we did wrong, or perhaps something that incurred His Majesty's displeasure?"
Yang Zhao grew more uneasy the more he said. The gold yuan certificates were a temporary threat to him, but Consort Taizhen's loss of favor threatened his very foundation.
Wang Chong said nothing as countless thoughts raged in his mind. Yang Zhao and Consort Taizhen had little idea of the truth and believed that this was a problem of favor. But Wang Chong knew that nothing could be more incorrect.
Wang Chong suppressed his worries and sternly asked, "Big Brother! Besides the number of meetings with the Sage Emperor and his refusing to meet Consort Taizhen, has Her Majesty told you anything else?"
"This… Her Majesty didn't say anything else, only that she clearly sensed that His Majesty did not favor her as much as before. In addition, the moment His Majesty leaves court, he locks himself up in his own room, and he spends more and more time within, not allowing anyone to get close. Right, there was one time when Her Majesty went to pay her respects and found the Sage Emperor muttering to himself in his room. Her Majesty was planning to stay and listen, but Gao Lishi quickly came out and advised her to leave. Right now, other than Eunuch Gao, no one is allowed to approach the Sage Emperor… What's wrong? Worthy brother, have you noticed something?"
Yang Zhao raised his head in confusion.
Wang Chong said nothing, but countless thoughts were flying through his mind.
Ever since his first meeting with the Sage Emperor, besides searching for the schemer behind the scenes, Wang Chong had also been constantly observing the Sage Emperor's condition.
After all, the Sage Emperor was the supporting pillar of the empire.
But from what he had observed, other than a few times where his aura was in slight disorder, the Sage Emperor was basically normal. At the very least, the Sage Emperor had managed to last until the end for the last few court sessions with no abnormalities. As for what happened after morning court, Wang Chong couldn't see nor had ever tried to conjecture. Wang Chong had always believed that even if the Sage Emperor's condition was poor, it was at least better than it had been in his last life.
But now that he heard Yang Zhao's words, his heart sank as he realized just how bad the situation was.
If this was how the Sage Emperor was after every court session, then his true condition was far worse than Wang Chong had predicted.
"Worthy brother, worthy brother…"
At this moment, a call at his ear awakened Wang Chong from his stupor. Blinking, Wang Chong saw that Yang Zhao was staring at him with a furrowed brow and worried face.
"Worthy brother, are you okay?"
"Heh, I'm fine!"
Wang Chong smiled and shook his head.
Yang Zhao did not press any further.
"Worthy brother, you're smarter than I am. Do you think His Majesty likes new things and has started to tire of my younger sister?"
"Relax; such a thing won't happen!" Wang Chong smiled reassuringly. "His Majesty's affection for Her Majesty surpasses all. No one could ever surpass her in His Majesty's heart."
Yang Zhao felt dubious about this statement. He should have never asked Wang Chong about this matter involving the harem, but Wang Chong had always given the impression of someone who was supremely intelligent, and Yang Zhao had unconsciously begun to trust in him. Moreover, Wang Chong's existence truly was like the noon sun at this time.
"If even you say this, then it should be true. Could it really be something else?"
Yang Zhao quickly took his leave. As Wang Chong watched him leave, a faint hint of concern appeared in his eyes.
The next day, at morning court, everything was as normal. Wang Chong stood at the back and scrutinized the Sage Emperor. He was the same as ever, bright, majestic, noble, and upright, yet Wang Chong felt intensely uneasy.
While Wang Chong was still thinking and the court was still debating, the Sage Emperor suddenly grimaced and stood up. Without a word, he turned and left, soon vanishing from the upper reaches of the hall.
"Today's morning court session will end here for the day. The remaining matters will be presided over by the Prime Minister!" Gao Lishi suddenly stepped forward, waving his horsetail whisk as he spoke.
Wang Chong's body quivered as he raised his head. There was some turmoil in the hall, but after a few moments, all returned to normal.
"Respectfully sending off His Divine Majesty!"
All the officials bowed, but not a single person found this strange or unusual. Wang Chong's heart immediately sank.
"You've already seen it!"
Once the court session was over, King Song and Wang Chong walked down the white jade stairs together.
"This has actually happened quite a few times. At the start, everyone panicked, but we gradually got used to it. Moreover, the Great Tang has thrived for so many years and has so many capable officials and generals that even with the Prime Minister presiding, many matters can still be resolved. This together with the supervision of the imperial censors means that there will not be any major errors. It is just that the decisions will have to be handed to His Majesty later on for review."
"So the decision on Khorasan was also made when the Prime Minister was presiding?" Wang Chong asked.
King Song sighed and nodded. Side by side, the two left the Imperial Palace.
As if the first incident had been some sort of signal, the Sage Emperor began to retire from court earlier and earlier. On the first day, he had only withdrawn an hour early, but by the end, it wasn't even five minutes until the Sage Emperor gave his orders to Gao Lishi and withdrew.
All this made Wang Chong more and more uneasy.
In the early morning, a ray of sunlight peeked in through the study window.
A young figure was seated in front of a table, constantly flipping through pages. The oil lantern next to him had long ago burnt out, and there were thick piles of books and ancient texts surrounding him.
"Your Highness, complying with the Fifth Prince's order, we brought over all the related records in the palace that we could obtain. We also requested to borrow records from all the consorts, concubines, and princesses of the palace. Please see if the information desired by Your Highness lies within."
In front of Wang Chong was a rather ugly middle-aged eunuch, clearly identifiable by the Fifth Prince's token tied to his waist. It was none other than the future number one treacherous eunuch, Li Jingzhong.