Chapter 289 - The Dragon bore nine sons, each one different
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The Ascension of the Crown Prince?
Jing Hua’s eyes widened in disbelief. He carefully asked, “What does Teacher mean?”
Pan Chong raised his eyebrows and peeked outside, making sure that no-one was around, before sternly informing the Crown Prince of his opinion, “His Majesty is now ill in bed and it looks like things are taking a turn for the better, so it’s still possible for a new Crown Prince to be crowned. This would pose a great threat to your Highness, but if we act while His Majesty has yet to release the royal decree, then…”
“Then what?” Jing Hua was kept on his toes.
“Then we make sure His Majesty never makes that decree, for good!”
Clang! Jing Hua’s trembling hands knocked over his teacup to the ground, shattering it into smithereens. Jing Hua himself was in no better state, quivering to his toes. He sputtered, “Forever? Making sure that Imperial Father never… never makes that decree? Did you mean, to ass-- assassinate Imperial Father?”
Pan Chong nodded, “This is the only way, Crown Prince. Only if we ambush the palace and move on from His Majesty can the Crown Prince successfully and rightfully ascend to the throne.”
“No… no can do, that is my own Imperial Father!” If a son were to slaughter his own father, he would be punished by the heavens! The Crown Prince himself was not cruel in nature, to have him kill his own loving and doting father - he could never do that. Jing Hua asked, “Does Teacher have no other plan?”
Pan Chong shook his head.
“In any case, this plan will not do - it is the ultimate act of rebellion.” Jing Hua was worried.
Pan Chong was disappointed at Jing Hua’s cowardice, “If the Crown Prince wishes to achieve great things, he should be decisive. There is no better timing than now, surely the Crown Prince doesn’t wish to personally deliver his own position to Prince Yi?”
“No way!” Jing Hua slapped a hand on his study and stood up abruptly, “The throne is rightfully mine, there is no way this Crown Prince would give it away. How is Jing Yi even capable of ever scrambling for my position?”
“If the Crown Prince wishes to secure his position, then there is no better way.”
“But…” Jing Hua sighed, pacing up and down, his hands gripping his forehead as he struggled with the idea.
Unlike Jing Hua, Pan Chong was a much more decisive man, “Crown Prince, consider if Prince Yi were to become the Emperor - who is the first one he would eliminate?” Idiot, of course it’s you! If you did not rebel now, then when?
Jing Hua’s heart sank, but his initial doubts disappeared into thin air. He flicked his sleeves with a flourish, face filled with greed and lust for power, “The Throne is mine, no-one else can have it. But what should I do, Teacher? Must Imperial Father really die for this to happen?”
“There is no other way!”
Jing Hua took a deep breath, his gaze growing steadier, firmer, and he eventually nodded.
Pan Chong was quick, “The Crown Prince’s wedding would be held three days later - that day would be the day the Crown Prince ascends to the throne.”
This scheme was unfolding little by little according to plan…
After several hours, Pan Chong left the East Palace and headed straight for the Yi Estate. In reality, Pan Chong belonged to the Crown Prince’s faction, so why was he headed this way? Strange, how strange!
Prince Yi had been expecting Pan Chong for some time. Pan Chong paid his respects to Prince Yi, who replied, “There is no need for formalities, please have a seat, Teacher Pan.” Pan Chong saw no reason to decline.
Jing Yi’s smile was unreadable as he asked, “The last time Teacher was here in this Prince’s estate. Was it already a year ago?” Pan Chong nodded. “As the Crown Prince’s teacher, to be capable of reading the current state of affairs and choosing to side with this Prince - Teacher Pan has made a clever choice.”
Pan Chong explained, “Everyone is clear with regards to the current political climate - the Crown Prince is, simply put, useless. If not for the late Empress, he could not have compared to even the sickly Prince Xian, much less become the Emperor. But Prince Yi is very different; Prince Yi, full of lofty aspirations, knows when to advance and retreat, but also knows how to read the atmosphere and act appropriately. Only such a man is suitable to become the Emperor - siding with Prince Yi is but just moving with the current rather than against.” In other words, instead of serving an idiot Crown Prince who would be dead sooner or later, why not quickly switch sides and serve the money tree in front of him? Perhaps in the future, the Pan Family could still leave a spark behind and not be rooted out entirely.
Jing Yi was obviously pleased with Pan Chong’s statement, smiling, “This is undoubtedly the best decision Teacher Pan has made.”
Pan Chong was silent in agreement. Jing Yi lowered his tone, “Has the Crown Prince made his decision yet?”
Pan Chong replied, “Although there was some hesitation, the Crown Prince was too worried that he would be replaced and finally made up his mind. Although the East Palace does not have a large army and would face some difficulties surrounding the palace following the assassination, the Crown Prince’s wedding in three days means that security outside Fuyang Hall would be slightly laxer, and it would be much easier for the Crown Prince to surround the palace and attack. With Prince Yi’s secret aid, this is a done deal.”
“Without the Ji Family brothers at his back, plotting to assassinate the Emperor - when this Prince arrives at the palace to rescue His Majesty, the Crown Prince will surely face only death!” Jing Yi remarked cruelly.
Pan Chong was curious however, “This was originally the best opportunity to eliminate Prince Rong, why has Prince Yi forsaken this chance?”
Abandon this opportunity? Of course not; Jing Yi had his own plans. He cracked his knuckles, “As the saying goes, ‘To catch a big fish, one must cast a long line’; if we can eliminate the Crown Prince and incriminate him of planning the fire at Fuyang Hall, as well as make a deal with that Teacher Ji to serve this Prince rather than Prince Rong, then how inconsequential is freeing Prince Rong? When this Prince marries that first-born daughter of the Ji Family, Ji Li and Ji Heng will be both firmly planted within my faction - why should I worry about a measly Prince Rong? If this Prince could put him in prison once, there should be no question that there will come a second time.” He slammed his teacup harshly onto his desk as he finished.
Although he devoted his entire life to learning, and was sufficiently versed in such schemes, the astute Pan Chong found that he could hardly compare to the Prince standing before him! The Dragon bore nine sons, each one different from the rest! If the Crown Prince was as devious as Jing Yi, why would he have to switch sides!
“This old man offers his congratulations in advance, celebrating Prince Yi’s crowning and ascension,” Pan Chong delivered with utmost sincerity.
Jing Yi did not trust this old scholar, especially since the one who suggested for the Crown Prince to swap his gift for His Majesty was none other than Pan Chong! The two of them had no more than a business partnership; Pan Chong wished for his family to survive and prosper after the Crown Prince was dethroned, while Jing Yi desired Pan Chong to encourage the Crown Prince to assassinate the Emperor - each had only their own motivations in mind! Before Pan Chong rose to leave, Jing Yi handed him something.
“Shiban poison - a poison made by Yan Weiyi.”
Pan Chong knew of Yan Weiyi, but was not entirely familiar with this man. He was unsure, “Does the Prince wish for the Crown Prince to use this to poison His Majesty?”
“That’s right,” Jing Yi continued, “This Prince has had dealings with Yan Weiyi several times before; this Prince is not particularly fond of his character, so this Prince plans to implicate Yan Weiyi in the Crown Prince’s attack.”
“May this old man ask why?”
Jing Yi warned, “Curiosity kills the cat; there are some things that the Teacher should not know too much about.” Pan Chong gave a curt smile and swiftly swept the blue bottle of shiban poison into his sleeves. He rose, paid his greetings and left Yi Estate.
Grenn's Rants Corner
Jing Yi has really long reach. He's planting spies everywhere.
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