Chapter 244: Another Dynasty
Weichi Yan burned with hate and fury!
His father was likewise glaring back with abhorrence. He wanted to eat Weichi Yan alive!
The Prince of Ning cleaning house had forced the emperor emeritus to sacrifice the empress and give up the throne. He’d lost his most precious woman and position in the span of a night. How would he not be filled with hate with these dual losses?
Weichi Yan wasn’t feeling any better at the moment. How could he have such an inept and selfish father??
“Father, what do you want with so much silver? The frontlines are tense and every movement, every second requires money. Our soldiers and generals are risking their lives and shedding their blood in the battlefield — how will they continue to follow me if I have no rations or wages to pay them with?”
“Pah! They were ingrates to me first! Why should I concern myself with their life or deaths? The best ending for a soldier is to die valiantly in the battlefields. Have they not supped at my Great Yan’s coffers while they lived?”
“How can you say that?!” Weichi Yan looked incredulous. His father was holding a grudge against the ten thousand who’d cleaned house!
The emperor once again tamped down his disappointment and tried for reason. “Even if you care nothing for them, you still care about your reputation, no? All of the officials now know of the personal treasury and national coffers being emptied. If you continue down this path, you really will rouse the ire of the masses.
“Father, there’s still time for you to turn back. Even if you don’t do so for the war effort, at least do so for your legacy. Besides, without this sum of money, what will the people do if the Valiant Tigers besiege the capital?”
Weichi Yan was almost crying at this point. “Royal father, how could you have sold off all of the tax grain? That alone would have fed the capital for three years!”
The emperor emeritus remained silent throughout, looking at his son with a cold smirk. After a beat, he suddenly spat on Weichi Yan’s face.
“How dare a petty little usurper talk to me about principles and logic! Do you have any self dignity? Those idiot peasants deserve what’s coming to them! They’re a bunch of fools who were easily riled up by a few words and say that I’m a trash emperor. What did I ever do to them?!
“Now that you’ve filled out your wings, you mouth off pretty words for the greater good and know how to put a bureaucratic spin on things. Using reputation and the will of the people to pressure me? Well aren’t you a great emperor! I’d like to see how the annals of history will record your deeds — those of an unfilial usurper!”
Weichi Yan flushed hot and cold from the censure. His lips trembled and he actually couldn’t find a single word in response. So he only had this identity left in his royal father’s eyes from now on. And here he was hoping that their tenuous relationship might have salvaged things somewhat.
Flags and pennants cracked and rippled in the gale. A potent silence reigned over the scene.
Weichi Yan took a few deep breaths in, spending quite some effort to barely keep his sadness under wraps. You’re the emperor. You have your duties. Since he doesn’t see you as a son, what else is there to hesitate about…
Even so, his voice trembled when he spoke next.
“Royal father, you passed me the throne, so how can you say that your son is a usurper? I cannot bear the title of a treasonous thief! Father, have you forgotten how you preyed on the people when you were entranced by the trampress? She even ate human flesh and killed innocent citizens! Not only did you fail to keep her under control, but you aided and abetted! Have you forgotten that the same knife cuts bread and fingers?”
“How ludicrous!” The former emperor roared back with reddened eyes. “Don’t you imitate those people and slander me! As much as I might’ve failed as an emperor, I’m still heads and shoulders above you — a shortsighted and completely worthless waste of air!”
Weichi Yan balled his hands tightly into fists, the look in his eyes turning cold. “Since this is the case, please forgive your son for not allowing you to set off on your journey.”
He waved behind him, signaling the Imperial Insignia Guard  and the palace guardsmen. The men flooded out from their hiding places and surrounded the dock.
Livid, the emperor emeritus shouted furiously, “What do you mean by this?!”
“Don’t worry, royal father. I’m only trying to keep you safe. With the chaotic mess of war outside, it really isn’t a good time to go on a trip. What if Great Zhou takes you for a hostage? In your eyes, should your son be concerned with you or the war effort then?”
The former emperor clenched his teeth and glared at Weichi Yan. His son’s tone had sounded remarkably like Qin Huaiyuan’s just now.
The marquis was a teacher to the heir that the former emperor had appointed himself. Though he’d later chosen to trust that the Caos could get in contact with the Tatars, he’d still bestowed the Silver Masks to Qin Huaiyuan to even the scales of power. It was apparent from this how the then-emperor had treated Qin Huaiyuan differently.
But it looked like the Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent had taken his job too seriously. He’d actually made something out of Weichi Yan and given the boy a backbone to make a move against the former emperor!
“Was this your idea?” The emperor emeritus demanded hotly of Qin Huaiyuan.
The marquis hastily bowed. “Your subject wouldn’t dare.”
“Wouldn’t dare?” The old man laughed coldly. “All of you are banding together to hit a person who’s down! Fine, I’ll stay, but you’ll never find the silver!”
A tendon throbbed in Weichi Yan’s forehead as he clenched his teeth tightly. “Escort the emperor emeritus back to his quarters. He is elderly and needs his rest. If there is nothing of great importance, no one is to disturb his peace and quiet in the future!”
“Understood!” Rows of guards surrounded the former emperor, who was red in the face.
“How dare you! all of you!”
“The guards are doing this for your own safety. Please quell your anger, Your Former Majesty.” Weichi Yan tilted to the side to open the way. “Escort the emperor emeritus back to his residence!”
The guards hesitated no longer and flanked the former emperor back onto the carriage, returning it to the palace.
When the old officials accompanying the emperor emeritus saw how the new emperor had discarded his usual placid demeanor and taken swift, severe action, they all shook in their boots. It was plain to see that Weichi Yan was taking action without care of what others thought of him.
“All of you may go back.” Weichi Yan dismissed them.
Collective sighs of relief were heaved and they bowed. “Many thanks, Your Majesty!” They departed the dock with their family.
Qin Huaiyuan frowned and murmured, “Your Majesty, some of them may know where the silver is.”
Weichi Yan looked back with confusion. “What makes you say that, Grand Preceptor Qin?”
Deep resignation and helplessness welled up within Qin Huaiyuan. “Your Majesty, what do you think the former emperor wished to do after laying his hands on such a large sum of money, wanting to take a pleasure cruise, and taking with him the experienced officials of all departments and their families?”
Weichi Yan shook his head blankly. “We don’t know.”
Qin Huaiyuan remained silent. A subject couldn’t outline things too clearly for his liege. If he pointed things out too blatantly, that might make the emperor feel that he was flaunting his own intelligence. And if anything undesired happened in the future, the emperor could come back and accuse Qin Huaiyuan of misleading him.
What the marquis had to do was to nudge the emperor down the correct path.
Weichi Yan wracked his brains and thought for forty-five minutes. He suddenly shot a horrified look at Qin Huaiyuan and rasped out, “Did my father want to wash his hands of everything and build another Great Yan dynasty elsewhere?”
Qin Huaiyuan sighed with relief. Thank goodness the emperor isn’t too stupid. He nodded seriously. “That should be right, Your Majesty.”
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