Li Qitian felt that he was faced with a difficult problem that he’d never had before.
After a few moments of contemplation, enlightenment struck.
“Beloved subject Qin.” He rose and slowly descended the dais. He reached out with both hands to help Qin Huaiyuan up and ordered Li Guanwen to proffer a handkerchief for the minister to wipe his face.
Qin Huaiyuan swiped at his tears, waiting with head down for what his liege would say.
“Our beloved subject, the Faithful Prince of the First Rank is Our right hand man. He won great distinctions in battle when we fought to establish Great Zhou. Put another way, the prince’s age and talents are a wonderful match with your daughter. Since the two of them share feelings for each other, why not give our blessings to such a lovely couple?”
“Your Majesty, my daughter was forced into it!”
“Ai, the best ending for a girl is to find a dependable husband. Though the prince was muddle-headed before, We trust that he lost control only because he was overcome with emotion. Why don’t we do things this way. We will be the guarantor of this match and decree that the apple of your eye shall be his princess consort. How about that?”
Qin Huaiyuan lowered his head, the epitome of abject suffering.
The emperor continued on patiently. “There is a saying that it’s better to eliminate enmity than to keep it alive. Beloved subject Qin bears no fault for the old personal scores between you and General Pang. The two of you were merely on different sides and served different masters. Why don’t we whittle away a great trouble today and forget past grudges. With Our decree, there will be no one in the world who dares disparage the slightest bit about your daughter. Beloved subject Qin, what say you?”
Qin Huaiyuan compressed his lips with difficulty, seemingly unwilling.
Li Qitian turned to glare at Pang Xiao. “We bestow née Qin unto you as your princess consort. Are you willing?”
The emperor’s face was so solemn that it seemed Pang Xiao would be hauled out for execution if the prince so much as breathed a hint of denial.
Meanwhile, torrents of rainwater flooded mountains, massive earthquakes birthed tsunamis, storms raged and gales howled, and fireworks exploded in front of Pang Xiao’s eyes!
If it wasn’t for stunning willpower, he’d almost break out in hearty barks of laughter and thump to his knees to thank his father-in-law’s facilitation!
This move was much too perfect, one worthy of Wise Pan An alright! He’d taken care of their marriage in such an effortless, elementary manner—and it was settled via imperial edict itself!
As exuberantly overjoyed he was, Pang Xiao didn’t forget the emotions he was supposed to display.
He nodded stiffly with great reluctance. “This subject obeys Your Majesty’s orders.”
The acceptance put Li Qitian more at ease. He turned back to Qin Huaiyuan. “Beloved subject Qin, what say you?”
The minister was silent for a while before picking up his hat, dusting it off, and putting it back on. He performed a solemn bow to his liege. “This subject was brash and caused trouble for Your Majesty. This subject will follow Your Majesty’s arrangements.”
Li Qitian heaved a long sigh and nodded. “Good! Li Guanwen, draft the imperial decree. Yining Née Qin will be bestowed as princess consort to the Faithful Prince of the First Rank. Their wedding date is to be the eleventh day of the next month. The two households can see to their own arrangements.”
“Understood.” The eunuch quickly took down his orders and set to work drafting the imperial decree. After the emperor affixed his royal seal to it, the eunuch quickly sent it out for delivery.
Qin Huaiyuan stood off to the side with his head down, as if still crestfallen and disconsolate.
Cheng Meng, Minister of the Bureau of Military Affairs, stepped out at this time. He’d thought that Qin Huaiyuan would be able to skin Pang Xiao alive, but the old fool lost even his daughter in the end!
That stupid buffoon!
Minister Cheng stepped out righteously to accuse the prince of murdering innocents.
The vein at Li Qitian’s forehead throbbed again. Pang Xiao was causing him further trouble! One matter had finally been settled, but here came another!
The emperor knew what Cheng Meng’s goals were, but the prince had to establish firm footing in the council. Thus, Li Qitian quickly brainstormed a response and readied to shut the minister down.
However, Qin Huaiyuan stepped forward before the emperor had a chance to speak.
“Minister Cheng’s words are grievously erroneous!” he exhorted. “The Faithful Prince of the First Rank is a young hero who boasts of impressive military accomplishments. He attacked Northern Ji because of a difference in ideology. He has poured forth blood, sweat, and tears to establish Great Zhou. Why is he an unblinking demon of murder when described by you?”
“You!” Minister Cheng rocked back on his heels, flabbergasted. “Didn’t you, didn't you just criticize Pang Zhixi? Why are you going back on your words??”
Qin Huaiyuan flicked a glance at Minister Cheng and responded righteously, “He was my enemy when I criticized him, but my son-in-law now thanks to His Majesty. Should a father-in-law not speak up for his son-in-law? Should I wait for outsiders to pick up the reins instead?”
Minister Cheng had absolutely no comeback to that.
The assembled officials erupted in a flurry of discussion.
Seeing that Minister Cheng was failing, other Lu faction officials jumped out to add their voices to the condemnation.
This was when the origin of Qin Huaiyuan’s nickname as ‘Wise Pan An’ was on full display. His words were clear and methodological, overruling all reproof of Pang Xiao.
Even off to the side, the prince was awed by Qin Huaiyuan’s ability to verbally spar with an army of scholars.
My father-in-law is too amazing!
Even Pang Xiao felt extraordinary pressure at this!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Nyayahahahahaha! I can't believe this day has come!