Chapter 171 Resonance: Mutual Exchange
Barely any of the officials dared to attend the court assemblies anymore. There were two reasons. Firstly, the struggle between the imperial princes had already reached a climax. The members from the different factions would be always engaged in a heated verbal battle every day. Those who observed on the sidelines all evaded the situation one by one as they were afraid of being implicated. Secondly, the Emperor was getting on in years. On top of that, the wounds he received when he was young accumulated and flared up again as he aged. The Emperor’s illness worsened and it seemed as if it was apparent that he was debilitating with old age every day. At the same time, his temperament was getting increasingly odd. He would get into a temper every now and then. His heart did not soften due to his old age but on the contrary, he became even more ruthless in his methods. There was an official who embezzled a thousand taels of silvers. According to the Xuan Kingdom’s laws, he should be demoted, fined, or banished due to the severity of his crimes which affected the image of the court. However, to everyone’s surprise, the Emperor subjected him to the death penalty. If he was not stopped by the other officials, the Emperor would have subjected the official’s extended family to the death penalty as well.
Such behaviour of the Emperor was strange to the officials and frightened many of them. Unfortunately for them, they were once again in trepidation and on tenterhooks today.
Despite all matters having been settled, the Emperor continued to remain in silence, showing no intention of dismissing the officials at all. All the officials could only patiently wait around. Finally, the Emperor slowly spoke up. His gaze unhurriedly slipped past the officials who were trembling in fear before it settled on Situ.
“Duke of Anping. I want to ask you for your opinions regarding a decision of mine.” There were surging undercurrents beneath his tranquil voice.
Situ strode forward and bowed slightly. “Your Majesty’s judgement will naturally bring fortune to the people.”
A smile actually flickered around the corners of the Emperor’s mouth but his voice was icy cold.
“General Ji of the Central Army has already been stationed in Xiang Yang for quite a few years, right? I miss him very much so, and I want to transfer him back to Chang’an.”
A deadly silence immediately ensued in the court. Many officials held their breaths. Situ remained composed under the Emperor’s scorching gaze as he waited for the Emperor to continue what he wanted to say.
“However, after contemplating over it, I realised that within the court, Duke of Anping is the most familiar with the military system. Could you recommend to me who you think is more suitable for this position?”
In a split second, everyone’s gaze was congregated on that person in the middle of the hall.
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‘Ss!’ Feng Luodi was playing the zither in the Feng residence when she suddenly stopped. She raised her hand to take a look. Her left forefinger was cut and blood was oozed out from the wound.
Scarlet who was attending to her at the side immediately cried out in surprise. She ran into the room to get bandages and tincture. As Feng Luodi glanced at the zither strings stained with beads of blood, she became even more restless.
The voice contained infinite feelings and drifted with the wind. When it wafted back to Feng Luodi’s face, it was filled with worry and uneasiness instead.That day, when she was returning from the Jiang residence, Lu Bo had hinted to her multiple times to inform Situ that he should be more cautious these few days. There would be many open and covert attacks by their enemies hiding in the dark.
It was not just Jiang Moyin who was unwilling to say it clearly. Chamberlain Feng had also reminded her multiple times after she returned to the residence. She still remembered that on that day, Chamberlain Feng had called her into the study when she walked past.
“Jianqiu who is the same age as you is already married. You should also be considering.”At that time, Feng Luodi only smiled. She did not explain further and waited for Chamberlain Feng to continue. As expected, he began to talk about Situ.
“In the past, I was against the two of you being together but you two have already experienced so many trials and tribulations and your mother has much praise for him. I have nothing much to object.”
At that time, Feng Luodi was not ecstatic in the least. What her parents meant was for Situ to visit them to propose marriage and that they should quickly get married. This was also what Situ had always wished for. Unfortunately, this was the only thing Feng Luodi was unable to give.
Once she leaves, it would signify Feng Luodi’s death. She did not want Situ to carry the burden of having a deceased wife in his early years. Her Situ deserved everything sublime in the world.
Chamberlain Feng had not finished speaking. Yet, what he said caused Feng Luodi to feel even more uneasy and cold.
“Although the two of you have experienced many trials and tribulations, what you need to pay attention to the most is the future. I know my daughter won’t shrink away because of this. You should discuss this with him properly.”
Every single person was reminding her. Feng Luodi laughed bitterly. She was not a person without feelings. No matter how comfortable her life was, she could feel the tension in those around her. She felt extremely pressured but she could not exert this pressure on Situ. That man was already very tired.
She did not want to become his burden.
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Meanwhile, it was still silent in the court.
Situ displayed a pensive look and let time dance on everyone’s heart before he unhurriedly spoke.“I feel that,” he paused for a moment, “The young general who guards at the western frontier is very suitable for this position.”400 000 Western Army troops. The general-in-chief of the Western Army was Defender-in-chief Xue who had retired back to his hometown. The Commander-in-chief of the Western Army was his eldest son, Xue Yiyun. The young general was the second son of the Defender-in-chief, Xue Yiqing, while his youngest son, Xue Yiqi, was Chang’an Imperial Army Commander.
All the officials were extremely flabbergasted. The Central Army’s Ji Buhui is Situ’s trusted aide. He is transferred to another post just like that. Isn’t it clear that he is crippling Situ’s military power step by step? At the same time, if 200 000 troops are handed to the Xue Family, there is no guarantee that they would not become another Situ Family.
In that case, how will the Emperor decide?
The Emperor was silent for a while, and suddenly started laughing heartily. His maniacal laughter unnerved the officials again.
The Emperor finally composed himself and placed his palm firmly on the desk. “You can never go wrong with the recommendations of the Duke of Anping. Send word to Zhen Xi and Xiang Yang to announce my decree to let these two return to Chang’an at once.”
An attendant immediately replied and left to handle the matter.
The Eighth Prince stood at one side of the officials with his fists clenched. He did not know whether he should be elated or apprehensive. Recently, the Emperor’s movements had severed a significant amount of his power. On the surface, he was promoting the First Prince but in fact, he was giving all the benefits to the Eleventh Prince. Only now did he realise his foolishness back then. He’d divided his strength into two to deal with both the First Prince and the Eleventh Prince at the same time. From the looks of it now, he should have collaborated with the First Prince to dispose of the Eleventh Prince.
As the thoughts raced through his head, the Eighth Prince’s gaze fell on the First Prince, the main target of his efforts lately. The First Prince still looked as calm and composed as ever. He was forever in agreement with the Emperor and was forever humble with the officials. His reputation among the commoners was also excellent.
The Eighth Prince sneered. You can hide, but I know that we are the same kind. I can smell it off you. The scent of the thirst for that supreme position.
On the other hand, the Eleventh Prince who was crowded around by the officials also sneered.
After the court assembly was dismissed, Gan Qingjia caught up with Situ who walked out of the palace gates briskly. He looked left and right before he asked, “What were you thinking? You actually let Ji Buhui return to Chang’an just like that? It is obvious that your power is being diminished.”
Gan Qingjia was bewildered about the huge change in the Emperor’s temperament but more than that, he was dissatisfied and worried about Situ complying with the Emperor’s wishes like this.
Situ flicked away Gan Qingjia’s hand which was casually placed on his shoulder. The anger in his countenance was still present but his tone was very tranquil.
“What? Would you rather have me be punished with the crime of belittling the imperial might?”
Gan Qingjia was instantly stumped for words. Only after a long time did he speak with a hoarse voice, “Would the Emperor really do that? He clearly can’t present any evidence, he clearly knows that you did not err, yet he wants to deal with you heartlessly just because he is suspicious? Is this how an Emperor should act?”
From Gan Qingjia’s perspective, ever since he entered the court, he had relied on the Emperor’s recognition to become the Imperial Treasurer quickly. Even the Minister of the Left could not help but sigh with emotion about the Emperor’s foresight. To a certain extent, he had entered the court to become an official due to Situ and the First Prince. However, the Emperor was the one who conferred him his official post and future prospects and he could very likely be their next opponent.
Situ was silent for a while before he slowly said, “Qingjia, there are many matters where you can’t just look at the surface. the Emperor’s thoughts have already been exposed a very long time ago.”
It was as if Gan Qingjia’s thoughts were laid bare in broad daylight. A slightly chill ascended from the bottom of his feet.
“Didn’t you make an appointment with someone?”
Situ saw the changes in Gan Qingjia’s expression and sighed faintly. Gan Qingjia’s complexion had just turned a little better. However, when he thought about the person he was about to meet next, warmth appeared in his pair of peach blossom eyes. He waved his hand and bade goodbye to Situ.
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The street outside Moonglade was as bustling as ever. Whenever the hasty passer-bys heard the melodious music of the zithers coming from inside, they would subconsciously stop in their tracks to listen with rapt attention. Their originally fretful expressions would also become more placid.
That was the power of music.
Qi Jianqiu was dressed as a man in a romantic and casual manner while shaking a fan in her hand. She would frivolously raise the corner of her mouth at women who took notice of her as they passed by, causing those few girls to instantly cover their faces as they left.
As soon as Gan Qingjia arrived, he witnessed his own wife being enraptured by other young ladies and absolutely forgetting the fact that she herself was a woman.
When he thought about how they were still rivals back then, didn’t this wife of his disguise herself as a man all day long to compete with his charisma? He laughed softly. Gan Qingjia’s eyes were filled with gentleness. With such a person who could make him joyful every single moment, he should not have hesitated.
That would only bring hurt to those around me.
“You’re so late!”
As soon as Qi Jianqiu saw Gan Qingjia, her romantic attitude from just now instantly vanished. Conversely, she had the look of a woman on her visage. Despite already being married, she still retained the innocence of a young girl but she was also aware of the different aspects of affairs in the world. Compared to power obtained from fighting and scheming against each other, why should she not properly enjoy the various pleasures in this world? Furthermore, she still had this person accompanying her by her side.
“The main hall or a private room today?” Gan Qingjia was smiling as he walked over. He wrapped his arms around Qi Jianqiu’s waist, immediately causing the young ladies who blushed just now run away in embarrassment.
“Let’s do the hall today.” Qi Jianqiu used the fan to hit Gan Qingjia’s restless hands but it was a mere pat.
“Alright, I’ll listen to you.”
The people in Moonglade were already speechless about this pair of husband and wife. In ordinary households, there would always be one who likes to go to the zither parlours while the other would throw a big fuss and make much trouble. But this family had it good. They accompanied each other and came for the music. The two of them would joke among themselves and treat it as if others did not exist. Was this not making people feel uncomfortable and speechless?
Qi Jianqiu did not care about whether others felt uncomfortable. She picked a very good seat and pulled Gan Qingjia to go over. However, Gan Qingjia had no response. His gaze was kept on the second storey. Qi Jianqiu looked in the same direction. Wow! Miss Linglong just entered that private room.
“Uh huh, it looks like a certain someone can’t bear to part with Miss Linglong.”
Her peculiar tone caused Gan Qingjia to break away from his own thoughts. When he faced Qi Jianqiu’s furious eyes, he did not know whether he should cry or laugh as he explained, “There was a person with her just now. I think I’ve seen him somewhere before.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Thanks to Rakumon for the chapter