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Chapter Eighty-Six: Warning
An official was excitedly criticizing the Chief Justice of the Judicial Office during court. He accused the other of dozens of crimes, then presented his proof. It was as though if he could not get this person, he would not rest.
The other officials had strange expressions. Everyone knew that the Chief Justice of the Judicial Office was on good terms with Sheng Junwang and respected him very much. This person who was criticizing the Chief Justice right now was undoubtedly putting himself at odds with Sheng Junwang.
A minor imperial censor dared to do something like this. Who gave him the courage? Or rather… who was the person behind him?
The Emperor, as expected, did not let this opportunity pass. He immediately stripped the Chief Justice of the Judicial Office of his role, and arrested him to wait for his sentence.
Almost everyone understood this was a signal—the Emperor was going to move against Sheng Junwang! There were many parties in the court. One was strictly monarchist. They would do what the Emperor said. One was for the Imperial Family. They felt that if the Emperor did not have a son, then he should adopt one of his nephews as heir. Most of this part supported Sheng Junwang. There was also a neutral party. They would only recognize those who would be of benefit to them rather than follow a party.
In the view of the neutral party, the Emperor’s decision would not be right, and Sheng Junwang might not be the best choice. They did not have to be in a hurry to pick sides in case they offended the person who did become the next emperor. They would rather not have the merit of helping someone onto the throne rather than become an eyesore in the eyes of the next emperor.
Qilong Emperor’s attitude was too determined. The party that supported Sheng Junwang wasn’t even able to beg for mercy as they watched the imperial guards drag the Chief Justice away.
“Zhen thinks that Zhang Hou is not a bad person. He will temporarily take the position of Chief Justice.” The Emperor, to show his fairness, deliberately picked the Junior Justice Zhang Hou who had displeased him to become the Chief Justice.
The officials were surprised. Wasn’t this Zhang Hou who had enraged the Emperor over his investigation in the case of the Crown Prince? Why was the Emperor so generous to promote him? They had thought that he would hate this official.
Of course, Qilong Emperor was not a generous person. He promoted Zhang Hou for everyone to see. He wanted the public to know that he would use even a person like Zhang Hou. Therefore, his demoting people now was not done out of selfish intent, but because they had committed great crimes.
In the end, he was just finding an excuse to cover it up.
Yan Jin Qiu lowered his head and stood as if all of this had nothing to do with him. In the eyes of other people, Xian Wang was as expected, someone truly detached from these matters. It had to be said that if Sheng Junwang lost power, then the possibility of Xian Wang ascending the throne would become even greater.
It was a pity that this person was one who did not like power. It was a waste of his talent.
Everyone thought that the imperial censor who had criticized the Chief Justice had been arranged by the Emperor. Even Yan Bo Yi thought this. After the court session ended, he looked coldly at the imperial censor and turned to leave.
“Sheng Junwang.” Ning Wang walked in front of him with a smile and said emotionally, “People nowadays are really daring, don’t you think?”
“Ning Wang has said that your health hasn’t been good recently. If that’s the case, then do not meddle in matters not concerning you, and rest at home.” Sheng Junwang raised his hands coldly. “This one will go first. Farewell.”
“Tsk.” Ning Wang rubbed his chin as he watched Yan Bo Yi walk away. He turned his head and saw Yan Jin Qiu who was sedately walking away. He blinked. Maybe it was time to make a decision.
In the months after this, there were many changes in court. Several high-ranking and powerful officials were demoted. Almost all of this people had one thing in common: they were close to Sheng Junwang or they admired him.
The common people only thought that this was the Emperor going crazy over the death of his son, and did not know that this was a battle for the court.
Amateurs watched for the spectacle, and the professionals watched for the technique. Many of the officials who had been close to Yan Bo Yi in the past were now extremely cautious. They even broke off their interactions with Sheng Junwang Fu to express where they stood.
“Who was it that leaked this?!” Yan Bo Yi looked at his advisors in the room with a dark face. These were his closest confidants, but right now, he was suspicious that one among them had betrayed him.
Some of the officials who had been demoted didn’t even have any interactions with him in public. But even so, the Emperor had sentenced them. This meant that the Emperor already knew of their secret interactions with him.
But how did the Emperor learn of this?
“Junwang Ye…” The advisors stared at each other. None of them had thought the situation would become like this, and they started to suspect each other.
Seeing them like this, Yan Bo Yi did not say anything. He rubbed the corner of his eye tiredly and said, “What do you think should be done?”
“The Emperor has already decided to set himself against Junwang Ye. Why don’t we…” One of the advisors did not finish speaking before Yan Bo Yi glared at him. He did not dare to continue.
“Leave.” Since Yan Bo Yi was already suspicious of these advisors, he naturally would not discuss important matters with them any longer. So after he had them all leave, he sighed helplessly.
Originally, everything had been prepared and he only lacked an eastern wind. No one had expected the situation to reverse itself and force him to a precipice.
Now that it had developed to this step, he would either have to be vicious, or he would die.
He balled his fists and stood to walk towards the main yard.
In Xian Wang Fu, Hua Xi Wan used a handkerchief to wipe her face. Waving a fan, she said, “It is just May right now—how come it is so hot?”
“This servant also feels that this year is exceptionally hot.” Bai Xia fanned Hua Xi Wan and said with a light laugh, “Do not be angry. I will fan you and it will not be so hot.”
“This is almost suffocating heat. Maybe rain is coming.” Hua Xi Wan exhaled heavily. “Make me another bowl of iced silver fungus. It is so hot my heart feels restless.”
“Wang Fei, you cannot eat too many cold things. You have already used a bowl this morning.” Bai Xia fanned her. “How about this servant makes you a cup of cold tea?”
Hua Xi Wan could recognize what was to her benefit. Hearing this, she could only sigh and say, “All right, you should also go and drink a bowl.” She pulled the thin robe and weakly slumped on the table. Seeing Yan Jin Qiu come in, she didn’t even move.
“What is going on?” Yan Jin Qiu was wearing his proper attire. Seeing Hua Xi Wan was so heated that her face was flushed, he said, “Why are you not putting out ice in the room?”
“If I use ice when it is just May, what will I do in June and July?” Hua Xi Wan glanced at him weakly. Seeing he was still wearing his outer robe, she said, “Why are you dressed so heavily?”
Yan Jin Qiu took off the outer robe and immediately felt much lighter. Turning around, he saw that Hua Xi Wan was still lying down and went forward to say, “Let’s go sit in the pavilion on the lake. The wind blows there and it will be much cooler.”
Hua Xi Wan took the tea that Bai Xia handed and took a sip. When the tea reached her throat, it was very refreshing. This made her slightly more alert. “Let’s go.”
The lotuses in the lake had started to bud. Hua Xi Wan leaned against the stone table in the pavilion and said lazily, “I see that your complexion is good today. Did something good happen?”
“Ever since I married you, good things happen to me daily.” Yan Jin Qiu poured a cup of water for her. “Was I not in a good mood before?”
“Don’t sweet talk.” Hua Xi Wan raised her head to glance at him and then said, “When were you happy?”
When he heard this, Yan Jin Qiu’s heart moved. Then he laughed brightly. “What more can I ask of this wife?”
Hua Xi Wan was too lazy to attend to his hyper-emotional attitude. She took the cup that he handed over and drank. With the cool wind blowing, she felt her restlessness disappear.
Not long after husband and wife sat down, news came from the palace saying that the Crown Princess was about to give birth.
“About to give birth?” Hua Xi Wan stilled. Was she even at full term yet?
Mu Tong said, “The palace has said that the Crown Princess has entered the labor room. However, it has almost been four hours, and the imperial grandson has not arrived.”
Hua Xi Wan and Yan Jin Qiu exchanged a look. Yan Jin Qiu said, “If that’s the case, then we will first wait. It will not be appropriate for us to hurry to the palace now.”
It would be all right if the Crown Princess had a successful labor. If it was not successful, wouldn’t they become the targets of the Emperor’s fury?
Another two hours passed, and the news from the palace was still that the imperial grandson had not arrived.
Husband and wife then ate a noon meal and napped. The palace sent news again—the imperial grandson had not arrived.
This was the time when thunderstorms were about to come. The clouds were dark, and the wind blew wildly. It could be seen that a thunderstorm was about to arrive.
When the first roar of thunder came, rain dropped down. Hua Xi Wan looked at the flowers that were struck down by the rain and had a strange feeling that maybe the Crown Princess would be able to give birth at last. But after birth, what waited for them was not good fortune but something else.
When night came, a burst of thunder came, and a cypress tree beside the imperial tomb was struck by lightning. Even the house that was used as a residence for the guards of the tomb was burned. Though the rain was heavy, the entire residence was completely burned down.
“Congratulations Emperor, congratulations Empress, the Crown Princess has given birth to an imperial grandson.”
“Emperor, report, the imperial tomb’s cypress tree was struck by lightning and broke. The residence of the tomb guards was also burned down.”
“Emperor, report, fire has appeared in the suburbs of Jing, and has burned down dozens of residences.”
The cries of a child and the booms of thunder sounded, but the atmosphere froze.
What did it mean when the imperial grandson was just born and so many strange things happened, such as the tree at the imperial tomb being struck by lightning?
It meant that the birth of the imperial grandson would bring inauspicious fortune.
Qilong Emperor looked at the child in his swaddling clothes. A long time later, he forced down the anger inside. “Prepare the altar, zhen has to burn incense to the ancestors.”
There were some things that were coincidences in this world. Even if he did not object to this child, the child would only represent inauspiciousness in the eyes of the people.
It had been a long time since Qilong Emperor had tasted the feeling of being pressured. But today, he had to believe in fate, he had to voice his crimes to the ancestors. Otherwise, he would be considered unfilial.
Or maybe, this wasn’t done on purpose. Were the ancestors truly expressing their displeasure at the wretched thing he had done?
The more he thought, the more fear he felt. He turned back to look in the direction of the labor room. The imperial decree he had prepared was not announced in the end.
He did not want to leave behind a bad name when he passed away. He would wait and think of another way in the future.
Translator Ramblings: All of that struggle, the machinations, the conflict … … all it took was one lightning storm, and rumors of inauspiciousness to stop the child becoming the heir.