I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country - 008
008 – His Majesty Punishes the Future Prince Regent
Juzi1 would gather in the capital at the end of the winter. The next spring, the Ministry of Rites would preside over the conference examination. Since Chu Wei wanted to participate in this conference examination, his father was bound to step back.
These few days, the imperial court session also discussed the conference examination that would take place in the early third month. Gu Yuanbai and the ministers set the keynote of the conference examination and determined the proportions of classics, policy theory, arithmetic, poetry, laws and decrees, and essays in the exam. The chief invigilators consisted of a principal and three deputies from the first and second rank high officials. Along them were eighteen other invigilators. The Ministry of Rites submitted a list of candidates for Gu Yuanbai to select.
After the imperial court session, Gu Yuanbai got the list. He had to choose people as soon as possible. After three days, these chosen people would be followed by the Imperial Guard and enter the Examination Hall Locked Courtyard.
The chosen people were also scholarly. Although they were the students of the Emperor2, the chief invigilators of the provincial examination and the conference examination eventually had the title of ‘’Master’’. This examination was also a matter of honor. The carefully selected people were the Jinshi3 that the emperor trusted. Gu Yuanbai could make the evaluation here for whoever he was willing to take further or restrict.
After he had chosen the people, the Imperial Kitchen delivered the meal. Since the last time he ordered a bowl of fried noodles in soybean sauce, the Imperial Kitchen seemed to have discovered a hundred ways to use different sauces. The minced meat sauce they created was delicious. It alone went well with rice.
Gu Yuanbai’s appetite was not very good these few days. No matter how much the people in the Imperial Kitchen brainstormed, he only moved for a few before putting down his chopsticks. After ordering people to withdraw the meal, Gu Yuanbai prepared to take a nap after washing.
Gu Yuanbai instructed Tian Fusheng to wake him up two hours later before he fell asleep. Yet, he didn’t expect to be awakened by violent shaking a moment after he fell asleep.
When he opened my eyes, he saw Tian Fusheng’s face full of tears, and his voice trembled as he said, “Your Majesty, Grand Imperial Concubine Wan is seriously ill.”
At the manor on the outskirts of the capital city.
Gu Yuanbai walked out of the house full of medicinal smell and looked at a lonely dead tree in the courtyard; his eyes were a bit dry.
At the side, Tian Fusheng and his palace attendants had already covered up their faces and wept. The imperial doctor followed the emperor on the left side, whispering the diagnosis result.
Grand Imperial Concubine Wan was the imperial concubine of the late emperor.
She was also the younger sister of Gu Yuanbai’s birth mother.
Gu Yuanbai’s birth mother passed away early. To protect Gu Yuanbai, his mother’s clan let Grand Imperial Concubine Wan enter the palace. Grand Imperial Concubine Wan took the infertility drug to make herself treat Gu Yuanbai as her child. Afterward, she only paved the way for Gu Yuanbai for the rest of her life.
It was also Grand Imperial Concubine Wan who, step by step, found out the truth about the strange death of Gu Yuanbai’s birth mother within the harem. She carried out his mother’s vengeance for him. Whether it was the former young emperor or the current Gu Yuanbai, they both regarded Grand Imperial Concubine Wan the same as their birth mother.
After the former emperor died, Gu Yuanbai wanted to take good care of Grand Imperial Concubine Wan in the palace, but Grand Imperial Concubine Wan determined to leave the palace. She didn’t want to die within the palace.
Gu Yuanbai moved her to this manor. However, even meticulous support still could not bear the passage of time.
Grand Imperial Concubine Wan was old. She lost her will and wanted to die.
Gu Yuanbai looked at the overcast sky. He felt his heart like being gripped by an invisible hand, and the tip of his nose tingled, but his eyes were dry.
The carriage jolted on the uneven road as the manor gradually distancing. Tian Fusheng had wiped away the tears from his face and cautiously served Gu Yuanbai in the carriage.
Gu Yuanbai leaned on the soft seat, looking at the scenery outside the carriage in a daze. When the carriage drove into the capital, he called for a stop. He got out of the carriage and walked towards the palace by himself.
The capital under the feet of the emperor was prosperous and populous. At the side, several children ran past with a giggle while holding sugar figurines. Gu Yuanbai stopped and looked at these children.
Men in coarse garments were working on the side of the street, and women were diligently doing housework. Men and women, young and old, were all busy to earn a good living.
However, there were even more scholars in a group of two and three. Regardless of public gathering places and teahouses, everywhere were filled with impassioned Jurens, who came to participate in the conference examination. Perhaps, it was due to excitement or nervousness that they talked loudly about the upcoming conference examination.
Gu Yuanbai didn’t know what he was thinking. The Imperial Bodyguards and palace attendants who protected him at the back also didn’t know what he was thinking.
They just followed the young emperor silently and kept a watch on the surroundings.
There were so many high-ranking officials and nobles in the capital, but Gu Yuanbai and his party did not attract much attention. Gu Yuanbai regained his mind and continued to move forward. However, as soon as he took two steps out, a flake of snow suddenly fell from his eyes.
“Ah! Father, it’s snowing!”
There were shouts of joy from children around. Gu Yuanbai broke into laughter and shook his head. Tian Fusheng quickly put on a fox-fur coat on him, “Master, let’s get on the carriage?”
“Walk a little longer,” Gu Yuanbai said, “I haven’t seen the snow scenery in the capital for a long time.”
The snow in the capital on the second month fluttered like goose feathers dancing in the air. Captain of the Imperial Bodyguard held up a parasol for the emperor. Snow-white snowflakes slipped from the side of the parasol, and some fell on the fine black waist-length hair of the emperor by the wind blow.
They walked past restaurants and teahouses. Upstairs in Zhuangyuan Building, Xue Yuan was shaking his wine bottle next to the window and saw the group of people as soon as he lowered his head.
The emperor’s face hid under the parasol, but the faces of Tian Fusheng and Captain of the Imperial Bodyguard were very familiar. Xue Yuan shook his wine and stretched his hand out of the window. When the group passed by his window, his fingers loosened one by one.
The wine bottle fell and shattered not far behind Gu Yuanbai. The Imperial Bodyguards immediately tensed up and fiercely looked upstairs.
Gu Yuanbai pushed away from the parasol, and his vision was unobstructed. When he looked up, he saw a hand casually put on the window on the second floor. Without thinking about it, Gu Yuanbai knew that the owner of this hand had dropped this wine bottle that almost hit him.
The corner of Gu Yuanbai’s lips curled up. His voice was as cold as snowflakes, “Bring him down.”
After a short while, the Imperial Bodyguards brought down the wine-smelling Xue Yuan from Zhuangyuan Building. Snowflakes floated and fluttered even more vigorously. The parasol was useless. Gu Yuanbai had already asked the Captain of the Imperial Bodyguard to put away the useless parasol. He stood alone in the cold wind for a while, and a lot of snow had accumulated on his body.
Xue Yuan was brought to Gu Yuanbai’s side. When Gu Yuanbai saw him, he continued to smile, “It turns out to be General Xue’s gongzi.”
Tian Fusheng said, “Master, do you want to send Gongzi Xue back to General Xue’s residence?”
As they talked, Xue Yuan hiccupped. He stretched out his face to look at Gu Yuanbai for a while, and then exclaimed, “Your Majesty?!”
Gu Yuanbai quietly looked at him. There were snowflakes on his hair, fox-fur coat, and even eyelashes. These snowflakes did not melt immediately when they fell on him. Compared to him, Xue Yuan’s body was clean. The heat of his body melted those snowflakes before they even fell.
Upon seeing this, Gu Yuanbai’s mood worsened.
No emperor could maintain a good mood in front of the person, who would seize his power in the future, and who was also a hundred times healthier than him.
This person Xue Yuan was like a dog that bit whenever it met people. He didn’t usually bark, but he was fierce and had a very low sense of morality. He had only desire and power in his eyes. He was an expert at leading soldiers, but such an official was like a sharp blade without a handle. If others wanted to use him, they must prepare to have their hand cut off.
Gu Yuanbai dared to sway Chu Wei, but Xue Yuan was out of the question.
Gu Yuanbai looked at the broken wine bottle on the ground, “What’s this all about?”
Xue Yuan grinned. The wine smell on his body assaulted people. He followed to look at the fragments on the ground, pretending to be in a daze, “Why is my wine here?”
Tian Fusheng covered his nose and pinched his throat as he said, “Master, Gongzi Xue must be drunk.”
Gu Yuanbai suddenly smiled. He walked to stand beside the porcelain fragments, and the people detaining Xue Yuan also brought Xue Yuan over. Xue Yuan looked relaxed and leisurely walked. It looked as though the Imperial Bodyguards did not oppress him, but serving him.
Snowflakes fell on the tip of his nose, and an itch rose by chance. Gu Yuanbai coughed a few times and hoarsely said, “Kneel.”
The Imperial Bodyguards detaining Xue Yuan hardly and firmly pressed Xue Yuan’s knees against the sharp porcelain fragments on the ground.
When the large pieces of broken porcelain pierced into the flesh, blood instantly spread over the pants and flowed to the ground. Snowflakes drifted onto the blood and quickly melted into water, allowing the blood to spread faster on the ground.
Xue Yuan swiftly put away his perfunctory face and gloomily looked up at Gu Yuanbai.
Gu Yuanbai softly smiled at him, and suddenly stretched out his hand to grab his hair. He lowered his head and said in Xue Yuan’s ear, “Zhen is in a very bad mood today, Little Gongzi Xue. Don’t allow Zhen to make your mother heartbroken, understand?”
Xue Yuan’s chin was forcibly lifted, making his jaw strained into an arc that could raise violence anytime. His scalp was also numb, and when the word ‘mother’ went into his ears, he bitterly sneered, “Yuan understood.”
Gu Yuanbai: “Very good.”
He loosened his hand. Xue Yuan slightly tilted his head, watching the young emperor’s smiling pale lips moved away from his ear. The pain in his knees gradually receded, but Xue Yuan’s whole body was already fiery hot.
He looked down at the injuries on his knees and sullenly grinned. When the emperor’s party disappeared, Xue Yuan stood up from the ground and limped to Xue Residence.
The first thing Gu Yuanbai did after entering the palace was to brief the people from the Supervision Bureau to take advantage of Xue Residence’s recruitment opportunity to send people there again.
Sure enough, as he expected, Xue Yuan cleaned up the people in the residence after he returned. All of the emperor’s spies would possibly be sold, and people with clean backgrounds would be bought into the residence.
Naturally, Gu Yuanbai paid more attention to the two protagonists, Xue Yuan and Chu Wei. Twelve people hid in Xue Residence. This time, seven got disposed and five remained. Perhaps, they could use this opportunity to take root and sprout, growing into towering trees.
Gu Yuanbai was quite satisfied with the result.
They walked back to the palace on a snowy day. When he returned to the palace, his shoes were already wet. Tian Fusheng couldn’t help but nag when he took off Gu Yuanbai’s shoes and socks, “Your Majesty, take care of the dragon body ah.”
Gu Yuanbai looked down at his boots and smiled, “It’s wet ah.”
Tian Fusheng got busy with the eunuchs and palace maids. After finally getting the emperor dried, cleaned, and without a bit of coldness, they all breathed a sigh of relief.
The emperor sat by the bed, and the eunuch carried away the wormwood foot bath. The sky outside the window was dusky, but the lights in the Imperial Sleeping Palace were as bright as day.
“Grand Imperial Concubine Wan is in poor health,” Gu Yuanbai sighed softly. “The imperial doctor said, she might not be able to survive until summer.”
Tian Fusheng massaged the emperor’s shoulders, “Your Majesty, Grand Imperial Concubine Wan doesn’t want you to be sad.”
“Zhen knows,” Gu Yuanbai, “she’s afraid that Zhen will worry.”
“Exactly, Your Majesty. When Grand Imperial Concubine Wan can see you cheer up, she can be happy.”
Gu Yuanbai stopped talking. After his shoulders loosened up, he let Tian Fusheng withdraw all the people. He wanted to be alone and quietly.
He had just set things in motion, and he barely took control of the imperial court in his palm.
There were a lot of things he had not done for the country, and there were still many others that needed to be verified in three or five years or even decades.
Grand Imperial Concubine Wan was worried about him. She worried that he would complain about his body.
In actuality, Gu Yuanbai was grateful for this gratuitous extra life. Besides, this life let him appreciate the scenery he had never seen before.
Before going to bed, Gu Yuanbai thought of Xue Yuan and Chu Wei.
He had no idea about these two protagonists. Even without Xue Yuan, there would be Wang Yuan and Li Yuan… The only reason that could cause the turmoil itself was that the emperor did not do well.
His life had been limited. But whether it was Xue Yuan or Chu Wei, as the protagonists in the novel, they could certainly develop Great Heng very well. Perhaps they could inherit his will and continue what he wanted to do.
But Xue Yuan was too impertinent. If Gu Yuanbai wanted to tame this mad dog, he needed to think of a way.
How to make him obedient?
Beat him to a pulp and let him know it hurts?
The author has something to say:
[The attacking and throwing the bottle is deliberately tentative. The specific reason will be discussed later, and the reason for the madness will also be discussed later. Don’t worry, everyone, the reason is too blunt to explain it all at once.]
Let him be scared because of the little emperor’s health, and let him hurt because of the little emperor.
Gu Yuanbai: Very good, you successfully aroused my desire to conquer 🙂
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