Chapter 187 – Punished only because you’re capable
Pei Zi Yun returned to the pier and was waiting for the boat when a hot feeling appeared within his robes. He realized that it was the long distance communication talisman which his master had given him before they departed. People started boarding the boat, which had just arrived while others disembarked. The boat crew were shouting loudly that they were due to depart soon.
Pei Zi Yun entered his own cabin and settled down. He shut the door before taking the talisman out and pressing on it. Immediately the shadow of Yu Yun Jun appeared. As soon as Yu Yun Jun realized that she could communicate with Pei Zi Yun, she started becoming anxious as she asked, “Where are you right now?”
Hearing her tone, Pei Zi Yun mumbled out, “I am in Dou An Prefecture, eight hundred kilometers away from the Sect. Master, I am still within the expulsion period. Why do you sound so flustered. What’s happening?”
Yu Yun Jun then scrutinized Pei Zi Yun. At this point, Pei Zi Yun had altered his appearances. Only his eyes and voice were familiar, for his entire facial features were different.
‘Could this boy have met with some trouble?’ Yu Yun Jun thought, ‘Maybe I shall ask him more when he returns.’
Thinking this way, she then replied, “Indeed something bad has happened. Our Patriarchs have received a bad omen. I’m afraid disaster and calamity is about to befall our sect. Besides, we realized that the area nearby our sect stronghold has seen an increase in activity from other Daoists. We suspect they are planning an attack on us soon. That’s why the sect are recalling all its members back. Pei Zi Yun, return back soon please.”
Hearing this Pei Zi Yun was about to agree when he recalled about how the Sect Leader had treated him unfairly. He then replied, “Master, I was supposed to be expelled from the sect for a year and wasn’t allowed to return back to the sect. It hasn’t been a year, and I don’t dare to return back.”
Pei Zi Yun’s expression clearly showed that he was upset and unhappy with the decision to expel him for a year. Seeing her disciple’s reaction, Yu Yun Jun gave a laugh, “Why are you throwing a tantrum. Return, the punishment has been cancelled. This matter has been personally undertaken by the Patriarch. You can use this opportunity to ascend to the Honorary Disciple spot. This is your chance to do well. We have a use for your sword skills here and now.”
Hearing these words, Pei Zi Yun hurriedly replied, “Yes master. I understand. I am coming back now.”
Yu Yun Jun nodded her head, “Be careful when you return. You might meet with an ambush.”
“Many thanks to Master for your concern.” Pei Zi Yun replied before the talisman turned dark as it was shut off on his master’s end.
After the talisman was shut off, Yu Yun Jun walked over to the window and gazed out of the window as her brows furrowed in a frown. She seemed rather worried. Although she spoke very casually and freely just now, such a war between sects didn’t just concern the current disciples. It involved the Patriarchs within Paradise as well.
Yu Yun Jun gave a long sigh as she decided to leave this matter to the Patriarchs to handle. Her only duty were to protect Chu Xia and Pei Zi Yun. That would be enough.
Pei Zi Yun shut off the talisman on his end before reaching out for his sword as he drew it out from the scabbard. A gleam of red, cold light reflected into his eyes as he gazed at the blade of the sword.
‘Is it Holy Jail Sect, Dark Altar Sect or the recent sect which I’ve offended, Clear Grace Sect? Or is this a combined effort?’ Pei Zi Yun felt a sense of excitement welling up within his heart, ‘Looks like it’s time for me to show what I can do again. It’s a pity that I haven’t completed my mission yet though. Although, it’s only a matter of time now.’
The wind blew against Pei Zi Yun’s hair, ‘Since that’s the case, I recall that on the way back, there should be a Legacy which I can obtain.’
‘I guess I can retrieve it on the way there!’
He then called out, “System!”
A white Plum Blossom appeared into view as it grew bigger rapidly before transforming into a semi transparent information interface. It bore with it faint light perception as it floated in mid air. Numerous lines of words appeared before his eyes.
He then took a look at the words, “Mission: Help the Crown Prince launch an offensive against King Lu. Influence a talented individual named Ren Wei to leave King Lu’s service. (Incomplete)”
‘Influencing a talented individual named Ren Wei to leave King Lu’s service had already been completed, but the mission hasn’t been completed yet. I guess the effect of Ren Wei leaving King Lu’s service hasn’t been registered as an offense against King Lu yet.’
‘Actually, I’ve only set into motion the first of three parts of the –Peace Document–.’
‘The Emperor, statuses, all the different groups of people from across the world, and the henchmen.’
‘Initially, the Peace Document stated everything that the Crown Prince should do in order to defeat King Lu and win the throne. This was mainly centered towards satisfying the Emperor as much as possible.’
‘But I never mentioned how he should act with regards to the rest of the officials and subordinates. I’ve never mentioned their expectations for a good Emperor and how the Crown Prince should attempt to fit with their expectations in order to win favor from the people.’
‘As for the Emperor, he expects the Crown Prince to satisfy and pander to him, and not pose any threat to himself until he hands the throne down.’
‘But for the rest of the officials, they expect any Emperor who rules over them to at least have a certain degree of intelligence, but not be too clever. More importantly, an Emperor must not be cruel or too harsh.’
‘Although King Lu had been punished and met with disapproval from the Emperor, he bore great resemblances towards the current Emperor himself. In other words, he was indeed his father’s son. But who would want a continuation of the current overbearing monarch to be upon them for another few decades?’
‘Without an heir, it was extremely difficult for the high ranking officials to cast their support for the Crown Prince. Now that he had met the criteria, everyone would naturally flock over to him, as he was the most suitable ruler.’
‘King Lu, do you know that the only reason you were punished was because you’re capable. In other words, everyone knew of you abilities and thus had to restrain you. If not, you would be formidable.’
Crown Prince’s Palace
Many palace maids were getting busy with their daily activities within the palace. Not far away, the flowers were in the yard were in full bloom as bees and butterflies hovered over them. From time to time, a palace guard would walk across, scaring everything into hiding.
Within a hall, the Crown Prince sat atop his high seat as he read through several documents. These documents weren’t very important and were handed down from the Emperor for him as a sort of training. Usually, the Crown Prince will treat this very seriously and read and evaluate the documents to the best of his abilities.
At this point however, the Crown Prince was clearly vexed. He had been unable to concentrate and couldn’t sit past the last few readings. He placed his quill aside and sighed deeply.
The Royal Concubine who sat beside him served up a cup of tea. When the Crown Prince received it, he took a long sip from it. He then turned and spoke, “I didn’t expect that such a simple document, bearing such a simple plan could help me by so much. There’s been many people starting to cast their support from me. I’ve also heard that many people have left King Lu’s service.”
“Aunt, such a good document, do you think he will provide more?” The Crown Prince stood up excitedly, his expression was clearly happy although he hesitated slightly.
The Royal Concubine looked somewhat anxious as she opened her mouth to speak. Just as she was about to voice her opinions, she decided to swallow her words instead and remained silent.
Beneath the high chair, the Grand Princess was sipping her tea as she gazed into the distance deep in thought. She suddenly recalled what Pei Zi Yun had said to her before departing as her heart sighed. She then exhaled deeply, “Crown Prince, everyone under the heavens now assume that the reason for the shift in my Emperor brother’s opinion was due to the fact that an heir was born to you. Everyone thinks that the reason he now supports you, is because he adores his grandson, and not because you’ve made a subtle move.”
“But if you keep continuing to intervene and take more steps, you might accidentally leave a trace of your actions behind. When that happens, what do you think my brother the Emperor would do? The Emperor is the most noble figure under the heaven, and will be the future generation’s great forefather. If you were to unfairly manipulate the situation, you would incite his hatred and detest for yourself. In fact, he might even start to question if he really knew you at all, and whether your past deeds were all just a pretense. Should that happen, you would lose all favor from him.”
“When that happens, King Lu will begin his plans to completely get rid of you, and might even kill you in the process. That would be absolutely not worth it.”
“Furthermore if everyone finds out that you manipulate the situation, even the ministers and high ranking officials will form a poor opinion of you, and their loyalties towards you will waver too. The current support of the officials only go to the first born which has an heir, and that’s you. They will shift their support away if they realize that the candidate which they followed is a crafty and sly manipulative leader.”
The previously elated Crown Prince fell into deep silence as he pondered over his choices. Cold sweat started to run down his back. Before long, he finally replied, “Many thanks aunt for splashing cold water on my face. If not, I probably would have made a mistake in my next step.”
When the Grand Princess heard this, she thought, ‘This Crown Prince, really sways too easily.’
The Grand Princess sighed as she forced a laugh, “Crown Prince, there’s no need for you to act this way. It’s probably that after striking out at King Lu for the first time, your emotions are probably in a whirl. There’s no need to think too much, just be calm and composed and be on your guard. If you don’t overdo anything, you won’t go wrong. The longer you remain composed, the stronger your position.”
“Phew!” The Crown Prince smiled as he exhaled. He then turned to face his Royal Concubine, “Concubine, I’ve finally taken revenge on the people who’ve made an attempt on your life. You are truly my lucky star, for giving birth to the Emperor’s grandson.”
He then realized that he forgot the Grand Princess was in his presence. He then hurriedly turned to her, “Aunt, as for the next steps, what should I do? Waiting is just wasting time!”
Hearing this question, the Grand Princess was somewhat irritated. She then regained her composure before replying, “Crown Prince, you should just read the Emperor’s documents seriously and raise your son up wisely. As for the next steps you take, you’ve already made a move this year and shouldn’t do anything again too soon. Maybe act again next year.”
The Crown Prince looked to unhappy as he paused for some time in thought. He then sighed, “SInce you’ve said it this way, then it shall be done this way. I’ll wait for another year and waste another year.”
Feeling somewhat resentful, he sighed, “It was Pei Zi Yun’s plan which caused such a positive effect for me. It’s a pity he’s left. Were he still around, I’m sure we would move forward with a great plan instead of just stagnating, waiting for something to happen.”
“It’s not a pity that he’s left, he’s a Daoist after all. Crown Prince should rely on himself.” The Grand Princess then continued, “The both of you are my nephews. The only reason I’ve been coming to visit you is because I’m biased towards you. But I shan’t be able to come here anymore as King Lu will begin to grow suspicious.”
The Grand Princess stood up as she spoke. When she was done, the Crown Prince nodded his head in approval as he watched her turn around to leave.
When she reached the entrance of the hall, she heard the Crown Prince ask his Royal Concubine, “Concubine, I wish to know your opinion about whatever aunt has said.”
The Grand Princess shook her head in disapproval. The Crown Prince is too soft and uncertain. She then changed her thoughts, ‘But that’s exactly why all the other ministers and officials along with myself support the Crown Prince.’
As for the Crown Prince’s ascension to the throne, having the approval of the Emperor was half the battle won. The other half of it came from the support of the high ranking officials.
As for the wishes of the high ranking officials, the Grand Princess understood them. She knew that the officials were working tirelessly to ensure that the monarch on the throne was the most suitable which would enable them to benefit. The requirements of such a ruler wasn’t that he had to be wise, but neither must he be foolish. The ideal monarch for them was someone who was lukewarm, average, indifferent and dependent on the officials.
Hence, the Crown Prince was currently very fitting of whatever the officials required.
However, he can’t be mediocre and indifferent all the time, as that would cause the Emperor to lose respect for him. Hence the best way was to balance these two properly.
“Pei Zi Yun, you left in such a hurry, did you identify such a problem?” Just as he was thinking, a serving girl attended to the Grand Princess and escorted her to the ox-cart.
Grand Princess Mansion
As soon as the Grand Princess returned to her mansion, she noticed the butterflies and bees swarming around her garden. She reached out a hand as a butterfly landed on her finger as it gently flapped its wings.
The Grand Princess laughed before allowing the butterfly to fly away. She whispered silently to the butterfly which even the serving maid next to her couldn’t here. She then turned around to ask the old maid, “How has the little Canton Princess been the past few days?”
The old maid stepped forward, “I’ve heard that she’s much better now, and has even regained her appetite. It’s just that she’s been reading many of those storybooks.”
“Oh?” Just as she was asking, she felt someone charged right into her embrace.
The Grand Princess hugged her daughter tenderly before asking, “Eh, how did you manage to come out of your building? Weren’t you caught up with your drawings of him, crying every day?”
The Canton Princess laughed and replied, “I’m very happy that Cui Ying Ying and Zhang Sheng ended up together.”
The Grand Princess looked at her daughter and noticed that she had tear stained at the corner of her eyes as if she had just been crying. She then asked, “Who are Cui Ying Ying and Zhang Sheng? Since they’ve gotten married, shouldn’t you be giving them a present?”
As soon as she heard this, the Canton Princess covered her mouth and started giggling, “Mother, what present. I was talking about the novel –Story of the Western Wing–. It’s such a good read, after reading so many times I’m deeply envious.”
The Grand Princess paused, if only she knew that the author of this book was Pei Zi Yun. What would she do?
The Canton Princess waved a hand in front of her mother’s face before the Grand Princess snapped back from her thoughts. The Canton Princess looked humiliated, “Mother, I was talking to you why were you daydreaming.”
The Grand Princess stroked her daughters hair, “I wasn’t. I was thinking about how nice it would be if I could read the book as well.”
“Mother, let me tell you. The story goes like this, Cui Ying Ying and Zhang Sheng…” The corridor was filled with sunlight as an adult and a child walked together over the bridge.