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Chapter 421: Lobbying (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
w.a.n.g Chong was the first person who had ever dared to say such things.
In truth, Consort Taizhen's situation was very poor!
Both the Consort Taizhen incident and the Sage Emperor's favor displayed a Consort Taizhen that shone with boundless radiance, but in reality, whether she was in court or in the palace, Consort Taizhen was under a very heavy pressure.
In the Imperial Court, no small number of ministers still objected to her. Many people did not outwardly protest, but they still grumbled in private. Thus, Consort Taizhen had always endeavored to remove herself from court politics so as to avoid the dissatisfaction of those ministers.
And in the palace, Consort Taizhen had been suddenly promoted and now almost completely monopolized the Sage Emperor's favor. The Sage Emperor had even been willing to oppose all his ministers for her.
The concubines and consorts had already reached their breaking point.
If not for their fear of the Sage Emperor, the Three Palaces and Six Courts1, the numerous consorts and concubines would have joined hands to a.s.sault her long ago.
Consort Taizhen knew this, so in the vast confines of the Imperial Palace, she spent her time in only the Yezhen Palace, the imperial gardens, and a few other places she sometimes frequented. Otherwise, she did her utmost to keep her distance from all the other consorts and concubines.
There was no a.s.sociation, and certainly no relations.h.i.+p.
The rejection and hostility in the palace were invisible, but Consort Taizhen could clearly feel the enmity rising from the palaces and courts. This topic was one of her taboos.
No one had ever dared to say such things in front of her, not even Yang Zhao. But now, w.a.n.g Chong had exposed this matter in all its grisly glory.
"w.a.n.g Chong, you've gone too far!"
w.a.n.g Chong's p.r.i.c.king of this pain point had caused Consort Taizhen's expression to freeze into a sheet of ice. Even Yang Zhao's expression had morphed, and he was desperately giving w.a.n.g Chong looks.
This b.a.s.t.a.r.d scoundrel, did he go crazy today?
Not even he dared to bring up this topic, because Consort Taizhen was not only his younger cousin, but also a consort of the palace.
w.a.n.g Chong's boldness was a little too much.
"Hahah, it seems like I'm thinking too much. Although I came for the sake of the Fifth Prince, it was also out of consideration for Your Majesty. Since Your Majesty believes that this lowly subject is speaking nonsense, w.a.n.g Chong will say no more. I've troubled Your Majesty. w.a.n.g Chong bids farewell!"
Surprisingly, w.a.n.g Chong smiled at Consort Taizhen's rage. His expression normal, he clasped his hands and began to retreat out of the hall.
Just when w.a.n.g Chong was prepared to leave, a voice came from the upper reaches of the hall, ordering w.a.n.g Chong to stop.
"Wait a moment! Halt for this consort!"
In the upper reaches of the palace, Consort Taizhen's eyes were s.h.i.+fting. Although her expression was still icy, her att.i.tude was now completely different.
"w.a.n.g Chong, since you said that you were also considering this consort in your thoughts, I will give you one chance. Speak—just how are you thinking about me? If you can't give your reasons, don't blame this consort for being rude."
These words were utterly unexpected. Yang Zhao twisted his head around to glance up at Consort Taizhen, unable to conceal the astonishment in his eyes.
But w.a.n.g Chong, who had his back to Consort Taizhen, gave a faint smile, his eyes seeming completely unsurprised. Consort Taizhen now had a most esteemed status, and as a consort, she wielded ma.s.sive authority.
But in the end, she was still a woman.
Perhaps she had no interest in the Fifth Prince's affairs, but she was certainly interested in her own.
"Haha, Your Majesty!"
w.a.n.g Chong turned around, the emotions in his eyes quickly concealed as he faced Consort Taizhen.
"Your Majesty, do you not think that your current situation is very similar to the Fifth Prince's? Fifth Prince suddenly recovered the ability to cultivate and Your Majesty was promoted to consort. Both of you suddenly rose from negligible positions, both of you made others feel threatened, and both of you were rejected by others…"
w.a.n.g Chong gazed at the supreme beauty of the Great Tang, a leisurely expression on his face.
"Hmph, are these your so-called 'considerations' for this consort? Your words are too far-fetched. This consort sees no reason to put myself at such risk and help the Fifth Prince," Consort Taizhen said sharply.
Her stance toward the War of the Princes was unchanged. She would avoid it if she could and keep as far away from it as she could. w.a.n.g Chong's arguments were not enough for her to invest so much in the Fifth Prince.
And it wasn't like she had some friends.h.i.+p with the Fifth Prince.
"Heheh, of course it's not worth it now. But a hundred years later, when the new Emperor takes the throne, where will Your Majesty go?"
Like a bolt of lightning cleaving down from the heavens, w.a.n.g Chong's simple question caused Consort Taizhen and Yang Zhao to pale at the same time.
These had been the most impactful words w.a.n.g Chong had spoken in this meeting.
"w.a.n.g Chong, you're too bold!"
Consort Taizhen and Yang Zhao voiced their rebukes at the same time. Even those two cold-faced beauties standing at Consort Taizhen's right and left couldn't help but shed their indifference and look at this youngster.
His Majesty and one hundred years2! In normal circ.u.mstances, one could not even think about such words, much less speak them. w.a.n.g Chong's question was tantamount to treason.
"b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Are you cursing His Majesty?"
Consort Taizhen's eyes shone with a cold light as a powerful and dreadful energy exploded from her body.
"w.a.n.g Chong does not have this intention. But there is no sovereign in the world that reigns for one hundred years, much less an Emperor that reigns for one thousand. There has been no exception since ancient times. Taizu and Taizong were also no exception. No matter what, a new Emperor is bound to ascend to the throne in the future. Does Your Majesty believe that when the time comes, you can still maintain your current status? With the Sage Emperor here, none of the Three Palaces or Six Courts dare to act rashly, but when the new Emperor ascends, what does Your Majesty believe the consorts and concubines of the Three Palaces and Six Courts will do?
"w.a.n.g Chong meant no disrespect. I ask for Your Majesty to please reconsider,"w.a.n.g Chong sincerely said.
These words left both Consort Taizhen and Yang Zhao very concerned. No matter how treasonous w.a.n.g Chong's words were, there was one thing that he was right about.
His Majesty was no longer young, and the oldest First Prince was thirty-some years old. The question of succession was imminent, already a scheduled matter.
And it was a question they would also be forced to confront.
While the Sage Emperor was there, others would not dare to act wantonly, but when the new Emperor took the throne, everything would be different. Yang Zhao was not guaranteed to be able to preserve his current wealth and status.
It was just like how the Sage Emperor was not guaranteed to be able to protect her.
Consort Taizhen had another serious concern. Since ancient times, it had always been the custom for the oldest to succeed, not the youngest, and it was tradition for the kingdom to be pa.s.sed on to the son of the first wife. Even if she became pregnant with the seed of the dragon, the ministers would never allow her son to be made crown prince.
This had always been Consort Taizhen's fear, one that she did not even dare to think about.
The two had to admit that w.a.n.g Chong's words had struck their weakest and most painful point.
"w.a.n.g Chong, did you know that if I wanted to, I could have you put in the imperial prison right now?"
Consort Taizhen slowly raised her head and looked at w.a.n.g Chong.
This was her first time seeing w.a.n.g Chong, but in just this one meeting, w.a.n.g Chong had already angered her multiple times. And all the things he spoke of were her greatest taboos. In normal circ.u.mstances, she would never permit anyone to mention them in front of her.
"Haha, Your Majesty, with some things, if w.a.n.g Chong doesn't say them, will they no longer happen?" w.a.n.g Chong asked.
Consort Taizhen looked dazed. w.a.n.g Chong's words seemed irrefutable. She wanted to be angry, but she couldn't work up any rage.
This was because Consort Taizhen knew that though w.a.n.g Chong's words were 'treasonous', they were all true, and were things that she worried could happen.
Consort Taizhen even felt that she was borrowing w.a.n.g Chong's mouth to voice her innermost worries.
1. During the time of Tang Xuanzong, the Emperor had one Empress, three consorts, and six concubines, hence the Three Palaces and Six Courts.↩
2. The Emperor is usually proclaimed to live ten thousand years, which in Chinese essentially means 'forever'. By saying that the Emperor will die in one hundred years, the immortality of the Emperor is being questioned.↩