Chapter 423: Lobbying Successful!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Women had always been the easiest types of people to underestimate.
It was precisely because he understood this principle that Wang Chong made no attempt to deny, not even showing the slightest hesitation. Any action that he made because he believed he was too smart would just end up with him being too smart for his own good.
"It really is you?"
Yang Zhao and Consort Taizhen were both flabbergasted by Wang Chong's response. Not even Consort Taizhen had expected Wang Chong to so easily confess.
"It's me!" Wang Chong once more confirmed.
Consort Taizhen was suddenly very curious. The Wang Clan had already joined the First Prince's faction, and if nothing out of the ordinary happened, the First Prince would be the future heir.
Ever since ancient times, the elder had been favored over the younger, and the son of the first wife was favored over the sons of concubines. This was not some baseless saying.
Amongst the princes, the First Prince assuredly had the highest chance of inheriting the empire. Consort Taizhen did not understand why Wang Chong would take such a large risk. He didn't even seem to mind being at odds with his big uncle to help the weak Fifth Prince, who was not only of no help to the Wang Clan, but also a serious liability.
What is this Qilin son1 of the Wang Clan thinking?
As Consort Taizhen's eyes measured Wang Chong's body, a strain of intense curiosity suddenly appeared within them. She could put aside an ordinary person, but the person in front of her was Wang Chong.
There was the graceful and outstanding talent displayed in the 'Song of Purity and Peace', his inconceivable success in changing King Song's mind to support her, the trembles he sent through the court and the world in the Regional Commanders incident…
Even the Supreme Venerable of the Nine and Five2, the Emperor that she revered as a god, was full of praise for this teenager.
No matter in which aspect one investigated, this youth before her was no ordinary person and could not be assessed using common sense.
Consort Taizhen suddenly wanted to know what was driving this wondrous youth to put aside his clan's standpoint, to put aside the excellent First Prince, and run off to her Yuzhen Palace to recommend to her the obscure Fifth Prince.
How did he get this sort of idea?
Wang Chong glanced at the mysterious white-clothed beauties standing at Consort Taizhen's right and left. Consort Taizhen understood, and at a slight raise of her white wrist, the two immediately and respectfully withdrew.
The only people left in the room were Consort Taizhen, Yang Zhao, and Wang Chong.
"It's very simple. It's because my thinking is different from my big uncle. I believe that the future heir will not be the First Prince, but His Highness, the Fifth Prince!"
Once the two beauties retreated, Wang Chong immediately proclaimed his thoughts. Wang Chong also did not hide the secret he had discovered on the Fifth Prince's body.
Consort Taizhen and Yang Zhao had already been stunned when they heard Wang Chong say that the Fifth Prince would be the future true dragon, the Son of Heaven, but when they heard that Li Heng had been taught a supreme technique that manifested the image of a five-clawed true dragon, the pair were so shocked that they couldn't speak.
Even Yang Zhao, who was utterly clueless about the struggles within the palace, knew what a five-clawed true dragon symbolized. If the secret Wang Chong had revealed were to leak out, it would overturn the palace, reshaping the landscape.
The princes already had a burning desire to kill Li Heng once they discovered that he could suddenly practice martial arts. If they knew that the Sage Emperor had passed down to him a supreme technique manifesting a five-clawed dragon, they would even risk punishment from the Sage Emperor to kill him.
For a moment, the cousins looked at the youngster in the hall like they were seeing a ghost. This was no ordinary news or intelligence report. In fact, this was an enormous secret that could alter the entire War of the Princes.
Although still young, Wang Chong had managed to get ahold of such an astonishing fact. Such a feat would even stupefy the most formidable of spymasters.
The great hall was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop.
Wang Chong said nothing, but his mind was in turmoil. 'One can't catch a tiger without entering the tiger cave.' In normal circumstances, he would have never told anyone about the Fifth Prince's secret.
But if the Fifth Prince wanted to force his way through his current predicament, he needed Consort Taizhen's help. And in order to truly obtain her help, some secrets had to be told.
Only this way could one obtain her trust.
The facts proved that Wang Chong's risks had not been a waste. The shock on Consort Taizhen's and Yang Zhao's faces was enough to show that his words had an effect.
If one said that the Fifth Prince was just a powerless prince at the start, then now, he had unquestionably soared to new heights in the minds of Consort Taizhen and Yang Zhao.
"Your Majesty, the War of the Princes is not a trifling matter. It's not strange for Your Majesty to not be able to decide immediately. This matter is not of too pressing urgency; Your Majesty still has ample time to consider. But Wang Chong still has something to say to Your Majesty! I hope that Your Majesty will open this and read it once Wang Chong leaves."
As Wang Chong spoke, he took a letter out of his sleeve. While his words could still have an effect on Consort Taizhen and while the Fifth Prince was still being viewed favorably, Wang Chong took out his last trump card, seeking to strike while the iron was hot.
Whether or not his words would be effective on Consort Taizhen and fully convince her to side with the Fifth Prince would all depend on this last letter.
"Wang Chong, what is it that you can't say in front of me? Why must it be written on a letter?"
As she watched Wang Chong take the letter out of his sleeve, Consort Taizhen had a very strange look on her face. He could clearly say what he wanted in front of her, yet he insisted on taking out a letter. Anyone would find it extremely odd.
"I can't! Your Majesty will understand once you read it."
Wang Chong held the letter with both hands as he shook his head. He was abnormally stubborn this time. There were some things that could only be thought, not done, and some words that could only be read, not spoken.
"I understand. Bring it up."
"Then Wang Chong will bid farewell!"
After delivering the letter, Wang Chong quickly left, leaving Yuzhen Palace before the gates of the palace were completely sealed for the night.
Right when Wang Chong was turning around, Consort Taizhen hesitated for a moment. In the end, she couldn't suppress her curiosity and opened the letter, taking out the sheet of paper covered in squiggly handwriting from within.
With just a glance, Consort Taizhen's mind suddenly fell into a state of confusion, a look of panic flashing through her phoenix eyes. But it was only an instant before she quickly hid these emotions.
Not even the nearby Yang Zhao noticed.
"Sister, what did that rascal write?"
Yang Zhao came over, glancing at the letter as he curiously asked. He was truly too curious as to what Wang Chong insisted on writing in a letter over speaking aloud.
To Yang Zhao's surprise, the Consort Taizhen who trusted him completely and would share any secret with him elected this time to stretch out her fingers and crush the letter and envelope in her hands.
Before Yang Zhao had been able to see a single word, this letter had returned to the void.
Yang Zhao was stunned—such a thing had never happened before. His entire person froze, so caught by surprise he was.
"Cousin, pass on my decree. Take one of my jade tokens and bestow it on Fifth Prince Li Heng. Just say that the filial piety he expressed with the sword dance he presented to the Sage Emperor deeply impressed me, and that I'm gifting this to him!"
After giving this order, Consort Taizhen turned and entered the inner hall.
Behind her, Yang Zhao was dumbstruck.
Even if one beat him to death, he still wouldn't be able to understand what Consort Taizhen had seen in Wang Chong's letter that left her so flustered. Moreover, Consort Taizhen had clearly been undecided a few moments ago.
Why was it that upon seeing Wang Chong's letter, she had immediately changed her mind and wanted to bestow a jade token on Li Heng? And she wanted him to deliver the decree! Wasn't this announcing to the entire palace that she would be protecting Prince Li Heng in the future?
This was the complete opposite of his cousin's initial desire to not get involved in the War of the Princes!
"Yes, this humble servant will carry out the decree!"
Yang Zhao sighed and gave a deep bow, then turned and left the hall. No matter what his cousin decided, he would carry it out with all his power.
But there was one thing he couldn't get over. What sort of bewitching drug had his sworn brother used on Consort Taizhen that one letter could cause such a major shift in her stance?
"This sworn brother of mine… he's really not someone a normal person can fathom!"
Yang Zhao gave a sigh caught between joy and sorrow, anger and pleasure. Shaking his head, he quickly walked out of Yuzhen Palace.
He could almost imagine that once he left, another mighty wave would rage through the depths of this palace.
Given his cousin's current status, she was completely capable of stirring another storm within the palace.
And at this same moment, Consort Taizhen walked through the depths of Yuzhen Palace in a similarly vexed and absentminded state. Waves were raging in her mind, all of them caused by Wang Chong's scribbly handwriting.
Although she had burned the letter, those words had been seared deep into her mind.
'In general, those who rely on their appearance will find that affections wane along with their appearance, and kindness vanishes as appearance wanes!'
Wang Chong had written nothing else to Consort Taizhen, only this simple phrase that seemingly had no head or tail. Yet Consort Taizhen already understood what Wang Chong meant.
Wang Chong had not been the original author of these words. Rather, they came from the Great Qin Empire of more than one thousand years ago. An itinerant political advisor of the time had used these words to convince the most beloved Lady Huayang to take Qin Yiren as her adopted son3.
And the latter would eventually become the heir apparent to the Kingdom of Qin, giving birth to the Emperor who would be forever known for uniting the Central Plains for the first time: Shi Huangdi, Ying Zheng, a figure on the same level as the present-day Sage Emperor.
Lady Huayang had been dearly beloved yet had no sons or daughters, just like Consort Taizhen now.
And Qin Yiren was an outsider with no one to rely on and no one who thought highly of him, just like the current Fifth Prince Li Heng. But all these comparisons paled before the surface meaning of those simple words.
'In general, those who rely on their appearance will find that affections wane along with their appearance, and kindness vanishes as appearance wanes.' Consort Taizhen was well aware of how she had reached her current status, and it had left a deep concern in her heart. It was this concern that allowed Wang Chong's words to deliver such a shocking blow.
All those words that Wang Chong had said, all those secrets he had revealed, were far inferior to the shock this single line of words had delivered.
Because this truly was that greatest worry and taboo in the deepest depths of her heart that she had never spoken of to anyone.
"Wang Chong, you'd better hope that this consort did not misjudge!"
1. The Qilin is often used to describe someone who is very talented, capable and virtuous.↩
2. In Chinese culture, the numbers 9 and 5 symbolize the Emperor, and 'Supreme Venerable of the Nine and Five', 九五至尊, was another way to refer to the Emperor.↩
3.This political advisor was Lü Buwei, who was then a merchant. Lady Huayang was the main wife of Lord Anguo, heir to the King of Qin, but she was childless. Lü Buwei convinced her to adopt Yiren, the son of another concubine, so that she could cement her status. Yiren's father, Lord Anguo, became King of Qin, but reigned for less than a year before dying, thus making Yiren King Zhuangxiang of Qin. King Zhuangxiang named Lü Buwei his chancellor. King Zhuangxiang's heir was Ying Zheng, the future Emperor of the Qin Dynasty that would end the Warring States period.↩