Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 18

This was a rather special day for Dong Xiaoyi.

Early morning, the sunflowers that he was in charge of were forcefully being picked by Prince Li Yuanying. He was already in a desperate situation and then he had to endure ridicule from others. Although technically the sunflowers were planted by Yuanying himself but they came to the Emperor’s attention and was specifically instructed to protect and care for them. With such decree in place, even a Royal Prince like Li Yuanying shouldn’t have dared overstep his boundaries and steal them at will.

Dong Xiaoyi thought his life was finished.

But in a surprising turn of events, someone came over with news that he is now to report for duty towards the Prince of Teng [1]Li Yuanying = Prince of Teng.

Dong Xiaoyi vaguely remembered that Dai Ting a close personal to Prince Yuanying came from the same hometown as him. They entered the palace on the same year. He recalled that Dai Ting didn’t care much about others and looked a little like a girl so he was always bullied. Later, Dai Ting was recruited by the Prince of Teng and since then he became a different person!

Although Li Yuanying is known to be notorious and capricious, he’s actually extremely protective of those around him. Whoever dares bully those close to him will definitely always end up with bad endings. One example was a servant who dared to belittled his mother Ladyy Liu after the death of the Supreme Emperor while new Emperor Li Er didn’t care much about his younger brother. Li Yuanying retaliated by instructing that the servant be buried in snow. This is the reason why many are unwilling to provoke the young Prince for he isn’t afraid of anything; not even heaven or earth. If you dare to provoke him or the people around him, he will dare to retaliate whatever the means it requires!

Dong Xiaoyi was filled with joy and hurriedly packed his things.

He carried all his belongings which could be managed with one hand and went to meet his new master.

At that very moment, Yuanying was busy playing with his friends so he asked someone to check out Dong Xiaoyi on his behalf. He found that although Dong Xiaoyi has ambition he seems to still have a pure heart so he has the potential to be a useful person.

Li Yuanying didn’t care much about these things, so he handed him over to Dai Ting.

“Since you are from the same hometown, you take him with you.”

Dong Xiaoyi was startled and looked towards Dai Ting.

Dai Ting as usual remained emotionless and led Dong Xiaoyi to his temporary living quarters. After settling down, he was updated about Yuanying’s plan for his sunflowers and was told that his job is to take care of the four sunflowers that do not belong to the Emperor.

Now that the assets have been divided properly, they were harvested and returned to the rightful owner. Initially, Yuanying wanted to stir-fry some seeds for eating but on second thought he decided to save them for his mother instead and thus he avoided the risk of being scolded to death by his brother.

Another reason for his rational behavior is that he received a new task which was to scan a three-dimensional image of Jiucheng Palace and save it in the archive of the Myriad Realm Library.

This is a simple task that can be completed with only his naked eyes. He only needs to visit a few more places. Yuanying is already running around so he didn’t mind completing this task.

So as usual, he brought along the few children and started running all around Jiucheng Palace visiting many interesting spots. Gradually, a 3D model of the entire Jiucheng Palace was brought to life within the Myriad Realms Library. He tried entering the mock version of Jiucheng Palace within this private library and he shockingly realized that it was as realistic and big as the real Jiucheng Palace. He could reach out his hand to touch the pillars and even climb on top of the throne of the Emperor and lie on it.

Yuanying found this strange so he asks the system curiously: “If you could already do all this, why did I have to run around scanning it?!” This technology that allows you to replicate anything merely from seeing it is incredible! Moreover, it can also be used to build airplanes that fly in the sky!

The system was silent for a while but finally replied: “History lasts for long and is built through time. Every minor change done to a part of history causes many things to be destroyed. Therefore, many things that seem common and aid life now may inevitably disappear in the future.”

Li Yuanying couldn’t understand.

The system didn’t say more.

Yuanying pondered for a while before asking: “So, you don’t have Jiucheng Palace in your records?”

Yes.

“There’s also no <<Jiucheng Palace’s Liquan Inscription>>?”

Yes.

“You don’t have records of <<Ten gradual negligence in behaviors>>?”

  Yes.

“There’s no Book of Rites, The Analects of Confucius or Han Zi?”

  Yes.

“There’s no longer any Tang Empire?”

The system finally realized where the boy was going and refused to answer anymore.

“You have insufficient authority to query this question.”

The system chose not to answer, but Yuanying already knew the answer.

It seems that the Tang Empire is indeed gone.

Yuanying felt sad. It hasn’t been long since Tang Empire was established and he hasn’t gone to his fiefdom to dominate the land and cause trouble, so why is it gone?

Li Yuanying couldn’t believe it: “You are lying! Such a huge Jiucheng Palace, so many books, how can it disappear just like that!”

The system remained silent.

Yuanying decided to made records of Jiucheng Palace accessible to the public. Originally, he has never paid much attention to this action, but today he stood there and watched lights gradually being lit up. The system has said that a light spot represents someone spending money to visit and browse an item. Almost immediately after granting access, lights filled the entire palace. This shows that many people are eagerly waiting for Jiucheng Palace to appear.

Yuanying became even more sorrowful. He left the Library with a heavy heart. He racked his brain and couldn’t decide who to talk to about this so he ran looking for his older brother the Emperor.  

Li Er was busy reviewing his daily reports. But hearing from his vassals that Li Yuanying wants to meet him and was crying he hurriedly asked that he be let in.

When Yuanying saw Li Er, he couldn’t hold back his tears. He rushed towards the Emperor, hugged him tightly, and cried out: “Lord Brother, I’m sad!” Although the boy has always been at odds with his brother, he still felt that Li Er is the most powerful person out of everyone he knows.  

Li Er was puzzled but his heart was softened by the boy’s crying.  Who has the ability to make this kid feel so wronged? It’s rare to see his troublemaker brother crying so much. He reluctantly asked in a gentle tone: “Who dares to bully you?”

Li Yuanying shook his head. No one bullied him, but he was sad.

“Lord Brother, will our great Empire disappear?”

The Emperor was stunned for no one had dared ask him such a bizarre question. The current empire has only been founded for around 20 years so who would ask at this time if the Empire will disappear?”

Li Er looked at Yuanying’s tearful eyes, thought for a while, and sternly replied: “Regardless whether it’s Shang, Zhou, Qin or Han dynasties, at the beginning everyone thinks that they would last forever. Naturally, when father established Great Tang, he thought the same too. However, while it’s a difficult feat to conquer the world, it’s equally hard to guard it. The only thing we can do is our best so that we don’t feel ashamed in front of God or our people. As for whether we can last for generations to come, we can only depend on the future generations.”

Hypothetical talk like creating an everlasting dynasty for generations should only be a talking point when drunk.

Li Yuanying comprehends every word from the Emperor seriously.

“Why did you think of this?”

Yuanying repeated the system’s word for word about the explanation about history and said that someone had told him this.

The Emperor listened in silence then stroked Yuanying’s head gently: “Since you understand such a statement then don’t mess around like a fool anymore. The vast territory of Tang stretches across the river from the north to the south making it difficult to govern. I can’t govern it on my own, I need my brothers to help share the burden. The faster you are able to become a strong and capable man and take care of Teng Zhou the faster I will give you a bigger place to take care of!”

The boy immediately became happy hearing that the Emperor wanted to give him a bigger place and left happily.

But His Majesty was left still thinking about what the young boy had said. He sat and pondered alone then ordered his vassals to join him in his chamber.

The Emperor went ahead to recount his conversation with Li Yuanying to his ministers who sat at the opposite end. 

Fang Xuanling said with emotion: “Even a young boy of nine understands such a topic and became sad. I cannot sit around waiting for a free meal and not contribute.”

Zhangsun Wuji and Wei Zheng also agreed with Fang Xuanling’s words.

The Emperor then took the opportunity to discuss government affairs.

As for Li Yuanying, is it actually possible that such a boy would turn over a new leaf after being sad?

As we enter late autumn, the weather gradually got colder.  Li Yuanying slept well all night and woke up the next day.

Knowing Li Yuanying and his behavior for a long time, he went to his residence early in the morning to get his friend to wake up. Today is Kong Yingda’s turn to teach the class and he would go crazy with anger again if he was late or absent from class!

Yuanying pulled his quilt higher stuffed himself deeper under the quilt and said muffledly: “I can’t and will not wake up! It’s such a cold day, I don’t want to go to class!”

Li Zhi: “……”

He can’t believe that his father had used Li Yuanying to educate them last night. This boy is lazier than a dog, how does he have any upright virtue that can be used as a good example?!

……………….

Li Yuanying ignored Li Zhi and only woke up much later naturally. When he awoke, he realized that he has already missed his class. This is common practice for Li Yuanying, if it’s winter, he can stay in bed all day.

Thinking about Kong Yingda’s fierce old face, Yuanying sighed for a moment. He then got up, got dressed and went to look for Kong Yingda who had just finished class.

The boy thought about a lot of things yesterday, he even thought of Kong Yingda. Since his teacher and brother particularly disliked <<Hanzi>>, there were very few people who knows or had studied this concept in Tang. Therefore, Yuanying wanted to talk to Kong Yingda.

Seeing that his great student only arrived after class had finished, the teacher wore a blacken expression. Hearing that the boy wanted to consult him about something, he felt awkward but still led the child to his working desk to have a sit and discuss in detail.

It was a rare sight for Li Yuanying was sitting upright and ask seriously: “Teacher, I have a question I can’t figure out.”

“What’s the matter?”

“In Confucius’s Analectic, the master once said: When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, understand their bad qualities and avoid them. Right?” (Li Yuanying)

“That’s natural, these three-year-old children can recite.” (Kong Yingda nodded)

“Then why don’t you like people reading <<Hanzi>>? Do you really think there’s nothing to be learned in that book?” (Li Yuanying)

“Although the evil laws of Shang and Han have merits, it is not benevolent. Using it will inevitably lead to backlash, so how can it be promoted?  Seeing how it led to three generations of Qin Dynasty being destroyed, isn’t that your answer?.” (Kong Yingda)

Yuanying still couldn’t comprehend: “What does the destruction of a dynasty have to do with a book?” He even gave a baffling example at the risk of offending his teacher “IF in the future someone attributes the destruction of a nation to Confucianism, do we oust Confucianism and burn all the classics? Is that how it should be? “

In the past, Kong Yingda would have cursed Li Yunaying out angrily about speaking nonsense but seeing how the young boy genuinely had questioning eyes he couldn’t scold him. He shook his head and denied that possibility without hesitation: “It will never be the case.”

This is the trust and confidence the descendants of Confucianism had for the teaching of Confucianism. Kong Yingda doesn’t believe that any theory can replace Confucianism. Since the Han Dynasty, who doesn’t use this principle to govern the country? Although some Han dynasty classics had mixed in foreign viewpoints that didn’t belong to Confucius, but overall the principles were the same and were suitable to use on governing a country.

Kong Yingda is proud and confident of this.

Li Yuanying heard the definitive answer from Kong Yingda knows that he wouldn’t consider otherwise so he stopped asking more and decided to meet the other children instead.

At noon, someone sent big and sweet pears at the Emperor’s instruction but unfortunately, Yuanying didn’t like them. He instead instructed servants to make them into soup and sent them to Wei Zheng and the other ministers who always gave them lectures. Wei Zheng was okay with this gesture but the other teachers were suspicious and felt that the boy might have put something in it to harm them. They only partake of it after seeing Wei Zheng consume it with confidence.

Yuanying also instructed Dai Ting to make a bowl and follow him to meet Xiao Deyan.

These are pears bestowed by His Majesty and not everyone has a chance to eat them. Seeing the young prince simmering them all and offering it to others to drink, Xiao Deyan asked: “Aren’t you afraid that his Majesty will be angry?”

“The emperor doesn’t even know that I don’t like pears. Why should he be angry with me?”

Xiao Deyan felt that Yuanying had incredibly good luck. If he hadn’t been born after His Majesty succeeded to the throne, Li Er wouldn’t have been so generous to his brothers. It is indeed this good luck that allowed the boy to grow up without fear and become the rumored little devilish troublemaker that he is.

Yuanying coaxed Xiao Deyan to try the stewed pears before telling him about the conversation with Kong Yingda.

“I feel that Old man Kong is inferior to his ancestors, he wouldn’t even follow the words that a three-year-old can recite. Humans are not fools. Confucius said: choose the good and follow it. If it’s not good, you change it. It’s not like you follow everything you read blindly, why can’t you read other books?” (Li Yuanying)

“Not everyone is as smart as His Royal Highness.” (Xiao Deyan)

Li Yuanying thought these words were very pleasant. He didn’t know what humility was and happily responded “That’s right!”

Xiao Deyan smiled.

“When I go to my fief, I will build a big academy and I will show all the books and teach all the doctrines. As long as someone is willing to learn, I will let them have the opportunity to learn!” He took Xiao Deyan’s wrinkled hand and attempted to steal the old man away from Li Tai, “Teacher, do you want to be the head of my academy in the future?” (Li Yuanying)

“This won’t work, I am old, young people don’t like to listen to me.” (Xiao Deyan smiled and shook his head)

Although Yuanying was disappointed, he was not discouraged. He still took Xiao Deyan’s hand and said: “Then you can lend me your students, you must have a lot of students!”

Xiao Deyan saw that the boy’s eyes were full of expectation and couldn’t bear to disappoint him: “Okay when you are about to go to your fief, I’ll help ask if anyone is willing to go with you.”

References

References
1 Li Yuanying = Prince of Teng

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