The last time we had good news regarding war was when Dang Renhong returned triumphantly. News of Gaochang’s victory can quickly and the Emperor was greatly pleased. He summoned his ministers to share this piece of good news.
Taking over Gaochang was surprisingly easy and important due to it being an important transportation gateway. Li Er intents to occupy Gaochang, change its name to Longyou path and set is as part of Anxi Grand Protectorate Protectorate to Pacify the West (Anxi Protectorate) was a protectorate (640 – c. 790) established by the Tang dynasty in 640 to control the Tarim Basin. With this, the territory of Tang empire is extended greatly to the west.
His Majesty spent the night talking about this happily with his close confidants. Right now, Hou Junji and the troops have not yet returned and so it’s still not time for celebration. He also did not immediately share this news with his officials in court the next day.
But because he was in a good mood, everything went by smoothly. Many decisions were passed with little discussion.
The ministers could all sense the Emperor’s good vibes. Usually during such moments, Wei Zheng would come and pour cold water on the Emperor by raising issues. However, before Wei Zheng could do his “job”, someone stole his limelight by holding out his hand board mightily high indicating that he has something to say.
Li Tai involuntarily looked towards the person who spoke.
The last time he secretly spread news about the Crown Prince, many fell for his trap and stood up to criticism him. This time, he repeated his old tricks but the results weren’t as good. After all, Li Yuanying is a well-known scumbag. The kind that is shameless enough to play petty tricks to get himself out from trouble. No one is willing to find trouble with him.
After all, all Prince Teng did was sell tea using a proxy. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. Among all the ministers, whose family do not have side businesses? At most, they were handled by servants or distant relatives.
This particular person just wanted to use Li Yuanying’s name to get his 15 minutes of fame.
Whatever the superior favors, those below would try to copy. Since Li Er elected Wei Zheng as an example, he is encouraging his men to speak freely. With that, those below would rack their brains hard to express various opinions and put forth their own suggestions. Some with real skills have raised highly in position quickly; while those who are superficial can only yelp away but have no real results to show.
This person is one of those superficial embroidered pillow. On any normal day, Li Tai would not take a second look at him but now he is looking forward to his performance. Regarding Li Yuanying’s bad actions, he should be able to find fault with one severe enough to get a whole lot of scolding.
His Majesty didn’t know that this was Li Tai’s private agenda and so allowed him to speak.
With the Emperor’s permission, the speaker immediately recited his essay which he had carefully concocted.
This person has outstanding writing skills but his shortcomings are also obvious. One word: Long-winded! Just the beginning itself was a few hundred irrelevant passages. To add on, his tone was flat and unwavering. If it weren’t for the etiquette in place, many would have fallen asleep.
Cutting into the main topic, the man’s long-winded writing became worst. He spent a long time reading thousands of words in a splendid manner, all just to express one thing. “A pound of tea is sold for 800 Guan. Prince Teng is the Emperor’s younger brother, how can he do such a thing?”
Then, he continued on about all the bad things Li Yuanying has done in the past. Starting from when he was 5 and buried someone in snow! Luckily when he just started mentioning Zhengguan 7th year, the Emperor had enough and waved his hands to stop him. These are not just old issues, these are sh*tty old issues!
Everyone secretly shouted “Your Majesty is wise” in their hearts. If this person is allowed to continue, court session will never end!
Li Yuanying is not the Crown prince. He liking money is no one’s business as it does not cause harm to anyone. The Emperor also personally advertised it on his behalf, what can others say? If you really want to criticize, the Emperor needs to be blamed too. But this person is no Wei Zheng, so he didn’t dare to target the Emperor.
Li Tai hatred was seething in secret. How is it that only this idiot is complaining about Prince Teng? Looking at the way he is doing it, It’s impossible for Li Yuanying to get into trouble.
Li Tai was furious. And suddenly Li Chengqian sitting in front of him moved.
“This humble son of yours has something to report.”
Li Chengqian rarely speaks at court. It’s already a blessing if he is present in person and it can be considered a miracle if he took the initiative to speak. Li Er nodded happily.
Li Chengqian took out a manuscript and asked that it be presented to the Emperor.
His Majesty Li Er didn’t understand and so he opened the manuscript. He saw that the handwriting was familiar. It is the same writing as the one that wrote ‘Where do you find premium tea? Inside Thousand Gold hall is Thousand Gold Tea’. This is obviously written by his younger brother.
“This is what Prince Teng showed me yesterday. He just learned to write articles not too long ago. After writing this,he felt unsure and so asked me to help review it. He wanted me to look at it before presenting this to the Emperor.
Li Chengqian paused and glanced at the minister that spoke: “If someone hadn’t impeached Prince Teng, I wouldn’t have shown this to the Emperor without his consent.”
Everyone was looking at each other. You look at me, I look at you. All eyes were filled with curiosity: What kind of article did the little demon king write? Something that Li Chengqian can bring to court and talk about?
His Majesty read the slightly childish article and passed it back to Chengqian.
“Chengqian, please read it to everyone. Let everyone here hear the inner thoughts of this guys who is accused of wrongdoings by everyone.”
Li Chengqian retrieved the manuscript and read it aloud.
The difference between Li Yuanying and the civil servant’s article is not just one and a half star. His is not long-winded. He directly listed out the profit he received from selling tea. Just three or four hundred Jin of tea but it managed to be sold at prices equivalent to countless grains of rice. The profit exorbitant.
Even though its a large sum of money, Yuanying disclosed it fully in the article without discount.
He also wrote about his discussion with Xiao Deyan on taxation, stating that he is well aware that businesses in Tang Empire are exempted from tax to encourage north-south trade. However, Prince Teng believes that tea is very profitable and if no tax is imposed, citizens might stop growing crops for food and plant tea instead.
Li Yuanying proposed that, for the long-term stability of Tang Dynasty, the tea trade should be charged with commercial tax in accordance to the Han Dynasty!
He further proposed that in the future, existing and necessary industries should still follow the current practice. However, If there are new business, it must be determined by authorities on whether it needs to be taxed or not.
More thoughts lingered in his mind but Yuanying didn’t write it down. He only listed down what came to his mind that instant. Since Xiao Deyan said that existing things cannot be changed casually, he will target things that are new. There aren’t many traders selling tea in the North and tea like Thousand Gold Tea is a brand new business, it is something that can be changed.
As for whether others will follow the trend of selling tea or whether they would acquire tea hills and tea gardens, it’ll depend on whether they are willing to pay taxes.
Anyway, Li Yuanying is not short of money. As long as Tang Empire is stable, he can continue living leisurely as the little prince.
He wrote this article and felt that it was pretty good. So he slipped into the East Palace to ask Chengqian to review it and let him know if anything needs to be changed.
Chengqian was busy then and he thought that young uncle merely wrote an ordinary poem. Therefore, there was no urgency and he told him to leave it behind for his review much later.
In the end, when Li Chengqian finished work and read it, he couldn’t sleep again. He kept thinking: uncle is only 10 and all he did was study with Xiao Deyan for a few days and follow Sun Simiao outside the palace. However, his thoughts and deeds are very different from others.
In contrast, he as the Crown Prince has never calmed down enough to think about these issues.
Li Chengqian came to the court today with Li Yuanying’s article as he originally wanted to show it to Kong Yingda and the others. Unexpectedly, an official criticized Li Yuanying for selling tea at a high price.
Chengqian had no second thoughts. The moment the Emperor ask the official to stop talking he immediately took out Li Yuanying’s article.
This article while written technique still quite immature, managed to once again silenced the entire court.
It has been more than 20 years since the Tang Dynasty is established. From the initial stage of utter chaos to current peaceful times, it is achieved through the hard work of everyone.
Currently, it is peaceful and stable times and wars are either not frequent or typically won. This should be the time to breathe a sigh of relief and rest but as old and new families create alliance through marriages and the rapid growth of more rich and powerful people, many problems are starting to sprout up.
Although all looks harmonious and beautiful still, people with vision can always predict the future. What Xiao Deyan can predict, others can too!
Fang Xuanling was the first to react. He praised Li Yuanying, saying that Prince Teng had a laudable heart and his method should be carried out.
As soon as Fang Xuanling opened his mouth, the others followed suit.
After the session ended, eveyone went for working lunch provided by the Palace. This balanced meal is arrange for the officials to prevent them from being hungry.
The civil and military officials gathered together in twos and threes and begin socializing while eating.
Li Er called for Chengqian and asked that he hand over Li Yuanying’s article.
Father and son sat on two separate side. They didn’t talk about government affairs but instead chatted about Li Yuanying.
Li Chengqian honestly confessed that he didn’t know young uncle would write such an article. If he knew, he would definitely keep him to discuss it all night.
Li Er has read the article once and then listen to its content. After reading it again carefully, he feels joy in his heart. His youngest brother has finally stopped fooling around and is even contributing ideas for the country.
This kind of ridiculous idea, no one would dare propose. Who would be willing to take the trouble to develop a new business and then volunteer to pay taxes for it? Only Li Yuanying, who looks down on little tax money would do this!
After showing joy, the Emperor quickly tense his face again and gave Chenqian a quick education session: “You are ten years older than uncle but you have never given any useful advice to court all these years. Learn more from your uncle.”
After speaking, he ordered Li Yuanying’s article to be posted on the wall behind him. On this wall are articles by prominent ministers like Wei Zheng’s <<Ten Thought>>.
On normal days, Chengqian wouldn’t like to hear such words but this time he didn’t feel unhappy. He strolled back to the East Palace, and as soon as he entered he saw Li Yuanying playing with Li Xiang.
Seeing Chengqian, Yuanying pulled Li Xiang’s hand and walk over to meet him.
“Chengqian, have you read the article for me?”
“I read it but the article is gone.”
Upon hearing this, Li Yuanying said unhappily: “You can’t throw it away just because you don’t like it. If you don’t like it, I’ll find someone else to look at it!”
Seeing that young uncle was a little angry, Chengqian pulled him into the house. He hugged his son to his lap while talking to Li Yuanying about what had happened today.
Yuanying quickly learned that his article was discussed and the ministers did not ridicule him but praised him instead! Later, His Majesty Li Er posted it on his wall used for serious matters along with all the other important updates.
Li Yuanying’s eyes widened in surprise: “Lord Brother thinks I write well?”
Li Chengqian then relayed the last sentence from the Emperor: “Learn more from your uncle in the future”.
With this, Li Yuanying’s tail just got lifted to the sky. He imitated Li Er’s expression to tease Li Xiang: “Did you heard it? Learn from Yaoyao.”
Li Xiang was very cooperative, and immediately nodded obediently: “Learn from Yaoyao!”
Notes from the author:
Eldest nephew: I don’t know why but I don’t envy you at all.
Little Prince: It’s because I’m super cute!!!
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