Chengqian was slightly younger than Yuanying when he was given the title of crown prince. He didn’t understand anything, and he remained ignorant when scolded by his teachers. After his mother passed away, he became accustomed to the scolding and often thought, “Come on, hurry up and finish up, then I can go out and play.”
Wasn’t his father the Emperor also scolded by Wei Zheng? To the point that he even stopped his favorite cockfighting?
It was a first for Chengqian to encounter someone fighting back. Even when the Emperor was angry, the most he did was flick his sleeves and walk away.
He hasn’t met anyone like Li Yuanying, small body but a loud voice, and when his voice is overpowered pulls on people’s sleeves to get attention. Moreover, when he opens his mouth it’s full of convincing fallacies. If it weren’t for his close relationship and awareness of his uncle’s nonsensical skills, he wouldn’t be able to regain his calmness this quickly!
Right now everyone is caught off guard. The tactic that they thought up is actually useful. We’ll just shift our target from the Emperor to dealing with the ministers.
Chengqian thought about how his young uncle ignored His Majesty’s reprimand and stood up for him. He then shared his opinion in full before sitting back down. Chengqian was deeply moved and decided to stop pretending to be deaf as he usually would.
“Father, this son of yours has written an article that I was going to dedicate to you later. Surprisingly the whole court already knows about our outing yesterday.”
The crown prince inherited much of his father’s looks. It’s just that he projects a gloomy character, liken to always having a layer of dark clouds on his head, and hence is a little unpleasant to look at. At this very moment, his gloomy expression is gone and he spoke in a loud voice: “Since that’s the case, please allow your son to read this article in the hall, and treat it as my explanation for all my doings yesterday!”
Fang Xuanling and the others looked at Li Chengqian. They suddenly realized that the Crown prince has grown, he is tall and slender, with a bright face. He greatly resembles the Emperor in his youth.
In comparison, Li Tai and Li Zhi who were sitting at the back felt slightly inferior. Like pearls and jade on the sidelines and they looked sullen.
Li Chengqian has been the crown prince for many years. It could be said that he has earned his position by having strict training. Once the Emperor gave him approval, he started reading his article. The recent two articles he wrote gave him a sense of enlightenment and he read them smoothly.
The main idea is very simple. At the beginning, he, Li Yuanying and Li Zhi heard that there was an elephant army in the south that could win against the Tubo army. He didn’t know how practical this was and so had people set up a stimulated battle to observe and confirm his hypothesis.
After the outcome, they stayed back to learn from the Southerners on how to tame elephants and how they used them for battle. This was greatly beneficial. Later, Wei Zheng’s granddaughter shared her knowledge about the “Fireball Array” battle tactic. This made him realize that real battle is always changing and there isn’t just one fixed way to win!
Therefore, we hope to bring about more contact with talents from all over the world and gather a better understanding of different battle tactics from the South and the North. This way, no matter what the situation is, you’ll have a rough gauge of how to handle it and make a calculated decision! Otherwise, you’ll be ignorant and no different from a blind and deaf person.
Chengqian read his entire article and without further excuses returned to his seat.
Although some of the content was ornamented, it’s generally real experiences and thoughts from yesterday’s exposure. Hence he is able to share it in a composed and frank manner.
The hall is yet again silent.
The article is well-written with well-thought logic and rationality. It directly links the criticized “Battle of Elephants and Horses” incident to war and state affairs. The Elephant Army can easily push back troops on horses while the fireball array can disband the Elephant Army. This means that there is no one particular sure win tactic in war.
Thinking about it carefully, if the Crown Prince only sits in the palace to study but does not have real exposure to the outside world, how can he make sound judgments when he encounters a real situation that needs to be solved? And although now is a peaceful time where allegiance has been forged between the Turks, Tubos, and the southern mountain barbarians, they remain a worry for the country. If the Crown Prince wishes to better understand them, it is not a bad thing. After all, it is wise to know your enemy. Then you will never be defeated.
Fang Xuanling being the crown prince’s teacher naturally agreed with him since it’s reasonable: “I think what the Crown Prince is saying makes sense..” After speaking, he glanced at Wei Zheng, meaning “your granddaughter is part of this ruckus, shouldn’t you say something too?”
In the past Wei Zheng would never get involved.
The Emperor is in his prime and he has already arranged for Fang Xuanling to be the crown Prince’s teacher. If he also supports him, His Majesty Li Er might secretly perceive it as “I’m not even old yet but you too already support the crown prince. Do you think I will not live long?”
Although Wei Zheng is famous for being upright he is not stupid. He knows that His Majesty tolerated him because his advice was impartial and upright and because the court needed an “example”.
If the Emperor wants to govern his world well, he cannot act blind and deaf. Therefore, even if there is no Wei Zheng, there will still be Zhang Zheng or Li Zheng!
Wei Zheng doesn’t want to get involved, unfortunately Fang Xuanling’s glance caught the Emperor’s attention.
He suddenly remembered that Chengqian mentioned Wei Zheng’s granddaughter in addition to Li Yuanying and Li Zhi.
This girl is only a little older than Sizi but is better at reading and writing than boys. It’s a real pity she’s a girl.
Li Er is well aware of the personalities of his close confidants. He knows that Wei Zheng’s granddaughter would not have been invited by the crown prince. It is Li Yuanying who dragged her along to play.
If children want to play, can adults stop them? It’s possible to forcefully stop them but who would be so heartless to do so?!
Li Yuanying, this brat. Really has a good eye for picking playmates.
His Majesty glanced at Li Yuanying then turned his gaze back to Wei Zheng. He deliberately called his name: “Dearest minister Wei, what do you think of this matter?”
Wei Zheng had no choice. After all, his beloved granddaughter is implicated in this event and the Crown Prince also wrote a good article to defend himself. How can he still roll up his sleeves and join the rest to criticize him? His main duty is to advise the Emperor, the Prince’s affairs is not his problem!
Wei Zheng could only reply: “This humble servant agrees with Fang. This matter did not result in a huge loss of money nor disturbed the citizens, what fault does the Crown Prince have?”
Since both Fang Xuanling and Wei Zheng agrees, Zhangsun Wuji an uncle to the royal prince cannot stay silent. He also agreed that the Crown Prince is innocent.
In the blink of an eye, the situation was completely reversed.
The Crown Prince can no longer be scolded so other topics were brought up for discussion.
Seeing that no one dared to bully his eldest nephew anymore, Li Yuanying was satisfied. He then got a little bored listening to official matters being discussed.
With so many people discussing government affairs in earnest, it is not easy to sneak away. Since he cannot leave, he looked around and found Li Tai sitting behind him!
Being left idle, Li Yuanying turned around and lowered his voice to talk to him: “Fourth nephew, your Ping Ji (an ancient piece of furniture for people to lean on when seated on the floor) is much bigger than others, you really can grow meat!”
When in court, all officials have designated places to sit and the front rows have Ping Ji for people to lean on.
Li Tai was so chubby that His Majesty granted him special permission to travel to court with a palanquin. This was initially the kind of treatment granted to meritorious veterans in their 60s and 70s who were about to retire. With his size being huge, normal Ping Ji is too small to fit him and so his was specially made and is a circle larger than others!
Li Tai was busy listening to the ongoing discussion. When he suddenly heard Li Yuanying poking fun at him, he wanted to strangle him.
Originally, Li Tai had asked his men to secretly spread Chengqian’s outing to the ears of the minister with malicious intent and waited in anticipation to see the officials attack him. All of these ministers had their own motives: some supported his third brother Li Ke and some supported the fifth and sixth princes. Others wanted to seek advancement and some were like Wei Zheng hoping to gain appreciation by being upright. In short, they wouldn’t stay silent.
Surprisingly, Li Er suddenly summoned Li Yuanying and the situation changed!
Li Tai usually puts on a smile and has a kind-faced but now his face has darkened involuntarily: “The court is an official and serious place, don’t be noisy.”
Is Li Yuanying the kind of person who keeps quiet when others ask him to? of course not?
No matter what Li Tai says, the young prince can put up a challenge. He retorted: “I’m not noisy, my voice is soft.”
Li Yuanying’s seat was added in last minute and so he only sat on a cushion. He moved his seat cushion backwards in a grand manner, and ended up next to Li Tai.
The relocation was successful, Yuanying curiously turned his head to look at Li Tai’s hand board an ancient hand-held board held by ministers during an official court session. Can be used to write down notes or as a reference when sharing the latest updates to the Emperor and begun to express his thoughts: “Is your hand board made of ivory? Yesterday I heard from Yang Liu that ivory was originally an elephant’s tooth and they use it to protect themselves. The bigger the tusk, the more powerful it is. Unfortunately, someone found out that it is white, which made it suitable for carving into various treasures. This caused many to start exploiting the elephants. Say, Isn’t it pitiful? The initial thing they use to protect themselves became the very thing that kills them!”
The veins on Li Tai’s forehead popped and his face was shaking a little with anger. As soon as this kid opened his mouth, he couldn’t hear what Fang Xuanling and the others were discussing!
Li Yuanying didn’t care if Li Tai was angry or not. He then started a new round of babbling: “Didn’t you say that you will write down your agenda on the hand board? Why is it empty? I heard that your handwriting is beautiful, I want to see what it is like. It’s a pity. Let me tell you, last time I saw Old Wei’s board. There were so many words, that looks like serious preparation for court session. How can you be so lazy!”
Li Tai roared unbearably: “Can you shut up?!”
The hall was silent again.
Li Tai is not only fat, but his voice is much louder than others. He roared unintentionally and everyone in the hall hear it and they all turned their heads to look.
Li Yuanying shut up obediently and even felt a little wronged for he is innocent. He couldn’t understand what the ministers were talking about and he didn’t want to know. So can’t he just talk to his nephew? His voice is soft so others would not hear him. How can his fourth nephew roar so loudly? Now everyone knows! This is too much!
After all, Li Tai is Li Er’s favorite son. So even if he showed such disrespect, the Emperor only lightly warned him and Li Yuanying and let them off, as long as they keep quiet from now on.
Li Yuanying was still very unhappy and when Li Er turned his eyes away, he complained: “Didn’t you say to keep it down? Why did you react so loudly? Now I’m getting a scolding together with you!”
Li Tai: “…”
Li Tai really wanted to strangle him.
Notes from the author:
Little Prince: It’s so boring, why not get the fourth nephew into trouble!
Fourth nephew: ? ? ? ? ?
|an ancient hand-held board held by ministers during an official court session. Can be used to write down notes or as a reference when sharing the latest updates to the Emperor