Nightfall - Chapter 66

Published at 9th of April 2018 09:20:37 AM

Chapter 66

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There were seven words written on the budpaper made in Xuanzhou in an unrestrained manner: "The Fish that Jumped Across the Sea."

Looking at the scroll on the stand, there should be a second sentence to this writing. However, for unknown reasons, the author had stopped after writing the first line, leaving the word "Sea" incomplete, the underlying reluctance evident.

These seven words were written in a way that showed the strictness and magnanimity of the author. It would be considered a good piece of writing if it was written by any ordinary folk. However, Ning Que felt that it wasn't anything worth a second look, especially since he had just had feasted on the works of great scholars before him. He felt that the seven words were really bad and even though he guessed that it was written by the emperor, he would not change his mind about it being a lackluster piece.

An idea struck Ning Que as he thought that he had come to the palace as a calligrapher. If his calligraphy skill impresses the emperor, he would have no worries for the rest of his life. He could become a servant of the court with a fancy title and would not even be called up to serve.

An angry voice floated towards the Imperial Study as he was thinking. The voice was strong and seemed to be exceptionally violent. He could only catch certain words spoken when the voice sounded at its most irate.

"Imbeciles!… Imbeciles!…. A bunch of imbeciles!"

The derogatory remark rang sharp and clear in the air like a war cry.

Ning Que stood in the Imperial Study, unsure of what to do. He gradually fell into a trance after hearing the voice that sounded as if it had descended from the heavens. He felt that it sounded familiar and wondered which manager it was, for he sounded slightly coquettish while cursing.

The Palace of Tang Empire was a great solemn place. Not even the highest-ranking eunuch manager would dare scold in such a loud volume. Besides, the angry voice had come from within the Palace of Counsel.

Ning Que was unaware of the architecture within the palace. He did not know that the security in the area was very tight. The Palace of Counsel was near to the Imperial Study, which was why he could hear the numerous counts of imbeciles while others could not.

There were motifs of the Panlong, an aquatic dragon carved into the pillars of the Palace of Counsel. There were images of heavenly maidens scattering flowers embroidered on the curtains. On the left of the royal couch sat a beautiful woman dressed in the clothes of royalty. She appeared to be in her thirties. Her features were sharp but gentle and she looked charming. Her slightly plump lips were tightly pursed, giving her an air of determination. Based on the phoenix on her headdress, she must be the Empress of Tang.

On the right of the royal couch sat a girl of 16 or 17. Her eyelids were hooded as her slender fingers performed the art of tea brewing. Her clear features along with her quiet performance afforded her an air of grace. Her face had lost its tan from her time in the frontiers. This was the fourth Princess of the Tang, Lee Yu.

Between the empress and the princess sat a middle-aged man. His hair was braided behind his head and he had on a loose robe. His voice was gentle but imperious. On the occasion where he mentioned the word, his tone would raise like a cloud meeting the mountains. It rang across the entire palace.

On the ground before the imperial couch kneeled over 10 court officials. They were all looking down and shivering slightly, looking extremely ashamed and afraid. The only man who could sit, the prince and two other officials did not look great either.

The Tang had never placed much importance on rules. There was no need for court officials to kneel of kowtow to the emperor during regular business affairs. All they have to do was to bow. This emperor was kind and open-minded. On regular meetings with his subjects in the Palace of Counsel, the emperor might even wave his hand to indicate that they need not bow.

Today, however, the kind and open-minded emperor was very angry. The emperor did not have them kneel before him on regular days because he did not want them to. But when he was unhappy, the entire Palace of Counsel seemed like a scary place.

The man on the imperial couch was of course, the Emperor of Tang. The most powerful man in the secular world of Haotian. He looked at the subjects kneeling before him coldly. His calm but mocking gaze landed on everyone's face. The high officials of the Military Ministry, the assistant minister, the old and young officials of the Ministry of Revenue, the Mayor of Capital, his valets as well as the two carvings of Chang'an, his young brother who was seated and some very old officials. How much did they know about this?

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"How is it that a sect can gain the river shipping business and move and touch the country's grain reserves? You're all major officials of the court. Anyone would be frightened just by a single word uttered by your stewards. How is it that Chao Xiaoshu can disobey you? Are you really a bunch of imbeciles? Have you never thought why?"

The Emperor of Tang looked at his subjects who seemed like a bunch of idiots to him. He clutched at his pounding head with his right hand. The anger and disappointment made him feel like laughing hysterically. He glared at them and slapped at the armrests, saying, "You want to know who backs the number one sect in Chang'an? Now you know. It's me! Don't you think you're all the greatest fools in the world?"

"Fish-Dragon Gang! Fish-Dragon Gang! You're all educated people who're worldly. How can no one amongst you think of the underlying meaning of the name? Who would dare use this name without my permission in Chang'an? I'm so disappointed in you. It isn't because you've chosen to ignore the law and oppressed the people. I' am disappointed because you're all stupid! Imbeciles! It's been so many years and you still don't understand. Imbeciles!"

The fight in the spring rain had indeed forced out Chao Xiaoshu's trump card. The moment this card appeared, the wind and rain disappeared. The trump card was simply too strong. With just a single command, everyone became imbeciles, and he was now squaring up to make sure someone took responsibility for this situation.

The officials kneeling were upset but did not know what to say. They thought to themselves, "Nobody had discovered any relationship between the sect and anyone in the palace. Furthermore, the emperor was like a dragon, high up and precious while the Fish-dragon Gang was a goldfish in one of Chang'an's canal. Their positions were like heaven and earth, and they didn't belong to the same world. Who would have thought there was such a relationship between the both?"

This situation was like the officer of the Yamen making life difficult for a kitchen helper only to find out that he had the backing of the Minister of Revenue! The problem was, why someone with the backing of a high official would work as a kitchen helper in the Yamen!

If Chao Xiaoshu was someone His Majesty met amongst the people and became close, why would he still be hanging out in the Jianghu world like a fish in filthy canals? With just a word from His Majesty, he could become a fourth-grade or fifth-grade official. The court officials were not imbeciles, but the emperor was simply playing them.

It did not matter whether they were kneeling on the cold gold tiles or seated uncomfortably on the seats, the officials of the Tang were full of grouses. But nobody dared to raise it with the man sitting on the throne.

To these bigwigs of the empire, getting rid of Old Chao of the Spring Breeze Pavilion was a small deal, but they had met with the world's largest obstruction unexpectedly. They would, of course, feel that they were unlucky, but the key thing was, their men had used not only the power of the court but also the army when dealing with Old Chao. This was the emperor's trigger point.

How were they going to settle this?

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