Ch 59 Xie Chaoling has to fall
After the weddings of King Xing and King Huai, the imperial prince’s wedding was put on the schedule. They chose an auspicious day, and the Ministry of Rites formally sent the engagement gifts. There were more than a hundred carriages of gifts, and the procession went from the palace gate all the way to the residence of the Minister of Personnel, attracting the attention of the entire city.
Everything was taken from the Eastern Palace. When Xie Chaoyuan came over, there was a white jade peach tree bonsai from Hetian, which was packed in a box. Xie Chaoling stood on the stone steps in front of the hall, and the officials from the Ministry of Rites checked the gift list with him one by one.
Xie Chaoyuan glanced at it and sneered, “How much did the imperial prince himself contribute to these gifts?”
Now the national treasury was empty, and the bad debt of the Guangchu Department has not been recovered. The Ministry of Rites does not have much money in its accounts. However, Emperor Qianming wanted to show the world his regard for the imperial prince, so the Ministry of Rites was forced to prepare a solid 128 carriages of gifts.
Xie Chaoling asked Liao Zhi to take care of the remaining matters and said lightly, “No, the engagement gifts that were sent last time were all returned by the Yang family. We added some more gifts and sent them all to the Zuo family.”
He was referring to his previous fiancée, who was supposed to become the imperial princess but died suddenly before the official wedding ceremony. Naturally, the engagement gifts were returned.
Xie Chaoyuan smiled, “Is that so? It seems that the crown prince did not value the previous fiancée very much. The engagement gifts that had already been sent were returned, and now they are being sent for the second time.”
Xie Chaoling ignored him and turned back to the hall.
Xie Chaoyuan followed him and handed him the yellow sparrow in the cage, which was jumping and chirping inside.
“Little Huang has been abandoned after being raised by someone for a few months. It is very pitiful. It refused to eat or drink during this period and was not energetic. Can the crown prince help me take care of it?”
Xie Chaoyuan seemed to have a hidden meaning in his words, but Xie Chaoling didn’t notice anything wrong with the bird, which was quite lively. “Isn’t this the same as you abandoning it?” he asked.
“Does crown prince brother refuse to help me?” Xie Chaoyuan insisted.
Xie Chaoling raised his chin towards someone nearby, and someone quickly took the birdcage. “Sixth Brother, please come to my place once a month in the future. If there is nothing important, try not to come here normally,” Xie Chaoling said.
Xie Chaoyuan smiled as if he had heard a joke, “Come once a month? What does crown prince brother mean? Do you really want me to come whenever you call and leave whenever you wave?”
“Why did I say that? You know it yourself unless you don’t want to live,” Xie Chaoling reminded him.
“You mean the Gu? It doesn’t matter,” Xie Chaoyuan said coldly, “I don’t care, and the Crown Prince doesn’t need to care either.”
Xie Chaoling looked at him and suppressed his impatience and anger. Forget it, he could never reason with this person.
Xie Chaoyuan didn’t care about his own life, but he couldn’t ignore it.
“Suit yourself. If you don’t value your life, I can’t do anything about it.”
In the following two months, the court was relatively peaceful. Xie Chaohui took his new wife to the northwest after half a month of marriage, Xie Chaoqi also behaved and didn’t cause trouble anymore, and the Crown Prince’s position was stable. Most people had stopped worrying, but of course, this was only on the surface.
When the two-month deadline set by the Emperor passed, there were very few who had repaid their debts to the Guangchu Department. There were still a large number of people who owed taxes and silver to the bureau but refused to return it, using various excuses and trying to gauge the Emperor’s attitude. In order not to repay the money, these people even stirred up the fact that Emperor Qianming had been squandering the national treasury, something he had been trying to keep secret all along, and spread it widely.
Emperor Qianming was furious, but he couldn’t really make enemies with all the royal families. Not only him but even Xie Chaoling, the Crown Prince, couldn’t do it. In the end, Xie Chaoyuan took the initiative to help Emperor Qianming out of his predicament, took on the task of offending these people, and brought up the matter publicly at the grand court meeting. He directly singled out several of the royal families who owed the most and mocked them sarcastically, speaking bluntly and mercilessly, leaving the targeted individuals seething with anger and unable to refute a single word. Among them was King Lu.
After that, to everyone’s surprise, King Lu was the first to surrender and voluntarily turn over more than half of his wealth to make up for three times the amount he owed. Emperor Qianming actually wanted to punish this old man, but because of the money involved and the fact that he was the first to surrender, he had to give up.
As for those who resisted, Xie Chaoyuan didn’t hesitate to find other reasons to incriminate them. No matter who it was, King Ke was able to find fault with them. Today, for the first time, the officials of the court looked at the former inconspicuous Sixth Prince and realized that he was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
King Lu was spared because he knew how to act, but those who didn’t were punished, and some even had their titles stripped away by Xie Chaoyuan. In contrast, Xie Chaoyuan acted like a mad dog and harassed people, forcing them to return the money to the Treasury.
In addition, when the Dongshan Ying went to suppress the bandits, it was not as smooth as expected. The bandits had been entrenched in the mountains in the southeast for a long time and were particularly cunning. The terrain was complex with deep mountains and old forests. The emperor’s order was to wipe them out completely. Xu Shan had to lead his troops into the mountains time and time again to chase after the bandits.
It took two full months to completely eliminate the banditry, but the Dongshan Ying suffered considerable losses, with two out of three deputy commanders dead.
“Crown Prince Brother is so calculating. Xu Shan used this opportunity to let all those who opposed him in the Dongshan Ying die in the hands of the mountain bandits. He easily took over the Dongshan Ying from Zhao father and son. Congratulations to the Crown Prince.”
On a hot summer day, Emperor Qianming went to the summer villa in Jizhou, and Xie Chaoyuan used the same trick as before to stay in the East Palace and hang out with Xie Chaoling. It was said to be once a month, but since the emperor left Xie Chaoling in charge, Xie Chaoyuan had become a frequent visitor to the East Palace. Xie Chaoling pretended not to welcome him, but in reality, Xie Chaoyuan had never been turned away at the door.
Xie Chaoling laid by the edge of the bath with his eyes closed and asked casually, “What does it have to do with me?”
“How does it not? Didn’t Xu, the commander-in-chief, join forces with the Crown Prince?” Xie Chaoyuan leaned closer and helped him smooth out his wet hair.
Xie Chaoling did not deny it and said lightly, “You’re even more amazing. Now everyone in the court knows that King Ke is a wolf cub that bites people.”
“Crown Prince Brother is wrong,” Xie Chaoyuan laughed and lowered his voice to correct him, “Those people can only call me a mad dog that bites people in their hearts.”
But no matter how anyone scolds, Xie Chaoyuan will not care.
Xie Chaoling opened his eyes and turned his head to look at him: “Why is King Lu suddenly obedient? Did you tell him something?”
“Ah, I told him that His Majesty already knows about his affair with the Empress Dowager, and advised him to be smart and hand over the money to save his life,” sneered Xie Chaoyuan. “He was so scared that he didn’t even dare to fart.”
Xie Chaoling disagreed, “But Father Emperor’s original intention was to use him as a scapegoat. By doing this, you’re actually making Father Emperor feel suppressed.”
Xie Chaoyuan didn’t agree, “As long as we can retrieve His Majesty’s money, the goal has been achieved.”
Xie Chaoling stopped talking and raised his hand to pat Xie Chaoyuan’s face.
He suddenly thought that Xie Chaoyuan’s style was something that Royal Father would likely appreciate, as long as his ambition wasn’t exposed. There were many things that Emperor Qinming couldn’t handle personally, and he needed someone to help him with. Xie Chaoyuan’s fearless personality made him a reliable person to be the face of the emperor.
The premise was that he really didn’t have any ambitions.
But he did.
Xie Chaoling suddenly felt a little bored. He had been soaking in the water for half an hour and was also tired. He got up and walked out of the bath.
Xie Chaoyuan was still sitting in the water, looking up at him.
When the two of them were together, they usually didn’t have anyone waiting on them. Xie Chaoling calmly wiped his body clean under Xie Chaoyuan’s gaze, put on his shirt and left.
Xie Chaoling suddenly lost interest. After soaking in the water for half an hour, he also got sleepy, got up and walked out of the bath.
Xie Chaoyuan was still sitting in the water, looking up at him.
When the two of them were together, most likely they would not leave anyone to wait on them. Xie Chaoling wiped his body cleanly while Xie Chaoyuan’s eyes wandered, and put on his middle coat.
“Crown Prince Brother’s appearance is really different from that in front of other people.”
Xie Chaoling turned his head, Xie Chaoyuan was still sitting in the water with a smile on his lips, just watching him without moving.
“What’s the difference?”
“The difference is naturally different.” But Xie Chaoyuan didn’t want to say anything.
Xie Chaoling shook his head: “Get up too, don’t keep soaking in the water.”
When Xie Chaoyuan returned to the bedroom, Xie Chaoling was leaning against the window to tease Xiao Huang. There was no servant in the hall, and his appearance looked the same as before in King Ke’s.
Xie Chaoyuan stood aside and watched for a while, then approached.
Being grabbed by Xie Chaoyuan at the wrist, the bird teasing stick in his hand fell to the ground, and he was pushed to the wall by the window. When Xie Chaoyuan’s kiss was placed on him, Xie Chaoling looked at him silently.
Lip to lip, Xie Chaoyuan asked: “Will brother refuse?”
Xie Chaoling’s eyes moved, and he bit his lip first.
Lips and tongues entangled.
Duke Zhao’s mansion.
Xie Chaoyi lowered his eyes, his face was gloomy, and he was urging Zhao Father and son in front of him: “Uncle, cousin, are you still waiting to die? If you don’t do anything, the Zhao family will only be at the mercy of others in the future. The emperor will not let you go, and my fifth brother, the Crown Prince, will surely not let you go.”
There was no one else in the room, Xie Chaoyi said it bluntly, and his intentions were more obvious.
The Zhao family had indeed been having a hard time recently. Although Zhao Wenqing had recovered, the inner city guards were now caught between the Forbidden Army and the outer city Jingwei Army, they were caught in the middle and suffered from both sides. They were no longer as glorious as they used to be. Moreover, because this position was snatched from Chang Ke, the son-in-law of the Lin family, and they had abandoned Xie Chaorong, who married the Lin family’s daughter as his wife, the relationship between the Zhao and Lin families was no longer as close as before. In addition, the old man Zuo Lun became the prospective father-in-law of the East Palace, and he obviously had other thoughts and was not as easy to talk to as before. Their plan to send people to the Ministry of Household fell through in the end.
Not to mention that in a crackdown on bandits in Dongshan Ying, Zhao Changming’s two most trusted deputy commanders, who he had personally promoted, were killed. Who would believe that there was no conspiracy involved? Zhao Changming drank tea calmly without showing any emotions, and Zhao Wenqing tentatively asked, “Your Highness, do you have any ideas?”
He heard Xie Chaoyi say viciously: “How did the former crown prince die in the past, let’s do it again.”
Zhao Wenqing’s eyes were filled with fleeting surprise, and even Zhao Changming’s expression changed. Obviously neither of them thought of this. His Royal Highness Seventh was not very old, but he was really courageous.
Xie Chaoyi smirked: “Uncle, cousin, I am family with you, so you might as well say something clearly. Although I am young, I have heard about what happened back then, you dared to do it back then, why are you so restrained now? “
Zhao Father and son didn’t respond, and the non-stop chirping of cicadas outside the window was disturbing their hearts.
It was already six years ago, when the Zhao’s arrogance was at its peak. Emperor Qianming suffered from malaria and recuperated in the other palace in Dongshan, and the former crown prince stayed in the capital to supervise the country. At that time, it happened that the results of the three-year general examination were announced, but there was a scandal of cheating. A large number of students were instigated by others. Emperor Qianming was seriously ill and was unconscious. The former crown prince was outraged by the common people. Without his consent, he severely dealt with the then commander of the Jingwei Army and other generals, and changed the entire Jingwei Army.
But when the emperor woke up from his coma, someone went to the palace and accused the crown prince in front of the emperor, saying that he had wicked intentions and was using the opportunity to gain military power and plot wrongdoing. Emperor Qianming was already a heavily suspicious emperor, and he had just returned from the brink of death, so when he heard that the crown prince had changed the commander of the Imperial Guards while he was unconscious, he couldn’t think straight. At that time, he was in the Dongshan Palace, so he ordered the Dongshan soldiers to bring the crown prince to him to get a clear explanation.
But the Dongshan soldiers were controlled by the Zhao family, so they surrounded the East Palace but did not mention that they were actually there to invite the crown prince for questioning on behalf of the emperor. This led the crown prince to believe that something had happened to the emperor in the other palace and that the Dongshan soldiers were trying to take advantage of the situation to force him to rebel. He then ordered the palace guards to resist, and the two sides began to fight. This situation then confirmed that the crown prince had conspired with the imperial guards to rebel against the emperor. The Dongshan soldiers, who were well-known for their military prowess, showed up with the imperial edict they held, and the Imperial Guards cooperated with them to besiege the crown prince. Eventually, they forced the crown prince to jump off a cliff and die on the mountainside behind Dongshan.
Zhao Changming put down his tea cup and finally spoke, “It’s not that simple. If the same thing happens again, how could His Majesty be easily fooled? He has long since lost trust in our Zhao family. It was only because he was seriously ill and suspicious that he allowed us to take advantage of the situation. Now that this crown prince is favored and powerful, it is not easy to provoke him.”
“It’s not easy, but there is one thing that is different from back then,” Xie Chaoyi said quietly. “The previous crown prince’s wicked intentions and desire for military power were false, but this current fifth prince’s wicked intentions and desire for military power are true.”
Zhao Wenqing raised an eyebrow at his words, “Your Highness, do you have any evidence to support this?”
Xie Chaoyi took out the letter from the crown prince that he had in his pocket and showed it to them. “This is a personal letter written by the crown prince to the commander of the Dongshan soldiers, and it bears the seal of the crown prince. The letter can be forged, but the seal cannot. I have had it authenticated, and it is confirmed to be real.”
“In the letter, the crown prince instructed the commander of the Dongshan soldiers to deal with those who did not obey during the pacification of bandits and chaos. The commander Xu had defected to the crown prince. The crown prince interfered in the internal affairs of the Dongshan soldiers, eliminated those who opposed him, and tried to control the entire Dongshan soldiers. Is it unjust for me to say that he covets military power?”
After carefully reading the letter, the Zhao father and son were filled with doubts and asked Xie Chaoyi, “Where did this letter come from?”
It doesn’t matter where it came from, as long as it can bring down the crown prince.”
In fact, this letter was sent to him by someone, and the sender’s purpose was to use his hands to deal with the crown prince, and he didn’t care.
Xie Chaoling must fall.
As long as Xie Chaoling didn’t fall, they wouldn’t have a chance. They had to try no matter what!