Chapter 276 – History Always Repeats Itself
Edited by Serina
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The Crown Prince was greatly pleased. He had spent so much money on making those two gifts, so, of course, they should be the best.
“If Imperial Father likes them, Son will have them delivered to your residence.”
Before acting all smart, shouldn’t you evaluate your own abilities first? What if Qi Zhen opened his damn mouth and asked for the Moon? How are you going to give it to him? What if he opened his mouth and asked for Qujiang and Huyi, are you going to start a freaking war for such a reason? Don’t make people laugh!
The Crown Prince made a bow in a haughty manner. He then lifted his robe and went back to his seat. His posterior had barely touched his seat, when Jing Yi, who sat opposite of him, got up.
Contrary to Jing Hua’s boisterous behavior, Jing Yi was quieter. He greeted his father but didn’t announce to everyone his gift in order to avoid last year’s tragedy repeating itself when his gift was swapped by his elder brother.
The brocade box he brought out was small and could be held in one hand. He bowed. “Son knows Imperial Father is busy reading through reports and memorials every day. Hence, I went to Mount Song in search for a millenium beech and carved it into this headrest.” He opened the box and a delicately carved pillow made of beech laid inside.
Compared to the Crown Prince’s gifts, Jing Yi’s gifts were full of thoughts.
Qi Zhen nodded and a smile formed from the depths of his heart. “These days, we were quite busy and our spirit has become weary. Your gift has come in a timely manner. It is very good.”
The eunuch took the gift and delivered to Qi Zhen.
Naturally, Concubine Xiao would not miss the opportunity to praise her son in front of the Emperor. She spoke with affection. “Your Majesty, Yi’er had to search Mount Song for many days before finding the right beech in hope of helping you have a good night of sleep.”
“Hmm. We understand his heart.”
Jing Yi said, “This is something Son should do.”
At that moment, Ji Yunshu got curious, so she leaned closer to Jing Rong and whispered, “It should be your turn.”
Jing Rong replied, “There is no hurry. Besides, we have to wait for the Sage King.”
His gaze fell on Jing Xian who sat not far from them.
Jing Xian wasn’t a high-profile man. With the support of a servant, he came to the front to present his birthday gift which was the most common spiritual bead string one could find.
Qi Zhen didn’t even cast a glance at him before waving his hand to allow him back to his seat.
No one was surprised by his attitude. Jing Xian had a frail health. It was inevitable that such flaw didn’t garner the Emperor’s favor.
Finally, it was Jing Rong’s turn.
He got up and made his way to the front. He greeted his father and said a few words of blessing before ordering people to bring his gift in.
The size of his gift was as big as the Crown Prince’s jade tree. It was around two meters tall.
Ji Yunshu looked at it with widened eyes. What the heck did that man prepare?
Several eunuchs with sweat beads forming on their brows placed down the gigantic gift concealed under a red cloth. Next, they pulled down the red cloth, revealing to everyone the hidden content. Shock was felt in the venue. The gift wasn’t carved from gold or silver neither was it finely sculpted. It was a crude Buddha statue made out of stone.
That’s right! It was a buddha statue!
Someone rubbed their eyes then looked again, but no matter how much he rubbed his eyes, the buddha-like statue didn’t change. He immediately felt dizzy. In previous years, Prince Rong’s gift was neither low-key nor high profile. It was always just right, but this year, he went full power. However, why did he have to choose such a conspicuous thing?
The Crown Prince and Jing Yi were inwardly laughing. Even Concubine Xiao couldn’t suppress her smirk and had to hide it with her handkerchief.
Qi Zhen’s hand trembled as he pointed at the gigantic Buddha statue. “Jing Rong, what… is this?”
“Imperial Father, this is a buddha statue.” Jing Rong answered perfunctorily.
“We know this is a buddha statue! What I mean is why did you give this…” He was in complete disbelief.
“Although this statue is not made of gold or jade, it won’t be easily be destroyed as gold can melt and jade can shatter. Son had decided on a buddha statue since I wish for Imperial Father to be like Buddha, forever as stable as our Great Lin.
Ji Yunshu gave him thumbs up for his explanations. Stone was stone no matter how he spun it. It made Qi Zhen still fell dissatisfied. Qi Zhen swept the place a glance and noticed Old General Li had left his seat. What a curious coincidence. She also left her place and followed him.
Old General Li walked for a while, but suddenly, he veered to the small entrance of a small palace. Then, he stood there. From his position, he could overlook Chengqing Hall with clarity – the brightly lit lanterns, the crowds in celebration and the cheers intertwined with the songs and music in background.
He brushed his long and white beard. “Come out!” he ordered.
Ji Yunshu popped out from a hidden corner and walked to him. She followed his gaze and looked at the place where there was red and orange lanterns
The silence was suddenly broken by Old General Li. “Teacher Ji, who do you think is suitable to be the emperor?”
The suddenness of the question frightened Ji Yunshu. She observed him with a raised eyebrow.
The old man continued to gaze at a certain place and continued to question her. “Do you think… the current emperor doesn’t deserve his title?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Just answer me.”
Ji Yunshu had yet to figure out his meaning, but she still pondered on a reply. After a moment of deliberation, she earnestly answered, “Qi Zhen Emperor isn’t as good as the previous Emperor. He beheaded chamberlains, neglected close relatives, set up private armies, established an internal force. However, he has pacified the civil unrest within the empire for the past 20 years. He had drove away the barbarians, conquered Huyi and Qujiang. He had ushered Great Lin in an era of prosperity. The common people also live in peace. This could be regard as doing what people asked from a ruler.”
He slightly nodded, approving her explanations.
“Then, what if… for his power, he had no scrupule slaughtering innocent lives just to gain power, not hesitating pulling the root out?”
“Have you heard how the late Emperor ascended to the throne?”
Ji Yunshu shook her head. She was ignorant of that period of time.
Old General Li didn’t speak for a long moment. Then, he slowly started to narrate. “Before the late Emperor ascended to the throne, he was a child riddled with illness. At that time, the main candidate to the throne was his other brother, Marquis Chao, a man with great potential to be the emperor. When the late Emperor ascended to the throne, he beheaded the Marquis Chao under the pretense of rebellion in order to consolidate his power.”
Ji Yunshu finally understood his meaning.
“The great fire which decimated the whole Imperial Duke’s residence was carried out under the Emperor’s order. So, on that day, you deliberately mentioned the relationship between the King of Peace and the Eighth Prince.”
Old General Li didn’t directly confirm her suspicions. He sighed. “History always repeats itself.”
Qi Zhen had perpetuated his father’s behavior, eliminating the Imperial Duke for the same reason his father did to Marquis Chao.
“Old General Li, this matter is only your guess. Even if it was the truth, would killing the Emperor with those lanterns amount to anything? Without Qi Zhen, they would still be another one to take over him.”
“What if there are none left?”
“What do you mean?”
Old General Li looked at Chengqing Hall with a smile slowly spreading.
Ji Yunshu had a flash. She wrinkled her nose and said in a low voice, “Rust? It’s the smell of rust.”
She was shocked.
A loud sound reverberated and a fire suddenly started. Not far from Chengqing hall, non-stop explosions could be heard and the night became bright. The red of the flames were reflected into Ji Yunshu’s dark eyes. Like a thread of dynamite, the iron wire holding the lantern caught on fire, forming a network of fire. Chengqing hall was very quickly surrounded by flames.
Grenn‘s Rants Corner
Burn baby, burn!