Jun Hua led Wei Ruo to Wei Zhao’s study, where Wei Zhao and Wei Chongrong had been waiting for a long time.
Wei Ruo walked up to the writing desk and respectfully cupped his fist, “Nephew Wei Ruo greets Fourth Imperial Uncle.”
Wei Zhao smiled and nodded, raising his hand and saying, “Ah Ruo is free of ceremony. Come over here to talk.”
Wei Ruo thanked him, walked forward to the empty side next to Wei Chongrong and sat down, with Jun Hua sitting on the other side.
Wei Chongrong looked at him sideways and asked, “Ah Ruo, how is the Crown Prince’s Consort?” During the afternoon at the palace, Sun Ye had not come back after leaving early, and there was no news from the Eastern Palace, so whether Wei Chongrong’s speculation was justified or not was anyone’s guess at the moment.
Wei Ruo nodded gently, his face looking relaxed: “My father has checked the Crown Prince’s Consort’s pulse and said that everything was fine.”
Wei Zhao’s expression remained unchanged. He nodded calmly, feeling that such a situation was a matter of course.
Wei Ming and Jun Feili paid extra attention to the foetus in Xie Xiang’s womb and had the Eastern Palace closely guarded. Princess Yuankang and Xie Xiu took turns accompanying Xie Xiang in the palace, so it would be unbelievable if someone could still exploit the situation.
But Wei Chongrong had a shadow of Shangguan Yan from his previous life, and it was not that easy to let go of it. Besides, Shangguan Cha was Wangfei Zhao, the sister-in-law of the Crown Prince’s Consort, so it was really easy for her to meet Xie Xiang, and it could be said that it was impossible to guard against her.
Wei Chongrong frowned and thought about it, then asked Wei Ruo, “Ah Ruo, have you told your father about your suspicions?” Earlier in the day, it was Wei Ruo who asked him the question first, so it was clear that it wasn’t that Wei Chongrong was prejudiced against Shangguan Cha due to the events of his previous life, but that there was really something wrong.
The corners of Wei Ruo’s lips curled slightly, his face showing a smug expression, “Of course I told him, so when my father checked the Crown Prince’s Consort’s pulse, he also took away the leftover dregs from the Eastern Palace’s medicine, saying that he had to analyse it carefully. But the Crown Prince’s Consort’s health at the moment is fine.”
Hearing that Sun Ye treated it seriously, Wei Chongrong felt slightly relieved. If Sun Ye had gone all out and still couldn’t see any problems, then it could only mean two things: either Shangguan Xiang’s recipe was too clever or Shangguan Cha really had done nothing.
When the Empress Dowager died, the national mourning period was one hundred days, during which all the people of the country dressed in plain clothes and weren’t allowed to marry. But once the first seven days were over, the court was about to return to normal and everyone started to get busy again.
The successive deaths of Wei Xuan and the Empress Dowager dealt Wei Ming a heavy blow. During the national mourning only, the emperor fell ill twice. Although it wasn’t particularly serious, taking into account the lifespan of the emperors in the past, it still couldn’t help but make people nervous.
In the nearly three hundred years of the dynasty’s existence, the emperor who lived the longest was the late emperor Wei Su, who lived to the age of seventy, followed by Emperor Gaozong Wei Xian, who lived to the age of sixty-four. Other than that, none of the emperors lived to the age of sixty, and several of them didn’t even reach the age of fifty.
Wei Ming was born in the 13th year of Yongjia and was forty-seven years old, not exactly young. However, the death of the Crown Prince had left the position of the Eastern Palace vacant. Although Wang Xiang Wei Mao had already been imprisoned and there was only one prince left in the emperor’s family, Wang Zhao Wei Lan, there was no Crown Prince and many courtiers were very uneasy.
As soon as the Empress Dowager’s mourning was over, some courtiers submitted memorials, requesting to appoint Wang Zhao the Crown Prince.
According to the usual practice, as long as a prince of Great Yan was not in his fief, he could join the imperial court for experience; for example, Wang Zhao was in the Ministry of Rites. However, a prince could only go to any of the six ministries while the Crown Prince had his own government office, which was a reduced version of the imperial court.
The education received by an ordinary prince was different from that received by the Crown Prince. Wei Xuan had been carefully cultivated by Wei Ming from a young age. Now, with Wei Xuan gone, it was only a matter of time before another Crown Prince was appointed.
If Wei Ming had more than one choice, it would have been prudent to choose carefully. But in fact, there was only one candidate for the Crown Prince, and that was Wei Lan. After all, Wei Lan had not received any special education as the Crown Prince, and it would be a good idea to appoint him as soon as possible so that he could be trained sooner.
Wei Ming suppressed all the memorials requesting the appointment of the Crown Prince and didn’t give any response.
At first, people thought that the emperor was pining for the Crown Prince and couldn’t bear to have someone take his place too soon. Unexpectedly, the emperor’s health deteriorated from the 8th year of Tai’an to the 9th year of Tai’an, but requests for the Crown Prince remained unanswered.
As rumours spread that the Crown Prince’s Consort was pregnant with a boy, the mood of unease in the court intensified.
Could it be that…
His Majesty was waiting for the Crown Prince’s Consort to give birth to a male heir. Did he want to make him the Taisun?
When thinking of this, many people couldn’t sit still anymore.
Traditionally, the Great Yan didn’t have the custom of appointing a Taisun, and the eldest son of the Crown Prince was usually given the title of a county wang.
The only exception was Wei Yi, the first son of Emperor Yingzong, who was appointed the Taisun when he was born, but he didn’t directly succeed as the Taisun, he was appointed the Crown Prince after Emperor Yingzong ascended the throne, and then succeeded as the Crown Prince when Emperor Yingzong died.
It was true that the Shenchuan dynasty before the Great Yan had precedents for the direct accession of the Taisun to the throne. However, the two unlucky little emperors were both overthrown by their uncles soon after they ascended the throne. One was placed under house arrest for life, and the other fled overseas and had never been seen since.
You know, the two unlucky Taisuns of the Shenchuan dynasty were both appointed when their Crown Prince fathers were alive, but their grandfathers were too long-lived and survived their fathers, directly passing the throne to their grandsons.
And in Wei Ming’s case, the Crown Prince was gone and had no son during his lifetime. If the posthumous son was appointed the Taisun, unless the present emperor could have the lifespan of the previous emperor and raise the young grandson himself, this was the beginning of a disaster.
It was not that the emperor had no son, so why bother to create such a problem? It was really unnecessary.
Among the heads of the three departments, the positions of Jiang Che, the hereditary Wang Yong’an, married to the Crown Prince’s Consort’s sister Xie Xiu, and Shangguan Xuan, the head of the Department of State Affairs, the father of Wangfei Zhao, were self-evident, although they themselves behaved very restrained.
The remaining head of the Central Secretariat Sun Shu was absolute neutral, following the emperor in all matters. It was just that this time, Sun Shu couldn’t understand Wei Ming’s mind either and had to seek out Wei Zhao to discuss the situation.
Every time Wei Chongrong saw Sun Shu, he had a sense of pride that arose spontaneously. If it hadn’t been for his suggestion to Wei Zhao to get Wang Lu’s family back to Yujing, this Gong Guo, who had died in the 2nd year of Taiping in the previous life, would have passed away long ago.
When Sun Shu saw Wei Zhao, he didn’t even bother with pleasantries and asked directly, “Your Highness Wang Qin, what do you think His Majesty is thinking? It is really not a wise move to appoint a Taisun…” He knew better than anyone else what Wei Ming’s health condition was.
“Cousin, take it easy.“ Compared to Sun Shu, Wei Zhao’s expression was obviously calmer, “The Crown Prince’s Consort hasn’t given birth yet. It is too early to say if she has a son. If she gives birth to a daughter, nothing will happen.”
“What if it’s a son?” Although Sun Ye didn’t say anything about the sex of the child, from what Sun Shu knew about him, the one the Crown Prince’s Consort was carrying was most likely a son, otherwise Sun Ye wouldn’t have been so cautious, almost guarding the palace every day.
“The emperor’s orders can’t be violated.” Wei Zhao said without thinking, “If Brother Emperor insists on appointing the Taisun, is it something that you and I can stop?” In fact, in Wei Zhao’s opinion, there was nothing wrong with appointing the Taisun, the key was that Wei Ming had to protect the child for a few more years, otherwise it wouldn’t be good for the country if a young boy ascended the throne.
Sun Shu sighed when he heard his words and wondered, “What exactly does His Majesty dislike about Wang Zhao?” In his opinion, Wei Lan was a low-key, non-contentious young man who only lacked experience in the past. As long as Wei Ming gave him a chance, he would have no problem being a successful monarch.
On the contrary, the little baby in the Crown Prince’s Consort’s belly, even if it was really a boy, it was hard to say whether he could be raised safely, not to mention his temperament and ability. He could be better than Wei Lan, or it could be far inferior to him. The variables were too great, it was impossible to say now.
Wei Zhao glanced at Sun Shu and said solemnly, “The emperor’s mind is unpredictable, it is not something we can easily anticipate.”
In fact, the reason why Wei Ming refused to make Wei Lan the Crown Prince was something he had told Wei Zhao about. He didn’t like Wei Lan’s mentality. Wei Lan would always think in the worst possible way about anyone and anything, and his response always failed to be magnanimous.
What Wei Ming liked was Wei Xuan’s sunny temperament. If not, Wei Mao’s honesty was best. They were princes and sons of the emperor and the empress. They represented the orthodoxy of the imperial court. They should be dignified and magnanimous in their conduct.
It was just that Wei Zhao obviously couldn’t tell Sun Shu such things, and could only keep silent.
Moreover, when Wei Ming had said this, Wei Zhao didn’t dare to ask what would happen if Xie Xiang gave birth to a daughter. At that time, Wei Lan would be the only option, and it would be impossible for the emperor not to pass the throne to his son.
When we get to the mountain, there will be the way(1). It wasn’t too late to wait for the Crown Prince’s Consort to give birth to a child before planning for the future.
Wei Zhao’s thoughts were, to some extent, the thoughts of many people, but the reality, however, didn’t develop according to one’s will.
Just after the first month of the year, the emperor suddenly fell seriously ill, and at one point his life was in danger. Thanks to the miraculous hands of Wang Lu’s Lord Consort, his life was saved. At this time, the situation became delicate as there were still two months to go before the Crown Prince’s Consort was due to give birth.
During the emperor’s illness, the affairs of the court were entrusted to Wang Qin Wei Zhao, who already had military power in his hands. This also caused no small amount of controversy as to why it was Wang Qin, and not Wang Zhao, who ran the government. The emperor wasn’t without a son, and the son was of age.
After all, Wang Zhao was the son of the emperor and the empress and it was only right for him to take care of the government. It was probably because of the pressure exerted by Shangguan Xuan that there was no one ungrateful who would have jumped in at this point, saying “please make Wang Zhao the Crown Prince”.
- Let’s worry about it when it happens