11.12 – Dog food with vinegar is a whole new experience
editors: BlueBug & Macabre
Li Yuan’s impression of Xue Ling was completely overturned within three days of being with him, and Ying Sheng’s image could not have collapsed any more obviously during these three days.
Sometimes, Li Yuan would look at the two of them and his brain would be filled with thoughts like ‘so this is what true love looks like’ or ‘my god, this dog food’ or even ‘my marriage had been totally wrong’. In just three days, he began to question his life.
The only good thing was that as a minister, Xue Ling was very much in line with his vision for a ruler. He and Xue Ling had exchanged opinions, and the policies they studied and discussed, as well as some future laws and regulations that they wanted for the kingdom in the future were very much in line with Li Yuan’s principles. And as a future co-worker, Li Yuan was even more satisfied with Chen Jingzhen.
When he had been with Ji Ronghan, Ji Ronghan had taken the lead in a more obvious way. Even if he was reborn, Li Yuan was still a person from this era, and had been limited by the thoughts from this period and did not think too much of it. Chen Jingzhen was clearly different; most of his ideas came from modern times, and the collision of ideology between the two of them was just as explosive as Xue Ling had imagined. There were many sparks and arguments between them, but many conclusions were drawn that would be of great help to the things Xue Ling wanted to achieve.
Inspired by Chen Jingzhen, Li Yuan suddenly opened the door to a whole new world and discovered that he could show his intelligence and wisdom without standing behind the scenes. There was now an opportunity in front of him – as long as he took that step forward, he could challenge the existing rules.
Although Xue Ling’s reign was initially built up through the Zhennan King’s military deterrence, the three of them would be the key figures required for its continued success.
Li Yuan ultimately chose to stand beside Xue Ling. He wanted to be separated from Ji Ronghan for a period of time, and perhaps this time would be enough to allow them to clearly consider what kind of position the other party held in their hearts.
Xue Ling didn’t care much about what Li Yuan was thinking as long as he could make use of him in the end. Instead, he focused his attention on the ceremony that Ying Sheng had been responsible for arranging – the ceremony for his ascension to the throne.
Back when he had first ascended the throne, Deng Shi had used the excuse that the original owner of his body had cried himself into collapse over the former Emperor’s sudden death to push him onto the throne after holding the most cursory ceremony, claiming that his body could not withstand more. His ministers did not even have an opportunity to get close to their Emperor, as he was always placed on the high dragon throne, wearing dragon robes and a heavy crown. The tasseled pearls hung down from the crown had blocked most of his face from view.
Originally, the ministers had never expected a child to know anything, so he had seldom spoken during court and basically went to sit up on the throne for a while every day. He would occasionally doze off, then go back to sleep after morning court was over.
This kind of life as an Emperor was very leisurely, but not something Xue Ling wanted to experience. Ying Sheng wanted to hold a grand ceremony for him so that he could officially come into contact with the court.
Now that Ying Sheng was in the Capital, they had absolute military power in their hands and those ministers did not dare refute them at all. Ying Sheng wanted to take this time to train up a group of imperial troops and secret guards for Xue Ling so that he could go and complete his agreement to lay down this stretch of rivers and mountains in front of him once the situation in the Capital was completely stabilized.
Ying Sheng spent a lot of effort on this ceremony, but by the time it officially began, he found that he did not feel tired at all.
When Xue Ling slowly walked towards him wearing a somber black robe and simple crown, Ying Sheng felt that all his efforts had been worthwhile. He himself was unsure whether his efforts had been for the purpose of pressing the Emperor down on the dragon throne, or whether it was because he simply loved his current appearance. In any case, he felt that this version of Xue Ling that acted as though he was a sovereign descending upon the world suited him best out of all the different ways he had seen him.
He was so good-looking that he could not bear to shift his eyes away, so attractive that he wished he could go up right now, strip him bare, and ruthlessly possess all of him.
The red cinnabar mole in the corner of the little Emperor’s eye was very bright. The ministers had some concerns, but did not dare to voice any opposing opinions while Ying Sheng was standing beside him. Moreover, the little Emperor seemed to be a completely different person from the one they had seen back then. His momentum was so strong and powerful that the courtiers did not dare to look him in the eyes. They blushed when they saw him, and then turned their faces away in shame. The momentum on the Emperor’s body was not something they could compare to at all.
As an official during these times, they did not know whether they should consider themselves fortunate or unfortunate to have an Emperor like this.
After offering sacrifices to the heavens, it was time for the new Emperor to set the tone for his reign and appoint all manner of officials. The process did not happen like this originally, but the new Emperor clearly wanted to set up a new atmosphere and intended to begin by setting all kinds of fires under the courtiers.
His first act was to pull down many of the important ministers of the court on charges of corruption, bribery, murder, and lawlessness. They had no way to resist as they were hauled away by members of Ying Sheng’s army, and many people were shocked. After all, it was the first time they had seen this kind of thing, and the ministers themselves were left scared silly, mentally sifting through their own actions and wondering if the next one would be themselves.
Fortunately, the new Emperor did not intend to chop down all his courtiers, but chose several who had lost their consciences to serve as examples. However, this act was still very aggressive. After all, it left the two positions of his Left and Right Prime Ministers empty, which was akin to cutting off the Emperor’s own left and right arm without a care for the concerns of others. He had basically thrown the tradition of maintaining continuity at court and letting elders guide the young out the window.
After dealing with the old ministers, the next step was to appoint new ones. At this moment, the courtiers truly realized how capricious the new Emperor was. Rather than choosing new Prime Ministers from the current court, he brought in two new recruits regardless of how ugly the courtiers’ expressions were or how complex their moods.
“From today on, these two beloved subjects will be my left and right second-in-commands. Whether or not Xue Kingdom can become strong will depend on these two beloved subjects.” Xue Ling personally raised up Chen Jingzhen and Li Yuan who had knelt down to receive the imperial edict, and his gaze swept through all the dissatisfied courtiers. He then raised his hand, and asked Shu Heng to issue the third imperial edict.
The courtiers had already been struck by figurative lightning after the first two decrees, and their heads were still muddled when they suddenly heard the third one. They thought that they had heard wrong, but when they looked at the people around them, they could see the same incredulity in each other’s eyes.
Appoint the Zhennan King Ying Sheng as Imperial Consort? And simultaneously as the Empress? What the hell? Was there a problem with their ears?
Everyone’s hearts and faces were full of ‘???’, but Shu Heng continued to calmly read out the decree. After he finished speaking, the entire ceremony hall fell into silence.
The palace servant that held the Empress’ jade seal and the treasure book slowly stepped forward. Xue Ling handed the jade seal to Ying Sheng and said, “This is what We promised you. Don’t forget what you promised Us.”
Ying Sheng looked down at the treasure book and jade seal in his hands, chuckled, and said, “What I want is more than just this.”
“I know.” Xue Ling turned around with a wave of his sleeves, and then looked back to ask, “Will you walk up with me?” That was the final step for conferring a consort. The Emperor and ‘Empress’ would join hands to ascend the steps and sit on the throne.
Ying Sheng met his eyes and ultimately chose to hold the hand that Xue Ling had stretched out.
Although such a scene was strange no matter how he thought about it, he was quite willing to be treated in this way by the little Emperor.
In fact, he did not care about the position of Imperial Consort. After all, the Emperor belonged to him completely, and a title did not count for much. Even so, he was very delighted that the little Emperor had given him such a gift on the day he ascended the throne.
At the end of the ceremony, all the courtiers retired. Festivities were everywhere, and the sky over the Capital was covered in celebratory red. Although the courtiers had left, and each and every one of their hearts was full of curses, there was nothing they could do to affect the grand scene that was spread out in front of them.
Look at these wicked thoughts; it was bad enough that the Emperor had changed back and forth, even if one ignored the fact that the new Emperor was a ger, or that the previous Empress was now a Prime Minister, why was the Zhennan King now the Imperial Consort? Why didn’t the Emperor just ascend to heaven directly?!
The courtiers were full of curses that they could not express, but this did not prevent Xue Ling from doing things at all. The new Emperor ascended the throne, and the joyous sounds of celebration had not rung for more than a few days before the Emperor began to show his claws and teeth. Starting from the Capital, he aimed at many people’s Achilles heels, and removed them from their positions.
The ministers used to look down on the two gers when they ascended to the position of Prime Minister, but now they found that they were being led in circles and tricked by their schemes. Many people finally understood that the Emperor was not sitting on his position for pleasure, and was even less likely to have been placed there as a puppet. After all, if Ying Sheng wanted to become Emperor, he had no need to push him into that position and run to his master’s back palace to pull strings from the background.
A month later, the atmosphere in the entire Capital was refreshed, and the imperial court seemed to finally begin to understand. Xue Ling finally unloaded the burden from his shoulders and pushed his way into Ying Sheng’s embrace. “… So tired…”
Ying Sheng patted him gently on the back and lowered his gaze to look at him, his gaze incredibly gentle. “It’ll be okay after this period of hard work. There will always be all kinds of troubles and panic when you first start.”
Xue Ling shifted around, and straightforwardly sat himself down in his arms. “These courtiers are all fools, too. I spent so much effort to teach them, but they still don’t understand me at all! They come to me with these strange and unnecessary reports all the time, how annoying.”
Ying Sheng lightly massaged his temples for him, drew him closer, and settled him firmly in his embrace. “Isn’t it enough that I understand you?”
Xue Ling watched him lean close and wrapped an arm around his neck to give him a kiss. “It’s enough. Then We will stop working on these annoying documents today and bless you with Our presence?” Although Xue Ling said such words, in fact, he had no intention of moving at all. “The military report came in from the Northwest just now. General Mo Bei’s Qi Family has already responded. It seems that one month was enough time for them to figure out exactly what I want.”
“Isn’t that very good? Since Qi Sheng himself is willing to submit, I don’t have to bitterly fight my way over. I don’t want to be separated from you for such a long time.” Ying Sheng was not concerned about what the Qi Family might be attempting to do. Their family had always been like this; when the Emperor did well, they listened to the central government, and when the Emperor was confused, they went their own way. In any case, as long as the Northwest was theirs, they still had the final say.
Xue Ling narrowed his eyes. He tapped on the secret reports on the desk and sneered, “Qi Family has been prominent for a long time. Do they think that We will leave them alone as long as they submit?”
“Then just take your time and slowly grind them down. I will make them understand that once the power has been handed over, there is absolutely no such thing as taking it back.” He exerted some strength, and Xue Ling once again lay against him.
“The Shu King is claiming that his territory is impermeable and affects his ability to receive news, which was why he had not responded to the previous incident. What do you think?”
“The Deng Family ran to the Shu King’s territory. Tell me, what should I think?”
Xue Ling’s hand stilled. He knew that his Imperial Uncle was restless, but he hadn’t realized that the Deng Family was on his side.
“You were still young then, and don’t know what kind of feelings Deng Shi and the Shu King had for each other. Why do you think the Shu King went to his territory in the first place?” Ying Sheng’s expression was ironic as he discussed the secrets behind the imperial family. “Deng Shi should be very happy right now, thinking that he can continue to use you since you’ve retaken the throne.”
“I’m still young.” Xue Ling’s attention was not on these secrets. Compared to the imperial family’s chaotic relationships, Xue Ling was more interested in another key point. “But you’re quite old~ You even know about these kinds of things. You really deserve to be called an old uncle.”
Ying Sheng wrinkled his brow, “Are you disdaining me for being older than you?”
Xue Ling sat up straight. “There’s more than a dozen years between us, old uncle.”
Ying Sheng met his gaze, and they stared at each other for a good while. Eventually, Xue Ling wrapped his arms around his neck and kissed him on the lips. “Okay, don’t be sad. I like you even if you’re an old uncle.”
Ying Sheng stood up. He swept away the documents on the desk with one hand and placed Xue Ling directly on its surface. “I’m not in a hurry to do it on the dragon throne. We can try the imperial desk first.”
Xue Ling raised his chin and spoke a little provocatively, “Are you sure you can do it?”
Ying Sheng reached out and began to remove his imperial court clothing. He seemed to have been shamed into mild anger and annoyance, “I can show you right now whether or not I’m an old uncle and whether or not I can do it.”
Shu Heng stepped slowly and silently out of the imperial study. He even closed the door behind him… After serving Xue for such a long time, he had watched as Xue Ling and Ying Sheng’s relationship developed, and gone from initially finding it inconceivable to becoming accustomed to it in the end. In any case, that was the Imperial Consort, and regardless of where they wanted to mess around, the most he could do was quietly slip out to guard the door and chew on some dog food.
Anyway, he was not the most miserable one. Mu Ge was even more wretched; he was only being fed dog food, but Mu Ge’s dog food was mixed with vinegar~