Within the royal palace, the dragon bells and dragon drums reverberated in harmony.
The news of Wang Chong’s imprisonment spread like wildfire across the entire capital, and before the morning assembly began, a white-haired old official appeared in the inner palace. His emaciated body was trembling, and an indignant look was on his face. His pale head struck the dragon bell forcefully time and time again, and it didn’t take long for crimson blood to ooze from the impact.
“There are no precedents of indicting one with the crime of ‘blindly interfering with court matters’. Your Majesty, are you making history by indicting a person for his earnest opinion?!”
Old Censor He Can knocked his head on the dragon bell time and time again with an incomparably agitated and sorrowful expression.
As an official of the previous era, the censor of the former emperor, He Can, was loyal to the country, and he spoke and admonished without bias or fear. Out of respect for his upright personality, the former emperor once bestowed him an Immunity Token. However, due to his old age, having exceeded seventy to date, he had retired and returned to his homeland.
It had been thirty years since he was involved in governance, but upon hearing about Wang Chong’s arrest, the old censor’s agitation and indignance prompted him into action. As soon as he received the news, he ordered his offsprings to prepare his official robe, and carrying the Immunity Token from the former emperor, he walked through the palace gates, headed straight for the inner palace.
“In the two centuries since Great Tang’s establishment, there has never been such a matter. If Your Majesty were to indict him because of this matter, Your Majesty will go down in history as an inept emperor!! ——”
This was just the start of the shock wave that Wang Chong triggered.
As soon as the morning bell was struck, the officials rushed straight into the assembly hall.
“Your humble subordinate, Zhang Yakun, pleads for Your Majesty to spare Wang Chong!”
The moment as everyone stepped into the hall, ‘dong!’, an influential official kneeled heavily on the ground. Then, following suit, the second one, the third one, the fourth one…
“Your humble subordinate, Lu Lin, pleads for Your Majesty to spare Wang Chong!”
“Your humble subordinate, Xu Hanwu, pleads for Your Majesty to spare Wang Chong!”
“Your humble subordinate, Sun Taijia, pleads for Your Majesty to spare Wang Chong!”
“Your humble subordinate, Gu Tong, pleads for Your Majesty to spare Wang Chong!”
All of the officials had a grim and agitated look on their faces.
“Zhang Yakun, Lu Lin, and Xu Hanwu, what are you all doing?”
Upon seeing the sight, Zhou Zhang and the others were dumbfounded. However, as soon as Zhou Zhang said those words, another even shocking event occurred.
“Your humble subordinate, Shang Guan, wishes to submit a formal report against Zhou Zhang!”
“Your humble subordinate, Li Yunlin, wishes to submit a formal report against Liu Yu!”
“Your humble subordinate, Zhang Song, wishes to submit a formal report against Zhou Jue!”
“Your humble subordinate, Liu Feng, wishes to submit a formal report against Zhang Kuai!”
“Your humble subordinate, Zhou Ren, wishes to submit a formal report against Great General Abusi!”
Dong dong dong, figure after figure kneeled heavily to the ground. Eventually, even Great General Abusi was dumbstruck.
In an instant, the vast royal court suddenly fell silent.
For some reason, seeing the furious gazes on the heads turning to look at them, Zhou Zhang and the others vaguely understood something, and a chill suddenly struck their hearts.
For the first time, Zhou Zhang and the others felt stigmatized. For the first time, they understood the sensation of being held in disdain by hundreds of officials of the royal court.
Wang Chong had said that the ‘Hu formed a faction by themselves’, but these officials didn’t pay much heed to it initially, thinking those were just the babble of an immature youth. Ironically, when so many Hu generals united in their criticisms against Wang Chong, it only proved the authenticity of his claim.
Go Seonji was from Silla!
Fumeng Lingcha belonged to the Qiang tribe!
Geshu Han was a Türgesh!
Abusi was from the Tongluo nomadic tribe!
Ansi Shun was a Turk!
But this time, all of these people from different ethnicities had banded together under the Hu banner in order to deal with Wang Chong. Such a happening had infuriated all of the Han officials.
When they heard that Wang Chong was captured during daybreak, their anger crescendoed at new heights, triggering them into action.
‘Hu forming a faction of their own’, wasn’t the evidence lying right before them?
Wang Chong’s memorial was initially met with apathy, but given the current situation, who would dare continue thinking so? What they found the most infuriating was that Zhou Zhang and group, despite being the head censor, actually spoke up for outsiders!
Enemies were loathsome, but inner spies were the lowest of scum!
Zhou Zhang and the others didn’t know that they had already been stigmatized as stout supporters of foreign tribes. Right now, anyone who dared to speak up for the Hu would become the enemy of all of the Han officials!
Silence loomed within the royal court.
Other than Zhou Zhang’s group, Abusi, and the other Hu generals, all of the Han officials kneeled to the floor.
“Your Majesty, Wang Chong is just a fifteen-year-old child, and his loyalty to the country is evident in his words. If he’s indicted over this matter, won’t the hearts of the entire population turn cold? Your Majesty, please reconsider your decision!”
Dong! When the Duke of Xu, an official whose standing wasn’t inferior to Go Seonji and the others in any way, kneeled down, the emotions of those within the royal court were brought to even greater heights.
These words didn’t just represent Duke of Xu’s view, it was also the true thoughts of all of the officials kneeling here.
The royal court fell deathly silent.
Watching this sight amidst the crowd, innumerable emotions struck Wang Gen’s heart.
“Chong-er, do you see this?”
All this time, Wang Gen felt that Wang Chong should have never written the memorial. However, at this instant, he finally realized that Wang Chong’s decision was the correct one.
When the news of more than eighty percent of the royal court kneeled down to plead for Wang Chong’s release during the morning assembly spread, the entire capital flew into an uproar.
“Let me go, let me go!”
Upon hearing that her Third Brother Wang Chong had been arrested and locked in the Imperial Prison, the Wang Family’s little sister flew into a rage. Four guards, eight servants, and six maids tried desperately to hold onto her, but they were unable to withstand her immense might.
A guard was sent flying straight into the walls, and the immense impact caused the wall to cave in. Wang Xiao Yao’s immense strength wasn’t something that an ordinary person could endure.
“I want to enter the royal palace! How dare he capture my Third Brother, I want to kill that wretched emperor!”
The Wang Family’s little sister bellowed furiously.
“Young mistress, you mustn’t!”
“You can’t say such things!!”
“You could be executed if others were to hear your words!”
The guards, maids, and servants paled upon hearing Wang Xiao Yao’s words. Such words mustn’t be spouted! If anyone else were to hear of it, the entire Wang Clan could be persecuted.
Six to seven hands immediately clasped onto the Wang Family’s little sister’s mouth, and more guards rushed forward to pin her down.
Seated on a wooden chair not too far away was Madam Wang. If she had heard such words at any other occasion, she would immediately deliver a slap to the other party’s face.
But Madam Wang simply sat motionlessly on her chair as tears streamed down her cheeks.
Ever since she witnessed Wang Chong being captured, she hadn’t had a single sip of water or bite of food.
“Have you sent anyone to look for the old master yet?”
Madam Wang suddenly asked.
“We have, but the gates to the Four Quarters Embassy are tightly shut. We weren’t able to enter at all.”
Upon being asked, a guard lowered his head and replied with a grim expression.
Despair flashed across Madam Wang’s eyes. As a housewife, she was completely helpless in such a situation. Her only hope right now was in her father-in-law.
However, for some reason, the gates to the Four Quarters Embassy were tightly shut, and even her brother-in-law, Wang Gen, was unable to enter.
Madam Wang had no idea what was going on, and this scared her.
If even her father-in-law had no solution for this problem, then they were truly helpless.
Madam Wong wasn’t the only one in despair.
“What should we do? Should we inform the young master’s teacher about this matter?”
Standing in the corner of the room was Shen Hai, and at this desperate moment, he suddenly recalled the Demonic Emperor Old Man.
“It’s no use. This is a matter of the royal court. Besides, his martial arts has already been crippled. There’s no use bothering him over this matter.”
Meng Long rejected Shen Hai’s suggestion without any hesitation.
He was eager to save the young master, but this wasn’t a viable solution.
At the same time, beyond the doors of the lounge, in the back garden of the Wang Family Residence, a gray-robed, middle-aged man sighed deeply.
Li Zhuxin was hired at an exorbitant price of five thousand gold taels, and he had sworn to protect Wang Chong under all circumstances. However, this matter was truly beyond his means.
Squatting above the walls of the residence not too far away from Li Zhuxin was Miyasame Ayaka. Her head was lowered gloomily, and it seemed like she was in extremely low spirits.
They were powerful experts, but they were helpless toward such situations as well.
Below the Chinese scholar tree in the Western City, Su Zhengchen was seated upright before a golden chessboard.
From dawn to evening, the opposite end of the golden chessboard remained empty. The person Su Zhengchen was looking for didn’t come.
Da da da!
Suddenly, flurried footsteps sounded. Old servant Fang Hong hurriedly walked over and whispered a few words into Su Zhengchen’s ears.
Upon hearing Fang Hong’s words, Su Zhengchen’s eyelids twitched, and his face warped. Hu! A gust of wind blew across, and the world beneath the Chinese scholar tree fell silent.
Beneath the Chinese scholar tree, Su Zhengchen closed his eyes, and a contemplative expression surfaced on his face.
No one could tell what he was thinking.
“Seems like it’ll be impossible to play a match today!”
After an inestimable period of time, Su Zhengchen slowly opened his eyes. He reached out and cleared away the black and white stones on the table. Then, picking up the golden chessboard, he slowly walked away.
“Grandfather, you must save big brother!”
Su Zhengchen had barely taken a few steps when a figure suddenly dived toward him, grabbed his leg, and started bawling. Turning around, Su Zhengchen saw the teary-faced ‘little Jianjian’. He had always liked sweet stuff, but glancing momentarily to the side, Su Zhengchen saw that the candied haw stick he was licking just a moment ago was now lying on the ground.
“You heard our conversation?”
Su Zhengchen asked. Fang Hong had already lowered his voice, but this child seemed to possess exceptionally sharp hearing.
“Grandfather, big brother had once said that you’re an incredible person. Big brother isn’t a bad person, you have to save him!”
Little Jianjian bawled.
Su Zhengchen fell silent. Gazing down at little Jianjian, he sighed deeply.
He slowly extracted his feet from little Jianjian’s grasp and disappeared into the shadows of the night.
The chill of the night didn’t calm down the heated atmosphere within the capital. If anything, it exacerbated.
The imprisonment of Wang Chong was already beyond the means of the Wang Clan. The Hu generals, Grand Protectorates, and Assistant Protectorate Generals had sent in impeachment letters one after another, criticizing Wang Chong. And as time passed, their anger didn’t seem to cease. Rather, the situation grew tenser and tenser, eventually leading up to Wang Chong’s imprisonment.
That day, after the morning assembly, countless memorials flew into the inner palace as though sharp blades, pleading for Wang Chong to be released. This was no longer Wang Chong’s individual issue. It was a battle between the Han and the Hu!
As night set in, countless letter pigeons flew in all directions. When the news of more than eighty percent of the Han officials had kneeled down to plead in Wang Chong’s stead leaked out, it provoked a far more intense reaction among the Hu by the borders.
The wrath of the Han didn’t make the Hu to compromise. Instead, it further fueled their anger!
“Bastard! What are those Han up to?”
In the Western Region Protectorate Manor, Fumeng Lingcha was seething with fury, and the entire ground tremored beneath his wrath.
“Their hearts turn cold, but do they think that ours don’t? We Hu have fought countless battles for the empire, guarding and expanding the territories of Great Tang. Yet, we’ve to suffer such humiliation from a young brat! If this brat isn’t killed, my anger will never be placated. Men! I want to write a blood letter to the Sage Emperor, this brat has to die!”
“Let’s see whether His Majesty will side with that young brat or with us Hu generals!”
In the Western Protectorate Manor, the Western Region Protectorate Manor, the Northern Protectorate Manor, the Big Dipper Army, and many others border armies, the Hu sent in countless letters to the capital.
This time, it wasn’t just Go Seonji, Fumeng Lingcha, Geshu Han, and An Sishun. It was hundreds, or perhaps, even up to a thousand Hu commanders.
And unlike the first impeachment, all of them demanded Wang Chong’s execution.
“If this brat isn’t killed, the wrath of the soldiers cannot be placated!”
“If Your Majesty doesn’t kill this brat, the hearts of us Hu soldiers will turn cold!”
These were the most common words that appeared within the Hu memorials. The fact that more than eighty percent of the Han officials had written and pleaded for Wang Chong’s behalf had angered nearly all of the Hu soldiers!
While the Hu generals were a seemingly endless stream of memorials to the capital, none of them realized that their actions had attracted the attention of another power.
“Bastard! Do those fellows really think that Great Tang is theirs? Do they really think that there are only Geshu Han, Fumeng Lingcha, and Go Seonji in Great Tang?”
Amidst white snow, tents were erected at the foot of a mountain. Reading through a letter, the eyebrows of a Han general slowly knitted together. Then, he abruptly slammed his palm on the table and bellowed furiously.
御丹书铁券 -> Immunity Token
It’s extremely rare, but sometimes those with great contribution do get Immunity Token.
To summarize, it’s a death pardon.
It usually has no time limit, meaning, you can pass down from generation to generation and save one’s life when it’s needed. However, there’s some limitations to it. For example, if a person betrayed the country, the emperor can choose to ignore the Immunity Token.