Chapter 645 - Prince Yi as Crown Prince
After Peng Yuanhai left the Great Hall, he went directly to Tongren Hall.
Tongren Hall had been neglected for fourteen years, almost cut off from the rest of the world. Logically, it should have no connections with any officials of the imperial court; it was impossible for them to have dealings with the newly appointed Minister of Personnel, Peng Yuanhai.
In that case, why would he go to Tongren Hall? What was he intending to do there?
The entire Tongren Hall was staffed with only a single eunuch, Bi Lu. At this moment, he was busy sweeping fallen leaves in the courtyard. Bi Lu lifted his head and stared in surprise when he saw Peng Yuanhai stride in with steady steps. He tossed the broom aside and hurriedly bowed in greeting, “Lord Peng.”
“Is Prince Xian inside?”
“He is. His Highness had just taken some medicine and fallen asleep.”
“Then this official will wait for a while outside.” Peng Yuanhai was someone who didn’t tend to speak or smile casually. His uncommon bearing showed through his actions and words. Although he was only in his thirties, he was an old soul who gave off an air of one who had been through much in life, appearing much more mature and staid than those his age.
Bi Lu lifted his head to ask, “I wonder what Lord Peng has come to see His Highness about?”
“Merely some minor matters. This official will just wait here outside. If His Highness wakes up, I would trouble gonggong to inform me.”
“Why not have this servant wake His Highness up?”
“There’s no need. His Highness is not in good health and should rest more.”
Bi Lu lowered his head in acquiescence, but still went indoors.
Just as he entered, Jing Xian woke up. He quickly took down the rather thick cloak that was hanging from the screen and put it over Jing Xian’s shoulders as he helped him get up from the bed as he reported, “Your Highness, the Minister of Personnel, Lord Peng is outside.”
Jing Xian answered with a hum but didn’t react further.
“Your Highness, should I send Lord Peng away?”
“Go brew a pot of black tea for me.” He sat down on the couch.
“Yes.” Bi Lu didn’t chatter on further and went to get the tea. When he saw that Peng Yuanhai was still standing in the courtyard, he didn’t give him a reply either, but merely hurried to brew his tea.
Jing Xian tossed a few pieces of coal into the brazier and placed two cups on it. Only when these two cups had been heated up, did he instruct Bi Lu, “Go invite Lord Peng in.”
“Yes.” Bi Lu hurried out and quickly brought him inside.
“Your Highness, this servant will wait outside.” Bi Lu went out.
The fragrance of tea permeated the room. Peng Yuanhai cupped his hands and bowed in greeting. “This subject greets Prince Xian.”
Jing Xian was busy brewing tea. White steam curled warmly around his face. “Lord Peng, please sit.”
“Many thanks, Your Highness.” He replied as he sat down opposite.
Jing Xian passed him a cup of freshly brewed tea. “Lord Peng, have a taste. This tea was personally dried by this prince.”
Just as Peng Yuanhai was about to pick up the cup, Jing Xian reminded him, “The teacup is very hot, Lord Peng please be careful.” The teacup was one that he had just warmed on the brazier.
Peng Yuanhai accepted the cup gingerly and took a sip. He nodded. “This tea is very fragrant.” Simple and direct.
As Jing Xian looked at the cup of tea he held up, he laughed meaningfully, “Good tea is always held within boiling hot teacups; only when one bears with the heat, can one drink the best cup of tea.”
“Your Highness speaks wisely.” He put down the cup.
Jing Xian poured another cup of tea for him. “This is the first time I have met Lord Peng. Lord Peng is not quite as what this prince had imagined.”
“Then what did Your Highness think this subject would be like?”
“Probably… this prince doesn't know either.” He smiled.
This was also the first time Peng Yuanhai met this prince. Seeing how Jing Xian still refused to start on the main topic, even he started to get impatient and broached it himself instead. “Your Highness, the ministers of the Imperial Court have now almost all turned to Prince Yi’s faction. His Majesty has also ordered that Prince Rong was not allowed to return to the palace. The power imbalance within the Court is extremely stark.”
“Is Lord Peng done appreciating the tea?”
“Although these tea leaves are not of a famous variety, are merely of the most common type grown within this prince’s courtyard, and cannot compare to Longjing or Pu’er, but the tea brewed from these leaves are not inferior to those expensive teas.” Jing Xian continued talking about his tea, seemingly wholly unconcerned about everything Peng Yuanhai had just said.
What kind of medicine is this prince trying to brew? Jing Xian clearly was sickly and without a single trace of vitality, but he also exuded an aura that was fierce and full of charm.
Just as he was about to bring up the topic again, Jing Xian continued, “The current situation in court certainly has everyone turning to Jing Yi’s faction; with Imperial Father preventing Jing Rong from returning to the palace, he is like a tiger that has grown wings. Sooner or later, he would be Crown Prince.”
“Then what should the next step be?”
Jing Xian pushed himself upright and held his own teacup as he walked heavily to the window. As he looked at the falling leaves outside, his fingers spun the cup around. “If one wanted to achieve one’s aims and appreciate a good cup of tea, one can only bear with the pain and accept the boiling hot cup. If one were able to accept the cup, one would be rewarded with fragrant tea that lingers in the throat; if one were not able to accept it, one would suffer terribly from the scalding. The principle is the same for the current situation with Jing Yi.”
However intelligent Peng Yuanhai was, he could not decipher the thoughts of this prince. He seemed to understand a little of what was said, but also not at all.
Jing Xian turned to give him a glance, and knew that he had not understood. “Lord Peng, do consider my words carefully.”
Peng Yuanhai stood up and said, “Whether it be the tea or the current situation; Your Highness initially sent the letter and instructed this subject to censure Prince Rong and point the arrow towards Prince Yi, but the matter ended up being suppressed by His Majesty. Unexpectedly, His Majesty then bestowed the Ji family’s eldest daughter to Prince Yi in marriage. Just now in court, War Secretary Ji obviously stood on his side; the current situation is extremely unfavorable to Your Highness.”
“Is it unfavorable to this prince?” Jing Xian’s tone seemed as if he didn’t care at all. His eyes even curved into crescents as if he found it hilarious. Then, he put his cup down on the windowsill with a thud and asked, “Lord Peng, do you know what Imperial Father fears the most?”
He cut him off. “Imperial Father is extremely paranoid. What he fears most is people using power to compel.”
“Your Highness, please explain.”
“Immediately send your people to instigate the ministers. Within two days, there must be a group of ministers that send a petition to His Majesty that supports Prince Yi as Crown Prince.”
Ah! Peng Yuanhai froze for a moment, his black pupils dilating in surprise. After a while, he seemed to understand and immediately bowed his head. “Yes, this subject understands now.”
“Mn.” Jing Xian nodded. “If Lord Peng doesn’t have any other matters, please return. This prince’s Tongren Hall hasn’t had visitors in longer than this prince remembers. I’m not too used to it anymore.”
“This subject shall take his leave then.”
“I won’t see you out.”
Peng Yuanhai cupped his hands in farewell and left.
Nobody knew why the lofty Minister of Personnel would follow the orders of a prince that had been stripped of any real power. So the matter of the Ministry of Personnel censuring Jing Rong was actually a ploy orchestrated by Jing Xian!
Just how any secrets was he still hiding?
Living deep within the palace for fourteen years, just who was the one helping him in the dark? And even helping him to scheme?
 Red Bull gives you wiiiiings!! cough.sorry couldn't resist xD