CHAPTER 15: CONCLUSION

IV

Unfortunately, Fang Qin's life was not very easy.


These days, the pleas for Yan Wang’s impeachment stacked up to about two feet high on Li Feng's desk. If one read through them carefully, they would feel that Yan Wang was very easy to blame. Even if he coughed on the road, someone would accuse him how his coughing posture deceived the ruler. However, in sharp contrast, starting from the Grand Council, no one could tell whether all the new officials were drowning by the mountain of affairs, or simply dormant. They began to change their aggressiveness in rebuttal from before, each individual began to concede.


Li Feng's attitude was that he had no attitude, especially when he came across some characters that relied on their old age to always mention the former emperor or even Emperor Wu.


In this case, the one who was most anxious was not the Grand Council, but Fang Qin.


In fact, Fang Qin was extremely opposed to this kind of banding together behavior: "The Emperor's mind is like a mirror. Aggressively oppressing the other side like this, are you gentlemen not afraid of losing the Emperor's favor?"


As he said this, someone instantly replied: "Lord Fang, you always brought up the Emperor's favor and this and that, your vision has become somewhat shallow. Remember that year, the former emperor was only the son of a Jun Wang belonging to a sub branch of the Li that did not stand out at all, what did he rely on to easily become the owner of the Forbidden Palace? In support of the former emperor that year, our ancestors had casted aside the opinion of the majority, becoming the spearhead, their merits were incredibly grand. The Red Imperial Edict and Iron Plaque* are still in my family's altar, what, now that their children have a steady seat in this nation, are you going to put away the bow as there is no more bird?"


*A type of certificate to display exclusive rights that Emperors granted for very important officials.


Another one cut in: "If we are truly forced to the absolute limit, why don't we just ask for the memorial tablet of the first Emperor? Can the Son of Heaven dare to commit this great crime and ignore the ancestral legislation?"


Fang Qin took a deep breath and shouted, "Gentlemen, please be careful of your words!"


Out of respect for him, they no longer said anything more, but their expressions were neither pleased or convinced.


Great Liang's aristocrats and ministers, regardless of the official position of the head of the family, could all dazzle one another when bringing out their family tree. There were many connected in-laws in the family. Each generation had close involvement with the royal family's many fights for power. If the family could flourish to this day, at least the previous generations had chosen the right person to support. Over time, they all had the illusion that ‘it was thanks to the support of my family that the Emperor was able to ascend the throne’.


On regular days, due to the Fang family's honor, people were willing to listen to him, but when it came to large arguments, although the Fang family could be seen to be the head of all noble families, it's difficult to really and effectively suppress or control anyone — everyone here was related, and no one was more noble than the other. What did the Fang family have to rely on to take charge of things involving everyone's heads and vital interests?


Fang Qin had no choice but to use logic to reason and advise: "His Majesty favors grand merits, the thing he despises the most is others challenging his authority. This time, the Westerner’s invasion reminds him of the siege of the capital that year. If he hesitated before, then he must be determined to fight this war now. Why should we charge into this mess and bear the reputation of disaster to the country and the people at this time? I ask you all to think about it at a different angle!"


He sighed, then slowed down his voice: "If we can endure through this period, when the war is over, with no battle, the Grand Council will inevitably face reorganization or abolition. Those people may not be willing to accept it. They will certainly do something. At that time, the Emperor will see that their arms are reaching too far. When you think about the Drumming Order and the Rong Jin Law in those days, you will know what the real intention of His Majesty is. At this time, making use of those lowly merchants was only a temporary solution. When they have nothing left to be used, would His Majesty still protect them then? I'm afraid when the time comes, even Gu Yun will have to return the Black Tiger Emblem. It's impossible for the Grand Council to single handedly cover up the sky all the time."


Fang Qin thought that what he had said analyzed it carefully, advising to the best of his ability.


However, among the crowd of nobles packed in this room, not everyone knew how to look forward — the man who just now spilled nonsense about how his family had a Red Imperial Edict and Iron Plaque opened his mouth and asked: "Lord Fang's words have reason, but it is too ideal. You say when the war is over? I ask you, when is it going to be over? A year or two can be counted as 'over', and a decade or two also can be counted as 'over’. Do we have to endure until dirt covers our heads?"


In fact, Fang Qin despised these mobs very much. A large number of these people were the country's giant rats with no achievements, each of them were pretentious, alluding that they were extraordinary. Getting their weak point caught by someone else was also very deserving of them — but unfortunately, he could not express these words, because the fundamental thing that helped him bring these people together was profits. Without profits, even if he howled the great ideal of ‘for the country and the people’ loudly everyday, no one would care.


"Let us not speak of such angry words here, if the war truly did drag on for ten or twenty years, and any national strength is exhausted, not mentioning anyone else, the Emperor won't allow it, and it can never be that long." Fang Qin had to change his view and said, "Allow me to say something from the bottom of my heart: with Yan Wang's status, as long as he doesn't rebel, no one can kill him. However, the same can be said about you gentlemen, with your family background, as long as the Emperor is in power for a day, as long as we don't mess things up ourselves, who can shake our foundation?"


This was more pleasant than the line ‘if you do not seek death yourself, no one can kill you’. Although it had the same meaning, it also scratched the itch the ministers presented. Fang Qin truly was worthy of being the head of Great Liang's noble families, he had been around with these people for decades and had excessive experience.


Sure enough, under his efforts, the imperial court had become considerably more peaceful. The two factions seemed to temporarily retract their weapons, all contradictions were swept under the table, and the internal force of Great Liang ushered in a period of temporary peace.


This lasted for more than three months——


Then an accident happened that caused all of Fang Qin's previous efforts to be for naught.