I’m Also Waiting for the Male Protagonist to Usurp the Throne Today Chapter 41

Chapter 41 Chip!

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Following the customs of Di Dynasty, the hopeful examinees retreated to their temporary lodgings to await the result of  the imperial examination.

In order to accommodate the influx of students flocking to the capital for the exam, the imperial court procured a vast expanse of inns and restaurants, charging a token sum as a testament to the scholars’ industry and to discourage any notions of unearned rewards.

Seizing upon the auspicious occasion, the grandest of these restaurants rechristened itself as “Dengbang Hall”, or the Hall of the Victorious Scholars, in the hopes of courting good fortune.

With its capacious hall drawing hordes of aspirants to congregate and exchange ideas, it emerged as the most sought-after venue for the candidates to convene.

On the day of reckoning, the once-bustling hall, which had hummed with lively chatter, fell deathly silent, save for the sporadic murmur of whispered prayers and hopes.

Someone, feeling uncomfortable in the tense atmosphere, nudged his companion, “Brother Xu, didn’t you finish the imperial examination towards the very end? Did His Majesty reveal any information about the top scorers?”

You participated in the imperial examination?

And you stayed until the end?

Many eyes around them gathered.

The scholar surnamed Xu blushed under the scrutiny of the onlookers. He stammered, “Th-this humble one is not the fastest writer, and that’s why it took me until the end… Besides, it’s unlikely that H-His Majesty would say anything like that to me.”

His friend also knew that His Majesty would definitely not say something like that in front of the candidates, but given the oppressive atmosphere, he sought to fill the void with idle chatter.

“Has His Majesty ever spoken to you?” 

Several scholars who didn’t participate in the imperial examination curiously asked, “How was His Majesty’s voice? Was it as terrifying as the rumors in the streets…?”

The latter half of the question remained unspoken, but all present knew it referred to the ghastly rumors of the Emperor’s fearsome appearance, replete with razor-sharp teeth and a penchant for devouring human hearts.

“How could His Majesty resemble those preposterous rumors?” exclaimed Scholar Xu, speaking before considering his words.

Though he dared not lift his head to catch a glimpse of the Emperor, he could discern from His Majesty’s soft-spoken words that he was undoubtedly kind-hearted.

“His voice is youthful and mellifluous,” Scholar Xu reminisced, a hint of embarrassment coloring his tone, “resembling that of a neighborly younger brother.”

His friend recoiled in shock, cautioning him, “Mind your words!”

How could he speak so casually of His Majesty?

Realizing his mistake, Scholar Xu covered his mouth and looked around. Fortunately, the other students were all focused on waiting for the exam results and didn’t pay much attention.

Gathering his thoughts, he whispered, “I really think His Majesty is a truly admirable ruler.”

“Absolutely,” others chimed in, nodding in agreement. “Just clearing out the corruption in the imperial exams and taxation system is a great benefit to the country and the people. It’s so satisfying to see those who tried to buy exam questions get what they deserve.”

Many students nodded their heads in approval of these words.

However, not everyone shared the same view. Some spoke up with dissenting voices, “Ha, you forget that national taxes and the imperial exams are the very pillars of the court. His Majesty’s impulsive actions may lead to chaos.”

“Indeed,” another added, “I heard that the chief examiner, who is on par with the Prime Minister, climbed to his position by selling his body. His knowledge is likely to be lacking.”

“A good appearance is more valuable than knowledge of poetry and books.”

These words were tinged with bitterness, sparking immediate rebuttals from other scholars.

“The effectiveness of the new tax policy is apparent in both the capital and Qingshui Prefecture. Every household is praising it!”

“Not only does clearing out the imperial exams benefit the country, it provides us poor scholars with a path towards upward mobility!”

“I have yet to see any scholar criticize the new imperial exams… Could it be that those few who oppose it were the ones who lost their qualifications by buying exam questions?”

Scholar Xu and his friends examined the nonconformists more closely and noticed that they were being supported by others, indicating that they had indeed been punished. All those who were still waiting for the exam results had resisted the temptation to buy exam questions and chose to take the exams through their own abilities.

Before the news of the corrupt practices had surfaced, the decadent scholars who believed that they could rise to the top by buying exam questions or even answers were already the subject of ridicule and scorn, leaving a sense of frustration and anger in them.

Later, when the news of buying and selling exam questions broke out, all those who had resorted to corrupt practices were punished and banned from taking exams for a decade. These legitimate students taking the exams felt immensely satisfied with the outcome.

As the few who had cheated and had the audacity to speak out publicly, the students in the hall turned on them, their condemnations ringing out like thunder.

Several erudite students who sought to belittle others with their knowledge of classical literature found themselves at a loss for words, unable to counter the insults hurled their way.

These students’ faces turned red with anger as they saw unfriendly glances around them. Knowing when to keep their mouths shut, they swallowed their pride and left quickly.

They used to be famous and well-regarded, and now they suffer the humiliation of defeat.

Their anger boiled inside, and they vowed revenge against the person who had sold them fake test questions.

Meanwhile, inside Dengbang Hall, the air buzzed with excitement.

“Brother Tang, weren’t you complaining before about the corruption and treachery in the government? Now you’re praising them quite cleverly.”

The scholar in question blushed and said, “I was shortsighted before. Please forgive me.”

Everyone laughed good-naturedly.

They didn’t mean any harm. Over the past two years, with the government’s “great achievements”, the news of cheating on exams had just begun to spread. Some of them had some resentment towards the government. 

They thought, “Isn’t it supposed to be fair and just? Then how could such a corrupt practice still exist? Could it be that the government is once again pulling our strings like puppets?”

But then the government cracked down hard, catching a long string of cheaters and punishing them severely, dispelling the clouds of doubt in their hearts.

Scholar Xu sat quietly among the group, his words failing him in the face of their boisterous discussions. He listened intently to their praises of the government and the Emperor, his eyes shining with admiration.

Scholar Xu’s friend chuckled at the sight of his silent companion. “If Brother Xu holds His Majesty in such high regard, perhaps he should aim for the top honors and catch a glimpse of His Majesty’s face.”

Scholar Xu’s face flushed a deeper shade of red. “I am not skilled enough to achieve such an honor.”

“You never know…”

Suddenly, a voice cried out in the distance, full of excitement. “Congratulations to Zhou Wenyan from Tongcheng County, Qingshui Prefecture, for achieving the top honors and ranking first on the high-level list in this year’s imperial examination!”

Dengbang Hall exploded with excitement.

“The list is out?”

“The list is out!”

“That Zhou Wenyan is the top scorer of this year’s imperial examination!”

“Zhou Wenyan doesn’t seem to lodge in Dengbang Hall.”

Dengbang Hall had been a solemn and silent place, with scholars whispering in private about their chances of success. But suddenly, the tension broke, and the hall exploded into a frenzy of excited chatter. Every scholar present yearned to achieve the top honors and enter the top three ranks of the imperial examination.

Although they were all from the same batch of scholars, there was a clear distinction between those who achieved the top ranks and those who did not. The scholars who achieved the highest rank would be given the honor of meeting the Emperor in person and parading around the city with their achievements announced to all!

Who wouldn’t envy that? Who wouldn’t want it?

Who wouldn’t dream of being the Number One Scholar this year?

The Number One Scholar had been revealed, and now it was time for the second-place scholar to be named. The scholars waited with bated breath as the announcer read out the name: “Congratulations to Lin Changnian from Zhushou County, Hengyuan Prefecture, for achieving the top honors and becoming the second-place scholar!” 

The news was greeted with a mix of excitement and curiosity, and the scholars began to discuss amongst themselves. “Who is this Lin Changnian?”

“I don’t know him, and he doesn’t seem to be from our area.”

With only one spot left for the third place, the tension among the crowd grew even more palpable.

However, it was the proprietor of Dengbang Hall who was perhaps the most nervous of all.

He specifically renamed his restaurant to “Hall of the Victorious Scholars, hoping to lure in ambitious scholars with grand dreams of ascending to the pinnacle of academic success.

Despite the fact that court law prohibited any price increases during the examination period, the proprietor saw potential for great profits should even one of the top three scorers grace his establishment with their presence. Surely, this would attract countless aspirants seeking the aura of the literary gods!

He had gone to great lengths to expand his hall and acquire adjacent restaurants, merging them all into his courtyard.

The proprietor had anticipated that with so many candidates present, at least one or two of the top three would be among his guests. Perhaps all three would choose to come to Dengbang Hall, making it the envy of all with its auspicious feng shui.

Alas, the proprietor’s hopes were dashed, as neither the Number One Scholar nor the Second-Ranked Scholar had come to his establishment. Now, only the Third-Ranked Scholar remained.

What if the Third-Ranked Scholar was also staying elsewhere?

At long last, the third and final name was announced, echoing through the halls: “Congratulations to Xu Luoguang of Huicheng County, Beiyong Prefecture, for achieving the top score and being awarded the title of third-ranked scholar!”

“Who is Xu Luoguang?”

“Brother Xu?”

Scholar Xu, who had taken so long to come out of the examination hall, had caught the attention of many people, and now, all eyes were on him.

According to common sense, Scholar Xu delayed the palace examination for so long that the Emperor and Prime Minister did not leave the Taihe Hall until late at night. It was said that they did not even have dinner. Even if the Emperor did not say anything, he must have been extremely displeased with Scholar Xu.

If this had been in the past, no one could say for sure whether Scholar Xu would have survived or not!

But now, Scholar Xu had unexpectedly won the third place in the palace examination!

Even though he was the last one among the top three, it was enough to make all the scholars envious!

The crowd rushed to Scholar Xu’s side to offer their congratulations, “Congratulations, Brother Xu!”

“Congratulations, Third-Ranked Scholar Xu!”

At this moment, even if one harbored jealousy, it would not show on their faces. Everyone knew that the top three had a bright future ahead of them, and forming a good relationship was much better than holding a grudge.

As for Scholar Xu himself, he was in a state of utter shock and bewilderment. 

He had put all his effort into writing the essay during the examination, but he did not expect to achieve any remarkable result. The imperial examination was not only based on the quality of the essay, but also on the candidates’ overall performance. Given his lackluster performance, he did not dare to hope for a high ranking.

But now, he had become Third-Ranked Scholar!

Scholar Xu was stunned, his mind went blank as he struggled to process this unexpected news.

The owner of Dengbang Hall, standing behind the counter, let out a long sigh of relief. Although the Number One Scholar was not among them, there was still a top scorer in their midst! With some clever marketing strategies, they could still attract many people to their establishment!


The new successful scholars paid their respects to the Emperor two days after the announcement of the exam results.

When the other scholars left to study in Hanlin Academy after performing the three bows and nine kowtows with the rest of the group, only the top three remained to meet with the Emperor. They stood there with dignified composure, waiting for the Emperor’s audience.

Li Jinyu cast a glance at Huo Caiyu when he saw that the top scorer was indeed the scholar from Qingshui Prefecture. He couldn’t help but feel curious about Huo Caiyu’s thoughts.

Huo Caiyu smiled slightly but remained silent. He had intended to purge the corruption in the imperial examination and wouldn’t cheat for personal gain. Scholar Zhou had indeed earned his first place through his genuine abilities. Huo Caiyu respected such integrity and felt pleased with the result.

The top three scholars stood in silent reverence below the majestic Taihe Hall, heads bowed, waiting for the Emperor’s command before raising their gaze.

Scholar Zhou couldn’t help but feel uneasy as he speculated about the young Emperor’s personality. The former Emperor’s reputation wasn’t particularly good, and though most of it was just hearsay, Scholar Zhou couldn’t help but feel somewhat distrustful of the current ruler.

He had taken great pains and scraped together every last bit of travel expenses to participate in the imperial examination, all in order to repay the kind benefactor who had funded the construction of a school in his hometown.

Having participated in two previous imperial examinations, Scholar Zhou was very clear about what the process was like. He had not harbored much hope of success this time, but to his surprise, he had excelled beyond his wildest dreams and clinched the top spot as the Number One Scholar. 

What would the Emperor’s attitude towards him would be, a scholar of humble origin who had achieved the highest honor in the imperial examination.?

While he was lost in thought, he heard a voice that sounded somewhat familiar, “Number One Scholar, raise your head so that Zhen can have a look.”

Scholar Zhou lifted his head, trying to remember where he had heard the voice before.

As he looked up, he saw the young Emperor seated on the dragon throne, smiling at him with his handsome face bathed in the morning light streaming in from the Taihe Hall doors.

Suddenly, the face of the Emperor completely overlapped with that of the young benefactor who had warmed their hearts with the funds to set up a school just a few months ago.

The current Emperor was the same person who had provided them with the money to establish the school?!


Li Jinyu couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction as he watched the Number One Scholar’s expression change from shock to bewilderment, as if he had just swallowed ten pounds of melon seeds.

He had been eagerly anticipating this moment ever since he learned of Scholar Zhou’s participation in the palace examination.

It feels so good!

However, Li Jinyu tried to maintain his image and didn’t say much. He only politely dealt with official business without mentioning their previous encounters. Meanwhile, Scholar Zhou gradually regained his composure and comprehended the Emperor’s intentions. He respectfully bowed to the Emperor, without making any reference to their prior meetings.

Huo Caiyu silently nodded, admiring Scholar Zhou’s quick-wittedness.

Li Jinyu gave some advice to the Second-Ranked Scholar before turning to the Third-Ranked Scholar who stood stiffly. He felt sympathy for him and said, “Why are you so nervous? Zhen won’t eat you.”

Third-Ranked Scholar Xu had been staring blankly at the Emperor and was gently pulled by the Number One Scholar beside him to realize that he was being disrespectful. He nervously lowered his head and stuttered, “This humble one, ah no, this subject has seen Your Majesty’s face for the first time and is a bit…a bit…”

He was too nervous to speak properly.

Li Jinyu was also once in Scholar Xu’s shoes and understood his nervousness. He knew that it was better not to draw more attention to him at this time and simply said a few polite words he had memorized beforehand before letting them wait on the side.

And thus, the new imperial examination under the new policy came to a successful end. Many corrupt officials from the Ministry of Personnel were eliminated, and many new scholars who relied solely on their own ability were selected.

The Prime Minister had suffered a huge loss of officials and had become estranged from the aristocratic families. He also faced the resentment of countless low-level scholar officials.

Finally, with the successful implementation of the new imperial examination system, they had accomplished their ultimate goal.

Li Jinyu stood up, shooting a quick glance at the subdued Prime Minister Ye. He couldn’t help feeling a sense of happiness welling up inside him.

It was only a matter of time before they would bring down the Prime Minister and oust him from power.

But first, they needed to address another pressing matter.

Li Jinyu took a deep breath, feeling an itch in his scalp that he couldn’t quite shake off.

However, the matter he was about to announce took up most of his attention and he ignored the feeling on his head.

“Ever since ascending to the throne, Zhen has realized the limitations of his knowledge and the difficulties in ruling a country. But Zhen has been fortunate enough to receive the support of a few loyal ministers, which has led to the prosperity of our land.

“However, Zhen has been feeling unwell lately and do not want to hinder the crucial affairs of our nation. Therefore, Zhen has decided to appoint Huo Caiyu as the Regent, who will take over the governance of the country temporarily.

“This appointment will come into effect immediately!”

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