The Regent’s Secret Chapter 25

Chapter 25

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In just a few days, Zhao Heng went to Pan Palace twice. Wei Che didn’t complain, but the chief eunuch of the Zhi Hall, Liu Shunzhong, couldn’t help but speak up.

“Your Majesty, if you keep going out like this, I won’t be able to serve you for long!”

“Why do you say that?”

Don’t be fooled by Liu Shunzhong’s low ranking among the twelve chief eunuchs. He was an old servant who had taken care of Zhao Heng since he was a child. When the emperor suddenly becomes wild and runs outside the palace all the time, he can’t help but worry. He’s afraid of being caught by the Empress Dowager or the Prince Regent, both won’t go easy on him.

It’s all thanks to Wei Che, that Imperial Guard, that they can come and go so easily. Even though he seems mature and steady, he’s still a young man who has been hooked into playing around with the emperor.

As Zhao Heng changed out of his school clothes, he smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I have my own sense of propriety. I won’t let you fall out of favor with the empress dowager.”

Then he added with a serious expression, “The reason I went to Pan Palace twice is twofold. First, the scholars invited by the palace are not bad, but they have a narrow scope of instruction and are too cautious when facing me. In Pan Palace, I can listen to a wider range of topics. The assistant professors and scholars there are highly knowledgeable, and with Guo Jijiu* there, some even dare to speak less respectfully.”
* important government post in imperial China

When Liu Shunzhong heard this, he became anxious and asked Wei Che, “Has anyone spoken disrespectfully to His Majesty?!”

“These are just the opinions of some sour Confucianists who love to talk about the country’s affairs throughout history, and some words that disrespect the nobles and favor the people.” Wei Che didn’t think much of it.

Zhao Heng nodded, “It’s good to hear some true words that can’t be heard in the palace.”

Liu Shunzhong respectfully received the imperial edict and asked, “Your Majesty, what is the second point?”

“Fellow classmates of the younger generation, one can see through some true talents. When I come to power in the future, the old ministers of my father should be used, but the new ministers cultivated by me should be used even more. Who is the backbone, who is not good enough, should be planned for the future as soon as possible.”

“I didn’t expect Your Majesty to tell this old servant,” Liu Shunzhong kneeled with his round body and apologized, “Your Majesty’s affairs are important, and I will definitely keep it a secret.”

Zhao Heng waved his hand to let him stand up, “You did your best. I can only take one day at a time. The Prince Regent will not be fooled by this, and there is no need to hide it. If Royal Uncle knows about it, I will still say these few words. Royal Uncle is not conservative, as long as it is presentable.”

“But as for the Empress Dowager… if you are caught,” Zhao Heng paused and said, “Today, go and find the supervisor of the Ministry of Rites. Regarding the matter of punishment, just tell them that it’s what I said. If you have made any mistakes recently, you will be treated leniently.”

Then he turned to Wei Che and said, “Let the imperial guard prepare a message, and if something happens, inform me immediately.”

Liu Shunzhong shed tears. The emperor was someone he had known since he was a child, and he knew that His Majesty was just cold on the surface, but deep down he cherished old feelings.

When Zhao Heng went to the Pan Palace, he happened to meet Guo Jijiu patrolling the school. The school’s attendant stopped him and asked, “Why did you only get to school at this time?”

“I am Bai Xian, and my old illness has flared up in the past few days. Although I feel better today, I was still delayed and only arrived at school now.” 

The school attendant leaned in and whispered a few words to Guo Sheng, who nodded and said, “So you are Bai Xian. With your physical condition, you still come to study like this. You should be an example for the other students.”

Zhao Heng pretended to have a fake illness for the convenience of studying and skipping classes. This made Guo Jijiu mistake him for a role model. He had been a good student since he was three years old, and he felt very sorry for his teacher. His face showed a little guilt.

In Guo Sheng’s eyes, Zhao Heng looked even more teachable.

Zhao Heng came to listen to Li Yi’s lecture on etiquette.

It is human nature to feel pleased when seeing a beauty, and Li Yi’s speech was really good, without the stale air of a Confucian scholar, but instead had many inspiring and thought-provoking points.

These days, they were discussing the essay “The Conduct of a scholar,” and Zhao Heng was delayed by Guo Shen’s questioning. When he stepped into the building, they were reading: “The Scholar is not subservient to the emperor, nor do they serve the lords…”

Zhao Heng had just sat down when someone rose up to challenge Li Yi.

“Teacher, the Scholar are not subservient to the emperor, nor do they serve the lords. How can such people be called Scholar?”

As expected, it was a good show. Zhao Heng also wanted to hear how Li Yi would respond.

He himself was now the embodiment of “not subservient to the emperor, nor do they serve the lords.” If someone said that such people were not Scholars, they were openly questioning Li Yi’s qualifications as a teacher.

As a defeated enemy of the former dynasty, speaking out on the lecture platform of the Pan Palace, many of the princes and new nobles who sat in the room did not like it.

Li Yi glanced at the youngsters below, who were obviously waiting for a good show, and remained unmoved.

“The Scholar is not subservient, nor do they serve. They are without a ruler to serve.”

As soon as Li Yi spoke, there was an uproar below. Ning Wang’s Shu song, Zhao Bitou, jumped up and shouted, “How dare you speak such nonsense! Everyone, grab this traitor!”

With someone taking the lead and everyone in the room a youth in their teens, who had been trained strict and had nowhere to rebel, today was a great opportunity to bring down their teachers and mentors, and this kind of stimulation directly heated up the little Exhorting Virtue Building.

Seeing that many people were getting agitated, Second Young Master Shen couldn’t help but silently repeat to himself a hundred times “Don’t act recklessly,” to prevent himself from acting on impulse, while turning his head to closely watch Zhao Heng’s movements.

Zhao Heng was still lost in thought. He had a feeling that Li Yi had not finished speaking, but he didn’t care.

“To be without a ruler to serve” – if one dared to speak such words, they should be beaten with a stick. Was it cursing for him to die or did it mean he was not worthy to serve as a ruler?

Let’s just watch from the sidelines.

However, in a moment, several ringleaders had already rushed onto the lecture platform. Zhao Bi, relying on his royal status, came with great momentum, picked up the inkstone on the platform, and smashed it towards Li Yi.

Before Zhao Bi’s hand could even land, he felt a gust of wind sweep past him. Before he could understand what was going on, he flew up into the air and then fell down, experiencing a piercing pain in his eyes, and then losing consciousness.

Following closely behind him, several young nobles who had rushed onto the platform were dumbfounded, staring blankly as Zhao Yuan withdrew his foot, which had been hidden under his imperial robe.

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