The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 34

Chapter 34

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Xue Yao had a sudden realization. The key to this matter wasn’t in the hands of the Emperor. His intentions remained unwavering. The turning point lay not with the Eldest Prince but in the reasons for his counsel.

The reason was the uprising of a popular rebellion.

Xue Yao aimed to have the Eldest Prince dissuade this before the event unfolded.

But how could he prove that the Road to Shu project would trigger a rebellion?

The construction of the Road to Shu was not exclusive to the Great Qi dynasty. It dated back to the reign of Emperor Shun of the Eastern Han, as recorded in the official document “Ode to Lord Yang, the Commander of Jianwei in the Han Dynasty.”

At that time, whether in terms of tools or economic development, they lagged far behind the present era. The ancients used fire and water to dig tunnels, whereas today, at the very least, there was rudimentary gunpowder for excavation.

With such a precedent, it was nearly impossible to make the Emperor and the Eldest Prince believe that the Road to Shu should not be built, or that it required a more gradual approach.

In the novel, the economic level of the Great Qi dynasty was similar to that of the Song dynasty. In this era, they were undoubtedly at the forefront of the world. Constructing an official road shouldn’t have been considered excessive, and the Emperor likely didn’t anticipate the difficulty of the construction himself.

He used the favorite consort as a cover, primarily to conceal his inability to tolerate his brother’s soaring ambitions, not to deflect blame onto women in case of construction failure.

The Emperor surely didn’t anticipate the events that followed. If he had foreseen them, he would have refrained from taking action long ago.

The Road to Shu’s incomplete state tarnished their reputation. Wasn’t this a dire situation? Although the Emperor was self-centered, he wasn’t foolish.

Xue Yao’s plan was to make the Emperor realize the infeasibility of this endeavor in advance.

Historical accounts of successful Road to Shu construction only involved crossing mountains and building bridges. When it came to constructing an official road, the engineering challenges were unprecedented.

Xue Yao intended to begin by searching the school’s library for maps of Bashu and collecting historical records of road-building. He aimed to uncover every detailed account of generations of Bashu people shouldering, chiseling, and constructing ladders along the cliffs.

Just achieving accessibility to this place had taken a century to accumulate. To build an official road as smooth as walking on flat ground within five years, national prosperity alone was insufficient. If technology couldn’t catch up, it required the blood and sweat of ordinary people.

The Eldest Prince cherished the people like his own children and might agree to persuade the Emperor.

Of course, the chances of success were slim. He could only try desperate measures.

In the novel, the imperial decree announced the specific time for the Road to Shu’s construction as the start of autumn. Xue Yao had a little over half a month left.

The next day, he requested Consort Xi to replace the Seventh Prince’s reader-in-waiting temporarily. He immersed himself in the library, pouring over historical records.

Four days passed in the blink of an eye. Xue Yao, while browsing the library, felt dizzy and disoriented. Despite his efforts, he could only gather a mere two to three pages of usable material.

Ancient written language was all in classical Chinese. It was almost like a torture to a science student like him. Simply comprehending it cost countless brain cells.

Moreover, the articles were remarkably concise.

The records of the common people’s arduous efforts to open paths through mountains lacked even a single touch of emotional sentiment. Everything was recorded in a very matter-of-fact, cold manner.

When Xue Yao tried to transcribe them, he couldn’t resist adding a few emotional passages at the end of each section to touch the Eldest Prince’s heart. However, his attempts at plain language didn’t match the previous style, so he reluctantly deleted them and copied the original text.

He wrote quietly, completely unaware that a chubby cub had silently entered the library.

The Seventh Prince, with his brooding baby face, walked up behind him, gazing up at his slender neck with an intense, icy glare.

In the Seventh Prince’s tea-colored eyes, he saw the figure of an oblivious, heartless back. It was enough to make his little cheeks puff up in anger.

He hadn’t fed His Highness for four whole days.

He hadn’t spent any time with His Highness during afternoon break for four whole days.

He hadn’t asked His Highness to tell stories to Silly Yaoyao for four entire days.

For a full four days, he hadn’t held the obedient His Highness.

The attendants by His Highness’ side had once again become the same wooden blocks who dared not lift their heads and even couldn’t comprehend His Highness’ orders.

Meanwhile, the heartless and oblivious Yaoyao had somehow sneaked into the library to read picture books on his own.

Were His Highness’ stories not entertaining enough?

Of course, the Seventh Prince’s inner thoughts weren’t so clear and explicit. His Highness just felt unhappy.

Children with emotional communication difficulties seldom responded to a lack of care in the way typical children do. They either didn’t care at all or became angry due to anxiety.

The Seventh Prince, who hadn’t had milk for four days, now approached Xue Yao with anger. His Highness, who usually walked with short, toddling legs, seemed like an entirely different baby at this moment. The little fellow was calm and cautious, resembling a silent, stealthy cat.

If Xue Yao could have turned his head before his “impending demise,” he might have caught a glimpse of the nascent form of Long “killing one person within ten steps” Aotian. However, the chubby cub was so quiet and unnoticed that he didn’t even realize that there was an extra person in the silent library.

In the blink of an eye, the Seventh Prince had already positioned himself behind Xue Yao. All he needed was to jump and reach out. He could grasp Yaoyao’s neck like squashing a milk carton, causing Yaoyao to be terrified, begging profusely, and never daring to abandon the obedient His Highness again.

The Seventh Prince, with his puffy baby-like face, coldly stared at Xue Yao’s silhouette. Slowly, he raised his chubby hands, his pale pupils slightly narrowing, and the air was filled with a sense of danger—


The Seventh Prince sprawled across Xue Yao’s back in a “大” character shape, his stern baby face displaying a deflated expression.

Forget it, give Silly Yaoyao another chance. This time, no squashing him.

Xue Yao was startled to the verge of leaping into the sky by the sudden embrace from behind. He turned with a cry of surprise and found a chubby baby looking up at him with a puckered lips.

“Does Your Highness want a hug?” The Seventh Prince nodded firmly, looking fierce.

Xue Yao: “……”

“How did you get here? Didn’t you go to the garden with your fifth brother?” Xue Yao was bemused as he stooped to embrace the Seventh Prince.

He belatedly realized that he surprisingly missed the chubby cub. These past few days, he had been so busy that he forgot to visit the school and check on this chubby baby.

“Your grandpa missed you.” The Seventh Prince was displeased.

Xue Yao pinched the baby’s cheek. “I’ll come back in a few days to study with Your Highness. For now, why don’t you go to the garden with the other attendants? Let the Fifth Prince and Sixth Prince play cuju and climb the artificial hill with Your Highness.”

“Yaoyao.” The Seventh Prince looked at him discontentedly.

“Hmm?” Xue Yao waited respectfully for instructions.

“The garden is not the same without you.” The Seventh Prince pouted, looking aggrieved.

Xue Yao: “……”

It was maddening. He found his eyes welling up with tears from a single phrase spoken by the chubby cub…

Ah, he had come to seek refuge under Long Aotian’s wing, but now he had been trained by this mischievous baby to be a proper father! He kept shedding tears at the drop of a hat!

Nevertheless, Xue Yao couldn’t help but feel a little proud. It was difficult for someone with the Seventh Prince’s personality flaws to show dependence on anyone.

It had only been four days since their last meeting, yet this cub had somehow managed to find his way to the library as if by magic.

Although he wasn’t sure if the chubby cub had come to see him or the snacks, Xue Yao felt warmth in his heart.

So, he took a day off from work and spent the entire afternoon in the garden with the chubby cub. The next day, he resumed his research.

With time running out, Xue Yao arrived at Qingqiong Hall with his somewhat inadequate preparations and shared his plan with Consort Xi.

Consort Xi listened attentively and appeared troubled. “The Eldest Prince has never been to Qingqiong Hall. I know he dotes on Old Seventh, but he doesn’t interact with me because the Empress dislikes me. People whom the Empress disapproves of, the Eldest Prince doesn’t openly associate with. You can see he doesn’t pay much attention to Old Fourth either…”

Xue Yao replied, “I’ve already thought it through. Let the Seventh Prince help us bring the Eldest Prince to the palace gates. You can pretend to be passing by and invite him inside to cool off from the summer heat. He is, after all, your junior, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to refuse. Once he’s inside, things will become much easier.”

Consort Xi looked baffled. Her son had zero coordination with those around him. How could he bring the Eldest Prince here?

Xue Yao understood her concerns and immediately shared his plan, “I’ll arrange for His Highness to pass by the study hall on his way back to the palace, as if he coincidentally met the Eldest Prince. As long as His Highness clings to the Eldest Prince’s neck and doesn’t let go, and his palace maid reminds him that it’s time for milk and they must return to the palace, the Eldest Prince will likely carry His Highness along to Qingqiong Hall.”

Consort Xi, who hadn’t interacted with the Eldest Prince before, asked in a skeptical tone, “Is he really willing to carry Old Seventh back here? The study hall is not close to this place.”

Drawing from the Eldest Prince’s clear infatuation with the chubby cub, Xue Yao answered with certainty, “It should work.”

Under the enticement of Xue Yao’s snacks and the bedtime treats threatened by Consort Xi, the Seventh Prince was reluctantly persuaded to participate in the operation.

On the day of the “chance encounter” with the Eldest Prince, the Seventh Prince extended his little arms and, as expected, was scooped up by his eldest brother. Immediately, he clung to his big brother’s neck without letting go.

For the sake of milk and mung bean cakes, the Seventh Prince, with his two chubby arms, clung onto his big brother’s neck like steel cables!

The Eldest Prince not only wasn’t angry, but he was happily floating on cloud nine.

It was the first time Old Seventh had been so clingy to him.

The Eldest Prince, feeling particularly content, carried the chubby cub all the way back to Qingqiong Hall!

He walked right into Xue Yao’s trap, as Consort Xi and a group of palace maids surrounded him, forcibly inviting him inside for tea.

The Eldest Prince genuinely didn’t want to go in. It would be disastrous if Mother Empress found out.

But Consort Xi and her horde of palace maids went mad, blocking every route he could take as if their lives depended on it!

The Eldest Prince couldn’t resort to physical confrontation with a group of women, so he stood there in a stalemate. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a young eunuch from the Empress’ palace passing by the alley!

All the palace maids were shorter than the Eldest Prince, so they couldn’t obstruct his face from the outside. It was easy to spot him.

When the eunuch from the Empress’ palace passed by, the Eldest Prince was suddenly so frightened that he bent one knee and crouched amid the circle of palace maids, hiding his head. He feared the eunuch might go back and report to Mother Empress.

The Eldest Prince, who was usually unwavering and indomitable, was now crouched amidst the crowd, compromising with Consort Xi in despair, “I’m deeply grateful for your kindness, but I’m afraid I cannot be disrespectful. I’ll have a cup of tea and then leave.”

And that’s how Consort Xi “invited” the Eldest Prince into the reception hall, dismissed the eunuchs, and firmly shut all doors and windows.

Eldest Prince: “? ? ?”

The following events had all been preplanned by Xue Yao.

Consort Xi began by taking out a map of Bashu from a cabinet and spreading it out on the Eight Immortals table. Then she placed the transcribed materials in front of the Eldest Prince and began her persuasive work.

Meanwhile, Xue Yao concealed himself in the inner chamber, silently listening.

Consort Xi’s performance was remarkably convincing. Her sighs for the hardships of the people were sincere, and her words, acknowledging her reluctance to be vilified by future generations, were profoundly moving. She then adeptly presented Xue Yao’s analysis of the challenges involved in constructing the Road to Shu, supported by historical records, with a logical and factual argument.

The Eldest Prince listened to Consort Xi in silence, showing no immediate response. When she finished, he rose from his seat and spoke in a somber tone, “I’ve finished my tea, and I should take my leave. Many thanks, Your Highness, for your hospitality.”

“Your Highness…” Consort Xi’s disappointment was evident. While she had expected the Eldest Prince not to meddle in her affairs, she didn’t anticipate his complete lack of response. Was it that he didn’t want to get involved, or did he consider her concerns to be exaggerated?

“These historical records are all real!” Consort Xi picked up the papers from the table and spread them out in front of the Eldest Prince. “Everyone knows you care about the common people. That’s why I disregarded formalities and sought your help. The Emperor has ordered me to tour Bashu within five years, but if you examine these records, you’ll see that it took centuries to create just two mountain roads. In a mere five years, how many innocent people would be overworked to death? I come from humble origins, and I know the Empress doesn’t like me. However, I believed you wouldn’t let personal grudges outweigh the lives of the people, which is why I…”

“Forgive my bluntness, Your Highness,” the Eldest Prince interrupted, his face stern as he looked at Consort Xi. “I don’t think these speculations about the Road to Shu are the result of your personal musings alone. If your strategist behind the scenes believes I can be used to help you out of a tough spot, at the very least, some sincerity should be shown by having him personally discuss it with me. To think that I would touch Father Emperor’s raw nerves based on a few words, I don’t understand if your strategist has overestimated my standing in Father Emperor’s heart or if they regard me as a fool.”

At the Eldest Prince’s words, Consort Xi turned pale.

In the inner chamber, Xue Yao’s face, on the other hand, turned red.

How could this young Eldest Prince be so cunning!

In the novel, he was undeniably straightforward, loyal, and devoted to the people!

Xue Yao must have read a different version of the novel.

This was a critical moment. If the Eldest Prince didn’t step in, there was no hope for a turnaround.

Suddenly, from the outer hall, there came the subdued sound of Consort Xi’s weeping.

This ability to evoke tears and pity in those who hear it, like a character from “A Dream of Red Mansions,” made Xue Yao involuntarily envision Consort Xi’s pitiful appearance, with her tearful eyes.

“You are right…” Consort Xi choked back her sobs timidly. “I did indeed receive guidance from someone wiser, which made me realize that this tour is equivalent to leading my son and me into a fire pit. I’m just a humble dancer, not worth mourning, but I can’t bear the thought of Old Seventh being despised by thousands of people because of his unworthy Mother Consort. That’s why I thought of seeking help from Your Highness. I have no intention of harming you. It’s just that I can’t stand to see my son suffer for my incompetence. You, of course, have no reason to wade into these troubled waters on our behalf! On behalf of Old Seventh, I thank you for your past care. Today, I’ve embarrassed you.”

After speaking, Consort Xi gave a bow to the Eldest Prince and respectfully saw him off.

The Eldest Prince, however, did not move. He stood tall and imposing, with a slight frown on his brow, his sharp eyes fixed firmly on Consort Xi.

The words “Old Seventh being despised by thousands” accidentally struck a chord with the Eldest Prince’s vulnerability.

After a moment of silence, he spoke in a low voice, “You’ve picked the wrong person, Consort Xi. The historical records you provided can only offer some reference and speculation. If I can’t be convinced, how can we convince Father Emperor? Even if I risk my life to advise on your behalf, it would be meaningless.”

Consort Xi looked up at the Eldest Prince and asked, “Then who should I turn to?”

The Eldest Prince was on the verge of being amused by this woman. She seemed to genuinely trust others and likely had no malicious intentions against him.

He lowered his eyes in thought and continued, “Seek out individuals from the Bureau of Astronomy. Have them observe the night sky, predict disasters, and spread rumors among the common people. Let these prophecies reach the court, and if they come true, it might make a difference. You must understand, Your Highness, that what can sway Father Emperor is not mere historical records and speculations but the will of heaven.”

Xue Yao, hidden in the inner chamber, felt his eyes light up!

Brilliant! He had almost forgotten the superstitions of ancient monarchs!

The Eldest Prince was undoubtedly a genius in Great Qi, with a mind that could cut straight to the core of the matter. With someone as formidable as him leading reform, how could it fail?

The novel was all a sham!

If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Leave a comment