I Am Supreme - Chapter 155
Yun Yang was distracted, his head wrapped around the portrait in the emperor’s royal study, and answered without really thinking of his response. "I don't really see the problem, actually. Just a few small actions and everything will be solved. Since Your Majesty is not exactly done with the massacre yet, whoever dares to object will also be the first to die. Your Majesty can use the naysayer as an abject lesson;I believe that this person who raises his voice to object would probably be in the opposite camp as well. Your Majesty can confiscate his property and that could be of help to the current issue."
When the emperor and Old Marshal Qiu heard Yun Yang’s countermeasure, they both exchanged looks of surprise.
This child's idea was extremely efficient!
He could gauge precisely what was happening in the imperial court and his ways were savage hitting the bullseye right on the dot.
What a talent!
The last suggestion to confiscate the objector’s wealth was nothing short of breathing life into the idea as a great finishing touch!
"Yun Yang, have you ever thought of being an official in the imperial court?" His Majesty asked nonchalantly.
"Oh, no." Yun Yang was shocked. "If I were to become an official, I am certain that I would be beheaded by Your Majesty within a few days of my appointment. This nephew is extraordinarily irritating and offensive;being an official will just mean that I will officially be the source of many problems. It’s better to just save yourself the trouble…"
His Majesty and Old Marshal Qiu chortled and clapped their hands together.
Both of them did not think of Yun Yang’s refusal as an act of disobedience. Ironically, his answer was within reason. If one were to think about it at length, the young man was truly not suited to be an official. If he were to be put into a crowd, he would immediately become the common enemy. The idea of making Yun Yang an official, be it civil or military, was discarded like so much trash.
The next day, at the morning assembly, His Majesty raised two items of concern.
The first was about the army’s salary, pension, and rewards while the second was concerning the monetary relief after the flood.
The sudden introduction of these two pressing matters almost made the President of the Board of Revenue dissolve into a frenzy.
Your Majesty, you only have so little money left. It’s not enough to spend, no matter how you tackle these issues!
Even if you physically divide a copper coin into eight pieces, it still wouldn't be enough!
It wasn't long before someone from the civil party had stepped forward and said that the nations affairs and its people should be prioritized, while the army could put up with a shortage for a few months. It was also assumed that they should understand about the whole affair as well.
Usually, this would be the beginning of a heated daily debate but the emperor's mood today was significantly different. In a fit of rage, he hollered his order for that hapless official to be arrested.
"What I need during the discussion of state affairs is for all of you to come up with ideas and strategies, not pushing things around while shirking your responsibilities. I need a well-rounded strategy that takes care of both sides, not your flowery words of justice and morality to disappoint my loyal army!"
Under the frightened gazes of the officials, the emperor stood up abruptly. He lorded over the court with arms behind his back and said unhurriedly, "Seize him! Raid his residence and conscript all the family members to the military!"
"Your Majesty, please have mercy!" A group of people wailed in abject terror.
"The warriors need to be rewarded while the deluge needs to be managed. The empire is troubled, swaying amidst storms. Desperate time calls for desperate measures! Otherwise, how can we subdue the voices of rebellion and tackle the external threat together?"
"We can still think our way out of a lack of wealth, but without the army and our people, is there still an Empire of Yutang?"
"This fiend shirks his responsibilities and banters endlessly about the most trivial of things. How can the army be placated if he is not punished? How can Yutang’s law be enforced if he is not executed?"
"Raid this fiend’s residence and confiscate all the silver taels to place in the treasury;the Board of Revenue is to shuffle it to where they are needed. I would also like to organize a donation drive here. I shall cut down the budget of the palace for the coming three years and that will save us around a million silver taels in expenditure. My dear civil and military officials, all of you should chip in what you can as well. In addition, some unnecessary items in the palace will be put up for auction."
"Your Majesty, this cannot be done!" A censor sprung up to his feet to object. "Your Majesty’s actions will damage the eminence of the royalty greatly. Please reconsider, Your Majesty."
The emperor continued without missing a beat. "The army that is putting their lives at stake at the border are without salary, the warriors who have perished in foreign lands are without pension, the generals and soldiers who have contributed tirelessly are without reward. How can there be eminence without their sacrifices and contributions? Where the deluge struck, lives were lost;those that perished are all people of Yutang. They are the foundation of Yutang and they are about to be eradicated! The Empire of Yutang is wholly submerged within storms and near to collapse;the empire is about to be an empire no more and you still wish to speak about eminence to me?"
"If the empire were to vanish, what would be left of the royalty's eminence? Are you speaking on my behalf or are you reluctant to part with your wealth? Guards, seize this fiend! Chase him out of the palace and behead him in public!"
The were to be two beheadings, both of them of the officials, simultaneously!
"My dear officials are my indispensable arms, the very pillars of this empire. Let us talk about the donation drive. Just mention a number. Of course, don’t deplete the very core of your family's wealth;I would be deeply unsettled if you do so. Just do what you can."
All the officials were stunned.
This did not seem right.
It had been five years since his Majesty had resorted to such dire measures.
His actions today seemed to have surpassed the nature of direness, and had wandered into the region of reckless bullying.
The emperor would not compromise on his decision.
There would be no room for denial and refusal!
Not agreeable to this?
Certainly. Guards, off with his head. Raid his residence while you're at it.
You’ll be stripped of your wealth and your life.
Then the idea of a donation came about. Will you not donate?
If you do, His Majesty wins.
If you don’t, be prepared to receive an abject lesson.
Would you want to end up with nothing and be called a fiend?
No? Then be good and obey orders.
"This official is willing to donate one million silver taels." Old Marshal Qiu Jianhan was the first to start the ball rolling.
"This official is willing to donate one million silver taels." It was Leng Daoyin.
"This official is willing to donate one million silver taels." The Grand Commandant was fast to add on his generosity.
All the civil officials rolled their eyes.
These three militants are f*cking loathsome. Do you think we aren't aware of your background?
Despite your considerable salaries and allowances, most of your wealth has been used to aid the veterans and families of fallen warriors.
Where will you fools get this much money? Where did your one million silver taels come from?
If you folks are so amazing, why haven't you ascended to immortality yet?
Please don't get us wrong, we aren't belittling you. If the three of you old men can gather five hundred thousand silver taels, we’d all be willing to hang ourselves together.
They were obviously being asked to do so by the emperor… but they had forced the rest of the officials into a corner.
"These three dearest officials are my right-hand men indeed. I am much comforted!" The emperor was delighted.
"This old official doesn’t have much and have little saved throughout these years. I will donate five hundred thousand silver taels," The Grand Tutor sighed softly.
There were already three influential figures leading from the military side;they had come in with such momentum as if they had nothing to lose...
If no one stepped out to be a representative from the civil side, would the imperial court not be overwhelmingly dominated by the militants in future?
It would be a landslide dominance that would include the emperor as well.
This could never be. Therefore, no matter how reluctant the Grand Tutor was, he had no choice but to lead the charge with five hundred thousand silver taels.
"This official is willing to donate a hundred thousand taels."
"This official is willing to donate two hundred thousand taels."
This was exactly the method Yun Yang had thought of the previous night.
"Your Majesty can raise the issue of insufficient funds in the morning assembly. If I know the people well enough, there will definitely be someone who objects based on extremely petty matters. Your Majesty can wipe this sh*t away and confiscate his properties to be absorbed into the Board of Revenue. Then Your Majesty can suggest a donation drive among the officials;I believe there will still be someone who’ll make a fuss about it. If this person’s standpoint is sound or if it’s someone Your Majesty doesn’t want to kill, Your Majesty can just chastise him. But if the person is coincidentally one who’s ignorant and someone Your Majesty has been wanting to put an end to, Your Majesty can kill another one of these nay-sayers. As long as both old marshals take part, you will have them all in the palm of your hand. At least it can quell this emergency;the officials in the imperial court are rather wealthy anyway."
"Who isn't afraid of dying? How many can there be who will give up their lives and not their wealth? I recall Your Majesty has used the same trick before in the past."
The emperor was exasperated then.
He had indeed used the same trick prior to this, but how could he bear it when this child spoke so nonchalantly of it?
He had to retain some of his dignity as well.
That was why the emperor had asked if Yun Yang wanted to be an official.
As long as you have the urge to become an official and when you have really become one, I can poke at your honesty whenever I need to.
Yun Yang had, of course, surprisingly but reasonably rejected the offer.
Then came the farce in the morning assembly.
The scene in the morning assembly was a leader who was steadfast and brutally resolute, making the officials reminisce about a long forgotten memory.
His Majesty had done the same all those years ago;he had been so assertive in his authority that his majesty was not to be questioned.
However, time had passed since then and the emperor had never been so unreasonable. Most of the time, he was both benevolent and authoritative, generous with his rewards yet stern in his punishments. His measures in recent years had grown even gentler and rarely would he actually behead someone. Why had he resorted to such extreme measures today?
At that moment, all the officials experienced a sense of déjà vu of an emperor who had managed his empire with an iron fist many years ago.
They then fell into submission instantly, without hesitation.
"This official… is willing to donate…" The last one to speak was the President of the Board of Punishments, Wu Lie. President Wu was flustered as he struggled to speak, "This official… is willing to donate… a hundred silver taels."
The amount of wealth offered by the previous officials numbered between a hundred to five hundred thousand taels. Not a single one of them had come up with a lower figure;who would have known that the President of the Board of Punishments would actually come up with a meager sum of a hundred taels?