Chapter 703: Test

“King Qi’s faction went on the offensive? There’s no way the emperor wouldn’t do anything about it. Crown princess, you don’t need to worry,” Zu An reassured her. However, he knew anything that could leave the crown prince’s faction so dejected was definitely no small matter.

“If only it were that simple.” The crown princess sighed. “During today’s morning court session, our faction’s officials interrogated King Qi. After all, the assassination case was closely tied to King Qi. Regardless of how King Qi’s faction tried to defend themselves, we would have ways of dealing with it. However, we didn’t expect King Qi to be so vicious. He directly took on all of the blame, but then pushed it onto Cheng Xiong’s father and son.”

“Even though many of our people were doubtful, without any key evidence and with so many members on King Qi’s side, more and more people began to speak out for him, so the matter was settled at that.”

Zu An said with surprise, “But this is something we should have expected. What made all of you look so bad?”

“It would have been fine if that were all.” The crown princess sighed. “But soon afterwards, King Qi’s faction began to wantonly retaliate. Many people brought up that the crown prince didn’t even have the ability to protect himself, so how could he inherit this world?”

After all, the Great Zhou Dynasty had been established through martial might. One’s status in this world was decided through cultivation. Previously, even though the crown prince was a bit of a letdown, he’d had the world’s most powerful father. Even though everyone had been unhappy, they still couldn’t say anything.

Everyone finally began to pay attention to that issue after the crown prince was almost killed in that attack. In order to denounce King Qi, the crown prince’s faction had previously repeated how dangerous the situation had been back then, and how the crown prince had almost died many times. And yet, in the end, it had all become evidence for King Qi’s argument.

Many originally neutral officials in the court had become extremely dissatisfied toward the stupid crown prince. They were finally fed up. After all, once the crown prince became the emperor, he might be done in by any random assassination. If that happened, wouldn’t the entire country fall into chaos as well? Those people didn’t speak out for King Qi’s sake, but rather out of a desire for the public good. As such, not even the emperor could say much to rebuke them.

Of course, the emperor wasn’t someone who would let others step on him. He had decisively sent those who were complaining the loudest to be flogged in order to snuff out the first signs of uprising.

However, those people seemed to have already made plans. They continued to step out one after another, none of them fearing death. Instead, they treated being flogged as something glorious.

The emperor, who cared a lot about his reputation, knew what these people were thinking. They wanted to leave their names behind in history! He had done everything he could to seek immortality in the form of leaving his name behind. How could he allow these people to achieve the same result just from being flogged? Furthermore, if this matter were really recorded, then whether the emperor’s name would be associated with fame or infamy was hard to say.

That was why, under the condemnation of King Qi’s faction in cooperation with the neutral faction, the emperor had no choice but to compromise. He was going to hold a test for the crown prince. If the prince could pass, then that meant he had the qualifications to succeed the throne, and he would have the ability to rule the empire. But if he failed, then he could only abdicate the throne.

King Qi’s faction was satisfied with this result, because they knew that with the crown prince’s skills, there was no way he could pass. As such, King Qi would then succeed the throne as the justified imperial brother.

The emperor had agreed to this proposal because as long as the test was man-made, then there was room for manipulation. He had been caught completely unprepared this morning, so by choosing a test, he could use this matter to buy some time and find a suitable solution.

But for the crown princess, she felt as if the sky were collapsing when she heard the news. Others might feel that the crown prince was merely simple-minded, but she knew just how stupid he was. Other than eating, shitting, and playing, he didn’t know a thing!

It was to the extent where even the games he played were for the mentally deficient. For example, he had become completely enamored by five-in-a-row, which was an incredibly simple and uncouth game, recently. She had no idea who had come up with such a game.

One could grab anyone off the street… no, any kid off the street, and they might have a better chance at passing the test than this crown prince.

Zu An finally understood why everyone was so distressed after listening to the crown princess’ explanation. No one had any confidence in that fatty. “So what is he being tested on?” he asked, cutting straight to the point.

The crown princess shook her head. “I have no idea what the contents are, but matters of cultivation and ruling are unavoidable. Both sides will have to discuss the details some more.” She was extremely gloomy. The crown prince wouldn’t be able to pass no matter what he was being tested on.

Zu An reassured her, “Don’t worry too much. The crown prince is his majesty’s oldest son, after all, so he’ll definitely get involved.”

“I hope that’s the case.” The crown princess didn’t have much hope, because she didn’t think the emperor could do anything. “By the way, I heard that the Shi clan’s men troubled you by the entrance today?” she asked after composing herself.

Zu An replied, “It’s nothing important, and I already dealt with it. The crown princess doesn’t need to worry about it.”

The crown princess said, “Then you can just leave now.”

It was a pity that Shi Kun’s matter had completely offended the Shi clan, which could push them toward King Qi’s side. However, she really wasn’t in the mood to think about these things.  She sighed when she looked at Zu An’s departing figure. If the crown prince were someone who saved her trouble like this guy, just how great would that be?

When Zu An left the eastern palace, a lesser eunuch ran up to him and told him the emperor had summoned him.

He felt helpless. Those concubines were all eager to meet with the emperor even once, and yet he was seeing the man almost every day. What the hell was this? But even though he found the situation ridiculous, there was nothing else he could do, so he could only follow the eunuch to the imperial study.

When he entered the imperial study, he saw that the emperor’s expression was overcast. He immediately bowed tactfully and said, “I greet your majesty.” The other party was still upset, so it was best not to provoke him.

The emperor voiced a response. Then, he picked up a memorial and said, “Someone accused you of using violence by the palace gates, claiming that you attacked the etiquette inspector Shi Jun. Did this happen?”

“I’m being accused wrongly. There was nothing wrong with me, but that Shi Jun deliberately targeted me…” Zu An was just about to explain when the emperor cut him off.

“There is another matter I am curious about. Why was it that his pants fell as soon as you said they would? According to the reports, you said the same thing to Han Fengqiu during your battle.” The emperor’s expression immediately became extremely sharp. “Do you have the dragon race’s blood? Do you have their Soulspeak ability?”

Zu An quickly replied, “Your majesty is wise. A dragon race elder tried to kill me along the way, so how could I have any connection with them, let alone their Soulspeak ability?”

Keyboard Come was a skill he absolutely couldn’t tell the emperor about, or he would be dead for sure. No emperor would feel at ease having someone they couldn’t control under them.

“Then why did their pants fall? I refuse to believe it was a coincidence.” The emperor gave him a cold look. One was at the peak of the ninth rank, while one was at the seventh rank. How could the former’s pants fall just because the latter said they would?

Zu An explained, “I have no idea how Han Fengqiu’s pants fell, but that event gave me some inspiration. Shi Kun wanted to oppress me through etiquette, so when I rushed in to strike him in the face, I secretly broke open his waistband. He was still in shock and anger at the time, so he didn’t notice anything.”

The emperor was stunned. Then, he couldn’t help but roar with laughter. “You’re quite the weird fellow. Shi Jun was done in quite badly by you. He might not have the shame to take up etiquette inspection ever again.”

Zu An sighed in relief when he saw the other party laugh. Thank goodness my reactions are fast.

But this emperor really was cold… The Shi clan had established heroic contributions in the Great Zhou Dynasty, and the clan leader of the Shi clan was also one of the court’s prestigious eight dukes! He probably didn’t care about the Shi clan at all, and was only annoyed that they were now siding with King Qi.

The emperor continued, “I believe you’ve already heard about the matter of the test. You’ve always been quite the clever fellow. Do you have any ideas?”

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