The emperor listened to Huang Guo’s opinion.
‘Ninth prince is intelligent, humble and patient,’ Huang Guo praised. ‘That year in Xuan Qing, he worked tirelessly day and night to find ways to prevent severe floods and saved the livelihoods of many citizens. But he humbly gave the credit to others. In Southern Jiang, his strategies helped to subdue the rebels. Everyone here can clearly see that ninth prince is a selfless and diligent person.’
The other court officials thought Pei Jin deserved Huang Guo’s praises. In the past they didn’t acknowledge Pei Jin’s achievements because they knew the emperor didn’t favor Pei Jin.
The emperor’s expression darkened. No one dared to dispute Huang Guo’s words. It implied everyone hid the extent of his ninth son’s contributions to the Dian Kingdom and his court officials deceived him!
‘Everyone here also knows ninth prince is a gentle and kind person,’ Huang Guo said. ‘He is respectful and compassionate toward citizens. If he becomes the crown prince, it’ll be a blessing for all the citizens.’
The court officials who supported the empress and Pei Zhang kowtowed in front of the emperor and agreed with Huang Guo’s recommendation to make Pei Jin the crown prince. After the empress and Pei Lam died, they were scared Consort Mu and Pei Zhang would eliminate them. So Huang Guo’s words gave them a chance to live.
‘Your majesty, seventh prince is the most suitable candidate to be the crown prince,’ Official Zai Ci said. ‘Your majesty, you also need to consider your grandchildren.’
‘Your majesty, I agree your majesty should consider your grandchildren,’ Huang Guo said.
‘Huang Guo, what are you saying?’ the emperor asked.
‘Congratulations your majesty,’ Huang Guo said. ‘In a few months your majesty will have a grandson.’
‘Huang Guo, why are you the only one congratulating me?’ the emperor asked.
‘Recently my daughter-in-laws visited ninth prince’s wife and accidently found out ninth prince’s wife is pregnant,’ Huang Guo said.
‘Truly?’ the emperor asked.
‘Your majesty, if you don’t believe me then your majesty can send your imperial physicians to examine ninth prince’s wife,’ Huang Guo said.
The emperor wasn’t certain if Huang Guo’s words were true, but his fingers trembled. He was angry why his ninth son didn’t inform about his ninth daughter-in-law’s pregnancy.
Pei Zhang was shocked to hear his ninth brother’s wife was pregnant. His mother’s imperial physician reported that Yan Shi Ning had a chest infection and he knew Gentleman Zheng wouldn’t dare lie to him and his mother.
The loud commotion in the imperial court made the emperor angrier. The emperor dismissed everyone and he summoned Official Hu to the imperial calligraphy room.
Inside the imperial calligraphy room the emperor sat on the highest chair and he gave permission for Official Hu to sit.
‘Hu, between seventh prince and ninth prince who do you think is more suitable?’ the emperor asked.
‘Your majesty is wise and knows who is more suitable,’ Official Hu said.
‘I don’t want to hear pleasantries!’ the emperor said. ‘I won’t punish you if you give me your honest opinion.’
‘Your majesty, I believe ninth prince is more suitable,’ Official Hu said.
‘Why?’ the emperor asked.
‘Your majesty, truthfully I’m not close to neither seventh prince nor ninth prince,’ Official Hu said. ‘Your majesty, forgive me for my ignorant thoughts.’
‘Alright,’ the emperor said. ‘You’re free to speak your thoughts.’
‘Your majesty, ninth prince is truly someone who is fair and merciful which makes him more suitable to be the crown prince,’ Official Hu said.
The emperor silently reflected Official Hu’s words. He knew citizens of the Dian Kingdom needed a ruler who was fair and merciful to guide the kingdom through calamities and peaceful periods.
‘I understand,’ the emperor said. ‘Hu you can leave first.’
Official Hu bowed to the emperor and left the imperial calligraphy room.
On the way back to the Hu Manor, Official Hu remembered his daughter’s shame six years ago. That year he and Pei Jin caught his daughter seducing Pei Zhang when his daughter was betrothed to Pei Jin. Pei Jin didn’t expose his daughter’s shame in front of the emperor. If it wasn’t for Pei Jin’s mercy and forgiveness then he would have lost his position in the imperial court six years ago. So he wanted to repay Pei Jin for sparing his reputation.
Official Hu thought his dead daughter was foolish while alive. If his daughter was wise then she would be alive and become the empress. Even though it wasn’t certain Pei Jin would become emperor, he didn’t know why he felt it was inevitable Pei Jin would become emperor. He admitted in the past he didn’t expect the carefree and powerless Pei Jin would one day have many court officials support Pei Jin to become emperor.
End of Chapter Fifty-Nine