Chapter 71: The Land Is Dry and Cracked, so the Seedling Is Tilted (Part One)
[TL Note: This chapter is quite wordy, but it gives important context about big figures.]
The crippled old man squinted and waited for Fang Jie’s answer, looking expectant. He was more and more interested in this young man who looked like a complete wastrel. He discovered that if he observed, he could find many interesting things about this young man that he liked.
Fang Jie was interesting. He was smarter than everyone when he should be smart, and he was dumber than everyone when he should be dumb. He would never act like an idiot to pretend to be weak; perhaps he didn’t think he was on that level yet.
Perhaps some powerful people liked acting like pigs and could devour tigers, but Fang Jie knew that he wasn’t a pig, nor could he devour tigers. In this world, only those who were extremely powerful would play this game. Fang Jie wasn’t a master, so he wasn’t suitable for this game.
Fang Jie chewed on a piece of stewed meat and organized his words. Then, he drank a mouthful of northwest liquor and said, “That man was the only prince who supported the Emperor in the fight for the throne, and he was the only prince who didn’t greed over the throne. This is something that every member of Great Sui knows about; you can even ask a senior on the street.”
“When the Emperor was only the Fourth Prince, he wasn’t favored by his father. From all perspectives, the Third Prince at the time was the most likely to inherit the throne. Third Prince Yang Ji was kind, friendly, and persuasive. Many masters were willing to die for him, let alone the officials in the central government. He was loyal to friends and generous with money, and he didn’t mind using his privileges to help others. His reputation was great among everyone.”
“The other prince who could fight for the throne was Elder Prince Yang Xiong; he was the son of the queen at the time. The queen loved him, and the queen’s family supported him. He had many officials willing to help him, and the queen’s family had great influence in the military. Therefore, it seemed like Elder Prince Yang Xiong had a higher chance of obtaining the throne compared to Third Prince Yang Ji.”[Support the real translators and read on Noodletown Translations for free.]
“However, Elder Prince Yang Xiong became even more arrogant with the support of the queen. As a result, the emperor at the time started to hate his elder son who bullied people. Elder Prince Yang Xiong only lasted so long because of the support of the queen.”
“Due to the previous emperor disliking Elder Prince Yang Xiong, Third Prince Yang Ji looked more exceptional.”
Fang Jie drank another cup of liquor and continued with a smile, “Even the residents of Fangu know about this story. It is hard to tell how much of it is true, but there is no doubt that the emperors of Great Sui never hid this information from the public. The emperors like to see their sons fight for the throne, so there are many variations of the same story.”
The crippled old man smiled and said, “What you said are mostly true. Compared to the previous empire on this land, the Royal Family of Great Sui isn’t hypocritical, appearing righteous and doing sketchy things in the dark. All the crown princes in the history of Great Sui were selected using proper methods. All emperors encouraged their sons to compete with their talents but didn’t allow anything shady in the dark.”
Fang Jie nodded and said, “There is no question that no one anticipated that the Fourth Prince at the time was going to take the throne. When the previous emperor got seriously ill, he still hadn’t picked his successor. Elder Prince Yang Xiong who was stationed in the east with soldiers and negotiating the redrawing of borders with Eastern Chu learned about this, and he instantly started to rush back to the Capital with 5,000 soldiers.”
“At the time, Third Prince Yang Ji seemed most likely to win. The few senior officials who were most trusted by the previous emperor supported him. Hearing the news about Elder Prince Yang Xiong’s return, Third Prince Yang Ji ordered Fourth Prince Yang Yi who supported him to block Elder Prince Yang Xiong. Fourth Prince Yang Yi broke into Tai Chi Palace and took the tiger token that was necessary to command the military. He led Left Martial Guard, one of the Imperial Six Guards, to stop Elder Prince Yang Xiong way before the latter reached Chang’an. While Fourth Prince Yang Yi was on the way, Seventh Prince Yang Qi caught up with him and said something to him. It was probably at this moment that Fourth Prince Yang Yi made up his mind.”
“Fourth Prince Yang Yi stopped Elder Prince Yang Xiong with the elite soldiers of Left Martial Guard before arresting him for the crime of returning to the Capital without orders. Then, Fourth Prince Yang Yi rushed back. Third Prince Yang Ji ordered all the city gates of Chang’an to be closed; It was Seventh Prince Yang Qi who protected one city gate with his 260 retinues, battling to the end until Fourth Prince Yang Yi came back with the soldiers. After that battle, only 19 retinues survived, and Seventh Prince Yang Qi sustained 13 lethal injuries with three wounds going through his body.”