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Qinglian Chronicles Chapter 13

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Warning: 13+ content. I will slightly censor explicit words.

The political Situation

Translated by: Niladri

“Victorious in war, safe, in April returning to capital, don't worry.”

I carefully observed this piece of paper. The writing on the paper was unfettered and relaxed, but it was steady and not frivolous. Can't say it was a good calligraphy, but clearly the person writing it had a pleasant personality.

However, why did it not have any sender's name, or receiver's name on it? Who sent it?

"Is it General Shao from the Ministry of War?” Yao Jinzi quietly inquired, his face showed no expression.

I bit my lip and shook my head and replied: “I don’t know.”

Suddenly there was a bad feeling.

Yao Jinzi reached over and took a look before saying, “It really is from General Shao.”

When I thought of Gao Yushu, I asked: “Is he the Chief of staff in Ministry of War, General Shao Qing?”

“Eng,” the frigid cold voice that could make a person s.h.i.+ver made his feelings evident. “Do you have any impression of him?”

I shook my head again.

“Shao Qing, the second son of the Shao family from the western part of the Capital, and one of the most influential leaders of this generation. He was trained in the northern army. This year, he turned 29. After the emperor pa.s.sed away, this person helped stabilize your position in court for the most part”

So, this is the military pillar behind Zhang Qinglian? However, from the tone of the note…their relations.h.i.+p appears to be quite intimate…

“That, uh…he and I…” I was a little bit nervous and couldn’t help but quietly clench my fist.

Yao Jinju gave me an indifferent look: “The fact that the military genius General Shao is a behind-the-curtains guest of the scholarly Zhang is well-known throughout the world.” (1)

I heard a BANG in my mind and wondered if I was blus.h.i.+ng. I told myself that even though the scandal was known to the whole world, it was Zhang Qinglian that Yao Jinzi was mocking. It wasn't me, but I still couldn't stop myself from heating up in shame.

Moreover, my reasoning reminded me of the possible repercussions of this:

That General Shao and Zhang Qinglian had an ambiguous relations.h.i.+p- this rumor is definitely not groundless from Yao Jinzi’s opinions and behavior. When he comes back in April, what if he starts paying special attention to me?

Take a look at my appearance and body structure, and then take a look at the other person's status; who gives and who receives, is it not clear yet? But… I have absolutely no interest in a.n.a.l s*x!

I am not even willing to give oral s*x, let alone partake in such a disgusting and unnatural version of copulation. The well-known dangers for violating the laws of nature are nausea, injuries to body, and the greatly increased chance of being infected with AIDS… The most frightening thing is that it would be excruciatingly painful and agonizing!

However, that person is my most important supporter in the imperial court, someone I cannot afford to offend. So, where would I get the courage to turn him down and provoke his wrath? (2)

For a moment, I was upset and started to chew my lips, while maintaining silence. Yao Jinzi did not speak. However, what could he say in his position? Perhaps previously I used to vent my frustrations at him?

For the first time in this ancient period, I had the urge to cry.

However, I was still good at self-control. I waited in the studio till I regained my calm. No matter how bad it is, I can take a lesson from Hao Sijia's saying, “Tomorrow is a new day and everything will be fine.” Not to mention, things haven’t arrived yet. There is still two month's time before he returns to the capital. Things have still not reached the point of no return. If I start wallowing in constant anxiety from right now, then I would have no reason to worry about General Shao. Because, by the time he returns, I would already be a dead man.

Therefore, I restrained my thoughts. First things first.

I took out Liu Chunxi's folded booklet and handed it over to Yao Jinzi. He looked at it for a moment and then said, "Roughly, it's fine."

Liu Chunxi's folded booklet is actually a reform initiative that exposes the existing malpractices of the Ministry of Revenue. The first one concerns the tedious and redundant procedures within the internal branches of Ministry of Revenue. This is not my specialization, moreover I do not have any interest regarding this, so I plan to let the Ministry of Internal Affairs handle it appropriately. Furthermore, even though this phenomenon is a waste of state treasuries, and that it is mostly inefficient but the damage is limited. On top of that, there must have been a deeper layer to it for things to be like this. Changing it will involve the issue of lay-offs which will offend various forces and I will be attacked from more than one direction. If I were to do this now, it would be like seeking to provoke the G.o.d of Longevity by hanging oneself.

The second is to say that officials in various ministries are lacking requisite funds. The situation seems to be very serious. According to him, there should be more than 79.682 million of acc.u.mulated silver in the treasury account, but the actual amount of money in the treasury is less than 5.002 milion. He was very worried that if there was a large-scale war or natural disaster, the Ministry will not be able to procure any money.

Yao Jinzi told me that now I basically have two armies. One is in the southwest, and since the chieftain is not obedient, troops have been dispatched to teach him a lesson. The general is w.a.n.g Hejing,is one of Gu Yunzhi's students, Hanlin academy scholar Zhou Zizhu’s brother-in-law, belongs to one of Jiangnan Han people, and of course, the Qingliu party. In this sense, the Qingliu Party also represents the interests of the Gentry of Jiangnan. [T/N: Jiangnan is a place south of Yangtze river and Han is a sub-race among Chinese afaik]

Another is my "good old friend" Shao Qing, who has managed to subdue his enemies. He has recently announced publicly that he crushed the Huihe leader who tried to lead a rebellion. He firmly grasps in his hand the most elite Northern Tiger armed forces, and has always checked the Xiongnu and the northwestern army.  He occupies 3/5th of the country's military and this is one of the most important reasons I could hoodwink the public. In this way, my party represents the interests of the Northern Gentry much more.[T/N: Xiongnu - a group of nomadic tribe]

In addition, the Waiqi Party represented the Jings.h.i.+ and some royal families (3). The head of the cavalry, General Li Min guo, controlled the Palace guard. Although they numbered only 20000, the important fact is that they were garrisoned in the capital and would frequently patrol the palace. So they cannot be treated lightly.

In this way, I immediately thought of the point that would help me prosper, that is, the landlords and businessmen of the Yi ethnicity. The Yi people also have great strength but they do not have a corresponding political status. For example, according to Liu Chunxi, going by statistics, their families are powerful and wealthy, and Zhou Zizhu’s brother in law was a general this year, but one is a Jings.h.i.+ and the other is a commoner, their statuses in court are simply incomparable. With his mentality of quick success, how could he not complain? And what about Lin Guiquan?  A big businessman like him who  has a lot of enemies, would certainly want to live a life of luxury and indulgence?

If I want to cultivate a team that truly belongs to me, instead of using one's body to leech benefits from the emperor or Shao Qing like the previous Zhang Qinglian, they are my best choice.

Returning to the topic at hand, when it comes to this issue of the money in the treasury, although it is indeed very serious, the various officials who owes debt definitely have strong backers to support them. I on the other hand currently have an unsteady foundation, it is difficult to protect myself as it is, it would be even more difficult to do this by offending people everywhere.

The third article was about a problem that have always existed in ancient Chin The problem of land annexation. Because the gentry are exempt from taxation, many peasants voluntarily sold their own small plots of land to the gentry landlords and they themselves became tenant farmers. So the gentry's land is increasing more and more, and there is less and less arable land. The number of fields that could be taxed and bestowed is also decreasing. The annual treasury income has been continuously declining. Liu Chunxi proposed taxation of the clans and tribes.

As a modern man, I know the disadvantages of land mergers, it may cause nation-wise disturbance. However, similarly, if I present reforms now, it can help fight against our political opponents but simultaneously it would offend people I cannot afford to offend.

After a.n.a.lyzing everything, in the end I couldn’t make use of Liu Chunxi’s exposition.

However, a person like him, I will definitely win over.

In the early morning of the second day of the Shaoxing era, the report of Shao Qing's victory from 800-miles away was delivered urgently. It was a joyous occasion for the whole country. Of course, I am the only one who had different thoughts. No, not only me in particular, the Qingliu party also had nothing to do with it. After all, we know that the bigger picture is more important and right now the faces of the people of Waiqi Party were also not good. Shao Qing made great achievements, and so, my status and position will rise. When production costs increase, the price of goods also increase, as a result this could be considered a big threat to them. (4)

Shao Qing's victory report mentioned that he managed to capture the Huihe leader alive, the only remaining issue is to appease the local clans and tribes. After one month, the troops will be withdrawn, and the issue of how to greet his triumphant return in mid-April sparked a war of words.

Me maintaining silence naturally raised suspicion, but they probably think I became smarter, knowing how to conceal one's abilities and bide one's time. So the enemy’s eyes, in addition to envy and hatred also had vigilance.

Afterwards, I notified the royal eunuch Guang Lu that this one will be starting to enter the palace every alternate day to accompany the emperor to study, and told him to write it down in the official records and make appropriate arrangements. This sentence was heard by more than one person, and not only did their faces change color, hha, but can only wonder how many versions of speculation emerged, and the worst one is that this one was waiting for the opportunity to kill one's sovereign.

The people I met today all had their 'chins held up and chests puffed out' today, and full of joy.

Gao Yushu approached my ear and whispered: “Boss Lin said, it was achieved by merely relying on Xiang Ye.” Saying this, he smirked like a villain.

Ah, we 'll have to call Xiang Ye, it's not like I'm really Zhong Shao Jing(5). Don't tell me Shao Qing's victorious return would lead to people wors.h.i.+pping me? Or do they think I had made a big move?

I discreetly called out Liu Chunxi in private and gave him back the folding booklet. I said very sincerely, “What Chunxi proposed is actually a good plan. However, the power of Qinglian is presently insufficient, and is unable to approve it for now. Chunxi, the main thing is that this shows how capable a person you are, so please, on behalf of the nation take good care of them! They will definitely be approved in the future .”

These words that I seemingly pulled out from the pit of my stomach were tantamount to treating him as the most credible confidant. Liu Chunxi almost shed tears from excitement. He said: “Regarding daren, Chunxi has always heard people denouncing him. It is only now that I know the meaning of 'acc.u.mulated slander can melt gold'. Daren treated me as Guo s.h.i.+. So, like Guo s.h.i.+, this one will recompense Daren.”(6)

I nodded and went out with him.

Yao Jinzi was waiting for me in the carriage. From today onwards, he is to be my personal bodyguard. Wherever I go, he goes. Although he did not speak to me the entire journey, my mood was better nevertheless.

After returning home, I also wrote a small letter to Shao Qing. Since he is close to Zhang Qinglian, I naturally have to be careful in order to avoid leaking something that gives rise to suspicion, so the simpler the better:
“Extremely delighted and expecting you . There is a Shanxi merchant, Lin Guiquan. Please give the special trade license.”

I knew that I couldn’t match Zhang Qinglian’s handwriting, so I avoided writing it myself. Because the three government ministers and the six ministries agreed to negotiate and reply, I didn’t need to write, but it was the first time I wrote a private letter. I thought it over and handed over the pen to Yao Jinzi. This guy’s handwriting is steadfast and really neat and elegant, they gave off a feeling like Kangxi's characters. (7)

This day was very tiring. I felt physically and mentally exhausted. So I climbed into bed very early. In this era, there was no computer and no television. There was only one lamp-light at night, the size of a bean. What could I do except sleeping?

However, what I did not expect was that in the middle of the night on the third day of my visit to ancient times, there was a romantic event.

_______

(1): 「神舞邵將軍是張學士的入幕之賓,天下盡人皆知。」 If anyone can translate this better, please help me. My translation of this sentence is 60-70% accurate I guess.

(2): 但是,那个人是我朝中最重要的支持者,: This is a bit tricky… Some of my translator buddies said that this can be translated as I did. However some MTL says it is referencing ChinNorth Korea relations.h.i.+ps (one of them supports the other). Either way, 'Chao zhong' will be used in the manner I translated it, without delving into uncertain cross-country relations.h.i.+ps.

(3) A fellow translator pointed out that Qingliu party was a party that actually existed in history.

3a: Waiqi : . Basically I guess it consists of mothers and wives of the emperor, i.e. the regency system where, if the emperor is too young, his relatives handle certain (or all) political affairs until he comes of age. That group of people const.i.tutes the Waiqi.

3b: Jings.h.i.+: Hereditary scholar cla.s.s.

(4) [T/N: I think it means since SQ is a member of Qingliu Party, his achievements will tilt the balance of power in their favor and make the Waiqi Party more wary, thereby creating grounds for a possible political clash. So, the gains can outweigh the loses]

(5)a. historical character. Google him if u want.
b.Xiangye= Grand Chancellor/Chief Minister. I think it is referring to Zhang Qinglian.

(6) Guo= National, s.h.i.+= Scholar
Or her https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guo_N%C3%BCw.a.n.g
Don't ask me which

(7) 康熙 : May refer to the words themselves or style of writing during kangxi dynasty. Who cares? They are steadfast, neat and elegant. End of discussion :p

T/N: This chapter was a total pain in the a**. 3.2k words with highly complicated text [references, idioms, and everything bad]. I am reconsidering my choice of novel that I have taken as my first translation project (which was supposed to be a simple cleaning of MTL *sigh*). Either way, hope that cliff makes you as annoyed as I was…

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