Wang Duo looked at Li Ye with a severe countenance, "Your Highness is a bright person, you must understand the stakes here. If you quiet down and live a secluded life in your manor after you get the royal title, you will give them no opportunity, thus you can protect yourself. But if you want to start your official career, you will get yourself into trouble and give your opponents chances. How you make the choice, you must give it careful consideration."
Li Ye did not have to think deeply. He shook his head, "What Mr. Wang just said is far from the truth. Living a secluded life can't make me stay out of trouble or keep me safe, can it? I think it cannot. If Duke Xing wants to deal with me, there are many means. Incriminating someone with planted evidence is the best trick for those who scramble for power and wealth. Although I'm young, I also know the truth that when sailing against the current, one must forge ahead or you will be driven back. Now I am already involved in that, if I do not advance, I must retreat - and if I retreat, I will die."
Li Ye looked at Wang Duo and said seriously, "So my answer is I must become an official."
Saying this, Li Ye paused, and he suddenly remembered something.
To put it bluntly, Wang Duo was also Wei Baoheng's benefactor. When Wei Baoheng passed the imperial examination as an Imperial Scholar, Wang Duo was the chief examiner of the arts exam. With such a relationship, if Wang Duo wanted to foul his hands with Wei Baoheng, it could be said that it would be effortless.
However, now the whole court knew that Wang Duo disdained Wei Baoheng's personality, and even hated his acts of corruption and harming the community, thus he often impeached Wei Baoheng before the emperor. But it just didn't work.
It was rumored that Wei Baoheng was very hostile to Wang Duo. He also had submitted his written statement to the emperor that he wanted to transfer Wang Duo to a vassal state to kick him out of the Chang'an City.
The Tang Empire had more than 300 states. After the An-Shi Disturbances, there gradually left just more than 50 states. Except for a small number of states directly under the imperial court, most of the states and counties were under the jurisdiction of the vassal states. The commissioner of the vassal states was in the Kaimu Manor who held the power of the military and government of the vassal states.
However, before the Huang Chao Uprising, in addition to the three towns in Hebei, the imperial court still had absolute control over most of the vassal states. In particular, the power over personnel was tightly held in the hands of the imperial court such that it could appoint or dismiss the commissioner at will.
The Emperor Xuanzong had made great efforts to rule and revive the Tang Empire, and in history, it was called "The Benign Administration of the Dazhong Reign Period", so the current authority of the imperial court was acceptable.
However, arrogant soldiers and defiant generals in the vassal states had become a common phenomenon. It was not unusual for some soldiers and generals in the vassal states to expel the commissioner.
Thinking of this, Li Ye instantly understood the intention of Wang Duo's previous words.
In a high position, Wang Duo certainly had political ambitions. As a loyal minister, his identity and standpoint determined that his political ambitions were first to expel treacherous court officials out of court and then to help invigorate the country, leaving his name to posterity.
Wang Duo had to deal with Wei Baoheng.
In the current court, Wei Baoheng held power and took advantage of the emperor's favor such that it could be said that he was dominant in court.
Wei Baoheng had great power and influence, if Wang Duo wanted to deal with Wei Baoheng, he certainly had to strengthen his own power.
The words Wang Duo said to Li Ye strongly exaggerated the risk of being an official, and also exaggerated the safety of Li Ye's residence in the manor, in order to test Li Ye's will.
Since it was a test, naturally there must be reasons and purposes for this test.
There were two reasons and one purpose for this.
The purpose of Wang Duo testing Li Ye was naturally to win over Li Ye, to let Li Ye join his faction and strengthen his power.
Li Ye quickly figured out the first reason that Wang Duo tested him.
Wang Duo valued him, this was already a sufficient condition.
What did Wang Duo value Li Ye for?
Firstly, it was his cultivation. Now people in Chang'an City said that Li Ye was the person who got the Taoist's Luck left by Yuan Tiangang, in other words, he was Yuan Tiangang's descendant. Moreover, this inheritance of Taoist's Luck was so powerful that it helped Li Ye break through the Level 2 Qi-refining and become an outstanding young man of the Imperial Clan.
Second, it was his talent. Just when Li Ye returned from Tai Xuan Summit, he could defeat the conspiracy of Duke Xing and Li Yao, then he successfully inherited the royal title of Prince An, which proved that he had extraordinary talent.
The third was his identity. The royal title of Grand Prince was distinguished and extraordinary, this was one. The second was, the title Li Ye had inherited was Prince An's. Li Xian's brilliant literary talents and martial arts had a reputation in the world, and Li Ye took over Prince An's mantle so he could inherit part of Li Xian's reputation.
The second reason was the most essential condition.
Now that Li Ye had a deadly feud with Li Guanshu, it meant that they would not stop fighting until one of them died. One could imagine that Li Guanshu's revenge on Li Ye would come extraordinarily quickly and violently.
Once Wang Duo absorbed Li Ye into his own power and let Li Ye come under his wing, Li Ye would represent Wang Duo's dignity. If Li Ye did not have firm confidence in the future, or he did not have a full understanding of the tough situation, or if he was useless, he would be defeated by Li Guanshu in a blink of an eye. In that case, it was Wang Duo who lifted Li Ye only to hurt himself.
Wang Duo would not be so indiscreet and stupid, so he should test Li Ye.
Thinking these out, Li Ye would naturally know how to answer Wang Duo.
Li Guanshu and Kang Chengxun did not have the ability to murder Li Xian, so Wei Baoheng definitely made a contribution. Li Ye not only had a deadly feud with Wei Baoheng and Li Guanshu, but also had to run them into the ground.
Li Ye was alone and had not yet been an official. He was still too weak, to survive and to accomplish something, he must take advantage of the situation.
Take advantage of Wang Duo's power and strength.
Therefore, Li Ye must join Wang Duo's faction.
Li Ye said, "From the moment Li Yao gathered people to pretend that they were the Pang Xun's followers and broke into the Prince An's Manor, I started a deadly feud with Li Yao and Duke Xing. Duke Xing wanted the royal title of Prince An which was not a secret to anyone in the court. Taking a man's money and power is like killing his parents, so Duke Xing will not swallow the insult and humiliation silently, and I would not just stop here either."
Wang Duo pretended to be surprised, "What else does Your Highness want?"
Li Ye said, "I have already ruined Li Yao's cultivation!"
Wang Duo's pupils narrowed, this time he was really a little surprised, "Your Highness's action is... truly so decisive?"
Li Ye snorted and stood up, he replied generously, "There is no way back for me since the very beginning, nor is there any retreat for the Tang Empire with those malicious ministers and criminals! Wei Baoheng is actually a parasite to society who bullies others for his selfish interests, conceals the true state of affairs from those above and below him, and twists the laws in order to obtain bribes! Kang Chengxun, Duke Xing, and the like are willing to be Wei Baoheng's talons and fangs such that they help the villain do evil things, scramble for power and profit without giving any thought to the country! These traitors and thieves have harmed the state power of the Tang Empire and have misled the people. They have committed numerous crimes, too numerous to be listed!"
"Mr. Wang, please look at the current Tang Empire. Foreign invasions at the border rise from all directions and civil strife often happens, whose fault is it? Is the imperial court for being unable to rule the world? No. It is the villains who have deceived the emperor and hindered the imperial court from running the country! For more than a decade, if it was not for Mr. Wang's assiduousness that you have exerted to maintain the status quo, this world would be in a state of chaos! If we don't eradicate Wei Baoheng and others, the court will be restless and the world will have no peace!"
Wang Duo did not expect Li Ye to suddenly be filled with indignation, so he was somewhat astonished. After he had listened to Li Ye's words, his eyes lighted up. "Your Highness actually has such a great deal of insight." At the thought of Li Ye's last sentence, he quickly shook his head modestly, "I am just doing my job. I cannot invigorate my country, I am already extremely worried and troubled that I can't even rest or eat in peace. I don't deserve your praise."
Li Ye swung his sleeves and continued, "Mr. Wang should not be modest. Look at this world, in addition to Mr. Wang, who else can wipe out these treacherous court officials, assist His Majesty, and bring back a lawful society? Throughout my father's life, he had thrown all his energy into the Tang Empire. Alive or dead, he belonged to his country. I am not so talented. I dare not hope that I have the same literary and martial talent as him, but I dare not humiliate my father's fame either! For his unfulfilled wish, for the Tang Empire's prosperity, I would rather die than live together with those crafty and fawning people in Chang'an City!"
After saying this, Li Ye was very indignant. He saluted to Wang Duo, "Please help me with that, Mr. Wang!"
Wang Duo was very moved. He quickly got up and lifted Li Ye up. "Your Highness has a great ambition which really impressed me. The old Prince An would be very relieved if he knew that... However, Duke Xing is a powerful man and he is heartless and cruel. If Your Highness wants to become an official, it will be extremely difficult. Is Your Highness willing to take the risk?"
Li Ye said with a forceful and lofty voice, "Even if I am stupid, I will never betray the Tang Empire. Even if I am shallow, I will die to seek morality and justice. As long as those crafty and fawning people can be wiped out, I will die without regret!"
"I will never betray the Tang Empire, I will die to seek morality and justice! This statement is absolutely strong!" Wang Duo was very impressed, and he applauded repeatedly. "Sure enough, a tiger father will not beget a dog son. Your Highness' heart is absolutely sincere, you will become the most trustworthy minister in the future and your achievements will not lose to the old Prince An's!"
He looked excited and seemed to have been convinced by Li Ye.
However, it was just that he did not promise anything, nor did he not say anything about helping Li Ye become an official.
Li Ye didn't mind. He had never thought that Wang Duo could completely recognize and open his heart to him with just a few words.
As long as he could pass Wang Duo's test today, the road ahead would be much easier.
Moreover, Wang Duo was the type of person who would not easily promise until things were fully grasped, even if he had made up his mind to help Li Ye. Because if the promise was not kept, it would damage his own reputation.
After he saw Wang Duo off, Li Ye stood in the shadow in front of the door, looking at the carriage driving far away. He was silent, the indignation on his face was gone, instead, it became calm and profound, like a deep pool.
After standing for a while, Li Ye returned to the hall and dragged Li Yan, who was still drinking his fill at the banquet, to the east study room.
After taking a towel handed by a maidservant and wiping his face, Li Yan asked Li Ye, "The banquet is not over yet. Why have you brought me here? On this big day, are you going to Kang Fu lane with me and find Qing Guang'ers to celebrate again?"
Li Ye handed the sobering soup to Li Yan, he sat down beside him and said, "I have something to discuss with you."
"What is it?" Li Yan drank the soup.
"A big thing about life and death." Li Ye said.
"You want me to help you deal with Duke Xing?" Li Yan asked.
"Bigger than this." Li Ye said.
"I can't cope with a bigger shot!" Li Yan said powerlessly.
"No one but you can deal with him." Li Ye said.
"Is there such a person? Who is it?" Li Yan caved to the interest.
"The Eldest Prince." Li Ye said.
"You are going to deal with my elder brother?" Li Yan was stunned.
"I don't have to deal with him, it's you." Li Ye corrected.
"Why will I deal with my eldest brother?" Li Yan was mystified.
"Because you have to fight for the position of the Heir Prince!" Li Ye would never stop surprising him.
"When did I have such a plan?" Li Yan was shocked.
"Now." Li Ye said.
"Not at all!" Li Yan said.
"You don't want to be an Heir Prince?" Li Ye asked.
"What is the point of it?" Li Yan spread his hands.
"As long as you want it, I can help you." Li Ye said.
"My elder brother's cultivation is the best, the best among the princes; my elder brother's ability and learning surpass the average, he's best among the princes; my elder brother is deeply loved by His Majesty, he's best among the princes." Li Yan felt that Li Ye was crazy. "That is why I have never thought about competing with him, there is no hope at all!"
"You are wrong." Li Ye said.
"Where is wrong?" Li Yan asked.
"The best cultivation, the best ability and learning, and the love of His Majesty cannot make the Eldest Prince an Heir Prince." Li Ye said.
"If this cannot, then what can?" Li Yan asked curiously.
"The only condition of becoming an Heir Prince is to be chosen by the four high-ranking eunuchs!"