"I need more information." Yun Qian Yu naturally studied everything prior to leaving for the capital; now that there is another opponent that she cannot understand, she considers this a big warning sign.
Not only that, Rui Qinwang's reaction also seemed impractical to Yun Qian Yu. Why did he easily let go of the authority for Hu Wei Camp; what he lost today wasn't just that, but also Great General Liu's 30,000 troops. Rui Qinwang was losing all of his troops, why was he so confident? There is only one possibility; one that Yun Qian Yu wish isn't real.
"I have everything in my place." Gong Sang Mo replied casually.
San Qiu's lips twitches. What did he mean by having everything in his place? He was clearly busy last night instructing people around; he even spent the entire night in the study. At first, San Qiu didn't understand what he was so busy for; now he knows he did all that to get into the good grace of Hu Guo Princess.
Yun Qian Yu nods as she looks at the tiger seal on the table. "Grandfather, what do you think of Hua shizi?"
Murong Cang looks at Yun Qian Yu in surprise. "You have high impression of him?"
Hua Man Xi's mother is Murong Cang's only daughter. That means his father, Duke Rong is the currently dynasty's only prince consort. Yu Jian's mother on the other hand was the late crown princess; Hua Man Xi's aunt from his father's side. Even though the person connecting them is no longer there, their blood relations are still here. Hua Man Xi and Murong Yu Jian are cousins. If the emperor can't trust him, then Murong Cang truly has lived a failed life.
Murong Cang laughs, "You brat."
He push the tiger seal towards Yun Qian Yu, "You should personally give it to him; that is, if you managed to persuade him to accept this!"
Yun Qian Yu ponders for a while, remembering that Duke Rong's manor has never received military authority ever since the founding of their kingdom. She silently accept the tiger seal and hands it over to Yu Jian.
Murong Yu Jian is already ten years old; that added with Murong Cang's special care makes him wise enough to know what that tiger seal represents. He looks at Murong Cang.
A special kind of light flashes in Murong Cang's eyes, this girl is really something! She looks so gentle and fragile on the outside; so pretty that people wants to put her in their palms to spoil her. Even that cold-natured Gong brat could not escape from her little palm. People would never thought she is a crafty fox on the inside.
Murong Cang turns to Yu Jian, "From now on, Qian Yu Jiejie is Yu Jian's imperial sister. You have to listen to your imperial sister, alright?"
Murong Yu Jian nods before he takes the seal and store it away in his sleeves.
Murong Cang aged a lot these past few days; thinking about the vacant positions they currently have makes his head ache. There are too little people he trust enough to appoint to those positions.
Yun Qian Yu understands Murong Cang's difficulties; when she made her move yesterday, she too considered this part. It is easy to cut off Rui Qinwang's arms, but most of the people in the court are his people. The officials that will replace those that had been cut off might be another one of his minions.
"Grandfather, I think you can prepare for the autumn's imperial examination now."
Hearing that, Murong Cang frowns. "Qian Yu, the imperial examination is held once every three years. It should be held next year."
"Something big has happened to the court. Three big positions are vacant and we didn't have enough talents to replace them. Pushing the examination forward is truly our last resort."
The way Yun Qian Yu put her words really makes the emperor sounds like he has no other choice but to push forward the examination.
Murong Cang's eyes twinkles before he speaks in concern, "Even if we bring up the examination, what if we couldn't find any talents that we can use?"
"Why don't we change the examination process then?" Yun Qian Yu raise her delicate eyebrows as she gives her suggestion.
"Change what?" Murong Cang hesitantly asks; he has ruled for 47 years and he has never changed the ancestor's traditions before. Hearing Yun Qian Yu made him feel like he has been too conservative before.
Even Gong Sang Mo turns to look at Yun Qian Yu in interest upon hearing her.
"The purpose of the examination in the capital is to choose talented officials to work in the court. Most of the selected participants in the past were the children of royal or noble families; that method of selection is very faulty. Whilst some of them are indeed talented due to the learning environment they grew up on, they are also spoilt, ambitious and possesses no practical abilities. Very few can live up to their ancestor's achievements. They are also molded from the start by their parents; that automatically divides them into factions from the very start."
Murong Cang and Gong Sang Mo nods in agreement; this is indeed a major problem.
Yun Qian Yu continues, "However, candidates who grew up in the common people's households are different; they have different mind sets and can understand the common populace even more. They know how to help them, how to handle them; and best of all, they aren't segregated in any factions yet. Because of that, very few of them will do things for their self-gain."
Murong Cang's eyes twinkles; why didn't he think of this before? He really was too conservative.
"But very few of them managed to enter the court; no matter how talented they are, majority of them will be sent off to little counties. Even if some of them manage to enter the court as an official, their age will old by then; they will no longer have the same vigorous mindset they possessed in their youth. But, if they are accepted into the court while they are still young and hot-blooded, I believe there will be a great deal of changes. The court will be even closer to the common people. A body of water can carry a boat, but can also overturn it. The court is the boat and the common people the water; I need not explain the importance of them."
Both Murong Cang and Gong Sang Mo are shocked upon hearing her; is this something a fifteen year old can come out with?
Gong Sang Mo gently taps the table with his fingertips; seems like he hasn't understand her that well.
"That is why the examination this time should be targeting those youths. The first place in written test will get the prime minister's position and the first place in martial arts competition will become the general. Once they pass the one year long trial period, they will be officially given those positions. As for Official Jin's Minister of Works, it is in great chaos. Just let it be for now, once the examination ends, we will naturally finds someone suitable to be the Vice-Minister."
Without waiting for Murong Cang's response, Yun Qian Yu continues, "Only an emperor that has ruled for decades can pull this big move, one that has prestigious reputation. So, we will have to trouble grandfather. This is imperative to help Yu Jian; after a few years, employing them will have it's effect on him. Grandfather, wasn't there a saying that 'poor family brings out noble children?' Then why don't we bring out those noble children through your hands?"
Murong Cang's is touched by Yun Qian Yu's consideration towards Yu Jian.
"Alright. Grandfather will take care of this!" Murong Cang knows he didn't have much time left; pushing forward the examination isn't a simple affair, that's why it must begin as soon as possible. Now, he knows that Qian Yu is taking Yu Jian away to give him enough space and time to handle everything. After all, with this frail health, he has to take care of Yu Jian and the court affairs and also has to be cautious against hidden daggers and arrows coming his way. He cannot do them all at once.
Yun Qian Yu knows that Yu Jian is still young; but a few years from now, he will be able to stand on his own. But if the people beneath him are all corrupted, what use will everything be? That's why they must cultivate their own talents.
Yun Qian Yu pulls at Yu Jian, "Qian Yu and Yu Jian will have to trouble Sang Mo for a couple of days."
"It is nothing!" Gong Sang Mo smiled.
At that moment, Li Jin Tian hastily runs in with small steps. "Your Majesty! Your Majesty!"
"What are you panicking about?"
Li Jin Tian looks at Yun Qian Yu in hesitation.
Murong Cang frowns, "Does it have anything to do with Qian Yu yatou?"
Li Jin Tian nods.
Yun Qian Yu's appearance is calm as her beautiful and quiet eyes looks at Li Jin Tian.
"Speak!" Murong Cang knows that from now on, a lot of things will have to be handled personally by Yun Qian Yu; so he doesn't want to hide anything from her.
Li Jin Tian ponders for a moment before he speaks, "There are a lot of rumors in the capital right now. The capital has always been peaceful, why did so many things suddenly happens at the same time? Some people secretly says that Hu Guo Princess is inauspicious. They said she is a star of calamity. She has only entered the capital and yet she already brings bad lucks." Li Jin Tian looks at the emperor and Yun Qian Yu upon saying that.
Yun Qian Yu's expression did not change, but the emperor's darkens a lot.
Gong Sang Mo's jade-like fingers stroke his chin, storms brewing in his phoenix eyes.
Yun Qian Yu gets up while holding Yu Jian's hand, "Sang Mo, let's go. I cannot wait to soak in your hot spring."
"Alright, let's go!" Gong Sang Mo stands up; the diabolical glint in his phoenix eyes has disappeared, replaced by warmth and traces of smile. His voice is gentle when he speaks.
He faces San Qiu who is behind him, "Hu Guo Princess is ill prior to entering the capital, she is now recuperating at Xian Wang's hot spring. Hu Guo Princess also said that the capital isn't a good place; there are too many murky qis, devils and demons are running rampant. It isn't an auspicious place for people; she is now contemplating whether or not she should return to Yun Valley."
San Qiu naturally understands that Gong Sang Mo is instructing him to spread news.
Yun Qian Yu did not protest as she looks at Gong Sang Mo. After that, the three people pay their respect to Murong Cang before leaving the imperial palace using Yun Qian Yu's carriage; heading to Xian Wang's manor.
On the road, they indeed hear people discussing about today's big news. It is also apparent that someone is purposely taking advantage of the situation to point fingers at Yun Qian Yu.
Yun Qian Yu's face is calm like usual; she isn't offended at all. It is Yu Jian's face that appears unhappy.
"Yu Jian, a true man will not allow others to read their thoughts easily. Just look at your expression; even a three year old can tell what you are thinking."
Yu Jian freezes. He turns to Gong Sang Mo and indeed; he cannot spot any expression on Brother Sang Mo's face. He then tries his best to adjust his expression and hide his displeasure.
Yun Qian Yu nods and gives him a smile. Seeing that smile, Yu Jian's eyes immediately sparkles.
At that moment, they can suddenly hear a loud voice outside. "What? You are telling me that, that Hu Guo Princess who came from who knows where is going to Xian Wang's manor? She will live in Xian Wang's courtyard?"
A man's low voice verifies to that.
That anxious voice then continues, "No! I cannot let that lowly woman do that! I shall look for my fuwang!"
(TN: fuwang (父王) the way kings' (wang) children address them.)
Yun Qian Yu turns to Gong Sang Mo; his face is expressionless.
In the end, it is Yu Jian who speaks up, "It is that love-sick Murong Bing again."
Murong Bing? Rui Qinwang's youngest daughter?
Translator’s Note: Chapter 22 is sponsored by Esther!