My First Experience in the Emperor’s Court.
My name is Ling Chao, I was a computer technician in one of the biggest cities in the world called Beijing. I lived my life as one might expect, hustling among the millions in this great city to scrape by on basic pay.
My mind is brought back to the present on announcement of my name.
- The Emperor under the 3 Suns, Dragon of the East, Mighty and Blessed under Heaven; Lei Shan!
- The Imperial Court is in Session. Let the will of the Emperor be obeyed!
Yes, that is my Name. Since the last couple days I have been moved to a new world. Here, in this reality I, Ling Chao is now the supreme ruler Lei Shan. My will is second to the Gods under Heaven.
P.S. Since the Will of the Gods is relayed by the Emperor, I guess we are never in disagreement?
I survey the masses before me slowly. I must always maintain a calm demeanor. I face forward, my eyes coming to rest on a podium a little distance from the base of the steps. From there a red carpet bordered with gold and silver threads stretch out until the Hall doors hundreds of feet away. All reports and pleas made to the Emperor and Council is done here.
Such power in the hands of Man! No wonder so many Emperors and Kings throughout the ages had become drunk with power!
I think back to when I awoke here, I was caught slapping and pinching myself. I was caught red handed like that, while soaking wet. This was from the jug of water I threw on top of me to wake up from the supposed dream.
I make a wry grin on my face.
I see the look of fear pass through the crowds of Ministers and people below. The thinking that the Emperor is displeased and heads will roll echo silently.
It was here that one of the old men stood up from his chair. He had the bearing of a learned man with his long white beard and hair tied up backing up that thought. This person had the air of a shrewed, intelligent man. I think he is the last person in my world who a con-man would dare approach.
The speaker to the side at the foot of the steps made the announcement.
- The Prime Minster He Jingguo pleads before the Emperor.
Oh! So this guy is the Prime Minister. He fits the profile. I pay attention. This person is one of those present during my “illness” he is also the one to logically, and without hesitation propose to confine me. It is better for the Nation to have a hidden Emperor than a mad, disgraced one. His type of character is easy to read.
He is loyal to bone to this Nation. He is the kind that will quicker throw his mother under the wagon, than have her speak detrimentally about this Country.
Yep, Yep. We, the Emperor need to stay FAR, FAR away from this old dude.
He Jingguo speaks eloquently and proceeds to formally introduce the new Emperor to the Court. I straighten my back and look presentable, last thing I want to do is give this person a reason to fault me.
After this, the Ministers approach the podium one by one. They pledge allegiance to the Emperor and give a brief summary of major works being undertaken by their portfolio.
- My life is the Emperor’s blood, I Che Dong pledge my life and my nine generations to the Emperor’s will.
After moving to the right side of the podium and kowtowing three times, he got up and moved back to the podium. He continued with his speech.
I swore the marble floor cracked when he head-butted it!
- I Che Dong am the humble Minster of Justice as the Emperor wills. My department oversees the administrating of the Laws and Decrees of the Emperor. Our main offices are located next to the Royal Court and our branches are in every town of the Empire. We are currently training the new officers and are preparing for the Fa exams next 6 months. We are within our budget and may have a surplus during the next fiscal year.
He bowed again and then withdrew. Once away and seated another person came to the podium.
- My life is the Emperor’s to give. Pei Song am the Chief Minister of Infrastructure. Your servant commands four junior Ministers, who will wilt in you presence. Our offices are next to the Imperial Court and we are at this time over budget by 5 Platinums. I seek mercy from my Master.
With this, this old man Pei Song moved to the left and kowtowed hard. if his head didn’t crack the marble did. He remained in prostration, whimpering mercy constantly. All Court was silence. I sifted through my memories.
5 Platinums, platinums… Whoa, wait, wait, wait a doggone minute. 1 platinum is a million gold coins!!!!!!!!
Let me break it down, I started breathing hard.
1 platinum=1,000,000 Gold coins
1 Gold coin=1000 Silver
1 Silver=1000 Copper
100 coppers can feed a family of 4 for a month. What did this old crow spend 5 platinums for, how large is this fricking Empire?
No, no, no…. he is bamboozling me, he is robbing me. Yes! this old coot os thiefing from me. I’m not a bona fide Emperor but you trying to rob MEEEE!!
- Dragon of the West, Emperor Lei Shan, you humble servant begs to speak.
The second old person who accompanied me rises and faces me from his wooden chair. He prostrates himself before me. I speak giving him permission. Pei Song is still on the ground prostrating. Everyone in this Court is silent, no whispering or snickering. Dead silence, such is the power and fear circulating here.
- Your servant Gen Fu, keeper of the Imperial wealth and Treasurer of the Empire, bows before you. Before judgment is made for Pei Song, I must plea on his behalf.
- Speak!(i’m still seething of course, 5 million gold….haaaa).
- Pei Song has been the Chief Minister serving two Emperors, he is a man with impeccable character. I have audited his Ministry on monetary allocations, the reason he is over budgeted is that he has to create roads and develop government building in the new North provinces that has been won by the previous Emperor.
- Additionally he has to build walls and garrisons for the Northern army. This overdraft is considerably less than anticipated, please forgive your humble servants.
With this Gen Fu joined Pei Song in prostration. The Court remained silent, a pin dropping from that podium could be heard by me, I am sure.
Gen Fu is another for the empire fanatic. I saw him consent to his partner in crime He Gingguo(who by the way is sitting with a calm unreadable face, like this has nothing to do with you? aren’t you the prime minister?) when I was ‘sick’. These old fellows will sell their family than see the Empire fall.
- Servant Pei Song, for your service to the Empire We thank you. We will forgive this error, it was part of the previous Emperor’s burden. We will anticipate the new lands north as the frontier of our Empire.
- Return to your service of the Emperor! We will not berate those who work hard for Us. BUT( I look around the Court at all those gathered, in a condescending, unfriendly manner) WE will never forgive those who dare steal from US!
The two Ministers prostrating rose and returned to their seats. The next Minister arrived shakily at the podium and dropped to the ground in submission. I think that statement of showing whose the boss around here rattled some nerves.
Hehehe…..don’t take this Emperor for some wuss, I will not be a puppet to anyone.
The same scenario followed, most Ministers kowtowing on the right side, and giving a summary of their department achievement. The few who followed Pei Song, groveled like beggars, pleading for forgiveness and promising better results in the future. Most of the time it is Gen Fu supporting them, other times it is some group of Ministers from related departments.
This Court session lasted until midday when it finally ended. I was now a little familiar with the workings of the governmental offices. The Prime Minister handled the proceeding ending the meeting. I got up slowly and moved in a dignified manner to my private entrance.
Trust me, if you had to sit the whole morning maintaining a constant posture, you’re cramped legs would have only given you snail speed too!
I was met by a maid in the corridor and under her prostrating and begging, went to the Emperors chambers in the Royal Court. This place was like a house, complete with a peaceful garden and large personal library. This is were the Emperor uses the knowledge provided by his servants to plan the Empire’s future.
The Captain and the guards remain in quarters opposite this building entrance. over the small wall of the garden, the tips of spears betray the movement of the Guards. I walk over to the garden entrance and slide the paper doors open. A small covered balcony with steps leading to the garden is here. I suddenly have a weird inclination to try something.
- I answer and obey!
This guy came out of nowhere, So fricking cool!
This is one of my hidden guards from earlier. These old dudes are sooo professional! I couldn’t even sense him. Cough, cough.
- Wusheng, We are curious, who is in charge of protection at the Palace.
- My life, our sister is the Emperor’s hidden assassin at the Palace. Her troupe guards the life of the Emperor within the Palace. Outside where mortal men tread, your servant and his army are at your disposal.
- We understand. Diyu!
Another black clad old man appears at my side.
Where were you hiding, under the floor?!
- Diyu, I am curious, how do you serve the Emperor?
- My life, I am your hidden vengeance to the world. Any who offend you perish by these hands of your command. These hands reach to all shadows of the Empire.
- Very well, my Blade, Diyu. My protector and informant Wusheng. We recognize your talent. Serve Us well and your family of Nine generations will never go hungry!
- Yes. we serve our lord and master, Dragon Emperor of the East.
I turn and enter the study. Both men have disappeared already. I sit down and let out a long sigh. As Emperor I am never truly alone. It is reassuring yet it means there will hardly be any instance when I am not being monitored by someone, as somebody who values privacy its a little disconcerting.
There is a small bell on my desk. I hold it up and ring it. It has a melidious sound, light and pleasing. The door opens and my eunuch from this morning enters.He is my official helper, Wusheng and Diyu are the ones in the shadows. He opens the windows and claps lightly. Two maids appear and help me out from my clothes into a lighter but still exquisite wear. When we finished I sat on the table in a dining room, six maids enter carrying food and fruits. They then exit the room. only this genie capable of summoning girls with a clap, and the 2 maids from before remain.
I eat my well prepared, hot lunch slowly. If this was back home I would have guzzled it down, boy was it tasty!
But I was taking my time to digest my thoughts with it right now. I need to find out the status of everything, from the relationship with the people in the Empire; last thing I need is a rebellion with me being tortured. Then there is the immediate relationship with the people in the Palace; last thing I need there is any bacchanal between the previous Emperor’s concubine and me. Then the last is the relationship between the Emperor and his Ministers and Nobles; last thing I need there is to be the center of intrigue, assassinations, and political strife.
It should be noted that I wasn’t the crown prince but the fifth eldest. Only by reasons that later will be made clearer to me, will I know what happened. Just to know this fellow who I am now, was knowledgeable through books. Having resigned his fate to not be Emperor he spent his time in the Imperial Gardens and library like a recluse. In essence fairly oblivious to the world, people and events around him.
Yep, I need to find me a trusted person with knowledge of these things, and more importantly someone who has interactions and dealing with these matters and people. I want to use Wusheng for secret matters and verification only. I finish eating and return to my study. Where can I find such a person….Hmnnnn.
As if my thoughts have been read. My eunuch returns and announces.
- The Prime Minister He Jingguo humbly wishes to meet with the Emperor.
This old fart, he with his one track mind surely knows everything in this place….hehehe. The only problem is how to make him spill his guts!