Anfeng’s sky had changed.
An Laosi walked on a narrow road, the wind whizzing past. Autumn had gone and winter had come, so one could not withstand the intrusion of the cold wind even when wearing a jacket.
Fortunately, there was no snow yet.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
Taking advantage of the weather not being too cold now, the common people all went up the mountain to gather firewood.
An Laosi exhaled, white mist rising in the air.
He was now able to attend the morning assembly of the imperial court. Although he stood at the end of the hall and had no speaking power, it still meant that he was closer to the emperor.
Liu Liu was not stupid, knowing that Hong Xiu was favored now, so while some things he said to Han Lin’er might be useless, when relayed through pillow talk the result might be another outcome.
Therefore, step by step, he promoted An Laosi to one of his confidantes. He gave An Laosi huge benefits, so there was no need to worry about An Laosi betraying him.
If An Laosi betrayed him, An Laosi would also be finished right after him.
An Laosi would not be so stupid as to be unable to figure out this truth, so he didn’t hold back when he promoted An Laosi.
Liu Futong held onto the military power tightly, so Liu Liu must find a way to keep a hold on prestige in court, otherwise he would not be able to stand against Liu Futong.
Han Lin’er had a headache from Liu Liu’s constant bothering recently.
“Who do you want to confer this time?” Han Lin’er said a little angrily, “Zhen will give you the jade seal, and you can go and seal decrees yourself!”
Liu Liu knelt down with a “thump”, his face pale, repeatedly saying he didn’t dare. He walked forward on his knees and said to Han Lin’er: “Your Majesty, now the Imperial Tutor holds the military power, if even the court is ful of his people, then is this empire still the emperor’s empire?”
Han Lin’er sneered: “The way Zhen sees it, you just want to get rid of his people and use your own people instead. Zhen asks you, how many people in the court are truly thinking of Zhen?”
Liu Liu quickly said: “Your Majesty is the Son of Heaven! All the lords in the court are naturally thinking of Your Majesty, except due to the prestige of the Imperial Tutor…..”
He didn’t even finish speaking when Han Lin’er threw a jade paperweight over.
Liu Liu didn’t dare to speak anymore.
Han Lin’er: “Do you all think Zhen is blind?”
“Liu Liu, do what is within your area of responsibility, don’t think about things you shouldn’t think about, if Zhen finds out…..”
Liu Liu knocked his head fiercely on the ground before he was shooed out of the study by Han Lin’er.
Liu Liu walked through the palace in disorderly clothes. The servants in the palace did not dare to look at him. They all bowed their heads. Everyone knew that Lord Liu had the emperor’s favor and even the Imperial Tutor avoided going against him. If one offended such a high official, one wouldn’t even know how one died.
Liu Liu gritted his teeth. There was a wound on his head from knocking it on the ground, and blood flowed down his forehead.
He thought that Liu Futong would kill him, and he had been prepared to deal with it. The spies he placed next to Liu Futong also reported that Liu Futong would make his move during court, but he waited again and again yet the other still did not make any move.
Not only that, Liu Futong hadn’t even battled it out with him, and retreated without even fighting.
Liu Liu was like a well-prepared warrior. But just when he was about to fight the enemy to death, the enemy suddenly stopped fighting and went home to eat. This feeling was even more unpleasant than losing.
Don’t know when but rumors began flying around Anfeng.
Everywhere on the streets and alleys.
“I heard that Lord Liu presides over the morning assembly now!”
“Which Lord Liu? Is it the Imperial Tutor?”
“Not the Imperial Tutor, it is Liu Yuanshi.”
“Who does he think he is?”
“At any rate, the Imperial Tutor had assisted the first emperor, and now he does his best to support the new emperor. How can he be comparable to the Imperial Tutor?”
“Exactly! Although the Imperial Tutor is domineering, but the achievements of the Imperial Tutor are also there, how can Liu Yuanshi compare with the Imperial Tutor?”
“I heard that Liu Yuanshi is arrogant and domineering, and no one dares to protest against him presiding over court. Although the Imperial Tutor is a bit domineering, he never made any mistakes on the big issues.”
“Ai, the emperor has been deceived!”
“The emperor is deceived by evil villains!”
There were more and more memorials impeaching Liu Liu, piling up like mountains. Liu Liu’s face was dark, and he ordered his servants to burn all these memorials.
“What a very good retreat in order to advance!” Liu Liu sat in his courtyard residence and finally couldn’t help but say to An Laosi, “How is this retreating? He is pushing me out to take the hit!”
“He has become a good official who is loyal and patriotic?”
Liu Liu: “The biggest joke in the world!”
People used to dislike Liu Futong and felt that the emperor was pitiful.
Now that Liu Liu had been pushed out, people feel that Liu Futong was actually quite good compared to Liu Liu.
At least Liu Futong had made great achievements!
Liu Liu was seen as a traitorous official, and as a result the emperor’s decrees were also seen as decrees issued after being fooled by the traitorous official. Once Liu Liu lost power, Liu Futong could easily gather back his power and erase whatever changes Liu Liu made before.
And if he succeeded this time, his reputation would be even better in the future.
Even if Han Lin’er still wanted to go against him at that time, he would no longer have that ability.
Liu Liu knew that he had stepped into a trap, but he had reached this point and could not retreat no matter what.
He said to An Laosi: ”From tomorrow, say that I am seriously ill.”
An Laosi asked thoughtfully: “How long is the illness? It is not good if it is too long or too short.”
Liu Liu: “I will be ill for half a month, when the emperor invites me back, then I will go back.”
Wasn’t Liu Futong’s idea to place him on a high pedestal first? After pushing him up there, the people below would naturally want to pull him down, but now that he had come down by himself, what could Liu Futong do next?
“Tell your sister not to forget to mention me in front of the emperor. If the emperor doesn’t come to invite me after half a month, I will really have no face to see people!” Liu Liu looked sincerely at An Laosi.
An Laosi naturally agreed.
After all, the fight between Liu Liu and Liu Futong was not big enough, minor quarrels were really not that helpful towards their plans.
Pingzhang Yuanshi Liu Liu was seriously ill and could not serve the emperor. This news suddenly flew all over Anfeng.
Rumor had it that because some people spread bad rumors about him, he fell ill in a fit of anger.
He even sent a memorial to resign.
The main idea of the memorial: “Although I know that Your Majesty loves me very much, I have to let Your Majesty down. It is because my virtue and talent are not worthy to be of use and therefore have been maliciously slandered. Slanders towards me are unimportant as I have thick skin. But these people have also slandered Your Majesty, I am an official appointed by Your Majesty, and as they say, when beating the dog one must look at the owner! In order not to shame Your Majesty, I voluntarily resign, but even though I have resigned, I still belong to Your Majesty.”
For some reason, the content of this memorial was circulated among the people, and all scholars knew about it.
Liu Liu’s memorial was very well written, earnest and sincere, and very easy to empathize with. It painted the image of a pitiful loyal minister that was unfairly persecuted.
That’s right, you Liu Futong has been in charge of the court for so long, and you also hold all the military power in your hand. How could you be bullied by a civil official?
The imperial court might not care about the thoughts of farmers or merchants, but it would certainly care about the thoughts of scholars.
If the voice of scholars was loud, even the court officials would be affected.
The “people’s support” that officials wanted to fight for referred to the hearts of scholars.
Lin Yuan also got this memorial. After reading it carefully, he sighed to Yang Shaowei: “This writer has great literary talent, every word hits the heart, it is rare to see indeed.”
Yang Shaowei also took a look and was just as surprised. It seemed that Anfeng also had some amazing talents.
This kind of memorial, when painting a pitiful picture, must be done just right, there must be a balance between being too surly and being too weak.
The noble character of the literati was fully expressed in this memorial.
“He wants to…..” Yang Shaowei swallowed. He didn’t quite believe that someone would do such a thing. “He wants to raise conflict between civil officials and military officials and split the imperial court.”
Civil officials and military commanders seemed to be inherently hostile, but that was not the case.
This was not a confrontation between two powers, but a mutual restraint between the two powers.
What was emphasized was balance.
In peacetime, whoever overpowered whoever would then have the stronger voice, but this was not peacetime, and the risk was high when playing this hand. But so long as the risk could be overcome, the benefits waiting were huge.
Yang Shaowei was a little excited as he said: “For them, it is a bad thing, but for us, it is a great thing! They are now embroiled in an inner conflict, and it will be much easier for us when we finally attack Anfeng.”
Lin Yuan thought of the letter from An Laosi.
It took several years, and now finally seeing the results, Lin Yuan breathed a sigh of relief.
“What we have to do now is to wait.” Lin Yuan said softly, placing a black chess piece on the chessboard, “When the time is right, we will be able to capture Anfeng at the least cost.”
After taking Anfeng, there would be no regime that could rival the South Bodhisattva, when Yang Shaowei thought of this he couldn’t help but feel his blood surging!
How many people were as ambitious as him in this world, and how many people had the same opportunities as him?
Becoming Song Shizhao’s student and playing chess with the Nan Bodhisattva, the world as their chessboard.
Yang Shaowei really wanted to go out and run a lap.
Liu Liu was personally invited back to the court by the emperor after half a month. The emperor personally visited his manor. Only after two times did Liu Liu accept.
His face was saved, and his life was also saved.
The wind direction in the court had also changed.
Because Liu Liu at this time represented more than a power faction, but a group. He represented the scholars, a virtuous figure who was not afraid of power.
If someone opposed him at this time, then didn’t it mean to stand on the opposite side of the scholars?
The difference between civil officials and military officials was becoming more and more obvious.
With more and more conflicts, there was naturally more friction within the court as well.
Han Lin’er had a headache.
Civil officials believed that the generals could lead armies and fight wars, but after they finish and return to the court, they should hand over the military tally, and a single general could not command the same army for more than three years.
Han Lin’er felt that this request was right, no problem at all.
After all, if the military tally was not taken back, if anything happened, it would be too late.
A three years limit could also be understood. After all, after three years, it was impossible to say whether this army was still surnamed Han or had become another surname.
But the military officials also had something to say.
Soldiers need to be trained. The military formations needed to be practiced again and again. But each general had a different method of leading his troops. How could it be ensured that soldiers could adapt to changing generals every three years?
Besides, if the military tally was turned in every time but there was a sudden occurrence, the general would be unable to command the soldiers even if he stood in front of them, impeding the carrying out of important orders. At that time, who would bear the responsibility?
Han Lin’er felt that what the military officials said also made sense.
So the result was that every day morning assembly became very noisy, and there was no end in sight to the quarreling.
Liu Liu had complete control of the court now, so Liu Futong would naturally not relax his control over military power.
The two sides were wrestling with each other, causing Anfeng to be steeped in miasma. The minor officials below wanted to take this opportunity to climb up and form cliques in the court.
Liu Futong and Liu Liu were competing with each other, and neither one was willing to bow their heads first.
Whoever lowered his head first would not be able to raise his head in the future.
An Laosi was responsible for fanning the flames. He had to make Liu Liu stand firm. Even if Liu Futong gave him a ladder, Liu Liu should never be allowed to take it.
He did a lot of tampering, as it was not like Liu Futong did not try to show goodwill. After all, it was really no good to keep fighting like this, but it was all blocked by An Laosi.
Liu Liu saw that Liu Futong did not show goodwill so he sent people to show goodwill towards Liu Futong. But these people were killed by An Laosi. After several were killed, Liu Liu and Liu Futong both became angry.
I sent someone to show goodwill towards you. Not only did you not accept it, but you didn’t even bother to respond? Wasn’t this too much?
So the two sides were locked in an angry deadlock.
Anfeng was in chaos, the government ineffective and corrupted, and the common people were also not doing well.
When the high officials was in chaos and unable to care about anything else, the minor officials ran wild.
The common people’s lives were even more difficult. The minor officials took money from the people, and then used the money to bribe the top.
It was normal that the minor officials had the heart to climb up the ladder.
But the common people didn’t understand. They just found that life had become more difficult. The money they earned before was enough to spend on necessities. But now the money they earned had to be given to the lord officials. There were also more aggressive bullies on the streets. After entering the winter, it was harder to buy food. Keeping warm was also an issue, almost no one went out to work in winter.
Those who wore cotton-padded clothes were all big lords. It was already considered a feat for ordinary people to have cotton-padded clothes and trousers.
Most of the common families stayed inside the house during winter, and whoever wanted to go out wore the only pair of cotton-padded clothes and trousers.
Making a livelihood was even more difficult.
Wealthy families had to live while tightening their belts, so poor families were even more impoverished.
Lady An listened to the complaints of the female neighbors.
They did not move out of the original place. At first, they could not find a suitable house. Later, they were worried that they would be exposed when they moved out. So they just continued living in the original place. Besides, An Laosi was just a small official, although he could attend morning assembly, he had no real power. If he lived too well and was too conspicuous, they could easily become a target.
The female neighbors complained to Lady An:
“Although the month’s salary was not much, it was enough to pay for the family’s necessities. Daily firewood, rice, oil, and salt cost not much money, but now? Every time he says it must be given to his superiors, but now that even food and clothing is reduced at home, I still don’t see what benefits have come from it.”
“The same is true for my family. He smells of alcohol when he comes back every day. If he is doing proper business, then fine but what proper business is he doing? Every day he goes out to drink and it is all paid out of our own pockets. Other than drinking away his health, there is really no benefit that can be seen.”
Lady An also followed along with their complaints: “The same is true of my family. You all are not bad. He has not returned home for many days and nights. I don’t know what he is doing outside. It seems to be like this for everyone now. Just bear with it for now, maybe over time it will get better.”
The female neighbors were originally full of resentment, all of those present here were the female family members of minor officials. Among them, only the husband of Lady An was not a minor official. But they all knew Lady An as a woman who didn’t have much speaking power in front of her husband and regarded her husband as her heaven.
She would never tell her husband anything they said to her.
What was more, their husbands had no conflicts of interest with An Laosi either.
So they were even less scrupulous when chatting.
“This forbearance, when will it come to an end?” The woman whispered, “Our family is alright still, my husband has many brothers, and they all have strength, but I see that my sisters…..there is almost no rice in their house.”
“What else can be done, it being such a mess above, it’s always the people below who meet with bad luck.”
Lady An was embroidering flowers and said without raising her head: “There’s nothing to be done about it, we can only complain in private.”
The female neighbors sitting next to her winked at the others, and then said softly, “Lady An, we have been friends for more than two, three years. As they say, distant relatives are not as good as neighbors. We are all acquaintances. You know more than we do. If you know anything, don’t hide it from us. We can all discuss and try to come up with a solution.”
Lady An: “What can an inner courtyard woman like I know? It’s all just matters on the stove and inside and outside the house.”
The women around her began to cry, weeping lowly.
Lady An sighed: “Don’t cry, this matter hasn’t come to the point of being completely hopeless, and life can still carry on.”
“What life is this now?” The women whispered, “It’s useless to persuade, saying that everyone is giving gifts and we can’t be the exception. But just when will this end. Lady An, you are the most well-informed among us. Please tell us what you know. We definitely won’t relay it to outsiders.”
“Seeing that the days are becoming more overwhelming, and if we continue to be like this, my family will have no choice but to drink northwest wind.”
All the minor officials were giving gifts, feeding the appetites of some of the officials above who love wealth, so those who didn’t give gifts now turned out to be out of the ordinary. And it was not the officials who loved wealth that were bullying them, but their fellow minor officials. Just because one side gave gifts and one side didn’t give gifts, they suddenly became two rival camps.
Slowly, those who didn’t give gifts were afraid of being bullied, so they started to give gifts.
Was there any point in these gifts? Did they get any benefits?
It was likely that only the first group of people who sent gifts benefited, but the atmosphere was already like this.
The salaries of the minor officials were only so much, where could they get so much money? In the end it was taken from the common people.
Wealth was being plundered level by level, and Anfeng’s previously not so stable regime was even more precarious.
Lady An could only whisper: “Then you can’t spread it outside.”
All the female neighbors practically patted their chests and made guarantees, each of them said: “If anyone spreads it outside, they will be struck by lightning!”
Lady An lowered her voice mysteriously: “My husband told me that gift-giving really is beneficial. Isn’t it a mess now? The big lords above want to see who is more sincere to them. When the time comes, they will then promote some as their confidantes.”
“Look at my house, all the valuables are sold.” Lady An sighed, “It’s because our family wealth is too weak. My husband is working for Liu Yuanshi. Although he is a small official, he is well informed.”
Lady An also said: “If you can give gifts, try to give as much as you can. It’s better than regretting it in the future. Don’t you say so? I only tell you this and you can’t tell it to others.”
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