But Jing Yue was just a businessman. Even if he had the money, his status was the lowest in the Wei Kingdom, and would always be the small fish in the pond.
Jing Yue was unwilling to yield and refused to bow down to fate.
He did many things in private, met many people, and waited patiently like a beast eyeing its prey, waiting for an opportunity that would allow him to get what he wanted.
But he never expected that this opportunity would appear in this way.
One day, a distinguished guest entered the teahouse.
The other party was the Lady Marquis of the Wuhou^ Manor. She found Jing Yue and told him that he was the young master who had been missing for many years from the Wuhou Manor, and she was his mother.
(TN: Wuhou 武侯 = Martial Marquis)
Lady Shen’s makeup was completely ruined by her crying. She felt so guilty that she wanted to kneel to Jing Yue, telling him sadly how she blamed herself after the accident.
It turned out that 19 years ago, Lord Wuhou, Jing Wen, was only a rank-7 official. Because of the frequent occurrence of banditry in the area where he was located, Jing Wen had been fighting bandits outside all year round and rarely returned home, so his wife had to take care of all matters at home.
Perhaps because she worked too hard, Lady Shen encountered difficulty during childbirth. Although she successfully gave birth to a baby boy, she suffered a serious illness and could no longer have children.
This was a huge blow to Lady Shen, but when she saw her son, she felt that her regrets had dissipated. However, she was very ill at that time and couldn’t take good care of her son, so she hired a nanny from outside.
At first, she was very satisfied with the nanny, who was gentle and kind, and really loved her son.
But one day, the nanny told her that she had to return home. When she came back, she was in a daze. At first, everyone didn’t take it to heart, but that night, the nanny disappeared with the young master.
The Jing family naturally turned into a mess. They quickly went to the nanny’s house and learned that the nanny’s husband owed a huge gambling debt. Originally, he thought of selling his wife, but his wife was a servant in the house of officials. Afraid of causing trouble, he sold his newborn son instead. At this time, his whereabouts were unknown.
As for the nanny, she never returned to the village since she left yesterday.
The yamen^ who came with the Jing family speculated that the nanny was greatly stimulated by the bad news. When she returned to the Jing manor and saw the young master, she wanted to take the child for her own, so she committed such an audacious act.
(TN: Yamen 衙门 = bureaucrat/government office)
Jing Wen, who received a letter on the way to suppress the bandits, also hurried home. Enraged, he ordered the yamen to find out the ancestral home of the nanny. He wanted to go after her personally.
Before his departure, however, a rebellion broke out in the Wei kingdom.
This great battle lasted for six long years, and Jing Wen was awarded the title of Wuhou for his great contributions in the suppression of the chaos.
When everything stabilized, he went to the nanny's hometown, only to learn that the war had spread to the village, and all the people in the village were slaughtered by the rebels.
The only clue was lost. How was he going to find one person in the vast world? Besides, the other party was probably no longer alive.
Lady Shen wiped her tears and said, “Over the years, we have never stopped looking for you, but there has been no news. If it wasn’t for an old servant in the Manor who met you by chance and thought you looked very similar to me, we’d have thought…”
Jing Yue, “We just looked similar. How many people looked similar in the world?”
Lady Shen said anxiously, “Lord Marquis has made thorough investigations. You’re indeed our son. When the wicked woman took you away back then, she didn’t return to her hometown. Instead, she hid in a small village in the south. During that time, she happened to run into some relatives who fled to the neighboring village because of the war, but the wicked woman had a guilty conscience and rarely made contact with her relatives.”
“My son, you have a red mole on your right ear, just like your mother. Besides, mother and child are connected by blood. I carried you for ten months before giving birth to you, so how could I be mistaken?”
Jing Yue’s mind was in a mess. There was a sudden flash of his mother’s injured face in his memory, before another flash of Yang Dashan’s head that got chopped off by the guillotine. In a daze, he called out, “Mother…”
Lady Shen couldn’t control herself any longer. She hugged Jing Yue tightly and wept bitterly, “My son! You’ve suffered all these years! It’s all our fault. We’ll make it up to you in the future. Lord Marquis is waiting for you at home. He has been looking forward to you for more than ten years. Let’s go home.”
Just like that, Jing Yue was taken back to the Wuhou Manor and became the only son of Wuhou.
As the Marquis had always felt guilty towards Lady Shen, he had never thought of taking another concubine. With no other children around, it was very quiet. Now that Jing Yue had returned, Wuhou directly requested a title for him and applied for a place for him in the imperial college.
His parents treated him very well as if trying to make up for the regret they had had for more than ten years. Even the Yang family who followed Jing Yue to the Capital City benefitted from it.
Wuhou helped the Yang family to quell the opposition and the prefect who had framed them was defamed.
Such a huge commotion made everyone realized that Wuhou loved his son more than anything else, but at the same time, many people set their sights on Jing Yue too.
At that time, the emperor was already advanced in his years, and several princes fought fiercely. Wuhou, who was in charge of the patrolling army in the capital, was a force that everyone wanted to win over.
Jing Yue always had an ambiguous attitude towards the princes' favors.
He was observing, trying to find the ‘noble person’ who could help him realize his wish.
After a long period of investigation and analysis, Jing Yue concluded—the first prince was brash and hot-tempered, the second prince was stupid and reckless, the third prince was very talented, the fourth prince was mean and easily jealous, the fifth prince weak and cowardly, while the youngest prince was just a child at this time.
After much consideration, Jing Yue turned his attention to the fourth prince.
Another four years passed, Jing Yue scored third place in the imperial examinations.
During the parade of the scholars, he saw his parents and relatives, as well as the beggar brothers, the remaining members of the Yang family, and even the hunter family who saved his life in the past.
Scenes from the past flashed through his mind and disappeared slowly like a gust of wind.
He was now the distinguished only son of Wuhou, no longer a person who was despised by others, who could only tolerate when faced with problems and had no power to fight back.
But it wasn’t enough. The power in his hands wasn’t enough to make him worry-free. There were always people with greater power than him.
For instance, the emperor and his noble princes.
Over the years, Jing Yue helped the fourth prince marry the premier’s beloved daughter and attracted a group of senior officials from the Central Government for him. He even devised several strategies to make the emperor lose confidence towards the first prince who was the most hopeful to be crowned prince, and he finally gained the trust of the fourth prince.
However, the fourth prince was sensitive and suspicious by nature, so he dared not make a wrong move.
Jing Yue understood that only by holding the world in his hands could he truly control his own destiny and protect the people he wanted to protect.
Wuhou had already seen through his plan for rebellion. After having a long talk with him, Wuhou dispelled Lady Shen’s idea of getting a wife for Jing Yue and allowed him to carry out his plan with Wuhou’s unconditional support.
The tolerance of his parents made Jing Yue feel pressured yet grateful.
He knew that this path was perilous and irreversible, and it was a gamble with his life at stake.
If he won, he would change the world.
If he lost, he would die.
But he had no regrets.
In the autumn of the same year, the second prince made an assassination attempt on the third prince. The latter was seriously injured and died on the spot.
In the spring of the following year, the fifth prince was adopted by Lord Chengqin—who was still childless by his 60th birthday—thus severing the possibility of his line of succession.
Now, it was only left with the fourth prince and the seven-year-old sixth prince.
In the spring of this year, the fourth prince was made the Crowned Prince.
With that change in status, Jing Yue knew it was time to take a step back.
He wisely stayed away from the crowned prince, and the crowned prince was very satisfied with his wit. However, under the instigation of certain parties, the crowned prince was still quite apprehensive about him. In the end, he decided the burn the bridges and found an excuse to transfer Wuhou from the patrol camp in the capital city and replaced him with someone from his mother's family.
Jing Yue quietly watched as the crowned prince did all this, still acting faithfully and conscientiously, never showing any dissatisfaction.
In the autumn of the following year, the barbarians invaded in large numbers. All the ministers in the court argued endlessly, but the crowned prince, at Jing Yue’s suggestion, volunteered to lead the troops into battle in place of the emperor.
His loyalty and filial piety moved the emperor, and in the end, the emperor agreed.
Not only did he give the crowned prince an army of 500,000, but he also arranged for the support of several veteran generals well-versed in the art of war.
However, the crowned prince was still captured…
When Jing Yue heard the news of the prince’s suicide and martyrdom, he mocked, “How admirable.”
The truth was, the prince wanted to take advantage of this battle to establish his prestige within the army, but under the instigation of his mother's family, he felt that the generals were trying to compete with him for the credit. So he acted impulsively, but unfortunately, he fell into the barbarians’ trap and was besieged on the battlefield.
He has been with the prince for many years. In terms of the other party’s personality, how it would be affected, even what actions he would take, were all within his calculations.
Reality proved that his predictions were accurate.
When the news reached the capital city, the emperor fell ill. Two days later, the emperor summoned Wuhou and asked him to lead 100,000 troops for reinforcements.
On the day Wuhou led the soldiers out of the city, Jing Yue watched his father's back from the tower in silence. Although the father and son didn’t communicate during the whole process, they knew each other’s thoughts well. This was the ultimatum to determine success or failure!
When the spring breeze made the thousands of flowers and trees in the capital bloom, the huge army returned to the court.
In this battle, Wuhou once again made an enormous contribution. Not only did he regain the engulfed city of Wei kingdom, but he also expelled the barbarian court from Mobei, bringing the entire Mobei into the territory of the Wei kingdom.
The emperor was so sick that he couldn’t even get up at this point. He sent messengers out of the city for thirty miles to greet him, and named Wuhou as the Lord of the Kingdom, and Jing Yue became the son of the Lord of the Kingdom.
At the same time, the emperor declared to the world that the sixth prince, who was less than ten years old, as the crowned prince, and ordered Lord Wu and two prime ministers to assist the young prince.
A month later, the emperor passed, and the young prince ascended the throne.
In this way, Lord Wu, who held half of the world's military power, had become a veritable regent, and as the only offspring of Lord Wu, Jing Yue’s status was also elevated.
On the day of the little emperor's ascension to the throne, Jing Yue came to his teahouse again and entered the private box on the third floor.
He looked at the bright red sun outside the window and lamented. Once, he envied the rich. Later, he envied the powerful. Then, he wanted to have the greatest power in the world and never be controlled by anyone. Nowadays, no one in his generation could compete with him. The world only knew his father and not the young emperor. Although he was not the most powerful person, he had complete control over his destiny. What else could he ask for in this life?
But for some reason, there was still a trace of melancholy deep in his heart.
In the hall, the storyteller recited a poem, “Forty years of reminiscence, the purple pavilion and the golden palace are all but gone. Sighing that life is filled with joy and sorrow, dreaming of life and death, sitting through the red gate. Breaking through the red dust, looking through the nine heavens, the white jade terrace of the Phoenix Palace, is a flying immortal from the sky.”
At that moment, Jing Yue suddenly thought of the lush hillside, the wildflowers in the mountains, and the gray stone that the immortal being had set foot on.
Jing Yue sighed in a low voice, “Why did I forget?”
The heart that had been covered in dust for a long time suddenly broke free, as if the moon rising in the dark night, as if the morning dawn penetrating through the clouds. Jing Yue only felt lightness all over. He laughed and said, “They say that heaven is impermanent and immortals are emotionless. I want to chase the Great Path and be that immortal.”
As soon as his voice fell, a muffled thunder sounded in the sky and the silver lightning slammed into the teahouse like a violent serpent. The roof tiles cracked and frightened the passersby.
However, the teahouse was intact after that strike, but Jing Yue, who was sitting in the private box, disappeared without a trace.
Nonetheless, many people heard his heroic proclamation before he vanished.
Therefore, in the history of later generations.
41styear of the Wei Kingdom, the son of Lord Wu, Jing Yue, had an epiphany at Wenxian Teahouse, and ascended into the heavens.