Wuxiaworld > EMPEROR AND I > 5 The Dragon


EMPEROR HUIZHONG

THE DRAGON COURT

NEVORIA

Dreams are like stars. Although you may never touch them, if you do follow them, they will lead you to your destiny. The Dragon Court was the sky to every scholar; the dream believed to lead one to a destiny of prosperity and success. Every man who took a step into the court, dressed in red, was one who was considered well educated, wise, and noble. What he said in the courtroom could possibly be regarded as sound advice by the emperor.

All in all, every scholar's believed destiny was to leave their blue robes behind and garb themselves in red garments forever―to become an official someday.

The court was a huge building that barely contained any furniture, but still, it was revered as a place of grandeur. Different animal statues stood by the wall, indicating the endless values of Nevoria that comprised of peace, integrity and prosperity, at the least.

The walls were also adorned by different paintings of philosophies that the royal family stood for, while intrinsic designs that expressed blossoming flowers coruscated the floor tiles.

The floor was a vast space that the sea of officials perched on during the meetings. It led the way to the beautifully carved stairway in which a platform that carried the exorbitant dragon throne was situated. Black extortionate stone that gleamed due to the gold topping also sculptured the great throne, which was cushioned with white and gold zabutons.

Thud!

The heavy scroll hit the polished floor, then tumbled down the stairs towards the ministers that stood in four column lengths. The North, West, East and South wings were supposedly the four factions of the emperor's strength; the intermediary between the people and his majesty.

"How is it possible that all of these top students are all from officials' families? Who dares to cheat the system?" The emperor roared.

"Your Majesty, please calm your anger," the official that represented the Bureau of Examinations begged. The rest of the officials echoed him in unison.

"The state exam must be taken again," the emperor said decisively "And if this happens again, there will be consequences." Although those words were not said as loudly, their weight was much greater. Everyone understood that by 'consequences' he meant bloodshed.

"His Royal Majesty is the wisest on the face of this earth." The Bureau's official shook with fear and bowed numerous times before walking back to his original standing post. They had all spent the whole afternoon discussing and updating the emperor with the issues of his empire, but it felt like years had passed already. The emperor's temper did not guarantee that one would always be able to walk out of the Dragon Court.

Hurriedly, one of the serving scholars dressed in blue, who were stationed next to the Emperor, ran to replace the fallen scroll with another scroll that belonged to the Minister of Investigations. He was the person who was next in line to present his findings.


"Your Majesty―"

The scroll hit the floor before the minister could speak any further. It was an indication that the emperor was not interested in anything the man had to say. For the emperor, the fact that the investigations concerning his father's death were not making any progress was disheartening. It felt like a needle was mercilessly probing his heart.

Again, a scholar ran to replace the scroll so that the next official could stand before the emperor.

"Your Majesty! The King of Tayi is petitioning for resources since the epidemic that struck the country half a moon ago has left them lacking in providing the affected people with basic human needs." The Minister of Relations relayed the information.

"You may send them a sufficient amount of cotton and grain from the palace treasury."

"His Majesty is benevolent and merciful!" All the officials knelt on the floor and bowed as they shouted praises. The three scribes that sat in the corners of the court didn't bow, instead only remaining seated. They concentrated on recording every moment that was taking place into the books that would one day be appraised as history.

The Minister of Rites was the official that stepped forward next.

"Your Highness, as the philosophy of Wu Ti states, we must aim to have a body that is whole since a body cannot function well if incomplete. However, Your Majesty... our empire rests on uncertainty as long as the Phoenix palace is empty. His Majesty is in his fourth year of reign and has acquired a considerable amount of power, thus, this subject finds it only right that he makes his consort… empress." The Minister of Rites was of the North—just like the said consort—which is why he was vying for her. It would strengthen their faction over the rest, given the fact that the Dowager Empress was also from the North and ruling as mother of the nation.

"Impudent!" one of the South officials bawled. "We are still in mourning for the previous emperor, and you already want His Majesty to take care of matters of the heart?"

"The Imperial enthronement will make His Highness' people happy and help them forget the sorrows of yesterday. Doesn't happiness clean the sorrowful heart?" Another North official defended with vigour. "Your Majesty, with all due respect, it is only right to please the people. What is an emperor without the people?"

"He is suggesting for us to try and make the people forget their previous emperor. How unfilial!" The South retorted.

The emperor sighed. It was always the South and North that pettifogged due to their immense political power, leaving the West and East voiceless.

"Your Majesty, the afternoon court has taken a while, and because of this, the officials are already irritated from exhaustion." Eunuch Nam, appearing from the shadows, quietly whispered to the emperor.

"Please dismiss the officials so that His Majesty could attend to the rest of his duties." The eunuch suggested.

Emperor Huizhong looked at the officials that were still quibbling amongst themselves.

"Enough!" He silenced them as he stood up. Instantly, they lowered their heads.

"But Your Majesty―" The Minister of Rites begged for his attention.

"Who dares to oppose me?" The emperor was getting irritated. Instantly, the minister threw himself to the floor to save himself.

Emperor Huizhong leisurely strode by the stairs, and to this, the rest of the officials fell to the floor.

"Empress, you say?" Emperor Huizhong snickered to himself. Huticah slaughtered his father's heart as he slept and ruthlessly left him for the dead. A small nation killed his father four years ago, yet there was no progression in obtaining evidence in order for Furia to stop defending the tiny nation. Instead of helping him find evidence, all these power hungry men cared only about feeding themselves till fat.

The emperor smirked and raised his hand.

At this, the room broke into hushed protests that were propelled by fear.

"Not again."

"Quick, beg for our lives."

"What has angered him so deeply?"

Hurriedly, one of the scholars ran to the emperor while carrying a soft cushioned pillow; on it lay the dragon sheathed sword. Emperor Huizhong carelessly unsheathed the sword and then proceeded down the stairs.

Swoosh!

The sword swiped through the air and stopped just by the Minister of Rites' neck. His deep hazel eyes were electrified with deep anger traced with fury.

"Your Majesty! Your Majesty is merciful…" The Minister stuttered. If Furia kept defending Huticah, they would have to destroy the nasty nation and rip it of its beauty. Besides, he saw it as his destiny to possess the ends of the world.

"Am I?" He chuckled towards the sweating minister.

"Your Majesty…" The minister dragged the words as he broke into sobs of helplessness. The emperor felt even more indignant. Deep inside, his soul was breaking into pieces like the man before him.

Meaningless.

Everything under the sun was meaningless. He angrily threw the sword onto the floor, and it clanged as metal collided with tile.

"Long live! Long live for tens of thousands to the Emperor of Nevoria!" The officials bid their farewell as he walked down the aisle for exit. Behind him, Court Lady and Eunuch Nam followed. With his back straight and hands entwined at his back, he gracefully made his exit, his black and red exquisite robes trailing on the floor.

S.V