Chapter 274 “Political tactics of the royal house” (part two)
Day by day, the end of the year quickly approaches. And with the wind getting chillier with each passing day, the people finally realizes that winter was coming.
Although this year Du Wei didn’t display his miraculous feat of bumping the harvest to the level of making everyone go crazy, it didn’t matter. Through a year’s worth of preparation, this winter won’t be difficult to get through for the grain reserve was sufficiently stocked.
But out of his expectation, Du Wei encountered a new problem.
Earl Biliaibuer and that fatty weapon’s merchant Taklanshan both sent someone to see Du Wei: they are both interested in Du Wei’s hot air balloon.
In terms of technical difficulty, this thing wasn’t hard to produce by any means. The biggest key was the dye used on the leather! Unless chemically processed, your average materials aren’t capable of staying afloat by simply using hot air! More importantly, Du Wei deliberately diluted the source concoction just so he can monopolize this technology. There’s no way he’s willing to take it out to share with others. There’s no denying he’s on good terms with these two and that he received a fair amount of benefits from them, but…. The sky….
For the foreseeable future, Du Wei wishes to remain the dominant force in the air!
Towards the two representative sent by Earl Biliaibuer and fatty Taklanshan, he could only find some excuses to drag the matter out.
Very soon, year 961 of the imperial calendar will soon come to pass. According to Prince Son’s order, he must leave for the capital to attend the New Year celebration. However, Du Wei’s very clear on what awaited him once he does…. Towards Prince Son’s proposal, this issue’s been pressing down at his heart.
Finally, before returning to the imperial capital, Du Wei couldn’t keep it in anymore and sought his subordinates out for he needed to thoroughly discuss this matter.
After announcing Prince Son’s proposal, the reactions from his men’s were all different.
Longbottom only showed an indifferent face, his meaning obvious to see: what does that have to do with me?
Dadaneier on the other hand was somewhat better: Happy for Du Wei because he can become a member of the royalty, but at the same time a bit regretful that Du Wei couldn’t link up with the Lister Household.
And the other generals were simply happy for him without other thoughts in mind.
Yet the only one to remain silent was Philip.
After everyone expressed their opinion and thoughts, the first one to object was this trusted aid of his.
“Your Dukeship.” Philip sighed: “Although my words will sound, mmm…. Somewhat treasonous, but everyone here are trusted colleagues, so I’ll be frank.” Pausing, he looks around and lowered his tone: “This matter isn’t a blessing; on the contrary, I fear it will bring an endless amount of trouble for us!!”
The many generals present were somewhat surprised by his words and Du Wei had his eyes light up: “Go on!”
“My Lord.” Philip slowly explains: “When you were in the capital, did Prince Son ever hint of engaging his sister to you? If not, then I can only conclude this idea was born only recently. Well then, can any of you guess the reasoning for this? Prince Son can be regarded as one of the most outstanding emperor of this era…. Hmmm, although he hasn’t officially ascended to the throne, but judging by his performance, we can safely assume he’s not only smarter than his father, Augustine the 6th, by a tiny bit. Now, suggesting marriage at this time…Hehe, of course, we all know his lordship is highly favored by his highness, but why now and not before? Why this time when his Dukeship is just starting to gain a foothold in the Northwest? Regarding the intent behind the sudden move, it’s definitely worth pondering. To the east is the Northwest Army; to the west are the prairie natives, and through the numerous occurrences in the past year and how your lordship persevered through it all, it’s enough to let everyone understand how talented and amazing your lordship is! So, the proposal this time is a reach out and a temptation to consolidate your loyalty. Do I need to say more? It’s well-known by now the Marquise of the Lister Household wishes to marry you. As the emperor, Prince Son would never wish for a powerful subordinate to bond with another powerful force to challenge his authority!!”
Du Wei nodded and countered with a question, “And if I directly reject the Regent’s proposal?”
“Then …” Philip sighed: “Then, I’m afraid the Regent will slowly estrange you or even become suspicious of you. After all, you control tens of thousands of soldiers in the palm of your hand now. And the situation in the Northwest is complex and difficult to manage! Ladies and gents, have you not noticed by now? The imperial capital has little to no control over this region. It can be said that if his lordship wishes to rebel…. Hehe, even if our lord here has no willingness to do such a thing, do you think Prince Son, as a ruler, can ignore a situation like that?”
The last sentence caused everyone in the room to turn dark.
Thinking it over carefully, it seems that the imperial capital does indeed have little to no control over the Desa Province. Everything here was self-supported and has no reliant on outside forces. From the financials to politics, if Du Wei wanted to crown himself king, he could do it and become the second Northwest Army!!
Seeing the silence in everyone’s faces, Philip could only sigh again: “My lord, if I were in Prince Son’s shoes, even if admire you more, I can’t just turn a blind eye to an unregulated power like us. No matter how generous the emperor is, there’s bound to be a lack of trust.”
Du Wei’s expression also looked very serious: “Philip, so you also think I should agree to the proposal in order to calm the Regent’s mind?”
“No!!” Philip promptly denied Du Wei’s idea and confidently answered, “My lord, no matter from which angle, I firmly opposes the idea of you intermarrying with the Royal Family!!”
Du Wei and several of the generals present became stunned by the outburst.
“Mr. Philip, but you just said Prince Son will become suspicious of his lordship if the marriage doesn’t go through….” Dadaneier asked with confusion in his words.
“To eliminate suspicion doesn’t necessarily mean bonding through marriage.” Philip smiles cunningly: “My lord, the reason we can be so free in the Northwest is because we are far away from the chaotic situation of the capital. The politics here is relatively simple. Although it’s stressful with the Northwest Army and prairie natives at our sides, but everything’s out in the open. If we suddenly involve the Royal Family, the problem will become unmanageable! My lord, you should understand very well that although the Regent has his power firmly gripped into his hand, but he still has his own issues to deal with. Firstly is the never ending battle between royal authority and the Temple’s authority. The Temple may have lent a hand to Prince Son at the crucial moment during the coup, but there must’ve been a deal under the table for that to have happened. Once you get involved with the competition between these two factions, any matter will become complicated! It’s only a matter of time before you become the Temple’s enemy once you get pulled into the Royal Family’s side…. Then there are also other things to consider in the long run. My lord, please don’t take my words as being disrespectful. If you marry the Regent’s sister and remains truthful to your old love, Miss Vivian… There’s no way you can treat both wives equally. In the future when it comes to the matter of succession, the only child to take your title and inheritance will have to be the one between you and the princess!!”
Du Wei nodded in agreement.
“If that does happen … My lord, years later when you and everyone else are no longer around, do you think the Tulip Family will continue to exist? If the child between your Dukeship and the princess inherits all your possession… Then the line between the Tulip name and the Royal Family becomes blurred. At that time, as long as the Royal Family cleverly controls the next several generations through marriage, it will just be a matter of time before the Tulip Family gets swallowed up.”
Speaking up to here, Philip began to whisper his next words: “I’m not being an alarmist. Historically, this is the Royal Family’s customary trick. In the face of a powerful external family that cannot be eradicated and must be guarded, the most common procedure is to use this ‘soft knifing’ technique to slowly cut it down to size! If thirty years won’t work than fifty! If fifty years won’t work than a hundred! Eventually the target will be mowed down! Historically, there have been several examples of this already! This is what you call an emperor’s technique!”
Suddenly turning his sight at Du Wei, a strange flickering light could be seen in Philip’s eye: “We don’t need to look very far for a good example. My lord, your Rowling Family is a living example of this technique!”
Du Wei became startled for a second: “Rowling Family? How come?”
Philip bitterly smiles: “This… My lord, you don’t know this?” His expression looked like he’s starting to regret his words.
Taking a deep breath, Du Wei steadies himself: “Philip, go ahead and say it. I convened everyone here so we can discuss this topic, there’s no taboo here today.”
Gently tightening his hand into a fist under those sleeves of his, Philip takes a step backward to slightly bend his body down to show his sincerity: “Then please excuse my words.”
After straightening himself again, Philip begins: “The glory of the Rowling Family began in the start of the Augustine Dynasty. My lord, your ancestor is a hero that salvaged the empire from the brink of destruction. Honored with the title of Imperial Marshal and rewarded with the Rowling Plain as your family’s hereditary land. Regarding the glorious story of how your ancestor achieved such a feat, I won’t bother going over it. Think about it, Imperial Marshal, how glorious is that ranking? At the time your family could be said to be the number one family of the empire! But then on till now… Although the last few generations did fairly well like your father, Earl Raymond, but the momentum is far from its yester years…. This I have to say, is the result of the Royal Family’s manipulation!”
“My lord, I know you are proficient in badges and heraldry. Regarding the crown on top of the Rowling Family’s logo, do you know its meaning?”
“Of course” Du Wei replied: “That is the royal logo. When my ancestor Rowling Marshal earned his great merits, the emperor bestowed upon him a princess for a wife… Because of this marriage, the Rowling Family was taken in as a relative of the royalty.”
Philip faintly smiles, “Look… Like the situation today, how similar eh?”
Du Wei knits his brow, still unclear over what Philip was hinting at.
Not waiting, Philip continues: “See, this is the Royal Family’s first move against the Rowling Family, forming an alliance through marriage! Its common knowledge of how loyal the Rowling Family is to the empire, so using this long term soft knife technique is just fine without any danger involved…. Relatively speaking, you can say a part of your lineage contains royal blood.”
“Keep going!” Du Wei could vaguely guess where this was going.
“From the perspective of a bloodline, according to the prevailing standards of acceptance, its three generations! That is to say, starting from the Rowling Marshal generation; the child produced from the princess already contains fifty percent royal blood. Then following the Royal Family’s plan, that child continues to marry another princess or someone from the Royal Family, the child – third generation – will have over seventy five percent royal blood! At that time, can you still say the child is not royalty? Alright, even if we skip a generation, but if this trend continues for five generations, six generations? By the time the descendants reach the seventh generation, how much of the Rowling blood remains are questionable.”
The last question left everyone present stiffly cold.
Finally, Philip made the final blow: “As long as the succession continues to contain royal blood, then after three generation, the final result is a child carrying mostly the lineage of royalty. Naturally, the family will eventually be merged into the royal family!”
Du Wei’s face has gradually darkened for he implicitly remembered something!
Sure enough, Philip’s face also changed: “Back then, if I’m not wrong, the Rowling Family’s influence was too big. So, the Royal Family used this soft knife technique to slowly weaken your family into what it is today. After three generations of effort, the Rowling Family was just about ready to be absorbed. But… Something unexpected happened near the end and was eventually terminated.”
“Duke, I read in the history books that one of your ancestors had an earl that was originally arranged to marry a princess. Sadly this ancestor of yours is a hard lover. He fell in love with a very famous astrologist at the time and finally married this woman as his wife despite going against his family’s wishes…. This move greatly displeased the Royal Family. And eventually, this Earl met an early death and left behind a young child as his successor. As a result, the Rowling Family entered a low period in your family’s history, that is until a few prominent figures revitalized it later on in the future.”
In love with a female astrologist? Marry that woman?
Oh Du Wei certainly knows who Philip was talking about!
However, Philip’s seems to be vaguely hinting at another meaning behind those words.
Die young? What, is there some kind of conspiracy inside?
Once Du Wei’s thought began to run wild, the remaining words from Philip could no longer enter his mind. The only part Du Wei managed to recall was how the Rowling Family went into decline due to the repression from many fronts and that it wasn’t until the Rowling Family could no longer threaten the Royal Family that the later generations could have a chance to revitalize itself.
Du Wei complexion turned stiff, but suddenly a faint sigh knocked him back to his senses from the back of his mind.
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