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Chapter 194.3

Originally, the Meridian Gates were supposed to open at yin-shi, so that the civil and military officials who needed to attend court would enter through the Meridian Gates, pass the Golden Water Bridge, and arrive at the Gate of Supreme Harmony. However, today was different. When it was time for the gate to open, there was no sound of the drums and bells, and the palace gate remained closed. The officials who came to attend court were all blocked outside.

Just as everyone was discussing this strange situation, the palace gate opened, and several imperial guards came out with sorrowful expressions. They invited several senior ministers, including Elder Chen into the palace.

Because the situation was so strange and they didnt know what had happened, Elder Chen and the others were reluctant to enter the palace. Only then did these guards tell them the truth: Emperor Hongjing had passed away in the Qianqing Palace last night.

Because the incident had happened so suddenly, no one was mentally prepared for it. The Empress was overcome with grief and fainted. The rest of the palace was in chaos, which led to their delay in opening the palace gate.

Their words were convincing, and this was not the kind of thing to be taken lightly. Several elderly ministers fainted on the spot, and there was a lot of crying at the scene.

After the crying, the important questions still had to be asked. Several senior ministers, led by Elder Chen, asked if the Emperor had left a will, and what was the current situation in the palace.

But how could these guards answer such questions? After some discussion, dozens of senior ministers decided to enter the palace in person, while others returned to their own manors to wait for news of the funeral. Naturally, news of the emperors death soon spread.

Yaoniang didnt sleep well all night, so when Jin Wang got up, she got up too.

When she heard Fuchengs report that Emperor Hongjing had passed away, Yaoniang was so shocked that she couldnt close her mouth for a long time. She automatically ordered everyone to keep it from Xiaobao for the time being and to not let him know.

The two of them got up hastily, and the people sent by Jin Wang to the palace had already returned.

The message they brought back was that after Elder Chen and the others entered the palace, the palace gate was closed again and heavily guarded.

What should we do?

Dont panic. Stay in the manor and wait for me to go and take a look myself.

It wasnt just Jin Wang who received the news. An Wang Manor, Lu Wang Manor, and the various other princes households also received the news, so when Jin Wang arrived at the Meridian Gates, An Wang, Lu Wang, and the others had already arrived.

Only Yong Wang and Dai Wang were missing. Yesterday happened to be the day when they were on duty to attend to the emperors illness, so they should be in the palace at this time. Hui Wang did not come either. It was unclear why. Lu Wang, who had a hot temper, was shouting at the palace gate, but no one responded.

After a while, a few people who looked like generals of the Imperial Guards appeared at the gate tower of the palace. The leader of them said to the people below, This is an unusual period. Her Majesty Empress Wei has issued an imperial edict commanding all the princes to return to their manors and wait for the imperial decree before they can leave their residences. Anyone who violates this order will be charged with treason. 𝓁𝒾𝒷𝘳ℯ𝘢𝑑.𝑐ℴ𝓂

Charged with treason? Go fuck your mother! Ill be damned if I dont take off your heads and use them as stools if you dont open the palace gates now! Lu Wang shouted.

I hope Your Highness Lu Wang will not show off his ability to speak. I, too, am just following orders. Before His Majestys death, he had already left a will. Now, several senior officials are discussing the matter of succession with Her Majesty Empress Wei. Your Highnesses, please return to your manors quickly, and dont do anything irreversible, someone replied.

A will? Isnt that a made-up thing to fool people? I have never heard of a son not being able to attend his fathers funeral. Hurry up and open the palace gates for benwang, or else benwang will treat you as rebels.

Your Highness Lu Wang, words can cause trouble. The authenticity of the will can be verified by the senior officials.

Where is Yong Wang? An Wang suddenly asked.

The man in the gatehouse was stunned and replied, Yong Wangs whereabouts are not what a mere gatekeeper like me can know.

An Wangs face immediately turned ugly, but he didnt say much and turned around, taking his men with him.

This action surprised Lu Wang, who saw Jin Wang also turning around and leaving. He quickly followed them and asked, Second Brother, Fifth Brother, why are you leaving?

As soon as the words were spoken, he realized that the situation in the palace was obviously manipulated by Empress Wei. In this situation, it was impossible for Yong Wang to be involved. Not to mention whether Emperor Hongjing left a will or not, even if he did, it had probably already been replaced by something else.

They have the nerve!

They certainly had the nerve!

But what was the point of saying these things now? It was an error on their part to give the other side such an advantage, but who would have expected Emperor Hongjing to suddenly die and catch everyone off guard?

An Wang and Jin Wang obviously understood the truth and planned to go back to their manors to arrange the next step. Realizing this, Lu Wang didnt dare to delay and quickly brought his men back with him to his own manor.

In the Qianqing Palace, there were many people gathered at this time.

Dozens of senior officials who had just entered the palace, Dai Wang, Empress Wei, and several imperial concubines were all crying and making a fuss.

The Empress Dowager was also grieving but was holding back her sorrow. She told the senior officials about the situation before Emperor Hongjings death and his last words.

Normally, when the emperor issued a will, there would be several trusted senior officials present, but unfortunately, Emperor Hongjing had left too suddenly, and he was only able to hastily write a will and stamp it before passing away.

At the time, Eunuch Li was also there. Eunuch Li, bring His Majestys will and show it to the senior officials, she said.

Li Dequan came forward with a sorrowful expression on his face, holding a vermilion tray which contained the imperial edict.

After paying respects to the late Emperor Hongjing, and then seeing Li Dequan with the imperial edict in hand, the doubts in everyones minds had already been reduced by half. After the senior officials such as Elder Chen and Elder Meng examined the edict one at a time, confirming that the handwriting on it was indeed that of Emperor Hongjing and that the imperial seal was also correct, they exchanged a glance and handed the edict back to Li Dequan.

The late emperors intention to pass the throne to the third prince, Dai Wang, has been made known to you, senior officials. Dai Wang is the di son of bengong and the late emperor, with a noble character and discerning mind. Bengong hopes that you senior officials will all support him in the future.

Everyones gaze fell on Dai Wang, whose eyes were red and had tears in them, seemingly grief-stricken to the extreme. Otherwise, why would he, as a man, cry so much? Now that the edict had been confirmed, it seemed unlikely that it was fake, so there was nothing else for them to do but accept it. 𝘭𝘪𝘣𝑟𝘦𝘢𝒹.𝘤𝑜𝓂

Elder Tian and Elder Meng and the others all bowed down, saying, This minister will not fail to live up to the trust of the late emperor and Your Majesty Empress Wei. This minister swears to work hard for the sake of the country and the people, until the day we die.

According to the rules, after the Emperors death, the Ministry of Rites, together with the senior officials of the cabinet and the Imperial Academy, would gather to discuss the Funeral Rites for the Late Emperor. After obtaining the successor emperors approval they would then implement the ceremony according to custom.

These customs were very complicated, and they involved matters such as announcing the news of the emperors death, the funeral, the mourning period, and the wailing of officials, imperial relatives, nobles, and women from both inside and outside the palace, as well as the bestowal of honorific titles, and so on. In other words, even the empress had no right to interfere in the funeral of the late emperor. Only the next emperor could do so.

The successor emperor had the status and qualifications of an emperor, but these status and qualifications were not something that could be obtained simply by saying so; they had to be recognized by the senior officials. This was also the reason why Dai Wang and Empress Wei had gone through much trouble.

Now that Elder Tian and Elder Meng and the other senior officials had examined the edict and confirmed it to be correct, with these senior officials and important ministers present, there was naturally no problem with the succession. Dai Wang couldnt help but feel a surge of excitement at the thought of finally ascending to the throne after all his hard work.

Wait a minute!

Just as Elder Tian and Elder Meng and the other senior officials were about to bow down to Dai Wang, Elder Chen suddenly spoke up.

Elder Chen, your meaning is?

Elder Chen straightened his clothes, bowed to the sky with his hands folded, and said, This minister has doubts about this imperial edict. Over a month ago, His Majesty, feeling unwell, summoned me, the grand secretary, and Minister Hong to his presence to make a will. The person he named in that will as his successor was not His Highness Dai Wang, but someone else.

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