Chapter 10: Beheading Great Imperial Grandson
Several days later, Song City! At Imperial Court!
Atop the imperial throne was seated the Great Song Emperor, with the flat heaven crown adorning his head, there were even some shades of an elderly person on the aged face. The Song Emperor was ageing but his two eyes were currently staring at the imperial court below with a particular spirit. [TLNote: Flat Heaven Crown : http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E5%B9%B3%E5%A4%A9%E5%86%A0%5D
The civil and military officials ranked on both sides of the imperial court, headed by two old state officials who were, in turn, looking blankly at two people standing in the middle.
One was Gao Xianzhi, an ice-cold complexion, a kind of nobility in his respectful voice.
The other was precisely the one who was just a moment ago bolting through the downtown, Great Imperial Grandson, Song Zhengxi! Only at this moment, it seemed as if all the hair on Song Zhengxi’s body were standing up straight, and he was looking angrily at Gao Xianzhi. [TLNote: Great Imperial Grandson is like a title of the Emperor’s Grandson. Refer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_prince%5D
“Your Majesty, this subordinate has already investigated the matter reported just now to your majesty and all the state officials, the disappearance fifteen families of soldiers doesn’t have any direct evidence pointing to Great Imperial Grandson for the time being. However, the killing and beheading of Lin Chong’s family along with the entire village by Great Imperial Grandson along with his lackeys is corroborated by definite proof. For ensuring the military morale, I earnestly request your Majesty, in accordance with law, punish Great Imperial Grandson!” Gao Xianzhi enunciated clearly once again.
There was a period of extreme silence in the main hall. As they all looked at Gao Xianzhi, some with appreciatively, some resentfully and some remained indifferent.
Song Zhengxi started jumping in even more anger: “Gao Xianzhi, you really have great guts. You dare to behead me? Based on what? That was only a group of wily people who bore no respect for their superiors and wanted to ambush me. I only acted in self-defence!”
Gao Xianzhi seemed indifferent: “Great Imperial Grandson, you still wish to engage in sophistry? Right now you are connected to the morale of Song’s 800,000 strong army. You committed a wrong, for which you must be held responsible!”
“You, you court death!” Song Zhenxi was going to come as if to assault.
“Presumptuous!” Emperor Song shouted coldly.
Song Zhengxi’s figure stopped and he turned his head to look at the Emperor.
“Imperial Grandfather, this Gao Xianzhi wants to kill me. I know, Imperial Grandfather has set up serious punishment for the military, but naturally, mine was an accident. After Imperial Grandfather laid down the imperial edict, I haven’t stepped outside the mansion, Imperial Grandfather!” Song Zhengxi shouted anxiously.
This time, a chancellor opened his mouth to speak: “Your Majesty, Great Imperial Grandson is young and ignorant. Only on being poisoned by his subordinates, he has committed an offence. Thus, it would be proper to punish the mastermind. All the subordinates should in accordance with law be beheaded publicly. His nobility should be seized and he should be detained in Sky Prison.
Song Zhengxi looked towards him, his brows furrowed but he also knew that this was to save him. So, he didn’t refute.
“Minister wishes to add a suggestion!”
“Minister also wishes to add a suggestion!”
For a period of time, a large number of Senior officials pleaded for leniency on behalf of Great Imperial Grandson.
It seemed as if this was already the best possible outcome.
Atop the throne, Emperor Song gazed at Song Zhengxi, his eyes carrying a trace of love. He felt sorry in his heart.
Song Emperor nodded his head gently, seemingly as if he agreed with the official’s way of handling things. First thing first, his grandson’s life must be saved, the other punishments can be tolerated.
Gao Xianzhi’s complexion changed, as he opened his mouth to speak: “Your Majesty, our opponent now is Gu Hai. In those years, Chen Taiji had swept away seven kingdoms and extinguished the power of two kingdoms. It was not because of the ability of Chen Taiji himself, it was on account of Gu Hai moving the army in the dark. Your servant is doing his utmost for Great Song, but in the end the outcome will be decided by heaven!”
Just as Gao Xianzhi opened his mouth, Emperor Song’s pupils shrank abruptly. The faces of the two senior ministers also changed suddenly.
Of them, one senior minister opened his mouth to speak: “Your Majesty, the public has the public law, the military has the military law. Today Great Imperial Grandson is exonerated, tomorrow who will exonerate my Great Song? This Senior Minister proposes to exact beheading! The beheading be executed immediately! To pacify army morale, uphold the public law!”
“Grand Preceptor Pang, you!” Great Imperial Grandson glared in anger.
The other senior minister also said with a changed complexion: “Your Majesty, Great Imperial Grandson’s premature death would be entirely his own fault for inviting trouble. Not killing him can pacify the hearts of the ministers, but not killing would shake the root of the kingdom. The disaster of Song kingdom from those days shouldn’t emerge once again. Thus, for sake of my Great Song, I beg your majesty to punish in accordance with law and uphold national prestige!”
“Imperial Chancellor Liu, you!” Great Imperial Grandson cried out in fear.
After Grand Preceptor Pang, Imperial Chancellor Liu spoke, the Ministers who had been trying to save Great Imperial Grandson just a moment ago, immediately shut their mouths.
Great Imperial Grandson immediately knelt down: “Imperial Grandfather, save me. This wrong that your Grandson is dying for, was not done by me, not by me. This Gao Xianzhi instead of commanding troops in the barracks has come here to do politics, Imperial Grandfather……!
From atop the throne, Emperor Song looked at Great Imperial Grandson and kneaded his head. The benevolence from earlier had slowly begun to disperse, not everyone knew the terrifying existence of Gu Hai. In those days, Emperor Song had precisely experienced it during that time, when the Song Kingdom was about to be exterminated, and only upon beseeching Immortal Sect the war in the mortal world could be stopped. It was naturally a power that could not be resisted. The kingdom had a disaster on its head.
Grandsons, he had a dozen or so, but there can be only one Great Song.
“Behead!” Emperor Song shouted in a cold voice.
“Imperial Grandfather, Imperial Grandfather………….!”
No matter how wildly or madly the Great Imperial Grandson cried out, he was still mercilessly pulled away by imperial bodyguards.
Song City, Entrance to the largest vegetable market.
Already a large crowd has gathered, the one to be beheaded is Great Imperial Grandson? If it was earlier, such a thing would have been absolutely impossible to have happened, but now sentence was carried out immediately?
“Commander-in-Chief Gao! Look it’s Commander-in-Chief Gao!”
“Luckily thanks to Commander-in-Chief, this Song Zhengxi harmed don’t know how many girls from good families, well executed, well executed!”
“Look, he is coming. It really is Song Zhengxi, and there is even that group of lackeys, Hahahahaha, very good!”
At that moment, a lot of commoners had come to the entrance to the vegetable market. A lot of people were making merry and applauding.
The Chief Magistrate was seated due north, and in front of him was an enormous wooden platform. There were already 30 executioners standing atop it, waiting to carry out the execution.
Due south of the punishment platform was the vast multitude of commoners. In front of the commoners were Gao Xianzhi leading Lin Chong and a group of officers and soldiers.
On the east of the punishment platform, were a group of guards detaining Song Zhengxi and the rest.
Each and everyone had dishevelled hair and incomparable despair.
“Don’t kill me, Imperial Grandfather, Imperial Grandfather, don’t kill me!” Song Zhengxi was wailing incessantly, but as the noise all around was too high, his voice wasn’t reaching too far.
“Father, Father, where are you. Your son is going to be executed, Father, Father!” Song Zhengxi was wailing as he quaked in fear.
“Great Imperial Grandson, what to do, what to do? Wuwuwuwu, I don’t want to die!” The group of lackeys were wailing.
“You all cannot kill me, I am Great Imperial Grandson, my father is Crown Prince, I will also become Crown Prince in the future, Wu Wu Wu!” Song Zhengxi was howling in dismay.
“Shut their mouths!” The Chief Magistrate shouted coldly.
“Yes!” The guards shouted loudly.
Following which, the mouths of Song Zhengxi and the group of lackeys were all blocked up.
“Wu wu wu wu wu wu wu!” Nobody was able to speak, so they could only let out crying sounds.
Shortly thereafter, one by one their heads were covered with black cloth.
“Wu wu wu wu wu wu!” Within the black head covering, the convicts weren’t able to speak, they could only let out crying sounds anxiously.
“Bring the detainees onto the punishment platform!” Chief Magistrate shouted in a loud voice.
The group of guards led the convicts in black head coverings to the punishment platform. They walked to the north of the huge punishment platform in a long queue. Everyone was looking at the long line. While some convicts were hidden, inevitably some convicts were exposed in front of the people.
Thirty convicts moving around the immense punishment platform slowly walked onto the platform.
A guard kicked a convict’s leg, immediately the thirty convicts knelt down all of a sudden.
Lin Chong had been staring rigidly at Song Zhengxi’s silhouette with red eyes and clenched fist.
Chief Magistrate looked at the sky.
“Three Quarters Post Noon, Behead!” Chief Magistrate threw out a token.
The group of executioners each sprayed white liquor onto their respective chopping blades.
With a loud roar, the blades raised in their hands fell down, 30 heads were immediately sent flying.
Three foot high streams of blood spurted from the necks, immediately spilling blood onto the ground.
“Hua!” The countless commoners rose in an uproar.
Killed just like that? That was the Great Imperial Grandson, he was still the Great Imperial Grandson!
“Little Die, your Big Chou has avenged you, as a husband I beg your forgiveness!” Lin Chong suddenly went limply down onto the ground and started sobbing uncontrollably.
“Sir!” The group of officers and soldiers supported Lin Chong.
Nevertheless, Gao Xianzhi looked at the group of soldiers and officers and said: “You all can see clearly and can also understand very well. Aside from Song Zhengxi hurting Lin Chong’s family, the charges of the disappearance of your family members were all fake and false charges. This is all the craftiness of Gu Hai! Not long ago, the residence of Great Imperial Grandson had been searched, and there was absolutely no trace of your family. Do you believe it now?”
The group of soldiers nodded with red eyes.
“Commander-in-Chief, we believe you!”
“Commander-in-Chief, it’s Gu Hai. It is all done by Gu Hai, except for the matter relating to Lin Chong’s family!”
“Commander-in-Chief, this subordinate will definitely charge the frontlines and kill the enemies, definitely!”
The group of soldiers pledged immediately.
“Good, take rest in the afternoon. We’ll set off in the evening and return to camp immediately. You can tell all your brethren about Gu Hai’s plot! We will definitely use all our strength to capture Hulao Pass, and use it to repay His Majesty’s kindness in recognising our worth!” Gao Xianzhi said definitively.
“Yes!” The group answered.
“Many thanks, Commander-in-Chief, Many thanks, Commander-in-Chief!” Lin Chong was incessantly kowtowing to Gao Xianzhi.
“Lin Chong, you rest for a bit, and then return alongside me!” Gao Xianzhi said with a heavy voice.
“Yes, Commander-in-Chief has taken revenge for me. This Lin Chong’s life is now for Commander-in-Chief. Even if I die, it would be on the battlefield!” Lin Chong was thanking with red eyes.
Gao Xianzhi nodded.
This time for the sake of Lin Chong, the Great Imperial Grandson had already been beheaded. Lin Chong needed to compulsorily return to the camp and boost the army’s morale. Let the entire army know that the army law was like a mountain, no matter who tried to harm their family members.
Gao Xianzhi believed that the beheading of Great Imperial Grandson was the best persuasion that could make all the soldiers and officers understand. If even the Great Imperial Grandson could be executed, then who else would dare bully their family members? At that time, even if Gu Hai drums up even more lies, then that would also be useless!
Gao Xianzhi felt completely assured in his heart because Gao Xianzhi knew that after returning, with the beheading of this one Great Imperial Grandson, the heart and soul of the entire army would certainly be congealed together. Inevitably, they would be able to break through Hulao Pass with this spurt of energy.
He needed to do this thing right now, fast, fast, fast!
In the evening, Gao Xianzhi led the group of soldiers and officers to walk towards Hulao Pass.
Whereas on the punishment platform in the vegetable market’s entrance, there was a scene of extreme cold and desolation. This place that was bursting with noise in the morning, had become the most desolate place in the night.
A lot of people had died here, who would still come to this place mid-night?
Nevertheless, there was one person who came.
It was actually the Chief Magistrate who was carrying out the sentence in the morning, and to his side was a person in a black gown. He was precisely Gao Xianzhi’s headache, Gu Hai. Besides him, there was a carriage.
“This person is…………..!” Chief Magistrate asked with a voice carrying a trace of currying favour.
“I am a person of the crown prince. It won’t be to your advantage to know too much!” Gu Hai said indifferently.
“Yes, Yes! I won’t ask, I won’t ask. I at once believed you after you gave me that letter to see. After all, Great Imperial Grandson is the favourite of His Majesty as well as Crown Prince. How would it be possible for him to be executed one fine day all of a sudden?” Chief Magistrate said laughing immediately.
“The mouths of your subordinates must be sealed shut with regard to today’s matter. Whoever leaks this out will be charged with the crime of treason!” Gu Hai said in a heavy voice.
The Chief Magistrate quivered and nodded forcefully at once: “I understand, I understand, they are all my trusted aides, be at ease!”
At this time, Gu Hai gently tapped the punishment platform.
Suddenly, a small gate emerged at the Northern side of the punishment platform.
“Wu wu wu wu wu!” Crying noises were coming from inside the small gate.
From inside a person, who had been leading the convicts during the day time, came out.
“Sir, in accordance to your instructs while Great Imperial Grandson was nearing the front, we used a death-row prisoner to replace Great Imperial Grandson. The one beheaded was that death-row prisoner, and nothing happened to Great Imperial Grandson!” That person said laughing.
Gu Hai bowed to take a look, but he saw urine dripping from the crotch of Song Zhengxi’s trousers. Clearly, he had been frightened heavily.
That person lifted the black covering from the head of Song Zhengxi.
“Wu wu wu!” Song Zhengxi looked at Gu Hai in amazement.
After the rag was removed from his mouth, Song Zhengxi immediately said in alarm: “I didn’t die? I didn’t die? I unexpectedly didn’t die?”
Gu Hai let out a faint smile: “How could Gao Daren dare to behead you. You will even be the heir apparent to the throne in the future. This time was only for deceiving and nothing more. As soon as the Chen Kingdom is destroyed, there would be nothing to obstruct!”
“Eh? Gao Daren saved me? Which Gao Daren?” Song Zhengxi was at present beyond his wits.
“Commander-in-Chief, Gao Xianzhi!” Gu Hai said with a faint smile.