Chapter 293 “In your dreams!” (Part two)
The majority of the royal members often marry early in their life. At the tender age of sixteen, Son had taken his current wife and became a father at eighteen. Du Wei was aware of this and knew the boy was eight and the daughter six this year. It’s just that Du Wei never met this pair of children before until today.
Due to their reclusive lifestyle inside the palace, this pair of children had hardly come into contact with strangers. This included most of the court officials because Son rarely brought them out. Now that Du Wei was standing in front of their father, the two were fascinated by this handsome young man and was eyeing him curiously with those big tiny eyes.
Though both children had received the palace’s educational training, it was the boy who first came out of his startled like state and remembered the etiquette manners imparted to him by the palace tutors. Moving forward several steps with a serious expression on his face, though the boy still retained his innocent childishness, the young prince faces Son and calls out father before returning his sight on Du Wei.
“This here is the Grand Duke of Tulip.” Prince Son made a point to remind his child. Immediately, the eight year old prince revealed a typical face of someone performing a proper court greeting. With a slight bow, he forcibly spoke in a mature manner using that immature voice of his: “Greetings Grand Duke of Tulip, I’m Charlie Augustine.”
Looking at this eight year old child trying to put on a unbefitting appearance for his age, Du Wei could only sigh inside. Returning the gesture, he slightly bows: “Hello young prince.”
Among the two, it was the six year old princess who acted more of her age. With a timid look, she remains hidden behind the young prince with only half her body shown, her eyes constantly eyeing Du Wei. Then suddenly, she uses her childish voice to inquire: “You … Are you the magical Duke that built a city in three months?”
Her voice stammered slightly, but at the same time soft and sweet. Against this familiar style of speech, Du Wei couldn’t resist thinking back to her little wife at home. Looking at this beautiful doll, Du Wei makes a gentle smile and softly replied: “I am indeed that Duke, but not some magical Duke.
Furrowing his brow, little Prince Charlie drags her sister out from behind and coughs: “Karina, did you forget your manners?!”
The little girl spat her tongue out, but nevertheless came forward to make a courteous curtsy befitting a princess. Although Du Wei don’t hold much fondness over these cumbersome formalities, he can only return the greeting with a gesture of his own in front of the Regent.
Prince Son’s children were very beautiful with Charlie inheriting a good portion of his father’s handsome features, especially those eyes which in essence looked the same. Du Wei didn’t notice when they were playing, but with the kids quieting down and standing there, he can already see the results of the strict royal training coming out of that young boy’s face.
Maybe it was due to her young age for Karina didn’t act like her older brother. Retaining her baby fat on that roundish plump face, her cheeks were pink and lovely. Matched with those curled blonde hair coming down the sidelines and her big blue eyes, it gave her an angelic appearance that others would want love and hug at will.
“Grand Duke of Tulip…” Karina timidly looked at Du Wei. Finally under Du Wei’s reassuring smile, she loses her shyness and muttered her question: “I-I heard the Northwest is very fun, can you tell me some stories? Is it true… You built a city in three months?”
Du Wei smiled and nods. Squatting down, he couldn’t resist teasing the girl on the nose with a small pinch: “If your highness is interested, you can come see for yourself in the future when you grow up.”
Karina’s cute little face flushed red at the gesture. Hurrying back a step, her eyes glittered with light but were overshadowed by a long disappointed exhale: “Again, I have to grow up first….”
Prince Son laughed at that comment. Looking to the attendants, he ordered: “Take them down for now, it’s getting late and their lessons for today is about to start. I and the Duke here still have some official matters to discuss.”
As the attendants standing by came over to guide the princess and prince away, Charlie continues to hold up his manners by making a parting bow while his sister, Karina, only kept looking at Du Wei with a curious gaze even when she was carried away up by her nanny.
With the children gone, only Du Wei and Prince Son remains in the garden. The guards stood outside the premise to give the two privacy. Making a faint smile, the Regent asks: “How about that, what do you think of my kids?”
Du Wei nodded: “Smart and Beautiful, your highness, you are very fortunate.”
Prince Son’s eye narrowed slightly before making a sudden sigh: “Being born in the royal family… May not necessarily be some kind of blessing.” At that, he shakes his head and makes a ridiculing chuckle: “Looking at how close those two are now reminds me of brother and I when we were young… Hmm, back then, elder brother once took me on a horse ride too… Haha.”
With the mention of the former crown prince from the coup, Du Wei closed his mouth and said not a single word.
Suddenly changing his tone, Prince Son gazed directly into Du Wei’s eye and began speaking in a very serious voice: “Du Wei … Will you promise me one thing? In the future please help me guide my children, okay?”
(In case anyone is wondering, what Son is asking Du Wei to do is become the main royal tutor (Tai-Fu) for the two. Like the second in command, this post is the most senior in the court and is to provide moral guidance to the emperor.)
Du Wei became stunned: “Your highness means…”
Though he disguised it well with that relaxing smile, a glimmer of turmoil flickered across Prince Son’s eye: “My son Charlie is eight this year and has begun his lessons from the court tutors. However, you are after all with the title of being a scholar of the court, and I know are knowledgeable in many things. Plus your age is young, only eight years older than my son. If you are willing to teach my children, it would be better than those white bearded scholars. No matter how good they are, a child will inherently resist the teachings of an old man.”
Brooding inside, Du Wei was still trying to grasp the meaning of that remark when Prince Son continued along: “This son of mine is smart enough so my expectations for him are very big… Hmm, what I’m saying is I would like to ask you to be his teacher.”
This sentence no doubt contained several layers of meaning.
Expectations are big … Does Son want to make Charlie as the next heir to the throne?
(In case you guys forgot, Prince Son made a deal with the Temple that he won’t ever take the throne.)
Let oneself be the prince’s teacher, then he will be a Tai-Fu of a generation. This position is indeed sublime.
Du Wei smiled: “If your Highness is confident enough in me, I certainly won’t refuse… Just that, I am in the northwest all year round, I fear I won’t have enough time to tutor the prince and the princess….”
Prince Son shakes his head, smiling at Du Wei: “Haha, my dear Duke… Are you going to live the rest of your life in the northwest? That region is cold and bitter. Any other lord would’ve long chosen a governor and excused himself back to the capital. Rather it’s you. You seem to be very happy living in the northwest and never once returned to the capital.”
Returning the gaze, Du Wei mildly chuckles: “Your highness is joking… Considering the situation in the Northwest, would you allow me to even if I wanted to come back? But of course, I’m certain there would be some that would love nothing more for me to return.”
They exchanged a laugh and said nothing more afterwards.
Strolling through the garden together, it was Prince Son whom broke the uncomfortable silence: “When the situation stabilizes in the future, you will eventually have to return. Du Wei, I’ve always held you in high regard and saw you as someone more than a mere governor of a province.”
High expectations? Du Wei bitterly smiled inside. Mister here would love nothing more than you to hold me in low regards! Back in the Northwest, I’m the biggest and can do whatever I like, what a carefree life I had! Instead, the moment I returned to the capital and I already ate a bad one at your hands.
Looking at Du Wei’s face, Prince Son could guess what’s on his mind. Stopping, he spoke in a whispering voice: “Hmm… Alright, I know what you wish to say so you don’t have to keep it in. You must be displeased with me since I didn’t inform you beforehand of today’s event and forcibly dragged you into it.”
Even if Du Wei was dissatisfied inside, how can he say it aloud? Glimpsing to his side using the corner of his eye, he slowly said: “I wouldn’t dare. You are the regent and I’m your servant, your courtier. It’s only natural that I must help carry your burden.”
Prince Son laughed at that. Then looking at Du Wei: “Very well, that sixteen million gold coins, I won’t have it out of your pocket. Now you should be relieved, so don’t make that bitter face. Since this was commanded by me, I will fund it instead.”
Oh? Workplace expense? Du Wei’s complexion became a little better but remains wary. Inwardly he understands full well that this wasn’t a good symptom because this highness wouldn’t offer up a benefit without cause!
Sure enough, not even a few steps out, Prince Son had shifted the topic to the situation in the Northwest.
“I heard during your last encounter with the prairie natives you made a great victory at Anglia City. Not only did you defeat that Gold Wolf Head General and his twenty thousand strong legion, you also took down a white robed shaman. Even with the odds against you in numbers, you still managed to come out on top. Du Wei, I find that all members of your Rowling Clan are natural born military leaders, this really surprises me… Although I read the reports, but those are only on paper and not enough details, why don’t you tell me more about the battle at Anglia City?”
Referring to the “Rowling family”, Du Wei unavoidably became a little uncomfortable; after all, his surname was nominally changed to Tulip.
Luckily he knew Prince Son wasn’t taking this fact to satirize him. Pondering a bit, Du Wei then recounted the entire event from top to bottom: First was the Northwest Army’s collusion with the prairie natives, then how soldiers came and encircled the Desa Province’s capital and using this time to allow the natives to infiltrate the empire. Afterwards he went on to explain how he wittingly forced the Northwest Army to retreat hundreds of miles out to allow him to divide his forces into several groups and charged out of the city. Then along the way, Du Wei gave the details pertaining to the encounter with the enemy’s scouting party and the battle which ensued under the walls of Anglia City….
Du Wei’s tongue was good to begin so his story was very clear and easy to follow. The entire time, Prince Son listened attentively and never once interrupted.
After that, Du Wei added: “Your Highness, this victory, there’s actually a lot of luck in there. If not for the accidental encounter on the road with that scouting party, we wouldn’t have ever gotten news in time to rescue those at the city. And… the governor of Nuling Province, Bohan, also sent reinforcement in the nick of time. Those loyal soldiers, most of them died fighting for the empire…”
“These I know.” Prince Son waved his hand, interrupting Du Wei to suddenly come up with his own question: “But this still doesn’t solve the puzzle… The prairie natives were doing just fine. Why did they suddenly infiltrate our lands and besiege Anglia City?”
Du Wei became stunned for he knew full well why. The natives came at order of the Shaman King to find the lost pet currently in his hand, but there’s no way he’s going to say that. Casually finding an excuse to get by, he lied: “This I don’t know either, presumably something to do with the collusion of the Northwest Army and the natives. Take advantage of the siege at Loulan City and then use the natives to raid across the province for loot.”
“If it was just a raid then they wouldn’t have sent their main battle force and their prided war general.” Prince Son shakes his head, pondering for a moment: “This whole thing is a bit strange. No matter what it must be investigated.”
Not following with more words from his end, Du Wei quietly stands to the side.
Following a period of silence, Prince Son suddenly smiled and looked at Du Wei: “And, I heard during the battle of Anglia City, you used some kind of powerful new weapons, am I correct? Hmm, jars that can explode. I heard the explosive firepower is incomparable to ordinary weapons. This was also one of the main reasons for the defeat of the enemy’s legion.”
At that, Prince Son squints his eyes and happily grins at Du Wei.
Sensing his heart sinking, Du Wei cried foul! Then again, he did use the gunpowder jars in open sight that day, everyone saw it, enemies and allies. Even if he wanted to conceal the truth, he can’t. Smiling wryly, Du Wei came clean: “It’s true… that is indeed a new toy I came up with, but the damage is not as powerful as the rumor makes it out to be. It’s just that the noise and fire light it causes from impact can give quite the scare.”
“I fear it’s not that simple is it.” Prince Son grins even wider at Du Wei, his eyes sparkling with anticipation.
With Du Wei’s heart sinking deeper and deeper, the Regent continues the conversation: “I heard if you throw one of those jars into a crowd, the ensuing explosion will be enough to kill scores of enemy in one go. It was this devastating effect which truly defeated the native legion. And there’s that team of broomstick mages you employed. I’m assuming the results of throwing the jars from above are surprisingly good right?”
The more he heard, the more Du Wei furrowed his brow. Understanding where the Regent was getting at, he decisively closes his mouth and stopped talking.
Prince Son suddenly made a dissuading sigh and looked Du Wei in the eye: “Du Wei, I know asking you for this new weapon like this are a bit excessive and overboard, but you are smart. I’m sure I don’t need to point out a war in the northwest is inevitable. Three to two five years top before the prairie legions invades the empire. By then, in face of the prairie natives and the Northwest Army legions, how will your Tulip house withstand that force? I have been secretly overhauling the military’s armaments since last year. This new weapon of yours, if you can equip the Imperial Army, it will have the greatest effect in the future war and greatly reduce the causalities.”
How can Du Wei not understand this?
It’s not like he’s refusing to give Prince Son the gunpowder to equip the imperial army; after all, he already gave Bohan some so another Prince Son won’t be any different at this point…. It’s just that there are still some pent up steam inside he can’t let out!
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