Chapter 31 – Planned Departure From the Capital
Emperor Gong was very patient. He first explained the geographical environment of Xi Zhou before delving into the politics. “The left minister mentioned that Zhen Qi Wang had guarded the frontier for many years, but he still could not solve the issue of the drought during his stay at Xi Zhou. He suggested that since Zhen Qi Wang was incompetent, he should be replaced. There are also some who think that having so many troops in Xi Zhou is useless and half of them should be withdrawn.”
He bent over as if to whisper these things to Gong Yi Mo, yet his voice was loud enough for the entire hall to hear it. Many of the ministers’ faces were stiff with embarrassment.
After his explanation, Gong Yi Mo blinked and tilted her head in thought. The green flower tassel on her hair hung to one side, making her cute face appear more tender.
“Zhen Qi Wang is incompetent? Him commanding a hundred thousand troops and horses is too much? The yearly drought has rendered Xi Zhou helpless?” The more she spoke, the more she looked upon the crowd of ministers with loathing. “This princess feels that whoever offered these claims should be replaced.”
The left minister sneered at the young princess’ unkind words. “I do not know what wise idea the princess has.”
The old man laughed mockingly in his heart, thinking that it was lawless for a mere little princess to involve herself in political affairs. A young girl who had never even been outside of the palace gates–how could she have any good ideas?
Unexpectedly, Gong Yi Mo only sleepily rubbed her eyes then said in a soft voice, “Bring me a paper and pen!”
What they brought over was heavy paper and a hard-tipped pen that Gong Yi Mo herself made.
Before she came to this world, she had studied a few years of painting, so a simple diagram was easy for her. With a just few strokes, mountains and valleys were clearly depicted on the paper. When Emperor Gong drew near to curiously peek at her sketch, she was already finished drawing.
Only the emperor was allowed to see her work.
“Father, please take a look. Does the drawing of this terrain resemble Xi Zhou?”
Emperor Gong nodded. “Close enough.”
Gong Yi Mo smiled and sat on the empty half of the dragon chair.
“There are snowy mountains on both sides of Xi Zhou. When the snow first melts, water is abundant. But because of Xi Zhou’s unusual geography and hot climate, the water would dry up quickly, causing an ongoing drought. Is that right?”
The emperor nodded again in affirmation. He didn’t seem to mind sharing his dragon chair.
She suggested, “Why not dig a reservoir in the mountain?”
The left minister laughed mockingly in a timely manner. “The princess may be unaware. There are hundreds of reservoirs, large and small, that were built throughout Xi Zhou. However, by the time summer was over, all of these pools had dried up.”
He had thought the other party had some wise idea, but it was only something like this.
Gong Yi Mo smirked, looking at him as if he were a fool.
“Why not connect all of the reservoirs?” She said.
Her words brought inspiration to everyone. Gong Che pondered, “Even if we connected the reservoirs, wouldn’t it still be difficult to escape the scorching sun?”
The Chaoyang Princess grinned. “Why not build the connecting shafts underground? If the sun doesn’t reach it, wouldn’t the water be preserved?” She then once again presented her blueprint confidently before Emperor Gong, whose eyes were shining.
“The most suitable place to build the shafts would be halfway up the mountain. From there, the pipes would run underground and connect to the reservoir. The reservoir itself would be shaped like a big pot to collect water. When the snow melts on the mountaintops, the water would pour into the shafts and run its course underground until it reaches the reservoir. Since it will be underground, the source of water will not evaporate and there would be sufficient supply for both human use and irrigation!”
Her words were clear and simple, causing the audience to feel enlightened.
Seeing this, she proudly added, “This project would be very large; it can’t be completed all at once and would require massive human labor. In this case, 100,000 troops would still be too little. Also, Zhen Qi Wang has guarded Xi Zhou for years, gaining much prestige. Wouldn’t he be the most suitable person to coordinate and supervise the construction? Am I right, Father?”
Emperor Gong patted her head affectionately. “Anything Princess says is right! This matter is decided! Chaoyang Princess’ suggestions have merit! She will be greatly rewarded!”
Gong Yi Mo smiled happily. “If you want to reward me, Father should let me go to the Xi Zhou as the imperial commissioner. If those fools go, they’ll mess up my perfectly good advice and then blame it on my idea being faulty.”
Emperor Gong was in an awkward predicament. If it was in the capital, he could do something unorthodox like allowing the princess to lead the project, as no one would dare act against him. However, such a security could not be ensured in Xi Zhou. If he sent a female imperial commissioner, some sort of mishap would definitely happen.
Which was why Emperor Gong coldly refused Gong Yi Mo’s request, shaking his head.
Sure enough, Gong Yi Mo pouted in dissatisfaction. She looked up at her father with watery eyes, filled with hurt. The emperor could not bear to look at her pleading face, but he still stood firmly by his decision. In the end, Gong Yi Mo sighed and said, “If Father refuses to send me, then please send Gong Jue in my place. He can do anything I can do. I don’t believe in anyone else!”
Emperor Gong narrowed his eyes and scrutinized the Ninth Prince. At this time, his son was eleven years old. In the past two years, he behaved properly and seemed like he would trust anything Gong Yi Mo said. Most people would only remember Gong Yi Mo and forget Gong Jue, who was like her shadow.
Gong Jue didn’t have a mother nor anyone else to help him, so he had no job or position. His existence in the imperial palace was like that of an invisible person, and only this daughter would request for Gong Jue to take her place when even the emperor himself had forgotten about him. As for what Gong Yi Mo said about Gong Jue being able to do anything, he subconsciously thought she only said it to persuade him. Emperor Gong wasn’t alone in thinking this; the other ministers also believed Gong Jue had no abilities. At the thought of all this, they decided that they would let him and just give him an official title when he came back…
Emperor Gong patted Gong Yi Mo’s head thoughtfully.
Anyway, in these past two years, even though this son wasn’t particularly brilliant, he was free of any crimes. He was a practical choice for the moment, so with a wave of his hand, the request was accepted.
Plus, the ministers wouldn’t dare go against something the emperor had finalized, although they secretly resented Gong Jue for having such a sister like her. After Gong Yi Mo presented her plan, she took advantage of the emperor being very pleased and successfully recommended Gong Jue, causing everyone else to look useless!
“Children thank Father Emperor for his approval!”
Gong Yi Mo said this cutely, and when Gong Jue bowed his head in appreciation, she shot a pleased glance at him. Seeing this, Gong Che was very envious of him.
For these past two years, Gong Che had a close relationship with his sister. By her side, every day was something new. Even if something unpleasant came his way, just seeing her would make such troubles disappear in a flash.
Sister Gong was so intelligent that if there was a problem he couldn’t solve, he only had to consult her and it would be solved.
It was just a pity that however intimate they were with each other, Gong Yi Mo treated Ninth Brother better. He would feel a sense of loss whenever he saw her protect Ninth Brother.
Nevertheless, Gong Jue quickly shook his head. No, he really shouldn’t be jealous of his younger siblings.
Soon, the emperor’s decree would be sent forth.
The matter had been finalized, and Gong Jue would be taking the relief supplies to Xi Zhou within the next seven days.
Before leaving, Gong Yi Mo personally gave him a bag to pack his belongings and was itching to stuff it with all sorts of good things.
Gong Jue had never left her side before. This time, he would be away for so far and for so long. The truth was that Gong Yi Mo was rather upset. However, when a child grows up, he will have to be independent one day, so Gong Yi Mo suppressed her unwillingness to let him go and put her entire heart into paving a path for him.