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Both Han Hui and Fu Ru had been detained in the Western Depot; one a direct murderer, one a co-conspirator.
Once Wang Zhi’s words from yesterday were added onto the present day’s outcome, Tang Fan was immediately forced to make a connection: Wang Zhi had killed her.
Among those involved in this case, Han Hui was the murderer, La Mei was an accessory, and Yuan Liang plus Fu Ru were co-conspirators.
La Mei had helped Han Hui with hiding the needle, but she had only willingly done so because she was carrying his child. She didn’t know any other details.
Han Hui had gotten Yuan Liang’s help, but he had no idea why the man had wanted to help him.
Only Fu Ru knew that Yuan Liang was resentful and wanted to aid Lady Ji in getting revenge. She was the one that sought him out in the first place, and might have even thought up the idea for the whole affair. The part she played was huge.
Apart from Tang Fan, Wang Zhi, and the Prince, she alone had a clear understanding of Yuan Liang’s motive and actions. If she had confessed that Yuan Liang wanted revenge, Consort Wan was certain to place blame on the Prince’s head.
Now that Fu Ru was dead, she could tell nothing. In Wang Zhi’s view, this was the safest way.
However, Tang Fan could never find Wang Zhi any of the several times he went to the Depot, and whether he had killed the maid was something he couldn’t ask just anyone.
He suspected that Wang Zhi was deliberately avoiding him, but there was nothing he could do about that.
Without Wang Zhi, he couldn’t even go past the palace gates, so he naturally had no idea what actually went down on the Emperor and Consort Wan’s end, nor whether the Prince would get drawn in, nor how the case ultimately concluded.
It wasn’t until half a month later that Wang Zhi had someone invite him to the Depot, after which he told him that the case had been finalized.
“How was it finalized, then?” he asked.
“Fu Ru was resentful towards getting rebuked by the Consort on the daily, but was also too afraid to retaliate,” Wang Zhi answered. “Yuan Liang was her lover, and after hearing her complain plus Han Hui’s coincidental desire to kill his brother, he came up with this plan. Fu Ru made the Consort deliver soup, then Han Hui set to task beforehand. All three of them conspired to frame Consort Wan. As a result, after Han Hui’s confession, she got scared and killed herself in prison.”
That was pretty much identical to what he had said to him before.
Tang Fan didn’t beat around the bush, asking him head-on: “Was her death because of you?”
“Do you think it was?” Wang Zhi countered.
Tang Fan was silent.
Silence equaled silent agreement.
There was no one else attending in their room. They said nothing, the atmosphere momentarily stagnating.
A short while passed before Wang Zhi spoke mildly. “You’re the only other person that’s ever known the entirety of this case, so I may as well tell you that it had nothing to do with me.”
He laughed coldly. “I did have the thought to silence her, but I didn’t expect that she would be a step quicker at it than me. She really was kind of suspicious; during her interrogation, she was very stiff-lipped. At first, she was dead set on claiming that she had acted alone, but also claimed that Yuan Liang had sought her out because of Lady Ji’s death, and she couldn’t resist helping him. Prior to Yuan Liang’s death, though, he had made it clear that she was the one who approached him first. Plus, she’s been at the Consort’s side for over ten years; if she wanted to help Yuan Liang, why right now, when Lady Ji’s already been dead for years? That’s why I don’t think he had been lying to us.”
Tang Fan nodded. “He had a will to die then. There would have been no need for him to.”
Seeing that he believed him, Wang Zhi looked a bit better. “When she got tortured, she started babbling again, saying that she was acting under the Son of Heaven’s instruction! Simply absurd! I had wanted to pick at every spot of oddity about her and then silence her so that the Consort wouldn’t be given a poor explanation, but the woman somehow ended up getting a copper piece off of the oil lamp on the wall, then cut her own neck open and died.”
Having believed that he had killed her, Tang Fan was surprised that this was the truth. He couldn’t help but furrow his brows. “She had been detained in jail, and the Depot is heavily guarded… how did she find the tool, and chance, to kill herself?”
Wang Zhi sneered. “That illustrates that there’s a problem area in the Depot itself. She must have had other people behind her!”
“What’s their purpose in doing this, then?” Tang Fan pondered. “To incite conflict between the Prince and Consort?”
That was a possibility. The Prince was young right now, but he was gradually turning into a semblance of a wise ruler: diligent in studies, never speaking caustically, respectful towards his teachers, and benevolent towards his underlings. All those various high-quality characteristics seemed to make people see hope for the future, a group of fanatics assembling around him.
Subpar officials were everywhere in Court, but no matter how dark and dangerous the world was, there would always be people who yearned for the light, and strove hard to make it appear again.
Like Tang Fan, for instance. Even though he wasn’t definitively in the Crown Prince’s party, did his heart not vaguely trend towards defending the boy?
It was for precisely that reason that Consort Wan was stirred into secret worry and resentment: If you’re winning over people’s hearts like this now, will I still have anywhere to stand when you become Emperor?
If someone had the mind to provoke conflict, starting from there would thus be quite practical.
Wang Zhi fumed with grit teeth. “I had to go humbly apologize to Consort Wan over this, suffer a real bout of scolding, then go wash the Depot clean again. Despite that, I only caught some small fry! I couldn’t ferret out that backstage traitor at all! That just goes to show how deeply hidden he is! He better not let me catch him, or I’ll use every sort of torture the Depot has on him!”
His words steamed with murderousness. Even sitting opposite him, Tang Fan could feel his desire to kill hitting him in the face — it was practically turning tangible.
Wang Zhi had previously planned for this very well, but now things were different. For Fu Ru to be able to kill herself in a place like the Depot clearly meant that there was an issue somewhere in its departments, but the other party’s scheming was so airtight, no one could find him out. How could Wang Zhi not be furious?
It was fortunate that he had the Emperor and Consort’s trust and favor right now, meaning he only got scolded over this. This event alone would have been enough to bring his political life to an end, otherwise.
“What about Han Hui, then?” Tang Fan asked.
“What about him?!” Wang Zhi was displeased. “He doesn’t know anything about any of this! All he heard was Yuan Liang’s prompt for murder, and then he did what he was supposed to do! He already confessed, so the date where he’ll be handed over to the Ministry of Justice is fixed! He won’t be the Depot’s problem after that!”
Tang Fan nodded. Han Hui’s execution would be able to console Han Zao’s spirit in the Heavens.
Recalling that, he couldn’t help but sigh for the boy.
Han Fang and Lady Lin had a son in their middle ages, so Han Zao had been spoiled. He didn’t become a hedonist like Zheng Cheng because of his upbringing, but instead filially loved his parents and respected his older brother, even becoming sullen at witnessing Lady Lin’s treatment of said brother. He also gave his boyservant a silly name, which showed what a lovable kid he had been.
Tang Fan had never personally met him, but from Han Fang and Lady Lin’s grief, as well as the Crown Prince’s regretful sorrow, he could see that Han Zao had been loved. It was such a shame that a good child like that had ended up getting killed by his beloved brother, who was overtaken by a demon of the heart.
On top of that, if Lady Lin hadn’t treated Han Hui harshly, thus causing Han Zao to be melancholic, the latter wouldn’t have wanted to complain to Yuan Liang, who would then not have learned of the Han’s situation, finding no opportunity nor circumstances to set to task thereupon.
As was said, everything in existence inexorably had causes, as well as consequences.
Wang Zhi was frustrated from trying to find the Depot crook, which was a quite deeply involved matter with massive implications. Tang Fan didn’t ask more on it, but his counterpart questioned him of his own volition. “Do you think that this might have something to do with the Jingtai Emperor?”
Tang Fan suffered a bad start. “This matter is of dire importance! You can’t make random guesses!” he answered immediately.
“We’re the only two people here. Why can’t I guess a couple things in private?” Wang Zhi said, annoyed.
That ‘Jingtai’ was the present Son of Heaven’s uncle.
This was a bit of controversy known to all in the land. During Yingzong’s reign, because he trusted in his favored eunuch Wang Zhen* about a personal campaign on the Oirats, the Tumu Stronghold Crisis thus came to be. Half of the major officials in Court had followed him, never to return, the capital’s regiments were entirely wiped out, and the Oirats were about to come strike the capital. At that point in time, the Crown Prince-cum-Emperor of present times was only two years old, so he obviously couldn’t have presided over the government, especially not at such a time of crisis.
Yu Qian and the rest were commanded forward in the face of death, ordered so by Yingzong’s little brother, Jingtai, who had taken over. The Oirats were resisted, hence putting the citizenry’s minds at ease and sparing the Great Ming from total calamity.
In that juncture, Yingzong had been released by the Oirats. Jingtai was already Emperor, so he was naturally unwilling to concede his position; even if he was willing, their brotherly relationship would never be the same as it was before, because his big brother would definitely have apprehensions towards him. For that reason, Jingtai simply placed his brother under house arrest, then ruled on for seven years.
However, when he became gravely ill, another palace rebellion broke out. Some officials rescued Yingzong out of his palace of exile, throned him anew, then placed Jingtai under house arrest. The resentment between the brothers ended here, as within no more than a month, Jingtai was dead. The Late Emperor loathed him for seizing his throne, even stripping him of his imperial name and giving him a shameful posthumous title. It was only after the current Emperor’s ascent that his uncle regained his reputation.
Judging from that, the current Emperor really wasn’t that bad of a person, with that magnanimous heart of his. It was just that he didn’t care about governance, which led to the Court currently being a wreck.
With that said, Wang Zhi bringing up this bit of the past was clearly not to make Tang Fan chase after it to supplement the present, but rather because he wanted to point out the enmity between the Late Emperor and Jingtai.
Jingtai had been enthroned for seven years, so there was bound to be a couple people loyal to him in that time. They got beheaded by Yingzong one by one after his reinstatement, and of those that were fortunate enough not to die, they tucked their tails between their legs and behaved in a low-key way, having hardly any sense of existence.
Yet, it was hard to ensure that among these people that had quietly endured all this time, none of them had used Fu Ru to intentionally provoke disquiet. This could not only have instigated strife between Consort Wan and the Crown Prince, but could have also made the Emperor have doubts towards her, causing chaos in the Dynasty.
Wang Zhi’s conjecture was quite within reason.
“Was there anything suspicious in Fu Ru’s residence?” Tang Fan asked. “What did the Consort have to say?”
“We’ve already turned the place upside down along with the Consort’s palace, but didn’t find anything at all. Fu Ru’s possessions were so clean, there was nothing dubious about them whatsoever. They were just various goods and commodities that the Consort had bestowed to her over the years—“
“Wait,” Tang Fan interrupted. “She didn’t have any relatives outside of the palace, then? She didn’t entrust anyone with bringing all that wealth out to her family?”
“That’s a good point you’ve raised. Talking to smart people is always a delight.” Wang Zhi huffed happily. “No, there was nothing like that in the least. Everything rewarded to her over the years is still there. As for the wealth, that’s impossible to calculate exactly, but it seems to be overwhelmingly unchanged. I checked, and she has no family outside the palace; her parents died when she was young, after which she was raised to adulthood in her uncle’s family. Some years after she entered the palace, her uncle’s home burned away to nothing because of a fire in the capital, and the whole family moved away. Their location after that is unknown.”
Listening to there, Tang Fan had nothing to say.
The event with her uncle’s family seemed concerning at first hear, but in reality, such things were common in this era. It couldn’t be used as evidence.
Feng Qingzi of the Marquis Wu’an case, for example, had her family banished and scattered due to implication in a crime, and the people that had lived in the vicinity of their house almost all moved away because of a subsequent neighboring fire, causing Tang Fan a bit of difficulty when investigating.
Fu Ru had no one outside the palace, and therefore had no place to send her capital, meaning it all stayed inside. Maybe she had thought that when she came of age, she might be let out to marry, but the Consort came to rely heavily on her, making her unable to leave for even a moment. If this case hadn’t happened, she might have become a lady-in-waiting later due to her continuous stay in the palace.
“The Consort was livid after learning about this,” Wang Zhi said. “She really hadn’t known that Fu Ru would do such a thing, so she told me I had to get to the bottom of it.”
Even if she had said that, how was he supposed to investigate? No matter how all-encompassing the Depot was, the one in question was already dead, and the one pulling the strings wasn’t yet found. He couldn’t just make up some proof out of thin air, right?
But… when Tang Fan heard Wang Zhi’s guess about Jingtai, he got genuinely scared that the man would randomly suss out some testimonies and physical evidence so that Consort Wan wouldn’t look into him.
Wang Zhi really wasn’t a vile, treacherous person, else he wouldn’t have listened to Tang Fan’s proposal, nor been willing to forge a good relationship with the Prince, nor helped to cover up Yuan Liang’s motives. That didn’t at all indicate that he was a good person that wholeheartedly thought of others.
As the Director of the Western Depot, his every action was out of thought for his own future political career. The amount of major figures he had felled beneath his hands was known to be uncountable. Also, he had been planning to silence Fu Ru, only for her to beat him to the punch.
“Fu Ru is dead, and the deceased give no testimony,” Tang Fan said. “This matter should be kept between us, though her uncle’s family can be kept in mind.”
Meaning that since the evidence was destroyed, this matter could simply be turned over, but it wasn’t too late for them to make progress towards confirmation in the future.
“Alright, alright!” Wang Zhi said impatiently. “Don’t always be using your civil-official set of standards to try and read me! I do things differently than you, there’s no need for you to lecture me. Nothing good has come ever since I bumped into you! If it weren’t for the Consort’s confidence in me, it would have been really hard for me to get through this!”
Mister Tang quietly listened to his roasting, thinking to himself, You’re the one that sought me out in the first place, but now you’re saying that I’m the bad omen.
A short moment later, Wang Zhi saw that Tang Fan wasn’t answering, and felt a bit bored. “His Highness asked me to pass on a message to you,” he then said.
Tang Fan was startled. “I’d like to hear it.”
“‘People pursue spring’s orchids and jeer at fall’s chrysanthemums, but the Heavens taught the bright moon to accompany the evening star.’”
He suddenly smiled.
Wang Zhi was suspicious. “What riddles are you two spouting?”
The last time Tang Fan and the Prince had met, the former worried that Yuan Liang’s death would leave a psychological shadow on the latter, and also that the heir apparent so many people had placed high hopes on would go down a wrong path out of rancor over this.
That was why he had found an excuse to bring up a few anecdotes from the ancients, hoping to tell the Prince not to lose heart. Even though the world had a lot of injustice and darkness in it, there were even more people that held goodness in their hearts, doing all they could to guide the realm onto the right track.
He wanted the Prince to not think that everything in the world was unfair because of what had happened with Yuan Liang, nor that he would need to resort to unscrupulous means to achieve his goals. It was only because villains liked to gang up, retaliate against people, and take advantage of others — while nobles remained strictly upright, refusing to behave as the villains did — that it seemed like villains outnumbered nobles.
The Prince had been broken-hearted over Yuan Liang’s death, so he had not given him much of a response. As Tang Fan wasn’t his teacher, he didn’t have the qualifications to instruct him, so he could only take that one opportunity to do what was within his negligible power.
Surprisingly, the Prince had remembered.
‘People pursue spring’s orchids’ was a verse by Su Dongpo. Was that not the Prince declaring his aspirations with poetry, an answer to Tang Fan’s advice from that day?
The most wondrous thing about it was that the honest gentleness and broad aspirations contained in the second half of the verse happened to be a perfect elucidation of the first half. It wasn’t a reply where his heart was filled with impassioned discontent, nor a perfunctory affectation towards Tang Fan.
In all likelihood, the young Prince had not deliberated on this answer too much.
How disappointed so many people were towards the current mediocre, do-nothing Court. How great the expectations they had placed on the future Emperor.
There was no way for Tang Fan to describe the consolation he had within himself when he heard this response. In that instant, he felt that running the risk of offending the Consort by helping Wang Zhi cover up Yuan Liang, thus preventing the Prince from getting implicated, was entirely worth it.
Average people filled with hatred were not afraid to go down a warped path, ending up like Han Hui at most. But if a sovereign were to have that hatred, every living thing in the land would be out of luck. In contrast, a sovereign that was eternally charitable in mind and magnanimous in heart would be a blessing to the Great Ming, and to the world.
Tang Fan was not someone moody in personality and fond of going woe-is-me, but that didn’t mean that he liked watching people die. Every time a case was concluded, the real killer getting caught was gratifying enough, but it was impossible to reverse the death of the decedent.
This time, he sighed for Han Zao’s tragic death, yet also finally felt a trace of solace.
He explained the significance of the Prince’s verse to Wang Zhi. “Having an heir apparent like this is a real boon to the country!” he exclaimed.
Wang Zhi expressed no opinion. He was a eunuch, so he had a completely different angle of consideration compared to Tang Fan’s. In his view, the Prince’s succession was a still-faraway matter, and he needed to do some more important things right now, like put other contributions into order to offset this case with haste. If he didn’t, then even if the Emperor and Consort didn’t assign blame to him for winding this up poorly, Shang Ming would use it to press his head down, which would be hard for him to tolerate.
“There’s been a lot of trouble in Jiangnan these days,” he said to Tang Fan. “North of the desert is also in considerable unrest. In your opinion, do you think I should head South, or North?”
The East Palace case was now reported as closed. With the two’s present frenemy relationship, as long as there was no major conflict of interest between them, they wouldn’t completely fall out with each other. Wang Zhi asking Tang Fan for ideas was thus not surprising to him, because when all was said and done, this signified that the other was assured of his skill and insight.
Besides, Wang Zhi innately differed from other eunuchs.
Ordinary men had nothing beyond two types of pursuits: waking up holding worldwide power, and having beauties kneeling by them. The latter pursuit was irrelevant to eunuchs, so, ever since the dawn of time, many of them preferred to go for power, their pursuit being the thrill of a high position.
However, their monopoly of power was typically only inside the palace, such as in the Great Ming’s Twelve Supervisories. Between the Supervisory of Ceremony Management and Supervisory of Royal Steeds, one had the power to act on the Emperor’s behalf, specially serving as his ghostwriters and as intermediaries between him and major officials, while the other was related to military power. These things were what people coveted the most, busting their own heads open to squeeze into the two divisions.
In each division, there was a particular emphasis: Sealwielder first, Brushholder second.
Currently, the Sealwielder Eunuch of the Supervisory of Ceremony Management was Huai En, while Liang Feng oversaw the Supervisory of Royal Steeds. Shang Ming and Wang Zhi were Directors of the Eastern and Western Depots, respectively, but because their seniority wasn’t as high as the previous two’s, they could only be Brushholder eunuchs, not Sealwielders.
Shang Ming’s main task at present was to expand his Depot’s business, simultaneously fighting with Wang Zhi and proactively advancing in the hopes that he could one day take the position of either Huai En or Liang Fang.
However, Wang Zhi felt that this range was too small. He wanted to be something, and he wanted it to be grand; wouldn’t he feel aggrieved nestling in the tiny domain of the palace all day long?
Thus, he set his sights upon the vast world outside.
When the Great Ming’s army fought, there was a general convention that an Army Supervisor Envoy from inside the palace was to go with to serve as the Emperor’s eyes and ears, lest the generals act in cahoots and play him as a fool.
Ever since the Tumu Stronghold Crisis, the Oirats, once an enormous threat to the Great Ming, gradually weakened. The power over their prairies was constantly getting divided up and switching rulers. The Central Plains Dynasty didn’t know the details of this stuff, but in brief, the Oirats were on the verge of extinction. Another tribe called the Tartars had arisen, but their internals proceeded to go into disarray in a case of ‘you won’t comply with me, so I won’t comply with you.’ Everyone fought everyone else, each having their own monarchs.
That didn’t at all hinder them from bothering the Ming’s border garrisons, though. All their social standpoints were different; Ming people thought the Tartars were barbarians that came to burn, murder, and loot all the time, while the Tartars thought that the Great Ming was a fat sheep that had to be snatched.
On the southern embankment of the Yellow River, and in-between the regions of Ningxia and Shanxi, was a vast expanse called the Great Bend. The water and vegetation there was abundant, and it was rich in natural resources, but it was also easy to attack and hard to defend. If the Great Ming wanted to defend this area, a huge amount of energy expenditure was required, but the Oirats and Tartars could invade it at any time with ease. That was why Zhu Di, the Yongle Emperor, had moved the Dongsheng army inwards, effectively forced to relinquish defense of the area.
Yet, there came a problem. Without that cushioning zone, the Tartars were able to barge in, occupy the Great Bend, and then directly attack strategic towns on the Great Ming’s border. Exploiting this pit, they frequently looted said towns.
Had this happened during the Great Ancestor’s or Yongle’s eras, taking care of it would have been easy. His Majesty, dictatorial in his bind to the Heavens, could have just waved his hand to send the army up North. The Tartars would have gotten beaten until they went crying for their parents, never daring to come again.
But it was now the Chenghua era. The army that had pulled through the Tumu Crisis had learned what fear was, and the ranks’ morale wasn’t as strong as it had been at the country’s founding, where it was undefeated in battle. Plus, there were those high officials in Court…
Right. Just as those officials didn’t want to work, they couldn’t be counted on to have the ambition for attacking the Tartars and wresting back the Great Bend.
Apart from that was the South side. It had no sort of border wars right now, but in the affluent area of Jiangnan, bandits ran amok, officials and merchants colluded, and there was no shortage of corruption. Subordinates followed their leaders, so if those leaders did no work, their lackeys would casually drift through life. Salaries for officials in the Great Ming were famously low, so there was no need to even think about counting on anyone to work as hard as they had at the country’s founding.
Furthermore, in the Southwest over a year ago, the Songpan Hmongs had revolted because they couldn’t stand the local officials pushing them around. Although later suppressed, many of them getting beheaded, the region still was never very peaceful. People of Wang Zhi’s sort feared a world not in chaos, restless and wishing that another rebellion would happen so that they could get merits once it passed.
Wang Zhi wanted said credits. Disdaining to vie with Shang Ming over trivial garbage like they were mortal enemies, he looked towards these two areas.
Through Pan Bin’s mouth, Tang Fan had previously suggested ‘military merit, East Palace’ to him, making him turn his eyes outward and develop a good relationship with the Prince in passing. That was because he had seen through to Wang Zhi’s restless nature.
Now that he had been questioned, Tang Fan wouldn’t keep Wang Zhi in suspense. “The North.”
“There’s no major disorder in the South right now. If no big case shows up regarding the corrupt officials, the Court won’t place too much importance on it. Even if you, a Chief Eunuch, arrest a few to establish your might and punish them in example, His Majesty won’t think that you’ve made much of a contribution.”
What Tang Fan didn’t mention was that a powerful eunuch like Wang Zhi going there would be a huge mess; every bloke in the area would scramble to curry favor with him. He should just devastate some foreigners instead. If he could bring in more land for the Great Ming, that would be even better.
Wang Zhi loosened up some. “Right, I thought so too. If you want to play, then you have to play hard; if I’m only going to catch a bunch of shrimp, I may as well just not. Nowadays, the Tartars are frequently causing disturbances, so if I can recover the Great Bend, that would definitely be a shiny merit for me.”
“Recovering it won’t be one day’s work, so please think this over carefully, Eunuch Wang,” Tang Fan quickly replied. “If you can teach the Tartars a bit of a lesson and make them afraid to attack the borders rashly, it would be a great contribution to our Great Ming!”
Wang Zhi got impatient with his nagging. “Alright, you’re not a general. You know hardly anything about this stuff, so there’s no need to say more.”
Then why the heck did you ask me? Were you just looking for a sense of approval?
“I’ll go present a memorial on an auspicious day to request it.”
Tang Fan couldn’t help himself. “How about we make a bet?” his cheap mouth blurted.
“On your request definitely not getting passed.”
Wang Zhi disbelieved him. “That group in Court is cowardly and afraid to send troops, but I can speak in His Majesty’s presence. If I ask for soldiers myself, he should agree to it.”
Tang Fan was unbothered. “Then I’ll make the bet with you.”
Since he was younger than him, Wang Zhi’s competitiveness was roused. “Okay. What’s the wager?”
“If I win, you’ll treat me to a meal at Immortal Cloud. That crab roe-tofu soup from last time was delicious!”
“…You can’t go there yourself?” Why the need for a bet?
“My salary isn’t enough for it,” Tang Fan answered innocently.
To himself, Wang Zhi thought: This is a bonafide glutton!
[End Arc 3: The Case of the East Palace]
The translator says: “eunuchs don’t pursue beauties” wym? dicks aren’t everything. get creative.
If you’re reading this, that means that I’m on a temporary hiatus for Chenghua, and have been for over a week now, but my buffer is now used up. Long story short, I have some things to work on, and Chenghua is too time-intensive to not put it on temporary hold. It will probably last one to three weeks, and will simply pick back up on the next available Sunday. Once the big project is done (soon, as of this writing) and I’m caught up a bit more on TBB (very easy), the hiatus will be done. Sorry for the inconvenience, see you in a tick~
 Posthumous Emperor titles are exceptionally long. Jingtai’s, however, was only seven characters (恭仁康定景皇帝). In comparison, when Yingzong died, his posthumous title was nineteen characters long (法天立道仁明誠敬昭文憲武至德廣孝睿皇帝). What an asshole.
*Despite identical pinyin, his surname is a different character from Wang Zhi’s. They’re unrelated.