Pannonian, I agree with Drak, nice information. I did not know that. Anh, you are welcome. Crazee, it's still Sunday afternoon here, and tomorrow is Memorial Day (US). Short update today, the end of Chapter 36.
The number of princes, dukes and generals who supported Sophia was actually in the minority. Sophia summoned the leaders into the Palace to discuss the strategy presented by Wei Xiaobao. Sophia had the military leadership of Moscow in her side, but she could not ascend the throne to become female Tsar, the main reason being because there was no precedent. When the numerous ministers heard the idea of ‘regency’, they thought that it was a brilliant strategy. As long as they had the power in their hands, becoming the Tsar or not would not make any difference.
After deliberating for quite a while, they came up with another idea: set up Sophia’s sibling, younger brother Ivan as the senior Tsar, let Pyotr still be the Tsar, but he was the junior Tsar. Senior and junior Tsars ruled side-by-side, to avoid opposition from the faction of supporters of Pyotr. Princess Sophia became the ‘Queen Regent’, she would handle all imperial court politics.
As soon as the decision was made, Sophia immediately gathered the firearm brigades, and summoned all princes, dukes and ministers, and declared the new system. She also made a guarantee to all ministers that no one would be recalled or removed from his post, and that everybody who supported the new system would be promoted and rewarded. Seeing that their authority and interest would not be harmed, plus the previous dynasty’s custom would not be broken, none of the numerous princes, dukes and ministers raised any objection.
Someone from the ‘Sophia supporter faction’ took the initiative to step forward and bow to Queen Regent Sophia; the rest of the people followed. Sophia was greatly delighted, she sent someone to invite her younger brother Ivan, and release the Junior Tsar Pyotr from the wine cellar, and have the two of them sat side-by-side as the Tsars; while she herself sat on the right hand seat of her two younger brothers. The hundreds of ministers’ affairs: memorial to the throne, promotion and reward, dismissal and appointment, everything was adjudicated by the Queen Regent. That time Ivan was sixteen, Pyotr was ten; they were young and their knowledge shallow, in everything they listened to their elder sister’s advice.
Sophia was in a position of power; she thought that in this matter, that Chinese little child high-ranking official had rendered a great service. If he did not repeatedly come up with these several ingenious ideas, at this time she would have been still locked up in the Hunting Palace, and then several months later, most probably the Empress Dowager Natalya would force her to leave the secular world to become a nun and would be hidden and locked up in some convent for the rest of her life. Thinking about this tragic fate, the warm sunny days would immediately turn into severe winter. Immediately she sent for Wei Xiaobao and praised him greatly.
Wei Xiaobao thought, those methods of mine are not the least bit special to Chinese people; in China, I was a stinky cobbler, but in Luocha Country, I turned into Zhuge Liang, this is really funny. He was thinking of tooting his horn a bit, but then he suddenly realized that it was not a good idea; if from now on this Luocha Princess wants me to be the ‘Luocha Zhuge Liang’, and wants me to remain by her side and will never allow me to return home, won’t it be desperately serious? Therefore, he said, “Lady Queen Regent, you have become the Regent, to become female Tsar in the future is very easy. Only you must observe one thing, and everybody will submit to you.”
“What is it?” Sophia asked, “Tell me quickly.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “Once you give your word, three-horse chariot cannot pursue it.” Actually, Luocha people’s horse-drawn carriage only used three horses to pull, unlike Chinese carriages, which used four horses. For this reason, Chinese saying ‘a team of four horses cannot pursue’, in Luocha Country it became ‘three-horse chariot cannot pursue’.
Sophia did not understand. “What is ‘three-horse chariot cannot pursue’?” she asked.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Once you gave your word, you must keep your promise. In China, our Emperor’s words are called the Emperor’s golden mouth, he must never go back on it.”
Sophia was suddenly enlightened; she laughed and said, “My promise to you, you are afraid I might renege, aren’t you? My darling Chinese little child, Luocha Queen Regent’s word is precious stone mouth; it is more precious than your Chinese Emperor’s golden mouth.”
Immediately she proclaimed an edict in the name of the senior and junior Tsars, conferring Wei Xiaobao the title of Earl, governing the Eastern Tatar. She also ordered a minister to write an imperial document to be delivered to the Chinese Emperor. She sent Wei Xiaobao off, accompanied by a Russian ambassador, escorted by two squads of Cossack cavalry, bringing gold, silver and precious objects, and not a few of rewards. The several tens of thousands taels banknotes that Wei Xiaobao bribed her was returned to him. In addition, she also sent a lot of presents to the Chinese Emperor, such us mink fur, precious stones and other Luocha Country special products.
By this time Sophia had already picked several good-looking Luocha Country men to accompany her, so she was not intimate with Wei Xiaobao anymore. But when the day Wei Xiaobao was taking his leave arrived, Sophia remembered the affection of the past several months, she was also grateful for his great merit in establishing her as the ruler, hence she was really reluctant to part with him.
According to Russian true historical record, the firearm brigades’ rebellion lasted for three days between the fifteenth and the seventeenth of the fifth month. By the twenty-ninth of the fifth month, the firearm brigades, under Sophia’s prompting, presented a petition requesting Ivan and Pyotr to be joint Tsars, and asked Sophia to be the Princess Regent, adjudicating the military and national affairs. By the time the chaos was resolved, it was already the middle of the sixth month.
The weather was sunny and warm; Wei Xiaobao was striding over a fine horse, under the protection of two squads of Cossack cavalry, speeding eastwards along the great Siberian prairie. The gentle breeze stroked his face; the sound of hoof beats filled his ears. Glancing to his left he saw his smart servant girl Shuang’er, with skin as white as snow and lips like cherry. Looking to his right he saw the Luocha Country Ambassador with his bluish green eyes and yellow beard. Mink fur and gifts, in fully loaded carts, followed behind them. Wei Xiaobao was extremely high-spirited; he thought, “This time I escape alive from mortal danger, not only my little life is protected, I also rendered great service to the Luocha Princess; and it was all because laozi had heard many stories and watched a lot of plays.”
China has been established for several thousand years, in terms of struggles to gain imperial power as the emperor, rebellion and massacre, it has abundant experience, unequalled throughout world. What Wei Xiaobao knew was superficial knowledge circulated among the common people, yet it was enough to strike awe in foreign land; unexpectedly he was able to help someone scheming against the imperial court and usurping the throne, bringing peace and order to the country.
Actually, this matter was not surprising at all; the founding commander-in-chief of the Manchurian Qing was an uncouth, unlearned man. The strategies he used in marching the troops into battle mainly came from the novel ‘The Romance of The Three Kingdoms’. In those years Qing Taizong [founder of Qing Dynasty] employed the stratagem of sowing dissension, he swindled Emperor Chongzhen into destroying the Great Wall by killing his great general Yuan Chonghuan. The stratagem was copied from the story in ‘The Romance of The Three Kingdoms’, in which Zhou Yu ordered Cao Cao to behead his own navy’s commanding officer.
In the real historical record, Zhou Yu swindling Cao Cao into killing his naval unit commander did not exist; it was fabricated by the novel writer. Unexpectedly, later on the novelist’s words became a fact, shaping China’s destiny for several hundreds of years. The things in life are strange, even stranger than the story in the novel. After the Manchus entered the Pass, they opened up new territory and expanded their lands, tripling the original China’s territory during the Ming Dynasty, far surpassed the Tang Dynasty, where the history of Han people was at its peak. Until today, the merit of novel, play, storytelling, et cetera has not died.
(Book note: Russian gunmen rebellion, Ivan and Pyotr, Senior and Junior Tsars’ co-existence, Sophia became Queen Regent, and so on, were historical facts. However, Wei Xiaobao’s involvement in this matter was considered by Russian people to be morally offensive and brought disgrace to their national prestige; therefore, history books did not have any written account on this matter. In the meantime, since Chinese court recorders have not witnessed it, plus it was a strange occurrence in some barbarian foreign land, it was considered nothing more than hearsay, not suitable to be recorded in China’s history, so much so that this matter had passed into oblivion.)