85 In Plain Sight Pt.1

    Tutor Wentai was no ordinary man: he was a scholar. And as a scholar, he was very passionate about Philosophy, Science and of course, the Creative Arts. But while he revelled in the delights of knowledge and the discovery of new and exciting concepts, what deterred him most from being a scholar, particularly a tutor, was a disengaged student. And for a while, Tutor Wentai did not enjoy the tutelage of the youngest of his Lord's sons. That was, until recently.

    "So, Great Emperor Yueran unified Saim before he became the leader of the Jade Lotus?"

    Tutor Wentai nodded. "That is correct, Young Master."

    Taehyung peered down at his book in thought. "Then that must mean the Parks have been leading Saim for three generations now."

    "It will be four once the emperor produces an heir" Jongin added from beside him. Taehyung glanced at his brother and he continued, "It is very likely that he may already have offspring that we do not even know about. As the only male heir, His Majesty has the biggest responsibility to produce heirs so that the Park dynasty will continue."

    Tutor Wentai nodded approvingly at his star pupil. Out of all the Kim brothers, Jongin, by far, was his favourite. He glanced at Taehyung from across the new library, where they were holding their lesson. Normally, the seat across from him was always vacant, but as of late, Taehyung had been punctually occupying it.

    "But what will happen if he does not produce any male heirs?" Taehyung addressed Tutor Wentai. "Who will the throne go to?"

    Tutor Wentai cleared his throat. "That will not happen" he spoke bluntly with confidence. "His Majesty will definitely bear a son."

    Taehyung persisted, "But say that he does not. What will happen then?"

    Jongin turned to look at Tutor Wentai. Even he too was curious.

    "Then," Tutor Wentai began, "the next eldest male in his family will inherit the throne."

    "The next eldest male?"

    "Yes," he replied, "this might be his nephew, distant cousin or in rare cases, brother-in-law. Any male relative may be eligible for the throne although, he must prove the legitimacy of his claim."

    "But what if there are no males left?" Taehyung continued to question. "Then what will happen?"

    At this, Jongin knew the answer. "Then there will be civil war."

    Taehyung was taken aback by his brother's words. "Huh? Why?"

    With a dark expression he responded, "With no clear heir, no one knows who should rise to the throne." He gaped at Taehyung as he explained further, "As you know, Saim was unified a century ago. Under the Jade Lotus, the clan leaders are kept in order. Without an emperor to lead them, the clan leaders will fall into anarchy as they compete for the throne." His eyes narrowed at the prospect. "Saim will fall because of man's greed for power."

    "That is correct, Master Jongin" Tutor Wentai praised grimly.

    "But what if the emperor has daughters?" Taehyung questioned even further. "Surely they can inherit the throne instead?"

    With a wry smile, Tutor Wentai replied, "That cannot be. The throne can only be inherited through the male lineage."

    "It is unheard of for a woman to inherit the throne" Jongin added when he noticed Taehyung's confusion. "Women do not bear the same weight of importance as men."

    Taehyung looked like he was about to contest Jongin's statement when Tutor Wentai interrupted him. "Young Master, while I am pleased you are engaging with your classes, such forward thinking is unnecessary for our History lessons."

    "But I was just stating a hypothetical scenario."

    "Yes," Tutor Wentai agreed, "but it is a morbid scenario that we should not be discussing during our History lesson." He sighed wearily. "We should avoid adding oil to the fire by not speculating on what ifs. As it stands, the issue of the succession and the royal family is already a sensitive topic."

    "Because of the new emperor?" Taehyung ventured to ask.

    Tutor Wentai was hesitant to respond.

    "I have heard things about the new emperor" Jongin interjected while fiddling with his ink brush. "Brother Junmyeon says that he has a peculiar aversion to women. Is that true?"

    Still, Tutor Wentai remained silent.

    "The emperor dislikes women?" Taehyung echoed. "Why?"

    Jongin shrugged. He was just as clueless as Taehyung. "If it is true, then there will definitely be an issue with the next heir. So far, it is only a rumour."

    With a coy smile, Taehyung uttered, "Maybe the emperor prefers the company of other men..."

    Finally, Tutor Wentai found his voice again. "Blasphemy, child!" he exclaimed. "You must be cautious of what comes out of your mouth!"

    "I only jest, Tutor Wentai," Taehyung said while stifling a laugh. He glanced at his older brother who had turned away to hide his amusement. "It is too early to tell what kind of man the emperor will turn out to be. He has only been on the throne for less than three months."

    "Regardless of whether you jest or not" Tutor Wentai responded hotly, "it is unwise to speak ill of His Majesty like that."

    Taehyung rolled his eyes.

    The elder tutted to himself. And here I thought the Young Master had finally matured...

    "But how did the Jade Lotus manage to maintain the peace with the clan leaders?" Jongin questioned. "Even if they had lost against the Jade Lotus, surely, they could have combined forces to defeat them?"

    "Excellent question!" Tutor Wentai exclaimed. "The Jade Lotus was able to prevail over the clansmen because there was trust between the families." He picked up his ink brush and began writing fervently on the sheet of paper in front of him. "It was your great-grandfather who coined this adage."

    Taehyung and Jongin leaned forward as the elder showed them what he had written.

    "Kin before Kim" Taehyung read aloud. "What does that mean?"

    "Brotherhood before oneself."
Previous Index Next