Title: A Decent Calculation
Day/Theme: Fri Feb.6 - The mathematics of forgetting
Series: Woxin Changdan AU cont'd
Character/Pairing: Fu Chai, Wu Zi Xu
"So, your Majesty has taken the King of Yue's advisor into your service."
"And of course you don't approve."
"He comes with Bo Pi's recommendation. Of course I don't. How can you trust him?"
"He has the right ideas. He wants us to turn our attention north--"
"So your Majesty will forget about Yue--"
"Not at all. Fan Li acts as our go-between to Gou Jian, able to advise us to our mutual benefit. With his help we'll have Yue as our ally when we go north."
"Yue an ally." Wu Zi Xu rolls his eyes. "That is the one thing your Majesty cannot have."
"Chancellor, how do you know? You never tried."
"Of course we tried! We tried in the teeth of Yue's opposition. The heir of Wu was married to the daughter of Yue, and a hard enough time we had prising her from her father's grip. And what happened then?"
"Oh yes. Tell us. What happened then, Chancellor?"
"Your Majesty knows perfectly well. She forgot her duty and the path of right behaviour and ran from her husband's side. She began the war between our countries that we'd worked so hard to avoid. Doesn't your Majesty see that the house of Yue can't be trusted? Turn your back to them for a moment and they betray you!"
The king makes no answer. He sits leaning on one arm and his heavy eyes regard Wu Zi Xu with no expression at all.
"That isn't what your Majesty wants to hear, is it? I'm sorry. Your old courtier has never been in the habit of lying for the sake of expediency. I speak the plain truth."
"We think... you speak the truth as you see it. But we can't make that truth square with the one we know. You *know* why our brother's wife fled the palace. Why didn't you do something about it earlier?"
Wu Zi Xu gives a deep sigh of impatience. "Majesty. Strong kings have strong passions. One puts up with them. It's the duty of a subject. Princess Jiwan wasn't the first, but she thought she was different from the rest of us."
Fu Chai jumps minutely.
"Nothing." Fu Chai looks away, tapping the table silently with the flat of his hand. "I don't understand you, Chancellor." He flashes a black look back at Wu Zi Xu. "The Crown Prince's son could well have been his brother. Is that in accordance with the Way? Adultery, rape, fouling the bloodlines of our house--"
Wu Zi Xu sighs. "Your father-- and I-- come from a harsher time. There was no Way when we were young."
"The Way has always existed! You mean you didn't acknowledge it!"
"Men and kingdoms come from nothing. Wu was once a race of tattooed barbarians. You learned agriculture; you learned the Rites; you made a country from what had once been a rabble of tribes fighting among themselves. You stand on the pinnacle now and can afford to despise what you were before. But you wouldn't be here without it."
Fu Chai breathes heavily. "You're right. Men and kingdoms grow and change. Wu was once a rabble of quarreling tribes but it became a united people. Wu and Yue are now a pair of quarrelling kingdoms. Why should *we* not become a united people? Isn't that the natural development- the next step in the process?"
"Yes it is. It just won't happen with Gou Jian at the head of Yue. He'll make our kingdoms one by erasing Wu. Your Majesty's only choice is to unite the kingdoms by erasing Yue."
"You come from a harsher time, Chancellor. The kill or be killed one. We intend to do it differently-- the longer way, yes, but the surer. Join with Yue in a larger mission. Promote trade amongst the peoples. Already half our countrymen have family in Yue, and vice versa. In time the people will be one and the borders a mere formality."
"And the King of Wu and the King of Yue will live in peace together? Like brothers, yes?"
"No. Brothers always have something they want to gain from each other. Like cousins, Chancellor." He gives Wu Zi Xu a tight little smile. "You may go."
Wu Zi Xu gives him a long look under his eyebrows, bows and leaves. Wang Sunluo follows at his heels. In the hallway the Chancellor sighs.
"The king is learning-- he's learning. But he's not learning fast enough, and I fear only a disastrous lesson will teach him what he needs to know."
(Tsukanda genjitsu wo/ let it go/ shinjiyou = the reality you've grabbed hold of, let it go, let's trust each other. 'For Real', OP lyrics to season 2 Gensoumaden Saiyuki.)