Chapter 272: Big Uncle's Wisdom!
With a cup of wine gulped down, the relationship between the two grew more cordial.
Even though the both of them hadn't met one another before, they belonged to the same generation. They had long heard of one another, and they were also very familiar with the other's affairs.
Zhangchou Jianqiong even knew that Wang Gen's private name was Jiexin, and Wang Gen also bypassed usual formalities to address the other party intimately as Brother Zhangchou.
Putting down the wine cup, Zhangchou Jianqiong spoke earnestly. "There's no need for me to hide anything before Brother Jiexin. After spending decades by the border, I hope to move on and enter the royal court. I truly desire to win the Minister of War selection this time round. Given that Brother Jiexin is an influential official and a veteran of the royal court, I hope that you can give me some advice. I'll be extremely grateful to you if you can do so."
Those words immediately left the entire floor silent. All gazes fell upon Wang Gen in an instant. Men of the military liked to dive straight into the topic at hand, and while Zhangchou Jianqiong harbored great ambitions, he was no exception to the rule.
While one of the aims of this banquet was to get acquainted with Wang Gen and forge connections with the Wang Clan, what Zhangchou Jianqiong was the most concerned about was his promotion to Minister of War.
"Brother Zhangchou, I understand." Wang Gen stroked his beard with a contemplative look. He wasn't surprised by Zhangchou Jianqiong's abrupt question. He had been anticipating this question from him ever since he received the invitation letter.
"Brother Zhangchou has contributed greatly to Great Tang by maintaining peace and stability in Jiannan. With that credential, it's more than enough for you to become the head of the Bureau of Military Personnel. Based on my estimates, there is at least a forty percent chance that Brother Zhangchou will emerge victorious in the selection."
Zhangchou Jianqiong couldn't conceal the disappointment he felt. After all he had done, he wasn't content with just a forty percent chance.
These weren't the words that Zhangchou Jianqiong wanted to hear. Nevertheless, given Wang Gen's experience, it was unlikely for him to be wrong on this matter. He also didn't think that Wang Gen would lie to him about it either.
This was also the reason why he was extremely respectful to Wang Gen.
"Only forty percent? I beseech Brother Jiexin to guide me as to what I should do. I'll surely return the favor in the future!" Zhangchou Jianqiong replied earnestly.
Zhangchou Jianqiong seems to be more anxious than I thought, Wang Chong observed, looking at the scene calmly from the side.
A person of Zhangchou Jianqiong's standing wouldn't stoop down to reneging on his own promise. Since he gave his word, he would surely fulfill it in the future. He could have mentioned this in private, but he chose to speak of it openly at this banquet instead. This reflected how anxious he was about this matter.
Perhaps he had been waiting too long, or maybe he thought that this was the final opportunity he would get, but Wang Chong could feel that Zhangchou Jianqiong was really putting everything at stake for the sake of taking the position of Minister of War.
To think that I thought I might still have a slim hope of retaining Zhangchou Jianqiong in Jiannan, seems like it's entirely impossible now, Wang Chong thought.
Zhangchou Jianqiong was like a stabilizing pillar for the southeast region of the empire. A part of the reason why the events in the future turned out as they did was due to him forcefully leaving his position as the Protector-General to enter the royal court.
His absence had left a hole in the defenses of Jiannan for powerful enemies such as Mengshe Zhao and ¨¹-Tsang to exploit.
But despite being aware of all of this, there was little that Wang Chong could do.
The river flows down and a human climbs up; this was the natural way of things. Zhangchou Jianqiong's determination wasn't something that Wang Chong could change, so he could only sigh regretfully.