After Aidi’s death in 1BCE, the hunt was back on for a new emperor. However, this time it was all a bit different. The man in charge of finding the next in line to the throne had his own goals in mind; to overthrow the Han Dynasty and put himself on the throne. Now an infamous name in Chinese history; Wang Mang began a search for a replacement emperor that would give him the best chance to get closer and closer to power.
His choice was a nine year old boy with a heart condition, someone he suspected not only would never survive to the age he needed to be to become emperor, but also someone weak and easily isolated from his family. During his time serving as an advisor and carer for the young emperor, Wang Mang demoted and banished many people who had previously wronged him in his political career as well as getting rid of anyone who might be seen as a threat in the future.
Despite this, the general population of China adored Wang Mang. Many thought the Han Dynasty had grown weak and unreliable (an image made stronger by the current unqualified and weak child on the throne) and the strong and decisive moves of Wang Mang were seen as a welcome change of pace. However, one person who really didn’t like Wang Mang was Pingdi himself. Now having survived five years and mostly recovered from his heart condition, Pingdi was dangerously close to being old enough to be an independent ruler and punishing Wang Mang for his actions.
Of course, Wang Mang wasn’t going to let that happen. In the Winter of 5AD Pingdi died after having one of his drinks poisoned; leaving the hero of the people Wang Mang to once again find a new emperor.
This time he wasn’t taking any chances.