Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 49)
Chapter 49: Retribution 1 (报应1)
English proofreader: JimmyfromIT
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Noble Consort Li’s appearance was too sudden! Before anyone could react, she threw herself before the Empress Dowager with outstretched hands to grab the Empress Dowager’s legs.
Meng Sangyu moved quickly and stepped forward to block the Empress Dowager. Her eyebrows shot up when she saw that the other party was as lean as a rake with an unbearably thin and pallid face. There was no need to hear her grievances. Just by looking at her wretched appearance, one could tell what a miserable life she had been leading. Both of her hands could already not be called hands. They were as dry and withered as old twigs as they clutched the Empress Dowager’s legs without the least bit of strength. They were even faintly trembling.
Being weak to this extent, how did she manage to leave the heavily guarded Cold Palace and successfully arrive at Ci’ning Palace? It must be known that the distance between the two palaces was quite far! At first, Meng Sangyu hesitated, but afterwards, she immediately stepped into the gap between them and forcefully unlatched Noble Consort Li’s arms before slowly retreating to the side. She glanced at the Empress Dowager.
The Empress Dowager was stunned and hesitantly called out, “Noble Consort Li?”
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“Empress Dowager, begging your venerable self to save the Second Prince! He will soon die because of this evil woman!” Noble Consort Li lay prone at the Empress Dowager’s feet. She pointed at Shen Hui’ru, her twisted expression full of hatred.
“You’re the one who is evil! Give me back my son’s life!” With bloodshot eyes, Worthy Consort rushed forward to attack Noble Consort Li. The situation broke into complete chaos. Shen Hui’ru had long put away her scared expression and loudly ordered the guards to drag them outside.
“Wait, pull them apart. Aijia wants to hear what this matter is about!” The Empress Dowager waved a hand and the guards immediately separated the two women. Worthy Consort’s hair was already in disarray while Imperial Noble Consort Li was in an even more deplorable state.
“Empress Dowager, this concubine is innocent! The Second Prince is innocent!” Noble Consort Li was choked with sobs as she began to intermittently recount the injustice done to her.
Everyone in the room looked at the crying, aggrieved Noble Consort Li with different expressions; their gazes were either cold and heartless, delighting in schadenfreude,Pleasure from another person’s misfortune. or indifferent altogether. One could hear the sound of Worthy Consort gritting her teeth as if she couldn’t wait to rip her apart, but as Noble Consort Li revealed more and more secrets, they couldn’t maintain their aloof expressions.
Abortion soup? The princes were poisoned and wouldn’t live until adulthood? No, this couldn’t be true! They looked at Shen Hui’ru with eyes full of disbelief. Once they saw the other party’s pale face coupled with a guilty look in her eyes like she wanted to flee, their minds went blank.
The story was almost at its end. She hadn’t expected retribution to come so quickly. As expected of the real Emperor. Once his position was stable, his methods were swift as lightning and violent as thunder. He didn’t even give his opponent a chance to gasp for breath. Meng Sangyu keenly peered at Shen Hui’ru’s distorted expression and bowed her head, giving a mocking smile.
“Empress Dowager, this concubine……” Shen Hui’ru was worthy of her name.慧(huì) = intelligent; 茹(rú) = to endure. She quickly regained her composure and advanced forward with a hand covering her stomach as she knelt before the Empress Dowager. She was about to defend herself, but who would’ve thought that the minute her knees touched the ground, her body would unexpectedly go limp. She lay on the ground crying out in agony.
Her eyes widened and she fiercely clutched at her stomach that continued to throb in pain. Cold sweat appeared on her forehead and a growing red stain appeared on the back of her skirt as blood continued to seep through. It happened too quickly. She wasn’t conscious of anything else but the agonizing pain.
“Ah! Her Ladyship Gracious Consort has miscarried!” Nian’ci cried out in alarm while the rest of the Imperial Concubines had dazed expressions.
“Take Gracious Consort to a side room,” said the Empress Dowager with a pale face. Her ice-cold eyes carried a hint of killing intent as her gaze flitted over Shen Hui’ru. Several strong elderly maids stepped forward and roughly lifted Gracious Consort. The panic-stricken Nian’ci was also forcefully dragged away. Only a dazzling pool of blood remained on the ground.
“The rest of you remain. Aijia will call for the Imperial Physicians to take your pulses. Let’s see if what Noble Consort Li said was true. Also, send people to bring the princes here as well.” The Empress clutched a string of prayer beadsAlso known as a japamala, prayer beads are for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or repeating a mantra or the name of a diety. in her hand and began to chant sutras. Her eyes were closed and one could not make out any expression on her face.
The imperial guards carried out the order. Noble Consort Li laid quietly at the Empress Dowager’s feet. Her ashen face was as withered as a rotten tree, without the faintest hint of life. The Imperial Concubines’ hearts were unsettled and no one spoke. The hall was deathly silent.
Several doctors who had accompanied the Empress Dowager to Thousand Buddha Mountain hurried over to answer the summons. Several princes also followed the guards as they were escorted into the main hall. Upon seeing the Second Prince lying on the divan who had been carried in by the guards, Noble Consort Li finally had a reaction. Tears streamed down her face as she rushed over to him.
The bones in both of Second Prince’s legs were broken. Since they had not healed, nowadays he couldn’t even stand up. The only way was to break the bones in his legs once more and allow the body to heal, but even so, his legs would still be extremely deformed. Every time it was overcast or rainy, he would suffer incessant pain.
Several of the other princes were poisoned and their bodies were extremely weak. If they meticulously recuperated for several years then perhaps they could live a normal person’s life. However, they would definitely not live until old age.
Other than Virtuous Consort who had remained under house arrest and several low ranked concubines who had not yet attended to the Emperor, the rest of the Imperial Concubines had all been poisoned with abortion soup. No one was spared.
These Imperial Physicians were all close confidants of the Empress Dowager and could be relied upon. Moreover, they were also backed by the Emperor and therefore spoke without reserve. After they finished speaking, the entire hall was utterly silent. A while later, one could hear Worthy Consort letting out a lamenting wail. She was soon joined by Imperial Consort, Beautiful Consort, and the rest. One after another, they held their own imperial son close as they bitterly wept. The sound of heartrending cries crescendoed as one. At that moment, everyone had a single thought: They wanted to tear Shen Hui’ru into a thousand pieces!
It was true that dogs who bite others won’t bark first.会叫的狗不咬人，会咬人的狗不会叫. Literally: A dog who barks does not bite, but a dog who bites does not bark. It comes from a breed of dog that appears very docile at first glance, and will even let you get close to it, but if you offend it or its owner, it will bite you without hesitation. It’s used to describe a person who is knowledgeable and tolerant but if they were to make a move, they would be utterly ruthless in their methods. I suppose this can be used to describe Sangyu as well. Who would’ve guessed that the sweet-tempered and amiable Gracious Consort would secretly have such terrifying methods? The entire Imperial Medical Academy was in the palm of her hand to do her bidding as she wished. If the Empress Dowager hadn’t suddenly returned to the palace, she and the child in her womb would have ruled this Inner Palace! It was too horrifying!
After they thought it through, several of the Imperial Concubines started trembling. It was not because they were scared; rather, it was because of bone-deep hatred. Their children would not live long and they themselves could not give birth – they could only await death staying inside the palace.
“Empress Dowager, please report this matter to His Majesty so that the culprit will be severely punished!” Worthy Consort dried her tears. With a resounding thump, she heavily knelt before the Empress Dowager. She already believed Noble Consort Li’s words. The Fifth Prince’s death was definitely because of Shen Hui’ru’s treacherous schemes! Thinking that she had felt eternally grateful to her enemy and was even manipulated into helping her enemy bring down Noble Consort Li, she felt even worse than death!
“Beseeching the Empress Dowager and His Majesty to mete out justice!” The sound of knees hitting the ground resounded throughout the hall as everyone knelt in unison. Meng Sangyu also could not rise and knelt with everyone else. Today’s spectacle was too splendid, why not kneel for a bit?
“Someone come, go and call over His Majesty.” The Empress Dowager stopped chanting sutras; her eyes remained closed as if she was extremely unhappy because of the scene before her.
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“Aijia and His Majesty will naturally seek out justice for you. However, once you leave Aijia’s palace gates, you should all watch your mouths. What can be said, what cannot be said, all of you should be clear on this.” Putting down her prayer beads, the Empress Dowager slowly opened her eyes and looked at the crowd who knelt before her. With the killing intent emanating from her pitch-black eyes, how did she resemble the merciful Buddha老佛爷 (lǎo fóyé) is a title of respect for the Empress Dowager meaning Buddha or Holiness. from a moment ago?
“This concubine understands.” The concubines affirmed in unison. Poisoning imperial offspring, harming the Imperial Concubines, even going so far as to shorten the imperial family’s hereditary line – if this kind of earth-shattering scandal ever got out, it was enough to shake the foundations of Great Zhou. Unless all of them wanted to seek death and bury the imperial clan along with them, all they could do was to take this matter to their graves. However, what must be avenged still needed to be avenged!
Thinking until here, who knows how many people broke the gold filigree nail guards on their hands.
By the time Emperor Zhou’wu arrived, the traumatized princes had already been taken away and the pool of blood on the floor had already been cleaned up. All that remained was a crowd of women with tear-stained faces who wore sad, hopeless expressions. Meng Sangyu hung her head and stood still, trying as hard as possible to erase her presence. She could feel that there were already several people throwing resentful glares in her direction. People are like this. When one suffers misfortune, one will always project their negativity on an innocent person, wishing that the whole world could be subjected to the same misfortune as them.
“Zhen already heard.” The man sat imposingly in the head seat. His gaze stopped on Meng Sangyu for a second before quickly moving away.
“What does Your Majesty intend to do?” The Empress Dowager began to count her prayer beads again. After staying so long at Thousand Buddha Mountain, she couldn’t call forth any good feelings for this imperial palace filled with harem intrigue. Once these annoying matters were dealt with, she wanted to immediately rush back to Thousand Buddha Mountain.
“How is Gracious Consort?” asked Emperor Zhou’wu in a solemn voice. He did not receive a reply so he turned to Nurse Jin who was by the Empress Dowager’s side.
“Your Majesty~ Begging Your Majesty to seek out justice for this concubine!” Imperial Consort was a weeping beauty as she sorrowfully made her request. She had been rather favoured recently and felt that she held some importance in the Emperor’s heart. She never expected that the Emperor would still care about that sl*t after reaching this point! Had he lost his rationality? Otherwise, why would he let that sl*t’s power grow to this extent?
Once Imperial Consort spoke, several concubines who had recently received some favour all prostrated themselves at his feet. Each was more sorrowfully beautiful than the next. If they knew that the person they had recently slept with was not the man in front of them, what kind of expression would they make? Would they still be able to maintain their sorrowfully beautiful masks whilst facing unbearable grief?
Catching sight of the man’s unfathomable expression and the storm brewing within his pitch-black eyes, Meng Sangyu hung her head, the corners of her mouth imperceptibly curving upwards in a sneer. She inwardly surmised what that man was feeling at this moment.
Crowned with green hats that reached the sky,As a reminder, 戴绿帽子 (dài lǜ màozi) or wearing green hats is an expression in Chinese implying that one’s wife or girlfriend is having an affair. Supposedly in the Ming and Yuan dynasties, men whose female relatives were prostitutes would have to wear green head coverings. this feeling was extremely unpleasant, wasn’t it? A normal man would not be able to tolerate it, let alone this supremely exalted monarch. Thinking until here, her smile deepened.
“Silence!” Emperor Zhou’wu’s expression showed that he was unable to endure any longer. His nostrils were flooded with all kinds of smells from rouge and powder. He felt suffocated to the point that his temples throbbed with pain. Every face was clearly sobbing, one more beautiful than the next, but not a single one made his heart waver.
The man’s voice was low and sombre, heavily implying that he was not in a forgiving mood. The Imperial Concubines quieted down. They trembled with fear as they prostrated themselves at his feet, not daring to move a muscle.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, Gracious Consort miscarried. A moment ago she was bleeding heavily. By this time, the blood would have stopped. She is currently unconscious.” Nurse Jin reported truthfully.
“First, banish her to the Cold Palace. Once Zhen has dealt with Imperial Preceptor Shen, they will be condemned together,” said Emperor Zhou’wu icily.
The kneeling concubines listened with delight. Knowing that the Shen family would hereafter face even more misfortune, their anxiousness faded. After a hundred deaths, a life worse than death was the due punishment that Shen Hui’ru rightly deserved!
Seeing that the Emperor was rising to leave, several favoured concubines hurriedly approached him with tear-stained faces, seeking to get affection. Without children, imperial favour was the only thing they could depend on to survive in the palace. Having experienced every kind of plot and scheme, they always made it through adversity and found a way forward.
Emperor Zhou’wu halted his steps and turned back to look at Meng Sangyu, but what he saw was her getting a step ahead of Nurse Jin to support the Empress Dowager to rise. She then turned to escort the Empress Dowager to her bedroom to rest. She didn’t care the slightest bit about his departure.
Bowing his head and smiling bitterly, Emperor Zhou’wu brushed off the crowd of women beside him and departed with large strides.
TL Team’s Thoughts:
Merry Christmas, dear readers!!
We wish you all a magical Christmas with delicious food, quality time with family and a smacking dose of retribution for Shen Hui’ru~
For your information, our reader event will continue into the new year! Let’s extend the Christmas cheer as long as we can, shall we? :3 The twelve days of Christmas actually refer to the 12 days after Christmas starting on Christmas day until Jan 5th~
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Warmest wishes to you and yours,
Nyamachi, JimmyfromIT, Silverylazes, & [redacted]
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