Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 50)
Chapter 49: Retribution 2 (报应2)
English proofreader: JimmyfromIT
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ* ♪♫♪ On the sixth day of Christmas, Nyanovels gave to me~
six Confucian arts,
Five artist ranks~!!!
four jealous consorts, three trusted servants, two phoenixes flying and
a new chapter of Why Harem Intrigue~ ♪♫♪*:･ﾟ✧*･ﾟ✧
✧･*✧･ﾟ:* Celebrating Nyanovels’ first Christmas and Nyamachi’s first year translating *:･ﾟ✧*･ﾟ✧
Thank you for all your support!!
Night fell and the resplendent palace was covered in darkness. Withered tree branches swayed in the chilling wind and seemed extremely terrifying. The wailing wind swirled in the air causing hearts to feel unsettled. This was destined to not be a peaceful night. The sound of crashing porcelain and womens’ mournful wails could be repeatedly heard from the Six Eastern and Six Western Palaces.东西六宫 (dōngxī liùgōng) 12 palaces that housed the imperial consorts and concubines in the Forbidden City. There were three larger main palaces in the middle which were reserved for the Emperor and Empress and the Hall of Union in between them. The servants on night patrol carried their lanterns and passed in a rush. They didn’t dare to spare a second glance and feared inquiring even more.
In Qian’qing Palace, Emperor Zhou’wu was bent over his desk reading over memorials. On the red sandalwood brush holder for imperial brushes hung a perfume sachet. Its light fragrance circulated causing others to feel even more at ease.
“Your Majesty, Shen Hui’ru has regained consciousness and is demanding to see your honoured self.” Chang’xi dismissed the eunuch who had passed the message, walked into the hall and reported in a soft voice.
Emperor Zhou’wu’s expression didn’t change and he continued to carefully examine the memorials. Observing his indifferent attitude, Chang’xi was just about to withdraw but noticed that he put down a memorial he had finished reviewing. He lightly said, “Come, let’s take a look.” They needed to settle matters between them.
After walking a few steps, his eyebrow creased slightly. He turned around, picked up the perfume sachet hanging on the brush holder and securely tucked it in his clothes.
In the dim light of night, the Cold Palace appeared even more dilapidated. The ground was littered in broken pieces of withered wormwood. 蒿草 (hāocǎo) Artemisia absinthium, a plant native to temperate regions of Eurasia. They made a very creepy rustling sound when stirred by the wind. The paper screens lining the palace’s windows had long been eroded by rain and couldn’t defend in the slightest against the cold. There was no difference between being inside or outside; it was freezing cold.
Shen Hui’ru lay on a damp, mouldy bed with only a thin quilt to warm herself. She was still bleeding and blood had soaked through a large portion of her dress. She shivered from the cold and a sheen of sweat covered her forehead from the pain, yet her expression was a picture of calmness without the slightest trace of despair or fear from impending doom. Having reached this point, any struggle on her part was futile. She wanted to conserve her strength to see that man once more.
Nian’ci had gathered the withered wormwood and made a tiny fire. She kept her distance from Shen Hui’ru, not caring in the least about her fate. She felt immense regret and began to miss her simple, orderly, peaceful life on Thousand Buddha Mountain.
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The creaking sound of the declining palace gates being pushed open drew the pair’s attention. Noticing the man behind Chang’xi, the pair’s eyes lit up at the same time.
“Your Majesty, please spare this servant’s life. This servant realizes her wrongs!” Nian’ci frantically crawled before the man and slammed her forehead to the ground as she kowtowed. The ground quickly became stained with tiny droplets of blood.
“Too noisy.” The man lightly spoke and Chang’xi, who stood behind him, waved a hand. Nian’ci’s body flew and crashed into the palace wall, dying from the impact.
Seeing Chang’xi’s skills, Shen Hui’ru who was half-leaning on the bed, suddenly started giggling. Chang’xi was fake and that Emperor was most definitely the real one! Recalling that she had personally handed the other party Resting Soul incense to poison the Empress Dowager, she felt that she was like a buffoon, pathetic and pitiful!
“This concubine greets Your Majesty.” Putting away her smile, she calmly spoke.
Emperor Zhou’wu didn’t acknowledge her, not even sparing her a glance. He leisurely strolled to the only chair in the room and frowned upon seeing that it was soiled with a thick layer of dust.
Chang’xi immediately walked over, untied the cloak he was wearing and draped it over the chair.
“What were you looking for Zhen for?” The man casually leaned against the chair, staring fixedly with his deep, pitch-black eyes; others dared not look straight at him. The woman’s face was extremely pale and her lips were even more dry and chapped with a few traces of fresh blood. She looked absolutely tragic. However, his heart was still and would never again be moved in the slightest by the other party.
“Allow this concubine and her father to bear the consequences for all crimes. It had nothing to do with the clan’s old and young. Beseeching Your Majesty to show mercy and spare their lives.” Shen Hui’ru stiffly sat upright and dragged her sick body off the bed to kneel before the man. A large portion of her blood-stained dress continued to drip with blood and a strong fishy smell assailed their nostrils. This tableau was truly dreadfully tragic! Shen Hui’ru was taking a gamble, betting that this man still had a sliver of compassion for her.
Regrettably, she was wrong. Having experienced a bizarre and complicated five months on the verge of collapse, the man’s heart had already become as indifferent as an indomitable winter lasting a thousand years.
“The Shen family colluded with the enemy and betrayed the country. If you had succeeded, how many of Our Great Zhou’s citizens would have died by the Barbarians’ hands?” Emperor Zhou’wu leaned back as he questioned her.
He chuckled upon seeing the woman look at him with a woeful, imploring gaze, but his next words were bone-chilling, “Zhen feels that repaying your sins with several thousand lives of Shen clan members is not enough! After wiping out nine or ten degrees of your kin, so long as this kingdom belongs to the Gu family, without exception, anyone with even the slightest connection to your Shen family will be made slaves for generations, forever unable to hold their heads up high.”
Saying this, the man ignored the woman’s sinisterly twisted expression. He stood up and prepared to leave.
“Your Majesty, this concubine is truly regretful! Regretful to not have killed you at the beginning!” Shen Hui’ru used up the last of her strength to grab the hem of his coat as she hatefully spat the words at him.
The man smiled, shook off her hand and continued on his way.
“Your Majesty! Do you still remember our past together? Do you still remember your promise to this concubine? You said that you wanted this concubine to marry you with grandeur and glory crowned with the phoenix coronet凤冠 (fèngguān) The phoenix coronet was worn by the Empress. Another version was also formerly used as a bride’s headdress. in full ceremonial dress!The specific item of clothing here is 霞帔 (xiápèi) or the embroidered tasselled cape worn by noblewomen as part of their ceremonial dress. Princess Huirou wore this in the prologue of Held in the Lonely Castle! [Plug for my other project~] You wanted to let all of Great Zhou’s citizens know that this concubine was the one you truly loved! You wanted this concubine to bear your most noble princes and princesses! But did you make good on any of that? After entering the palace for three years, what exactly did you give this concubine?” She collapsed on the floor and mournfully shouted.This time she uses the casual 你 instead of the respectful 您 to address ZW.
Emperor Zhou’wu halted his steps and turned around to gaze at her attentively with unfathomably deep eyes. It was a while before he slowly spoke, “What did Zhen give you? Shen Hui’ru, after entering the palace for three years, were you ever poisoned by others? Did anyone ever make things difficult for you? Were you ever betrayed and sold out by your most trusted maids? You weren’t! For you, Zhen eliminated all hidden dangers! [Zhen] protected you from all harm! Even going so far as–”
Speaking until here, he closed his eyes. His voice became very hoarse, “Even going so far as to set up a shield for you and let her be the one to scheme and fight in your place. You just had to peacefully stay in Zhong’cui Palace and wait until the Imperial Court was sorted out, until the day you would rise above all and become Empress. Zhen used Our own methods to protect you and Zhen accomplished that! Maybe Zhen did wrong by the other women in the palace but you were the only one Zhen cherished!”
Retracting his gaze, he kicked open the door and walked outside the hall. Weathering the piercingly cold wind, his eyes that were churning with emotion promptly calmed down. He squeezed the perfume sachet in his chest and left with large strides.
“Your Majesty! Don’t leave, this concubine knows her wrongs……” The resentment in Shen Hui’ru’s raspy voice had long faded, leaving only bitter regret. Without having to plot or scheme, without having to vie for power, her former days in Zhong’cui Palace were incredibly peaceful and happy! However, all of this was ruined by her own greed!
Chang’xi gathered the cloak that was draped over the chair and stepped over her body. It was too late for regrets!
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-Outside the Palace, The Imperial Preceptor’s Manor-
Once the news of Gracious Consort’s miscarriage and banishment to the Cold Palace was out, everyone in the stream of people who had originally come to the Imperial Preceptors Manor to offer their condolences left in a flash. The vast majority of them were people who had attached themselves to Imperial Preceptor Shen and only had eyes for Gracious Consort’s pregnancy and the favour with which the Emperor treated Gracious Consort. These two things were no more and the Shen family’s standing returned to its original state, no, even worse off than in the past! Everything was fine, so why did she get banished to the Cold Palace and why was the heavily injured Imperial Preceptor stripped of his post? This was undoubtedly a sign that the Emperor wanted to act against the Shen family. Maybe this time’s massacre of the Shen family was even the Emperor’s handiwork.
Those who were officials in the Imperial Court were definitely all smart people. The Capital’s respected and noble families immediately branded the Shen family as a household with which to avoid all contact. Those who closely associated with the Shen family felt even more anxious like they had a rope wrapped around their neck.
In the drafty funeral hall, Imperial Preceptor Shen sat dejectedly by his legitimate son’s coffin, staring blankly. The steward dismissed the servants and handed him a confidential letter.
He focused his attention and took great pains to finish reading. His lifeless expression seemed to age several years. The letter fluttered down from his quivering hand and was swept up by a gust of wind. It flew up into the air above the funeral hall and swirled in a circle, seeming like an ominous sign. [PR Note: woosh–]
“Master, what happened?” asked the steward quietly.
“Xie Zheng’hao is dead. The person in the palace is definitely His Majesty! It must be! He regained consciousness!” Imperial Preceptor Shen was momentarily paralyzed in the chair. The rightful ruler was indeed the rightful ruler! As long as he sat on the throne, he had countless methods to obliterate the Shen family!
“Master, Master is your honoured self alright?!” Seeing Imperial Preceptor Shen close his eyes and slowly slump to the ground, the steward shouted in alarm.
The next day, Meng Sangyu arrived at Qian’qing Palace for nursing duties just past 7 a.m..Just past 卯时 (mǎoshí) The period between 5 a.m. to 7 am. See my post on Ancient Chinese Timekeeping~ Large snowflakes鹅毛大雪 (émáo dàxuě) describes big snowflakes or heavy snowfall. It literally translates to ‘goose feather large snow’~ I didn’t realize there was an idiom to describe this! began to fall from the dusky sky. She quickly walked to the entrance of the hall and removed her cloak.
Chang’xi stopped the servants outside the hall from announcing the arrival lest it disturbed His Majesty’s sleep. Afterwards, he solicitously took Virtuous Consort’s cloak and guided her in the direction of the bedchamber.
The hall had underfloor heatingSee [dìlóng] in Ancient Glossary~ making it as warm as spring. A camellia bonsai had been placed by the window lattice.窗棂 (chuānglíng) Here is an image~ There were new sprouts and even a few buds, attracting Meng Sangyu to take a second glance. She was surprised to discover that the formerly vacant and cold Qian’qing Palace had many more green bonsai making it seem warm and full of life.
After a person dies once, they will all be especially attached to life; sure enough, this saying was true. She pondered as she walked. Seeing that the bed curtains were closed tightly around the Imperial bed, she shot Chang’xi a hesitant look, “Has His Majesty not yet awoken? In that case, Bengong will go to the side hall and wait a short while.”
“Last night His Majesty instructed that when Your Ladyship arrives, Your Ladyship should wake him immediately.” Chang’xi bowed and replied.
One couldn’t disobey the Emperor’s verbal decree. Meng Sangyu pursed her lips and had no choice but to walk forward, open the bed curtains, and prepare to wake the man up.
The man’s long, full brows were tightly furrowed and there were two dark circles beneath his eyelids. It was obvious that he was sleeping restlessly. His thin lips were pressed into a straight line and his handsome features seemed especially cold and indifferent. Meng Sangyu knew how frightening the ruthlessness in his two unfathomable eyes could be when they were open.
She bent down and was about to speak but hesitated again. It would still be better to let him sleep more. At the very least, he was harmless while he was sleeping and didn’t require her to exert energy to ward him off. She was about to let down the bed curtains when the man got one step ahead of her and opened his eyes. His eyes didn’t show the slightest trace of surprise upon seeing the woman by his bedside. On the contrary, they sparkled and he genuinely smiled. In one smooth motion, he pulled the woman onto the bed.
“Sangyu, keep Zhen company for a bit.” He hugged the woman’s slender waist and murmured with content. This tone of voice and these actions made it seem as if this was how they interacted every day upon waking.
“Your Majesty, this concubine’s body carries the cold air!” Meng Sangyu struggled to get up but accidentally moved the jade pillow and discovered that her perfume sachet was pressed underneath.
In the time she was stunned, the man had already rolled over, pushing her down onto the bed and placed her two hands on his shoulders. He whispered, “Hug Zhen. Without your company, Zhen can’t fall asleep.”
The beautiful woman was plainly well within reach but he couldn’t touch her, fearful of incurring her disregard. He was even more afraid to push her into the heart of danger. Only in his dreams could he relive the warm and sweet days of the past.
When did I ever hug you while sleeping? So before without my company you suffered insomnia every night? Meng Sangyu was at a loss for words. She stared at the deeply sleeping man who was curled up in her embrace and suspected once again that something was wrong with his memory. As rich as her imagination was, she would never have thought that A’Bao who had accompanied her for the past five months was actually His Majesty, the high and lofty Emperor.
Happy New Year, dear readers!!
The team sends our best wishes for a happy, healthy 2021! Please take care of us again this year!
Let’s start 2021 right with part 2 of retribution for Shen Hui’ru~
This is probably the first week back to school/work for many of you. I hope your week goes smoothly as things begin to wind up again! If you’re just starting your day, fighting!! If you finished your day, you worked hard! *pat pat*
A lot happened in this chapter! How do you feel about how things ended between ZW and Shen Hui’ru? Are you happy with her punishment?
When it mentioned that ZW’s eyes sparkled, I instantly thought of this gif! It fits so well for our doggy emperor~
If you haven’t seen it already, check out:
- JimmyfromIT‘s new banner for new year’s on the home page!
- January TL Goals
- Held in the Lonely Castle (A romance before its time between a princess and a eunuch!)
I know Christmas has passed but we’ll be continuing the second half of our Christmas reader event until all 12 chapters are out~ IRL has gotten in the way for our TL team this holiday and we apologize for prolonging the release dates. *bows*
Until next time,
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