Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 53)
Chapter 53: Discovery (发现)
Translators: Nyamachi & Silverylazes
TL assistants: JimmyfromIT & [redacted]
English proofreader: JimmyfromIT
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nine imperial women, eight birth characters, seven lines of poem, six Confucian arts,
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four jealous consorts, three trusted servants, two phoenixes flying and
a new chapter of Why Harem Intrigue~ ♪♫♪*:･ﾟ✧*･ﾟ✧
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After having sent away the attentive Chang’xi, Meng Sangyu led Bi’shui and Yin’cui as they slowly walked back in the direction of Bi’xiao Palace. The swirling snow formed a thick layer on the ground. Everywhere was covered in a dazzling white, seeming pure and tranquil. The crunching sound made from stepping on the soft snow made walking around much more interesting.
Meng Sangyu’s calm expression seemed slightly more relaxed as she steadily walked on. Bi’shui and Yin’cui also had a lot of fun as they followed along, stepping in their mistress’ footprints in the snow. The three of them walked together, with only a line of footprints being seen from a distance. After strolling for what seemed like a long time, just as they were about to walk out of the confines of Qian’qing Palace. Several servants who were passing by moved to the side of the road to salute Virtuous Consort.
“You…” Meng Sangyu’s relaxed expression disappeared from her face in a flash. She stopped in front of a eunuch, pointing to his waist with trembling fingers, “Where did you get this thing from? Tell me!” Her face was ashen.
The servant was trying to hide the red sandalwood pendant that was tied around his waist, but the sharp-eyed Virtuous Consort had already caught him red-handed. His face couldn’t help but turn pale. He banged his forehead against the snow-covered ground with heavy thuds as he kowtowed, “Begging Your Ladyship to spare this one’s life! This servant picked this up from a flowerbed. This servant didn’t kill Your Ladyship’s dog! When this servant discovered it, it had already been dead for a long time!”
He was utterly regretful. He shouldn’t have secretly hidden this object once he saw that it was valuable. Even though he had scraped away the five large gilded words, he never imagined that this was something that Virtuous Consort had personally designed. She recognized it with one glance.
Bi’shui stepped forward and pulled off the pendant at his waist and fixed her gaze on it. Although the gold powder had been rubbed off, a few notches remained. Sure enough, it said [Bi’xiao Palace’s A’Bao].
“Your Ladyship.” Bi’shui slowly placed the dog tag in her master’s pale hand and called out anxiously.
“Where did you find him? Lead Bengong there!” Meng Sangyu tightly clutched the dog tag in her hand as she barked an order.
That eunuch didn’t dare to conceal the matter and scrambled to his feet to lead them to a flower bed beside a palace wall. He threw himself at the flowerbed and searched frantically. Meng Sangyu watched with cold eyes. Her pale face didn’t show the slightest trace of emotion. The thick layer of snow was completely torn apart but there was nothing in the spot where the puppy’s body originally lay. That eunuch gave up all hope and knelt by Meng Sangyu’s feet and kowtowed again.
“Your Ladyship, please believe this servant. This servant really found that puppy’s body and knew that he was your dog after seeing the pendant. Even if this servant had ten times the courage, this servant still would not dare to harm him!”
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Having died in Qian’qing Palace, other than Shen Hui’ru’s close confidants, who else would have dared to make a move? Meng Sangyu was perfectly clear on the matter but her face showed complete shock. Noticing the small leather strap sticking out of a thick clump of grass, her heart throbbed with pain. She recognized it – the calfskin strap that she had given to A’Bao to fasten his dog tag. She had taken great pains to tan it multiple times and so that it was light, soft, and comfortable when worn.
She shut her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, she coldly gazed at the eunuch by her feet and said icily, “Is this something that you’re even worthy of touching? Since you knew that he was Bengong’s dog, why didn’t you come and report the matter to Bengong?”
That eunuch was utterly terrified and couldn’t come up with the faintest excuse to defend himself. He could only kowtow more vigorously. If he had known this would happen, he wouldn’t have even had a thought of such greed.
“Slap your face fifty times!” Meng Sangyu ordered with gritted teeth. Seeing that the eunuch was ignorant, she spared him. Hearing the slapping sounds, she suddenly felt extremely exhausted and waved her hand to lead Yin’cui and Bi’shui to depart.
After returning to Bi’xiao Palace and removing her cloak that was completely covered in snow, she walked to her bedchamber in a daze. Without any warning, she collapsed, knocking a set of chinaware on the teapoy to the ground.
Yin’cui and Bi’shui noticed something was wrong and promptly stretched out their hands to catch her. They assisted her to lie down on the divan by the window. Nurse Feng, who had gone to fetch some hot water, was started by the commotion and immediately ran inside to investigate. Seeing that her master’s breathing was laboured and that cold sweat dripped from her forehead, she anxiously cried out in fear, “Your Ladyship, what happened? Bi’shui, quickly, go and quickly call the Imperial Physician!”
Bi’shui made a sound of acknowledgement and almost flew over to the Imperial Medical Academy.
“Nurse, I’m fine!” Meng Sangyu said through clenched teeth. She exerted herself to suppress her violently beating heart. She wanted to sit up against the chair but discovered that she was increasingly short of breath and a dizzy spell overcame her. She was aware that this was a panic attack A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Read more about the symptoms and causes. I tried my best to translate the condition based on the symptoms – not 100% sure! caused by excessive stress. It was psychological and had nothing to do with her physical health.
After hearing the news about A’Bao’s death, she couldn’t continue to deceive herself that A’Bao was still alive and well. It was also because of this that her father’s disappearance came to mind. Overthinking that her father might be like A’Bao, a body that has lost its warmth lying alone in the wilderness with no one to discover it and no one to care, leaving it slowly decaying and sinking into the marsh, she felt pained like someone had twisted a knife in her heart.
Her heart throbbed violently again and she took deep breaths, doing her utmost to try and calm herself down. She could not fall. Her mother and elder brother still needed her, the Meng family still needed her!
“Imperial Physician Du, please quickly take a look! What is wrong with Her Ladyship?” Bi’shui hurriedly led Imperial Physician Du inside.
Seeing that Virtuous Consort’s hair was drenched with sweat, her face was pale, and that her chest was violently rising and falling, Imperial physician Du was incredibly alarmed. He promptly dispensed with paying respects and rushed to the side of the divan to take her pulse. Noticing the wooden pendant clutched tightly in her palm, he spent a great deal of effort to pry it out and placed it to one side.
“Her Ladyship received too much stimulation resulting in heart palpitations. She must quickly drink some calming medicinal soup, otherwise there will be problems with her heart.” Imperial Physician Du gave a simple explanation. He quickly wrote down a prescription and handed it to his attendant so he could go make the medicine. Afterwards, he fished out acupuncture needles and applied them to her Bright Eyes, Taiyang and Yintang pressure points. Images: Bright Eyes | Taiyang and Yintang.
The dizziness was alleviated and her breathing evened out. Meng Sangyu turned her head and spoke with difficulty, “Many thanks, Imperial Physician Du.”
“It was simply this subject’s duty. Your ladyship shouldn’t speak. Your honoured self will recover after drinking the medicine and sleeping a while. You must not get carried away with your thoughts.” Imperial Physician Du lightly manipulated the needles while giving instructions in a warm voice.
The medicine was delivered to Virtuous Consort’s bedside with the utmost haste. Imperial Physician Du removed the needles. He watched her finish drinking the medicine and only bowed and withdrew after her symptoms abated.
“Your Ladyship, what happened to your honoured self?” asked Nurse Feng softly as she supported Meng Sangyu to lie down on the bed and tucked her in.
“A’Bao is dead.” Meng Sangyu shut her eyes and her voice was hoarse beyond recognition. “It’s already been so many days. I’m afraid that Father’s situation also does not bode well! Nurse, I’m going to take a nap. I still need to nurse His Majesty and pay respect to the Empress Dowager this afternoon. You must remember to wake me!”
She could not fall right now, nor could she slack for a moment. Now that misfortune had befallen her father, she must assume the heavy responsibility of being the pillar of the Meng family. The Empress Dowager and the Emperor were her biggest backers. She couldn’t slight them.
“Your Ladyship is already in this state, how can your honoured self nurse others? This servant will go inform Qian’qing Palace on your honoured self’s behalf!” Nurse Feng shook her head emphatically.
“Nurse, right now I am the only one that the Meng family can rely on. Nursing duties are an opportunity for me to shine. This favour is something I must vie for! This morning the Emperor even said that he would enlist Elder Brother in the Embroidered Uniform Guard for him to gain experience. This is the Meng family’s chance, I can’t afford to make any mistakes.” Meng Sangyu tightly clutched Nurse Feng’s arm. Only once she saw her tearfully nod did she close her eyes with exhaustion.
Waiting until her breathing had evened out, Nurse Feng tenderly stroked the dark circles under her eyes. She stood and gave a quiet order to Yin’cui, “Go to Qian’qing Palace and announce Her Ladyship’s absence. This old servant will act on her own accord just this once. If Her Ladyship wakes up and wants to mete out punishment, this old servant will assume full responsibility.”
Yin’cui agreed without hesitation and braved the heavy snow heading towards Qian’qing Palace.
Chang’xi already knew what had happened. He had already dealt with the eunuch who had picked up A’Bao’s dog tag. A’Bao’s corpse had been collected by his commander and given to a high priest the day His Majesty had returned to the palace. Even though he didn’t know why his commander and His Majesty cared so much about a dog’s corpse, after seeing how His Majesty got along with Virtuous Consort, he understood ——- His Majesty was madly in love!
Now that Virtuous Consort had fallen ill because of A’Bao’s death, who knew how worried His Majesty would be? Leaving Yin’cui’s side, Chang’xi entered the bedchamber, but seeing the dark circles under His Majesty’s eyes and the wound on his shoulder, he quietly retreated back out of the room. It was better to wait until His Majesty woke up to make his report so that His Majesty could rest a little longer.
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Forty-five minutes later, Imperial Consort figured that His Majesty would have woken up from his afternoon nap by now. Virtuous Consort also did not appear for her nursing duties. Carrying a box of food, she braved the snow and gracefully walked to Qian’qing Palace to seek an audience with His Majesty.
After a day and night of adjustment, she had already climbed out of the pit of despair and sought a way forward. Presently, the thing she couldn’t afford to lose the most was His Majesty’s favour. Without children or connections, it didn’t matter if the child reached adulthood; she only needed His Majesty’s favour. She could find a maid or a low-ranked concubine to bear her a son, and afterwards, she could ask His Majesty to let her raise it. It would be no different from if she’d have birthed the child herself.
It was precisely because she understood her adversaries so well that Imperial Consort couldn’t help but quickly make a move. She knew that, before long, everyone would have the same idea as her.
“His Majesty is still sleeping. If Your Ladyship wouldn’t mind waiting in the side palace.” Without His Majesty’s verbal decree, Chang’xi didn’t know how he should deal with Imperial Consort. He could only wait until His Majesty awoke.
Imperial Consort smiled and agreed. She walked into the side palace and placed the food box beside a brazier to keep it warm. A pretty palace maid with a good figure and beautiful features stood next to her with her head bowed, full of shyness.
“In a little while, do you know what you should do?” asked Imperial Consort steadily as she fiddled with the delicate and luxurious nail guards on her fingertips.
“Please do not worry, Your Ladyship. This servant definitely won’t disappoint Your Ladyship.” The palace maid saluted her, her crisp voice full of shyness. Imperial Consort had already given birth to a prince and was somewhat favoured by His Majesty, yet she still needed to find someone to help her secure favour. Even though the maid had reservations, she knew that she couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.
“As long as you know. If you become pregnant, Bengong will definitely take care of you.” Imperial Consort gave a sidelong glance at the maid and her lips curved into a smile.
The palace maid immediately knelt and expressed her loyalty once more.
Inside Qian’qing Palace, Emperor Zhou’wu opened his eyes at the usual time and looked around the chamber. He didn’t see Sangyu’s figure. There was only a faint wisp of her fragrance. His heart felt empty and unbearable in ways that words could not express.
“Your Majesty, your honoured self is awake. This servant will help you change clothes.” Chang’xi drew open the beaded curtain, walked to his bedside, and said in a soft voice.
“No need,” Emperor Zhou’wu waved a hand and closed his eyes again and reclined on the bed, “Zhen will wait until Sangyu comes to get up.”
“Her Ladyship cannot come this afternoon. Just now, Yin’cui informed this servant of her absence. Your honored self was still sleeping, therefore this servant did not inform you.” Chang’xi bowed and replied.
Emperor Zhou’wu frowned and asked seriously, “Why can’t she come? Did something happen?”
Chang’xi roughly summarized how Virtuous Consort had discovered the dog tag and how she had fallen ill from agitation. Seeing His Majesty’s expression darken more and more, he hastily added, “Imperial Physician Du has already attended to her. He said that Her Ladyship will quickly recover as long as she rests well and doesn’t get carried away with her thoughts.”
“Help Zhen change. Zhen will go over and take a look.” Casting aside the satin quilt covers, Emperor Zhou’wu hurriedly got out of bed. He grabbed his clothes himself and quickly dressed. Chang’xi rushed to his side to help.
A few moments later, Chang’xi instructed the servants outside to prepare the imperial sedan to depart for Bi’xiao Palace. At the same time, he helped His Majesty don his cloak.
Hearing Chang’xi’s shrill order, Imperial Consort promptly came out of the side palace and arrived at the doorway with quick steps. It was snowing so heavily and His Majesty was still wounded. Why would he want to go to Bi’xiao Palace? Did something happen?
“Your Majesty!” Facing the stately, dignified, and handsome man coming towards them, both Imperial Consort and the maid by her side blushed and flirtatiously walked forward to pay their respects.
Emperor Zhou’wu’s brows wrinkled and he continued walking with large steps, not even sparing a glance at the two. With the flick of a hand, Imperial Consort, who was in the middle of saluting, was brushed aside. His figure sitting in the imperial sedan vanished into the snowy horizon.
The maid carried the food box in one hand while supporting Imperial Consort, who was about to collapse, with the other. In the frenzy, the food box was knocked over and soup spilled out onto the ground.
He didn’t even look in her direction and passed by her as if she was invisible. Could it be that the love and affection he showed over the last few days had been fake? Imperial Consort’s complexion flickered between blue and white. Seeing the spilled soup on the ground, she slapped the maid viciously across the face and stormed off in a huff.
Returning to her own Zhao’chun Palace, the more Imperial Consort thought about it, the more unresigned she felt. She called over and gave an order to her trusted maids. “Servants, investigate this for Bengong: What happened to Virtuous Consort?”
Part 9/12 of our holiday chapters~
This chapter was a team effort and everyone pitched in :3 I hope the tone of the story was conveyed well and that it’s relatively consistent with other chapters.
Hope everyone has a great start to the week!
Until next time,