Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 56)

Chapter 56: Mismatched Opponent (克星)

Translators: Nyamachi & Silverylazes 
Translation checker: Nyamachi
TL assistant: Saltnpepper
English proofreader: JimmyfromIT

✧・゚: *✧・゚* ♪♫♪ On the twelfth day of Christmas, Nyanovels gave to me~
twelve shichen, an eleventh moon massacre, ten days of puppy hardship, nine imperial women, eight birth characters, seven lines of poem, 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!!


✿.。.:*{  This chapter is dedicated to Toluwase, Becca,
and all the readers who followed me from my old WordPress site 
}*:.。.✿


The crashing sound of the shattering teacup startled the Imperial Concubines, but what shocked them even more was Virtuous Consort’s decision. Going to Thousand Buddha Mountain to accompany the Empress Dowager to worship Buddha was no different from becoming a nun. Even if they ended up being promoted, they wouldn’t be able to see the Emperor for three to five years and would have to wait until the Empress Dowager passed away to return. Who would remember them by then? Would there still be a place for them in this palace? What’s more, the Emperor was very busy. If he forgot about this task, they would probably have to stay there for the rest of their life! In short, it was better to be banished to the Cold Palace than to follow the Empress Dowager to Thousand Buddha Mountain! At least staying in the Cold Palace was closer to the Emperor and they would have a chance to regain favour.

What was the matter with Virtuous Consort? Had she lost her mind? The Imperial Concubines couldn’t believe their ears, but they were glad. Fortunately, Virtuous Consort took the initiative to volunteer, otherwise the Empress Dowager would really take a fancy to one of them instead and force them to bite the bullet! 

“Do you realize what you’re saying?” Emperor Zhou’wu’s trembling fists tightened as he spat out each word through gritted teeth. Sangyu would rather be a nun than stay by his side! At this moment, his heart felt like it had been slashed by a thousand cuts. It was unbearably painful!

“This concubine is willing to accompany the Empress Dowager back to Thousand Buddha Mountain and begs Your Majesty to fulfill this concubine’s wish to be filial!” Without hesitation, Meng Sangyu kowtowed and begged again.

The Empress Dowager promptly waved her hand and signalled for a maid to clean up the broken porcelain shards so they wouldn’t hurt her.

Emperor Zhou’wu stared fixedly at her resolute expression. He wanted to seal her mouth shut. He wanted to lock her up. He wanted to unleash his rage! Yet he knew deep inside that he had no right to be angry. He was the culprit who made Sangyu want to escape from the Imperial Palace without sparing a thought for becoming a nun!

“Good child, quickly get up! Since you wish to be filial, Aijia will not carelessly brush off your request. You are still ill and it’s still snowy and freezing outside. Aijia’s morning prayers start at 4am [1]寅时 (yínshí) 3-5 am in the Chinese shí-kē system. I took the average. See my post on timekeeping in ancient China to learn more! and the evening prayers will end at 10pm. [2]亥时 (hàishí) 9-11 pm in the Chinese shí-kē system. I took the average. You might as well move in with Aijia for convenience’s sake. If you can become accustomed to an uncommonly austere life within the next while, Aijia will take you away. As for the Emperor, Aijia will send someone else to look after him while he is recovering.” 

The Empress Dowager carefully observed Virtuous Consort’s expression. Seeing that her attitude was sincere and her eyes shone, she was obviously looking forward to leaving the palace very much. She couldn’t help but sigh – This child was much smarter than she was when she was young. She was not mesmerized by beauty and extravagance. Very good! Since this child wished for it, why should she refuse her?

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“Thank you, Empress Dowager!” Meng Sangyu happily exclaimed. She seized the chance to sit on the Empress Dowager’s other side, far away from the crazy Emperor. 

“Empress Mother! Your son doesn’t need others to attend to Us!” Emperor Zhou’wu suddenly turned his head to look at the Empress Dowager. His pitch-black eyes showed alarm, anger, and suffering.

The Empress Dowager was startled by his rare display of emotion. This child was just like the Late Emperor whose thoughts and expressions were hard to read. She had never seen him so distraught and helpless like he was now, in a state where he would accidentally break things. It seemed that his feelings towards Virtuous Consort were deeper than she had previously thought. However, it was obvious by Virtuous Consort’s clear shining eyes and determined expression that she felt absolutely nothing for her son.

Observing the pair’s expressions from the side, the Empress Dowager suddenly felt some kind of subtle sense of satisfaction. Having been tormented by this father and son for half of her life, it was finally her turn to pay them back. The Empress Dowager’s lips curved into a smile. She closed her eyes and rotated the prayer beads, turning a blind eye towards her son’s silent plea. It’s no use to beg Aijia. If you can’t look after your own wife properly, who else can you blame but yourself?

Meng Sangyu lowered her head, not meeting Emperor Zhou’wu’s eyes. Up until now, this man just coveted her pure body and was unwilling to let her go. Once she became yesterday’s blooming flower, he would discard her like a pair of worn-out shoes.

“Didn’t you say you wanted to accompany the Empress Dowager to chant sutras? That you wanted to carry out your filial duty on Zhen’s behalf? Why aren’t you saying anything? Are you mute? Could it be that your filial piety is just an act for Zhen to see? Hm?!” Emperor Zhou’wu was helpless against his mother and wife, nor could he vent his anger on them. He could only turn to look at the crowd of concubines sitting or kneeling in front of him, slam his hand on the table and snarl. 

The Imperial Concubines were scared witless from the Emperor’s sudden burst of rarely seen anger. They could feel a heavy pressure emitting from his gaze and promptly forced themselves to kowtow and beg the Empress Dowager to let them stay by her side. His Majesty couldn’t part with Virtuous Consort and wanted to sacrifice them instead!   

“Life on Thousand Buddha Mountain is austere. If you aren’t sincere, you won’t fully dedicate yourself even if you accompany Us. Aijia doesn’t care for your false pretenses. You’re all dismissed, Aijia is tired!” The Empress Dowager waved her hand to shoo them away. Her words were quite blunt. 

Although they were admonished by the Empress Dowager, the Imperial Concubines were actually given a pardon. They kowtowed to the two people in the seats of honour and rushed out of the main hall, deathly afraid that the Emperor might send them to Thousand Buddha Mountain if they were a step too slow.

Meng Sangyu stood up as well, preparing to return to Bi’xiao Palace to pack her things. The Emperor’s expression was dark as he strode over to her side and grabbed her arm using his full strength. 

Why would you rather become a nun than give Zhen the slightest chance? Could it be that you hate Zhen so much to the extent that you need to flee before it’s too late?

Many words were on the tip of his tongue with no way to give voice to them, making it harder for him to calm his anger. His heart ached as if it was being twisted with a knife.

Sss~ Meng Sangyu’s face showed a painful expression and she struggled slightly. Emperor Zhou’wu immediately let her go and put an arm around her shoulder instead. Looking at her clear phoenix eyes, slightly knit brows, and sickly complexion, no matter how angry he was, he couldn’t bring himself to show it. His heart had softened into a total mess a long time ago. 

“Sangyu……” Don’t go! Before he could say the last two words, the Empress Dowager had already put down her prayer beads and interrupted him, “Virtuous Consort, you can go and get your things later. Aijjia will bring you to the small Buddhist prayer hall to take a look. Familiarize yourself with the environment first.” 

“Understood.” Meng Sangyu naturally escaped the man’s embrace and walked over to support the Empress Dowager with her arm.

“Your Majesty, you still have many governmental affairs to deal with, so head back first.” The Empress Dowager waved a hand while she took Meng Sangyu and turned towards the inner chamber, brushing off Emperor Zhou’wu. 

Emperor Zhou’wu stared at the beaded curtain with trembling eyes for a good while. Meng Sangyu’s slim figure had long disappeared from view. The light in his eyes was difficult to fathom. He closed his eyes, turned around and departed with large strides. 

“Your Majesty, Hong’wen’s illness has flared up these last two days, especially when he’s missing Your Majesty. Would your honoured self please consider visiting Zhao’chun Palace to go see him?” Imperial Consort quietly waited in the long corridor outside Ci’ning Palace. A fine layer of snow had settled on her shoulders and soaked through her clothes. Combined with her pale complexion, her wishful gaze made her look like the picture of a loving, concerned mother. Anyone who saw her like this would feel moved. In the past, the Emperor liked this look of hers the most. She was confident that she could reclaim the favour that was owed to her.      

Emperor Zhou’wu had a sombre expression as he swiftly walked past her with Chang’xi in tow. He boarded the imperial palanquin and disappeared into the snowy distance, leaving Imperial Consort standing at the side as if she were not there. The cold wind brushed across Imperial Consort’s blank face and caused her to shiver.

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“Hehe, you wanted to use your son to garner favour again. What a pity! There was a living, breathing human being right next to him, but His Majesty didn’t even spare you a glance!” Worthy Consort, who had deliberately waited around the corner, stepped into view to mock the other party. She secretly rejoiced that she hadn’t stepped forward herself and thus avoided losing face in front of the Emperor. Presently, apart from Virtuous Consort, it didn’t seem like the Emperor had any regard for anyone else.

“Having a child to fight for favour is better than having a child who’s dead.” Imperial Consort brushed the snow off her shoulders and struck back with indifference. Seeing the hate burning in Worthy Consort’s eyes, her lips curved into a smile and she elegantly walked away.

It seems like His Majesty truly cares for Virtuous Consort. She wasn’t served abortion soup. Though her body has been damaged, I heard that recently His Majesty has been helping her recover. Once her illness is gone and she gives birth to a prince, how could there still be a foothold left for me to survive in this palace? Since she wants to go to Thousand Buddha Mountain so badly, I better think of a way to help her succeed. 

Twisting the handkerchief in her hands, Imperial Consort, who was seated in her palanquin, sat with her thoughts as she plotted her next move,

When the Fake Emperor was around, Imperial Consort was the most favoured of the harem. He was completely subservient to her and granted her every request. Truly, he seemed quite sincere. When Worthy Consort fell from power, Imperial Consort flaunted her favoured status and naturally her ambition grew as well. If she were to ever find out that the one who favoured her wasn’t the genuine Emperor Zhou’wu at all, one wouldn’t know what expression she would’ve made since her body had been sullied long ago.  

In Qian’qing Palace, Emperor Zhou’wu was bent over his desk as he reviewed memorials. His eyebrows were tightly knit and his body emanated a frosty aura which intimated the servants into silence. A loud thump sounded as he hurled the memorial in his hand. His handsome face was flushed with anger.

The servants trembled and lowered their heads even further. Chang’xi was calm and composed as he stepped forward to tidy up the imperial brush and memorial which had been thrown on the ground.

“Send someone to deliver this letter to Cai’ren Li.” After taking up his brush and writing down a few words, the man massaged his temples and spoke solemnly.

Chang’xi acknowledged the order and assigned a eunuch to send the letter. Cai’ren Li was the former Noble Consort Li. The Li family’s charges were proven true. Although their crimes did not merit death, the Li Clan were relegated to commoners and exiled for three thousand li. [3]里 (lǐ) An ancient unit of measurement for distance. 1 lǐ = ~500 m. Since she had given birth to the Second Prince, Noble Consort Li was only demoted in rank. However, since her rank was too low, she faced much hardship in her daily life.

“Prepare the imperial palanquin and head to Bi’xiao Palace.” No longer processing the words in front of him, the man set down his brush and walked out of the hall with large strides. Chang’xi was very perceptive. The imperial palanquin had already been prepared long ago. There were even several hand warmers to keep it warm. He knew that the Emperor wouldn’t be able to restrain himself for long when it came to matters concerning Her Ladyship Virtuous Consort.

Seeing that they were approaching Bi’xiao Palace, Emperor Zhou’wu’s brows knit tightly and his mood became more apprehensive. Once he got there, what would he say to Sangyu? Should he say, “You are Zhen’s future Empress. You can’t leave Zhen”? Or could he say, “Zhen is fond of you. Could you stay behind and accompany Zhen?” Not only would Sangyu absolutely not believe him, she might even suspect him of plotting something and not be able to stand the thought of him even more. Sangyu had lost all trust in him a long time ago!

Even if he was at the height of rage and extremely indignant, his emotions would naturally settle when faced with Sangyu’s clear phoenix eyes without revealing a hint of his inner turmoil. Sangyu was simply a mismatched opponent for him–he could never win against her! 

Smiling bitterly, Emperor Zhou’wu opened the palanquin curtain and commanded in a deep voice, “Change route to Ci’ning Palace.” If Sangyu won’t believe him, he won’t say anything more. Once time passes, she’ll naturally become aware of his feelings.

“Understood.” Chang’xi bowed, acknowledging the order, and his footsteps that were headed towards Bi’xiao Palace slowed down. He pondered to himself: Only when facing Virtuous Consort is His Majesty so indecisive, especially today. He seemed especially like a cat on a hot tin roof! Thinking this, he gripped the horsetail whisk in his hand and chided himself for his disrespectful description.

Cai’ren Li had been kneeling in front of Ci’ning Palace for a long time. A layer of snow had accumulated on her head and shoulders, and her face so pale it resembled paper. However, her back remained ramrod straight, showing her unwavering determination. Nurse Jin stood in the covered walkway observing the scene with an apathetic expression.

Catching sight of the Emperor’s imperial palanquin, she hastily led the servants forward to receive him. Emperor Zhou’wu waved his hand and told everyone to rise. When he passed by Cai’ren Li, he looked intently at her and a gleam of satisfaction flashed through his eyes. Only intelligent women were qualified to survive in this palace! He hoped Cai’ren Li wouldn’t let him down.

 


TL Thoughts:

~❁ꕥ❁~

Thank you for your ongoing support, Becca and Loretta~ I hope this chapter brings a smile to your face 😀

~❁ꕥ❁~

Part 12/12 of our winter holiday chapters~ Finally complete!! Here is a link to the full Christmas carol! Extra chapters are on the way over the next few months ;3

You’ll notice that this chapter has a dedication~ There were many milestones this month:

  • Nyanovels.com went live on April 14th, 2020
    > Thank you to all the readers who followed me to this new domain <3
  • I received my first donation on April 18th, 2020
    > Thank you again, Toluwase!! Incidentally, I received another donation on the same day this year too~
  • It’s been one year since Becca gave her first donation on April 21st, 2020
    > Becca, thank you so much for continuing to support Nyanovels throughout the last year!! *Hugs*

Thank you for reading, everyone! <3 The team and I will continue to work hard to translate Why Harem Intrigue <3

Until next time,

Nyamachi

 

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15 Comments

  • Thanks for the chapter!

    Ugh, I don’t care whether the mothers are thots or not. If this ML doesn’t show some care for his sons he’s trash! That’s a little boy who’s sick and wants his dad. Literally this ML learned nothing about love or sincerity after returning to his body. Meng Sangyu is better off without him.

  • I dont mind her leaving the ML hanging but giving up meat is where I would be a little resistant to the idea.
    Thanks for the update~

    • Haha yeah, meat is pretty tasty. I wonder if they’d have good substitutes though – there’s a lot you can do with tofu.

  • Thank you so much for the chapter 💕

    • You’re welcome, Aiza <3 Hope you're doing well!!

  • To be fair, the probability that she is faking her son’s illness to get his attention is very high. We know that they will stop at nothing in order to gain favour and get ahead. Also, think of it from his perspective: would you be willing to indulge or interact with a partner who cheated on you (albeit, unknowingly)? He’s a callous man alright but let’s not write him off completely as he’s shown care towards his imperial children previously (before he became a’bao and realised their true, cruel, faces)

    • *nods nods* I wonder if we’ll see more of him showing care to any of his other children at some point. That would be a nice bit of character development.

  • I feel like he’s scheming to switch Sangyu with Cairen Li. Cairen Li will take this opportunity if it will contribute towards redeeming her clan in the future. Sigh. Sangyu tried so hard to leave and he’s just ruined her plans…!

    • Ooh!! Good guess Tangerine! I didn’t think of that.

  • Meowmeowmeow I couldn’t think of why Our Trash Emperor would approve of Cai’ren Li and that she “wouldn’t let him down” but you’re so right Tangerine! Though, how would Cai’ren Li also going along help? There’s no saying that the Dowager won’t just take both, or that she would even exchange them. Even if it’s by a switch-er-roo, Dowager can just come back and put her foot down, and the ones taking the fall would be Sangyu and Li… unless, he’s trying to get Li to build a pit for Sangyu?? Mmmm, I can’t get this Emperor’s thinking!

    I love the Empress Dowager!! Lol at her finally getting her own little revenge against her son and his father, and rescuing our Sangyu!!

    Part of me was wishfully thinking it’d be like some kind of CDrama where Sangyu leaves to become a nun and then the Emperor chases after her + dramatic moment and then he piously waits until her return~ Ah Pei! Pei! Pei! First off, Sanyu is way too smart for that, and it’d be terrifying to see *blanch* also, like hell our dog Emperor would bear to let her go!

    Thank you for this glorious food Nyamachi & co!! ❤️🐱

    • Our pleasure, Bookwyrmfangirl~ <3 Yes, so happy the Empress Dowager is getting some payback!

  • Cai’ren Li ? Who’s that again ? Also I don’t remember Worthy consort or Imperial consort background, all I remember is that they are scheming women… Also I want to say to the emperor: In your face ! You reap what you sow, st*pid ! Muahahaha…😈

    • Cai’ren Li is the demoted Noble Consort Li. She’s the ex-Prime Minister’s daughter. I made a list of characters that might be helpful. Your memory is right though – all of them are scheming women vying for the Emperor’s attention/love.

  • Ooh I never thought you actually went live on my birthday, I got an unintentional best birthday gift last year it seems

    • That’s so sweet! I hope you had a great birthday this year too <3

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