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Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 70)

Chapter 70: Testing (试探)

Translator: Nyamachi
Translation assistants: 247Reader & [redacted]
English proofreaders: 247Reader & Nyamachi 

Emperor Zhou’wu continued to laugh foolishly and didn’t notice Meng Sangyu’s strange gaze. Once he finished indulging himself, he pinched the woman’s straight nose and softly asked, “Why are you angry, hmm?”

“It’s nothing.” Meng Sangyu turned her head to dodge his willful hand. Her voice sounded somewhat helpless. She had never been a fool who would willingly let herself be used by others. This time, however, she wanted to see how many benefits she could gain from this man.

Besides, his attitude towards her provided much food for thought. She needed to determine the limits of his tolerance for her all over again. She would only be able to take action in the future as long as she toed that line.

“Even if you don’t say it, Zhen knows. It’s because of those women, right?” Emperor Zhou’wu captured her chin and gave her a forceful kiss. His expression suggested that he was pleased with himself. He hadn’t expected that he could also make Sangyu jealous, and he wanted to laugh again. 

Meng Sangyu’s sharply contrasting phoenix eyes slightly narrowed as she glared at the man. One honestly couldn’t call her attitude respectful. Her glare could also be considered a type of test, sounding out how much the man was willing to tolerate. 

Emperor Zhou’wu didn’t seem to mind and started to give a muffled laugh again as he rubbed his cheek against hers. 

“Don’t be angry. Soon, they won’t be able to bother you again,” he guaranteed firmly. His pitch-black eyes flashed brilliantly as he spoke. 

That’s right, after the Lunar New Year, it’ll be time for the Grand Selection. You won’t need me as a shield anymore!  Meng Sangyu mocked secretly. 

Her originally highly irritable mood became even worse. She struggled free of his embrace and cried, “I can cope with it. There’s no need for Your Majesty to worry about me! Go away, I need to deal with palace affairs!”

This time, she even forgot to address herself as ‘this concubine.’ Emperor Zhou’wu thought, feeling utterly satisfied. 

He lifted his hands and said gently, “Okay, Zhen won’t bother you. You have a big temper for a little minx!” 

You’re the one who’s a little minx! Your whole family are little minxes! 

This term of endearment was too sickening. The man’s voice was so excessively indulgent that Meng Sangyu shivered and rubbed the goosebumps on the back of her hand before picking up an account book to review. 

Her slightly narrowed phoenix eyes subtly wandered. It seemed that Emperor Zhou’wu’s tolerance for her was quite high, but she didn’t know yet just how high it was. 

She looked at the man with a complicated gaze, and he sent back a clear and bright smile. This was the simplest of smiles, so simple as to even seem foolish. Nevertheless, it inexplicably made her heart tremble. She promptly lowered her head to concentrate on the account books, but the tips of her ears slightly reddened. 

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****

After they finished work, the two of them held hands as they walked towards Bi’xiao Palace. In the past, they would always have encountered many impeccably dressed imperial concubines along the way, but today there wasn’t even the slightest shadow to be seen. Meng Sangyu raised her eyebrows in surprise when she noticed that the number of imperial bodyguards on both sides of the path had suddenly increased, seeming to become aware of something.

“In the future, if you come to Qian’qing Palace using this route, those women will certainly not dare to come bother you.” As the man spoke, he rubbed the woman’s hand, seemingly trying to win her favour. 

Meng Sangyu nodded her head and gazed at the man out of the corner of her eye. Her loveable and feisty appearance made his heartbeat quicken. 

“This time, you’re not angry with Zhen, right?” Emperor Zhou’wu asked in a low voice. Hugging the woman close and wrapping her inside his warm cloak, he bit her snowy earlobe.

Their bodies fit snugly together. Every curve was well-matched as if they were naturally meant for each other. The man’s body was even completely covered with her own scent, as if she had marked him with it. 

Blood quickly rushed to Meng Sangyu’s ears. She forced herself to remain calm as she replied, “No, this concubine is not angry anymore. This concubine is hungry. Let’s hurry back to eat.”

In reply, the man gave a delighted yet smug grin. 

****

In Bi’xiao Palace, the steaming hot dishes had long since been prepared. There weren’t any rare delicacies, nor any lavish dishes with generous amounts of meat. Only two meat dishes, one vegetarian dish, and one soup were spread on the small round table, looking extremely plain. 

However, Emperor Zhou’wu felt particularly satisfied upon seeing this scene as he walked into the main hall. He had sorely missed those peaceful and ordinary days in Bi’xiao Palace. 

He picked up his pair of silver chopsticks and placed some pieces of furong chicken [1]芙蓉鸡片 (fúróng jī) Gently-fried tender and moist pieces of chicken garnished with peas or green scallions. It’s a traditional Chinese dish named after the hibiscus flower because its shape resembles white hibiscus petals. Here are two videos showing you how it’s made. English-friendly | Chinese / Artistic in Sangyu’s bowl and said warmly, “Eat some more. Your complexion has become rosier recently, but you still need to nourish yourself.”

Meng Sangyu lowered her eyes to hide her eye roll as she swept the furong chicken to one side and said coquettishly, “This concubine doesn’t want to eat this.”

Emperor Zhou’wu raised his eyebrows. “How could that be? Zhen remembers that this is your favourite.” 

“This concubine doesn’t want to eat this right now.” Meng Sangyu lazily stirred the rice in her bowl. Her expression was so spoiled that it made Emperor Zhou’wu secretly snicker without end.

“Then what do you want to eat?” he asked patiently. “Zhen will order someone to make it for you.” Placing down his silver chopsticks, he tucked the hair by Meng Sanyu’s temples behind her ear. 

“This concubine wants to eat stewed prawns marinated with peach blossom wine.” Meng Sangyu didn’t hold back and instead straightforwardly placed her order.

“Did you hear that? Why aren’t you leaving to make it! Tell the Imperial Kitchen to hurry up!” Emperor Zhou’wu looked at a maid who was standing at his side. His voice lacked the gentleness with which he had spoken to Sangyu.

That maid didn’t dare to delay and rushed over to the kitchen to hurry them to finish cooking. The dish was quickly presented. The thick aroma of peach blossoms wafting in the air was enough to make one helplessly overcome with hunger. 

Emperor Zhou’wu pinched Meng Sangyu’s tender cheek. “Are you satisfied now?”

“Your Majesty, help this concubine peel the prawns.” Meng Sangyu picked up a prawn and placed it in the dish in front of the man as she made her request, taking a mile for every inch she was given. Her clear, piercing eyes bore into him, not missing even the tiniest change in his expression.

The man was willing to bear whatever she threw at him, and his eyes flashed with a luminous brilliance. Cleaning his fingertips with the handkerchief that a maid had passed him, he carefully peeled off a prawn’s tail and held it beside the woman’s mouth. His voice was so sweet that it dripped syrup. “Eat up, hasn’t your stomach been growling?”

Meng Sangyu swallowed the prawn in one mouthful, slightly closing her eyes to ward against the complicated light in his gaze. The man’s tolerance for her seemed to exceed her expectations. She felt like she was probing endless depths, and it made her somewhat frustrated. 

Emperor Zhou’wu lowered his eyes and smiled as he patiently peeled the prawns one by one and placed them into Meng Sangyu’s dish without raising a single complaint. 

How could he not notice that Sangyu was testing him? This realization made him feel overwhelmed. [2]心潮澎湃 (xīncháopéngpài) To be overwhelmed by emotions. Lit. Feelings swell like turbulent waves. Her tests proved that Sangyu was starting to face the changes in him head-on, while simultaneously lowering the wall in her heart to take one step towards him. Though this step was tiny, to him, it was still a tremendous motivator.

Without noticing, he finished peeling the entire plate of prawns. Emperor Zhou’wu leisurely wiped his wine-covered fingers with a handkerchief. Resting his head on one hand, he focused on admiring Sangyu as she ate. The hunger in his heart had long been satiated, and now he felt like it could burst at the seams. He could thoroughly restore his vigour without needing to eat anything. This was probably the so-called, “when in love, a drop of water fills your belly!” [3]FYI this is an actual physiological sign that you’re in love~

Thinking this, he smiled gently. 

Meng Sangyu felt that her scalp had numbed under his gaze, keenly feeling that testing this man’s bottom line at the dinner table had not been a good idea. In the end, it was her stomach that would suffer. There were so many prawns! When would she finish them all? 

Not being in the habit of wasting food, she picked up a prawn and stuffed it into the man’s mouth, saying in a pampered manner, “Your Majesty should eat too! You can’t leave the table until you finish eating.” 

Even if she wasn’t willing to admit it in her heart, she had long ago begun to subconsciously consider the man as someone harmless. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been so casual with her words. 

She hadn’t noticed this change in herself, but the man had immediately sensed it. He inwardly chuckled to himself for quite a while before he carefully chewed the prawn in his mouth. The taste was better than all of the delicacies in the world.

The couple’s interactions were brimming with affection and warmth, making Nurse Feng and the rest continually shoot glances at them.

Look at His Majesty’s deeply loving appearance. How could he be faking it? Nurse Feng thought to herself, shaking her head. Yin’cui and Bi’shui also wore thoughtful expressions.

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After the meal was over, the two walked for a while around the Imperial Gardens. Only when snowflakes began to flutter gently from the sky did they return to Bi’xiao Palace, hand in hand. 

The bedchamber was as warm as spring. Several pots of peony flowers looked verdant and lush, and some even had a few buds. They would blossom in a few days’ time. The slightly astringent fragrance from the plants wafted faintly about the room, refreshing the mind. 

Emperor Zhou’wu sat half reclined on the divan by the window with Meng Sangyu in his arms. The crown and hair ornaments on their heads had been removed, so their straight and smooth long hair snaked down their shoulders, the strands mingling together intimately. 

Emperor Zhou’wu held a book in one hand as he read it together with Sangyu. The other hand gently finger-combed her hair. Their positions and actions resembled the way Meng Sangyu and A’Bao used to interact, making Emperor Zhou’wu feel extremely content.

In the past, Sangyu had always hugged him as she read, but now the tables had finally turned.

This travel diary was very much to Meng Sangyu’s liking and she gradually became more engrossed in it. The tingling feeling on her scalp was equally mesmerizing. She narrowed her eyes and briefly looked up as she languidly nestled against the man’s chest, her fingers unconsciously twining around an ink-black strand of hair. The lock of hair grasped in her hand was a mix of both their hair. She repeatedly tightened and loosened the hair around her finger, the action vaguely suggestive.

Emperor Zhou’wu’s eyes were attracted to the dark hair around her lily-white fingertips. The strong colour contrast dazzled him. His Adam’s apple slid up and down as he picked up the teacup on the table. He slowly sipped a mouthful before leaning down and using his large tongue to pry open Sangyu’s rosy lips and pour the tea into her mouth.

The slightly bitter taste of tea evaporated on the tips of the couple’s tongues before flowing into their bodies. The book in his hand was tossed aside, making a dull sound as it hit the divan.

Their thick, ink-black hair intertwined even more closely together. Excess tea flowed down the woman’s rosy cheeks and dripped onto the soft divan, leaving a string of saliva as their lips parted. The sound of their smacking lips made the servants outside blush as their pulses quickened. [4]Used some creative liberty here… Not 100% sure what this means. Here is the Chinese with the part I’m unsure of in brackets: 浓密的墨发更加紧密的交缠在一起,多余的茶水顺着女人粉白的面颊流出,滴落在软榻上时[扯出一线银丝],唇舌的咂摸声叫守候在门外的宫人脸红心跳. 银丝 (yínsī, silver thread) might also be a homophone for 淫思 (yínsī, lustful thoughts) to get around censorship. 

Her lapel was opened, exposing her smooth and curvaceous shoulders. At the slight chill in the air, Meng Sangyu sobered up from her fiery carnal instincts. She shoved at the man’s thick chest as she gasped, “No more tonight, this concubine is too tired.” 

For the past several days, they had indulged in passionate displays of affection until late into the night, and her back and waist were incredibly sore. 

Having finished her tests, she knew clearly that even if she refused the man’s advances, he wouldn’t be angry. She had always been clever and able to accurately grasp the other party’s bottom line. By staying within this range, she would ensure that she could live as comfortably as possible.

Sure enough, the man stilled. He buried his head in her neck, heavily gasping for breath. After a while, he gave a low chuckle. His coarse laughter was actually full of joy. 

Meng Sangyu was actually very clever, but it was precisely this cleverness that allowed him to find an opportunity to break through her heart’s defences. On the other hand, while she had tried to feel out his bottom line, she hadn’t realized that she was actually getting closer to him, step by step. Once she entered the forbidden area in his heart, it would be difficult for her to leave! She could only be his woman! 

“Okay, Zhen won’t do anything tonight except hug you to sleep.” The man lifted his head. His deep and serene eyes seemed to contain a sky full of stars. Meng Sangyu couldn’t understand the deep meaning hidden within them.

Snow fell heavily outside the window, and one could faintly hear the sound of snowflakes touching the ground in the quiet tranquillity. 

During Meng Sangyu’s brief daze, the man had already brought her into his arms and placed her underneath the warm and cozy blanket. He held Meng Sangyu in his embrace and planted soft kisses on her forehead. They felt like fluttering snowflakes, but each still brought a burst of warmth. 

Meng Sangyu nuzzled against the man’s silky underclothes and closed her eyes amidst the man’s low chuckle. Apparently, it felt pretty good to let him dote on her for a while. It had been a long time since she had experienced the warmth of an embrace. 

 

 


TL Thoughts:

Hello dear readers,

Happy Lunar New Year again! May you all have a fun, novel-filled Year of the Tiger!!

Thank you for your patience in January <3

Until next time,
Nyamachi

 

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6 Comments

  • I guess his redemption arc is drawing to a close if Sangyu is starting to get keen? What do you think, readers, has he suffered enough?

  • It was a pretty “smooth and easy” redemption imo, my inner demon told me it’s not enough suffering but my inner angel say she want something more entertaining to happen. 😛 Thanks for the update and happy lunar new year too 🙂

  • It’s still longggggg way to go before you can redeem yourself, emperor. Someone cautious wont fall in love easily, like you yourself lol

  • Yeah, I guess part-reason why she is testing his bottom line is because she has no alternative. She has to live with the new-him and she had been clever earlier with the old-him as well. That time she acted as he wanted her to, she is doing the same again.

    Personally though, I feel that mentions of her blushing are overkill. He used to act gently in the past as well. Just because he suddenly became sincere doesn’t mean she should fall in love this quickly. Maybe my senses are dulled due to dense protags, IDK.

  • Thank you!

    It will not be that easy !

  • So I’m thinking that medicine is to restore her body from those years of prevention med damage… she’s gonna get pregnant 🤔 And yep she’s smart and still wary but doesn’t even realize he’s successfully digging up her corners 😳

    Thanks for the chapter 🙏

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