Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 78)
Chapter 78: Estrus (发情)
Translators: Nyamachi & Tygris
Translation assistant: 247Reader
English proofreaders: 247Reader & JimmyfromIT
After finishing with governmental affairs, Emperor Zhou’wu heard that Sangyu was in the Imperial Gardens enjoying the scenery, so he immediately came to find her. His thoughts were filled with images of Sangyu in his embrace, half-reclined against the Noble Consort’s seat, and other beautiful painted scenes of spring.
Catching sight of the dense crowd of people kneeling outside Peng’lai Pavilion, he frowned. His mood plummeted in an instant.
“Rise,” Emperor Zhou’wu said indifferently as he personally helped Sangyu up, grasping her small hand in his palm.
Yu Ya’an gave a peaceful smile without a hint of the pleasant surprise that usually accompanied a sudden meeting with the Emperor. Having been able to receive the Empress Dowager’s support to occupy the position of the Head of the Four Consorts, which had originally belonged to the Imperial Noble Consort, her intelligence and temperament far surpassed an ordinary person.
Regarding the Emperor’s attitude towards the Imperial Noble Consort, the description “loving her like a treasure” fell somewhat short. It would be more apt to say that he “loved her more than his life.” So long as the Imperial Noble Consort existed, other women were simply invisible to him.
Glancing sideways at her legitimate elder sister, swooning with a red, excited face, Yu Ya’an lowered her head and gave a mocking smile.
“What are you all up to?” With his arm around Sangyu, Emperor Zhou’wu helped her brush the windswept stray hairs at her temples. His voice was thick with pampering love, and the group of Concubine Candidates felt envious and hateful upon hearing it.
Nevertheless, it made them even more infatuated 心馳神往 (xīnchíshénwǎng) Describes the mind being focused on the pursuit or longing for things or places; yearning from one’s heart; being fascinated or infatuated with obtaining something. with obtaining the Emperor’s favour. Among them, Meng Rui’zhu and Yu Ya’ge were especially passionate, to the point that their eyes turned red.
“Composing poems.” Meng Sangyu pointed at the poems scattered messily across the table.
“You? Compose a poem?” Emperor Zhou’wu raised an eyebrow, a joking tone in his deep voice.
Sangyu was talented and a quick learner, but she didn’t have the least bit of skill when it came to composing poems. He had taught her for several months, but to date, she hadn’t even learned The Rhythm of Sound completely. The Rhythm of Sound or《声律》is the thirty-third chapter of the book The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons or《文心雕龙》, a 5th-century work on Chinese literary aesthetics by Liu Xie. To Nyamachi’s knowledge, it outlines how to use the special characteristics of monosyllabic Chinese characters and match them accordingly with each of the five notes on a pentatonic scale, typically used in traditional Chinese instruments.
Recalling those haphazardly composed 胡拼乱凑 (luànzuòhúwéi) Doing something the wrong way or messily, without regard for others’ opinion. and unintelligible poems, Emperor Zhou’wu couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It was truly, truly too adorable!
Misinterpreting the monarch’s teasing and pampering chuckle as ridicule, Yu Ya’ge’s eyes shone slightly.
She stepped forward and said lovably, “Reporting to Your Majesty, us common girls have finished composing the poems and were just waiting for Her Ladyship to select the best poet. Having admired Her Ladyship’s talent for a long time, this lowly one wonders if she could have the privilege of witnessing it firsthand?”
She was confident that so long as she opened her mouth, the Emperor would be bound to notice her. Then, just like everyone else, he would be enraptured by her.
Outsiders are well aware that Sangyu was not versed in the literary arts. How could someone “admire her talents for a long time?” This woman deliberately intends to make things difficult for Sangyu! She’s merely a plebian, yet she dared to provoke the Imperial Noble Consort? Is she overly ambitious?
Emperor Zhou’wu’s eyes darkened as he fixed his gaze on Yu Ya’ge’s fine and peerless appearance, without the slightest change in his expression. Sangyu was the only light in his eyes. As he saw it, other women were no more than beautiful piles of skin and bones. 红颜白骨 (hóngyánbáigǔ) Literally: 红颜 (beautiful women/the beautiful face of a woman) and 白骨 (white bones). Means: No matter how beautiful a woman is, she will eventually grow old and die. This is a sentence from Buddhism telling people to abstain from licentiousness.
“Zhen believes that you do not deserve that honour,” he said, with no trace of politeness in his growling voice.
The Emperor’s indifferent reaction was completely unexpected. Yu Ya’ge’s face instantly turned as white as paper, as bewildered as though she had just been dropped from the clouds into the deep abyss.
The other Concubine Candidates covered their mouths one after another, forcefully resisting the satiric laughter bubbling up from the back of their throats.
Does being born beautiful mean that your every action will lead to success? It’s very clear that this method won’t work in front of the Emperor! What’s more, are you even more beautiful than the Imperial Noble Consort? In your pale yellow clothing next to the Imperial Noble Consort’s golden court dress, you might as well be a chicken next to a phoenix, pitiful and laughable!
Meng Sangyu yawned, and her contrasting phoenix eyes glimmered, 流光溢彩 (liúguāngyìcǎi) Idiom describing brilliant lights and vibrant colours. It’s generally used to describe the gleam off of a treasure such as a pearl. shining under the bright spring sunshine, appearing ever so charming. She supported her cheek with one hand, and said straightforwardly, “Everyone knows that Bengong is not well versed in reading and writing. By asking Bengong to compose a poem, perhaps you desire to see Bengong make a fool of Ourselves?”
The paper window was broken as soon as it was poked. Yu Ya’ge hadn’t known that the Imperial Noble Consort’s words were just as sharp as her aura, and she panicked. Hurriedly, she knelt down and professed her guilt, weeping bitterly. Her appearance was so pitiful that even a holy sage would be moved.
Yet Emperor Zhou’wu only cast a faint glance towards her. He waved his sleeves and coldly called her to rise, and then gently pinched Meng Sangyu’s thin and tender fingertips, his eyes full of smiles. The words from Meng Sangyu’s small mouth could choke someone to death.
Meng Sangyu saw that the man was unaffected by the woman’s ploy, and suddenly her mood improved considerably. Leaning toward his ear, she said mischievously, “Your Majesty, this concubine composed a new poem today. Would you like to hear it?”
“Oh? Recite it for Zhen to appreciate.” Emperor Zhou’wu raised his eyebrows, fully knowledgeable of the fact that Sangyu was about to torment him with some appallingly horrible poem. Meng Sangyu would never know that while he seemed pained on the surface, his heart felt as sweet as syrup.
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Meng Sangyu pursed her lips, thought deeply, and then said seriously, “Walking along the street, by chance, a dog I meet. I said hello with a bow, it greeted me with a meow.”
Since she had purposefully lowered her voice, only the three sitting closest to her – Yu Ya’an, Yu Ya’ge, and Meng Rui’zhu – could hear what was said. All of them showed lifeless expressions.
This– what kind of weird thing was this?! Could this even be called a poem?? Could it?!
It completely overturned their understanding of poetry!
Emperor Zhou’wu’s handsome face immediately stiffened. After carefully pondering for a moment, he suddenly burst out laughing and clapped his hands, praising, “Great! Superb! What a good poem! Especially the last line, it could even be said that it was written by a heavenly deity! And only you, Sangyu, could have come up with such a thing!”
The corners of Meng Sangyu’s mouth twitched. Feeling thwarted, she retorted mentally: Your Majesty, your ability to resist great suffering seems stronger and stronger! You can actually still laugh after being confronted with this ‘heavenly composition’?
This poem was something that she had seen online in her previous life. At the time, she had been lost for words, and so she remembered it especially well. She didn’t expect that His Majesty’s level of appreciation was even more modern than her own!
“There’s no need to choose anymore, the winner of today’s poetry contest is none other than Sangyu!” Emperor Zhou’wu announced showily, restraining his laughter with great difficulty. He flicked Sangyu on the nose.
Yu Ya’ge’s body swayed, tottering on the verge of collapse.
Meng Rui’zhu’s cheeks flushed red as she stared at the young and handsome monarch, pondering: It is said that the Emperor is fond of talented women. After seeing what happened today, it seems that isn’t really so. If Elder Sister can support me a little, I will still have a chance.
Yu Ya’an lowered her eyes. Her originally deathly calm heart, along with her final shred of hope, had all turned to dust. The Emperor’s tolerance and indulgence towards the Imperial Noble Consort had already reached this degree. Would anyone else have even the slightest chance?
It was said that if someone truly loved someone else, then no matter what they said, that person would always consider it positively, as something nice or lovely. These words were indeed true.
“Since your honoured self is today’s best poet, why not write out your poem and let us admire the Imperial Noble Consort’s great talent?” The surging jealousy inside her made Yu Ya’ge overstep. She forced a smile, but her manner of speaking was somewhat aggressive.
Curious expressions appeared amongst the crowd of concubine candidates… Meng Rui’zhu lowered her head, concealing her schadenfreude. Meng Sangyu yawned with a disapproving attitude, as if the other party was merely an annoying fly.
Emperor Zhou’wu’s expression immediately darkened as he looked down upon Yu Ya’ge. His deep voice sounded frigid as he said, “Regarding the Imperial Noble Consort’s poem, apart from Zhen, no one else is qualified to appreciate it. Moreover, to speak so disrespectfully and impudently in front of the Imperial Noble Consort and Zhen, just how did Imperial Duke Yu raise you to behave?”
Yu Ya’an was frightened and hurriedly knelt down to humbly beg for forgiveness.
Yu Ya’ge faced the man’s icy, unfeeling gaze and her eyes immediately reddened. She had no choice but to kneel and beg for forgiveness at her younger illegitimate sister’s urging. She had never felt so wronged since the day she’d been born. Moreover, the person who caused her to feel this way was the person who she was wholeheartedly infatuated with. Her heart, which had never been very strong to begin with, was on the verge of breaking.
Seeing her bite her red lips, stubbornly unwilling to admit her wrongs, Meng Sangyu’s eyes slightly darkened. While this woman didn’t have a brain, she was a natural expert when it came to putting her looks to use. Though she was in a difficult situation, she could still show another kind of beauty. Her heart burned with ambition, and her temperament was extremely impulsive. She couldn’t let this kind of person remain in the palace! Otherwise, this person would certainly bring disaster in the future!
Noticing the Imperial Noble Consort’s increasingly gloomy expression, Yu Ya’an knocked her head heavily against the ground; however, a smiling gleam floated up in her eyes. Today, she had already accomplished her goal: Yu Ya’ge would never have another chance to compete with her!
They were both his daughters, but her father’s attitude towards her, not caring if she lived or died, had chilled her heart. Didn’t they want her support? Supporting [her sister] in front of the Imperial Noble Consort and His Majesty ought to suffice!
Emperor Zhou’wu continued to fiddle with Meng Sangyu’s gold nail guards, completely ignoring the sisters from the Yu clan. He could sense Sangyu’s dislike towards Yu Ya’ge, and so decided to let her kneel a while longer.
The crowd of concubine candidates pursed their lips as they watched from the sidelines, feeling very delighted to watch how Yu Ya’ge had failed.
It was at this moment that a burst of barking approached. Yin’cui and Bi’shui anxiously called out as they followed closely behind.
A small brown ball of fluff had dug out a cluster of flowers, immediately running through the shrubbery before eagerly rushing towards Meng Sangyu, covered in grass and leaves. Yin’cui and Bi’shui’s calls became even more anxious, as if a major event had occurred.
Meng Sangyu stooped down, extending both hands to welcome Er’bao, but she was pulled into the embrace of the man beside her.
As Er’bao rushed in closer, he caught sight of the imposingly gloomy man, and his paws skidded to a halt. He immediately changed direction and ran towards Yu Ya’ge, who was closest, with both hands touching the ground. Er’bao directly raised his body, using his front paws to hold Yu Ya’ge’s arms. His little butt excitedly moved back and forth, and little unrestrained panting sounds issued from his mouth.
Everyone was stunned by this unexpected turn of events. Yin’cui and Bi’shui howled miserably in their hearts and brought their handkerchiefs up to their faces, unable to bear looking straight at the scene in the pavilion.
Er’bao had gone into heat! They had just recently discovered it, but hadn’t had the chance to report it yet! Thankfully, His Majesty was there and had scared away Er’bao; otherwise, the one who would have been humiliated would have been their master.
At first, Yu Ya’ge was frozen with shock. When she was able to react, she let out a world-shaking scream.
This little beast actually- actually wanted to copulate with her?! She was dying of shame and promptly swung her arms to fling Er’bao away.
A woman of the boudoir did not have much strength, and Er’bao made another advance after being pushed aside, hugging her arms and whining. One human and one dog launched into a fight, pushing and pulling.
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Meng Sangyu’s phoenix eyes widened, and it was quite a while before she could react. She hurriedly called over Yin’cui and Bi’shui to control Er’bao, and then looked up at Emperor Zhou’wu, laughing heartily in his embrace until she was nearly at the point of tears.
The little beansprout vainly tried to catch a great beauty! This spectacle was too amusing!
Emperor Zhou’wu hadn’t seen Sangyu act so freely in a long time. He hugged her waist pamperingly, just in case she fell down, while grinning incessantly.
With these two taking the lead, one after another, the crowd of concubine candidates covered their mouths as they laughed. Even the calm and collected Yu Ya’an narrowed her eyes in a smile.
Seeing that Sangyu was mollified, Emperor Zhou’wu was finally satisfied and waved a hand. “You can get up now.”
Yu Ya’an kowtowed in thanks, but Yu Ya’ge bowed her head and remained motionless for a very long time.
Meng Sangyu stopped laughing. Her voice held remorse as she said, “You can get up. You suffered just now. Bengong will make it up to you.”
Yu Ya’ge still didn’t move, but she slightly lifted her head, revealing a face covered in tears. Her bewitching, tear-stained face truly seemed sparkling and pure, as if nothing more beautiful could ever be imagined.
Her jade complexion, with lonesome tears at the corners of her eyes, seemed like a branch of pear blossoms holding droplets of spring rain.
These two lines of poetry vividly played out before them. These lines are from the poem,《长恨歌》or “Song of Everlasting Regret” by famous Tang dynasty poet, Bai Juyi, which tells the tragic love story of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Gui’fei. Another line from it is also referenced in our other project, Held in the Lonely Castle.
Meng Sangyu’s eyes flashed and she unconsciously turned to look at Emperor Zhou’wu’s reaction.
Emperor Zhou’wu was still contentedly pinching the tips of her pale thin fingers for fun. He had already seen many artificial people 矫揉造作 (jiǎoróuzàozuò) Describes behaviour or speech that is fake and designed to impress. of this type, and they were not even comparable to one of Sangyu’s pinkies.
“Having suffered this type of humiliation, with what face can this commoner’s daughter stay living in this world? Begging the Emperor to please seek justice for this commoner’s daughter!” Yu Ya’ge choked out before forcefully knocking her head on the ground in a sincere and honest manner.
This matter was only about as important as a fart! How could it make her unable to continue living?!
Meng Sangyu felt quite bored and tired, and sighed heavily, “It was only a small dog. How can it take away your purity? What are you doing? Do you want Bengong to arrange a marriage between you and Er’bao?”
Emperor Zhou’wu raised his eyebrow and then began laughing out loud.
Arrange a marriage for Er’bao? Only Sangyu could think of a strange idea like this!
The crowd of people, including the serving girls and eunuchs, all were unable to suppress their amusement.
Yu Ya’ge’s face paled then purpled. She was unable to react to the Imperial Noble Consort’s outrageous words.
Observing her rarely-seen disgraceful state, Yu Ya’an bowed her head, and the corner of her lips hooked up.
Who didn’t know that Meng Sangyu was difficult to deal with, able to poison people to death with just her words, and you just had to present yourself before the gun barrel!
If it were her, she would rather peacefully settle down earlier and then rely on the Imperial Noble Consort’s guilt to gain a promotion – it could be seen that having beauty without brains was a disaster!
“How is it? Did you finish thinking it through? If you have thought it through, then Bengong will arrange this marriage for you!” Meng Sangyu picked up the teacup and took a sip.
Yu Ya’ge forcefully shook her head, her distraught face turning towards Emperor Zhou’wu.
Emperor Zhou’wu took over Sangyu’s teacup and drank from it, leading to an indirect kiss. His smiling squinted eyes showed his sense of enjoyment.
Yu Ya’ge despaired and slumped on the ground to cry. The sound of her sobs became an annoyance.
“Why bother pestering a beast with no understanding? This matter could have originally been laughed away, but you just had to make such a fuss! Stop crying! You’re so pretentious!”
Meng Sangyu, unable to take her grating cries, shook off the man’s arm and left with a fling of her sleeves. She even forgot to pay her respects before leaving.
After walking out of the Peng’lai Pavilion, she remembered Meng Rui’zhu and told Bi’shui to fetch her. After all, she was also a daughter of the Meng family. She should receive some pointers, so as to not be caught in others’ schemes.
How would she not understand Yu Ya’ge’s plan? She just went with the flow. People like Yu Ya’ge couldn’t be allowed to remain.
That temper is getting bigger and bigger!
Emperor Zhou’wu shook his head and couldn’t help but laugh in spite of himself. He hurriedly stood up to follow after her.
As he passed Yu Ya’ge, who was still prostrated on the ground, he said sternly, “Since you feel like you have already lost your purity, then hurry and pack up your things and leave the palace.” Saying this, he left without even turning back his head.
Yu Ya’ge forgot to keep crying bitterly and abruptly lifted her head towards the man’s back, this time with an expression of genuine despair.
Unexpectedly, this menace was sent away quickly. Although her nameplate had initially been chosen before even participating in the Grand Selection, she was sent out by the Emperor in the middle with the reasoning that she was unclean. Yu Ya’ge’s painstaking efforts to maintain a sterling reputation were all in ruins! Who would even be willing to marry her in the future?
Yu Ya’an shook her head, seemingly crushed by this situation, but the happiness at the corners of her mouth could not be concealed.
TL Team Thoughts:
Hello dear readers,
Thank you for your patience throughout September~ We hope you enjoyed the chapter! Final edits were complete around midnight on Sept 30th ^^; Here are our TL Goals for October.
We will be posting an update for our other project, Held in the Lonely Castle, tonight as well! Please check it out if you like reading about tragic romance ~
Until next time,
The Nyanovels Translation Team