Why Harem Intrigue When You Can Just Raise A Dog Instead? (Chp 83)
Chapter 83: Beating the Dog (打狗)
Translators: Nyamachi & Tygris
Translation assistant: 247Reader
Translation Checkers: Tygris, Nyamachi & Petrified
English proofreaders: 247Reader
A spring chill lingered in the air. Although it was sunny and bright outside, just as before, one still needed to have two braziers burning in order to feel warm.
Only after undoing the knot in Sangyu’s heart did Emperor Zhou’wu realize that she was only wearing a thin inner robe as she nestled against his chest.
“Cover up, be careful not to catch a chill.” He lifted the brocade quilt and tightly wrapped Sangyu inside. He planted a kiss on her small face that was still exposed.
Seeing that a small trace of anxiousness still remained in her knitted brows, he said smoothly, “In a short while, I will give you a blank imperial edict. If, one day, I turn my back on you and the child, you’re more than welcome to write an imperial edict and then bring it with you to Thousand Buddha Mountain to request assistance from the Empress Dowager. I promise I will not stop you.”
Meng Sangyu’s complexion shifted slightly as she raised her head to look towards him, asking in astonishment, “Are you so assured? You’re not afraid that I’ll do something outrageous after I obtain the imperial edict?”
It was seriously hard to believe that these kinds of words could sprout from the mouth of Gu Shao’ze, who was a man so innately mistrustful of others.
“I believe in you.” Emperor Zhou’wu said, smiling, as he flicked the tip of her nose.
If a single imperial edict could destroy Great Zhou, then soon there would be no need for him to sit on the throne as Emperor. He dared to act this way, firstly, because he trusted Sangyu, and, secondly, because he trusted in his own ability.
Meng Sangyu stared at him for a while. Once she confirmed that there was nothing false in his words, she said, weakly, “Thank you.”
This consideration was an immensely heavy thing, but it was also exactly what she needed right now. It was impossible for her to refuse.
“Why are you thanking me? The day will never come that you need to use it,” Emperor Zhou’wu confidently stated as he tightly wrapped his arms around her thin and weak shoulders.
The two of them cuddled in silence for a while, a tender, loving atmosphere rising between them.
The man extended his hand into the brocade blanket and gently caressed the woman’s flat lower abdomen. Only now had he experienced the joy of becoming a father. FYI TL team facepalmed here.
He lowered his head to nibble her delicate lips and gave a low chuckle, saying, “It’s wonderful that we have a child now!”
After a moment he put away his smile as he came back to himself. Then, after another pause as he thought about it again, he leaned over once more to place a kiss on her lips. This process repeated without end.
Meng Sangyu silently received his rain of kisses. Seeing that his features were relaxed and clear, the corners of his mouth were raised, and he was as delighted as a child, she couldn’t help but smile.
The man’s feelings were completely pure and straightforward, and he was making not even the tiniest attempt to hide them. It was just as he had said: this child’s arrival was the cumulation of all of his hopes and expectations.
Her heart stirred slightly. Meng Sangyu extended her arms out of the blanket and wrapped them around the man’s neck, taking the initiative to capture his lips. A flash of pleasant surprise streaked across his gaze as he impatiently welcomed her enthusiasm.
Little by little, the temperature of the room rose.
Nurse Feng couldn’t help but worry. Upon seeing the female doctor deliver the medicine, she hurriedly used it as an excuse to enter the palace hall to check on her master. “Your Highness, it’s time to drink medicine.”
The couple separated reluctantly, a silver thread of saliva connecting their lips as they broke apart.
Emperor Zhou’wu laughed involuntarily as he licked the string hanging at the corner of Sangyu’s mouth. Only then did he turn towards the embarrassed Nurse Feng and say warmly, “Bring it over.”
Taking the proffered bowlful of medicine, he first tested its temperature with his finger before bringing it up to Sangyu’s lips, patiently instructing her, “The imperial physicians said that the fetus is somewhat unstable, but you only need to drink medicine for a few days and you’ll be fine. Palace affairs are burdensome. For now, you can temporarily hand over the work to others. If you’re feeling unwell in any way, immediately send someone to notify me, regardless of the time or place. Understood?”
Meng Sangyu drank the medicine in small sips. Her charming face creased into a dumpling as she repeatedly nodded, looking as lovable and cute as a child.
So much love surged forward in Emperor Zhou’wu’s heart that it nearly broke.
He used a handkerchief to wipe the corners of her mouth dry and also fed her a piece of honeyed candy with his mouth. Softly nibbling her lips as he replaced the bitterness with sweetness, he wanted to continue licking her forever.
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Nurse Feng lowered her head as she took the bowl of medicine, not daring to take even a glance at the pair. She swept out of the bedchamber like a gust of wind, and nearly bumped into Chang’xi, who was entering in a hurry.
Emperor Zhou’wu supported Sangyu to lie down and was just about to remove his outer robe to accompany her for a short nap. Upon catching sight of Chang’xi’s grave expression, his hands paused their movements. “What’s the matter?”
“Reporting to Your Majesty, an urgent eight-hundred-miles report arrived. 八百里加急 (bābǎi lǐ jiājí) was a term used to describe the most time-sensitive reports. During imperial times, there would be a courier system stationed every 20 miles and urgent letters were mandated to be sent via fast horse over 300-400 miles per day. The urgency level of the report corresponded to the number of miles attached to it i.e. 400, 600 and 800 miles. However, the actual fastest recorded speed was 500 miles per day. Xiang’bei Wang has raised troops in rebellion.” Chang’xi spoke rapidly as he made the report.
“Send a summons to the cabinet ministers to immediately enter the palace to discuss matters.” Emperor Zhou’wu straightened his lapels and fasteners. 盘扣 (pánkòu) A traditional Chinese button used to fasten a placket or decoration. It’s made out of cord, consisting of a button and a loop made from varying materials such as silk. They come in many different shapes. Here are some examples from Baidu.
Seeing Sangyu raise her upper body, he rushed forward to press her back down into the cocoon of bedding.
Kissing her forehead, he said, “No need to worry. The Meng family army has just recently vanquished Yelu’han Wang’s imperial seat. Right now, their morale is at its highest. It’s impossible to hold back the force of their fighting spirit. Xiang’bei Wang believes himself to be taking advantage of a weakness, when in fact he is inviting disaster by overreaching his position. 以卵击石 (yǐluǎnjīshí) To attempt the impossible or invite disaster by overreaching oneself. The literal meaning is to strike a stone with an egg lol. Victory in this campaign has long since been decided.”
Meng Sangyu heard the unspoken meaning in his words and unconsciously clutched his sleeve. “Is Father going into battle?”
“Mm. Don’t worry, I will dispatch people to protect him.” To prevent Sangyu from becoming over-agitated, Emperor Zhou’wu spoke in a soft, pacifying tone.
Knowing the urgency of this matter, Meng Sangyu nodded and let go of his sleeve.
After [the Emperor and his entourage] had departed and were out of view, FYI, when seeing off someone, it’s good manners in Chinese culture to continue watching their departing figure until they are out of view. That’s what all of the servants are doing when they see off the Emperor. Nurse Feng immediately tore open the beaded curtain, wearing an excited expression. “Your Highness, guess what this servant heard?”
Behind her, Yin’cui and Bi’shui’s faces were bright red.
“Xiang’bei Wang has rebelled?” asked Meng Sangyu as she half sat up with an arched brow.
“Ah?” Hearing this news, Nurse Feng stared blankly before quickly pushing it to the back of her mind. She gave a brilliant smile as she said, “Not that news. This servant heard that just now, His Majesty dismissed all of the Concubine Candidates and abolished the Grand Selection from this day forward. This is all because of Your Highness! His Majesty’s love for Your Highness is more solid than gold!”
Nurse Feng’s manner of speaking was as proud as though this had been her personal accomplishment. Yin’cui and Bi’shui hastily echoed her.
A love more solid than gold? Meng Sangyu shook her head, but she couldn’t scoff at the man’s actions any longer.
No matter how he had acted in the past, nowadays the man was truly meticulous and attentive towards her in every way. She couldn’t find the tiniest fault with him.
However, his affections had come too inexplicably. In the end, she still wasn’t able to be wholly at ease.
At just that moment, a supervising eunuch from the Imperial Study sought an audience with her, carrying a tray.
Nurse Feng went out and received the tray. Seeing that a letter and an imperial edict scroll lay upon it, her expression turned extremely distrustful.
Meng Sangyu took the letter and opened it. Seeing that it was the letter she had written to the Empress Dowager, she helplessly shook her head. It appeared that the man wouldn’t let her go.
Then she unfolded the imperial edict and saw that the lower left corner had already been stamped with the imperial seal. She gave a relieved smile.
Since she had a way out, then, for the child’s sake, she would bravely give matters her best shot. There was a blessed opportunity in front of her – why would she watch wide-eyed as it passed her by?
“Oh my! This imperial edict has already been stamped, but why is it blank?” Nurse Feng cried out in surprise upon glancing over.
If this item fell into the wrong hands, who knew what kind of storms would blow their way!
“Store it away carefully. If one day His Majesty turns his back on me, this will be insurance for my child and I.” Meng Sangyu said with an even tone of voice as she rolled up the imperial edict.
“Your Highness, this is a hot potato!” 烫手山芋 (tàngshǒushānyù) A big problem, trouble, a headache. Bi’shui said anxiously.
“Since he dared to give it to me, I will dare to accept it. It’s fine. Store it away.” Meng Sangyu waved a hand unconcernedly.
She was also aware that this wasn’t a good item to keep in her possession. Still, her heart was much more settled having it, so she decided to accept it for the time being.
The three servants didn’t dare to tarry. They quickly fetched a small box and stored the imperial edict safely inside.
Inwardly, they were speechless: Their mistress has even been handed an escape route- His Majesty has truly given this matter a lot of thought! This level of regard is rare even amongst ordinary commoner couples, let alone a monarch and his concubine!
Nurse Feng’s old face smiled so happily that it practically bloomed into a flower, but after thinking of something, her smile immediately disappeared.
Angrily, she said, “Your Highness, after your honoured self fainted, His Majesty went ahead and decided to discard the Second Young Miss’s nameplate. In a flash, Worthy Consort branded the Second Young Miss with the bad reputation of ‘her words and actions being slightly flawed.’ Luckily, His Majesty dismissed the rest of the Concubine Candidates as well, so that attention wasn’t drawn towards the Second Young Miss’s matter. Otherwise, who knows how many people would make a mockery of the Meng family.”
No matter how poorly they got along, members of the Meng family could not let outsiders humiliate them.
After Meng Sangyu inquired about the details of the matter, her expression darkened. She could tell that Worthy Consort’s mental state was very problematic. She was just like a mad dog, willing to bite others at any time to transfer her misfortune to them.
Mad dogs needed to be ruthlessly beaten until they were terrified; until they would run away at the sight of you.
Meng Sangyu gave a cold smile. Dangling her embroidered shoes, she walked in front of her dressing table. She took out an embroidered handkerchief from the makeup case and rubbed it in a small box of rouge.
The blood-red stain set off the white cloth, creating a ghastly sight. Anyone who looked at it would be struck with an ominous feeling.
“Put this in a small box and deliver it to Jiang’zi Palace. Worthy Consort will understand my meaning after seeing it.” She yawned and lazily laid down on her bed to catch up on sleep.
Yin’cui received the handkerchief and delivered it to Jiang’zi Palace.
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In Jiang’zi Palace, a loud crash sounded. Shattered pieces of porcelain splattered everywhere. A group of servants knelt in a corner, firmly burying their heads, not daring to take even a glance at the crazed woman in the midst of wreaking destruction.
The woman’s eyes were blood-red, the hair on her temples was in disarray, and curses incessantly flew from her mouth. Her malicious words caused others to tremble with fear.
At this moment, her originally delicate and charming face had become comparable to a malevolent ghost.
“Your Ladyship, Bi’xiao Palace’s Yin’cui is outside seeking an audience.” Since the one seeking an audience was the Imperial Noble Consort’s head maid, the eunuchs guarding the door didn’t dare to neglect her, and resolutely came forward to notify [their master].
“I refuse to see her! Tell her to get lost!” Worthy Consort’s blood-red eyes bulged with emotion. Since Shen Hui’ru’s death, the person she hated the most was Meng Sangyu.
Why could she dodge misfortune? Why could she monopolize the Emperor? Now, not only was she pregnant, but the Emperor even dismissed the Concubine Candidates on her behalf?!
She hated her! She hated that she couldn’t flay her skin and break her bones and eat them!
The eunuch made a sound of acknowledgement, and with perfect manners, he sent Yin’cui away.
He turned around and returned with a box. He knelt down and said while trembling, “Reporting to Your Ladyship, this is a gift to you from the Imperial Noble Consort.”
“What the heck is this!” Worthy Consort raised her hand and knocked over the box. A handkerchief floated out, falling onto the floor, and the blood-red stain stabbed deeply into her eyes.
Her heart beating wildly, she slowly bent down and picked up the embroidered handkerchief with trembling hands. Her eyes widened.
A dirty embroidered handkerchief – Oh no! Meng Sangyu actually knows!
Worthy Consort staggered and fell backwards. With keen observation skills and fast reflexes, the eunuch hurriedly stood up to support her and settled her onto the soft couch.
With her hands covering her heart, Worthy Consort curled up into a ball as a layer of cold sweat formed on her forehead.
Meng Sangyu knew her most deadly secret, and yet she had still foolishly gone to provoke the other party. She was just courting death!
It was as though a large hand was choking her. She felt as though she couldn’t breathe.
“Your Ladyship, are you alright? Your Ladyship? This servant will immediately go find an Imperial Physician.”
The eunuch immediately ran toward the exit as a group of palace maids surrounded [him], inquiring about the situation. Everyone was flustered for a good while.
After the incident at the Cold Palace, Worthy Consort’s close confidants had been completely wiped out. The remaining servants were not nearly as dedicated as the previous ones.
“No need!” Worthy Consort screamed in horror. “Don’t go! Bengong only needs to lay down for a while!” As she was speaking, she tore open the covers and tightly wrapped herself up, her curled-up body still shivering incessantly.
As soon as she remembered that Meng Sangyu knew her most shameful secret, she felt as though she had been stripped naked and had nowhere to hide.
She didn’t dare anymore; she didn’t dare to ever appear in front of Meng Sangyu again!
From this day onwards, Worthy Consort fell seriously ill. Only after many months had passed did she gradually recover, but it was though she didn’t exist; she no longer participated in any activities within the Inner Palace.
Early the next day, the rebellion of Xiang’bei Wang was exposed to the public by the Emperor and he sent Duke Meng to quell the chaos.
With the nation’s safety at stake, the officials concerned about the Grand Selection all quieted down. Whoever stood out now to ask the Emperor to choose beautiful women would be considered a blind fool, and perhaps even stained with the reputation of a traitor.
On the second day after the army was dispatched, the Emperor issued an imperial decree declaring that the Imperial Noble Consort would be crowned Empress.
The Ministry of Rites rushed to prepare the ceremony, and all the officials knelt down in congratulations.
TL Team Thoughts:
Hello dear readers,
Thank you for waiting and for all your encouragement! We hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Our girl Sangyu finally got the insurance she needed to feel secure. What do you think about the Emperor’s actions? Has he redeemed himself in your eyes??
Sangyu’s ruthless side showed itself in this chapter too. Can anyone remember what Worthy Consort’s deepest secret is? We couldn’t remember the significance of the handkerchief.
Two more chapters in the main story. Check out our September goals post if you haven’t already for team updates and what to expect for the rest of 2023!
‼/ᐠ. ｡.ᐟ\ᵐᵉᵒʷˎˊ˗ ※ We are still looking for a translation checker for our other series, Held in the Lonely Castle! If you have time and would like to join our cozy team of novel-loving cats, please contact us for more info!
Until next time,
The Nyanovels Translation Team