Second Arc ー Chapter 6 (Part 4): Ear Piercing
The faint moonlight which was like mercury shrouded her, causing her whole body to emit a gentle light which flowed with a purity as clear as ice and jade which did not belong to the mortal world while amidst that extremely beautiful halo, the young woman clad in blue gauze raised her head. Her pair of eyes were just like clear crystals and beneath the crystals, there were still flowers which were silently blooming.
They were hazy yet profound.
Zhao Yin gazed at her. After a very long time, he hooked the corner of his mouth and smiled. “Pure Consort.”
This address was a declaration of his power.
Jiang Chenyu could almost feel that terrorizing aura which emanated from him. It was so strange. It was clearly words a husband uses to address his wife but due to their identities, she could actually not feel any charm and gentleness in it. It was only left with the icy layer.
She kowtowed. Then, under the surprised gazes of the bodyguards, step by step, she walked into the warm room.
The night in the fourth month was the most comfortable. The windows at the two walls of the warm room were all wide open. The cool breeze blew in and blew at the heavy gauze curtains, causing the layers to swish. Compared to the main palace and the study, the feeling this place gave people three-tenth less solemnity and seven-tenth more charm and gentleness.
Zhao Yin stood with a smile on his visage. His gaze paused at the earring. He complimented, “Pure Consort’s ornament is very unique.”
Jiang Chenyu smiled pleasantly and kowtowed on the floor again. She presented a scroll which was bound very tightly above her head.
“What is this?”
Zhao Yin raised his eyebrow curiously. Luo Heng who was beside him was about to receive it but he waved his hand and personally received it. When he untied the knot, what entered his eyes first was a model calligraphic regular script written neatly. The brush strokes were bold and vigorous. The atmosphere was simple and pure. The spirit it held was ardent and it was if the structure was made by heaven. One could really be enthralled in it before one reads the content of the text.
“Well-written words. Whose self-recommendation letter is this? When he read until the extreme left, he saw the final signature and was slightly surprised. “Yours?”
A gust of wind blew and ‘Staying Together for a Long Time’ swayed.
Something different emerged from the bottom of Zhao Yin’s eyes. He placed the scroll aside without even looking at it. He asked slowly, “What do you want?”
Jiang Chenyu raised her head and looked straight at him. She enunciated every word, “An opportunity to find a place that is truly suitable for me.”
Zhao Yin raised his eyebrow quite profoundly and dragged an ‘oh’ sound but still maintained his composure. Jiang Chenyu knew that this headstrong and paranoid emperor was currently appraising her. At this very moment, if she said a single sentence wrongly, she would no longer have a chance to reverse her fortune every again. However ー
‘Even if I don’t say something wrong, how would I have an opportunity now?’
When her thoughts reached here, her heart sank. She decided to give her all and throw caution to the wind. ‘Only when all paths of retreat are cut off would one be resolved and achieve success. Tonight, if I can’t live, then I’ll just die.”
“Your Majesty, are you a wise ruler?”
When this sentence was uttered, Zhao Yin’s and Luo Heng’s expressions changed simultaneously. A kind of heavy sternness weighed down in the atmosphere. It was just like the arrow on the bow and the sword in the sheath. As soon as it was triggered, it would immediately be activated.
Zhao Yin gazed at Jiang Chenyu who was kneeling on the ground. All of a sudden, he laughed three times.
During his first laughter, the arrow and sword were retracted; During the second laughter, the strength diminished and the pressure dissipated; During the third laughter, it became a peaceful moonlit light. After the three peals of laughter, the world returned to its original state.
He leaned against the small table and languidly swung the tassel of his crown behind his shoulders. He smiled. “According to my wife’s opinion, is this emperor a wise ruler.”
“This concubine subject thinks that Your Majesty is a wise ruler.”
“Oh, how do you tell?”
“The previous nation’s brother-in-law cruelly oppressed and exploited the common people. Many people dared to be irate but didn’t dare to speak of it. Your Majesty dismissed him from his official post and beheaded him. You eliminated a scourge for the common people and all the people expressed their jubilation. This is a sagacious act; Xue Huai was arrogant due to his meritorious deeds and offended his superiors. He even betrayed the country and revolted in the end. Your Majesty personally led the military expedition and killed him. Millions of his henchmen were annihilated in one swoop. This is an act to display power; Your Majesty only uses people based on their talents alone and don’t mind their backgrounds and you conferred Pan Fang as a general. This is an act of kindness. Furthermore, ever since Your Majesty has ascended the throne, you have made great efforts to make the country prosperous, dealt with a myriad of state affairs every day, reduced forced labor and taxes and encouraged agriculture, causing Nation Bi to prosper with each passing day and allowing the common people to live peacefully and enjoy their work. Of course you’re a wise ruler.”
Zhao Yin raised his eyebrows and the smile in his eyes deepened. “Oh, so in Pure Consort’s eyes, this emperor is such a great emperor.”
“Therefore, this concubine subject would be so bold as to raise an inappropriate request.”
“If this emperor hadn’t listened, would I lose this ‘wise’ word?”
Jiang Chenyu bit her trembling lips while her autumn pupils looked as if they were about to cry. It suddenly made people realize that the one kneeling on the floor was merely a delicate and pitiful woman. Moreover, she was only fifteen years old. Zhao Yin’s gaze flickered a little and he faintly said, “In order to protect this ‘wise’ word, this emperor should still listen. You may say it.”
Jiang Chenyu kowtowed on the ground two times before she continued, “What this concubine subject is going to say next are words that come from the bottom of my heart. Perhaps it may be immature and ridiculous, perhaps it may be conceited and audacious and perhaps it may offend your imperial power, but all of them are my true opinions from my heart.”
Zhao Yin noncommittally made a ‘mhm’ sound.
“Firstly, receiving Your Majesty’s favor and being conferred as Pure Consort might be very impressive in others’ eyes but for this concubine subject, it brings much unspeakable suffering…”
When Luo Heng heard until this point, he immediately widened his eyes. He thought, ‘This Right Prime Minister’s Third Miss really dares to talk. She even dares to say something like this!’
“My father and brother at home are worried that once I entered the inner palace which is like the deep sea, they were afraid that this would be a calamity and not a fortune for someone as mischievous and slow-witted as this concubine subject; My elder sister in the palace angry towards me. The blood-related younger sister of the past had now become her enemy in rivalling for affection; This concubine subject myself is also at a loss with no support. There are many beauties in the palace. If we talk about talent, Noble Concubine Ji’s talent stuns others; If we talk about appearance, Consort Xihe beauty transcends this world. Whereas this concubine subject’s personality isn’t gentle enough and not attentive enough in dealing with matters. After mulling over and over again, I only have one strength.”
Jiang Chenyu raised her head and gazed at Zhao Yin with rapt attention. It was as if that chilly gaze wanted to drill all the way into his heart. “That is ー schemes.”
When the tree people in the room, Zhao Yin who was leaning, Luo Heng who was bending over as well as Tian Jiu who was in hiding, heard this, they were all astonished.
Yet, her ethereal voice just had to remain like the sound of the Xiao* in the wind with every word distant and every sentence clear, “Therefore, this concubine subject came to recommend myself. I am willing to provide all my humble knowledge to make your schemes as an emperor complete.”
*T/n: It is a bamboo flute. Unlike the Dizi, the Xiao is a vertical end-blown flute.
Image source: Baidu
Another gust of wind blew. It blew until the scroll on the desk rolled open, revealing all the content inside. It was clearly with the tone of a sweet and charming woman but it spoke of the most universally shocking aspirations. Lofty and profound characters which was if they could cut open the armor made from rhinoceros hide and battle the dragon snake and were then written line by one ー
One wonders why a beauty, her skirt winds with the spiraling clouds. Her countenance is white and unadorned yet she appears haggard, her shirt floats and her ornaments dangle. The sun sets while the moon rises as she talks about her husband, she has a silent deportment and hardly smiles. She displays her talent and she has a beautiful appearance but there is nothing to be envious about, her heart is injured as if cut by a knife.
Ask a certain woman, originally the legendary archer’s wife.
Stole the immortal plant which grants eternal life, sympathize that they abandoned each other.
The sky is frigid and the palace in the moon is cold, the clouds appear and the sweet osmanthus tree wonders.
The world says that the husband’s feelings have ebbed, who understands the noble aspirations.
Hou Yi(the legendary archer) is a true hero, flocks of beautiful women are delighted and fond of him.
Yet to hear the remarkable promise in the letter, it has long been rumored that the boulder shifts.
The pitiful beautiful visage, the bright moonlight dyes her black hair.
All the imperial consorts smiles and are well, who does the little girl rely upon?
The monarch values affection with his wives, the rest of his heart yearns for the secrets of heaven.
Seeking pleasure as both ties the knot, how would they obtain the heart.
Lovers separate as the shrike and swallow fly their respective ways, there is no affectionate couple who stays like mandarin ducks which do not die.
Willing to be a pure and upright lotus one can always trust in, accompanying the emperor for a long time as a chess piece.
The path of scheming concerns wisdom, fighting or resisting to realize that outcome. It is divided into four categories, crafting the scheme, recognizing the scheme, exposing the scheme and reversing the scheme. The latter three builds upon crafting as the foundation and pays particular attention to prioritizing a psychological attack.
Hence, this move of Jiang Chenyu appeared to be risky but she had actually calculated accurately that it would be frightening but with no mishap. That night, after she took a bath and changed her clothes, when she sat on the bench with her hair hung loose and gaze at the moon which still remained white, her frame of mind had already changed until it was completely different from previously.
Previously she was waiting, was enduring silently, was sentimentally attached and was fearful; Whereas from now onwards, it would be a longer period of waiting, a larger degree of enduring silently, staying calm and collected while being sentimentally attached but she no longer needed to be fearful of anything.
When all means of retreat are cut off, an oppressed army burning with indignation is bound to win. When a person has thrown caution to the wind and risked everything, there would no longer be anything that could make her afraid because at any rate, it wouldn’t be worse than now, thus she has to hope and await that the next day would be better.
She suddenly spoke, “Huai Jin, Elder Sister said that there is one commonality between His Majesty and Xihe. It’s something that others don’t have. Hence, this also resulted in Xihe’s one and only position. Do you know what that is?”