Translated by Eve
Edited by Wuxian
As the location of the first meeting between the protagonist gong and shou, Princess Zhang’s Flower Appreciation Banquet was naturally the most important scene within the plot. The participants included all of the Capital’s noble women and outstanding genius children of nobility. Although the scenes of Xu Tu, the role Sui Yuan was acting, were few in number, he also made a small appearance, meeting the protagonist shou Lin Xiao briefly.
Although his face was delicate and pretty, Lin Xiao was still a man dressed as a woman after all. He could not compare to a woman’s innate daintiness. Amongst a crowd of women, he was not that eye-catching. He did not have a sweet, lovable personality nor did he have an appearance that would sway a man’s heart with passion. He was reticent, as was compliant with his status as a Shu daughter. It was probably only Situ Yu, this kind of ‘secretly bent’ man, that would fall in love with him at first glance and would have him constantly on his mind.
Compared to how Situ Yu fell in love at first sight, Xu Tu’s first impression of Lin Xiao was comparatively one of indifference. Xu Tu, who had many friends of the fairer sex and a whole heap of women before him from the start, was especially picky and tricky. He noticed Situ Yu’s interest in Lin Xiao but Lin Xiao did not score highly in his opinion. He felt that he was unsophisticated and boring, his figure dull, development mediocre, and appearance only average. He even ruthlessly wondered if Situ Yu’s eyesight was going bad.
Only after paying more attention to him later on did Xu Tu get attracted by Lin Xiao’s independence that was different from an ordinary woman’s. His intelligence, courage, and strength also drew him in. He found this woman, who did not believe that a husband was one’s lord and was not dependent on a man, to be interesting and novel. It made one have a great desire to conquer. Furthermore, Lin Xiao had secretly helped Situ Yu destroy the arrangements that he and Situ Gui had made time and time again, making Xu Tu love and hate him. His desire to completely conquer him and have him lay under his own body kept rising.
——It was a pity that this guy was oblivious to the fact that Lin Xiao was a man, not a woman. And due to that, he would not be like a woman, brainwashed and educated to be dependent on a man.
Thus, Sui Yuan, who didn’t have many scenes with the protagonist shou and gong this time, only needed to maintain a loose, passionate kind of attitude, flirt with a crowd of noble women, and banter with other noble young masters. It was effortless and relaxed.
Unfortunately, this was only what Sui Yuan thought. When Zhao Xihe saw that Xu Tu caused quite a few women to fall in love with him and how he didn’t refuse anybody in the plot, his expression immediately turned sour.
Sui Yuan naturally knew that his family’s lover was causing a fuss and being difficult, but he didn’t plan on disregarding his own storyline because of this. He could only ruthlessly throw him to one side, pretending to see no evil, hear no evil, after trying to appease him yielded no results. As for Zhao Xihe, who was casted into the cold palace by Sui Yuan yet again, his mood did not clear up for many days, causing the people all around to tremble with increasing fear.
On the day of the Flower Appreciation Banquet, Sui Yuan and Situ Gui entered the gardens and were the focus of many. One was the choice favourite for the position of crown prince, and the other was the adopted son spoiled by the Emperor. No matter where the two went, there were quite a few people fawning and crowding around them.
‘Birds of a feather flock together’ and ‘people are always divided into factions.’ If one were to say that Situ Gui’s side had the talented young scions of the aristocratic families that held true strength, then on Sui Yuan’s side, the ones that surrounded him were all famous wastrels of rich and powerful families that wasted their whole lives in pleasure. Furthermore, whenever this band of wastrels gathered together to discuss, naturally, it was not about anything proper. After idly chatting about love affairs, the crowd finally tactfully led the subject to the matter of Sui Yuan refusing to enter his rear court. Each of them expressed how they did not believe that he had ‘turned over a new leaf’, becoming a prime example of the prodigal son returning.
Towards this, Sui Yuan was truly very helpless. It was not difficult to act as a playboy. What was difficult was pretending to be a playboy while raising a ‘tigress’ at home. Sui Yuan believed that if a sex scandal between himself and a woman came forth, Zhao Xihe would punish him dearly the next day.
“I’m just genuinely tired of them,” Sui Yuan reclined on a low couch under the tree’s shade with a bored expression, right hand propping up his forehead, left hand raising a cup of wine, looking languid, “Everyday it’s just those same faces coming and going. It simply turns people off!”
“The ones in your rear court are great beauties though! Only after wasting much effort were they brought to you. Then you grew tired of them after only a few days. This is purely a waste of resources!” One of the heirs couldn’t help but grumble in good humour, not at all surprised at how Xu Tu would get bored with the old so quickly.
“In my opinion, there are thousands of women with different bearings but none of them can compare to Lord Xu’s grace,” One of the wastrels stared at Sui Yuan with fixed eyes and subconsciously exclaimed in admiration. After all, this world was classified as danmei. Although male-female couples were still the mainstream pairing, there were quite a few homosexual men.
However, even if homosexuality was prevalent, obviously, it was still insulting to be compared to a woman. Sui Yuan’s complexion sunk, and his heroic, handsome eyebrows raised. He rudely flipped his wine cup and spilled it onto the man who offended him. He spoke in an arrogant tone, “Oh? What did you say?”
The wastrel that was doused jumped in a panic, wanting to evade it. However, it was already too late. His face turned red and he wanted to get angry after getting his face slapped but he was afraid Xu Tu, this unreasonable little overlord, would flip out. For a moment, he totally did not know how to respond. Likewise, he also knew he didn’t mean what he said. He didn’t know what possessed him to unexpectedly say such an offensive thing. He wanted to apologize but he could not lower himself to do so at the same time.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Seeing that the situation was starting to get out of hand, the other people, naturally, began to speak and act as mediators. They placated Sui Yuan while giving the other person a rope to get himself off the hook. In any case, persuasion from all sides finally helped to calm down the situation. Sui Yuan reclined in his couch in a lazy manner while the other was brought somewhere to change out of his sullied clothes.
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——He was quite the natural evil spirit with powers to bewitch people!
This lament was what Situ Yu, the protagonist gong, could not help but admit through gritted teeth.
Since he came to understand his thoughts towards Xu Tu via that dream, Situ Yu had been making a supreme effort to control himself, so as to not think about the other boy. However, the more one tries to restrict their emotions, the harder they are to forget. Clearly, he had come to this time’s Flower Appreciation Banquet to find a beautiful woman to transfer his attention to but unfortunately, since Xu Tu had appeared, he couldn’t help but focus on him, as if he had specifically come for him.
Seeing Xu Tu banter with other people in an absolutely unrestrained manner while ignoring himself, Situ Yu’s heart felt as if it was being devoured by ants. When he saw how he had become hostile to someone else without trying to restrain himself in the least, Situ Yu clearly should have felt loathing towards his arrogance as he used to in the past. However, this time, he felt that his frankness was cute, without any sort of scheming.
Situ Yu seemed to have vividly and thoroughly experienced the power of ‘beauty being in the eye of the beholder’. Things that would have originally made someone loathe you became a good point in the eyes of a lover. Situ Yu couldn’t help but want to fiercely grab hold of his own head and knock himself awake in order to get rid of the sorcery Xu Tu has cast on him.
The protagonist gong was extremely conflicted here. In the palace, His Majesty was also unable to sit or stand still as he held onto the invitation card sent by Princess Zhang for her Flower Appreciation Banquet.
…I want to go…really want to go. Even if he had dispatched people to watch over Sui Yuan’s every action and movement in secret, if he wasn’t there to personally observe, Zhao Xihe still felt especially uneasy and impatient.
Until the day that the wretched Heartthrob halo on Sui Yuan’s body was resolved, Zhao Xihe would not dare ignore Sui Yuan going out and flirting with other people. Unfortunately, from the information 0007 had sent back, that halo had to do with Zhao Xihe himself. This was simply a case of him having dug a hole for himself!
When he found out about this verdict, Zhao Xihe abused himself into a bloody mess.
In the plot, the Emperor did not participate in the flower appreciation banquet. If he went, what would he do if Sui Yuan had a falling out with him? While the Emperor was left in this predicament and struggling over what he should do, the little eunuch outside shyly interrupted his train of thought.
“Audience granted,” After hearing that the Empress had requested to see him, Zhao Xihe slightly raised his eyes and absent-mindedly spoke. Very soon, he saw the Empress, adorned in her extravagant, gorgeous court dress, solemnly enter the palace hall and gracefully salute him.
After waiting for the Empress to finish her salutations, Zhao Xihe called for her to stand. He naturally knew that in the plot, the woman before him had orchestrated many dirty tricks in order to let herself give birth to a son and raise her position. However, he did not loathe this kind of scheming and malicious woman. But, towards this story character that Sui Yuan paid special attention to, Zhao Xihe did not hold any goodwill towards her.
“The Empress has especially requested an audience. What is the matter?” Zhao Xihe had just been distressing over the playboy attribute of Sui Yuan’s role. Towards the Empress who had showed up without an invitation, he naturally did not show a good expression.
The Empress could perceive that the Emperor’s mood was not good and spoke with prudence, “His Majesty had not set foot in the harem recently. Chen Qie and her younger sisters are all rather worried…”
Just like how Sui Yuan no longer approached the women in his rear court, since the Emperor was replaced by Zhao Xihe, the women in the harem were completely ignored. Before, although the Emperor was not affected by womanly wiles, he still spread his rain and dew. He had never done such a strange thing as to ignore them. Although the concubines that had established their positions after participating in the harem politics within the palace, were all comparatively shrewd and more capable of keeping their composure than the average woman, they could not help but feel anxious this time.
They needed the Emperor’s favour. Their sons needed the Emperor’s favour. If the Emperor did not set foot in the harem, how would they sway him through pillow talk? How could they fight for benefits for their clans and their beloved sons?
The Emperor was at the prime of his life and the princes have all matured but the position of heir apparent to the throne still remained undecided. At such a crucial point in time, truly, they could not afford to lose favour!
“The harem? What does Zhen need to go there for?” Zhao Xihe snorted, throwing the invitation card onto the desk, not giving the Empress any face.
The Empress’ face paled and she could see the handwriting on the invitation card with her keen eyes. Her heat stirred and she immediately understood. The reason why the Emperor had not gone to the harem for so long…could it be because he had grown tired of their old faces and wanted a wave of youthful beauties?
Towards this, the Empress did not care in the slightest. She had always known that men liked the new and hated the old, and had never expected to be able to continue enjoying the Emperor’s favor as her beauty declined. What the women in the harem asked for was power, not love— to be able to assist young girls to coax the Emperor’s heart was also a customary method these women, who had high positions but were no longer youthful, employed.
While her thoughts whirled in her mind, the Empress showed a sweet-tempered smile, helping the Emperor find an excuse in an understanding manner, “The Emperor has been trapped in the palace, could it be that you are feeling oppressed? The spring scenery is beautiful today. I heard that Princess Zhang is holding a Flower Appreciation Banquet in the gardens at the city outskirts. Perhaps Your Majesty the Emperor could go drive away your cares, and enjoy yourself to your heart’s content.”
Zhao Xihe naturally wanted to go to Princess Zhang’s Flower Appreciation Banquet and drive away his cares. However, he did not want the Empress to believe that her plan succeeded and subsequently feel proud of herself. In other words, as Zhao Xihe was feeling unhappy, he also didn’t want to see anyone else happy.
“The Flower Appreciation Banquet?” Zhao Xihe softly hmphed, “Is it to admire the flowers or to admire the people?”
“It is the greatest blessing to be admired by Your Majesty the Emperor, ne!” The Empress smiled gently, “It is always the same people coming and going from the palace. If Your Majesty is able to bring back a few sisters, then that would be best.”
“Bring back a few sisters?” Zhao Xihe flashed a smile that was not a smile, “Zhen does not dare do such a thing!”
The Empress’ heart thumped and she forced a smile, “Why would Your Majesty say such a thing? Chen Qie is afraid….”
“Do you think that Zhen is truly muddleheaded and incompetent and really does not know about you and the rest of the harem’s dirty tricks?” Zhao Xihe stood up, strolling towards the Empress who had subconsciously lowered her head and was faintly trembling, sneering, “Zhen also fought in a battle for succession. Zhen’s harem, Zhen’s sons, what all of you are thinking and all that you’ve done, Zhen knows it all.”
The Empress was directly exposed to the Emperor’s oppressive might. In addition, she had a guilty conscience and could not help but fall to her knees on the ground as she tried to refute these things in a panic.
Zhao Xihe looked her up and down with disdain, gaze indifferent as he interrupted her, “Zhen entered the harem only for the sake of continuing on his lineage with the birth of sons. Now, Zhen has his sons. Each of them are obsessively ambitious, cultivating a few followers that they can use. The task bestowed to you women has now ended. Zhen has no interest in the harem nor in any young women. Even if Zhen did, Zhen does not plan on having any more children. How many of Zhen’s sons have died, you all have a clearer idea on this than Zhen does. Even if they lived, if they do not die in your hands or the other concubines, they will die fighting with their brothers. Since it is like this, then it is better to not have them!”
The Empress knelt on the ground on all fours, trembling. Under the imposing atmosphere, she dared not breathe. It was evident that she was already scared out of her wits. Zhao Xihe bent at the waist and gently patted her back, “What belongs to you, will belong to you. Meanwhile, what Zhen will not give, no matter how much you insist, Zhen will not give. Be content with your lot. For the sake of the past, Zhen will not investigate. If you still plan on not knowing your place…heh.”
The Empress shook uncontrollably at that soft chuckle. There was a chill permeating through her bones, making it so that she couldn’t even beg for forgiveness.
“Zhen will hand the harem over to you. Make them all know their places. Stop while you’re ahead. Do not come and provoke Zhen again. Otherwise…you all will not be able to bear the consequences,” Zhao Xihe stood up straight and smiled in satisfaction, out of the Empress’ sight.
After intimidating the Empress, he borrowed her hand to intimidate the rest of the harem. The women who had been bouncing around all cheerful and lively probably would not dare appear before his eyes again. Zhao Xihe did not have the patience to deal with those wildly ambitious women who were deep schemers. Since he had no way of dispersing the harem, he might as well decisively draw his sword, cut through this messy situation, and uproot the problem at its source, thereby preventing future trouble.
Now, his warning has already been issued. If there is still anyone without eyes, Zhao Xihe will be prepared to teach them the lesson they deserve.
——People who are the Emperors are all willful like this!
After venting his grievances on the unfortunate Empress who had bumped into the muzzle of the gun, Zhao Xihe’s mood was much better. Thus, he very much wanted to go see Sui Yuan.
After dismissing the Empress, Zhao Xihe paced the palace hall with his hands clasped behind his back. In the end, he could not endure and took the invitation card for the Flower Appreciation Banquet back into his hands.
Princess Zhang was his character’s older sister. Their relationship was not bad. In the beginning, she had supported him in the battle for succession. Therefore, when he rose to power, she was bestowed the title of Princess Zhang. Now, the invitation card has already been sent to him. If he wore plain clothes and went incognito, he could give Princess Zhang some face and also fulfill his desire, so why not?
——As for the plot…to participate in the banquet shouldn’t affect things much, ba?
Zhao Xihe persuaded himself like this and decided with haste. He ordered the palace servants to to set out in high spirits, and he also dispatched people ahead to let Princess Zhang know, allowing her to make preparations beforehand.
Immediately, the palace maids by the Emperor’s side were thrown into a frenzy. They wanted to kneel to the recently temperamental Emperor—just who was it that had righteously declined in going to the Flower Appreciation Banquet to bring back a few little beauties to the palace, ne? Not even a moment had passed before he changed his mind, is there really no problem?! What happened to ‘the Emperor’s words carry enormous weight’?!
On this side, Zhao Xihe set off from the palace in his Imperial carriage, rushing towards Princess Zhang’s garden at the outskirts of the Capital. On Princess Zhang’s side, she had just received news of this and excitedly prepared for his arrival. Meanwhile, the protagonist gong, Situ Yu, and the protagonist shou met for the first time as scheduled.
At the lakeside, Situ Yu, who was restraining himself from paying any more attention to Sui Yuan, walked a few steps away in a hurry. In his inattentiveness, he knocked into a few noble women who were admiring the scenery. It was but a second but he noticed Lin Xiao amongst the crowd.
Unlike the gentle, soft, and elegant appearance of a typical woman, Lin Xiao was quiet and indifferent, his body tall and erect. There was a special charm to him which immediately caught Situ Yu’s attention.
Although it did not make him want to look back as much as he did with Xu Tu’s stunning and breathtaking appearance, he still felt that familiar throbbing of his heart. To Situ Yu, who wanted to find a woman to quickly rid himself of the inexplicable attractive force Xu Tu had on him, it was enough.
——Indeed, he was only stuck on Xu Tu! Aside from Xu Tu, there was someone else who was able to move his heart. The most important part was that this was a woman!
Heart in slightly high spirits, Situ Yu could not help but walk towards Lin Xiao. This scene just happened to be caught by Sui Yuan who had followed the plot and came to spectate.
Sui Yuan：I am simply so appreciative of this world’s good male lead! Since he has successfully fallen in love at first sight with the protagonist shou, then I can be at ease…..
5237：Hehe—no that’s not right. How come I’m always laughing with sarcasm recently?!
The author has something to say:
(Eve: Wasn’t going to translate this because it was so long for something…unrelated but I did want to summarize it because I found it funny. Basically, there was a whole paragraph on how she somehow got into Minecraft despite not understanding how it would be fun and almost didn’t update because she got addicted LMAO)
(Wuxian: games are the bane of an author’s existence. I mean, they’re mindless distractions.)
Eve: …I…really pity the protagonist gong. Yes. Congratulations. You avoided a man by landing yourself a man.
Wuxian: Protagonist gong, my dear, remember: once bent, always bent.