Translated by Eve
Edited by Wuxian
Situ Yu was preoccupied with the truth he had just discovered and the protagonist shou, Lin Xiao, who was suffering from an unexpected calamity, felt like the whole world had gone dark.
Who the heck was the Fourth Prince? Did he have anything to do with him? Lin Xiao had thought that he had been low-profile enough in the past. He never thought that a prince would unexpectedly take a fancy towards him and even request the Emperor to bestow them a marriage. This was simply a nightmare!
The sisters by his side were acting very strangely. They fawned over him, flattered him, and were in crazy fits of rage and jealousy. Meanwhile, Lin Xiao felt so bitter that he could find no words to describe it. He didn’t want to climb up via the Fourth Prince at all, OK?!
Although he was brought up as a woman since he was young, Lin Xiao himself knew that he was a man. He had never planned on marrying into another man’s family. His only hope was to grow up in peace before sneaking out to purchase some property and settle his birth mother down there. He would then wait for a good opportunity to fake his death, rid himself of his identity, and then change his appearance.
Unfortunately, all of his plans were ruined by the Fourth Prince that had unexpectedly appeared out of nowhere! Lin Xiao was filled with complaints. Every night, he would roll up his quilt and beat it up, pretending that it was the Fourth Prince. Of course, what was more important was thinking about how to free himself from this farce.
He thought about it over and over. As in the plot, Lin Xiao decided to tarnish his own reputation and quickly set out to do so. After Zhao Xihe learned about his every movement via his secret agent, Sui Yuan was put to ease.
The plot at this moment had nothing to do with Sui Yuan. After having successfully facilitated the opportune connection between the bride and groom—the protagonist gong and shou—Sui Yuan could finally let his heart settle back down and happily wait for the plot to progress to the point in time in which Situ Yu finds out about Lin Xiao’s identity as a man. When the two people would stand hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder and begin to destroy the plans of Xu Tu and Situ Gui, only then would he appear on stage once more.
As for Zhao Xihe, he naturally would not be like Sui Yuan and simple-mindedly beam with happiness when he saw that the plot was ‘advancing normally’. The Emperor had secret agents all across the country and the Capital was of the highest priority. After the secret agents reported back, Zhao Xihe found out quite a bit of information that had been neglected by Sui Yuan. Furthermore, he was naturally very clear on just why Situ Yu had suddenly changed his attitude and decided to have Lin Xiao enter his harem. He had even been the one who had given a hint, thereby ‘letting the cat out of the bag’, so that Situ Yu would be able to perceive the relationship between himself and Sui Yuan.
This was a warning. So long as Situ Yu obediently concentrated on his task—which was to follow the plot with Lin Xiao— then Zhao Xihe would naturally wait until the right moment to abdicate and hand his position over to him. However, if he was unwilling to give up…Zhao Xihe would not mind letting him become a mere skeleton of an Emperor.
After settling the plot’s crisis, Sui Yuan, of course, would be in the mood to play around. He truly did like the lifestyle of a hedonistic, rich son. Unfortunately, ‘it is easier to invite the devil in than to send him away’. Sui Yuan had made friends with Zhang Zhenye and Xie Ling for the sake of playing matchmaker for Situ Yu and Lin Xiao. Now, he’s obtained his wish, but the two people were still enthusiastically friendly towards him and would untiringly come entangle themselves with him. This rather annoyed Sui Yuan.
Xie Ling could write and Zhang Zhenye could fight. These two people were certainly the perfect companions to go out with. To see an opera while sipping tea, to go on a walk and appreciate the scenery in the spring—the eloquent and distinguished Xie Ling would always clearly and logically narrate all sorts of folklore. Even after hearing it a thousand times, one would not grow tired of them. Meanwhile, hunting on horseback and participating in cuju tournaments were Zhang Zhenye’s specialties. To face off against worthy opponents would stir up one’s competitiveness and desire to win, making people want to keep on fighting despite all setbacks.
Thus, regardless of how Sui Yuan was completely unwilling in the beginning, in the end, he had a lot of fun with the two people and enjoyed himself so much he forgot to go home. This made Zhao Xihe feel upset at Sui Yuan for not fighting back enough, but whenever he saw Sui Yuan’s happy appearance, he would not be able to harden his heart to stop him.
——They were only father and son in name, but because Sui Yuan’s appearance and character settings were evidently especially childish, it really did make him feel as if he was raising a son. It really made him feel extremely anxious.
Of course, the worst was Situ Yu squeezing in at some unknown point in time. He had changed his previous attitude of avoiding Sui Yuan like he was the plague, thereby quite baffling Sui Yuan.
——Could it be that he was worried that his right and left arms would be hooked away by Xu Tu, who belonged to the enemy faction, and therefore came over to monitor things? However, why the heck did he always use that expression that seemed to say ‘he wanted to speak but was hesitating’ and ‘he was holding a secret he’d take to his grave’ to stare at him?! Sui Yuan was being made nervous by the previously normal protagonist gong. He could totally not figure out just what he wanted to do!
Meanwhile, Xie Ling, who perceived this too, also could not understand just what his master was thinking.
When he met with Sui Yuan’s inquisitive look, Xie Ling, who was riding atop a horse, slightly shook his head. He could feel the abnormality of his master’s state as of late, but no matter how he tried to directly or indirectly ask about it, the other would only keep silent. He did not give him any chance to inquire about it.
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.
So as to not anger Situ Yu, Xie Ling could only restrain any superfluous curiosity and guess in silence whether his marriage with Lin Xiao had anything to do with this. After all, it was after Situ Yu had raised the matter of having Lin Xiao enter his residence that he had become this abnormal.
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…It couldn’t be that Xu Tu and Lin Xiao really were having a secret affair? Xie Ling simply wanted to fall apart when he came up with this conjecture. However, when he thought of Xu Tu’s natural attitude as he spoke about Lin Xiao, he tossed this unreliable conjecture to the back of his head in the end.
Xie Ling and Situ Yu had leavy loads on their minds and weren’t in the mood to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Meanwhile, Sui Yuan and Zhang Zhenye, these simple organisms were much happier. They happily pulled their bows and fired their arrows and returned after experiencing a rewarding journey in the end.
It was still early and they were still buzzing with excitement. Thus, they were reluctant to say goodbye like this. Zhang Zhenye proposed that they directly take the sky as their canopy and the earth as their mattress, and have a barbeque feast right there in the open, without any fear of hardship. They would do it themselves and eat their fill. Xu Tu was playful by nature and certainly would not refuse. Furthermore, Sui Yuan was rather interested in this himself and naturally agreed.
Unfortunately, Young Master Xu has always led a pampered life. He would not, and did not like to do any heavy manual labour. He stubbornly threw the tasks of gathering firewood, starting the fire, and handling the prey, etc. to others while he licked his lips and gave orders at the side. Fortunately, the other three people were very tolerant of him. The Fourth Prince, Situ Yu, was even willing to work hard without complaint, not even when he was ordered here and there by him.
Even though there was Sui Yuan, this troublesome and unhelpful existence, their open cookout still proceeded very smoothly. Zhang Zhenye often did this at the frontier and was naturally familiar with this. Meanwhile, although Situ Yu and Xie Ling weren’t familiar with open cookouts, their capability to do things was not bad and hastily caught up to speed under Zhang Zhenye’s guidance.
While the preparations were nearly complete, the four of them heard a fit of urgent horse hooves approaching from afar. Zhang Zhenye’s ears twitched and realized that this group of people were trained and could not be looked down on. He made a signal with his eyes to the other three and seamlessly went on guard.
Although the battle for succession had yet to reach its climax, the princes all very much liked to find little ‘harmless’ troubles in their opponents. Their current location was off the beaten track and they hadn’t brought any others with them. If they encountered danger, then it would definitely be troublesome.
The four people raised their heads and gazed in the direction from which the sound of hooves originated from. Very soon, they were able to see the silhouettes of the people on the horizon. In an instant, the group of men on horseback quickly got close to them. The person at the front of the ranks was graceful and poised, dignified in bearing, and awe-inspiring—with astonishment, they realized that this was the supreme ruler that ought to currently be in the palace.
When they saw this person clearly, all four of them rose at once and tidied their rather messy attires, saluting him deferentially. Meanwhile, the Emperor towered over them, sitting upright on top of his horse. He slightly raised his horse whip and indifferently ordered them to rise.
After dismounting his steed, the Emperor automatically faced Sui Yuan and beckoned him over, his tone carrying a rare gentleness, “Today’s matters were settled quickly. Zhen heard that you children have gone out to ride your horses out to play. Thus, Zhen also thought of coming here as well to relieve boredom.”
The group of eunuchs and bodyguards behind him:…Hehe, don’t think that if you say that you ‘came here to relieve boredom’, other people wouldn’t know that you specifically came here to look for Young Master Xu! This sticky person…can’t even be separated from the other for even a second!
Naturally, the Emperor ignored the three other people and took Sui Yuan in his arms before walking towards the bonfire. He sat on the ground with quite a bit of interest, “Are you all planning on doing a barbeque yourselves?”
Although the Emperor had said ‘you all’, but anyone with eyes could see that this question was directed towards Xu Tu. Situ Yu and the other two did not reply. After a moment of awkward silence, Sui Yuan forced a laugh, “En. Yes, ah. Erchen has never personally roasted meat before so Erchen was a bit curious.”
Although that split second of awkwardness was rather disrespectful towards the Emperor, it was very obvious that the Emperor did not take it to heart. He raised a hand to lightly beckon his servants. The bodyguards and eunuchs surrounding them immediately understood intuitively what he wanted and quickly took over preparations. They skillfully defeathered the prey, tidied up their viscera and then skewered the prey onto twigs. They then respectfully handed it over to the Emperor.
Sui Yuan was rather stunned as he stared at the prey that the Emperor had placed before his eyes, “Emperor Father, is…this you allowing me to roast it myself?”
The Emperor supported his chin and cheerfully looked at Sui Yuan’s bewildered expression, “Didn’t you say that you wanted to personally roast it and eat it? Zhen naturally wants to satisfy you.”
——I was just saying things off-handedly, ah!
Seeing that the Emperor seemed to be planning on making a fool out of him, Sui Yuan surreptitiously cast a look at the other people. The bodyguards and eunuchs lowered their heads and helped the Fourth Prince and company place the skewers onto the frill in a diligent and responsible manner. Meanwhile, Situ Yu and the other two had just met with Sui Yuan’s beseeching gaze. Before they could move, they received the Emperor’s warning, “None of you are permitted to help him.”
Situ Yu, Xie Ling, and Zhang Zhenye：“……………………”
After giving Sui Yuan a look that said ‘although we sympathize, there is no way to help you’, the three people silently turned away and began to play the role of the set pieces. Sui Yuan, who could not find any help whatsoever, glared at his lover who harboured malicious intentions and angrily studied how to roast things.
Actually, Sui Yuan knew how to roast food. It was just that he had only watched on the side while others did it. He had always been the one who enjoyed things without lifting a finger. However, knowing in theory and knowing in practice were two very different things. Even if he more or less understood the procedure, it was rather difficult to master it. Not to mention, 5237, Sui Yuan’s biggest golden finger, had unexpectedly refused to help him at such a crucial point.
Sui Yuan：“…What about being good friends for a lifetime, ne?! What the heck are you doing, seeing me damned but not saving me?!”
5237：“…Zhao Xihe Dada said that no one is permitted to help you. I feel that I am also included in that….”
Sui Yuan：“…How come you were never this obedient in the past?”
5237：“Because I didn’t know that Zhao Xihe Dada was my boss in the past! So, from now on, I have to perform properly and atone for my crimes by performing meritorious acts!”
Sui Yuan indignantly denounced 5237’s disloyalty—it had unexpectedly stabbed him just so he could curry favour with its boss—while working hard to roast the meat. He ended up choking and coughing over the black smoke that had begun to rise.
Xu Tu has never been the kind of person who would wrong himself. Furthermore, he was currently before his own lover, so Sui Yuan showcased his willfulness to the max. After helplessly watching on as the masterpiece he painstakingly made turned into a black lump—it was absolutely not something that could be eaten—and seeing that the Emperor was sitting on the side, taking joy in his misfortune, pleased as punch, Sui Yuan wiped his face with his hand and left five streaks of black across his fair cheeks. Soon after, he fiercely threw away the thing in his hand, becoming hostile.
——Even if the other was the Emperor and also his Creator, this kind of demented attitude of enjoying his suffering was really too unbearable, ah!
Seeing that his sweetheart was truly angry, His Majesty the Emperor curbed his smile at once. He pulled Sui Yuan into his embrace again and fished out a handkerchief to wipe his face clean of all ashes, “Alright, alright. It was just a joke, that’s all. I won’t tease you anymore. In a bit, Emperor Father will personally roast some for you as an apology, how’s that?”
The Emperor’s tone was tender and coaxing. The way he helped Sui Yuan wipe his cheeks was both practiced and gentle. With a look, one could tell that it was not his first time doing this. At the same time, the bodyguards and eunuchs all around kept their calm and did not act surprised. The expression of Xie Ling, who had been silently spectating at the side, changed several times before settling on horror.
Even if it was Xie Ling, who had always pretended to be calm and adaptable, at this moment, even he could not keep it together upon finding out this kind of huge, Heaven-startling secret, ah! He subconsciously turned to look at Situ Yu, hoping for a rejection to his conjecture, but who would have thought that Situ Yu’s expression would give him a second blow.
A stiff expression, a slightly trembling body, two tightly clenched fists underneath his sleeves…every part of this was a sign that Situ Yu had clearly known about this beforehand. Furthermore, those faintly red eyes that were staring at His Majesty the Emperor, who had Xu Tu in his arms, held a jealousy that he was doing his utmost to suppress. This made Xie Ling easily ascertain what Situ Yu’s unspeakable secret has been all this while.
When he recalled the appearance Situ Yu had towards Xu Tu just before—of wanting to say something but hesitating— Xie Ling had the urge to face the sky and heave a long sigh and say, ‘the things you and your family get up to leaves me shaking my head!’ Like father, like son. Even without any blood relation, no one could look at this directly, ah!
“The feelings between His Majesty and Xu Tu is truly good. It makes one envious…Since I turned six or seven, my father had stopped indulging me like that…” Zhang Zhenye gathered close to Xie Ling and sighed quietly. Soon after, he looked at him, baffled, “Yi? Why is your complexion a bit off? Do you not feel well?”
Xie Ling looked at Zhang Zhenye with both pity and envy. He couldn’t help but sigh, ‘truly, fortune favours the fools’. Soon after, he silently shoved the skewer of meat that was only half cooked into Zhang Zhenye’s mouth, “Eat. Don’t say anything unnecessary.”
——Am I being ignored?
After dealing with the brainless Zhang Zhenye, Xie Ling sighed in relief. Once he turned, however, he directly met with the Emperor’s smile that was really not a smile and he immediately shivered, lowering his head at once.
The Emperor has specifically ran over him and had not covered up his special, doting affection towards Xu Tu. Why? It couldn’t be that it was because he found out that he and Zhang Zhenye had been getting too close with Xu Tu recently that he had purposely come here to make clear his claim over him? No, perhaps it was not just to them but rather, more importantly…Xie Ling shot a glance at Situ Yu and was gratified to discover that he had already made that expression of his disappear. At the very least, one could not tell his mood on the surface anymore.
Even he could see that Situ Yu cared about Xu Tu, so naturally, the wise, far-sighted, and extraordinary Emperor would also discern this. At this moment, Xie Ling could not help but wonder if he had made the right choice when selecting who he would be supporting.
Without a doubt, Situ Yu superseded the other princes in all aspects. However, his only flaw was too fatal—to want to fight over someone with his own old man, who held supreme power over everything beneath the heavens…hehe, what was the difference between this and commiting suicide?!
Right now, Xie Ling could only pray that his master would not continue with his obstinate persistence in going about things the wrong way. Otherwise, for the sake of himself and the entire Xie family, he would probably be left without a choice but to reluctantly swear allegiance to a new lord….for example that Second Prince, Situ Gui, who got along with Xu Tu seemed like a fine choice? Unfortunately, the other had quite a few helpers already. Although he, Xie Ling, could boast of his overflowing talent, it was still not certain that he would be seen as someone important.
——Tsk. If Xu Tu were the Emperor’s real son, then he would not be so troubled! Xie Ling, who’s never had any morals, felt that this was a great pity. It didn’t occur to him that if Xu Tu were the Emperor’s real son, this case of ‘incest’ would certainly make things even more chaotic!
On this side, Xie Ling was secretly scheming. On the other side, it could be said that Situ Yu has fallen into an abyss of suffering. Although he had already made ample psychological preparations and believed that he could remain unaffected when faced with the public display of affection between Xu Tu and his Emperor Father, in reality, he had overestimated his patience.
When he saw how Xu Tu, who was originally full of anger, be coaxed by the Emperor into grinning from ear to ear with just a few words and lovingly nestle against him, gazing at the incessantly turning grill while drooling, and his family’s Emperor Father, who was not at all masking his intimate little actions, and even seemed to carelessly press his lips against Xu Tu’s cheek, leaving a light kiss on it, Situ Yu could not put into words the suffering in his heart.
He realized that this was Emperor Father’s warning towards him. That ice-cold, penetrating-to-the bone gaze that occasionally fell onto him seemed to be telling him time and time again that if he dare harbour any improper thoughts towards Xu Tu, then Emperor Father would completely disregard their relationship as father and son.
However, once unresigned, always unresigned. When he saw Xu Tu’s docile and lovable appearance at Emperor Father’s side, Situ Yu became increasingly more unresigned.
“After these next few days, you’ll accept your Cefei into your residence,” The Emperor’s voice echoed by his ear, pulling Situ Yu’s attention over, “At that time, you ought to concentrate on your tasks and finish a few more assignments. Don’t be like your three elder wretched brothers who spend the whole day idling about, too lazy to do anything!”
Even though his words sounded like a scolding, the Emperor still very carefully cut the roasted meat into appropriate sizes. He waited until the temperature was just right before handing it over to Xu Tu. His actions could not be any more considerate and ready.
Situ Yu tightly clenched his teeth, before lowering his head deferentially, “Yes, Emperor Father. Erchen understands.”
When he thought of that woman named Lin Xiao from the Flower Appreciation Banquet, Situ Yu’s burning hot heart slightly cooled. He at least still had the quiet, gentle pearl, Lin Xiao. Although she was not an ostentatiously precious gem like Xu Tu, to have this woman accompany him was probably enough.
For Emperor Father to bring himself and Lin Xiao together, and warn him and tolerate him repeatedly, it could already be considered the utmost benevolence.
For the sake of furthering his ambition, he needed to endure.
The author has something to say:
The protagonist shou of this world has been completely turned into a passerby, truly distressing….
Wuxian: *lights a candle for the future!Situ Yu* can’t wait to see him be further distressed once he finds out the truth about his quiet, gentle pearl