As the emperor’s birthday drew near, the health of Third Prince, Xuan Jin, grew worse and worse by the day.
On Yushui, according to the customs of old, the members of the imperial clan must enter the imperial palace bringing red silk, and together with Emperor Chongan share a feast. However, just last night, something bad happened to Third Prince Xuan Jin.
“In His Majesty’s words, he missed Third Prince, and left the palace early this morning to visit him. After sharing a meal together, His Majesty returned to the palace to dine with the other imperial clan members. Her Highness, Consort Xian, felt such an action had given Third Prince a lot of face. She also thought that for the emperor to personally visit him, Third Prince would definitely recover. The day before, she had people organize and decorate Third Prince’s estate,” said Steward Feng as he helped adjust Yu She’s clothes. “Third Prince is so ill that he has grown wan. Her Highness, Consort Xian, found this appearance of his disrespectful. Alas… the day before the emperor paid a visit to Third Prince, she had prepared Third Prince some medicinal soup. Had people help Third Prince bathe and comb his hair. Originally, it shouldn’t have been a big deal…”
Steward Feng fetched a jade medallion for Yu She to wear. “Third Prince himself said he felt comfortable, and wanted to soak in the bath for a while. However, who would have imagined… Once the servants left the room to bring the necessary items, Third Prince unexpectedly fainted because of the heat, and just immediately slid into the tub like that! He was lying down in a gold-banded bathtub that’s half a human tall in height. Then did he just immediately sink to the bottom of the tub?”
Steward Feng received the fox coat that a servant had handed to him. He helped Yu She into it. “It’s uncertain how long he was underwater choking. In any case, word has it that once the servants lifted Third Prince out of the water, his belly had even expanded. A few imperial physicians treated him for one hour. Just a sliver more and he would have died…”
Yu She received a small hand-held brazier from a servant. “They were able to resuscitate him? He doesn’t have much longer to live, right?”
“He’s only got one month left.” Steward Feng sighed. “Tell me, what do you even call this? Before, they even said he could last until spring, but now…”
Yu She sneered. “His Majesty shouldn’t have visited Xuan Jin.”
Steward Feng didn’t catch what he had just said. He adjusted Yu She’s fox coat. “In a little while, Heir will go to Third Prince’s estate. Just show your face and then return. It’s not a good place to be. His estate has a small pond. Just recently, Third Prince broke the taboo of the Yellow Springs Water configuration. How inauspicious. Princess Royal said this year, your honored self should not be near water.”
“He obviously fell into the tub because he lost all his energy…” Yu She fell into a daze, before asking, “Someone said Xuan Jin violated the Yellow Springs Water taboo?”
Steward Feng curled his lip. “There are even more evil things said about this. Some people claimed Third Prince originally should have been fine, but a female ghost at the bottom of the tub yanked him by the legs…” He sighed. “Most likely the servants that had been taking care of him spat out this nonsense since they were scared of being associated with his near-death.”
Yu She lightly stroked the little hand-held brazier. “Even if the servants had said that, why would Princess Royal say such a thing?”
Steward Feng smiled. “What other reason could it be? She is worried about your honored self. Listen to Princess Royal this time. This year, don’t go near water.”
“Yesterday,” said Yu She, looking outside, “where did Princess Royal stay?”
A servant entered the room with their head lowered. “Reporting to Heir, last night, Princess Royal rested in the princess estate.”
“And what about His Highness?” asked Yu She.
“Also at the princess estate.”
Understanding the matters clearly, Yu She waved, gesturing for the servants to leave.
On an ordinary day, Prince Yu and his two illegitimate sons lived in Prince Yu’s estate. Princess Royal Anguo lived in the princess estate, and Yu She stayed in a side courtyard of the estate of Prince Yu. These people usually didn’t come across each other. However, Prince Yu would sometimes stay at the princess estate.
Not knowing why Yu She had asked this, Steward Feng said probingly, “So what if His Highness was at the princess estate? Does your honored self think he had Princess Royal warn you not to go near water?”
Yu She did not confirm it. But he did not deny it either. “Do you think he would believe in such nonsense?”
Embarrassed, Steward Feng said, “It’s reasonable to think His Highness would not believe that. But with how deeply His Highness and the princess care about your honored self, even if he didn’t believe it before, he would believe it. If one pilots a ship carefully, it would not sink even in 10,000 years. His Highness and the princess are worried something might happen to you. So just listen to them.”
Yu She smiled. “When the imperial princes encounter danger, why should I also be careful? What has that got to do with me?”
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.
Vafkjgv Mfcu yiertfv. Ckxkjgvis, tf rjlv, “Lflg…”
“Mlcf. P kbc’a rjs jcsatlcu.” Ktfc Te Vtf bgvfgfv, “Ugfqjgf atf mjggljuf.”
“Aera kjla j ilaaif ktlif. Uglcmfrr Ebsji qgbyjyis tjrc’a olclrtfv wjxlcu tfgrfio qgfrfcajyif. Tbeg tbcbgfv rfio kbc’a yf ijaf fnfc lo kf ifjnf j ilaaif ijafg.”
“P’w cba ifjnlcu abufatfg klat Uglcmfrr Ebsji,” rjlv Te Vtf. “P’ii ufa atfgf j yla fjgilfg jcv rmjgf Wejc Alcu.”
Steward Feng blurted, “How can this be?! Princess Royal deliberately said that the water in the pond of Third Prince’s estate operates under the Yellow Springs taboo. Therefore, during midwinter, there’s only a thin layer of ice on the surface. Just thinking about it brings people unease. Princess Royal is worried about you and wants to accompany you there and back… Heir!”
His words went in one ear and out the other, and Yu She left on his own.
Third Prince’s estate.
The members of the imperial clan continuously visited the ill Third Prince, but most of them could not even step foot into his inner courtyard. Inside and out was chaotic. Yu She merely went through the motions of glancing at the inner courtyard, before making his leave. Before he could find Xuan Jing, the latter approached him, enraged.
Prince Yu’s estate were in-laws of Fifth Prince, Xuan Qiong. As such, since young, Yu She and Xuan Jing had guarded against each other and weren’t close.
As Xuan Jing matured, his temperament grew increasingly impulsive and irritable. No matter who it was, Yu She would not give them face. Therefore, since a couple years back, the two did not respect each other. They did not even bother to feign routine civility, quarreling at any place, at any time.
“Yu She! What was your intention a few days ago?!” Xuan Jing shoved aside the people obstructing his path. He flew into a rage. “You’re growing more and more courageous, arresting my people in broad daylight! Who allowed you to seize him?!”
“Oh… Lin Si.” It was only now that Yu She recalled this, and a smile spread across his lips. “He returned and complained to you?”
“If he doesn’t say anything, then I wouldn’t know?!” Xuan Jing sneered. “Yu Ziyou… Other people may flatter you, but I won’t. You have to explain this matter clearly to me. Or else, I’ll report your Dali Temple! I’d like to know when the people of the Dali Temple became your estate’s bodyguards! To go as far as letting you order them like this!”
“What awe-inspiring authority…” Yu She swept his gaze up and down Xuan Jing’s body. And he smiled. “You’ve certainly changed.”
This startled Xuan Jing. “How have I changed?”
“The status of Fourth Prince is different from prior.” Yu She glanced at Third Prince’s inner courtyard. “Once the person within departs, you will become His Majesty’s eldest son. Indeed, you can challenge me then.” A nod. “It must have been difficult enduring for so many years. Congratulations.”
“You…” Xuan Jing had been completely figured out. And he flew into a rage once more out of humiliation. “I’ve never thought like this! What’s more, my Third Brother will definitely be fine!”
“Let’s hope this is the case,” said Yu She wholeheartedly. “I’m even more hopeful than you that he will have a long life. If not, who knows who will be next? It’s really hard to say.” He turned to leave, his words spooking Xuan Jing.
After a moment’s hesitation, Xuan Jing asked, “You… What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing much.” Yu She glanced back. “Considering… our time as classmates, I’ll give you a bit of advice. Don’t dream too big and don’t relax so easily.”
“Wait! You… Stand right there!” Xuan Jing could tell that Yu She’s words held a hidden meaning. And he made his way in front of Yu She, blocking him. “What do you mean? Did you… Did you hear something…?”
Yu She arched a brow. “Hear what?”
Xuan Jing did not dare to say.
Today, he had heard a rumor in the shadows.
That a female ghost had dragged Third Prince, Xuan Jin, underwater.
That the pond in Xuan Jin’s estate was dirty.
He also heard people mention matters of long ago. That Emperor Chongan’s fortune for descendants proved very weak. His children never lived long…
Xuan Jin stood at death’s door. Naturally, Xuan Jing harbored a secret joy in his heart. Among Emperor Chongan’s remaining sons, if he were promoted to the position of eldest son, he would be one step closer to success.
But as he thought of the rumor, Xuan Jing could not help but feel uneasy.
In a low voice, Xuan Jing rushed to say, “What do you mean by ‘who knows who will be next?!’”
Noticing Xuan Jing’s swaying gaze, Yu She was pleased. “You don’t even understand the literal meaning? Are you stupid?”
Once he had finished speaking, he made to leave, but Xuan Jing still attempted to block his way. Yet, many people stood between them, so it wouldn’t do well to keep grabbing for him. And in the end, he held himself back, albeit reluctantly.
Looking at Yu She’s back, Xuan Jing resolutely said, “You’re a few months older than me… It’ll be your turn first!”
In the first place, Xuan Jing had come to cause trouble for Yu She. But now, he hadn’t been able to. In fact, Yu She had caused him a great fright. Mood spoiled, he rushed off.
Meanwhile, Zhong Wan led Xuan Rui and Xuan Yu to Third Prince’s estate in a well-behaved manner. They followed the crowd to pay a visit as a mere formality.
Zhong Wan had dragged Xuan Rui there against his will. The youth did not possess a shred of interest in Xuan Jin’s condition. However, all the members of the imperial clan residing in the capital had come. He had no choice but to bring his younger brother along and show their faces. Xuan Rui kept tilting his head to the side to glance at Zhong Wan. He nervously said, “Would they tell us to go inside and see him? They’ll definitely call for me… But Xuan Yu might not know how to speak or conduct himself. What if he breaks a rule?”
“Don’t worry. Xuan Yu doesn’t have to say anything,” said Zhong Wan. “In this kind of event, no one will be paying attention to you two. Once you’ve entered the residence, there will naturally be servants of the estate receiving you. You just need to follow them.”
With Zhong Wan’s identity, Xuan Rui knew the former could not step foot within. He nodded helplessly, leading Xuan Yu by the hand inside.
Once Zhong Wan arrived had in front of the reverse-facing room, he stared at the plum blossoms in a daze.
Originally, he had held a trace of hope that Third Prince would live longer. Endure for another two months. That he would breathe his last breath after Xuan Rui and the others had returned to Qian An. Never had Zhong Wan expected that this person would almost cause himself to drown.
“Is this Young Master Zhong?”
Zhong Wan turned around. Before him, a servant bowed. “This lowly one is a servant belonging to the estate of Princess Royal.”
He recognized the medallion hanging from the servant’s waist. Nodded. “This…”
“Young Master Zhong need not feel worried.” A gentle smile spread across the servant’s lips. “Princess Royal is currently accompanying Her Highness, Consort Xian. After they had seen Prince Qian An, they spoke of old matters, and mentioned that Young Master Zhang had once lived in Prince Yu’s estate for a while. As soon as Princess Royal heard that Young Master Zhong was here, she had this lowly one find you and invite you over.”
After a moment of hesitation, Zhong Wan smiled and took out a purse from his sleeve. He held the servant’s hand. “I’m not sure why Princess Royal suddenly had such an interest. Could it be because our prince…?”
“This lowly one doesn’t dare.” The servant moved to the side to dodge the purse. He tactfully declined, “In our princess estate, such a rule does not exist. In no way can this lowly one accept Young Master’s things.”
Zhong Wan also knew that there were many rules of proprietary when concerning Princess Royal Anguo. He nodded in a helpless manner. “Then I’ll bother you in leading the way.”
The servant rose from a bowing position. And he led Zhong Wan within the inner courtyard.
Back when he had stayed in a side courtyard of Prince Yu’s estate, Zhong Wan noticed that Yu She did not like Duke Wenguo’s granddaughter. At Qizhen Pavilion, he had feigned madness, scaring off Young Master Wenguo. Sure enough, such an act broke down the talks of marriage.
Duchess Wenguo had used “my granddaughter’s shuxiang is not suitable with the Heir’s, so I fear it would subdue his” as a reason, and smoothly withdrew from the engagement.
Princess Royal Anguo had been enraged. She had then sent people to escort Zhong Wan to the princess estate. So that she could see with her own eyes this kind of bad character. However, those servants could not even step foot within that side courtyard of Prince Yu’s estate.
It was because of Yu She’s previous order: “Apart from myself, no one can enter the side courtyard.”
Ever since that time until the moment Zhong Wan left the side courtyard of Prince Yu’s estate, Princess Anguo had never seen him.
Zhong Wan smiled bitterly. Today, she could finally meet him. The new and old hatred would be settled all at once.
The servant led Zhong Wan for a long while, before finally arriving at the side room of the inner courtyard. The servant stopped in his tracks right before the courtyard’s entrance. “This lowly one cannot enter. May Young Master Zhong go on ahead.”
Zhong Wan nodded. “Thank you for the trouble.”
He adjusted his robes and crown. And stepped inside…
The moment Zhong Wan entered the room, someone muffled him and shoved against the wall. “Mmph…”
In an instant, his pupils enlarged. Just as he was about to retaliate, he froze. Exhaled. And he no longer struggled.
Yu She grasped his wrists, vice-like. He smiled. “Sorry, I lied to you… If I didn’t borrow Princess Royal’s name, I’m afraid you wouldn’t have come here so obediently.”
Anger flared in his heart like a roaring flame. The urge to bite down on Yu She’s hand proved tempting.
Tilting his head, Yu She studied Zhong Wan’s expression. After a while, he softly said, “…Baobao?”
That ending… *squeals*
By the way, Third Prince’s name is Xuan Jin and Fourth Prince’s name is Xuan Jing. I know, super easy to mix up.
In case some of you guys don’t check discord, JP and I will only be releasing chapters on Tuesday (today) and Thursday this week since we’re super busy. Sorry!
Also, we made a tiny oopsie on chapter 14. The store with all the treasures wasn’t owned by a guy named Qi Zhenxuan. Rather, the store’s name was Qizhen Pavilion (or Treasure Pavilion without the pinyin; blame the author for being confusing). It’s already fixed, so no worries.
If you like this chapter, please rate and add this novel to your reading list on NU!