In the palace.
An old eunuch entered Imperial Consort Yu’s palace.
Imperial Consort Yu had a horrible headache. During the day, Xuan Jing had been exceptionally full of energy. After being unable to recover Lin Si from Yu She, he thought that it would be better to accidentally kill a wrong person rather than let the true villain escape. Thus, he went to cause a scene at Xuan Qiong’s estate too. Naturally, he once again failed to find Lin Si.
Recently, Xuan Qiong had suffered consecutive misfortunes. He was incredibly angry. Before dinner, he made a trip to the palace and complained to Imperial Consort Yu for a long time. He had just left.
Imperial Consort Yu had finally coaxed her son away with great difficulty. She was both mentally and physically tired. Overtaxed, she said, “If the emperor still refuses to designate a crown prince, I fear that I’ll be tormented to death by these people first… Yet Qiong’er still urged me to plead with the emperor. Does this kid really think blowing a pillow wind is so easy? It’s been almost two months since I’ve seen the emperor. Even if I did want to help him, how could I?”
The servant in charge of waiting upon Imperial Consort Yu softly placated, “Fifth Highness has recently been wronged quite a bit. He can only tell you about it. If you happen to see the emperor one day, just remember to offer an explanation for Fifth Highness’s behavior.”
“Hurry and stop mentioning these things.” Imperial Consort Yu was very worried. Speaking of this topic caused her expression to darken. “Last time, Elder Brother told me that in the previous era, the previous emperor had wanted to declare Prince Ning as crown prince. His first thought after this was to kill Noble Consort Zhong. I’m not that much older than Noble Consort Zhong, and also have such an influential maternal home. I worry that the emperor is going to fear me more than the previous emperor feared Noble Consort Zhong. If I got involved too…Qiong’er might be able to become crown prince in the future, but I likely won’t be alive to see my son ascend the throne.”
Imperial Consort Yu grabbed the servant’s hand. She anxiously said, “After Elder Brother said this to me, I became constantly distressed. Tell me… Might the emperor already have such thoughts? I’ve recently been pondering and pondering. The more I do so, the more I feel like the words I’ve spoken in the past have all broken taboo!”
“Relax, Your Highness,” the servant lowered her voice. “I’ve already found the person Your Highness tasked me to find. This old eunuch has been working for Prince Yu’s estate since the previous era. Only, we never knew. The old thing’s lips are mostly sealed. I was worried about alerting him beforehand, so told the people on our estate to tell him that Your Highness has been very anxious recently. Thus, you’ve often said and done the wrong things. Prince Yu could no longer take it, so ordered him to tell Your Highness about the events of the previous era as a warning. Your Highness, be sure not to make a slip of the tongue later.”
Imperial Consort Yu thought about it, then nodded. “Yes, you’re the more thoughtful one. No matter how merciful or threatening I am, Elder Brother’s people… have always only listened to him and him alone. Unless I’m on the brink of death, they won’t help me.”
The servant sighed. “Exactly. Then should I call him in?”
Imperial Consort Yu nodded.
Imperial Consort Yu lowered the curtains. A moment later, she watched an old and clumsy eunuch stumble in. He knelt outside the curtains.
Imperial Consort Yu gathered her wits and purposefully acted incredibly annoyed. “It’s already so late. What does Elder Brother want you to tell me?”
The old eunuch lowly said, “Prince said that recently, Your Highness’s mood has been inconstant. You’ve acted…rashly. He’s ordered this old servant to tell Your Highness about some ancient history.”
Imperial Consort Yu said, “So tell me.”
The old eunuch slowly shared the information about how the previous emperor wanted to kill the mother but leave the son. Only, his retelling was more detailed than what Yu Mucheng had previously shared. Imperial Consort Yu felt anxious. After listening to his story, she remained momentarily silent before saying, “Nobody knows for sure whether or not Noble Consort Zhong was actually involved in the naming of the crown prince. I only know that in the end, she still died. Why does Elder Brother want you to tell me this? I’ll die whether or not I get involved?”
The old eunuch shook his head. “Noble Consort Zhong passed away from illness.”
Imperial Consort Yu coldly said, “Who are you fooling? She passed away from illness; her younger sister also passed away from illness. The two of them died one after the other? Who would believe such a story?”
The old eunuch seemed like a tree root that had already died many years ago. A long time passed before he stated, “It’s the truth.”
Imperial Consort Yu thought about it, which was rare. She threatened, “Doesn’t seem like that to me. How Noble Consort Zhong actually died, when she actually died, has been carefully kept secret by the palace. After the previous emperor died, basically nobody ever saw her again. Who knows if she was granted death prior to the previous emperor’s passing or not?”
The old eunuch slowly shook his head. “No.”
Imperial Consort Yu was so angry that she slapped her kang table. All the pearl and jade ornaments on her head jingled. “My Elder Brother told you to tell me about the past. Did he intend for you to fool me in this manner?”
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.
The old eunuch seemed exasperated. A long while later, he sighed, “Noble Consort Zhong truly wasn’t granted death by the previous emperor. Speaking of which, Noble Consort Zhong was dragged under by Little Imperial Consort Zhong.”
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Imperial Consort Yu was speechless. Then she said, “I’ve never even heard much about this Little Imperial Consort Zhong? I remember… the previous emperor was technically quite adoring of Noble Consort Zhong. But he was always apathetic toward that Little Imperial Consort Zhong. What could she have done wrong?”
The old eunuch said, “Back then, Little Imperial Consort Zhong entered the palace along with Noble Consort Zhong. She was young, and also wasn’t as beautiful and didn’t have such a good temperament as Noble Consort Zhong. Thus, the previous emperor never paid much attention to her.”
Imperial Consort Yu asked, “So? What did she do wrong?”
The old eunuch lowered his gaze. His voice was raspy as he said, “In the winter of the forty-seventh year of Taiyu, Little Imperial Consort Zhong…became pregnant.”
Imperial Consort Yu didn’t pay attention to the date. She was shocked. “Became pregnant? I’ve never heard of such a thing. What’s wrong with being pregnant? Could it be that she accidentally miscarried the child? That isn’t right either. That isn’t a mistake that would result in death.”
The old eunuch shook his head. He lowered his voice even more. “Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with becoming pregnant. What was wrong was, at the time… the previous emperor hadn’t shared the same bed with her in five years.”
Imperial Consort Yu’s expression abruptly changed.
The old eunuch coughed twice before continuing, “Because she had Noble Consort Zhong as an older sister, Little Imperial Consort Zhong could also always appear before the previous emperor. But it had truly been many years since the previous emperor had touched her. Little Imperial Consort Zhong hadn’t followed the rules…resulting in such a shameful incident. After the empress dowager found out, she naturally couldn’t be kept around anymore. Such things were detrimental to the royal family’s reputation, so couldn’t be spread. The empress dowager was kind as well. She didn’t want Prince Ning to get involved too, so hid things for Little Imperial Consort Zhong. Then, under the cover of the previous emperor’s funeral, allowed them a dignified death.”
Imperial Consort Yu paled in fright. She barely managed to get out, “She… Was she crazy? To do such a thing? No, no, that’s not right. Little Imperial Consort Zhong was improper, but why did Noble Consort Zhong also have to be—”
“Your Highness,” the old eunuch interrupted. He slowly stated, “If Noble Consort Zhong and Little Imperial Consort Zhong didn’t die, Your Highness likely wouldn’t have the wealth you do today. Does Your Highness want to ask anymore questions?”
“The empress dowager used this opportunity well… So the one who truly killed the mother and left the son was the empress dowager…” Imperial Consort Yu was extremely stunned. “Then… then who was the child’s biological father? Did the empress dowager kill that person too?”
The old eunuch slightly lifted his gaze. He didn’t say anything else.
Imperial Consort Yu’s heart pounded in her chest. “Such a thing actually exists. No wonder those two sisters died so unclearly…”
The old eunuch lowly said, “Back then, the previous emperor wanted to declare his youngest son as crown prince. He truly did consider killing the two of them, and also tested Noble Consort Zhong a few times. But in the end, he didn’t actually do anything.”
Imperial Consort Yu was in a stupor. “So that’s what happened… Nevermind, nevermind. I don’t want to hear anymore. Just act like you never said anything. Hurry and go.”
The old eunuch got up with great difficulty. Imperial Consort Yu added in a rush, “Wait. You… In the future, I might summon you here again. What’s your name?”
The old eunuch bowed. “This old servant is Tang Qin.”
“Oh, Tang Qin. I’ll remember that,” Imperial Consort stated in a daze. “You may leave. Be careful when you do. Don’t let others see you.”
The old eunuch left while hunched over.
Imperial Consort Yu gathered her wits. She sat there alone for a long time, regretting that she had asked about these forbidden affairs. She called a servant over, then told her to instruct Tang Qin not to tell Prince Yu about today’s events.
Heart full of regret, Imperial Consort Yu leaned against her kang table. She carefully went over Tang Qin’s words again. Her pupils suddenly constricted.
“The winter of the forty-seventh year of the Taiyu era, Little Imperial Consort Zhong became pregnant.”
Imperial Consort Zhong’s expression became ghastly pale. She felt like poisonous snakes were crawling all over her body.
Her scalp tingled. In a barely audible voice, she said, “Then doesn’t that mean, isn’t that child…”
The side courtyard of Prince Yu’s estate. Yu She suddenly got a headache.
Zhong Wan looked over.
Yu She was largely unbothered. He set the storybook in his hands down. “Time to sleep.”
That night, the two of them slept in the same bed.
Zhong Wan slept on the inside, while Yu She slept on the outside. He also kept all his clothes on. A few bundles of hemp rope the thickness of someone’s wrist had been placed between them.
Zhong Wan was only wearing a thin layer of inner garments. The wrist resting outside the blankets felt itchy because of the hemp rope. He scratched at it. “This rope… Can we move it off of the bed first?”
They had just lain down. Yu She couldn’t have fallen asleep already. Yet, he appeared to not have heard anything. His eyes remained closed and he didn’t move at all.
Zhong Wan thought about it and added, “Heir, have you heard about the recent rumors related to you?”
Yu She fidgeted slightly. He once again ignored Zhong Wan.
Zhong Wan kindly persuaded, “The rumors are very ghastly. At first, they said that you’re prone to hitting people, that you often beat your bed partners. Now, they’ve already…become very indecent. If you still keep a rope on your bed now, when the news gets out tomorrow, it’ll prove that you have such a fetish!”
Yu She would have it no other way.
“That’s easy to say, but doesn’t sound good.” Zhong Wan scratched his arm again. He picked up the hemp rope and softly bargained, “Can I first put this…”
Yu She finally spoke. “If you dare to throw this off the bed, I’ll dare to tie you up. Truly.”
Zhong Wan paused. For a moment, he actually hesitated. He didn’t know if he should try or not.
Zhong Wan’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “How?”
Yu She closed his eyes. His voice was very calm. “I’ll tie both your hands together, then tie them to the headboard. I’ll separate your legs and tie them each to a foot of the bed. I’ll remove your clothes and use a bit of aphrodisiac. When you’re unable to keep from crying out loud anymore, I’ll then release your bonds and…”
“S-stop talking…” Zhong Wan hurriedly interrupted Yu She. He softly, arduously got out, “If you say anymore, I’ll really throw it.”
Yu She: “…”
Yu She took a few deep breaths. As if holding himself back, he asked, “You like that?”
Zhong Wan’s heart pounded in his chest. “I-it seems pretty exciting.”
In the dark, Yu She stared at Zhong Wan in disbelief.
Zhong Wan waited for a long time, but Yu She didn’t respond. He was sleepy, so fell asleep.
Yu She’s eyes were open. His heart beat rapidly. For an extended period of time, he remained unable to fall asleep.
Two hours later, Yu She stated in a conflicted tone, “In the past… I hadn’t thought that you would like these things.”
Zhong Wan was in the middle of a sweet dream. He was woken up by Yu She.
Zhong Wan opened his eyes and blearily asked, “W-what’s wrong? Is it dawn already?”
With the aid of the dim moonlight, Yu She sat up and observed Zhong Wan, expression complex. He suddenly interrogated, “You grew up reading sagacious books as well. Why do you like such things?”
Zhong Wan’s eyes were misty. He sat up too. Voice still slightly nasally, he said, “What do I like? It’s not even daybreak yet…”
Yu She seemed to be very confused. He gazed at Zhong Wan, perplexed; he lifted a hand, then put it down again.
Yu She closed his eyes. “You’re in poor health. We can’t be this way.” It was unclear if he were saying this for Zhong Wan or himself to hear.
Zhong Wan’s eyes were unfocused. “Can’t be what way?”
Yu She looked at Zhong Wan. He seemed to be experiencing a hallucination: he felt that he really had tied Zhong Wan to the bed, then forced Zhong Wan to beg him with difficulty…
“Nevermind.” Yu She lay down, back facing Zhong Wan. He sighed. “Sleep.”
Zhong Wan was completely lost. He closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep again.
The next morning, Yu She handed Zhong Wan a few pages of paper.
Zhong Wan looked down at them…
The Heart Sutra.
“Copy it ten times to rid the impurities in your mind.” Yu She looked at Zhong Wan with a conflicted expression. “Bring the copies with you when you come back next time.”
Yu She: King of overthinking LOOL
Also, sleep and I have been pretty busy recently so will be taking a one week break to stockpile some more chapters before updating again!! Next update will be Tuesday, 6/2! Thanks for understanding~