In the heavily guarded palace, Su Mu sat in front of the desk and said to Yun Feiyu: “There is a shortage of talents in the country. There are only less than half of the officials left in the six departments. What do you think of the imperial examination being held at the end of spring?”
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“Answering Your Highness, I’m afraid that it will not be appropriate.” Yun Feiyu paused slightly: “The imperial examination was once only held every three years in the past, but with the autumn examination just having passed this year, Your Highness holding the examination in the late spring of next year again I’m afraid candidates will not have enough time to prepare.”
Examinations in ancient times were not the same as modern college entrance examinations. Putting aside the fact that many scholars could only walk all the way, over mountains and rivers in ancient times if they must, many examinees were unable to afford the cost of lodgings and other necessities once they arrived in the imperial capital.
Su Mu leaned on the chair and frowned slightly, then sighed and asked: “How is the Imperial Classical Academy? How many people are currently enrolled?”
Yun Feiyu looked at the frowning Crown Prince’s face and his own heart was slightly affected. The cruel and cold-blooded Crown Prince of the past invoked deep hatred in him, but now this person with the same face as the Crown Prince worrying about the country and the people had him reluctant to see the other so troubled. He heard that almost every day it was always very late into the night before he rested…..
“Answering Your Highness, there are less than a hundred people enrolled in the men’s college, less than fifty in the boys’ elementary school, only one in the women’s college, and no one in the girls’ elementary school.” Yun Feiyu secretly observed Su Mu’s expression, and as expected saw the other’s scowl darken.
Su Mu sat on the chair with dark eyes and kept clenching his fists repeatedly.
Suddenly the eunuch’s shrill voice came from outside the door: “Your Highness, Liu gongzi asks for an audience.”
Su Mu raised his eyelids: “Let him in.”
The door opened and a gust of cold air came in. Liu Xi hurriedly had a servant close the door, then put the food box on the table and took out a bowl of steaming soup for Su Mu, and said gently: “Your Highness, it’s snowing outside, this official cooked a warming soup for you, please drink it while it’s hot.”
With white porcelain fingers, he lifted the soup spoon to Su Mu’s mouth, and then glanced subtly at Yun Feiyu, who remained rooted in the same place and without any signs of retreating. Yun Feiyu looked back at him, his gaze still gentle, but it still gave people the feeling of swords facing each other.
Su Mu looked at the spoon that had been lifted to his mouth and had to drink the soup, but who knew that Liu Xi took a mile while having been given an inch and kneeled directly on his chair with one knee, holding the spoon and saying with a voice of clear seduction: “Your Highness…..”
Su Mu swiftly glanced at the place where Yun Feiyu was standing with an air of indifference and composure, then said to Liu Xi, who was watching him with a gentle face: “Enough of you, let me drink it by myself.”
“Your Highness…..” Liu Xi looked at him aggrievedly.
Towards that pair of expressive eyes, Su Mu really wanted to applaud, knowing that he was pretending yet unable to help being charmed by his expression. Su Mu couldn’t help but gentle his voice and say, “Recently, a batch of furs arrived with the tribute offerings. As it’s cold, you can pick a few.”
Liu Xi said with joy on his face: “Your Highness.” That perfect face was like a diamond suddenly appearing under the sun, so dazzling and brilliant in its splendor.
Su Mu admitted that he was dazzled, then pretended to cough, and said to Yun Feiyu: “You go too.”
Yun Feiyu smiled slightly, and the perfect degree of joy and respectful attitude had people unable to pick out any mistakes.
Liu Xi turned his head slightly and his eyes darkened, then said to Su Mu with a smile on his face: “Your Highness, you must have been tired after sitting for a long time. Why don’t we go to enjoy the snow together and move your muscles and bones on the way.”
Su Mu nodded and said, “Fine, let’s go.”
“Your Highness.” Liu Xi showed a triumphant smile toward Yun Feiyu, and then took the cloak from the hand of the maid to personally put it on Su Mu.
However, the two of them had just stepped out of the room when Su Mu was immediately snatched away by a figure that suddenly appeared.
Liu Xi immediately shouted to the palace guards next to him: “Catch him!”
The palace guards showed an expression of difficulty and hesitated: “This…..Liu gongzi…..”
You are the Crown Prince’s person, but so is that person! Besides, we are unable to catch him anyway! The palace guards cried secretly inside.
Liu Xi clenched his fists severely with a gloomy expression. Seeing Yun Feiyu walk out of the room, he became even more angry, and the smile on the other’s face became even more of an eyesore. Liu Xi immediately wiped away the expression on his face and said to Yun Feiyu: “Assistant Minister Yun is an important court official, always living in the inner palace is not proper. In this large imperial city with tens of thousands of houses, how could there be no place for you to stay?”
Yun Feiyu was as gentle mannered as ever: “Yun is the Crown Prince’s close attendant and should serve at His Highness’s side. Speaking of, Feiyu Pavilion is a bit far away from the Crown Prince’s bedroom and it is a little inconvenient. It is better to ask His Highness to transfer me directly to the Crown Prince’s personal residence. This way the name of ‘close attendant’ will not be in vain.”
Liu Xi mocked: “Are all scholars in the world as shameless as you?”
Yun Feiyu said: “If Yun’s face is as lacking in masculinity as yours, then there is no problem in not wanting it.” (TN: shameless is lit. translated to not wanting face)
While sparks were flying over there, on this side there was only affection.
“When did you come back?” Su Mu touched Gu Yunzhou’s slightly stubbled chin.
“Just now.” Gu Yunzhou carried Su Mu in his embrace and entered the Crown Prince’s palace in broad daylight. The guards, eunuchs and palace maids all stood standing in the cold wind, pretending to be wooden stakes, not even blinking once.
Su Mu couldn’t help showing a hint of joy when he heard that, and asked seriously, “The people in Lingyun Pavilion have begun to withdraw?”
Gu Yunzhou said: “No, a part in Wei Kingdom rebelled, a part was detained by the Shi Kingdom, and a part can not be moved due to the strict inspections in the Wu Kingdom.”
“Shi Ran, hmmph!” Su Mu sat on Gu Yunzhou with his legs on the armrests of the chair and completely disregarding his image. He played with Gu Yunzhou’s satin-like hair with his fingers, and asked, “What conditions did he ask of you?”
Gu Yunzhou stared into Su Mu’s eyes: “Nothing.”
Su Mu raised his brows and rolled over to press Gu Yunzhou under him, with a look of wicked charm and wildness he said: “Speak.”
A smile flashed in his black eyes, and Gu Yunzhou said: “He wants the gunpowder formula.” As if afraid of Su Mu’s misunderstanding, he immediately continued: “Don’t give it to him, I can handle it.”
“How many people of yours did he detain?” Su Mu asked, lying on Gu Yunzhou.
“Three hundred.” Gu Yunzhou said: “I have arranged it. They will not be in danger. Most of the people withdrawn from the countries are on the surface and the hidden spies have not been moved. You can use them if you need it.”
“En.” Su Mu’s gaze was like melted honey.
Suddenly, there was a rush of footsteps, and a eunuch panted as he reported outside the door: “Your Highness, the attendant at Fufeng Tower has come to report that Madam Zhao has gone into premature labor.”
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“What!” Su Mu straightened up immediately. He glanced at Gu Yunzhou who was still lying down and said, “I’ll go over and take a look.”
After saying so, Su Mu walked out of the room. Gu Yunzhou’s eyes stayed for a few seconds where Su Mu’s figure had disappeared, and then also disappeared from the bedroom.
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