Feng Ling followed Ye Mao all the way to the front of Ping An Palace.
The two stopped at the gate of the palace, and Ye Mao said with a flick of his horsetail whisk: “His Majesty must have just woken up, Lord Feng, you must take care to speak with caution.”
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Feng Ling cupped his hands: “Much thanks to gonggong for the advice.” (TN: term used to address eunuchs)
Ye Mao curved his eyes in a smile and accepted the bow.
Feng Ling entered the palace with his head lowered, and followed the palace staff through the gorgeous bead curtains and painted silk screens to the bedroom. He looked at the warm yellow gauze curtains shrouding the bed, and after a brief concentration, he knelt down and bowed.
“Feng Ling, imperial secretary of the Hanlin Imperial Academy, pays respects to Your Majesty.”
A stick of incense burnt down, and the bedroom remained silent.
“This official, Feng Ling.” Feng Ling bowed again, raised his voice and said clearly, “Pays respects to Your Majesty!”
Finally there was sound. The figure behind the bed curtains moved and sat up slowly, as if it was uncomfortable, and rubbed his head with his hands for a long time.
Feng Ling stepped forward: “Your Majesty, this official…..”
“En?” The person seemed to have seen something around him that had greatly shocked him upon a closer look.
Feng Ling: “…..Your Majesty?”
Ye Gonggong was feeling very twitchy.
“You said His Majesty doesn’t recognize you?”
“Yes.” Feng Ling said slowly, “His Majesty asked me who I was first, and when I replied ‘Hanlin Imperial Secretary Feng Ling’, His Majesty no longer spoke. After a while, he said “headache”, and I had to retreat outside to ask gonggong.”
Ye Mao flicked the whisk anxiously. Behind him was an imperial physician with a beard and three little medicine boys: “What do I know? First, His Majesty was injured by those remnants of the previous dynasty and their wicked enchantments, and after two days and one night, when His Majesty finally woke up, His Majesty seemed to have fully recovered, and even punished a few disobedient maids, looking very much full of vitality.”
“Perhaps this lower official misconceived the matter.” Feng Ling lowered his head again, and the two fell silent for a while.
When they went inside, the emperor was still sitting behind the bed curtains. The other person originally behind the bed curtains with him was now standing beside the bed, tying his clothes. When he saw Feng Ling, he smiled slightly: “Lord Feng.”
Feng Ling nodded.
Ye Mao took the lead up the steps, bowed beside the curtains and said: “Your Majesty, the imperial physician is here.”
The person standing outside the bed curtains crooked his finger at Ye Mao with a smile and said: “Don’t ask, he is unhappy, and even kicked me out of the bed just now.”
This never happened before. Ye Gonggong’s head hurt even more. He gritted his teeth and asked again: “Your Majesty?”
The inside of the bed curtains was quiet for a long time, before the person inside finally reached out a hand.
The imperial physician placed the wrist cushion with trepidation, and Ye Mao raised the emperor’s hand to put it on it. After taking the pulse for a while, the imperial physician got up and bowed: “Your Majesty has indeed recovered. I believe it was caused by the discomfort from being in a coma for a long time, and it will subside soon.”
“En.” The emperor responded in a gentle tone.
Ye Mao’s heart, which finally felt somewhat eased, jumped into his throat again. Abnormal, it was extremely abnormal.
“You are all dismissed.” It was the voice of the young emperor again.
The man standing beside the curtains chuckled: “Your Majesty, do you want this subject to retreat too?”
“You are also dismissed.”
The man’s eyes flashed, he nodded and smiled: “This subject is leaving, and will come to accompany Your Majesty when Your Majesty is happy again.”
The emperor spoke no more. The man went down the steps and gave Ye Mao a look. The latter understood and went down the steps as well, pulling Feng Ling’s sleeve: “Lord Feng, let us go back first.”
“No.” Feng Ling lowered his eyes, “This lower official has something important to report.”
Ye Mao: “This pedantic fool…..”
“Your Majesty!” Feng Ling took two steps forward and said loudly, “There is a severe drought in the southwest, I beg Your Majesty to halt the construction of Xiaoyin Pier and allocate funds to help the victims!”
“Oh my Buddha, Heaven and Bodhisattva.” Ye Mao was horrified, “Does this person have a death wish?”
The man behind him smiled softly, shook his folding fan, and walked out of the palace leisurely.
Feng Ling’s forehead was pressed against the icy ground, and his heart was full of equanimity in facing death. Just how many predecessors did not fear imperial power for the sake of the common people, and today for the sake of the world, he would——
“I——Zhen knows, Zhen has a headache, you will go back first.” (TN: imperial ‘we’ used by the emperor)
Feng Ling: “…..Ah?”
“Zhen said…..” The gauze curtains were lifted, revealing the beautifully handsome and gentle face of the young emperor, “Zhen is a little tired, you will go back first, this matter will be discussed later.”
“Ye Gonggong.” On the way out of the palace to return to his manor, the imperial scholar who was still full of equanimity at facing death was suddenly a little worried, “What does His Majesty mean?”
“How do I know this?” Ye Mao flicked the whisk from his left arm to his right calmly, “The heart of the divine one is unpredictable, His Majesty is so tolerant of Lord Feng, then Lord Feng should just accept it, there is no need to worry about it.” (TN: divine one, or sheng shang, is the courtier’s or minister’s form of address for the current Emperor)
Of course, there was no need to worry too much, His Majesty clearly wanted to admit you to the palace harem.
“Really?” Feng Ling was stunned for a while, “Presumably His Majesty was…..moved by the sincerity of this lower official. I hope His Majesty will condescend to accept this lower official’s words and save the people in the southwest from the drought.”
“…..” Ye Mao turned his head silently to the other side, it might be better if you just go back and burn incense for yourself.
In the Ping An Palace.
Jing Ye dismissed all the maids and attendants out of the palace residence and stood on the steps in front of the dragon bed by himself.
The underworld judge said that this little emperor’s life had already run its course, but the imperial Jing family could not die out, so he specially granted him a 5,000-year-old gift bag from the underworld, so that he may be reborn and live again in a new shell, and by the way, guarantee the Jing family line could be extended for several hundred more years.
“You can do it.” He still remembered the underworld judge’s sinister smile.
Jing Ye touched the edge of the bed and sat down. This person was also called Jing Ye. He was twenty years old. When the previous emperor was still alive, he was the fifteenth son known as the Prince of Duan. The fourteen older brothers ahead of him in the line of succession all died or became disabled miraculously. In the end, he was supported by the empress, now the deceased empress dowager onto the throne.
The Prince of Duan was a tyrant with no special characteristics, but the male attendants in the harem however, did have their own special characteristics. Lin Xiaosheng, the son of Jiangnan silk merchant, Gu Hong, the grandson of the previous emperor’s prime minister, Li Tingqiu, who was the third place in the gold list for the top imperial examination candidates…..
Forget it, too many to count.
“Your Majesty.” Ye Mao’s voice came from outside of the palace, “Are you hungry? Will there be a need for breakfast?”
Breakfast. Jing Ye looked out the window, it was noon now, “Call for the meal.”
Soon, the palace maids filed in and filled the table with dishes. Jing Ye slowly ate with the chopsticks, and decided to start with small things first.
“The expenses in the palace will be reduced in the future.” He tried his best to make his tone similar to that of the young man in his memory, “Zhen will usually eat no more than five dishes each meal.”
Ye Mao was completely stunned, what did this little ancestor say?
Jing Ye took two bites and said again, “What did Feng…..Ling say about a pier?”
“What’s the use of building it?”
“Isn’t it a garden that His Majesty built to make Lin Gongzi happy?” Ye Mao looked at Jing Ye’s face carefully, “In order to build this garden to resemble a fairy’s dwelling, it still costs money to…..” (TN: polite term to refer to young men of fine standing in ancient times, can be translated as ‘young master’)
“Speak directly,” Jing Ye paused his chopsticks, “how much does it cost?”
“Probably…..more than 40,000 taels of silver.”
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Jing Ye’s eyelids jumped, indeed this was really a prodigal son.
He picked up the chopsticks again and looked up at Ye Mao who was serving him with his back bowed.
“Relay…..Zhen’s words, tomorrow on the fifth watch morning assembly resumes, and there will be no delay.” (TN: refer to the fifth of the five night watch periods 03:00-05:00 used in ancient times)
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