Arc 4 – Slag that Prince Regent
After the officials presented their gifts, the banquet officially began.
Most of the things given by the officials were strange gimmicks that aren’t worth a lot of money but were enough to arouse his curiosity. Those who have titles such as Dukes, Warlords and the likes gifted him more expensive gold or silver antiques. The higher their status, the more valuable the gift. It was as if they had agreed on this in advance.
After all, gift-giving can be very tricky. They not only have to show the Emperor their sincerity, they also have to avoid letting the prince regent see how much money they have embezzled.
Chi Zhao only briefly glanced at the gifts given by the others before letting the eunuch beside him take it away. Only Shen Wumian’s gift remained behind and he would fiddle with it every now and then.
The officials below exchanged toasts and from time to time someone would stand up to offer a toast to the Emperor but everyone knew that the young Emperor didn’t know how to drink so the Emperor just needed to raise his glass to receive the toast without needing to drink.
Humans tend to easily let themselves go when drunk. Even if they are the pillars of the country, they are not immune. Gradually, the originally reserved officials became more and more happy and their voices became louder.
This dynasty was similar to the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Although there are differences in class and ranks, it wasn’t as rigid as how it was in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Everyone became excited after drinking and soon, two military commanders started throwing their fists. The people around them saw this and just laughed with no intention to stop them.
The country was originally not very peaceful and if you didn’t even have a good time drinking, then life wasn’t worth living.
Seeing that it was about time, a group of elegant dancers appeared. Everyone’s eyes were drawn to these rare, stunning beauties, all except two people.
One was Chi Zhao who was focused on playing with the object in his hand and the other was Shen Wumian who was focused on watching Chi Zhao.
The present Shen Wumian gave was very ordinary. It was a piece of jade pendant. The material was good but, in the palace where even the toilet was made of fine red sandalwood, it wasn’t anything rare. The carvings on the pendant also was very strange and didn’t appear to be related to his birthday.
The front of the jade pendant had an evergreen pine with a Qilin sleeping underneath. (KKnotes: A mythical Chinese beast) The carvings were very intricate and even the lines on the horns were carved. On the back of the pendant was a drawing with an ancient character.
Chi Zhao squinted his eyes and tried to decipher it for a while before concluding that it probably was the word ‘Mian’.
In all honesty, if he didn’t know who gave him the jade pendant, Chi Zhao would have thought that it was ‘Sha’, the sha from shabu shabu. (KKnotes: 眠 (Mian) and 呷 (Sha))
It is said that the Shen family the prince regent was born into had such a tradition. On the day a child is born, they would ask a talented craftsman to carve a jade for the newborn. If it is a son, it would be a jade pendant and if it is a daughter, it would be a jade hairpin. The jade has been prepared a long time ago and it was made as soon as the child was born, and the name was decided.
If there were no major problems along the way, this jade artefact would be kept for more than ten years. When the child grows up and is of age to be married, this jade artefact can then be given as a token of marriage.
The jade pendant Chi Zhao held was probably the jade pendant Shen Wumian’s parents had made for him. He examined it for a very long time expressionlessly, as if what he was holding wasn’t a jade pendant but a piece of fatty pork.
Please read this from kk translates
Shen Wumian may look indifferent, but his eyes had in fact never left Chi Zhao. Before he became a prince regent, he had led troops into enemy terrain many times, but he was not as nervous then as he was now. The wine in his hands were like plain water. Despite drinking one cup after another, he couldn’t taste it at all.
In fact, Shen Wumian didn’t mean much when he did this. His thoughts were still the same as before. He wished to assist the young Emperor and strive to make him a respectable Emperor. As for the relationship between the two, whether it turned for the better or remained the same, he was fine with it.
He wasn’t Shen Sixteen. He would do anything the young Emperor says. Thinking a little further, if the Emperor married a man, it would most definitely become a stain on the Emperor’s life and this incident may even wipe out all of the Emperor’s other achievements in his life, making it such that people would only remember that he had married a man even thousands of years later instead of any of his achievements.
Shen Wumian didn’t know what Chen Yi cared about but as long as Chen Yi wanted to do something, he would do it for him without raising any complaints.
Of course, the condition was that he stay by his side and not look at anyone else.
The food at the birthday banquet was carefully prepared by the imperial kitchen but Chi Zhao hadn’t taken a single bite; he was still busy looking at the jade pendant in his hand with who knows what thoughts on his mind. The system had disappeared again. He had heard that the preliminary competition would be held soon and that it would be broadcasted live so the system had been under a lot of pressure lately. As a result, a lot of redundant garbage data had been appearing each day. Chi Zhao thought about it for a moment and felt that this was probably the systems way of losing hair.
Feeling nervous before a competition was normal. Chi Zhao didn’t move to comfort it. He felt that the system would most definitely pass the preliminary round.
After all, the system had been practicing its singing for a super, super, super long time.
It didn’t matter if the system wasn’t around, it even gave Chi Zhao an opportunity to think over some things. He lowered his eyes and rubbed his thumb against the edges of the jade pendant. Suddenly, a loud drunken voice sounded in the hall.
“Your Majesty, the former Emperor has been married for a year when he was at Your Majesty’s age and has also had countless concubines in the palace including the Empress, consorts, concubines and beauties. This old official would like to ask if Your Majesty has any intentions to get married and expand the branches for the royal family?”
The person who had said this was the right prime minister. Both the right and left prime ministers are high ranking officials but compared to the absolute royalist left prime minister, the right prime minister was a little unusual because no one could tell which faction he was in.
You could say that he supports the prince regent, but he had many times gone against Shen Wumian. You could say that he supports the young Emperor, but he and the left prime minister Lord Wei are natural rivals. Shen Wumian guessed that he may be secretly colluding with people from other forces but after investigating for a long time, he couldn’t find anything.
In the end, Shen Wumian could only come to one conclusion. This right prime minister Lord Huang was a wily old man who liked to be involved in everything but also not be completely involved. By dawdling around alone this entire time, he eventually reached the position of the right prime minister.
Seeing that he was able to achieve such a status alone and remain there for so many years, this person probably wasn’t as simple as one may think.
But after saying those words just now, his life would probably soon be over.
After hearing Lod Huang’s words, everyone’s first reaction was to look at the young Emperor sitting at the top. Only the left prime minister turned quickly to glance at the prince regent with a look of uncertainty.
The left prime minister felt complicated inside. In fact, he had long wanted to tell the young Emperor the same things the right prime minister had said just now but after that incident of breaking into the palace last year, many of his people were killed or injured and he wasn’t in a state to go head-on against the prince regent.
Moreover, he still remembered what the prince regent said to him in the palace that day.
The meaning behind the prince regent’s words were very clear. He didn’t want to be the Emperor and he also would not let anyone else take over. The problem however was that his reason for it was because he was fond of His Majesty. If His Majesty stayed by his side and is good to him, he would be willing to be his official and devote himself, but if anyone dared to take His Majesty away from him or if His Majesty wanted to escape from him, the first thing he would do is to rise up and take over the throne.
And the second thing he would do is to make His Majesty his Empress.
To be liked by a man like Shen Wumian was Chen Empire’s fortune and also Chen Empire’s misfortune. With both internal and external troubles affecting the country at this very moment, in all honesty, if Chen Yi was to really take over the government, he would definitely not be able to keep Chen Empire standing. The only person that could keep everything maintained on a delicate balance and deter other countries from invading was Shen Wumian.
And so, after leaving the palace that day, the prime minister mulled over it for an hour before deciding to act like nothing had happened. As for the issue of heirs, he only thought about it for a moment before stopping himself. No matter how weak the royal family was, it shouldn’t be hard to find a child with some royal blood in them. On the other hand, there was only one person in this world who was as capable as Shen Wumian.
For these reasons, the left prime minister was able to accept it, but it wasn’t the case for the others. In fact, some have already tried suggesting that Chen Yi marries but their voices were all suppressed before a single word could be uttered. The right prime minister suddenly proposing it today caught Shen Wumian off guard because he had never shown any signs of wanting to be involved with this matter before this.
The hall became quiet in an instant and even the two generals exchanging fists also stopped. Seeing that the situation didn’t seem right, the dancers similarly stopped their movements. With the lively scene suddenly turning silent, the situation was just too strange. Some felt a little stunned inside.
The right prime minister was still in a pleased mood. Shen Wumian stared at him for a while before turning his head to look at the young man at the top.
Today was his birthday banquet so the young man wore a dark red robe. The young man had fair skin, so this colour suited him very well. After taking care of him for a whole year and incorporating various tonics and nutritious diets, the young man finally grew some more flesh around his originally sharp chin. At this very moment, he was supporting his head with one hand while holding the jade pendant from him in the other.
With a clack, the jade pendant was placed on the table. The sound of the impact between the jade and white marble tabletop was very clear. Shen Wumian’s heart sank when he saw the young Emperor’s actions.
Please read this from kk translates
The Chi Zhao now was no longer the transparent Emperor he once was. Shen Wumian had both intentionally and unintentionally involved him in making decisions in court and with time, everyone could tell that the prince regent was giving up on his initial goal of taking over the throne. Although they didn’t know why, everyone could tell that the current Emperor was no longer the puppet Emperor in the past.
The current Emperor could now make his own decisions and the right prime minister had asked the Emperor that question directly. Everyone watched on nervously, not knowing how he would answer.
Shen Wumian not only detested others mentioning matters about his own marriage, he also detested others mentioning matters about the Emperor’s marriage. To be eligible to participate in the birthday banquet, one must either be the Emperor’s important official or the Emperor’s relative. In short, everyone here wasn’t an idiot. The messiest and dirtiest matters have always come from the royal family. Simple things like this don’t require much thought to understand.
And that was why everyone was too afraid to speak.
Everyone was looking at Chi Zhao. The cogs in Chi Zhao’s mind turned and he looked at Shen Wumian who sat closest to him.
Chi Zhao’s eyes were clear and pure but because they were too clear, it conversely turned others away. Clear water has no fish. When the water is extremely clear, it meant that there was nothing in there; no love, no hatred, no country and no court.
There was also no Shen Wumian.
Shen Wumian’s pupils constricted slightly. His body straightened as if he wanted to stand but, considering the people around him, he decided to remain sitting in his seat.
Chi Zhao could guess what he wanted to do. He probably wanted to rush over to ask him why he didn’t answer and why he was hesitating. But even if he asked, Chi Zhao didn’t know the answer.
He also didn’t understand why he was hesitating. In fact, he originally wanted to agree.
Shen Wumian delegating power to him was an opportunity for him. He could slowly make use of that power and, just like the original owner in the previous life and Shen Wumian, he could use it to compete for power and get involved in all sorts of fights and conflicts. Shen Wumian likes him so if he saw everything that had happened in the previous life happen again, he would most definitely feel uncomfortable. Along the way, Chi Zhao could also marry an ambitious woman and cooperate with her to torment Shen Wumian. In any case, he had a one spring night potion, so he wasn’t afraid of being discovered.
But when he saw Shen Wumian’s look, he suddenly found himself unable to speak.
Shen Wumian stared fixatedly at him, his eyes cold and fierce. It may look terrifying, but he was in fact nervous and scared inside. He didn’t want to reveal his true emotions and he didn’t want to be sympathised or taunted by others so he could only disguise it with anger. What others saw was a prince regent with a dark expression while what Chi Zhao saw as a helpless Shen Wumian, sitting there like a prisoner waiting for his sentence.
“This matter will be discussed later.”
Through half lowered eyes, Chi Zhao replied calmly. At this point, the tense environment finally dissipated, and everyone below breathed a sigh of relief. Very quickly, the atmosphere became lively again.
The banquet seemed to have returned to how it was initially but in fact no one was in the mood to eat or drink anymore. Everyone was doing their best to act lively and noisy to conceal those changes in them. While everyone was doing their best acting, the right prime minister happily enjoyed the celebration, seemingly not realising what he had just done.
Or to be more precise, he knew but he either didn’t care or he had a goal he wanted to achieve. Whether it was the prince regent or the Emperor, he didn’t care.
Chi Zhao sighed. It was really difficult for him to survive among this group of people.
Having not drunk for a while now, Chi Zhao missed the taste of alcohol a little. After going through so many worlds and experiencing so many things, Chi Zhao felt that this world was the most tiring one and that he should have a chance to relax while he can.
Picking up the cup, Chi Zhao drank it all on one go and then smacked his lips.
Pretty good, the taste isn’t bad, and it doesn’t seem too strong.
And so, Chi Zhao calmly ordered a eunuch next to him to pour him another cup. The eunuch hesitated. He raised his head to look at the prince regent first and only moved to pour Chi Zhao another cup when he received the other party’s consent.
Chi Zhao curled his lips at an angle that couldn’t be seen by Shen Wumian and enjoyed the new cup.
After doing it for another three or four cups, the prince regent signalled to the eunuch to stop pouring. Chi Zhao heard the eunuch advise him not to drink anymore and didn’t make a fuss. Instead, he nodded very obediently, “Okay.”
Seeing the young Emperor being well-behaved, the eunuch couldn’t help but reveal a smile. Their Majesty was really too cute. He never made trouble and he also never made it difficult for servants like them. It could be said that he was really well-behaved.
The next second, the well-behaved young Emperor he was praising inside suddenly reached out to pour himself another cup of alcohol. Before he could stop him, he saw him pick up a plate of fruit nearby and pick out a cherry from it. The young Emperor then raised his hands up high until he couldn’t raise it any higher before beginning to adjust the angle.
He checked the angle with a tilted head to make sure it was aimed at the cup below before he released his hold of the cherry and even added a sound effect as he did it, “Piu!——”
He watched the cherry fall into the cup, causing some of the contents to splatter out. Chi Zhao then picked up the cup and turned to look at the confused eunuch with a serious expression, “Do you know what this is called?”
Eunuch: “…..This old slave doesn’t know.”
Chi Zhao looked at him exasperatedly, “You don’t even know something like this. This is called Pink Lady.” (KKnotes: A cocktail)
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KK has something to say:
Chi Zhao is drunk!