I Excavated an Emperor to Become a Wife - Chapter 25
The fierce ghost’s hair was disordered, his dirty piercing eyes were white and emitting a cold green glow; his mouth was bloodied, and a green juice was hanging from the corner of his mouth; his nostrils were black, and some mist was coming out of them; his cheeks were thin and wrinkled, as if they were all rotten. Qin Cheng had the feeling that a pungent stench of death would fill his nose as soon as the ghost approached him.
That was the scene that welcomed him after just waking up, and no matter how unaffected Qin Cheng was, when faced with a situation like this, even he would feel a chill inside his heart.
Qin Cheng then tried to escape, but soon he found that he couldn’t move his body!
‘What’s wrong with me?!’
‘Where am I? Why can’t I move my body? What happened? Am I dead? That’s why I’m able to see these fierce spirits? Or have I arrived at the so-called eight hell?’
However, the fierce ghosts in front of him won’t wait for Qin Cheng to think over things clearly, and the moment Qin Cheng first opened his eyes, the Yang energy of a living person spread through the entire tomb, making these fierce ghosts want to devour his soul right away.
When he saw a fierce ghost coming straight to him, Qin Cheng subconsciosly closed his eyes, due to the ghost’s gloomy and terrifying appearance.
With his eyes closed, he was unable to see what had happened, but he could hear the miserable, piercing screams of the fierce ghost. Qin Cheng, who slowly opened his eyes after hearing such sound, saw a sharp sword pierce through the body of the spirit from behind. Then, the ghost disappeared into a cloud of mist in just a few seconds.
After the ghost disappeared, the owner of the sword appeared in front of Qin Cheng.
“What a bunch of mindless creatures, do you all want to continue?” As soon as these words came out, the fierce ghosts disappeared from the Underground Palace, and fled away out of fear.
This man wore a red and black brocade with some patterns and a white belt on his waist1. He held a sword decorated with seven colored beads and nine magnificent pieces of Jade. The blade of the sword emitted a cold light, as cold as frost and snow. His peach blossom eyes seemed to be smiling, and his thin lips were slightly raised. He wasn’t wearing a tassel crown2, so his long hair was less covered, and he only wore a rosewood dragon-patterned hairpin that swayed slightly in his hair. This man looked deadly seductive, powerful and handsome; and those peach blossom eyes gave the Emperor a hint of unrestrained authority.
The man, who looked like beautiful Jade, right the next instant waved his sword and cut down the remaining fierce ghosts. It was quite clear that this man was the most terrifying spirit in the ancient tomb, and even though he could kill Qin Cheng at any given moment, Qin Cheng was just dumbfounded, without feeling the slightest bit of fear.
Qin Cheng’s eyes were explicit and straightforward, this wasn’t hard for Su Jingmo to see, so after throwing his sword aside, which was worth thousands pounds of gold, he looked at Qin Cheng with great interest. When Su Jingmo saw that the man in front of him was still staring at him blankly, he waved his hand in front of Qin Cheng’s eyes.
“I’m a man who cherishes Jade3, as long as they are enchantingly beautiful, it doesn’t matter whether they’re a man or a woman, I won’t refuse them.” Su Jingmo said as he raised the corners of his lips, expressing a particularly enchanting smile: “It’s just that, the way you look…”
Su Jingmo looked at Qin Cheng’s slender physique, his face is well defined and attractive, but he could only be described as ‘refined’, not really a ‘beauty’. “Zhen4, indeed, doesn’t feel like ‘eating’ you.”
How could Qin Cheng not hear the ridicule from this man’s words? When he regained some consciousness, he also realized that it wasn’t proper to stare at a man like him, so he had to look away, and with some embarrassment, he said: “I’m sorry.”
“So-…sorry?” Although Su Jingmo could guess the meaning behind the word “sorry”, the corner of his eyes were slightly raised. This man’s way of speaking was really different from that of his time, there were some words that he didn’t even understand the meaning of. The difference of a thousand years, not only in clothes, but even the way of speaking was also very different. This was very interesting.
Qin Cheng understood that Su Jingmo might not understand what he said, so he hurriedly replied: “I mean…. um….” After thinking for a while, Qin Cheng explained: “I was disrespectful5.”
‘Disrespectful? The word I used to say to women, this time, was used by a man on me.’
“The word ‘disrespectful’ was used for women….” Although, this wasn’t the case anymore.
When Su Jingmo said that, Qin Cheng really didn’t know how to answer, especially since he couldn’t move his body at the moment, and he was feeling way too embarrassed lying down like this to keep talking to that man.
Even though he couldn’t move his body, Qin Cheng knew that he should’ve survived that sudden attack, but….
“Why, why can’t I move?”
“You can’t move?” Su Jingmo frowned slightly. ‘Could it be that he’s really paralyzed?’
Su Jingmo didn’t say anything else, he simply squatted down to observe Qin Cheng’s condition. He grabbed Qin Cheng’s hand and felt his pulse, however, he couldn’t find anything weird.
“Maybe you’ll be able to move after a while.” Saying against his will, Su Jingmo smiled slightly: “It’s been so long since we met, and yet, I still don’t know how to address you.”
After he said that, Su Jingmo made an unprecedented move and helped Qin Cheng to sit up, with his back supported against a stone pillar.
“Ah, you can call me Qin Cheng.”
“Qin Cheng? Is this your name?” When he saw Qin Cheng’s appearance, he thought that he should’ve been crowned6 long ago: “You don’t have a courtesy name?”
Stunned, Qin Cheng just reflected what Su Jingmo said, and replied with a smile: “There’s no longer a distinction between the given name and courtesy name; and ‘name’ has been simplified into a single word7. Moreover… at the present time, there’s no such thing as a ‘crowning ceremony’, it’s called ‘adulthood’ and both men and women reach it at the age of eighteen.”
Seeing that Su Jingmo just smiled and replied with a single word, Qin Cheng thought about something, and asked him: “So, is your name Su Jingmo? Is that your given name?”
The three characters, ‘Su Jing Mo’, were once again said by the man in front of him, which made the former Emperor narrow his eyes. “Su Jingmo is my given name, but no one has ever called me this way.” After all, he used to be the Emperor of ten thousand people, no one dared to call him by his given name, and even before he became the Emperor, he was called the Third Prince.
In ancient times, the ‘given name’ was mainly used for self-address; while the ‘courtesy name’ was mainly used for other people to address them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that someone must refer to people by their courtesy name in all cases, it depended more on the mutual status of the two parties. Those who had equal status can call the other respectfully by their courtesy name, and humbly address themselves by their given name instead of their courtesy name. Elders, teachers, and superiors, can call their juniors, students, and subordinates respectively, by their given names instead of their courtesy names, which makes their relationship more intimate. However, with Su Jingmo’s status, even an elder or a teacher couldn’t call him by his given name. The only way for an elder to say the three characters ‘Su Jing Mo’ would be if that was his courtesy name. It was only then that Qin Cheng realized that he had just called this man by his given name, which would’ve been a great disrespectful thing to do, according to the ancient system.
“According to the punishment system of your time, if I called you by your given name, would I get sentenced to be whipped to death?”
Looking at Qin Cheng, Su Jingmo shook his head: “Above the punishment of amputation.”
The five punishment of the feudal legal system were: Mo, a corporal punishment consisting on tattooing characters on the victim’s forehead. Yi, cut off the nose. Yue, the amputation of one or both feet. Gong, castration. And Dapi, death sentence by beheading. It was impossible for Qin Cheng, an archeologist, to not know this.
“Then how should I call you? What’s your courtesy name or your designated name8?”
“Courtesy name ‘Yunzhi’, honorific title ‘Emperor Yingde Wenwusheng9’.” After being dead for so many years, Su Jingmo didn’t care about these titles anymore, so he said them really casually. However, he didn’t know how much impact his words would have on Qin Cheng.
Even if Su Jingmo was wearing Emperor’s robes, Qin Cheng still had a slight doubt whether he was an Emperor or not, because there was no Emperor with the surname ‘Su’ in Chinese history records. But now that Su Jingmo said his honorific title, ‘Emperor Yingde Wenwusheng’, which not only showed that he was clearly an Emperor before he died, but also shocked Qin Cheng, because there was no Emperor in history with the honorific title of ‘Emperor Yingde Wenwusheng’.
The Tang Emperor Xuazong was honored with the title “Emperor Kaiyuan, Shengwen, Shenwu10” in the twenty-seventh year of the Kaiyuan era. In the first year of the Qiande era, the Song Emperor Taizu was honored with the title “Emperor Yingtian Guanyunren, Shengwenwu, Zhide11”. However, by the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Emperors were disgusted by the absurd policies and misconduct of the former Emperors with such honorary titles, so they refused to give themselves an honorary title. And Qin Cheng, who has read so many ancient books, didn’t know the existence of the honorific title ‘Emperor Yingde Wenwusheng’.
This…. although the Archeologists who remained in Ninghua Village all had their own speculations, Qin Cheng, the now dead Jiang Bo, Zhang Jun and Professor Li Guoxian also had a deep hidden answer, but as this answer slowly surfaced, Qin Cheng’s excitement and thrill was like a flood that burst its banks, pouring out of his mind in a mighty, clamorous way! He couldn’t suppress it, he could even feel every hair on his body starting to pulsate like a mighty sea!
“You….” His mind was so stimulated by the surging excitement that he could’t find the right words and it took a while for Qin Cheng to think of how to ask for the thing he most wanted to know. “Your Country’s official name, what’s your Country’s official name?”
The tone of Qin Cheng’s words weren’t as plain and gentle as usual, they were said with unusual excitement, which made Su Jingmo, who had his back on him, couldn’t help but turn his body to look at him. He saw Qin Cheng’s eyebrows imperceptibly moving and his lips trembled as if waiting for Su Jingmo to give him the most important answer of his life. His black eyes glued to him, shining with extraordinary excitement, reminded him of the eyes of his best friend, who dared to speak boldly in the face of the Imperial Majesty, to ask the woman he loved to marry him.
He couldn’t help but laugh out loud. ‘Is my answer so important?’
“My Country’s official name is Xu.”
Qi, the Tribal Chief of the Xia tribe, founded the country and adopted ‘Xia’ as the official name of the Nation. Ji Fa founded the Zhou Dynasty by destroying the Shang Dynasty, and adopting ‘Zhou’ as the official name of the nation. The Qin state, whose ancestor was named after the Ying clan, was a small fief awarded to Feizi by the Zhou Dynasty for his meritorious work in raising horses for the Zhou Dynasty, giving him he title of Qin Ying, a combination of his fief and the ancestral surname, so the name of the land became ‘Qin’; Later, it was promoted to a vassal state, but maintained Qin as its name. The Qin Monarch, Ying Zheng, who conquered six states and became the first Emperor, maintained the ‘Qin’ name as the official name for the Nation. Before becoming Emperor Taizu, founder of the Song Dynasty, Zhao Kaungying was appointed by the Last Zhou Emperor to return to the army post as the commander of the Song state, since the area originally belonged to the ancient Song of the Southern Dynasties, the name ‘Song’ was adopted as the Country’s official name….
‘I’m sure even middle schoolers are able to tell that there’s no such ‘Xu’ Dynasty in all history…’
While staring at the Emperor in front of him, Qin Cheng struggled to get up, wanting to grab the man by the shoulders and ask him if he was lying to him. He wanted to look at this man straight to his face and see if he had just told a lie.
While he was struggling to move, his arms and legs seemed to slowly feel a bit of strength. Qin Cheng slowly stood up holding onto the stone pillar with trembling hands, and one step at a time, he walked towards Su Jingmo with trembling legs. As if forgetting the identity of the man in front of him, and the fact that he was a ghost, Qin Cheng gripped Su Jingmo’s shoulder and looked right into his eyes: “Xu?! What you’re saying, is it true?! You weren’t kidding nor meant to deliberately lie to me, right? You’re actually the Emperor of the Han Dynasty, right?! Your surname is not ‘Su’, but ‘Liu’, right?!”
Su Jingmo, who was a short distance away from Qin Cheng, didn’t even had the time to marvel over the fact that he wasn’t paralyzed because right the next moment, when Qin Cheng started to stand up, he began to hysterically question him, which made Su Jingmo feel infuriated with this man, who seemed to be out of him mind.
“Go away!” Su Jingmo was very upset, and with a single wave of his hand, he pushed the unstable Qin Cheng five meters away. Qin Cheng’s weak legs lose strength, which resulted in him falling to the ground.
While staring dumbfounded at Su Jingmo, who had just pushed him away, Qin Cheng frowned for a while, and then said: “In history records, there’s no Emperor Su Jingmo, much less a Dynasty called ‘Xu’….”
Qin Cheng’s words echoed inside the empty Mausoleum, but also in Su Jingmo’s ears….
Today I don’t have funny comments because I’m exhausted with this chapter! Ahhhhhhh it was so complicated to translate, as you might notice with the huge number of footnotes…..
(even so, it’s a good chapter, very informative)
- It should look like something like THIS.
- 冕旒 miǎn liú; It’s one of the ancient Han Dynasty ceremonial crowns. According to legend, the tassel system started from the Yellow Emperor (mythological emperor of China, reigned c. 2697-2597 BC) and was perfected by the Zhou Dynasty [1046-221 BC]. In ancient times, the tassel crown was worn by Emperors, Princes, and Ministers and Officials on the Grand Sacrifice (where they offered sacrifices to the gods or ancestors). The tassel crown was the most valuable one among the ceremonial crowns. It looks like THIS.
- 怜香惜玉 lián xiāng xī yù; It’s a Chinese idiom, it’s used as a metaphor for a man’s care and consideration for the one he loves. / To have tender, protective feelings for the fairer sex. / Love a fragrant Jade-like maiden. From《柳毅传书》(liǔ yì zhuàn shū), “The Biography of Liu Yi”, written by (尚仲贤 shàng zhòng xián) Shang Zhongxian, an opera writer from the Yuan or Mongol Dynasty [1279-1368].
- 朕 zhèn; In ancient China, with the establishment of the Qin Dynasty [221-207 BC], Ying Zheng (personal name of the first Emperor, Qin Shihuang) created the title of Huangdi (Emperor), specifying “I” (zhen) as the self-address of the Emperor, and can only be used by the Emperor himself.
- The first apologizing word Qin Cheng’s used is 抱歉 bào qiàn. 抱 bào = means ‘hold’, while 歉 qiàn = means ‘regret’. It can either mean feeling sorry and guilty for something you did, or regretting something that happened to somebody else. While the second one is 失礼 shī lǐ. 失 shī = means ‘to miss/lose’, while 礼 lǐ = means ‘etiquette/courtesy’. It means that you/someone lacks manners, it’s impolite, insolent, rude, etc.
- 冠 guān; In ancient China, men held a crowning ceremony when they reached adulthood, usually, at the age of twenty; and they were given a courtesy name, which is a formal pronoun traditionally used in addition to the given name. Usually, for the sake of politeness, it was a custom to call someone’s courtesy name instead of their given name, in order to be polite and avoid rudeness.
- What Qin Cheng means it that 名 míng (given name) and 字 zì (letter/symbol/character/courtesy name), were simplified into a single word: 名字 míng zi = name.
- 号 hào; In traditional Chinese culture, in addition to having a ‘given name’ and a ‘courtesy name’, people sometimes gave themselves a ‘style name’, also known as an alias, or designated name. The ‘designated name’ is a more formal alias to express one’s will.
- 应德 yìng dé; This term is used to express the fulfillment of the emperor’s virtuous government. 文武圣 wén wǔ shèng = The Saint of Literature and War.
- 开元 kāi yuán = Means to start a new era. 圣文 shèng wén = The Saint of Literature. 神武 shén wǔ = The God of War.
- 应天广运仁 yìng tiān guǎng yùn rén = This can be translated as ‘Fulfilling the spreading of Heaven’s rule throughout humanity’. 圣文武 shèng wén wǔ = The Saint of Literature and War. 至德 zhì dé = Splendid virtue / Majestic moral character / Great kindness.
Your donations will go towards site costs and management.
Individual translators usually have their own ko-fi buttons. If you still cannot find it, then please specify to which translator and project you are donating the coffee to through the Foxaholic account.