I [Imperial] Am Not This Kind of Man - Chapter 5
This chapter was translated by Daed and proofread by SilkScreen to be hosted on Foxaholic.com.
“I came to find 13th Younger Sister.” Qin Nuo explained vaguely. The princesses were also not brainless enough to expose Qin Nuo’s actions of slacking off.
Ninth Princess Qin Lan keenly asked, “Eunuch Wang, are we able to visit Father Emperor yet?”
An apologetic expression crossed Eunuch Wang’s face, “Replying to Princess: earlier, the Empress has commanded that since there were too many people who arrived at Yun Palace Hall tonight, to let all the princes wait in Liu Guang Palace Hall. All the princesses will wait in Wen De Palace. Thus, this servant has come to invite the princesses to change locations.”
Liu Guang Palace Hall and Wen De Palace were both palace rooms beside Qian Yun Palace Hall. The winding corridor was linked, which was extremely convenient. If he hadn’t overheard the conversation before, Qin Nuo might have thought that Empress Huo made the decision in fear of the ruckus within the palace hall worsening the emperor’s condition. Now that he knew that the mother and son were about to do something big in Qian Yun Palace Hall, then this act of transferring the princes and princesses to the nearby palace rooms must be to prevent others from discovering their following actions.
The princesses obediently rose. Ninth Princess couldn’t resist trying to pump Eunuch Wang for information, “How is Father Emperor doing now?”
“This……This old servant has been running around outside on errands and thus, unclear about the situation inside the palace hall. However, as the current emperor, His Majesty’s good fortune is long and continuous. He will naturally be able to turn the misfortune into a blessing.” Eunuch Wang returned a watertight answer.
The princesses hadn’t really placed their hopes on hearing any news from Eunuch Wang. They could only bring their maids along in disappointment as they followed a young eunuch towards the direction of Wen De Palace.
Meanwhile, Qin Nuo’s imagination was running wild. How would Empress Huo make her move? Would she dispatch a squadron of swordsmen to lie in wait around the palace room, and once Pei Ling walked in, throw down a cup as a signal, everybody rushing up, swords flying everywhere at once, chopping up this exceptional general into minced meat?
Wait, that didn’t sound plausible. It was said that Pei Ling’s martial arts were excellent and he was very strong. Before tonight, Qin Nuo’s impression of “excellent and strong in martial arts” was being a master archer and horseman in the Romance of Three Kingdoms. ¹ Yet now that he had witnessed Eunuch Chen’s vigorous internal force, and personally experienced the marvel of inner breath, he had a new understanding of the concept of “martial arts”.
[¹TLN: The Romance of Three Kingdoms is a Chinese literary classic 14th-century historical novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong. More info here: https://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/explore/view/article/e/eHIdpBl5ReM/romance-three-kingdoms-chinese-classic.html]
If Pei Ling truly was a martial arts expert, then ordinary swordsmen might not be able to restrain him……
“Ninth Highness, Ninth Highness……The Empress has asked for the princes to move over to the Liu Guang Palace Hall first. The other princes have all gone over. Ninth Highness should hurry over too.”
When Qin Nuo tuned back into his surroundings and caught Eunuch Wang’s urgent motions, he came back to his senses, “Oh, then I will also go to Liu Guang Palace Hall.”
Eunuch Wang followed him along the winding corridor, asking offhandedly: “Weren’t you[formal] waiting in the east side-hall? Where did you go? This servant has been looking for you for a while.”
Qin Nuo’s guard rose and he immediately heaved a sigh: “Just now Tenth Brother left with Virtuous Imperial Consort. I felt uneasy by myself so I went to look around outside Qian Yun Palace Hall and find out about Father Emperor’s condition.” While he explained, his eyes turned red. He’d been inspired by the 11th Princess.
“Alas, I only saw people passing back and forth nor did I receive any news, so I returned to the side-hall. Who would have thought that I couldn’t find the original room and entered the younger sisters’ room instead, and then I waited there with them for news.”
Contrary to expectations, this dim-witted prince was very concerned about His Majesty. Eunuch Wang laid down his worry, “Your Highness. His Majesty is worthy of Heavens’ help, coupled with the imperial physicians’ meticulous treatment, he will surely turn the peril into safety².”
[²TLN: to turn peril into safety/to avert a danger (转危为安) is an idiom. Furthermore, the part about “being worthy of Heavens’ help” (吉人天相) is referring to his facial features being one of worthiness(?)/Heavens will favor the emperor]
Liu Guang Palace Hall was on the east side of Qian Yun Palace Hall. When Qin Nuo arrived, the main hall was full. Even the infant, Little 16, was coddled in his nanny’s embrace sitting at the very end. Except, Qin Ze’s figure could not be seen; Qin Nuo reckoned that guy was still with the Virtuous Imperial Consort.
Everyone had a lot on their minds. When Qin Nuo entered, a couple of younger princes slightly bowed but did not rise to their feet to greet him. The older ones were too lazy to even greet him. Towards this dim-witted brother of theirs, they had always kept this kind of detached attitude.
Qin Nuo found a random spot near the back.
“How come Tenth Brother didn’t come with you?” The first to speak was the third prince Qin Jian³. Excluding the crown prince, he was the oldest among the princes. However, due to being a cripple, he was quite ill-tempered.
[³TLN: The ‘Jian’ of “Healthy”. Ironic, since he’s crippled.]
Meeting his glower, Qin Nuo experienced a spell of discomfort. He smiled and replied: “I was with Tenth Brother. However, Virtuous Imperial Consort came, so Tenth Brother left.”
”How’s the situation over at Father Emperor’s side?”
”This……Younger brother (QN) truly does not know.”
“Wasn’t it your (and Tenth Brother’s) turn tonight to stand on night duty? Why don’t you know anything?”
His surly attitude caused a flame of fury to rise in Qin Nuo’s heart, but he continued to smile as he replied sarcastically, “Third Brother has always known that I’m stupid and slow-witted, how could I dare to stay in Qian Yun Palace Hall to cause trouble for the empress and co. With Fourth Brother looking after him, Father Emperor will surely be worthy of Heavens’ help.”
Qin Jian’s mouth twitched, “‘Stupid and slow-witted’? The way I see it, you’ve been quite clever and witty lately.”
What’s the matter with this darn cripple, did he eat to the point of bursting today⁴? The two of them had no past grudges nor any ill feelings between them.
[⁴TLN: pretty much the same meaning as “have nothing else to do”.]
“Don’t be anxious, Third Brother. We can’t say for sure if Tenth Brother is with Fourth Brother, fulfilling his filial duties in front of Father Emperor.” The one who spoke was the seventh prince Qin Xun⁵. His conduct was rather smooth and evasive as well as good-natured, while his stature was plump. The couple times that Qin Nuo had seen him, he was always struck with the urge to shove a bamboo shoot into his (QX) arms. This older brother of his could directly cosplay as a cute panda bear.
[⁵TLN – Xun of “Medal/merit”. In the next sentence, the words used to describe him as “smooth and evasive” (圆滑) includes the character for “round”(圆). His stature is also described as “round” (圆滚滚) – think panda bear. Now imagine a standard medal.]
“Him? Like it would fall upon him to fulfill his filial duty.” The third prince Qin Jian harrumphed coldly. Ever since he became a cripple, his temperament changed immensely. Everything rubbed him off the wrong way. But he was born of a respectable background. His maternal clan, the Guo family clan, was a rich and powerful, long-standing aristocratic family that was not any inferior to the Huo clan. Furthermore, Emperor Jing Yao pitied him for becoming a young cripple and for his consort mother’s early death, so he received special favor from the Emperor. He was allowed to do anything he wanted in the royal palace, and no one would dare say a word.
Fortunately, Eunuch Wang knew how to read the atmosphere. He smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Third Highness. This old servant will go right now to Virtuous Imperial Consort’s to check. Tenth Highness is most likely there.” After he finished speaking, he dashed out like a wisp of smoke.
“These dog things, it’s all because they do not care for the patient with all their heart. That’s why Father Emperor’s condition has become so severe.” Qin Jian’s face was full of hatred.
Qin Nuo ascertained again that this person was completely lashing out like a rabid dog. Even Qin Xun could tell, and he didn’t interject again so else not to get dragged down. The other princes were even more unlikely to speak.
It was completely silent in the great palace hall. Qin Nuo was overcome with boredom as he observed the crowd. The princes were at a loss. Once the emperor dies, there would be fierce changes in their lives. As he thought of this, Qin Nuo suddenly understood why Qin Jian would forget his manners.
Emperor Jing Yao took pity on him. No matter what he did in these years, the emperor spoiled and coddled him. Once Qin Cong ascended to the throne, could he (QJ) still enjoy this special treatment? On top of that, there were rumors within the royal palace that Empress Huo might have been involved in Qin Jian’s fall from his horse. So Qin Jian would definitely not want to see Qin Cong inherit the throne……
Not long afterwards, Qin Ze’s figure appeared at the palace hall entrance.
‘Wow, Eunuch Wang’s efficiency was very high.’ Qin Nuo couldn’t resist admiring it. But what was up with Qin Ze? His expression was gloomy with a touch of hard-to-conceal agitation.
Seeing that his fellow brothers were all present, he also casually found a spot to sit in and kept silent with a grave expression.
He may not wish to speak, but there was someone who wanted to provoke him and disrupt his peace.
“Did Tenth Brother fulfill his filial duty in front of Father Emperor? Coming so late.” Qin Jian asked snidely with a cold snort.
As a prince who also had a strong, high-ranking family background and received great imperial favor, Qin Ze had always looked down on this crippled third brother of his. Promptly, he answered apathetically, “To fulfill our filial duty at Father Emperor’s side is what we are supposed to do. Third Brother does not need to be concerned about it. During this period of time that we younger brothers have been busy for, we have brought your filial heart with us.”
Qin Jian was immediately sent into a rage. Due to his disabled leg, he was naturally out of consideration for night duty being on standby while attending to the sick emperor. Qin Ze’s words sounded courteous, but could be interpreted as mocking him for not ever contributing.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Qin Jian scowled.
”This younger brother is only conveying my filial heart. What else could it mean?” Qin Ze turned his head.
“Tenth Brother has worked hard. Third Brother has also been thrown into disarray due to his concern.⁶ I wonder how Father Emperor’s condition is now? You just came over from Qian Yun Palace Hall, do you have any news?” Seventh prince Qin Xun rushed to ask as he continued to bear the heavy responsibility of smoothing things over. The rest of the princes all looked down with their heads lowered⁷, turning a blind eye to everything.
[⁶⁷TLN: 关心则乱 (to be thrown into disarray due to concern) – used to describe how someone is unable to think rationally/objectively concerning someone or something that was very important to them. 眼观鼻鼻观心 (eyes looking down to the nose, nose pointing at the chest), describing a specific posture that can be used in different context/to express many things.]
However, Qin Ze did not accept Qin Xun’s help. Instead, he said coldly, “Is that so? And here I thought that Third Brother was worried that Father Emperor’s critical condition would affect his great matter. After all, Third Brother is someone who is soon to be married.”
The third prince Qin Jian’s engagement had been long settled, he was originally scheduled to marry at the end of the year. Yet Qin Ze’s words that brought up something like this at this particular time could put him to death. ⁸ Even if Qin Jian had a very good temper, he couldn’t endure it— not to mention that Qin Jian’s temper had never been very good. He was unable to take it anymore⁹, “Qin Ze, what did you say?!”
[⁸⁹TLN: 诛心之言 words that intended to put (someone) to death- 诛 to put (a criminal) to death/to punish, 心 heart/mind/intention, 之 of, 言 words/speech. 拍案而起 – literal : to slap the table and stand up (idiom); figurative: at the end of one’s tether/unable to take it anymore]
The conflict ascended another level. The youngest 16th prince finally burst into tears and wailed loudly.
The atmosphere within the palace hall was awkward yet tense.
Qin Nuo watched coldly from the sidelines. Qin Ze’s behavior today was extremely abnormal. Could it be that he also knew something? Ultimately Virtuous Imperial Consort Ge was the empress’ trusted aide and confidant, the Ge Family Clan itself was singlehandly promoted to its current position by the Huo Family Clan.
He recalled the inside news that he had happened to overhear. Empress Huo clearly wanted to take advantage of the time that the emperor was in critical condition to launch a coup, taking out Pei Ling’s power in one go.
Thinking about it more closely, if this plan was schemed appropriately, it might not be impossible to pull off successfully. After all, the Huo family clan was a long-standing large and influential family. It possessed tremendous influence/power in the court and in the military. Moreover, after Pei Ling was recalled two years ago to recuperate properly, the power and wealth gap that was left in Bei Jiang was mostly filled up by the Huo family and other clan bigwigs.
But what came next after they succeeded? As a talented contemporary military commander, not only did Pei Ling possess the merit of undertaking the crucial responsibility protecting the emperor, he possessed the capability of strategy. Could the Huo Family find a talented person who could replace Pei Ling to defend Bei Jiang? Hah. If they were, then previously the situation at the frontier would not be as bad as to have their forces repeatedly retreat in defeat, reaching the point where they needed to marry off their princess to redeem the situation……
After bickering with Qin Jian, Qin Ze abruptly turned and said, “Ninth Brother, this room is so stuffy. How about we make a round to Qian Yun Palace Hall?”
Qin Nuo had been deep in thought. As he heard this, he was taken aback. When did this guy ever want to pull him (QN) along?
Qin Ze huffed, “All our brothers are concerned about Father Emperor’s current condition and the situation. Since that is so, then we as younger brothers should make this round.”
The two of them were in charge of today’s night duty anyway, so it was reasonable for them to go check out the current situation. However, Qin Nuo didn’t want to move. Who knew when the empress was going to make her move, why should he open that can of worms?
Qin Nuo hadn’t said anything before Qin Jun was already earnestly urging, “That’s good. Then we’ll be counting on you two.” This goody-goody wanted the current deadlock to be broken.
Hey, Qin Ze was the one who wanted to go, he hadn’t agreed to anything yet! The corner of Qin Nuo’s mouth twitched, but 16th Brother’s wailing was deafening. He then thought of Qin Jian’s sarcastic ridicule. Forget it, he better make a round. Even if Empress Huo made a move, she couldn’t possibly act this soon.
He followed to his feet, taking his time to say, “Alright.”
A gleam flashed across Qin Ze’s eyes. He immediately turned his head, hiding his peculiar expression.
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