I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country - 006
006 – His Majesty’s Dragon Bed Is Occupied
The Lantern Festival arrived quite soon. That very day, the blue sky was cloudless and bright. It happened that there was no imperial court session that morning. In the first half of the afternoon, the ministers took a rest at home, and when the sun was at its highest point, they would wander around with the emperor in the imperial garden.
Gu Yuanbai took a nap until noon. After he washed up and ate lunch, the ministers were already waiting outside.
The Imperial Sleeping Palace had prepared new clothes for the spring season. Gu Yuanbai chose a crescent moon white informal clothes embroidered with golden dragon patterns. He also put on a blue fur cloak outside. With a smile on his face, he walked out of the Imperial Sleeping Palace.
After the spring rain a few days ago, a lot of marvelous flowers and rare plants in the garden had blossomed. The palace servants diligently took care of them, day and night. Many trees that should not have been green at this season were also full of vitality.
The sunshine was good today. The palace servants sprinkled water ahead of time. The delicate flowers with water drops on them were at their most beautiful time.
The emperor was surrounded by his clan relatives and ministers, while the children brought by the ministers followed closely at the back. None could see the emperor, not even the corner of his clothes.
Xue Yuan followed behind these ministers. He and Chang Yuyan walked together slowly, not in a hurry. They looked like they were enjoying the flowers.
Seeing that there were not many people around, Chang Yuyan asked, “Where is the handkerchief you had picked up?”
Xue Yuan put his hands behind him. He had an upright posture and a handsome face, putting on airs. Unconcerned, he said, “It’s burnt to ashes.”
Chang Yuyan derisively said, “I thought you would take advantage of today to return the handkerchief to its original owner.”
Xue Yuan appeared as though he heard some funny joke, “When it comes to my hand, it’s mine. Why should I return it?”
When Chang Yuyan was about to speak, there was a lot of noise ahead of him. It turned out that a Daren had a sudden inspiration and composed a high-quality ode to spring, which caused a little high tide in the atmosphere.
On the side, a palace servant wrote it down and then read it aloud. After hearing this, Chang Yuyan applauded and praised, “Good poem!”
Xue Yuan: “Your father pointed out that you should make an appearance today. Don’t you want to take this opportunity to recite your poem?”
Chang Yuyan just shook his head. The corner of Xue Yuan’s lips rose. He fell behind a step and raised his foot to kick Chang Yuyan. Chang Yuyan staggered forward. Some Darens recognized him, smiled, and made way for him, “If it’s about poetry, the junior of the Chang Family can’t skip it.”
When Chang Yuyan had stood still, his position had passed directly to the emperor’s side. He was shocked and quickly controlled his facial expression. He respectfully went to the emperor and saluted, “I’ve1 been rude. My greetings, Your Majesty.”
Gu Yuanbai carefully looked at the graceful but not showy brother gongzi in front of him, “Are you Chang Yuyan?”
Chang Yuyan’s head dropped lower, “Yes.”
This Chang Yuyan was also an interesting person and a famous gifted scholar in the capital. Two things about him made Gu Yuanbai remember him. One was on the day of his capping ceremony, where his loyal fans besieged Chang Residence. Some people tried to climb over the wall, which ultimately alerted the local authority to send troops to arrest them. Another thing had something to do with Gu Yuanbai. Chang Yuyan once wrote thirteen poems in one go to satirize the influential officials who ignored the suffering of the people. Not only did he insinuated Lu Feng, the powerful minister, but he also insinuated him for his inability as an emperor.
The colloquial speech translated as followed: “You people who have these direct access to the highest authorities are only concerned about your little selfish interests, but indifferent to the common people. Making all the poor people in the country provide for you, the great lords who only know how to eat fine food and wear fancy clothes. In my opinion, you are all spicy chickens2.”
These thirteen poems made him offend a large group of people in the capital city, and his father also got demoted. This fellow started to compose poems again when the heat was over. After this battle, however, Chang Yuyan’s reputation was even widely known.
At this thought, Gu Yuanbai deepened his smile. “Do you also have poems to present?”
Whatever essays or poems Chang Yuyan wrote, they were all splendid literary works. Moreover, he was famous and remarkably alike a talented person who could incite public opinion. Gu Yuanbai just lacked a talent of public opinion who could praise his virtue, keep him in the highest moral position, and open the way for his policy.
Chang Yuyan’s mouth dried up. He had prepared a poem which he did before the garden tour. But he composed the poem with intention. It was also a satirical work similar to “the gate of the rich reek of meat and wine, while frozen bodies lie by the roadside”.
At first, he thought that if his father had asked him to compose a poem in front of the emperor, he would have dared to recite it.
Gu Yuanbai saw him uncommunicative and laughed, “Stand upright and straighten your head.”
Chang Yuyan subconsciously followed suit. He raised his eyes and saw the emperor looking at him with a smile.
The emperor looked at him with admiration and said to the ministers at his side, “My Great Heng’s young talents, each of them is a fine-looking man with an indomitable spirit.”
Chang Yuyan’s ears became red in an instant, only to feel a sense of shame in his heart.
The ministers laughed and said, “The junior of the Chang Family has the talent of Number One Scholar3.”
Chang Yuyan’s father, the Deputy Chief of Dali Temple, stood on the periphery. As soon as he heard the ministers praised his son, his serious and straight face involuntarily smiled.
Whatever the emperor said, the ministers followed with praises. Gu Yuanbai wore a smile on his face as he listened to the ministers’ words. His chin was about to be buried in the fur of his cloak.
Chang Yuyan did not dare to look directly at the sacred face. He slightly lowered his head and stared at the emperor’s chin.
The emperor was slender but very thin. He had not much meat in his chin, but the shape was good-looking. Chang Yuyan recalled when those silk-clothed4 men in the capital molesting the good women, they liked to hold on to such a chin and then lightly raise it.
Fortunately, the emperor is the emperor. No, the emperor is a man. Chang Yuyan, why are you lost in various fancies and conjectures?
If those silk-clothed men dared to grab the emperor’s chin, they would be beheaded and their properties confiscated in the next moment.
Chang Yuyan broke in a cold shiver without a trace. Inwardly, he cried bitterly and grumbled about Xue Yuan. Why did he kick him?
“Yuyan?” The emperor called out. “What poetry have you composed?”
Chang Yuyan’s heart leaped to his throat. He turned his head aside and saw the layers upon layer of plum blossoms at first sight.
A flash of inspiration appeared in his mind, “My poem is an ode to plum blossom.”
Chang Yuyan pressed the previous satirical poem done in advance at the bottom of his heart and recited a poem impromptu. The last two sentences praised the spring sun and the present dynasty.
Gu Yuan nodded his head and said with a smile, “Completely ingenious.”
As before, Chang Yuyan’s eyes went to stare at the emperor’s chin. He was a bit anxious this time. As soon as he lifted his eyes, the emperor’s pale lips entered his sight.
The lips were neither thin nor thick with raised corners as if they were naturally smiling.
Gu Yuanbai thought this junior was not bad. Previously, Gu Yuanbai believed he was a foolhardy youth when he saw the thirteen poems he had done but did not expect there was still something else to see.
He called Chang Yuyan to his side to accompany him. They walked and stopped in the garden, and occasionally talked. The ministers around the emperor looked at Chang Yuyan, not knowing how this junior got the emperor’s attention.
Xue Yuan leisurely waited at the back for the emperor’s rage.
He knew Chang Yuyan. Even if Chang Yuyan tried to annoy his father, he would make it big. But as time passed by, the people at the front were still merry, and Chang Yuyan also did not come back.
Xue Yuan’s eyebrows gradually wrinkled up. Has Chang Yuyan not moved yet?
He wanted to see the young emperor make a fool of himself and waited for his rage. He even sent people to wait outside the palace in advance to spread Chang Yuyan’s satirical works in the capital the first time.
Xue Yuan sighed with disappointment and walked a few steps quickly. It happened that the emperor and his party at the front went to a corner. At a glance, Xue Yuan saw his father smiled until his face wrinkled and even his mouth unclosed, following the emperor.
Xue Yuan quietly walked over and stood in the shadow behind General Xue. Immediately after he stood still, he saw the emperor at the front suddenly stopped. The emperor stretched out his white to transparent hand from the layers of wide sleeves and picked a beautiful blooming flower among the green shrubs.
“The flowers are blooming well.” Then he picked up the flower and sniffed it. The fragrance should be in accord with his heart so that he suddenly smiled in delight.
The emperor was slender and weak; his illness was severe. Yet, he smiled like a hundred flowers in full bloom, with exuberant and vigorous vitality. Hidden in the dark, Xue Yuan looked up and saw the smile on the corner of the emperor’s lips. Only then did he find out that the sick and weak emperor had an incomparable good look of an autumn moon.
Xue Yuan watched him for a while, frowning and thinking absently.
The emperor, who scolded him so hard in front of all the officials, hadn’t even grown hair5?
At noon, when the music of the bamboo instruments started to play, the palace banquet began.
Chang Yuyan sat at the back, looking at the dishes on the table in a trance.
Sitting at the side, Xue Yuan specially picked out beautiful imperial dishes to eat, “Today’s poem is good.”
“You know…” Chang Yuyan rubbed his eyebrows. “I didn’t expect that when I was facing His Majesty, I would be opportunistic.”
Xue Yuan smiled gentlemanly but wickedly tsked, “His Majesty has good tricks.”
Chang Yuyan frowned slightly, “How can you say such about His Majesty?”
Xue Yuan raised his eyebrows and turned his head to take a look at this odd good friend. Then he squinted and looked at the emperor from afar.
Gu Yuanbai sat on the top of a high position. He inevitably drank some wine today. The alcohol content of an ancient liquor was not high, but he hadn’t drink it a few times since he came here. After a few cups, he ordered people to add water to the wine pot.
Warmth spread from the stomach to the four limbs. Gu Yuanbai exhaled a breath and felt his face also heated up.
He couldn’t drink anymore. Gu Yuanbai knew how delicate and weak the body was. He stopped drinking and drank hot tea to sober up.
People attentively watched the emperor’s every move, and they often saw the emperor treated the ministers well. Some of the youngsters who saw the emperor for the first time peeked at him from their peripheral vision.
One of the most gleaming vision was Xue Yuan’s.
You can get a red face from drinking wine, are you even a man?
Such an emperor could make Chang Yuyan waver. Was there something he didn’t notice happened when they tour the imperial garden?
Xue Yuan’s hand tapped against the wine cup as he pondered inwardly.
The palace banquet didn’t last long. After it was over, the weather then turned gloomy. Tian Fusheng took many eunuchs to send the ministers out one by one. When there was no one left, he pulled Captain of the Imperial Bodyguard Zhang Xu aside and told him something mysteriously.
After taking a bath, Gu Yuanbai opened the Han Feizi6 at his desk while it was still early.
Gu Yuanbai had a big flaw compared with an orthodox man in ancient times. His idealogy came from later generations. The unconventional idealogy of later generations was unapplicable to the current environment.
He pointed out what beneficial and what brought disaster to the country. He had never read one of these ancient books before. Since he came to this world, he had to read day and night, stayed up late, and took time to read them. He combined this body’s memory to understand them thoroughly. The original emperor did not do a good job, so he had to learn the monarch’s mind from the books.
There was a modern saying if you didn’t rebel after you transmigrated into the Qing Dynasty, you deserved a drill up your butt.7 Even if Great Heng was a dynasty that had never appeared in his memory, or the world itself existed in a novel, the books and historical traces that appeared were closely related to his memory. Gu Yuanbai could not treat this country with a playful attitude.
As the male protagonists in this world, both Chu Wei and Xue Yuan had strong governing abilities.
Truthfully, Gu Yuanbai even craved for their abilities.
Although Gu Yuanbai did not understand why they fell in love, he respected them. If he could live longer, he could even confer a marriage to win them over.
Unfortunately, King Yan8 had reserved his life long ago. Gu Yuanbai could only wait for his life to come to an end. Maybe after some time, he could only lie in bed and unable to move.
Gu Yuanbai sighed deeply.
Tian Fusheng raised his head and asked, “Is Your Majesty sleepy?”
Gu Yuanbai shook his head and said, “Zhen is just thinking. Human beings are bound to die. No matter how much Zhen prepares, even Zhen feels anxious and fearful in the face of death.”
Tian Fusheng was frightened. His knees went weak and immediately knelt on the ground. Gu Yuanbai laughed, “Scared of what? Zhen is only lamenting.”
Still suffering from shock, Tian Fusheng said, “Don’t say these things to scare this little one. This little one’s heart is going to jump out.”
Gu Yuanbai shook his head helplessly. No longer in the mood of reading, he put down the book. All the servants in the Imperial Sleeping Palace had already retired. Gu Yuanbai went to the bedroom and lifted the bed curtain. His eyes widened in the next second.
A beauty with hands tied behind her back lay on his dragon bed. Her phoenix eyes were serene and ruthlessly hidden with killing intentions.
Gu Yuanbai subconsciously looked at the beauty’s chest. His face abruptly turned green. It was a man.
The author has something to say:
Gu Yuanbai: Indeed, my hair hasn’t grown 🙂 but it’s still better than yours
- He uses Xiaozi (junior)
- means garbage
- a title conferred on the one who came first in the highest imperial examination
- sons of the rich
- he implied the emperor is still a kid. You know, puberty hair
- book of Legalist Philosophy authored by Han Fei during the Warring States Period
- During the Qing dynasty, the Manchus ruled the Hans. For this reason, people want to rebel if they transmigrate to that time. It’s a known rule in China’s writing community.
- Yama is the god of death and the ruler of the death realm, overseeing the Ten Kings of Hell
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