The Young Duke Lei - 3
The sun had yet to rise when the High King arrived at the Duke Lei’s residence. The servants led him to Lei Yun-Ru’s courtyard. When he arrived, he saw the lamps in the yard had been lit, and the servants were at the door, waiting to wake their young master.
“Ru’er is still resting?”
At the sound of his voice, the servants turned and greeted him quietly. The servant in charge looked to him and nodded.
“We have not called for the young master as yet. He should still be asleep.”
The High King nodded in acknowledgment.
“Open the doors and get his cloak ready,” he ordered, “I will take him to the palace while he still sleeps.”
The servants answered in ascent and gently opened the doors, going in with the lamps. The High King walked to the bed and moved the large netting aside. He looked at the child sleeping on the bed and smiled gently. The next second he removed the covers and pulled the child from the bed, a servant came over and covered the child with his cloak.
The High King walked out the room, moving as lightly as he could as he spoke to the servants, “There is no need to take anything with us. The things for his crowning has been set at the palace. Just make sure to prepare the residence for the arrival of your new duke.”
The servants, who were surprised by the news, started to whisper amongst themselves and almost woke up their young master with their voices. However, the High King gave them a fierce glare that silenced all of them. “This news is not to spread before it is announced by the palace. If I find out it has, today will be your last day.”
The servants answered in assent returning to their calm and followed quietly behind the High King as he left the duke residence. He got on his horse while holding onto the young prince. The guards surrounded him and the horses began trotting to the palace. With how gentle their movements were, the High King thought that the young prince wouldn’t wake up till they arrived at the palace.
Nevertheless, a certain someone was already awake even before the High King left his own residence, and headed for the Duke Lei residence. Lei Yun-Ru was sitting in his dimensional library while watching everything that went on outside. He was eating his favorite dish, the eight treasures porridge. Even though it wasn’t the time for laba festival it was one of his favorite things to eat. The ingredients he used to make it were overflowing with spiritual qi that only richened after they were all prepared in the Heavenly Spirit Furnace.
The spiritual qi flowed from the porridge-like steam and Lei Yun-Ru ate merrily, as he watched the entourage on the way to the palace. They were led by a eunuch to the courtyard set aside for princes. He was gently placed on a bed and his uncle left the room. After eating, he figured it was time to ‘wake up’ so he set the bowl aside and left the space.
He opened his eyes and looked around the palace room that would seem luxurious to others but made him feel he had been placed in a servant’s quarters. This does not compare to the princes’ courtyards of the heavenly palaces. He sat up and observed his surroundings. He noticed that he was all alone. He internally sighed in relief because he did not have to act like a complete fool.
He looked around some more and glared at the pathetic room he is in. “This kingdom is really poor.” He mumbled and waited for his uncle to return.
He did not have to wait long before the door opened. The one he was waiting for entering. His uncle looked a bit surprised for a second but then gently smiled. He came over and stroked Lei Yun-Ru’s head.
“Good morning Ru’er how are you feeling?”
The young child looked at him and nodded before glancing around the room. His eyes showed a ripple of confusion. The man stooped down in front of him and spoke in a gentle voice, “You’re in the palace right now, Ru’er. The emperor asked that I bring you here, so your coronation could be carried out. They have decided to give you the title of Duke Lei.”
Lei Yun-Ru’s eyes widened for a bit and a gentle smile came to his face, causing his uncle to laugh heartily.
“It is good you’re happy! Let’s go eat breakfast and then get you ready.”
The eunuch stepped forward with a basin and a cloth. He helped Lei Yun-Ru to wash his face and dry it; brushed his teeth and rinsed it. As Yun-Ru got off the bed, the eunuch put an outer robe on his shoulders. His uncle waited for him to be ready before leading him to the garden. They sat down at one of the pavilions and ate the breakfast that would make the people in the palace feel as if they were being pampered. When instead it caused Lei Yun-Ru to feel glad that he had eaten already.
His uncle thought he was eating in relish. The truth was Yun-Ru was having the food transported into the space, every time it entered his mouth. He wouldn’t commit himself to such torture by actually eating the meal. He solidified his thought that the current kingdom he lived in was pitifully poor. The meal was soon finished and the High King sent him in the room to prepare. The bath was ready but he refused to be touched by the eunuch, so they were made to wait outside as he bathes.
Lei Yun-Ru did not bother to enter the water and just cast a cleaning spell on himself. A trick that he picked up from one of the worlds of magic he had visited. He made the tub look as if it was bathed in and stayed in the room for a while. He put on his inner robe before going out of the room. The eunuchs took him to a mirror and started putting on his official robes on him. His uncle came in and fixed his hair placing a simple clip on it.
The High King rested his hands on his shoulder as he spoke, “When you are given your title, you will receive your crown; however, there are some things you need to pay attention to during the ceremony. The emperor and the officials are already aware of you not speaking and for the sake of your age, they have chosen to ignore it but for the other things, you must be ready.”
Lei Yun-Ru nodded and then spent the rest of the time they had, learning what he needed to do. Just as they were about to go over it for the third time, the eunuch came to call them to the court. It was time for the coronation. They rode the palanquins to get to the court. Nevertheless, they had to get off at the gates to the court and walked on the carpeted pathway that leads into the court.
The High King and Lei Yun-Ru entered at the same time. Nevertheless, the High King stepped aside and went over to stand in his position, while Lei Yun-Ru went up towards the head by himself. He kneeled and saluted to the emperor, who smiled at him and gestured to start the coronation.
The emperor spoke about the deeds of Duke Leis before him and then followed the procedure to carry out his crowning. The emperor would not crown him himself, but the High King went forward to do it. The entire time he could feel many eyes boring into him but he ignored him all. These people were nothing but ants compared to the people he had faced in many of his lives. Even the malicious and murderous stares he received from those that wanted his title, just made him yawn.
When the ceremony came to an end so did the court. As the Emperor left the court the messengers were all sent out to announce the crowning of the new duke. Cries of surprise could be heard in the streets and the citizens of all standings began discussing the new duke. The most controversial was his age. The people could not understand how he could be expected to rule a dukedom when he was only eight-years-old.
Many thought it made no sense, especially when someone with ill intent, spread out that he was concubine born. Even though the kingdom had risen the status of those born to concubines, many felt that they were still just lowborn and not worthy of any title. Those that felt that they were better than the concubine born children, could not understand why someone of such ‘lowly’ status would be bestowed the title of a duke. While those born of concubines rejoiced because if anyone would use their status against them they could just mention the newly instated duke. They felt no shame in using this to their benefit even though they were speaking of an eight-year-old.
However, none of these affected Lei Yun-Ru, who was riding comfortably in the carriage that was assigned to the Dukes of the Empire. After the coronation, he had briefly spoken to the emperor, and then things that were under his father’s name were turned over to him. He had thanked the emperor and then brought back by his uncle.
The High King, his uncle, was leading a grand procession in celebration of his inauguration as the new duke. When they finally arrived home, he saw all the servants kneeling in a line with the head servant in front.
“Welcome Home Duke Lei! Congratulations on your new title!”