The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 60
Translated by: Oinkoink
Proofread by: SilkScreen
Chapter 60 – Return to Politics
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
When New Year’s Eve was approaching, good news was finally heard from Jingzhou. Under the pressure of the royal court, the remnants of King Qiyang’s defeated troops have all surrendered and the revolt supplies were also on the way back to Wangdu. As such, the mortal malady who forcibly seized the north was at long last eliminated, so everyone in the royal court and the common people were gratified with jubilation.
Without a doubt, this glorious credit goes to Chu Jinglan since he risked great danger to go deep into the tiger’s den. He even took the head of Deng Tianguan without a single troop or soldier, avoiding the bloodbath scene of Chu soldiers killing each other. Not many people could make such a courageous and decisive action, which was truly admirable.
Under the pressure of public opinion the Emperor eventually summoned Chu Jinglan to the royal court meeting today.
When he got up in the morning, Ye Huaiyang took out the court robe that had long been left aside in the cabinet and personally dressed Chu Jinglan in order; putting on the adornments such as court beads, jade hairpin and other articles. She then pulled away to size him up carefully, only to see the embroidered seawater cliff pattern on the hem of the gown dazzling in front of her eyes. It appeared extremely solemn and dignified that she somewhat lost in a trance all of the sudden — this truly seems to be the first time she has seen him dressed like this.
Watching her stare blankly on the spot, Chu Jinglan pulled her closer with one hand while the other straightened the collar and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it just feels that my husband is so handsome.” Ye Huaiyang leaned over with a genial smile then imprinted a sweet kiss on the side of his face, “Be careful on the road and come back early.”
Chu Jinglan responded in a shallow voice then loosened his grip to get the official jade tablet. When he suddenly saw her body sway, he hurriedly turned back and gathered her in his arms and asked with a frown, “Feeling unwell?”
“No. Still sleepy.” Saying that, Ye Huaiyang released a long yawn where a thin mist seemed to gather between the eyebrows looking not fully awake.
“Let them serve then. You go back to bed and sleep for a while more.”
“Hmm, okay.” Ye Huaiyang did not compel herself either. She rubbed her eyes and walked into the inner room, leaving the rest to the maidservants.
Others have said that one will have to be more diligent after marriage compared to being an unmarried girl as one needs to get up to serve the parents-in-law and husband when the sun rises from the window. From binding the hair crown, straightening the sleeves, passing out towels to serving porridges; one must make sure that none is lacking. Yet she was completely contradictory, she used to rise early and retired late when she was at home but started to be indolent after arriving at the King mansion. Just merely dressing Chu Jinglan up, she was already so weary and yawned incessantly, if she didn’t pay the slightest attention, she might even tumble to the ground. Yue’ya heaved a sigh as she watched on the side.
The one who lives in Lanyan Court has already been up early to prepare meals for Wangye ah, how can Young Miss be like this …
Yue’ya intended to enter the room and urge a few words to Ye Huaiyang but who knew she already lay down again in just a blink of an eye where her whole person huddled and slept soundly under the silver twirled-thread satin quilt, clutching a curved bead jade, like the one worn by Wangye but why was the silk yarn fastened on the top broken …
Yue’ya blushed suddenly after pondering it for a while.
Was Wangye probably relentless last night that young miss might not have endured it and pulled it off? This was not the first thing that was broken since they returned to the King mansion half a month ago. From large items like the inkstone jade seal to small items like underclothes or underwear, which were ripped to pieces and not knowing how vigorous their activities were that even Imperial Guard Tang thought there were assassins attacking…
The more Yue’ya thought about it, the more abashed she felt and rapidly tucked Ye Huaiyang’s quilt before she went out.
This sleep was until her posterior basked in the sun. At the same time, ministers of several fractions were arguing in the Hall of the Golden Chimes*.
[T/N: 金銮殿 (Jīnluándiàn) – a popular name for the emperor’s audience hall in the imperial palace]
“Reporting to Your Majesty, this minister deems King Lan has done a good job in quelling the rebellion and should be commended.”
“This minister objects. Although the death of that rebel Deng was the key to the suppression of the Jingzhou army, such a move of ‘acting first then reporting later’ by King Lan was really unacceptable. If the officials of various prefectures follow such an example, what’s to say with abiding the kingdom’s law?”
“Lord Li’s words are very justifiable, this minister agrees.”
The situation in the royal court was heating up where a number of ministers argued endlessly with words that could bluntly choke others till blue in their face. Nonchalantly, Chu Jinglan stood steadfast amidst the noise, allowing them to defame him as if nothing could affect him.
What’s strange was the lack of response from the Emperor who just looked at him from above with an indistinct hook at the corner of his mouth, revealing a hint of sinister cold air.
“Your Majesty, this minister has something to entreat.”
In wake of those arguments was a hoarse and resonant voice of someone with a scholar crown and red robe in front who slowly left his place in ranks. He is indeed a pivotal figure in the Imperial Censor — Senior Official of the Imperial Censor Gu Yong. Merely seeing him first bow in salutation then with his head hung, he flicked his sleeves and stood motionlessly as he waited in silence for the Emperor to speak.
The Emperor opened his mouth slightly and the word lightly faltered while the sound of discussion ceased as the officials in the hall immediately held their breaths in concentration.
Performing another earnest bow, Gu Yong grasped the official jade tablet firmly before he spoke unhurriedly, “The troops on the northern frontier are now dejectedly weak and subjected greatly to invasion, as well as harassment of the Yi tribe, which has always been a worry for Your Majesty. Meanwhile, King Lan who has resided in Northern Land for a long time is very familiar with its situation and the matter in Jingzhou was handled very well, which sufficiently proves his unsurpassed ability of being Your Majesty’s aide-the-camp. Hence, this minister deems it’s more suitable for him to deal with the chaos in the northern frontier and will surely remove all the worries for Your Majesty.”
He eventually even omitted all the commendation and other cliché the moment he opened his mouth and directly demanded Chu Jinglan to participate in the political governing. Everyone present was momentarily in shock. The Emperor, however, just looked at him for a moment with a wry smile and a slight twitch from the tips of his eyebrows as he asked, “Oh? Is that so?”
Before Gu Yong could speak, another profound voice immediately resonated, “Is Lord Gu saying that the generals in the northern frontier are ineffective in managing the troops and the officials in the state are not stringent?”
It was Yue Ting.
Seemingly expecting him to jump out, Gu Yong spoke effortlessly, “Lord Yue thinks too much. This old man is just stating the facts and impartial to any disputes.”
“Then I will talk about the facts, too.” Yue Ting flicked the front of his robe and left his place in ranks. His dark green robe drew a pitch-arc behind him, “The tactic of dealing with foreign enemies is collaboration between the top and bottom. Although King Lan has lived in Northern Land for many years, he has not been involved in military and political affairs which will inevitably make the troops’ morale waver thinking that they are not trusted by the royal court if he interpose without careful consideration. Not only will this be ineffective, instead it will lead to unnecessary trouble. Hence, I deem the chaos in the north frontier should be resolved by themselves while the royal court only needs to provide the necessary assistance.”
“As head of the Central Secretariat, Lord Yue is a man of great literary talent and prestige, yet I am really amazed by him talking such bullshit.”
Gu Yong is known for his straightforwardness as he has never left any face irregardless of important ministers or imperial kinsmen. Yue Ting’s face was blackened on the spot by his sarcasm yet he was unable to retort back as frankly as he did, thus he was stifled speechless.
Seeing this situation, Xie Yun frowned inadvertently then spoke, “Lord Gu, this is the royal court, how can you …”
“Does Lord Xie think so, too?” Gu Yong turned to look at him. His old but keen gaze seemed to pierce through his body, “Oh, this old man forgot that one of the three northern states, Yuzhou is precisely the area under the jurisdiction of Lord Xie’s clan brother…”
This implication was that he vocalized out of his own interest.
Xie Yuan’s face turned extremely unsightly but he did not refute him immediately. Instead, he glanced at the Emperor’s expression secretly and only voiced out after seeing no dissimilarity of his countenance, “Lord Gu, although the Imperial Censor performs the function of impeachment and marshall order, everything is about evidence. You can’t simply splash dirty water like this!”
Stroking his beard calmly, Gu Yong looked at him with a passive glance that immediately enraged him yet he was unable to refute more words under the circumstances where Gu Yong did not say anything which would only appear he was covering up the obvious. Thus, he just has to endure this outrage for the time being and secretly reckon that this ignorant old man who daunted nothing is really ferocious when he bit someone but he has stood on the wrong side, let’s see how the Emperor deals with him later!
Strangely enough, the Emperor seemed to have little words today nor were there a slightest hint of anger. He just leaned back in the imperial throne watching their unceasing battle of words seemingly concealing some excitement in that deep and serene pupils of his.
Something is amiss.
The corners of Chu Jinglan’s eyes converged slightly as he observed the whole situation calmly. There was still no trace of fluctuation on his face. Just at this moment, Wang Jian spoke unhurriedly, “This minister agrees with Senior Official Gu. King Lan’s valiant resourcefulness is unlimited. If he can assist by the side, it will surely save the Emperor a lot of worries.”
Gu Yong’s expression froze suddenly but what he did not foresee was the unexpected consent from the Emperor.
Chu Jinglan’s heart sank abruptly while the turbulence in his eyes surged violently as if seeing innumerable sharp swords coming against the light and straight into his body.
The Emperor looked at him and smiled, as cordial as the elder brother of an ordinary family yet his voice was like a tune plucked by three thousand ice strings, which was frosty no matter how one heard it.
“We are waiting for younger brother to share Our worries.”
Staring far, Chu Jinglan opened his thin lips slightly and uttered the words lightly, “Brother abides to the decree.”
This turbulent court meeting thus ended. Yue Ting came to the Imperial Study after that.
As soon as he entered the door, the bright yellow figure dazzled amidst a mixture of multicolored lights before his eyes. Raising his eyes slightly, he found the Emperor playing with a taotie pattern colored glazed cup. The style was extremely familiar yet momentarily he could not recall it and he dared not look at it for too long, so he lowered his gaze and stepped forward to go down on one knee to salute.
“This minister pays respect to Your Majesty.”
“Ah, Minister Yue came just in time. My uncle just presented this pair of cups. Come, enjoy it too.”
Yue Ting didn’t know the depth of his words, so he cast a slight sidelong glance at Wang Ying, only to see his expression as solemn as an ancient deep well without the least bit of ripples that caused others unable to guess what was on his mind. Yue Ting retracted his line of sight then stepped forward to the imperial table and carefully admired the pair of colored glazed cups.
“I’ve heard that Lord Wang has a good eye and I see that it’s true today.”
Yue Ting was not a flatterer; therefore, he merely made a few significant compliments which unexpectedly snapped by Wang Ying all of a sudden.
“Yet Lord Yue’s foresight is particularly not good. Isn’t that Pei Yuanshu your first disciple?” He paused and turned his head to look straight at Yue Ting then spat out a question unhurriedly, “What should be the crime for doing a detrimental job?”
Yue Ting did not expect he would dare to overstep his boundary in front of the Emperor. He turned his head to look and found the Emperor staring at him also, his eyes no longer as relaxed and casual as they were just now but seemingly sombre and compelling like the cold shrapnel that chilled his bones.
As it turned out they were waiting for him here.
Despite the chill in his heart, Yue Ting did not panic. He merely knelt on the ground and pleaded in a low voice, “It is the incompetence of this minister’s teaching. Earnestly requesting Your Majesty for penance.”
Raising his hand for an implicit support, the Emperor’s tone changed again, “Minister Yue needs not say that. After all, this killing two birds with one stone stratagem was your idea. Even if Chu Jinglan was not exterminated, resolving King Qiyang was also regarded as contentment. So how can We punish a meritorious minister like you?”
Yue Ting did not get up but said, “This minister is guilty and dare not claim the credit.”
“Lord Yue need not be like this. His Majesty has always been fair in meting out rewards and punishments. Your disciple’s affairs will unlikely implicate you.” Wang Ying said indifferently.
Yue Ting kowtowed and half of his face was hidden under the imperial table with subtle emotions implied, “Your Majesty is wise and insightful, nevertheless, it is the fault of the teacher for not teaching stringently. This minister should naturally bear the blame for the mistakes made by the disciple. Asking Your Majesty to blame and punish this minister.”
Seeing him persistent like this, the Emperor did not speak for a moment and merely looked at him with a meaningful smile, seemingly several fine lights flitted across in his eyes which fell on top of this official hat.
Yue Ting is also worthy to be an old courtier who has experienced stormy turbulence. Under such a compelling sight, he is still unperturbed and motionless like a mountain. There is vaguely a little grief and disappointment between his eyebrows that he entirely has no intention to exonerate himself, seemingly having decided he had not fulfilled the task assigned by the Emperor and deserved to be censured without enmity nor grudges.
After a long while, the Emperor finally ordered him to get up and said, “Let it pass then. You can retreat.”
Yue Ting was relieved and immediately kowtowed to express his gratitude to the Emperor, “Thank you, Your Majesty. This minister will self-reflect and sternly admonish my inferior disciple after going back.”
When he walked out of the imperial study, the passing wind through the hall made Yue Ting ice-cold all over while the sweat on his back seemed to have frozen into ice dregs that indistinctly pricked him sore. He stood silently in front of the corridor for a while, tugged his lapel then stepped steadily down the stone steps. As usual, his stature was perfectly erect until he reached halfway when he suddenly tilted to the side then missed his bearing and halted his steps.
Colored glazed cups … those are the colored glazed cups produced by the imperial porcelain kiln in Yanzhou!
[T/N: Yanzhou is the fiefdom of Chu Zhenghe who is Chu Jinglan’s first cousin]