Friday, March 25, 2016

东宫 Eastern Palace: Chapter 9

I made a mistake on the previous post. It was suppose to be jade pendant not jade bracelet.

I looked at the jade pendants in his hand. Western Liang have a lot of foreign merchants and the place that makes jades weren't far away, so I have seen a lot of jade jewelries. Ever since I came to the Capital, the Eastern Palace have all kinds of jewelries, so I have seen all kinds of jade jewelries before, but I have never seen a jade pendant that was this beautiful. This white jade was very smooth, under the moon, it would shine very brightly.

"This jade pendant I have never seen before." I was very curious, "You said we had agreed to leave together, but how come we didn't leave together?"

He slowly lowered his hand, said in a low voice: "I'm sorry. That day I all of a sudden had an important matter, so I couldn't wait for you at the Yumen gate. When I have arrived at the Yumen gate, three days and three nights have already passed. When I have arrived, I saw your jade pendant in the sand, but you were already gone......" I looked at him, he doesn't seem like he was lying when he said he wasn't able to go to the Yumen gate on that day. His expression was filled with regret and disappointment as if there was an unspoken feeling of regret.

I felt that his story was uninteresting: "Even if you have anything good to say, the story would be meaningless, since you were the one who couldn't come that day. I don't know you, so you must have recognized the wrong person." I turned around to look at the color of the sky: "I need to sleep now. Also, you shouldn't come here anymore. If someone sees you, it would be very troublesome. I already have enough problems to handle." He stared at my face for a while, asked: "Xiao Feng, are you still blaming it on me?" "I don't have the effort to blame it on you! I really don't know you." He didn't create any sound for a while. In the end, he let out a long sigh, took out an arrowhead, said: "If you encounter any dangerous situation, shoot the arrowhead in the air, I will come and save you." I have A'Du by my side, what dangerous situation would I encounter? I didn't want the arrowhead, but he forced me to accept it. He gently lifted me up, but before I was able to shout, we were already on the ground. When he was sending me back to the palace residence, not waiting for me to turn around, he had already returned to the top of the roof tiles, without a sound, staring at me at a distance. He turned his head around and finally left.

I closed the window. I handed the arrowhead to A'Du and faced towards her: "This Gu Jian, although he has exceptional martial art skills, he always seems like a mysterious person. He says that I know him, but if I know him, then how come I don't recognize him at all?" A'Du stared at me, her gaze was filled with gentleness and pity. I don't understand why she gave me that type of gaze. I sighed and went to bed. A'Du couldn't speak, so how could she tell me? This Gu Jian, what type of person is he?

I couldn't sleep properly because there were a lot of things that had happened tonight. I had a messy dream, inside the dream there was a person playing the guan, I wanted to approach him, but there was a thick fog everywhere, so I couldn't see his face. He was standing there, not too close, but not too far. My heart understands that I could not approach him. I hesitated within the fog, finally I was able to find him. I was so happy to see him that I ran towards him, but I slipped and fell into a bottomless pit.

When I was in despair, suddenly someone caught me in midair, the sound of the wind went through my ears. He was holding onto me, slowly falling downwards.....he saved me, holding onto me in midair spinning.....spinning.....slowly spinning......The sky was filled with stars as if they were raindrops falling down......Between heaven and earth, it was only him staring at me with his pair of eyes.......His eyes only had me.....I wanted to faint. It was that person who was holding onto me.....I know he loved me deeply. When he was around, I felt relieved.

When I woke up, it was already daytime. I had this dream numerous times before, but every time when I woke up, I would feel disappointed because I couldn't see his face clearly. Every time I had this dream, I would use all my effort to see his face clearly, but every time I wasn't successful, this time was no exception. I turned around and noticed that there was a flower on my pillow, refreshing and dewy.

I was surprised, A'Du was sleeping in front of the window, almost no one can avoid her eyes and ears except for that Gu Jian. I quickly opened the windows. I saw the shadow of a person wearing white clothes, but Gu Jian quickly disappeared.

I placed the flower inside the flower vase. My mood was a bit better, but my good mood didn't last long because Yong Niang quickly told me that yesterday Li Cheng Yin drank wine the whole night and is really drunk, creating chaos.
 
I can't look at this type of man. If I was him, I would have sneak out to see Zhao Liang Di, since she was still alive and I would think of ways for the two of us to be together. As long as the green mountains are there, one needs to not worry about firewood [1].

I told Yong Niang that we don't need to take care of Li Cheng Yin and letting him be drunk to death would be good.
 
Although I had said it like that, but Li Cheng Yin has been drinking wine continuously for three days, every day he would drink until he's in a drunk state. On the fourth day, he finally fell ill.

When he was always drunk, he would kick out all the palace maids and not allow them to enter into his palace residence. After he was drunk, he got a cold, a sore throat and then a fever. The place I live was half of the palace away from his place, so the information that I get were not fast and abundant. When I know about this situation, he was already very sick, since the whole palace doesn't know about the situation until now. "The Crown Prince doesn't want to take the medicine and he doesn't want the whole palace to know about this situation." Yong Niang lowered her voice: "Because of Zhao Liang Di's situation, he is still angry at the Empress." I felt that this was foolish and funny: "Is torturing himself a way of taking revenge for Zhao Liang Di?" Yong Niang said: "The Crown Prince is naturally kindhearted and have received a lot of love from the Emperor and the Empress, can't help but....." She didn't say anything bad about Li Cheng Yin, only spoken up to here. She continued to talk, but then stopped.

I decided to go see Li Cheng Yin to see if he was really sick. Even if he dies from illness, it doesn't matter, but I don't want to be a widow.

Li Cheng Yin must have been very sick because when I went to his bedside, he didn't get angry. He must have forgotten that whenever I go into his palace residence, he would treat me like a rat and kick me out. The palace maid helped me open the bed net. I saw that Li Cheng Yin's face was as red as a cooked crab. Speaking of eating crabs, before coming to the Capital, I have never eaten crabs before. On the first year of the Double Ninth Festival [2], the palace had a grand banquet with one of the dishes being the steamed crab. I looked at the red crab, but I didn't know how to eat it. Li Cheng Yin would be harsh on me for this matter and whenever this matter was mentioned, he would always say that I was a Western Liang woman who have never seen crabs before.

I touched Li Cheng Yin's forehead, it was boiling hot.

I yelled out a few times: "Li Cheng Yin!" He didn't respond to me.
 
It looks like he had lost his consciousness, gasping for air and even the white skin on his lips had broken into pieces.

I wanted to pull my hand away, but suddenly he grabbed onto my hand. His hand was boiling hot like a piece of heated iron. His breath rushed, but his vague voice could still be heard: "Niang....Niang..." I have never heard him call the Empress "Niang." The Empress was after all an Empress and he was the successor to the throne, so the two of them would speak in a polite way. The Empress treated him the same as me, besides "rise," "sit," "go," she would say a lengthy speech to lecture him.

I felt that Li Cheng Yin was very pitiful.

Being a Crown Princess was very frustrating, this cannot do, that cannot do. Every year there were numerous ceremonies in the palace, having to wear ceremonial clothes and the phoenix crown would always make my waist sore and my back hurt. The Empress has taken care of me, saying that I was young and having to come from Western Liang to the Capital to get married, so she wouldn't criticize me harshly. Compared to being a Crown Princess, being a Crown Prince was one thousand, one million times more frustrating. If I had to read those books, I would get a headache. Li Cheng Yin had to be able to memorize those books, recite poems, draw, have good archery and horseback riding skills. His childhood must have been unhappy, having to learn so many things must have been very frustrating.

I couldn't pull my hand away, Li Cheng Yin was grasping onto my hand very tightly. At this moment, the palace maid brought the medicine. Yong Niang handed over the medicine, said in a low voice: "Crown Princess, the medicine is here." I called out: "Li Cheng Yin! Get up and drink the medicine!" Li Cheng Yin didn't answer me, but only continued to grasp onto my hand. Yong Niang ordered the palace maids to place a few pillows on the bedside and help Li Cheng Yin get up. He was half leaning and half sitting there. Yong Niang fed him medicine with a jade spoon, but he didn't open his mouth. We could only place half of the spoon in the corner of his mouth and let the medicine flow into his mouth.

I couldn't bear this anymore, said: "I'll do it." Li Cheng Yin was still holding onto my right hand, so I could only hold the bowl of medicine with my left hand. I turned my head around to call A'Du: "Pinch his nose." A'Du moved towards Li Cheng Yin and pinched his nose, so that no air would come out.  After a while, he finally opened his mouth, so I poured the bowl of medicine into his mouth. With his nose pinched, he could only drink the medicine, but because he drank it very quickly, he coughed a few times. His eyes opened: "Hot........very hot......." Being burned to death was better than being sick to death.

I hinted at A'Du to let go. Li Cheng Yin was still holding onto my hand, but he wasn't looking at me. He closed his eyes and slowly fell asleep.

Yong Niang helped me get a wooden stool, so that I could sit close to the window. I sat there for a while, but I felt very uncomfortable. Li Cheng Yin was still holding onto my hand, so my arm was numb. I tried to pull my hand away, but once I moved, Li Cheng Yin would hold onto my hand tighter. A'Du "shua"took out her knife and placed the knife onto Li Cheng Yin's wrist. I shook my head, hinting at her to not do that. If A'Du hurts him, then the Emperor would send the army to attack Western Liang.

I'm starting to miss Zhao Liang Di. At least if she was here, then I don't have to take care of Li Cheng Yin and even if he was this sick, he wouldn't be holding onto my hand and not letting go.

One shichen [3] has passed, my arm was already numb as if it was senseless. I started to think of ways to help Zhao Liang Di get out of prison, so that she could do this hard task instead.

After two shichen, half of my body was already numb as if it was senseless. I couldn't bear this anymore, so I quietly called Yong Niang. She walked towards me and lowered her head to listen to my command. I quickly told her: "Yong Niang.....I need to relieve myself......" Yong Niang quickly said: "I will order someone to bring the chamber pot [4]." She quickly walked out, I couldn't even call her. She ordered the palace maids to bring in the folding screens, told them to stand outside the palace residence, and then she locked the doors. I wrinkled my face showing pain: "Yong Niang.......but I can't....." "I'm here to serve Crown Princess....." I want to cry: "I can't! I can't do it here! Li Cheng Yin is right here........" "The Crown Prince is not a stranger.....The Crown Prince is already asleep." Yong Niang comforted me, said: "Also, Crown Prince and Crown Princess are a married couple. As a married couple, you have the same heart and the same body........" I didn't want to listen to her lengthy speech. I couldn't bear this anymore, doing this in front of Li Cheng Yin, in front of a man......I want to cry. I really want to cry...... "Yong Niang, you think of a way......hurry and think of a way!" Yong Niang thought for a moment, I didn't rush her, but in the end she couldn't think of any other better ways. I couldn't bear this anymore, so I repeatedly said: "Fine, fine, I'll do it here. You come and block me." Yong Niang stood between Li Cheng Yin and I, used her body to block me from Li Cheng Yin, but because Li Cheng Yin was still holding onto my hand, she could only block a small portion of my body. I opened my belt in panic, constantly looking at Li Cheng Yin. A'Du helped me take out the belt and hold onto my dress.

When I recite a poem, I would recite the three verse poem. One of the verses, I have said it in front of Pei Zhao: "How can I solve my own concerns? Only Du Kang." Another verse was: "The rains are loud, the rains are quiet, loud and quiet sounds mixed together, like big and small pearls falling onto a plate." Why would I recite this poem? When I first learned the Central Plains language, it was a poem that was especially hard to recite, so I would recite this poem as a tongue twister. Every year, I would recite this poem.

The rains are loud, the rains are quiet, loud and quiet sounds mixed together, like big and small pearls falling onto a plate.....As expected, my whole body feels light, really comfortable.

When I quickly turned around, I felt that I was very smart because I was still able to remember the poem. Li Cheng Yin suddenly moved slightly and then opened his eyes. "Ah!" I screamed.

A'Du jumped up, and "shua" took out her knife. Yong Niang got scared from my scream, but she was pushed away by A'Du. A'Du's golden inlaid knife was already placed at Li Cheng Yin's neck. I was in a confused state, hurriedly fixed my dress while calling A'Du: "No!" A'Du don't move!" I quickly wore my belt, but the Central Plain's clothes would move here and move there and I couldn't wear these clothes properly. Usually, the palace maids would help me put on the clothes. When I quickly wore the belt, I created a tight knot, so I couldn't fix it. I quickly pulled A'Du: "A'Du! No! He only scared me a little!" A'Du putted the knife away. Li Cheng Yin stared at me, and I stared at him. He appeared to have a lifeless look in his eyes, looking at the folded screens in the back, the dumbstruck Yong Niang, the chamber pot by the window, and then looking at the hand he was holding. Finally, he looked at my waist, all messy with the tight knot. The corner of Li Cheng Yin's mouth suddenly twitched.

Notes:
[1]留得青山在不愁没柴烧 As long as the green mountains are there, one needs to not worry about firewood- The actual meaning of this phrase is that while there's life, there is still hope.
[2]重九 Double Ninth Festival - This festival is on the ninth day of the ninth month. The number nine is regarded as a yang (Chinese spiritual term) number, but this festival is on a day that has too much yang, since the date is a double ninth (ninth day of the ninth month), so this day was considered to be dangerous. ~wikipedia
[3]时辰 Shichen- A day is divided into twelve shichen, so one shichen equals to two hours.
[4]恭桶 Chamber pot- Back in those times, there were no toilets, so they would only sit in a pot to do their thing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

东宫 Eastern Palace: Chapter 8

With a face filled with smile, I have arrived at Xu Niang's palace residence, the lonely palace park. This was the first time seeing Xu Niang, she was lying on the bed, a face filled with sickness, but I could tell that she was a beautiful woman. At this moment, her palace maid said: "The Crown Princess has arrived." She wanted to get up, Yong Niang had rushed over to help her.

I didn't know how to comfort her, I just repeated what the Empress had said: "You don't have to feel too bad, you are still young."


Xu Niang had shed some tears, said: "Thank you Crown Princess. I have brought great misfortune, I should have died."

  
I embarrassingly said: "Actually.......why do you want to die? Look at me, I'm doing well....."

Once I heard Yong Niang coughed, I knew I had said something wrong again. I asked: "What do you want to eat? I could teach someone to make it and give it to you." Last time when I was sick, the Empress had sent someone to look after me, and asked what I wanted to eat, or if there was anything lacking. What does the Eastern Palace not have? This was what they had said to comfort me. I don't know how to comfort a sick person, I could only repeat whatever the Empress had said.


Xu Niang said: "Thank you Crown Princess."
  
I looked at her appearance. She looked very sad as if every hope had turned into dust. In the end, Yong Niang stepped forward to say a lot of words to comfort her. She kept on crying. In the end when we had left, she was still there crying.

When we arrived at the Central Palace, the Empress had already ordered someone to write Xu Niang as Bao Lin in the imperial order book. Li Cheng Yin's complexion was hard to look at. The Empress said: "The Eastern Palace should be harmonious. The Crown Princess is still immature, there are a lot of things she couldn't take care of. If more people help her, then it would be good." She saw me coming in when she raised her head. She waved her hand, I went over to bow to her, she did not order the female official to help me up, but instead she helped me get up. I was simply overwhelmed by favor from the Empress. Every time, the Empress seems very composed, so it was rare to see her treat me like this.

"This Zhao Liang Di, death punishment could be exempted, but she cannot be freed from other punishments." The Empress had faintly said, "We'll demote her to a status of a commoner, and we'll imprison her for three months. Crown prince, you cannot visit her or else I'll expel her from the Eastern Palace."

I saw that the corners of Li Cheng Yin's eyes have twitched, but he lowered his head, depressingly said: "Yes."

When we had left the Central Palace, Li Cheng Yin slapped me. I wasn't able to guard myself because it happened so suddenly. That slap made me feel foolish.

A'Du took out her knife, "shua" the sharp knife was already placed at his neck. Yong Niang was scared and screamed: "You can't!" I didn't let her finish talking, I had already slapped him hard. Even though I am not good at martial arts, but it's not good to irritate me. Since he slapped me like that, of course I'll slap him back!

Li Cheng Yin coldly laughed: "Today, you should have killed me instead!" He pointed at me, "You vicious woman, I know it was you! You created this trap to get rid of the child in Xu Niang's stomach, and you blamed it on Zhao Liang Di."

I was so angry that my whole body was trembling, said: "Why did you say it like that?"

"This whole time you were pretending to be very pitiful and innocent in front of everyone. You're pretending to not understand! You complained that I treated you coldly. You are jealous of Zhao Liang Di, so you would use this type of evil plan to harm her. You are more poisonous than even a poisonous snake! You must be satisfied, being able to get rid of Zhao Liang Di, breaking us apart! If anything happens to Zhao Liang Di, I would not let you get away with this. I'm telling you right now, once I become the Emperor, I will immediately depose you!"

He made me so angry that I almost fainted. I pushed A'Du away and stood in front of Li Cheng Yin: "You should just depose me right now instead. You think I like being married to you? You think I want to be a Crown Princess? There are a lot of men in Western Liang, every one of them are heroes, not like you who's useless! What else do you know besides reciting poems? Your archery accuracy is worst than me! Your horseback riding skills are also worst than me! If you were in Western Liang, your type of men wouldn't be able to marry a wife. Who would cherish you?"
 
Li Cheng Yin was so angry that he left abruptly.

My heart was in a daze. We have been arguing for three years, I know he doesn't like me, but I never knew that he would hate me this much. He shouldn't have speculated that I have evil intentions. Yong Niang helped me get into the palanquin. She lowered her voice and said a few words to comfort me: "The Crown Prince was expressing his anger at Crown Princess because of Zhao Liang Di, Crown Princess shouldn't put this at heart."

I know, of course I know that it was because Zhao Liang Di has suffered from injustice, so he would express all his anger at me, but I didn't do anything, why would he express his anger at me?

He said I was jealous of Zhao Liang Di. I am a little bit jealous of her because there was someone who treats her so well that they would believe her in any situation, protect her and care for her. Other than those reasons, I have no other reason to be jealous of her. Also, I have never thought of hurting her.

Zhao Liang Di seemed like a polite person. Last time when she played cards with me, I thought that she was a very smart woman, why would she do such a cruel thing? Also, I don't think the Empress used a good method to take care of this situation. Xu Niang seemed like a weak person. Even though she was bestowed with a title of a Bao Lin, Li Cheng Yin doesn't like her. Eastern Palace would have another pitiful person.

At night time, I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about this situation. I bluntly asked A'Du: "Do you think Zhao Liang Di is a bad person?"

A'Du nodded her head and shook her head.

"I don't understand what the women in Central Plain are thinking. The men in Western Liang, although they could marry several wives, if they don't get along with each other, they could remarry other people."

A'Du nodded her head.

"Also, what is so good about Li Cheng Yin? Although his appearance is passable, his temper is bad and he's narrow-minded......" I lay down on the bed, "If I had a choice, I would not marry him."

What I said was the truth, if I had a choice, I would not allow myself to fall into this pitiful situation. He already has someone that he likes. I have no choice, but to marry him. As a result, it caused him to hate me. These moments were very difficult to go through. Now that Zhao Liang Di was kept in prison, Li Cheng Yin hates me even more. I don't want a husband that hates me.

If I had a choice, I would marry an ordinary Western Liang man. At least he would sincerely love me, ride the horse with me, go hunting with me, play the guan for me to hear, and then I would give birth to a pile of babies, a family spending time happily every day........However, these types of days will only happen in my dreams.

All of a sudden A'Du pulled my hand, pointed at the window.

I was completely astonished. I pulled open the window and on the opposite side, there was a person sitting on the roof tiles of the palace hall.

This person was wearing white clothes, sitting on the black roof tiles made him very noticeable.  

I recognized the person, it was Gu Jian again!

I wasn't sure if I should shout "There's an assassin." All of a sudden, he looked like a big bird flying from the roof to the front of my window.

I glared at him: "What are you going to do?"

He didn't answer me, but only stared at my face. I know my face was still swollen. When I had returned to the Eastern Palace, Yong Niang had brought a boiled egg and rolled it on my face for half a day, but my cheek still had red fingerprints and it wouldn't disappear. However, I wasn't at a disadvantage because I had also slapped his face swollen. Before, I had used my whole strength to slap him, so my hand was numb.

Repressing his emotions, he faintly said: "Who slapped you?"

I touched my cheek, said: "I'm fine, I already slapped back."

He continued to ask: "Who?"

I asked: "Why are you asking?"

His face didn't show any expression: "To kill that person."

I got scared. He continued on to ask: "You are the Crown Princess, who would dare to slap you? Emperor? Empress? Or someone else?"

I shook my head, said: "Don't ask, I'm not going to tell you."

He continued to ask: "Do you want to leave with me?"

This person was so weird, I shook my head. I was about to close the window, but he reached his hands out to block me from closing the window and asked: "Are you angry at me?"

I was confused: "Why would I be angry at you?"

"The situation three years ago, are you not angry about it?"

I seriously told him: "I really don't know you. You should't come here at night ever again. This is the Eastern Palace, if someone discovers you, they would think you're an assassin and they would shoot arrows to kill you."

He suddenly laughed: "Eastern Palace? This is the Imperial Palace, I could come or go whenever I want, who would be able to kill me?"

I glared at him, this person was too crazy, but his martial arts skills, even in the Imperial Palace, he really could come or go whenever he wants. I sighed: "What are you going to do?"

"I came here to look at you." He asked again, "Can you leave with me?"

I shook my head.

He became very angry, suddenly grabbing onto my hand: "You won't be happy if you stay here, why aren't you willing to leave with me?"

"Who said I am not happy here? Who are you to judge whether I am happy or not?"

He reached out his hand to pull me, I shouted: "Let go!" A'Du was trying to reach to us, jumping from side to side. He gently waved his sleeves, not waiting for A'Du to reach us, he pulled me out of the window and lifted me away. His martial arts skills were good, lifting me along with the wind, I could feel the wind constantly passing through my ears. Not a moment after, we have reached to the highest place of the Eastern Palace where you could see everything. The whole palace was very quiet at night. At the rooftop, it was very cold and slippery.

I pushed his hand away, but I almost slipped. I glared at him: "What are you going to do?"

He pointed at the palace that was under my feet, said: "Xiao Feng, look over here. This palace have tall walls, surrounding you at all sides, a place that's all dark and no daylight, how could this place hold onto you?"

I don't like it when he calls out my name, it gives me an uncomfortable feeling, I said: "This is none of your concern."

He said: "What should I do for you to leave with me?"
 
I glared at him and rolled my eyes: "I will not leave with you. Even if you have high martial arts skills, if I shout and the Yu Lin army hears it, they'll shoot arrows at you until you look like a hedgehog."

He faintly smiled, said: "You forgot who I am? Go call out all the Yu Lin army, you think it will affect me?"

I forgot that this person was very crazy. I suddenly thought of an idea. I decided to try to praise him: "Your martial arts skills are so high, can no one in this world beat it? Have you never lost to anyone?"
 
He suddenly laughed, said: "You don't remember anything? Three years ago, we have fought and I had lost to you."

I was so shocked that my chin had dropped. I pointed at my nose: "You? Lost to me?" That phrase was too shocking.  I don't even have any martial arts skills, he only needs to use his fingertips to be able to turn me around. How can he had lost to me if we have fought? I can't even hold a sword properly.

"Yes." He was very calm and composed, "We had a bet. If I had lost to you in the fight, I would become your husband, loving you and protecting you for the rest of my life."

My mouth was wide open that even a whole egg could fit, asked: "What if I had lost the fight?"

"If you had lost, then you will have to marry me, take care of me and love me for the rest of your life."

I trembled, this is not how you play with people.

He said: "I wasn't easy on you, but you were able to snatch my sword away, so I had lost to you."

I was able to snatch your sword away? I will never believe it!

I quickly reacted: "It doesn't matter who had lost, I don't even remember anything and I don't even know you. You saying it with your own mouth, I would not believe it."

He faintly smiled, took out a pair of jade pendants from his sleeve, said: "When we had agreed to marry each other, we would divide the pair of pendants into half, you have one pendant and I have one pendant. We had agreed to meet each other at the Yumen gate on the sixth month of the fifteenth day when the moon was full, so that I could bring you back to my home."

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

东宫 Eastern Palace: Chapter 7

The updates are going to be slower because my school break just ended, so I won't have much time to translate. I'll try my best to update it whenever I have some free time.

She saw the person behind A'Du, Pei Zhao. She couldn't help, but to stare at him. When other people see Mi Luo's pair of clear eyes, they would be astonished, but Pei Zhao seems to not be affected by it. After, I thought Pei Zhao's family was from the Capital, so they have experienced a lot of situations before. The Capital was busy, filled with women selling wine on the streets, Pei Zhao of course would keep a straight face even in this type of situation.

This wine shop had good wine, the beef was also good too. Mi Luo ordered someone to cut some beef to give to us. When we sat down, it started to rain all of a sudden.

Autumn rains are often lingering, creating sounds when hitting on the bamboo roof tiles. The customers that were sitting near us were merchants from Persia. At this moment, they took out a flute and started playing with it. The melody was very odd but amusing. This sound paired with the sound of the rain had some kind of unspoken charm.

Mi Luo heard the flute sound, placed the wine jar down, jumped onto the table, danced barefooted. Her figure was very soft and alluring, the music was also very charming. The bells in her hands sounded like the rain, paired with the flute sound, it was like a golden snake dance. The surrounding people clapped their hands and shouted out 'good,' Mi Luo jumped down in front of the table, danced around the three of us.

Ever since I have left Western Liang, I have never smiled recklessly before. Mi Luo's movements were very clear and soft, took out a ribbon and spun it around my body, like a butterfly flying here and there. I did the same thing as her, following the music, doing all kinds of hand gestures, but not as quick and skillful as her. Mi Luo twirled a few times. A'Du passed a guan [1] to me, I got excited so I played the guan while following the music.

When the Persian merchants saw me playing the guan, they also played the flute. I played the guan for a short moment. I could smell the bowl of beef in front of me, so I passed the guan to Pei Zhao: "You play it! You play it!" Afterwards, I used my chopsticks to pick up the pieces of beef.

I never thought that Pei Zhao was able to play the guan, and even be good at it. The guan had a sound of sadness, the sound of the flute was very intense, these two types of instruments matched very well. At first, Pei Zhao played the guan then the flute, but afterwards the Persian merchants played the flute and Pei Zhao played the guan. The melody was sad and then it changed to intense. The melody was as if we were outside of the Yumen gate [2] in the desert, from a distance we could faintly hear the bells on the camels, a group of camels appearing on the desert hill. The sound of the bells on the camels gradually became closer and all of a sudden the gate opened, a large group of camels approached displaying massive power. The sound of footsteps, the sound of the wind, the countless sounds mixed together were like an orchestra. The sounds covered the whole area, Mi Luo was dancing really fast, flying like a golden swan, looking at her made me feel dizzy.

The music sounded extremely sad, like a male eagle flying in the sky, looking down at the desert, flying higher and higher, a big gust of wind swirled the dust and sand from the ground....... When I had finished eating, the eagle had flew to the highest snow mountain, the snow lotus herbs on the snow mountain had blossomed. The eagle had spread out his wings and flew passed, one piece of feather from the eagle had fell off, slowly falling, being blown away by the wind, it kept falling until it was in front of the snow lotus herbs into the snow. The wind had swept up the scattered snow and the piece of feather. The wind slightly shook the flower petals on the snow lotus herbs. The wind finally stopped at the summit.......The sound of the guan and flute had come to an end spontaneously. The wine shop became so quiet that even the sound of water dripping outside could be heard clearly. Mi Luo was lying down on the table, couldn't help but to breathe deeply, her pair of clear eyes were about to drip water, said: "I cannot do this anymore."The Persian merchants laughed. Someone poured a cup of wine and gave it to Mi Luo. Using one breath, Mi Luo drank the cup of wine with an empty stomach. Mi Luo looked at Pei Zhao and smiled: "You played it well!"

Pei Zhao did not answer, he used the wine to clean the guan and then passed it to me.

I said: "I couldn't tell that you could play the guan. In the Capital, there aren't many people that could play the guan." 


Pei Zhao answered: "My Father once went to the Western Regions and brought a lot of musical instruments with one of them being the guan. Ever since childhood when I have some free time, I would teach myself to play the guan."

I clapped my hands while smiling, said: "I know. Your father was the brave general, Pei Kuang. My Father have fought with him before. He was truly a person that could lead an army."

Pei Zhao said: "The Khan was overpraising."  


I said: "My Father doesn't randomly praise people. He praised your Father because he was really capable of fighting in a battle."

Pei Zhao said: "Yes."

The moment he said 'Yes,' I felt it wasn't fun anymore. Fortunately, the Persian merchants were singing a song, the melody was very sad, very touching. Mi Luo drank another cup of wine, knew that we didn't understand, so she softly sang it in our language for us to hear. As it turns out, the Persian merchants were singing: "The moon was bright, away from our hometown, the moon was round but also not round, the hometown had disappeared. The stars were shining brightly, away from our hometown, the universe was glittering brightly, difficult to return to our hometown. The wind was blowing gently, blowing at our hometown, the sun was shining brightly, towards our hometown. Bury me in the mountains, bury me where.........."

Listening to Mi Luo sing a few phrases, I couldn't help but feel sad. Listening to the Persian merchants sing sorrowfully, I unconsciously drank one cup of wine. Pei Zhao nodded his head slightly, said: "The feeling of homesick, everyone would experience it. These Persian merchants misses their hometown, but why don't they return home?"

I sighed: "Not everyone are like you. Ever since birth, you have never been away from your hometown. They have no choice, but to be forced to leave their hometown."

Pei Zhao remained silent for a moment, saw that I was about to drink another cup of wine, couldn't help but said: "Gong Zi drank too much."

I impassionately said: "How can I solve my own concerns? Only Du Kang [3]!"

Seeing Pei Zhao looking at me in an astonished way, I stuck out three fingers, said: "I am very capable, when I recite a poem, I would recite three verses of a poem. This was only one of the verses."

....................................

This time, the Empress called Li Cheng Yin and I.


I haven't seen Li Cheng Yin for a few days, he seemed to have grown a bit taller. Because he had to enter the palace, he was wearing a crown with fine jades, paired with golden accessories and wearing his frequent clothes. He didn't look at me once, only got into the palanquin.

When I saw the Empress, I knew what was going on. As it turns out, Xu Niang suddenly suffered from a stomach pain. The imperial doctor discovered that the food had something that induce labor. The Empress then ordered all the servants that have served Xu Niang to be detained. Afterwards, all the food and water were sealed within the palace residence to be examined. At last, they discovered that the rice had drugs in it that caused the unborn child to be killed. The Empress naturally became furious, ordering the servants to be punished. They finally confessed that someone ordered them to do this.

The Empress's voice remained gentle and calm: "I had brought Xu Niang to the palace because I was worried that the mother and the child would encounter some accidents, after all this child was the first child in the Eastern Palace. I have never thought that this would happen in the palace. When I closed my eyes, this type of plotting happened. I have been in the palace for many years, this situation has never happened before!"

Although her tone of speaking was gentle, but the phrases she used, I have never listened to her speak like this. I couldn't help, but even be afraid of breathing. All the people in the palace hall were like me, holding their breath to remain quiet. The Empress said:"Do you know who had bribed the palace maid to do this?"
  
I looked at Li Cheng Yin. He didn't look at me, just faintly said: "I don't know."

The Empress ordered the female official:"Read the statement for the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess to hear it."

The female official read the palace maid's statement, I felt foolish listening to this, listening to a few more phrases, I couldn't help, but interrupt: "Empress, I didn't do this! I didn't bribe anyone to drug Xu Niang."

The Empress faintly said:"We have a witness and evidence. If you say you didn't do it, then do you have any evidence?"

I will be wrongly accused to death, I said: "Why would I hurt her? I don't know her, I have never seen her before, and I don't even know where she lives in the palace......"

I was simply wrongly accused! I don't know what was going on, but I was already framed like this.

The Empress asked Li Cheng Yin: "Yin Er, what do you think?"

Li Cheng Yin finally glanced at me, and then kneeled down: "Mother should judge it."

The Empress said: "The Crown Princess's identity is different and she is the princess of Western Liang, but thoughtlessly did such a thing. It seems that she will not be suitable to manage the Eastern Palace anymore."

Li Cheng Yin did not say anything.

I was so angry that my whole body was trembling: "I didn't do this, even if you kill me today, I would not admit it! As for the Eastern Palace, to be honest I don't care about it, but I would not allow you to accuse me like this!"

The Empress said: "We have a witness. Yin Er, you say it."

Li Cheng Yin said: "Mother should judge it."

The Empress slightly smiled, said: "Being a married couple for a day is like being in love for a hundred days, you don't care about this affection as a married couple?

Li Cheng Yin lowered his voice, said: "I couldn't bear to, but country have country rules, family have family rules. I cannot be affected by personal feelings."

The Empress nodded her head, said: "Good, good. Country have country rules, family have family rules, this phrase, good." Her smile slowly vanished, ordered the female official, "Demote Zhao Liang Di to a status of a commoner and expel her from the Eastern Palace!"

I was shocked. Li Cheng Yin's gaze looked like he was struck by lightning: "Mother!"

Just now, the statement wasn't false, but when we finished recording the statement, the palace maid committed suicide by biting her own tongue. Her death means that we cannot testify her any further, so I continued to investigate. I discovered that earlier this year, the Zhao family have helped this palace maid. Originally, her death means that only her family would be dragged down, but as I continued to investigate, I discovered that she doesn't have any relatives, only one foster mother. We found that her house has one hundred silver money, which are only for court officials. We captured the foster mother and punished her. She told us that it was Zhao Liang Di who had sent someone to her house. This Zhao Liang Di used a good move, killing two birds with one stone, a good move to shift the blame. Her heart is so cruel, very hateful.  If we don't punish her, then she would destroy the whole royal family!"

I don't understand what she was saying, Li Cheng Yin already rushed to say: "Mother, please calm down.Someone must have framed Zhao Liang Di. We should order someone to investigate it clearly. Mother please don't be angry, it would cause harm to your body."
 
It is good when he doesn't say anything, but once he says something, it makes the situation worse.

"You must have fallen into that fox's spell! This Zhao Liang Di cried when Xu Niang was pregnant and now bribed someone to harm Xu Niang! Also, she tried to put the blame on the Crown Princess, she should be put to death!"

Li Cheng Yin repeatedly said: "Mother, please calm down. I know Zhao Liang Di isn't that type of person. Mother, please investigate this clearly."

"Investigate what? What did the child in Xu Niang's stomach block others from doing? She sees the baby as a thorn in the eye, a thorn in her flesh. This type of person in the Eastern Palace is a source of calamity [4] to the country!" The Empress got more angry as she speaks: "Just now, when we read the palace maid's statement, you did not try to defend the Crown Princess. Now, when the truth has been revealed, you kept on saying that the fox was wrongly accused. Right now you are a Crown Prince, but later you'll become an Emperor, how can you be affected by personal feelings? How can you handle with affairs like this? If I don't kill her, then she'll force you to give up the whole empire in the future!"
 
Li Cheng Yin's face turned pale, I was still kneeling there, said: "Mother, please calm down. Zhao Liang Di just made a thoughtless mistake, if you ordered her to be killed, I'm afraid that.......I'm afraid that....."I didn't know what to say afterwards, Li Cheng Yin continued on: "Mother, please think clearly. Zhao Liang Di's father works in the imperial court and my Father relies heavily on this minister. Mother, please think clearly."

The Empress coldly laughed: "Just now, you said it yourself! Country have country rules, family have family rules, you cannot be swayed by personal feelings!"

Li Cheng Yin face looked like he was about to die, kept kneeling, and calling out: "Mother."

The Empress said: "Originally, it was supposed to be the Crown Princess that was responsible for the Eastern Palace matters. I have no choice, but to take matters into my own hands. I need to deal with this type of evil person myself." She ordered the female official to pass on the order. I saw that the situation wasn't getting any better, so I wrapped my arms around the Empress's legs: "Mother, could you let me say a few words? Just now, Mother said that I am responsible for the matters of the Eastern Palace, I know that I have never done it well, but Mother please let me say a few words."

The Empress calmed down a little and said: "You say it then."

"The Crown Prince really likes Zhao Liang Di. If Mother orders Zhao Liang Di to be killed, then the Crown Prince wouldn't be happy for the rest of his life." When I feel anxious,  I would talk in a disordered way: "The Crown Prince and I have been a married couple for three years, although I am not favored by the Crown Prince, but I know that the Crown Prince wouldn't be able to live without Zhao Liang Di. If there was no Zhao Liang Di, the Crown Prince would still not like me. Also, there are a lot of things that I can't do, but Zhao Liang Di help me do it on my behalf. The Eastern Palace's account books, I read it and I couldn't understand it, I gave it to Zhao Liang Di and she took care of it.
If there was no Zhao Liang Di, then the Eastern Palace wouldn't be this calm....."

I didn't know what to say, turned around and called Yong Niang: "Yong Niang, you say it to the Empress!"

Yong Niang bowed and said, "Yes." She bowed her head, said, "Crown Princess meant that Zhao Liang Di has been serving the Crown Prince for many years, didn't get acknowledged for anything and very hardworking. Also, Zhao Liang Di usually treats people very well, respects the Crown Princess, helps the Crown Princess manage the Eastern Palace.  Empress, please consider this as just a thoughtless mistake and deal with this leniently."

The Empress slowly said: "This Zhao Liang Di, you cannot keep, if you keep her, the Eastern Palace would be a disaster. Back then when we were at the Crown Princess's coronation ceremony, the Emperor had praised the Crown Princess for being a beautiful woman and we were lucky to have her in our royal family. Unfortunately, you two have been already married for three years and still don't have a child and there's also Xu Niang's matters. This makes me feel distressed."

Li Cheng Yin was looking at the ground, said: "I am an unfilial son."

The Empress said: "If you still have some respect for me, then you should spend more time with the Crown Princess and distance yourself from that fox."

Li Cheng Yin lowered his voice, said: "Yes."

Whenever I wanted to say something, Yong Niang would pull the corner of my clothes from behind, hinting at me to not say anything. The corner of Li Cheng Yin's mouth slightly moved, but he also didn't say anything.

The Empress said: "You may rise."

Li Cheng Yin was still kneeling there, not moving. I have no choice, but to not stand up as well.

The Empress did not look at him, just said: "You don't need to feel too bad about Xu Niang's matters, after all you are still young."

Li Cheng Yin didn't say anything. I thought he wouldn't feel bad, if he really did feel bad, then it would be because of Zhao Liang Di.

The Empress again said: "Xu Niang is also very pitiful, bestow her with a title as a Bao Lin."

Li Cheng Yin seemed disheartened: "I'm unwilling.......I'm still young, Eastern Palace have a lot of concubines, I think it is inappropriate."

I knew he had promised Zhao Liang Di that he would not have another concubine, that's why he would speak like that. As expected, the Empress was angry again, said: "You will become an Emperor in the future, why don't you understand this matter?"

The Empress looked at me and said, "Crown Princess rise first, go visit Xu Niang and comfort her on my behalf."

I was still foolish, even though I knew she was trying to make me leave in order to lecture Li Cheng Yin, I still stood up, bowed to her, and left.

Notes:
[1] 筚篥 Guan -a double reed bamboo pipe
[2]玉门关 Yumen Gate- western frontier post on the Silk Road
[3] 杜康 Du Kang- a historical figure who was the inventor of wine
[4] 祸水 source of calamity- source of misfortune or disaster

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

东宫 Eastern Palace: Chapter 6

I was suppose to post this yesterday, but for some reason I couldn't save my corrections. Anyways, here is Chapter 6. Sorry for the delay ≦(._.)≧.

"I heard my people have pushed an innocent child into the river. I need to come to the court and look myself."


"Yes, yes! General, please have a seat! "


"This is the magistrate's court. Please continue on the case, I'm just here to visit."


"Yes, yes!"


The Wannian county magistrate requested the complainant and defendant to start over again.


I felt this wasn't fun anymore.


The magistrate continued on and said: " People are selfish, they treasure their life. You don't know him and you can't swim. Were you feeling guilty of something that's why you saved him? If you didn't push the child, then you shouldn't be feeling guilty. Since you feel guilty, then there's no doubt it was you who pushed the child!"


I glared at him again and rolled my eyes. 

 
Once again, the two children said it was me who pushed the brother into the water and I obviously denied it.

The magistrate purposely gave a hard time for Pei Zhao and asked: " General Pei, you see... "


Pei Zhao said: "I request that someone bring the little girl to the back court and give her cookies to eat. I will summon her brother for questioning and then I will summon her later."


The magistrate agreed. When the little girl was taken away, Pei Zhao started to ask the little boy: "Just now, you said you were playing with water along the river side, but someone pushed you into the river. "


The child boldly said: " Yes."


"Did he pushed you from the back?"


"Yes."


"You don't have eyes at the back of your head. How did you know he pushed you and not other people if he pushed you from behind?"


The boy was at a loss for words, his eyes turned: "I remembered it incorrectly. He pushed me from the front. I was faced upwards when I fell into the water. "


"Oh, so you were faced upwards when you fell into the water." Pei Zhao finished asking and turned around, "Magistrate, take the child away and change his clothes. His body is all wet. If he doesn't change his clothes, he would get sick."


The magistrate ordered someone to take the child away. Pei Zhao then ordered someone to bring the little girl to the court. Pei Zhao pointed at me and asked the little girl: "Is that the person who pushed your older brother into the river?"


"It's him!"


"Your brother was playing by the river side, how did he push him in the river?"


"He just pushed him. He pushed my brother and then my brother fell into the water."


Pei Zhao asked: "Did he push your brother's shoulders or did he push your brother's back?"


The little girl thought for a moment, said it with certainty: "He pushed my brother's back."


"Did you think clearly? Was it the shoulders or the back? "


The little girl hesitated for a moment, said: "If it was not the shoulders then it is the back. My brother was crouching there, he pushed my brother from the back."


Pei Zhao raised his hand: Magistrate, I finished asking. The two children's statements are different with a lot of questionable points, please judge this case carefully."


The magistrate's face kept changing from red to white for a long time, repeatedly said: "General Pei has said it correctly!" Constantly hitting the gavel, ordering someone to bring the little boy and then scolded the little boy as to why he had told a lie. At first, the little boy refused to admit it, but afterwards when the magistrate threatened to hit him with a large wooden stick, he finally cried it out loud. It turns out their parents, who lived near the river bank, have been using this trick for a long time.

  
He and his sister are good at swimming, frequently they would pretend to fall into the water to trick people into saving them, and when people saved them, they would accuse them of pushing them into the water. The Jia couple took advantage of this opportunity to get money from them. Typically, people who saved them would just pay money to settle it privately, because most people believed that children couldn't tell lies, and won't used this type of absurd trick.

I was on the side listening to this, stunned. I never thought there would be this kind of parents using this trick.


Pei Zhao said: "Now, the truth has been revealed. My subordinates innocently saved someone, but unexpectedly was blamed. Magistrate, please judge clearly as I will bring the two people back."


The magistrate had a look of shame, raised his hand: "General Pei, please do as you wish."


I refused: " I also have something to say. "


Pei Zhao looked at me, I moved one step forward, facing the magistrate: "You just said people are selfish, they treasure their life, I don't know him and can't swim, if it is not guilt then it is what? This statement is absolutely wrong! I risked my own life to save him because he is younger than me. I thought he lost his balance and slipped into the water, so I didn't think much. Cherishing a child, saving them from danger, this is called being righteous. You cherish life, but I don't know if there would be anyone who would act without thinking and save someone from danger. Before, you muddled through the case and sentenced me to pay back money, wouldn't this make people regret doing good things and be afraid of doing good things? I wouldn't dare to say I did it in case it causes a bigger issue, but to dare say, I have a clear conscience. I want to tell you, although I met a swindler this time, next time if I encounter this situation again, I would still save the person first!"


When I turned around to leave, the surrounding people unexpectedly clapped their hands, also some people looked at me and shouted 'good.'



My face was filled with smile, joyfully looking at the person who shouted out 'good', raised my hand as a sign of respect.


Pei Zhao looked back at me, I just stuck out my tongue, continued to follow along.


Originally, he came by riding a horse. When I looked at the spirited horse, can't help but feel energized: "General Pei, let me ride on this horse for a moment."


Coming out from the court, Pei Zhao politely said: "Gong Zi [1], this horse's temper is not good, I was unable to get a good horse for you to ride on......."


Without waiting for him to finish talking, I already turned around and sat on the horse. The horse's ears lowered, it seemed completely harmless. Pei Zhao was slightly startled, said: "Gong Zi good move, this horse's temper is extremely fierce, most people are unable to deal with, and it doesn't like to be close to other people. This seemed unexpected."

"This horse must be from Western Liang." I patted the horse's neck and its long mane [2], said: "At Western Liang, I have a 7 year old little red horse."

Pei Zhao ordered someone to get two horses, one for A'Du, one for himself. When I saw him turned around and sat on the horse, I couldn't help but be amazed. Our Western Liang men pay particular attention to the skills of riding a horse. The moment I saw Pei Zhao riding the horse, I knew he had good skills.


Because there were a lot of people on the street, the horses couldn't run, only could slowly pull the rein[3] when going forward. The Capital had a clear and refreshing autumn weather, streets were busy, people would come and go. Pei Zhao was originally following us from behind, but because my horse was too nice to me, it wouldn't go faster. A moment after, we were side by side while traveling.

I sighed and said: "Today, I discovered a new world, never have I thought there would be such parents, and using this type of trick."

Pei Zhao smiled: "People's hearts are vicious, Gong Zi should be more careful."


"I am unable to be careful." I said, "There are too many people with different minds in the Capital. We, Western Liang ladies have the same temper, happy or unhappy are all shown on our faces. If you want me to be like the people in the Capital, then just take my life."


Pei Zhao smiled again.


I thought I must have said something wrong, so I quickly said something to make up for it: "General Pei, you are different from other people, you are a good person, I could see through it."


"Gong Zi, you over-praised me."


At this moment a gust of wind blew over, my clothes were originally all wet, but before, we stayed at the court for half a day, so now my clothes are half dry. My undergarment was still wet, when the wind blew over, the coldness could be felt even from the heart, I couldn't help but sneeze.


Pei Zhao said: "There's an inn in the front, if Gong Zi doesn't mind, how about I help you buy some clothes and let you change into them and then go? You'll fall ill if you wear wet clothes in this type of weather."


I remembered A'Du was still wearing wet clothes, so I agreed.


Pei Zhao brought us to an inn, and got one room. After a while, he personally brought two bags of clothes to us, said: "The people I brought here have left, I told them to leave in order to avoid anyone knowing our movement. Two of you, please do as wish. I would be outside the door, if you need anything, just let me know."


He closed the door and A'Du locked the door. I opened the bag of clothes. It included socks, shoes, undergarment and clothes. They were all new, neat and tidy. After we wore the dry clothes, A'Du help me fixed my hair. This time I felt very refreshed.



I opened the door, called out: "General Pei."

Outside the door was suppose to be a hallway, Pei Zhao was standing there. We didn't see each other for a moment and he had already changed into ordinary clothes with his hair tied up, looking like a scholar. He was looking outside the window, looking at the street. When he heard me call him, he turned around, seemingly in a daze, looked at A'Du and I.


I don't know what he was thinking because his gaze was a little strange. However, his gaze quickly moved away, his face facing down, "I should escort Gong Zi back."


"I sneaked out with great difficulty, I don't want to go back now!" I leaned near the window, seeing the streets crowded and busy, "We should go drink wine, I know a place with shao dao zi[4], while drinking it, it'll make you happy!"


"I still have duties, Gong Zi please excuse me, Gong Zi should also return."


"Today, you don't have any duties. Therefore, today you're not a high ranked general and I am not whatever princess as well. Furthermore, I have too much bad luck today, almost drowned to death, almost wrongly accused by that silly magistrate. If I don't drink some wine to calm down, then it would feel wrong."


Pei Zhao said: "For the purpose of your safety, I should escort you back."


I was very angry, leaning by the window, but I was too lazy to care about him. At this moment, my stomach started to make rumbling noises. I just remembered that I didn't eat lunch, this made me hungry to the point where my chest was stuck to my back. Pei Zhao must have heard my stomach rumble because his face was red. Originally he was standing at a distance away from me, but the window reflected a beam of light at his face, so I could see it very clearly.


I have never seen a grown man's face turn red, can't help but think it was very amusing, laughed and said: "General Pei, could you come with me to eat something?."


Pei Zhao muttered: " Yes."


I don't like his tone of speaking, treating me as if I was an outsider. Perhaps he saved me two times, so I am thankful for him.


A' Du and I led him through a narrow and curved alley, finally arrived at Mi Luo's wine shop.


Once Mi Luo saw me, she approached me affectionately, the hairpins on her head made a loud noise, the accessories on her leg made rustle noises. Mi Luo hugged me, joked: "I'll give you two jars of good wine."


Note:

[1] 公子 Gong Zi- a son of an official, or just a polite way to call a young man
[2] 鬃毛 Mane- the long hair on the neck of a horse
[3] 缰绳 rein- long strap used to guide a horse by pulling it
[4] 烧刀子 shao dao zi - brand name of a wine