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

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your time and effort in continuing with the translation of Eastern Palace. Usually I prefer happy ending. However I felt that the plot if this love story is so poignant,it draws my interest. Pls do continue till the end....

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    Replies
    1. Don't worry, I'll complete it =)!! I also prefer happy endings as well, but this story have much more in the plot than what it appears.

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  2. Ahhh~ Thanks for the translation! It's really good.
    Btw, is it possible for you to add a link at the bottom of each chapter that leads us to the next chapter? That would make reading this even smoother~
    Anyway, thanks!

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