Hua Zhu Yu took out the imperial token Huangfu Wu Shuang had given her and the guards allowed her to enter. Inside it was very large with a main hall and two side chambers. Within the courtyard there were several plum trees whose red flowers bloomed proud and aloof, emitting a delicate fragrance. It can be seen that the master of this palace was quite favored (by emperor). Jixiang had told her that Zhao Yi lived in the main hall so she quickly made her way over there.
When she arrived at the door, she saw a small palace maid carrying a basin out to pour water. Upon seeing Hua Zhu Yu, the palace maid’s face flashed with fright. It can be seen that after Huangfu Wu Shang was overthrown, his consorts and concubines did not have it easy.
“Is Song Zhao Yi inside?” Hua Zhu Yu asked.
“Yes, yes!” The little palace maid placed the basin on the ground and quickly entered the room.
Hua Zhu Yu entered the room behind the palace maid and heard a gentle voice. “Xiao Mei, who is it?”
From behind a screen, a woman walked out. Her face was beautiful as a hibiscus while her eyes were luminous as autumn ripples. Her shiny hair was pinned up in a cloud bun and her skin was smooth and soft. Dan Hong was originally a delicate beauty but after the Hua Family was met with disaster, whenever Hua Zhu Yu saw Dan Hong, her eyes always held a trace of melancholy and today was no different. Dan Hong had her head lowered and faintly said, “Gong gong please come this way.”
Hua Zhu Yu sighed in her heart. She cupped her hands and followed behind.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
“Mei’Er, prepare the tea,” Dan Hong instructed in a soft voice.
Hua Zhu Yu’s heart ached. No matter what, Dan Hong was now Zhao Yi but she had no choice but to lower herself and show respect to a palace eunuch like this.
“No need. This servant doesn’t drink tea. This servant merely has a few words to speak to Zhao Yi niang niang,” Hua Zhu Yu said.
Upon hearing Hua Zhu Yu’s voice, Dan Hong was startled. Her astonished eyes were fixed on Hua Zhu Yu for some time. His lips slightly trembled as she tried to calmly instruct the palace maids, “You all withdraw, I have something to discuss with gong gong.”
When they all left, Dan Hong stepped closer to Hua Zhu Yu and with her head lowered, lightly asked, “Don’t know exactly what gong gong came for?”
Dan Hong, it’s me,” Hua Zhu Yu said with a sigh. Obviously, Dan Hong had already felt that her voice was familiar but Dan Hong had never seen Hua Zhu Yu’s face which was always hidden beneath a mask so she did not dare to recklessly acknowledge her.
“General, it’s really…really you?” Dan Hong was stunned as she looked up at Hua Zhu Yu, her bright eyes lit with astonishment. “Is it really you?”
Smiling, Hua Zhu Yu nodded. “Dan Hong, it’s me.”
“So, this is your true appearance….” Dan Hong said as she continued to stare at Hua Zhu Yu’s face. After some time, she suddenly smiled and her eyes filled with joy. “It’s great that General is still well. Dan Hong has been constantly worried for your safety .”
“I’ve let you suffer. Why did you not discuss with me beforehand. You entered the palace on your own accord and now you’re even Emperor Kang’s concubine,” Hua Zhu Yu said disapprovingly.
“General, I’m fine, I haven’t suffered. I willing did everything for General’s sake. But…. did you really become a eunuch?” Dan Hong suddenly realized Hua Zhu Yu’s position and she staggered back, falling onto the chair, sorrow and distress plainly written on her face.
The room was dark with only a sprinkle of sunlight passing through the window, illuminating Dan Hong’s face as drops of tears slowly slid down her cheeks.
Dan Hong’s tears made Hua Zhu Yu felt at loss. She felt as though there was nothing she could ever do to compensate Dan Hong for all the pain that she had caused.
At the moment, she can’t reveal to Dan Hong her true identity. She could only let Dan Hong continue thinking that she’s a eunuch. That way, she could break off Dan Hong’s feelings for her for good. She just didn’t anticipate that Dan Hong would cry so pitifully.
“Dan Hong, do you have any feelings for Huangfu Wu Shang?” Hua Zhu Yu waited a moment before slowly asking.
Dan Hong wiped her tears as she shook her head.
Hua Zhu Yu was relieved. Huangfu Wu Shuang had imprisoned Emperor Kang. If Dan Hong had feelings for Emperor Kang it would be troublesome.
“If that is the case, you shouldn’t remain in the palace. Stay in Yong Tang Palace for now and after a few days when I have prepared everything, I will ask His Highness Huangfu Wu Shuang to let you leave the palace,” Hua Zhu Yu said.
“I won’t leave!” Dan Hong exclaimed as she suddenly stood. She walked up to Hua Zhu Yu and said, “I won’t go. Before I wanted to leave but now you’re here, I have more reason not to leave.”
“No,” Hua Zhu Yu said and turned around, not wanting to see the heartbroken expression on Dan Hong’s face. “You must leave the palace,” she asserted.
She must make Dan Hong leave the palace, the sooner the better. After she leaves, Hua Zhu Yu would tell Dan Hong the truth. She could not keep deceiving Dan Hong.
The days in the palace were more peaceful than those on the battlefield. However, this peacefulness is but an appearance. The court had soon been divided into different factions. Today, Huangfu Wu Shuang took hold of court affairs under the pretext that Huangfu Wu Shang was presently ill. A number of officials requested to meet Emperor Kang but was declined by Huangfu Wu Shuang. He used the excuse that Emperor Kang’s illness was contagious and rejected their requests. However, those officials did not back down and continued to make their request as they knelt in front of Qin Zheng Hall every day.
If it was the Huangfu Wu Shuang of the past, he would’ve already dismissed those officials. However, now he kept his composure, not a hint of fury could be seen on his face.
Hua Zhu Yu had returned to being Huangfu Wu Shuang’s personal eunuch. She had tried to bring up the topic of allowing Dan Hong to leave the palace several times to Huangfu Wu Shuang but he did not express any opinion. Hua Zhu Yu felt vexed by this and wondered if she should secretly send Dan Hong out of the palace.
On one particular day, Hua Zhu Yu was attending to Huangfu Wu Shuang at Qin Zheng Hall when a military report was received. It stated that Left Chancellor Ji Feng Li’s army had already returned and they were currently camped 50 miles outside of the capital.
Once he read the report, Huangfu Wu Shuang placed it down on the table. With his hands clasped behind his back, he began to pace around the room.