World of Hidden Phoenixes

Chapter 116

The following day, Hua Zhu Yu left the palace for the medicinal shop to get her prescription filled and sure enough, the shop did not have Blood Lotus in stock so she could only wait and return to the palace. At the palace gates, she was stopped by the guards and her belongings were inspected before she could pass through. This made her think that obtaining medicine from outside the palace was not a good long-term plan. 

For lack of a better option, Hua Zhu Yu went to see Dan Hong for help. This was the only way left. She could only rely on Dan Hong to obtain the medicine to protect the fetus. 

Seeing Hua Zhu Yu arrive, Dan Hong happily dismissed the maids and eunuchs by her side. She personally stood and poured Hua Zhu Yu a cup of tea with a smile. 

Hua Zhu Yu received the cup of tea but seeing Dan Hong’s bright smile made her feel somewhat hesitant. After draining the cup in one shot, she placed it down on the table and slowly said, “Dan Hong I’m sorry, there’s something that I have kept from you for some time.” 

Dan Hong had never heard Hua Zhu Yu speak in such a heavy, difficult tone. Her smile congealed and somewhat astonished, she asked, “General, what’s wrong?” 

 With difficulty, she exclaimed, “Dan Hong, I’m a woman!” 

The color drained from Dan Hong’s face as her eyes widened in disbelief momentarily. She then shook her head and smiled, saying, “General, even if you are a eunuch and can’t take a wife, you can’t stop me from loving you. I’m willing to stand by your side for the rest of my life. Don’t say that you’re a woman just to make me give up on you.” 

 “I’m not lying, it’s the truth.” Seeing that Dan Hong was not convinced, Hua Zhu Yu sighed and pulled out the hairpin binding her hair. In a flash, her black hair cascaded down like a waterfall, reaching her waist.(t/n Even though males had long hair back then, female hair was still longer I’m guessing)  

Upon seeing this, Dan Hong slightly shook, nearly falling to the floor. With great difficulty, her hand grasped the edge of the table to steady herself. “It’s not true, it’s not .….” she muttered, her voice increasingly soft until finally she wept with grief. 

Realizing that Dan Hong finally believed her, Hua Zhu Yu slowly went over and patted her shoulder in comfort. “Dan Hong, I shouldn’t have hid it from you for so long. That year, father had specifically pointed out that I must keep by identity a secret. It was a crime for a woman to be in the army, I would be guilty of deceiving the monarch and that would implicate the whole Hua family. So I hid my identity from you. I should’ve told you sooner, that way you wouldn’t have dove into this deep palace.” 

“General,” Dan Hong looked at Hua Zhu Yu, her beautiful eyes in distress as she asked, “Can I have a moment alone?” 

Hua Zhu Yu nodded silently. After pinning up her hair again, she stepped out of the room. In the courtyard it was quiet without a sound. Standing in the corridor, she stared at the bare trees within the courtyard, lost in thought. 

She knew this news was a great shock to Dan Hong. She could only give her time to slowly come to acceptance but she didn’t feel reassured to leave. 

 She stood there silently for a long time and the skies gradually darkened when she finally heard light footsteps sound behind her. She slowly turned around and saw Dan Hong making her way over to stand in front of her. 

“I suddenly feel that it’s quite good that General is a woman. That way I don’t have to dwell on why General doesn’t like me. It seems it’s not because Dan Hong is lacking in charm right?” Dan Hong looked at Hua Zhu Yu, her lashes still damp with tears as she asked with a proud yet pained smile. 

“Dan Hong.” Hua Zhu Yu reached for Dan Hong’s hand and held it tightly within hers. 

***


translations at peachblossomgrove . com

It was deep in winter and snow continued to descend for 2 consecutive days, blanketing the entire Imperial Palace in dense snow. 

Early in the morning, it was yet the hour of the rabbit(5am-7am) when Hua Zhu Yu awoken. She was on night duty last night so she was resting in the outer chambers of Huangfu Wu Shuang’s palace. Usually, the person on night duty must keep vigil the whole night but Huangfu Wu Shuang allowed her to rest in the outer chambers and she didn’t refuse. 

She was looking up at the sky when she heard Huangfu Wu Shuang awaken. She quickly put on her outer robes and waited in front of the door of Huangfu Wu Shuang’s inner chambers. Moments later, she heard Huangfu Wu Shuang call in a low voice. His voice was rich and deep, no longer coarse.   

She smiled and slowly entered the room. She saw Huangfu Wu Shuang wearing his inner garments, sitting on his bed yawning. 

After glancing at him, she went straight to the wardrobe and took out a new winter court attire. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang held out his hand and Hua Zhu Yu assisted him in putting on his clothes. 

Hua Zhu Yu used to help Huangfu Wu Shuang with these things in the past. But helping him now felt completely different from before.

This youngster had indeed gotten tall. Now she had to raise her head and stand on her tiptoes to fasten his top buttons. She truly cannot regard him as a child anymore. 

 Inside the room it was extremely quiet. Besides the occasional rustle of clothes, there was only the sound of their breathing, sometimes fast sometimes slow. After she finished dressing him, Hua Zhu Yu took a step back to examine him. Seeing his tall, noble stature, she couldn’t help but comment, “Your Highness, you are actually this tall now.” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang was re-adjusting his belt when his eyes flashed with a light as he said with grievance, “You just noticed now.” 

Finally she realized he has grown taller, it truly was not easy ah

He didn’t know why but he really wished for Yuan Bao to noticed that he had grown up.

“In the future, you cannot regard this prince as a child!” he said. 

Hua Zhu Yu smiled and said, “How could this servant dare to regard Your Highness as a child!” 

 A palace maidservant brought in a basin of water and Huangfu Wu Shuang personally washed his face, no longer letting others serve him like before. Hua Zhu Yu leaned closer to the dividing screen and asked in a low voice, “Your Highness, does the royal pharmacy have the medicinal herb Blood Lotus by any chance?” 

“Blood Lotus? Is that the herb that is more precious than Snow Lotus? They probably have it. But why? Who needs this herb?” After washing his face, he wiped his face with a handkerchief as he asked. 

Hua Zhu Yu faintly sighed and replied, “It is Song Zhao Yi (Dan Hong), her body cannot stand the cold and now that it’s winter she has fallen ill. The imperial physician had said that Blood Lotus is needed for her medication. Since she had saved this servant’s life once, this servant can’t bear to see her tormented by her illness.” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang slightly frowned. His eyes flashed with dismay and he threw the handkerchief at the palace maid and carelessly said, “Xiao Bao’Er sure is concerned for Song Zhao Yi.” 

“Saving grace must be repaid,” Hua Zhu Yu softly replied. 

“You may go to the royal pharmacy and take what you need, no need to ask me again.” With that said, Huangfu Wu Shuang clasped his hands and strode out.   

At last this concern was dealt with. She no longer had to worry about how to obtain the medicine. 

After a few days of continuous snow, the whole palace was covered in magnificent white, like a cold wonderland, majestic and glorious. The two people trod on the snowy path, heading towards Qin Zheng Hall. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang hadn’t ascend the throne and was merely temporarily taking over Emperor Kang’s duties in overseeing state affairs. As a result, it was not necessary for him to attend morning court. He merely ordered the little eunuchs to go to Jin Luan Hall to retrieve the memorials submitted by the officials for him to look through at Qin Zheng Hall.

As they arrived at Qin Zheng Hall, they saw more than a dozen officials kneeling on the ground. It was the hour of the rabbit and the skies had yet brighten. Usually, morning court was held at this time but because the Emperor was currently ill, the officials were here waiting with their memorials in hand. Upon seeing Huangfu Wu Shuang arrive, they immediately bowed, their heads touching the ground as they pleaded, “Your Highness, please allow us officials to visit Emperor Kang!” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang’s eyes darken as he walked up to the group. With a cold smiled, he jeered, “This Prince has said many times before, Emperor younger brother is inflicted with a contagious illness. Worried about your well-being, this prince is taking you into consideration. Why are you being so stubborn!” 

Hua Zhu Yu swept her gaze across the group of officials kneeling on the ground but did not see Ji Feng Li. She heard that since returning to Yu City, he did not attend court because he had gotten sick. But Hua Zhu Yu was certain that even though he wasn’t present, this whole show was engineered by him. Just from a glance at these officials, it was obvious that they weren’t going to leave until they got what they wanted and met with the Emperor. 

“Your Highness,” Hua Zhu Yu stepped forward and advised, “If the officials are so concerned for Emperor Kang, why not let them visit him. The present weather is so cold, if the officials fall ill it will be a tragedy for Southern Kingdom.” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang looked at Hua Zhu Yu a little perplexed. Huangfu Wu Shang was currently placed under house arrest by his orders. He definitely must not be allowed to see anyone. 

Hua Zhu Yu signalled Huangfu Wu Shuang with her hand and after coming to an understanding, he turned around and said in a solemn voice, “If you officials must see Emperor Kang then let Yuan Bao lead the way. But this prince is telling you now, no matter who, anyone who visits Emperor Kang must remain in the palace for the time being less the disease spreads.” 

These officials were about to stand but once they heard the last of Huangfu Wu Shuang’s words the expressions on their faces stiffened. They all understood what it meant to be confined in the Imperial Palace. Wasn’t it that they could come but not leave? Huangfu Wu Shuang could permit them to visit Emperor Kang. That means he could also say that they had gotten infected and subsequently died of illness. 

“Please, this way darens,” Hua Zhu Yu lightly spoke and motioned for them.

The officials all looked at one another, uncertain of what to do. 

“Emperor younger brother’s illness is not trivial. You officials should carefully consider.” With that said, Huangfu Wu Shuang clasped his hands behind his back and proceeded to enter Qin Zheng Hall. 

“Those old geezers!” As soon as Huangfu Wu Shuang sat down, he angrily slammed his palm on the table. “On the day this prince wanted to ascend the throne, not a soul dared to protest. But as soon as the Left Chancellor returned, they seemed to have eaten the gallbladder of a leopard. What ‘want to visit Emperor Kang’, what ‘if we don’t see Emperor Kang this prince can’t ascend’. Humph! This prince has already decided the enthronement will proceed 8 days later!” 

Hua Zhu Yu lowered her head in contemplation. Ji Feng Li entered officialdom at the age of 15, his influence in court is extensive and profound. Among the officials who made trouble today, she wondered how many were prompted by Ji Feng Li. If Huangfu Wu Shuang wanted to successfully ascend the throne, perhaps a mere letter from the Retired Emperor Yan was not enough.  

“Your Highness, without Emperor Kang’s edict of abdication, Your Highness’s enthronement will always be unrighteous.” 

“But what should be done, he’s dead set on not writing an edict of abdication. This prince did not expect him to be so stubborn and had even underestimated him in the past. Furthermore, he doesn’t believe that Imperial Father’s edict is real,” Huangfu Wu Shuang said as he bit his lip. 

Hua Zhu Yu pondered for a moment, then slowly said, “How about this servant give it a try.” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang nodded slightly and asked, “Xiao Bao’Er, you think you can persuade him?” 

“This servant is not certain but if Your Highness can write an edict stating that once you ascend the throne you won’t harm him, perhaps our chances of success will be greater,” Hua Zhu Yu slowly suggested.  

In any case, Dan Hong was still Huangfu Wu Shang’s imperial concubine. Regardless of whether or not Dan Hong has feelings for him, Hua Zhu Yu felt she must preserve his life. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang smiled and said, “Xiao Bao’Er, he is this prince’s younger brother, how could this prince harm him. Quickly grind the ink, this prince will write the edict!”  

Hua Zhu Yu raised her sleeve to grind the ink as Huangfu Wu Shuang lifted the brush to the paper, his penmanship clear and unreserved. 

Hua Zhu Yu glanced at Huangfu Wu Shuang’s writing and saw him urging Emperor Kang to abdicate. He also stated that he would confer the title Kang Xian Wang to Huangfu Wu Shang and bestow a fiefdom to him near the southern lands to retire and nurse his health. He also promised that as long as he was alive he would look after Huangfu Wu Shang thoroughly and would absolutely not harm him. 

Once done, Huangfu Wu Shuang rolled up the edict and placed it in his sleeves. Then he faintly said, “Tonight, you come with me to see Emperor Kang.” 

Hua Zhu Yu nodded in assent. 

***

Translations at peachblossomgrove . com

Feng Yuan(Phoenix Courtyard), Left Chancellor’s Residence. 

Ever since returning to the capital, Ji Feng Li was reportedly sick and did not attend court. But he was well aware of the situation within the palace. Tong Shou delivered the secret reports from the palace daily. 

At this moment he was sitting down as he glanced through the latest secret report presented by Tong Shou. After slowly reading through it, his lips lifted in a touch of a smile.  

“Lord Chancellor, today those long-time officials were defeated under the hands of Yuan Bao. He dismissed their idea to visit Emperor Kang with a single sentence.” Lan Bing slowly said as he stood on the side. 

Ji Feng Li lifted the secret report to the flame of the candle and it slowly burned. The flickering fire reflected in his narrowed phoenix eyes, giving off a chilling air. He coldly smiled and said, “He did well but this Chancellor think that after today, Huangfu Wu Shuang can understand that without the abdication edict from Emperor Kang, he will not be able to successfully ascend the throne. I reckon tonight he will definitely pay a visit to Emperor Kang. Assign more men to watch over Huangfu Wu Shuang and Yuan Bao closely to see where they go tonight. We must find the place where Emperor Kang is being detained. If there is any news, send someone back to report immediately. ” 

Tong Shou nodded and quickly left to make preparations. 

***

The night was dark and the stars shone tirelessly in the cold sky but within the Imperial Palace it was brightly lit. 

Hua Zhu Yu went to Shui Tang Palace and Dan Hong came out dressed as a little palace eunuch. The two of them followed along Huangfu Wu Shuang’s carriage and went forward. 

The white snow covered the golden eaves and the unending red walls of the nine palaces. In the night, it gave off a frosty and detached ambience. The cold air lingered at the tip of one’s nose and seeped into one’s bone.   

As they proceeded, Hua Zhu Yu thought perhaps they would head towards the remote Cold Palace in the back or towards Nei Cheng Yuan (Inner Punishment Hall), the places most suitable to serve as detainment. But unexpectedly, Huangfu Wu Shuang’s carriage went straight towards Xuan Cheng Hall, the residence of the Retired Emperor Yan.

Hua Zhu Yu was a little puzzled but then thought that perhaps Huangfu Wu Shuang wanted to pay a visit to the Retired Emperor first before going to see Huangfu Wu Shang so she did not dwell in this.  

Arriving at Xuan Cheng Hall, Huangfu Wu Shuang alighted the carriage and a palace eunuch stepped forward to greet him before leading the group to a side palace hall of Xuan Cheng Hall. Inside the study room of the hall, there was a large bookshelf and the little palace eunuch swiftly pushed the bookshelf aside, revealing a flight of steps extending down towards the darkness below. 

Hua Zhu Yu never expected that Xuan Cheng Hall would have a secret chamber nor that Emperor Kang was detained there. Presumably, no one else would’ve imagined it either. 

They slowly descended down the stairs.The light in the secret chamber was faint and dim. The atmosphere was comparable to that time when they were detained in Nei Cheng Yuan(Inner Punishment Hall), dreary and cold. Inside was but a plain and coarse bed with a blanket.  

Huangfu Wu Shang was curled up asleep on the bed. The palace eunuch had to shake him 3 times before he finally opened his eyes. As though he found it difficult to adjust to the light of the torch, his eyes were opened for a brief moment before closing. After a while, he finally opened his eyes again. His gaze swept over Huangfu Wu Shuang and then Hua Zhu Yu and finally on Dan Hong who was standing beside her. His deep dark eyes, like calm water, suddenly rippled but it was only for a moment before returning to its prior tranquility. 

He looked back at Huangfu Wu Shuang and coldly said, “I’ve already said I won’t agree!”

Huangfu Wu Shuang walked over, towering above him as he said, “Emperor Kang, you’re still so stubborn till this day? Who exactly are you waiting for to come save you? This is Imperial Father’s edict, even without your abdication edict, I can still ascend the throne. I’m merely trying to prevent unnecessary bloodshed and save those ministers’ lives, that’s all.”

Huangfu Wu Shang smiled coldly and did not speak.

Hua Zhu Yu stepped forward and examined Emperor Kang beneath the faint flames of the torch. Having been confined for several days, he appeared much more thin and haggard. Evident from the marks on the back of his hand he had also been tortured. But those pair of dark eyes glowered with a deep iciness that was obstinate and unwavering. 

Hua Zhu Yu did not expect the weak and delicate Huangfu Wu Shang to have such courageous spirit. 

Looking at Huangfu Wu Shang, Hua Zhu Yu couldn’t help but sigh softly. Whether it was Huangfu Wu Shuang or Huangfu Wu Shang, if they weren’t born into the royal family, perhaps they would’ve become a pair of good brothers who cared for one another. But within the royal family, they had become irreconcilable adversaries.

Between the two of them, to say who was the most suited for the throne, it would undoubtedly be Huangfu Wu Shuang. Because Huangfu Wu Shang was merely a puppet in Ji Feng Li’s hands. Tonight, no matter what method, she must convince Huangfu Wu Shang. She handed the edict that Huangfu Wu Shuang wrote to Dan Hong who nodded tacitly. Then together with Huangfu Wu Shuang and the palace eunuch, Hua Zhu Yu withdrew. 

In this situation, Huangfu Wu Shang would not listen to anyone. However, Dan Hong in any case is his imperial concubine so perhaps the only one that could convince him was her. And the only thing they could do was to wait. 

In the side palace hall of Xuan Cheng Hall, the candlelight gently flickered. 

After about the time it took to finish two cups of tea, Dan Hong finally came out of the secret chamber. 

“How is it?” Hua Zhu Yu asked. 

Dan Hong nodded and took out from her sleeve the abdication edict written by Huangfu Wu Shang. Hua Zhu Yu received the edict and walked over to hand it to Huangfu Wu Shuang. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang let out a long sigh as though a heavy burden had just been uplifted. After receiving the edict, his gaze swept over Dan Hong and with a smile he said, “ Song Zhao Yi’s health is not well and yet had worked hard for this prince. This time Zhao Yi has made a contribution that is not small. Quickly return and have a good rest. From today forward, you are no longer under house arrest and may freely come and go.” 

Dan Hong smiled and bowed in gratitude to Huangfu Wu Shuang. 

As they started to leave, Hua Zhu Yu suddenly thought of something. Ji Feng Li must be searching for the whereabouts of Emperor Kang. If he knew the Emperor was detained here, based on his capabilities, he can definitely come and save him. It’s difficult to guarantee that Ji Feng Li didn’t send people to secretly observe their movements tonight.

With that thought, Hua Zhu Yu steps halted and she suddenly turned around and said to Huangfu Wu Shuang, “The night scenery is so beautiful. Your Highness, how about taking a stroll through the Palace?” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang was momentarily startled but then he smiled and replied, “Since Xiao Bao Er wants to take a stroll, then this prince shall accompany you.” 

Huangfu Wu Shuang left the carriage behind and brought along Hua Zhu Yu, Dan Hong, and Jixiang as they quietly left Xuan Cheng Hall. Walking along the stone pathway, they passed through the harem Palace, then detoured to Qing Zhi Palace, spent some time in the rock garden of the Imperial Garden before leaving for the Cold Palace. 

It wasn’t until 3 hours had passed did they quietly return to their residence. 

***

Zui Xian Fang(Intoxicated Immortal Square)

Although it was past the 3rd night watch(11-1am), Zui Xian Fang was still lively as usual. Downstairs in the hall, beneath the hazy lighting, shadows danced lightly as a beautiful singer, holding a pipa within her embrace, took the stage. Her delicate fingers gently glided across the strings, evoking a pleasant melody called Zui Hua Jian (intoxicated flower room).  

On the second floor in an elegant room, Left Chancellor Ji Feng Li was reclining against his seat. He had on a white fur coat and he appeared indifferent as he faintly gazed out through the beaded curtains veiling the door. 

Beside him, pouring him wine was Zui Xian Fang’s Xiao Li Yao. Glancing at his seemingly languid expression, she smiled and said, “Lord Chancellor, would you like to listen to a tune? Li Yao shall play a tune for you.” 

With his head back, Ji Feng Li drank the wine without restraint. He toyed with the cup in his hand and said, “No need.” 

Xiao Li Yao smiled and continued “Lord Chancellor, these days Li Yao recently came up with a new tune. Please do me the honor of lending me your ear, alright?” 

Ji Feng Li slightly shook his head and faintly agreed, “Alright then.” 

Li Yao’s dimples blossomed like a flower. After placing the wine jar down, she pushed aside the beaded curtains and walked out. A moment later, the sound of the qin encompassed the room. 

The new tune had yet finished when the curtains were pushed aside and Tong Shou quickly entered. 

“Lord Chancellor, Sir Tong has arrived,” Xiao Li Yao dampened the strings and reported with a smile. 

With a stern expression, Tong Shou went over to Ji Feng Li, reporting in a low voice, “Lord Chancellor, tonight Huangfu Wu Shuang and Yuan Bao first went to visit the Retired Emperor for about 2 incense stick of time, then to the harem Palace and Qing Zhi Palace for 3 incense stick of time, sat in the rock garden of the Imperial Garden for 3 incense stick of time, went to the Cold Palace, then to Nei Cheng Yuan(Inner Punishment Hall) for about half an hour before returning. Tonight, they went all around the Imperial Palace.”  

Ji Feng Li was fiddling with the wine cup. Upon hearing the report, his eyes congealed and the corner of his lips hooked up. “Does Huangfu Wu Shuang normally visit the Retired Emperor?” Ji Feng Li questioned. 

“Yes. I heard that after leaving Nei Cheng Yuan, he became more concerned about the Retired Emperor’s illness and well-being. In the morning he rarely goes. Usually he pays a visit in the night.” Tong Shou replied. 

Ji Feng Li silently contemplated for a moment before faintly stating, “It seems we must take a different plan of action.” 

***

translations at peachblossomgrove. com

After Dan Hong obtained the abdication edict from Huangfu Wu Shang, Huangfu Wu Shaung’s ascension was justified. After a period of preparation, the enthronement was finally scheduled to be held on the first of the 12th month. On that day, the weather was beautiful and sunny, with faint clouds calmly roaming the sky. On this big day, Southern Kingdom’s Huangfu Wu Shuang was set to ascend the throne. The auspicious time had yet arrived and Huangfu Wu Shuang had just finished taking a bath with the assistance of the palace maids. According to the custom of Southern Kingdom, before a new emperor ascend the throne, he must go Jin Shen Hall to change into the dragon robe and wait till the hour of the dragon(5-7am) before proceeding with the ascension ceremony.

Hua Zhu Yu had become the head chief of the palace eunuchs of second rank. She was in charge of today’s ceremony. She wore a new crimson eunuch palace gown with a black jade band on her waist, her hair pinned up high with an official cap, and a horsetail whisk on her arm, appearing with unspeakable grace. Inside the brightly lit Jin Shen Hall, countless palace maids and eunuchs were busy with their duties but the hall was exceedingly quiet as though no one was present. 

On the red sandalwood tray were the arranged new set of golden dragon brocade robes and crown. 

It wasn’t until another half an hour before the ceremony was to begin. “Your Majesty, please change into the dragon robes.” Hua Zhu Yu said.

At once, a group of palace maids brought forth the sandalwood tray with the robes and crown, preparing to change clothes for Huangfu Wu Shuang. 

“Wait!” Huangfu Wu Shuang suddenly said. 

Though his voice was not loud, all the palace maids were aware of the emperor’s temper. Everyone was frightened, trembling as their knees fell to the floor. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang ignored them and turned to Hua Zhu Yu. With a smile, he said, “Xiao Bao’Er, come help this prince put on the dragon robes.”

Hua Zhu Yu was a little startled. She was in charge of today’s ceremony, not in charge of helping him change into the dragon robes. But Huangfu Wu Shuang had spoken so she could only walk over and receive the robes from the palace maid.  

“Everyone else can withdraw!,” Huangfu Wu Shuang coldly ordered. 

As though they were pardoned, the palace maids and eunuchs all retreated in a flash. 

Hua Zhu Yu smiled. “Your Majesty, in the future this servant won’t be assisting you with your clothes anymore.”

Huangfu Wu Shuang said, “Xiao Bao’Er, this dragon robes must be worn by you. In that way will this prince have peace of mind.”

 Hua Zhu Yu assisted Huangfu Wu Shuang adorn the dragon robes and crown. The brilliant golden robes were embroidered with 12 dragons on the front while the back was embroidered with the sun, moon, rolling waves and patterns of clouds that were magnificent, beautiful and luxurious. 

In front of Tai Ji Hall, there were over a hundred officials of the 6th rank or higher in their court attire with a ceremonial tablet in hand as they stood waiting. 

As the hour of the dragon arrived, a presiding official raised his voice to announce, “Your Majesty ascends!” 

Simultaneously, the drums and bells were struck. 

Hundreds of officials knelt down in concert. 

The beaded curtains slightly moved as Huangfu Wu Shuang slowly stepped out in the dragon robes. Following behind him in a crimson eunuch attire, Hua Zhu Yu was holding the imperial edict. 

The deep winter sunlight shone through the faint clouds roaming the skies, basking Hua Zhu Yu under the bright light. She slowly proceeded to stand in front of the hundreds of officials. Opening the edict, she read in a loud voice,“ The Emperor, subordinate to Heaven, has accepted the Mandate of Heaven to undertake in his sacred duty as Sovereign to present the Imperial Edict, …..… Zhen(How the emperor addresses himself) deems older brother Huangfu Wu Shuang is a person of gentle virtue and filial piety. Today he shall inherit the throne………” 

“In accordance with the Mandate of Heaven ,with the support of the populace, the enthronement takes place today. To thank the grace of Heaven and be benevolent to the populace, everyone shall be exempt of taxation for one year…….” 

Holding the imperial edict, Hua Zhu Yu read in a mild voice like spring breeze, “The Emperor decrees!” 

Hua Zhu Yu stood there calmly, her slender figure tall and straight, the crimson robes dancing in the wind like a flying immortal. 

Standing within the group of officials, Ji Feng Li was in his court attires as he looked up at Hua Zhu Yu. Their gazes inadvertently met, both frosty and sharp as a dagger. 

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I’m finally back again! Sorry for the unexpected hiatus, I just couldn’t find the time to translate while on my rotation. But thank you to all the readers who are still following along even though my release schedule is super slow. Unfortunately this is a one-woman show and my translation skills hasn’t gotten any faster even though I’ve been doing this for 2 years ????

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