Hey guys! So I’ve decided on a schedule of releasing two chapters per week (Mondays and Thursdays), hopefully I can stick to it!
Here’s the second chapter of the week!
Turns out Everything was Part of the Plan
Finally, the festival was about to come to a close. On the very last night, the Northern Emperor decided to host a banquet with all his court officials to reward the victors of the various competitions held during the festival. Since her status now was ‘the Crown Prince’s sweetheart’ Hua Zhu Yu was of course also invited.
When the banquet was about to begin, Hua Zhu Yu followed Xiao Yin into the hall. Coincidently as she looked up towards the sky, she saw the sun setting in the west. Half of the sky was illuminated by a vibrant red glow, like the color of infectious blood oozing from a rotten wound.
She knew tonight would not be a calm night. How many people’s blood will be spilt on this grassland tonight?
Xiao Yin had especially reminded her to wear the bangle he gifted her last night. He told her she didn’t need to do anything, she only needed to follow his lead and that would be enough to fulfill her promise.
The Northern Emperor’s camp was not like any other place, it was extremely spacious and magnificent.
Just as she entered the door, Hua Zhu Yu saw rows of long tables, and on each table were two rows of candles set up like two slender arms of a child. Hundreds of candles had been lit, illuminating the hall and filling it with a pleasant fragrance.
Hua Zhu Yu was pulled by Xiao Yin towards the front to pay their respects to the Northern Emperor and Concubine Ye.
The Northern Emperor still had that tired look on his face, but his eyes were sharp as he gazed at Hua Zhu Yu, like a falcon watching his prey.
“Yin Er1, what’s so great about this girl that’s worthy of you going through all that trouble?” the Northern Emperor harshly asked.
The Northern Emperor was definitely Xiao Yin’s father, that domineering and arrogant attitude was exactly the same as Xiao Yin. That day, when she had competed with Qi Qi Ge, she still remembered the Northern Emperor’s pair of cold, unfathomable eyes that gazed at her.
Obviously, he was upset that Xiao Yin disregarded danger and participated in the Snatching Lotus Event because of her. And these past few days, because of her, Xiao Yin became so drunk that assassins were able to harm him. He even played the Hu Qin outside her camp all night. The Northern Emperor had already caught wind of all these rumors, how could he not feel dissatisfied?
“That’s right, although the Princess of the Southern Kingdom that came for marriage was killed along the way by assassins, Your Highness can’t arbitrarily find another miss from the Southern Kingdom to replace her. Your Highness, do you just fancy ladies from the Southern Kingdom? Here in the Northern Kingdom we have many fine ladies as well!” Sitting beside the Northern Emperor, Concubine Ye added fuel to the fire. Today, she had taken off her veil, revealing her charming face.
“Imperial Father, there are a few things your son would like to discuss with you tonight. This time, your son was able to conquer the three tribes because of Dan Hong’s assistance. At first, your son almost lost the battle, but because of Dan Hong’s aid, your son was able to turn the tide and come back victorious. But Dan Hong had said she doesn’t want your son to reveal her merits and she also doesn’t need any rewards. Imperial father, your son just thinks this wise girl, who doesn’t care about fame and fortune is worthy of becoming my wife.” Xiao Yin slowly said.
“And here I thought you were only infatuated by her face, so it was like that.” The Northern Emperor continued to nod, his cold, stern face slightly softened.
The Northern Kingdom wasn’t like the Southern Kingdom, which put great importance on one’s lineage. If a political marriage was not necessary, people of the Northern Kingdom had the freedom to choose whoever they wanted to marry. Furthermore, the Northern Emperor admired talented people. Whether you were male or female did not matter, as long as you were talented, you had the opportunity to enter court to assist the emperor.
After listening to Xiao Yin, a trace of displeasure fleeted across Concubine Ye’s beautiful face.
The Northern Emperor continued to praise Hua Zhu Yu until Xiao Yin lead them back to their seats.
The banquet commenced and the Northern Emperor decided to bestow rewards to the victors first. Afterwards, the intimate banquet included only the ministers in court and Eastern Yan’s Rui Wang: Dou Qian Jin.
The Northern Kingdom’s cuisines, though not as exquisite as the Southern Kingdom’s, were still very appetizing. The tables were filled with different varieties of meat dishes and wine. There was even sheep meat that had been roasted golden brown, filling the hall with the fragrant smell of roasted meat.
Hua Zhu Yu paid no attention to the food and instead looked around.
Beside Concubine Ye, she saw a child sitting there very seriously. He was wear a dark red Hu robe and he looked about 10 years old. His face was very handsome but it was a little pale as though his condition was not that great. The child was very well-behaved, he didn’t converse much and just quietly sat there cutting the meat in front of him with a small knife.
Concubine Ye was very attentive towards the child, always smiling towards him. This child was most likely Concubine Ye’s son, Xiao Lu, Xiao Yin’s step brother. He was just like his name, cute like a baby sheep.
Dou Qian Jin sat in front of Hua Zhu Yu. Tonight he wore a coral robe adorned with pearls, radiating like a flower. He drank wine and casually conversed with the officials of the Northern Kingdom, appearing very easy to get along with.
Sitting beside Hua Zhu Yu, Xiao Yin was wearing a black robe which highlighted his handsome physique. On his face was a gentle smile but his eyes occasionally revealed his cold nature. He appeared very thoughtful, cutting the meat for Hua Zhu Yu and placing it in front of her. He even poured wine for her and sweetly said: “Try these dishes, you definitely won’t find these in the Southern Kingdom. They’re very delicious.”
His performance caused people to look their way so Hua Zhu Yu raised her glass and said with a smile on her face, “Thank you Your Highness.”
She raised her glass, and finished her cup of wine. The Northern Kingdom’s wine was very strong. She had only drank low quality wine while on the battlefield, so drinking this cup of wine made her feel quite good.
People saw her complexion did not change and their faces revealed trace of admiration and praise.
Hua Zhu Yu smiled and slowly placed the wine cup in her hand down. The bells on her bangle issued a crisp ringing sound with her every move.
Narrowing her eyes, Concubine Ye calmly looked towards Hua Zhu Yu’s wrist and coldly said “Your Highness truly is affectionate, even gifting her this bangle. Miss Dan Hong must take good care of it!”
Hua Zhu Yu didn’t really understand why Concubine Ye was interested with the bangle on her wrist. But tonight Xiao Yin had specifically reminded her to wear this bangle, seems like there’s a reason.
Xiao Yin stood up and with a smile on his face he said, “Speaking of which, I have to thank Concubine Ye’s generosity in returning Imperial Mother’s bangle to Yin Er, if not how could Yin Er have gifted it to Dan Hong.”
Hearing this the Northern Emperor also glanced at Hua Zhu Yu’s wrist as he appeared to recall something.
After drinking three glasses of wine, Hua Zhu Yu suddenly felt a strange surge of heat rising in her chest. She then felt a strange energy flowing sporadically throughout her body. She began to lose strength in her arms and legs, and then in the blink of an eye, she found it hard to breathe due to the torrent pain in her chest.
Hua Zhu yu clenched her fists and tried to calm herself. She tried to use her internal energy to suppress that strange energy flowing in her body, but that strange energy was like a wildfire, the more she used her internal energy, the more that strange energy intensified before slowly concentrating at her lower abdomen.
Her body was burning hot like she had been set on fire.
“Dan Hong, what’s wrong?” Xiao Yin anxiously asked as he placed a hand behind her back. “Call the imperial doctor!”
Moments later, Hua Zhu Yu felt someone taking her pulse, and then vaguely heard a few words.
Bangle …. Concubine Ye…. Tương Tư Cổ 2 ….fragrance
Although her body was in excruciating pain, her mind was very clear.
She finally understood that from the moment he tried to gift her a snow lotus, to the drunken night, to the Hu Qin performance, and even to the gifting of the bangle in front of all those people…..turns out, everything was planned!
- I think ‘Er’ means child and it’s usually added to a name to show they have a more close relationship with that person
- This is a name of a poison but I didn’t really know how to translate it so I just left it in Vietnamese. The poison will be explained in the next chapter.