Chapter 6: Rescued
The virtuous consort has always been ostentatious , that even when she opened the palace doors in the middle of the night without permission, and even when she called on the imperial physician for a emergency when it was just for a dog, others could only express their discontent in their heart but did not dare to oppose her.
The imperial physician quickly arrived, carrying a medicine box on his back and paying his respects with salutation.
“Rise, quickly come look at our A’Bao!” Meng Sangyu rushed with her words stumbling over each other.
When Emperor Zhou’wu awoke, a big hand was feeling around his neck, coming in contact with his purple bruise bringing him a fit of acute pain.
He let out a pained grown and raised his head to glare at the owner of those big hands. Of noble birth, whence has he received such crass treatment?
“Be more gentle!” Seeing that A’Bao woke from the pain, Meng Sangyu immediately admonished and gently patted A’Bao’s head. She spoke with heart ache “A’Bao bear with it just a bit more, let the imperial physical give you a careful checkup, you’ll get better quickly.”
The discomfort in his body and the anger in his heart immediately subsided. He unconsciously let out an affectionate whimper, the tail behind him wagging back and forth. He didn’t even realize himself how happy he was in his heart that he was able to see this woman again.
Stroking the fur on A’Bao’s back, Meng Sangyu smiled with a sigh of relief.
He was choked for about seven to eight minute, but other than a circular bruise on his neck, he wasn’t hurt elsewhere. The imperial doctor finished his diagnosis and left a container of cream for relieving his bruises.
Meng Sangyu took out a pair of small scissors, lightly tapped A’Bao’s little moist nose saying, “Little one, we have to cut the fur on your neck to put on the medicine. Be good and don’t move. If you’re good, I’ll tell Bi Shui to make a midnight snack for you in a bit.”
Emperor Zhou’wu has already slowly gotten used to her child coaxing style of talking and uncharacteristically voiced in response.
Meng Sangyu completely awwed to the little puppy’s whimpering. She held a dumb smile on her face momentarily before lifting the scissors and very carefully shaving the fur around A’Bao’s neck, then carefully applying the medical cream.
The woman’s touch was soft and gentle, her focus expression as if protecting her own child. Her slender fingers had a soft warmth to it, and her touch sent a warmth to his heart. He felt an indescribable comfort. Emperor Zhou’wu lifted his head and look inquisitively at her beautiful face in momentary daze.
“Pfft!” Bi Shui and Yin Cui who were leaning up the dog fur on the side started giggling, pointing at A’Bao and playfully saying, “Your ladyship, after shaving a ring of fur off, A’Bao looks so weird, you want to laugh just looking at him.”
“Actually, poodle fur has to be cut monthly for the fur to become thicker and prettier. If it was spring now, I would give A’Bao a haircut in one more month. But since it is already nearing autumn, and it will get cold soon, giving A’Bao a haircut would get him sick.” Meng Sangyu said while massaging A’Bao’s back.
It’s just raising a dog, why is she making it so complicated? This woman is so fussy! Emperor Zhou’wu humphed coldly to himself, purposely ignoring the melting defenses of his heart.
After putting on medicine, the dull pain he felt from his neck subsided to a cool minty feeling, allowing Emperor Zhou’wu to recover some energy. As he was just beginning to feel pangs of hunger, Head Nurse Feng brought up bowl of overwhelmingly delicious smelling chicken congee and a small plate of soft and light naigao.
(TN: Naigao is milk-based gelatin, which makes it sound disgusting, but it’s really quite good.)
“A’Bao was traumatized. It’s a good chance to feed him some nutritious food to recuperate.” Meng Sangyu pushed the bowl towards A’Bao, patting his head in reassurance while grabbing a piece of naigao for herself.
Looking at A’Bao happily eating by himself, Meng Sangyu finally couldn’t resist reflecting on all the dangers of the imperial garden. A branch, a step, a threshold, a giant foot, even a pond not even half a meter deep could become a murder weapon. So without her company, he’s not allowed to go anywhere… counting off a long list of various dangers, disregarding whether A’Bao understood or not.
Emperor Zhou’wu licked off the bowl with his little tongue, as if unmoved by the virtuous consort’s nagging, but in his heart he was actually greatly moved. How long has it been since he last experienced this kind of meticulous and common show of care? Even Huiru and Empress Mother have not been able to give him this feeling of relaxing comfort.
No matter how rich the feelings of a little puppy is, you wouldn’t ever be able to perceive it from his fluffy face. As such, Meng Sangyu did not catch even a little of Emperor Zhou’wu’s sudden changes in mood. Seeing that he was done eating, she moved his little nest beneath her bed. She put him him in and covered his stomach with a little blanket, sternly warning, “Tonight you’re going to sleep right under my eyes. See if I won’t break your leg if you sneak away again!”
The woman’s stern voice, exaggerated hand gestures, and her purposely intimidating expression, were surprisingly cute. Emperor Zhou’wu stretched the corners of his mouth into a smile, let out a whimper, and slowly closed his eyes.
Meng Sangyu laid on her bed and watched him for a bit. Seeing that he was really asleep, she finally felt reassured to fall back onto her pillow. When her breathing became regular, Emperor Zhou’wu’s tightly shut eyes suddenly opened. His dark black eyes showed his complicated feelings. He took a deep look at the woman asleep on the bed, wanting to sigh but quickly stopping himself.
The operation tonight was an utter failure, but he is not giving up. If he couldn’t do it at night, then he would do it in the morning instead. When this body becomes a little stronger and healthier, he must go to Qian’qing Palace and Zhong’cui Palace to investigate the truth. Then, he must find a way to get back his own body.
Ever since he got hurt, A’Bao was much more obedient. Even then he still enjoyed exploring around, but he would always obediently return to Meng Sangyu’s side when night approached.
Like this, after six to seven days, the circular bruise around his neck finally completely disappeared. Leaving just a small ring where there was no fur, as if his body suddenly reconnected there. He looked hilarious, but also incredibly cute.
As late autumn approached with its overbearing cold air, Meng Sangyu became worried that A’Bao will become sick without that layer of fur. In her free-time she made a few neck wraps and little sweaters, preparing to make A’Bao wear them this day to see if they fit. But A’Bao unfortunately was unwilling to cooperate. As soon as she managed to get one arm in, he started furiously struggling, swinging the little neck wraps and sweaters to all over the place. One even started coming out at the sides and got completely destroyed.
Head Nurse Feng lifted her hand, as if she was going to hit the disobedient A’Bao. A’Bao squat unafraid beside Meng Sangyu, appearing to be arrogantly fearless.
As expected, Meng Sangyu seeing such immediately stopped Head Nurse Feng, waving her hand and saying, “It’s fine, if it broke it broke. I’ll just patch it up.”
A’Bao lowered his head, hiding his pleased expression in his eyes.
“But Your Ladyship, even the emperor has not worn clothes handmade by you before! This little rascal really doesn’t understand how lucky he is!” Head Nurse Feng exclaimed.
The pleased expression in A’Bao’s eyes immediately disappeared. His heart felt incredibly uncomfortable and his brows scrunched. If no one said it he wouldn’t have realized, he really hadn’t worn clothes handmade by the virtuous consort before.
Bi Shui picked up the little sweaters that have been thrown all over the place while suggesting, “Your Ladyship, perhaps A’Bao isn’t used to wearing clothes, this servant saw that he didn’t even know how to walk anymore. It’s no matter that these sweaters have been destroyed, but even if you put in the effort to patch them up he probably still won’t be willing to wear them.”
“It’s too bad, this servant wanted to see what A’Bao looked like wearing these clothes. It must very cute. Your Ladyship’s fingers are so nimble, this pair of rabbit ears look as if they are real. If A’Bao wore it he would’ve become a little bunny.” Yin Cui played with a little cotton jacket in her hands, her disappointment evidently expressed on her face.
Meng Sangyu gave the little troublemaker curled up beside her a glare. She poked his soft head saying, “Don’t worry, Yin Cui you will see our A’Bao make a major transformation for sure. Whether he wants to or not, he will wear these clothes. It’s not just for looking nice, it’s more for his health. The weather has been becoming colder and colder, and he just got a haircut. If he doesn’t wear clothes to keep warm, he’ll get sick. Also, he loves to play, running around all day. He is still little now, not yet able to take a bath. So these clothes would also be able to keep his fur clean, preventing parasites. It’ll be good for him. Just let him be free for a few days, when the days get a little colder, when you bring him out to play make sure to make him wear clothes.”
The servants heeded in unison.
So it isn’t just for pleasure, but because she cares about us? Maybe next time when we’re in a good mood we’ll wear it. Emperor Zhou’wu dazed for a bit before naturally conceding.
Meng Sangyu was a little surprised seeing that after she finished speaking A’Bao actually affectionally scooched toward her in her arms, swinging his little tail back and forth in bliss. Could it be that A’Bao can understand my words? She held A’Bao’s two front paws and lifted him in front of her. Facing his clear and lively eyes, an idea came to her.
“A’Bao let’s play a game.” She put A’Bao down and grabbed a little embroidery ball from her sewing basket and slightly shook it, “Do you see this embroidery ball? I’m going to throw it out, then you get it back for me, okay?”
Seeing A’Bao lifted his head and was looking at her with an intent gaze, Meng Sangyu let out a light laugh and tossed the embroidery ball far away. She excitedly called out, “A’Bao be good. Quick, go get it. After you get it back I’ll reward you with a piece of naigao.”
We would want a piece of your naigao? What do you think we are? Black fumes of annoyance emitted from all over Emperor Zhou’wu’s body. He stiffly sat on the ground, as if immovable by even the eight winds. He definitely won’t let himself be tamed into an actual pet by this woman!
[TN: Eight winds refer to the eight winds of Buddhism. To follow the way of the Buddha and to become a worthy and wise individual, it is advised to not be carried away by these eight winds. The eight winds are: prosperity, honor, praise, pleasure (four favorable winds), decline, disgrace, censure, and suffering (four adverse winds). One should not be swayed in there ways by attachment to the favorable nor by their aversion of the adverse.]
“A’Bao, go get it!” Meng Sanyu’s smile stiffened, clearly A’Bao’s reaction was not within her predictions.
A’Bao remained still.
Meng Sanyu pushed his plump and fluffy little butt and tried again.
This time, A’Bao moved. He took a sideways glance at Meng Sang’yu, took two steps, and regained a quiet spot to sit.
Meng Sangyu forehead filled with furrows. She has a feeling that A’Bao’s arrogant glance just then was as though he was giving a belittling sigh — you foolish human!
This headcanon is really too out there, she must be thinking too much! Meng Sangyu shook her head and ran over to retrieve the embroidery ball back herself.
Head Nurse Feng could not bear to watch this backwards owner-pet interaction between the two any longer. She opened her mouth in discontent, “This A’Bao is really just an ungrateful white-eyed wolf that bites the hand that feeds him. He runs around and disappears all day, doesn’t listen, doesn’t let you hug him, and isn’t even willing to play with Your Ladyship. Why should we keep raising such a useless rascal? Might as well send him back to the Taming Enclosure.”
A’Bao’s arrogant back stiffened. He wanted to turn his head around to look at the virtuous consort’s reaction but then forced himself not to. He definitely will not admit his nervousness at this moment.
“A’Bao is actually really obedient. If I call him, he can respond to me. If I hug him, he doesn’t struggle. He’s much better than back when he just came. He just doesn’t like to bother with strangers. This type of loyalty is incredibly rare. Not to mention that A’Bao really likes cleanliness. When he eats, he never gets the table dirty. And he never goes pottying wherever. He’s the most refined little dog I’ve seen.”
Meng Sangyu casually waved her hand. To prove her words, she grabbed a piece of naigao and beckoned to A’Bao, “A’Bao come quickly. Time to eat naigao.”
Emperor Zhou’wu paused for a moment, but eventually slowly made his way over in the end. He took the naigao from Meng Sangyu’s hand and ate it in small bites. In order to not be sent back to the stupid Taming Enclosure, he has no choice but to put down his pride. But his lightly wagging tail revealed that he wasn’t actually as unwilling as he thought he was.
Head Nurse Feng had no other choice but to just complain, “Ugly with an unpleasant fur color. This servant really can’t tell what there is good about this little rascal. But as it’s all good as long as Your Ladyship likes him.”
Head Nurse Feng did not notice, the A’Bao that was eating naigao suddenly lifted his head and gave her a glare, with a dangerous look in his eyes.
Meng Sangyu was just about to drink her tea, but hearing Head Nurse Feng’s complaint she immediately put down her cup. She explained seriously, “Nurse, don’t keep calling him little rascal little rascal from now on. Perhaps in your eyes A’Bao is just a dog, but in my eyes, he and my friends and family aren’t all that different.”
Head Nurse Feng opened her mouth, met her master’s stern gaze, and swallowed her opposition in the end.
A’Bao took back his dangerous gaze and continued munching on his naigao with his head down. Not noticing that his tail was wagging at a pace much faster than before.
[TN: The next three chapters I’m just trying to make up for the weeks missed from being sick and exams, so did not really edit or proofread. Please do tell me if there are any disastrously difficult to understand parts. m(_ _)m]