Chapter 13: Disclosure (3)
After Mother Meng walked away, Meng Sangyu slowly headed back to her bedchamber step by step, Nurse Feng devastated behind her. She opened her mouth to speak a few times, but stopped herself.
“Nurse if you have anything to ask, you can.” Meng Sangyu rubbed the fur on A’Bao’s back as she spoke.
“Your Ladyship, the duchess said you were shielding the Gracious Consort from harm, exactly what does this mean? It couldn’t, it couldn’t be that all of the favor and love His Majesty has shown you are fake?” Nurse Feng still couldn’t really accept the reality.
“It is so, His Majesty’s favor for me is but to show favor to the Meng family, in order to restrain the family of the empress and the Li family. I’m no more than a gun in the His Majesty’s hands. Where he points is where I have to hit. I cannot disobey – the consequence of disobedience… you just have to look at the current empress’s family. As for the Gracious Consort, the same three years in the palace, the same rise in five ranks in three years, the favor she has received is no less than mine. But under His Majesty’s purposeful arrangement, I’m one step ahead of her every time. Thus, I became the favored consort before the people’s eyes. She, on the other hand, has lived peacefully hiding behind my spotlight. So between the two of us, who do you think the emperor is actually good to?” Meng Sangyu’s voice was disinterested, with neither anger nor hate. It was as if she was talking about someone else.
“So it was like this!” Nurse Feng muttered, her eyes blank and her mind fallen back into her memories. Suddenly, she raised her head and hurriedly asked, “Then the medicine for having children His Majesty especially found for you really, really is…”
“Yeah. Father has hundred of thousands of brave soldiers under his command. If I were to bear a son, in order to protect me father would definitely not willingly retire. For scholars to bankrupt a nation they must go through much efforts, but if a general were to revolt, all he would need to do is raise the sword in his hand. His Majesty is most averse to empress’ lines holding strong power, this type of situation is something he would definitely not allow to happen. Not only me, how do you think the empress died? Was it really me? She was forced to death by His Majesty and the women of this entire inner palace!” Meng Sangyu coldly laughed, her eyes looking distantly out the window. She didn’t notice that in her lap, A’Bao gaze was frozen in shock on her.
“The empress was not forced to death by Your Ladyship?” Nurse Feng asked surprised.
“Her family had already fallen, the son she gave birth to had also passed, and her health was deteriorating to its end. What good would it bring me to force her to death? She listened to rumors and suspected that her son was poisoned to death by me. She had wanted to use the last of her to take me down with her. Naturally, I couldn’t just sit and wait for her to do that.” Meng Sangyu sighed, in a low voice, “All I did was go see her and tell her the truth. I never harm children. All she had to do was calm down and get someone to investigate to find out. In the whole palace, other than me, who hadn’t tried harming her child? The Worthy Consort’s screen divider, the Imperial Consort’s purse, the Beautiful Consort’s story book, her confidant’s incense… even the prideful Gracious Consort gifted a set of poisoned porcelain. She didn’t look for these people, but especially came after a shielding tool like me, I couldn’t let her die so unjustly. The day after, she probably affirmed the truth herself, got angry and just went like that. Some people weren’t able to achieve their goal of using her to get me, naturally they needed to create some rumors for His Majesty to come after me. It’s too bad that I’m still of use to His Majesty, His Majesty wouldn’t do anything to me so they could only be disappointed in the end.”
“So this is how it is…” other than this phrase, Nurse Feng could not find other words to describe express her feelings.
Emperor Zhou’wu had already stiffened completely into a fossil. The Virtuous Consort aside, he had always thought that the empress was forced to death by the Virtuous Consort. The empress’s family had already fallen, he never thought of taking the empress’s life, much less the child of formal lineage he had been waiting for. Hearing that the virtuous consort saw the empress and the empress’s passed away in anger, he had to force his outrage down at the time and had disgusted the Virtuous Consort since. But now, from beginning to end he was blinded, fooled by a bunch of women! And the Gracious Consort, she actually also pushed forward the events from behind! Prideful? Honorable? I see! This is her pride and honor!
For the first time, Emperor Zhou’wu started reflecting on whether he was too full of himself. Prideful to the point of becoming an idiot.
“Not only so, why do you think my brother had become how he is? Nurse, you must remember how intelligent he was when he was little. He was forcibly raised to be unaccomplished by my father and mother! Because the revered Duke household doesn’t need an genius and talented heir! To ruin their own child is stabbing the hearts’ of father and mother! But to live, what other choice did they have?” Meng Sangyu lowered her head and covered her eyes, refusing to allow the tears in her eyes to be seen.
Emperor Zhou’wu’s heart tightened. He didn’t dare to look at her expression.
“It’s been hard on you Your Ladyship! Why didn’t Your Ladyship tell me earlier?” Nurse Feng kneeled at her feet in uncontrollable tears.
“Quickly get up nurse.” Meng Sangyu hurriedly helped her up. She gently explained, “Nurse you’re personality is so upright and your unable to hide things. If you had known all the nooks and crannies of these things, when His Majesty comes it would be difficult for you hide it and His Majesty would become suspicious. That’s why I’ve hidden this from you. But now it’s different. The Gracious Consort’s wish has already come true. Father will also soon give away his military power and retire from court. I’m no longer of use to His Majesty. If I still don’t let you know the truth, I’m afraid you would encourage me to curry favor. I would be troubled by that.”
“Your Ladyship, this servant’s a fool, this servant will never do it again!” Nurse Feng immediately pointed to the sky and swore, guilt and regret filled her heart.
“I believe you nurse.” Meng Sangyu raised her head. She forced back the tears in her eyes and in a strangely contagious light and cheerful voice, “from now on we’ll be living hard times. I still have to rely on nurse for a lot of things. Nurse you will take care of me and help me like before, right?
“This servant is willing to do anything for Your Ladyship!” Nurse Feng wiped her tears dry and quickly composed herself.
“Nurse Feng’s words are too harsh.” Meng Sangyu shook her head and laughed, joking, “actually I’m not pitiful, in this palace there’s a person more pitiful than me. Every time I think of him, I feel better.”
“Who?” Nurse Feng’s gaze changed.
“That person is the emperor. Shen Huiru, no matter appearance, talent or virtue, not a single one is outstanding. But she has an advantage, she doesn’t have a strong family. And her prideful personality makes her unwilling to compete for favor and give people a feeling of being power thirsty. Loving a woman like this is safe and easy, with no threat to imperial power. What His Majesty loves is not her person, but this feeling of safety. A person who lives in a cage he set for himself, even his feelings go through layers of calculation – don’t you think His Majesty is the most pitiful of us all?” What’s even more pitiful is that he loved the wrong person! Does Shen Huiru really only love his person and not power? Not likely! Meng Sangyu lowered her eyes, shaking her head with a mocking laugh.
Nurse Feng thought about it momentarily then nodded, letting out a sigh.
Emperor Zhou’wu quickly raised his head and looked towards the woman. With a fiery gaze in his eyes, there was an intense emotion resonating through his heart, as if thunder struck the walls of his heart. How could this woman be so intelligent, so perceptive? She has completely peeled away the defense of his heavily guarded heart! He had thought that Shen Huiru was the person that understood him most, but looking at it now, the person that understands him most is right here.
The Virtuous Consort is so attentive of me, could it be that she had once… towards me…. Badump badump, Emperor Zhou’wu’s disillusioned heart once again began beating furiously.
“Your Ladyship you understand His Majesty so well, is it because of deep rooted love for His Majesty?” Nurse Feng asked hesitantly. Only love would make a woman so attentive of a man.
Emperor Zhou’wu clenched his paws, full of hopefulness, waiting for the woman’s answer.
“Deep rooted love?” The Virtuous Consort enunciated these four words, her expression like a smile yet not a smile, “Nurse, would you fall in love with a person who uses you, hurts you and throws you away after you’re no longer of use? I’m not a masochist, I won’t take a path to death like that. His majesty and I are just employer and employee relationship, we’re just both using each other, there’s nothing else to it. A woman with a heart and emotional would not be able to survive in this palace.”
Emperor Zhou’wu’s furiously beating heart abruptly stopped. In his head other than chaos there was only the four words — both using each other!
Nurse Feng’s worried expression softened. She hesitated a moment before again asking, “Then Your Ladyship do you hate His Majesty?”
Emperor Zhou’wu stiffened his back and tail. He felt like he almost couldn’t breath anymore.
“Haha~” As if she heard a joke, Meng Sangyu waved her hand and lightly laughed, “Why should I hate His Majesty? What would hating him do for me? Do you really think I don’t have a way to avoid all that medicine? I just don’t want to bear a child for him. There’s no love nor hate. Instead of wasting my feelings on him, be torn and pained, it’s better to love myself and live my own life. Don’t you think so, nurse?”
Nurse Feng also gave a relaxed laugh, nodding her head in agreement.
These words became the last straw to shattering Emperor Zhou’wu’s hopes. A ripping pain came from his heart and Emperor Zhou’wu gave a painful whimper, jumped off the Virtuous Consort’s lap and stumbled outside. He needed some time to himself to sort out these feelings of stabbing pain in his heart.
Seeing A’Bao run out, Meng Sangyu wasn’t very worried. She just thought he wanted to play by himself for a bit. Recently A’Bao has become more and more obedient. Even without someone watching after him he understands he can’t run out of Bi’xiao Palace. The time he spends wandering the garden definitely won’t be more than an hour.
But Meng Sangyu predicted wrongly this time. A’Bao had left for more than four hours. Even when it was time for dinner he wasn’t back.
“Your Ladyship, we’ve already looked all over the places A’Bao usually likes to go to, but we haven’t caught sight of him.” Bi Shui and Yin Cui reported in a low voice, hurriedly entering from outside the hall.
“Look again! Look carefully!” Meng Sangyu’s expression tightened as she ordered anxiously. This dirty muddled palace can even chew up a human, much less a little puppy. Because of long term stress, the people in the palace more or less all have some personality disorders*, with many freaks who enjoy taking their stress out on people and small animals.
“Yes!” Bi Shui and Yin Cui felt the anxiety in their master’s heart. The immediately sent more servants to look.
Meng Sangyu waited for 45 minutes. The sun had reddened to a blood red, hanging off the roof of a palace, and the sky was already dimming to complete darkness. A cold draft rose up from the ground and the large temperature difference between day and night was already evident. Seeing this, her heart was uncontrollably filled with more anxiety.
“A whole body with no fur and he dares to play until this late and not return! After I find you we must properly punish you!” Meng Sangyu circled around the hall, muttering to herself.
“Did you find him?” After another hour, seeing Bi Shui return, Meng Sangyu hurriedly inquired.
“Forgive me Your Ladyship, we’ve looked all over Bi’xiao Palace and haven’t found A’Bao. But the servant watching the palace gate said that he hasn’t seen A’Bao run out. This servant was afraid Your Ladyship would worry and especially came back to report. We will continue searching now.” Bi Shui quickly said.
“You can go.” Meng Sangyu furrowed her brows and waved Bi Shui off. She paced back and forth restlessly in the front hall.
“Your Ladyship, A’Bao’s so small. Even if he just found a random hole to crawl into it would take people a while to find. Don’t worry, he may have curled up somewhere and fell asleep. When he wakes up he’ll naturally return.” Nurse Feng gently comforted. If it was before, if A’Bao got lost then he got lost. She definitely would not worry. But now that she knows that A’Bao is special to Her Ladyship, she couldn’t help but become worried.
“Fell asleep?” A light flashed through Meng Sangyu’s eyes. She immediately walked out toward her bedchamber. Pushing the door open, she went straight to the glamorous, large carved rosewood bed. She pulled up the sheets and bent down to look under. A small ball was, as expected, sprawled below the bed, blinking his grape like black eyes, looking startled at her!
“Found you!” Meng Sangyu sighed, thinking to herself: kittens and puppies all like going under beds after all!
Not having prepared himself to face the Virtuous Consort, suddenly seeing her beautiful face made Emperor Zhou’wu hold his breath and reflexively bring up his paws and cover his eyes.
“What’s wrong? Little one come out!” The anxiety and anger in her heart was extinguished by A’Bao’s dumb and cute behavior. Meng Sangyu called out to him not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.
“A’Bao seems as if he’s very upset?” Nurse Feng asked suspiciously as she squated down to look. This puppy is rather a little too intuitive. The shape of him curled up in the dark actually could give off such a devastated feeling.
Meng Sangyu’s expression tightened. She thought to herself that it wasn’t just her imagination after all. A’Bao’s condition wasn’t really right. Not like the ancients apathetic to animals, Meng Sangyu knows that little animals also have thoughts and emotions, they also have their own preferences, anger, sadness and happiness. A’Bao got hurt two times, and this entire month he has been stuck in Bi’xiao Palace, not allowed to go out. Just a moment ago he was affected by her and mother’s negative emotions as well. He doesn’t have depression does he?
“A’Bao quickly come out, come to me. I can make yummy food for you and play with you. I’ll take you to the imperial garden for walks in the mornings and evenings…” She enticed him. Her naturally clean and gentle voice carried an unusual power with it that made its way into Emperor Zhou’wu’s heart.
The reality he has believed in is slowly crumbling, his view on life and the world are all being completely overturned. This process is not a comfortable one for Emperor Zhou’wu. He had never reflected on himself as deeply before. He has also never seen his weakness so clearly before: listening to and believing in those close to him unreasonably, while over paranoid of others. He lacks the tolerance for others, seeming opinionated and arbitrary. As this continues, it would be only a matter of time before he and his retainers become distant. Isn’t the chaotic court at the moment the perfect proof?
He was felt incompetent, disappointed in himself, and anxious – as if in quicksand, unable to get out. He thought that if he just had a moment to himself he would feel better, but when the Virtuous Consort’s vibrant face appeared, when she brightly smiled and spoke with a gentle pampering voice, her words beating on his ear drums and heart, he unconsciously put down his paws, stood up, and slowly walked out from under the bed, uncontrollably plunging into the arms that have been waiting for him.
“Good A’Bao~ so good…” Meng Sangyu picked A’Bao up and kissed his little mouth, muttering comforting words nonstop. Her care for him was overflowing through her words and action.
Emperor Zhou’wu whimpered and began desperately licking the beautiful lips before him, thinking to himself: Wait for us to get our body back, we will definitely love you, care for you, protect you well. Please don’t say those words that stabs our heart again!
Meng Sangyu just thought that A’Bao was playing with her. Seeing him suddenly become lively again, she sighed in relief and warmly gave a few kisses back, causing A’Bao’s little tail to wag even more rapidly.
Translated from: 心理缺陷 (Xin Li Que Xian)
Literal translation: Psychological Deficiency –> which usually is used for mental retardation and intellectual disabilities
Author’s usage: I’m pretty sure the author does not intend to use this formally to mean psychological deficiency as it is defined in English, but rather is using “lack in psychology/mind” to describe maladaptive patterns of thought and behavior – which would often be categorized as a personality disorder.
Clam’s Blurb Corner:
Aiyahhhhhhhhh! Heaven forbid these names and titles and expressions…
Ex. 宸妃 (Chen Fei) = 宸 (Imperial/North Star (Celestial)/North Pole/Mansion/Imperial Palace) + 妃 (Consort)
Firstly: Polaris Consort? Alpha Ursae Minoris Consort? Pole Consort? (LOL)
And what I got to say to to this naming: author why @_@? Because…
Fun fact! : This title was coined by Emperor Gaozong of Tang, who happened to have a favored concubine named Wu Zetian, who also later became his empress and an emperor of Tang. He was preparing to give her this title and move her up a rank, but she didn’t officially get the title because she jumped a step and went straight to empress. (O.o) Well, it still is debated whether she officially received the title actually, but to my knowledge most agree. But anyhow, as the only officially recognized female emperor AND the only ever concubine of father –> nun –> concubine of son –> empress of son –> regent of son –> empress dowager –> emperor… she’s interesting.
Well I mean there’s one that went somewhat backwards in the order too: wife of son –> nun –> concubine of father… (Noble Consort Yang, A.K.A. Yang Gui’fei) All this historical harem intrigue is indeed quite intriguing~~