Chapter 20: Serving 2
Just past five, Meng Sangyu hardened her heart and left a crazily barking A’Bao. Adorned with a vibrant robe, she stood in the cold wind at the palace doors waiting for the arrival of Emperor Zhou’wu’s entourage.
When the fake emperor arrived, what he saw was a elegant beauty with her robes waving in the wind by the cold wind. The beauty’s face seemed pale due to the cold and her long phoenix eyes were watery as she looked at him, as if they held tens of thousands of emotions. He blanked for a moment and couldn’t help lowering his head. His already anxious heart began beating rapidly, not because of her beauty, but because of the tragedy he was about to face. Once he took this step forward, he would not have another chance to live.
Chang’xi faced a cough behind him as a warning. He immediately lifted his head and forced a smile as he faced toward the Virtuous Consort who was coming up to greet him. It’s this damned ‘I clearly don’t like you but I have to force myself to pretend to like you’ face again! Actually you really don’t need to come! I would surely thank you and eight generations of your ancestors*! Meng Sangyu curtsied in greeting as she swore to herself.
In her last life, she had been tossed to the side and uncared for by her parents since she was little. To live better, to receive more attention, she had learned since she was young to watch people’s expressions. As such, she was extremely sensitive to negative emotions of others, able to detect even the slightest of changes in expression. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have discovered the Emperor’s dearly hidden feelings as soon as she entered the palace.
The fake emperor followed the teachings of Chang’xi and quickly went forward to lift the Virtuous Consort from her curtsy and held her soft little hands. This pair of hands were soft but freezing cold, just like how he felt right now. The fake emperor unknowingly squeezed and quickly let go, then led the Virtuous Consort into the hall. The smile on his face became a little more natural.
Is this flirting? Meng Sangyu felt the strength on her hands and gave the man a strange look. In the past, even if Emperor Zhou’wu held her hand, the strength would always be not loose but not tight, as if he had already measured it. He never lost himself in bed either, just doing it as if finishing a task he must complete. Other than Shen Huiru, his attitude towards all women was the same. Although he seemed close, he actually was rejecting people to thousands of li away*. You could only see the look in his eyes relax momentarily when there is a new woman rather younger and with little background enter the palace every so often. But this relaxed look would fade with time and the metamorphosis of the new woman, difficult to see again.
That’s why this is actually a pitiful man.
As Meng Sangyu’s thoughts drifted all over the place, the fake emperor already brought her to the main hall. A burning fire pit made the big hall very warm. The warm air immediately enveloped her, making her face red, and allowed for the fake emperor’s heart to slightly relax.
The two sat by a little table on the couch. Bi’Shui and Nurse Feng paced the room, preparing tea and deserts.
You couldn’t just come and start of with ‘Beloved consort, let’s rest’ can you now? That would seem too hasty! The fake emperor picked up the hot tea and blew on it, thinking carefully about what he should do. Just at this time, he heard barking from the side hall next door. Thinking of the Virtuous Consort’s pet that he saw last time, a light flashed through his eyes, thinking that he finally found a topic to converse.
“Beloved consort, how well has that pet of yours been trained?”
“Your Majesty, what training? He can’t even move now!” Meng Sangyu’s voice had a blaming tone as she glanced coldly at Chang’xi.
Chang’xi quickly lowered his head.
“Oh? Is it from what Xu’Yao did last time? Is he severely wounded?” The fake emperor put down the tea cup, following her direction of conversation.
“Bi’Shui, tell Yin’Cui to carry A’Bao in to let His Majesty take a look!” Meng Sangyu waved her hand and said. Hearing A’Bao’s slightly sore voice, it seems that he had been barking nonstop since she had left. This child really can’t leave her side for a minute. What should we do in the future? Although she was clearly complaining, but she was slightly happy inside. She was entranced by this feeling of being needed and relied upon.
The barking of the little dog was getting closer and closer. When he entered the hall and saw Meng Sangyu, he immediately lifted his head from Yin’Cui’s arms. The devastated barking became cute whimpers, and his little paws extended toward Meng Sangyu, as if asking for his owner to hug him.
Seeing his watery little eyes, Meng Sangyu’s heart softened like crazy. She immediately got up and carried him into her arms, using a finger to scratch his chin.
The sound of happy whimpers became louder.
“Beloved Consort, how did he become so hurt? I didn’t think Xu’Yao would be so cruel!” Seeing A’Bao’s Christmas sweater, Emperor Zhou’wu froze for a moment. He only noticed A’Bao’s shaved fur and body of wounds after the Virtuous Consort sat down with A’Bao in her arms. Look at these paws, they’re wrapped like hooves, and that tail, what difference does it have from a rolling pin? How pitiful!
Meng Sangyu glanced at him and didn’t carry on the conversation. Unless her head was kicked by a donkey* she wouldn’t say bad thing’s about the emperor’s son with him. Emperor Zhou’wu finally noticed the fraud on the side now. A sharp light struck through his dark eyes as soon as the two words ‘Beloved Consort’ came out. He uncontrollably began barking at the fake emperor. He wanted to resist, but unfortunately A’Bao’s brain capacity was too small, which affected his personality and thinking process.
“He seems to be hostile towards us?” The fake emperor raised his brow. This standard expression Emperor Zhou’wu used to express his dissatisfaction he copied perfectly.
Meng Sangyu’s heart tightened. She hurriedly patted A’Bao’s head, signing for him to be quiet. Then she picked up his two front paws and made a kowtow posture smiling as she said, “How could it be? He was just saying: Long live Your Majesty, long live, long live*!”
Woof woof woof woof woof, woof woof, woof woof*. Based on A’Bao’s barking frequency in combination with the Virtuous Consort’s translation, it really seemed like that was it. The fake emperor paused in thought, then lifted his head and burst into laughter. His panic and despair since receiving the Gracious Consort’s orders all disappeared in this relaxing laughter. Since he’s going to die sooner or later, why not enjoy the present?
The Virtuous Consort not only looks beautiful and proper, her personality is also surprisingly cute. It was comfortable being with her, making one unable to stop the happiness in their hearts. But how strange it was that the emperor didn’t fall in love with her but instead went on to like such an wildly ambitious and dark one as the Gracious Consort. They really weren’t wrong when they all said that the emperor’s heart is unpredictable! The fake emperor thought in his heart and couldn’t help but compliment, “Beloved Consort is really such an astounding person!”
His voice was intimate, his expression soft, the depths of his eyes showed an impossible to miss interest. This was a sign of a man’s appreciation for a woman. The first signs of his heart moving.
Emperor Zhou’wu received his expression, his heart squeezed, his breath stopped, he suddenly felt terrified and anxious. How good Sangyu is, no one knew better than him. Whoever paid her even a little bit of attention would involuntarily be attracted by her. She’s optimistic, she’s open-minded, she’s natural, she has an open personality. In this dark forbidden palace where the daylight does not reach, she’s like a ray of sunshine with a deadly allure. As long as they’re not blind as he had been, as long as they’re a man they wouldn’t be able to resist her charisma.
If this man becomes interested in Sangyu… Emperor Zhou’wu grit his teeth, to scared for his thoughts to continue. It was as if his heart was carved and dragged out by someone then crushed. He again deeply hated his situation. Even if he wasn’t a human, it would be good if he at least possessed a mastiff! Then he would definitely immediately bite this person’s neck in two!
Meng Sangyu’s heart at this moment was also not calm. What did she just see? How could she have seen gentleness in the dog emperor’s eyes? Usually, no matter how happy the laughter of the dog emperor seemed, the freezing cold in the depths of his eyes never melted! So this person who’s openly laughing out loud has to be fake right? She couldn’t help but think.
Seeing Meng Sangyu’s extremely cute, dumbfounded blank expression, the fake emperor couldn’t help but tease her, “Look at his face full of hostility, he really doesn’t like us.”
Meng Sangyu followed his finger to finally see A’Bao twisted expression. A’Bao had his eyes opened wide in a glare, his teeth bared, the tip of his nose pulsing as he emitted a low growl in warning. It would be bad if this angry and vicious expression made the emperor unhappy!
She hurriedly covered A’Bao’s dog face. With a awkward smile she explained, “Your Majesty is misunderstanding, A’Bao isn’t hostile toward Your Majesty, he’s being hostile to other people. Puppies hold very deep grudges. It was all thanks to Chang’Xi Gonggong* that this consort’s A’Bao got to take a cold bath in the lotus pond. If it wasn’t so he wouldn’t bring back this body of wounds either.” She coldly took a glance at Chang’Xi.
Chang’Xi immediately kneeled down, slapping his own face as he took blame, “This servant should die, this servant was wrong, this servant has eyes but was blind! This servant begs for the forgiveness of Your Ladyship the Virtuous Consort!” He had thought that this woman would for sure have lost everything, which was why he was so fearless when beating her pet. But who would have thought that Her Ladyship the Gracious Consort would still have use for her? As such, it couldn’t be avoided that he would have to compromise this time. It’s just a woman who’s going to die soon, I’ll just bear with you for now. Just wait until I become Minister of Memorials and see! Chang’Xi lowered her eyes, hiding the spite in the depths of his eyes.
But Emperor Zhou’wu was laying on Meng Sangyu’s lap, their line of sight happened to match. Naturally, he received his expression in his eyes, thinking coldly in his heart: seems like, this servant can’t be kept anymore!
For Emperor Zhou’wu’s face, the concubines are all very polite to Chang’Xi, very respectful, but not Meng Sangyu. She 1. doesn’t want to fight for favor, 2. doesn’t want power, and even more doesn’t need Chang’Xi to speak for her in front of Emperor Zhou’wu for Emperor Zhou’wu to always be thinking of her. If Chang’Xi doesn’t come to bother her, naturally there would be no problems. But if he bothered her, she definitely won’t let him go. She hasn’t forgotten the revenge for that kick A’Bao got.
But, even revenge needs its limits. After all, Chang’Xi is a follower of the dog emperor.
Meng Sangyu was watching Emperor Zhou’wu’s every expression, waiting to stop immediately as soon as he expressed even a little bit of annoyance. But just this one look revealed a problem. What’s that look? It’s not annoyance, not anger, but rather seems like panic, fear, and uneasiness?
Meng Sangyu tightened her lips and took another look. This time, she finally confirmed she didn’t see wrong. He was anxious and fearful of a servant? How could it be? Her heart started pounding, a thought started forming in her head as if lightning flashing through her mind.
Seeing Emperor Zhou’wu furrow his brows as he looked over at her, clearly upset with a thread of unease in the depths of his eyes, Meng Sangyu lifted her hand and carelessly opened her mouth, “Alright, you can stop. Next time take more care!” With these words, she took another look at the fake emperor who secretly relaxed his facial expression and suggested, “Your Majesty, so those other blind things won’t harm A’Bao again, why don’t Your Majesty write a dog tag for him? With an imperially granted dog tag, A’Bao’s travel in this palace would be safe, and this concubine would no longer have to be worried for him!”
“This…” The fake emperor hesitated, he was scared to give himself away when he wrote.
“Bi’Xiao Palace A’Bao, just five words that can be done with the lift of a hand. Your Majesty, please grant this concubine’s wish!” Meng Sangyu counted with her fingers and pulled at his sleeves, her voice soft and alluring.
The fake emperor’s heart shook, he stealthily looked toward the red-faced Chang’Xi. Chang’Xi gave him a barely noticeable look and the fake emperor happily agreed.
Emperor Zhou’wu had already started hollering with all his might when Meng Sangyu had pulled on his sleeves in a cute whine*.
Meng Sangyu naturally noticed the strange exchange between the fake emperor and Chang’Xi. She quickly waved her hand to call Yin’Cui to take away the noisy A’Bao so as he wouldn’t anger these people and distract her.
As the sound of barking went afar, Bi’Shui and Nurse Feng brought brushes, ink and paper and spread them on the table.
*Eight generations of your ancestors
Original: 八辈儿祖宗 (Ba Bei Er Zu Zong)
Explanation: An expression that’s used in conjunction to swear/curse words. Basically used to emphasis your hatred/dislike for someone. In this case it’s used sardonically.
*rejecting people to thousands of li away
Original: 拒人于千里之外 (Ju Ren Yu Qian Li Zhi Wai)
Explanation: A saying for pushing people away, refusing their approach. Li is a unit for distance in ancient China, I do not believe that it’s in common usage in the modern day.
*head was kicked by a donkey
Explanation: For those who don’t know, a donkey is also known as an a**. This is a relatively more crude saying in China for saying that unless you’re dumb you wouldn’t do something. Slightly less crude alternatives would be saying “unless XXX’s head was caught in a door” (脑子被门夹了 Nao Zi Bei Men Jiao Le) or “unless water went in XXX’s head” (脑子进水了 Nao Zi Jin Shui Le). So she’s basically saying that unless she was a dumba** she wouldn’t do it. [I feel like horrible person teaching y’all these mean words.]
*Long live Your Majesty, long live, long live!
Original: 皇上万岁，万岁，万万岁! (Huang Shang Wan Sui, Wan Sui, Wan Wan Sui)
Explanation: A standard greeting to the Chinese emperor, wishing for the emperor to live ten-thousand years and more. 万 is a unit of ten-thousand and 岁 means years.
*Woof woof woof woof woof, woof woof, woof woof
Original: 汪汪汪汪，汪汪，汪汪汪 (Wang)
Explanation: Had to improvise with the syllables, but the number is still the same. :’)
Explanation: A more polite reference of a eunuch usually used in speech. It also means father-in-law.
Original: 撒娇 (Sa Jiao)
Explanation: Truth is, I don’t think this saying exists in English. It’s a phrase to describe acting cute, a little whiny, toward a significant other or friends and family you’re close to. It’s often a way to get someone to do something you want them to in a cute manner… (?)
“but unfortunately A’Bao’s brain capacity was too small, which affected his personality and thinking process”
– Rolls eyes –
Traveling, *very* limited ability to respond.