The Problem Regarding Bearing
Tian Qi discovers that although Sun Da Li does not seek anymore trouble with her, she has unwittingly offended Shu Fei.
Shu Fei is one of the Feis; she has always been domineering and protective in nature. Sun Da Li’s teacher twisted everything up while complaining to her. Right now, Tian Qi is a eunuch in the imperial front-line, other than the emperor, no one will seek her any trouble. However, if she gets kicked out of Gan Qing Palace, it is more than easy for Shu Fei to do as she please to her.
So, Tian Qi must do anything to hug the emperor’s leg tight; she wants to work in Gan Qing Palace. Even if she dies, she wants to be known as a corpse from Gan Qing Palace.
Now that we have reached this part, it is time to introduce the synergy in the harem.
There are four Feis in the harem, De Fei, Shu Fei, Xun Fei and Kang Fei. The center of the harem is empty, along with the position of Guifei and Huang Guifei. Honestly, the position of Huang Guifei being empty is not really surprising. Guifeis usually only gets to be Huang Guifei once they dies and are posthumously rewarded that title.
(TN: The center of the harem refers to the empress. She is called that because she leads the harem and her palace is at the center of the back palace, usually right next to the emperor’s palace. Guifei is a really really high-ranking position. They are a level above Fei, a level below Huang Guifei. They are pretty rare. Huang Guifei is a level higher than a Guifei and just a little lower than the empress. They are even rarer than Guifei.
- Huang Guifei
- There are more below, like Zhaoyi/Pin etc. but they are not explained in this chapter.)
As for the position of the Guifei, there is only one requirement; one can be a Guifei once they give birth to a child. Since none of the Feis has any children for now, they can only be stuck as Feis.
In other words, if one wants to become a Guifei, they will need to bear children. Once they do, even the empress’ seat is not impossible.
Since we are without an empress, the harem is managed by the empress dowager. She is helped by De Fei and Xun Fei. The empress dowager is a very level-headed person, since she is aged, she does not think it is sensible to meddle too much in the harem’s matters. Other than really big things, she mostly leaves the harem to the care of De Fei and Xun Fei. De Fei is a person of high moral, she has very good reputation. Xun Fei, on the other hand, is a hardworker. She is cautious in everything she says and is very appreciated by the emperor because of that.
Shu Fei is the youngest and most beautiful out of the four Feis, she serves the emperor the most. Because of that, she is the likeliest one out of the lot to be carrying the dragon seed. That is her chip.
As for Kang Fei, although she seems to be the one with the least presence, she has a very solid background. She is the empress dowager’s niece. Her mother is the empress dowager’s biological little sister. The relationship between the sisters are really good.
All in all, the four Feis have their own strengths and weaknesses. It can be said that they are evenly matched. The winner cannot be seen for now.
In Tian Qi’s opinion, the emperor too, is wonderful in his own way. It has been so long since the late empress died and he still refuses to instate a new one. A lot of officials try to give a piece of their minds on that matter, but the emperor remains unperturbed.
Honestly, all of these has nothing to do with Tian Qi. No matter how powerful the consorts are, the emperor is still the most powerful of them all. As long as she serves the emperor well and makes side-money in her free time, a comfortable life is set to await her in the future.
Today, the emperor is very happy because the Sumatran king has sent a huge divine turtle as offering.
They call this kind of turtles ‘pond turtle’ because they live in ponds and lakes.
Sumatra is a poverty-stricken kingdom that relies mainly on their maritime resources. Their main source of income is the tax that they imposed on passing vessels.
The Great Qi is a prosperous kingdom. Sumatra has to present tributes to us every year. They cannot afford to send precious treasures and our emperor does not lack them either, so they usually sends rare creatures like exotic birds and whatnot.
They discovered this turtle during it’s hibernation sleep. It’s huge size caused news to spread and in the end, the news reached their king. When the king saw how big it was, he knew the tribute for this year was settled.
He knows that the people in the Central Plain considers turtles as a bringer of good luck, so he happily caters to another’s desire and immediately boards a ship with that sleeping turtle to the Great Qi.
He personally comes along, saying to protect the turtle, though the real reason of his visit is probably to freeload.
Though spring is after winter, since they are heading north, the weather does not become warmer. The turtle continues to hibernate from Sumatra all the way to the Great Qi.
When it opens it’s eyes, it discovers that it’s nest is no longer there. It is instead in a peculiar land. The lake water is cold, there are willows lining the riverbank and there are lotuses above the lake. There is even a pavilion in the middle of the lake.
Everything must be really frightening for the turtle.
There are so many people watching it in interest, at that!
The emperor invites his mother, consorts and son to watch the turtle in Tai Ye Lake.
Tian Qi stands behind Ji Heng, so she is lucky enough to see the turtle from close proximity.
Pond turtles’ heads are originally bigger than tortoises, however, this one’s head is abnormally large that it shocks even people who are used to handling turtles.
It’s shell is huge, around half a zhang, shiny and smooth. It looks like a huge rock. It’s neck is huge as it stares unblinkingly towards the people in the bank.
(TN: 1 zhang is 10 feet.)
Tian Qi is astonished.
At that moment, a couple of eunuchs bring over a few baskets of fish. They are about to hurl the fishes over, to feed the turtle. Ji Heng turns around and sees Tian Qi bending her neck to look at the turtle, her eyes are sparkling.
The corner of his lips curls up as he speaks to Tian Qi, “You. Go and feed that turtle.”
Tian Qi’s eyes twinkle at this honor; she runs up to the fish baskets and picks up a big fish. She weighs it in her hand before throwing it to the turtle.
Everyone’s eyes follow the trajectory of that fish.
The fish hits the turtle in the head with a loud thud.
The anticipating crowd: ………
The turtle’s movement is really slow, it is impossible for it to react in time. Lucky that although the turtle is slow in reacting, it’s skin is thick and tough so it is relatively unharmed. It bows it’s head into the water and eats the fish that has been thrown to it.
Because of it’s big head, the size of the fish does not matter at all. In fact, it is extremely hungry since it has only woken from a long sleep.
It eats very quickly. With just three bites, the fish is no longer in view. The turtle goes back to it’s previous position, watching the people watching it.
Tian Qi picks out another one. This time, she is a little more careful in the way she throws it. She does not wish to hit the turtle again.
The fish falls next to the turtle. This time, it reacts a little faster. Before the fish even sinks, it already has a go at it.
The crowd is watching that scene with relish. Tian Qi wants to use this chance to leave an impression for the consorts in the palace.
Ruyi, the little guy, is really interested in this. He leaps over to Tian Qi and hugs her leg, “I want to play, too!”
Little kids are smart in their own ways. Even though he is saying that to Tian Qi, he secretly looks at Ji Heng for permission. He knows who is in charge.
Ji Heng has no objection.
Tian Qi picks out a little fish from the basket and hands it over to Ruyi. He holds the fish with two hands while Tian Qi wraps her arm around him, afraid that he will fall into the water along with the fish.
Ruyi hurls the fish towards the turtle. Since his strength is too small, the fish ends up falling quite far from the turtle. The turtle completely ignores it. However, upon realizing that no other fish is being hurl towards it, the turtle gives in and goes for the small fish.
The crowd claps to encourage him. Tian Qi and Ruyi continue to feed the turtle.
Ji Heng is an idle idiot. He ordered people to watch the turtle eats and once the turtle eats enough, it swims away without sparing them another glance.
A lot of other idle idiots feel like they have not watched enough and wants to see more.
Someone gives Ruyi some water to wash his hands with. He grabs Tian Qi’s hands and washes her hands along with his. After that, he clutches Tian Qi’s robe and refuses to let go, “Come and play with me.”
This is a prince’s order; Tian Qi does not dare to agree, but does not dare to decline either. She hesitates for a while.
Ruyi grabs her hands cutely and calls her, “Mom—-”
Tian Qi quickly kneels, her face changing out of fear. It is okay for other children to simply call others mom, but this is a prince, and his dad is just right over there.
Ji Heng knows that his son has taken a penchant to calling beautiful women ‘mom’, and Tian Qi appears pretty androgynous and feminine, so he does not pay much attention to that. He simply says, “Tian Qi, go and play with him.”
Ji Heng has always felt sorry for his son for growing up without a mother. As long as he is not asking for something that crosses the line, he is willing to indulge him. The child is still young anyway, Ji Heng will get a little stricter once the child grows a little older.
Just like that, Ruyi drags Tian Qi away, the two of them walking hand-in-hand along the banks of Tai Ye Lake. Tian Qi asks him, “Your Highness, what do you want to play?”
Ruyi does not know what to play.
Ji Heng orders everyone to disperse. He himself does not leave. He heads towards the lake pavilion and sits there while drinking tea, occasionally watching the two of them from a distance away.
Seeing that Ruyi has no idea what to play, Tian Qi takes the lead and plays the ‘blow the willow leaf’ game. She is not very good in this game, but can still manage to create some sound. That is naturally more than good enough for Ruyi because he is not able to even create a sound.
(TN: I think this is the game where one flattens a leaf in front of their mouth and blows it, creating sound. It is like playing harmonica, just with leaves.)
He follows the way Tian Qi holds the leaf.
After a moment, an ear-grating sound can be heard around the lake. That shrill sound is very annoying as it travels from the banks of the lake to the pavilion.
Ji Heng frowns as the noise reaches his ears; he suddenly has the urge to plug his ears.
This Tian Qi—- other than his pretty face, he cannot do any other thing well.
That sound is affecting the views; and most important of all, Ji Heng fears that Ruyi’s exceptional bearing will be compromised. He speaks out, “Tell them to stop making that noise!”
When a eunuch relays his order, the two immediately stops.
Since they are not allowed to make noise, Tian Qi breaks off a branch from a willow tree and weaves it into little things. She weaves a little rabbit, a little mouse, and even a little flower basket. She puts the rabbit and the mouse into that basket.
Ruyi hugs the basket, looking extremely overjoyed, “Mom, you are so incredible!”
Tian Qi is too lazy to correct him; correcting him is useless anyway. She then, plaits two little hats. She puts it on their heads, looking like little pots.
Ji Heng has sat enough and walks out of the pavilion. He can see Ruyi running towards him from far away, seemingly hugging something.
When Ruyi has gotten close enough for him to take a good look at him, Ji Heng’s face darkens.
His son and his eunuch are wearing hats made off willow leaves and branches. That is not the most important point, the most important point is the color of their hats.
(TN: When someone wears a green hat, it means that their spouse is cheating on them.)
“Take it off.”
The two people are very obedient and take the hats off.
It is almost noon. The emperor and the prince should be heading for lunch soon, and Tian Qi’s shift is almost ending. After promising each other to play again tomorrow, Ruyi finally lets go of Tian Qi.
Seeing the two being so unwilling to part from each other makes one feel as though they are the real father-son pair. Ji Heng harrumphs coldly. This little pervert is going to corrupt his child.
He still rewards Tian Qi, in the end. Coaxing a child is not an easy business.
Seeing Tian Qi smiling from ear to ear after receiving money, the corner of his lips curls.
As she gets off work, Tian Qi touches her money bag. She feels like her fortune is finally shifting. The way she analyzes her fortune is by seeing how much money she has. She makes a lot for the past couple of days, perhaps she is finally getting lucky.
Then, she gets a beating in the head by someone—- quite literally.
Tian Qi’s shift starts at 3 am. The sky is still dark. In order to go to Gan Qing Palace from Shi San Suo, she needs to pass through Xuan Wu gate and the imperial garden.
As she passes a fake rockery in the imperial garden, she can feel a gust of breeze passing through her ears. Before she even gets to react, a burst of pain hits her in the head, and then, she passes out.
Serene: This chapter was brought to you by Meropi.