The Follow-Up Events
Ji Zheng is Ji Heng’s younger brother. He will be 16 years old this year and has already been bestowed the title ‘Ning Wang’. He has been bestowed his own manor this year and has already moved out of the imperial palace. The previous emperor only had two sons; Ji Zheng is the younger one and is the son of the consort he favored. Because of all the reasons stated, the late emperor inevitably doted on him more. There was a pretty big crisis for succession back then.
The saying that ‘there is harm within love’ is true. The late emperor’s love on the younger child created a distance between the two children. The two of them could not respect each other as brothers. Ji Heng can already be considered generous for not giving his brother a hard time after ascending the throne. After all, Ji Zheng almost snatched away his imperial seat.
Ji Zheng actually feels that he is the most innocent person in this matter. How old was he when the rumors of changing heir were running rampant? He was only at the age where all he thought about were ‘I could not recite the poem, will imperial father scold me?’ and ‘I found a new toy today. I must secretly play it and not be discovered by other people.’ He did not even had the slightest desire for the emperor’s seat. However, her mother who was a Guifei was a person with ambition. She was always under the impression that everyone was out to get them. If the then Crown Prince becomes the emperor, he would make their lives a living hell and so, she had actively engaged in the power struggle.
(TN: A Guifei is a very very high ranked consort in the harem. She is only one rank below the empress.)
Just like that, the muddle-headed emperor, the consort that he loved and those corrupted ministers were embroiled in a power struggle.
Of course, that little gang failed. What has been set has already been set, it is not easy to contort it. There are times where the ministers have more power than the emperor when it comes to deciding the heir; under the protection of both the military and literary department, the Crown Prince managed to secure his spot.
Aware of her evil-doings, after Ji Heng’s ascension to the throne, the Guifei was engulfed in constant worry and fear. She was scared that she and her son would face persecution. All those worries plus her discontent caused her to gradually developed a heart disease. A year into Ji Heng’s ascension to the throne, she passed away.
Ji Zheng knows that the more he distance himself from power, the safer he will be. Because of that, he squanders his time by playing around. The empress dowager and the emperor gradually let down their guard against him.
Ji Zheng thinks they think too much; he is just the son of a concubine who has no backing. How muddle-headed would he be to go and fight to be the emperor?
He is living a fine life as a royal. He can eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He can do whatever he wants without anything holding him back. In short, his current life is more fulfilling than that of an emperor’s.
Basically, Ji Zheng’s life revolves around hedonism.
As he grows up, he begins to resemble his mother more and more. He has a fair skin, a pair of red lips, and exquisite facial features. His face is becoming more and more chiseled as he grows while still retaining the clear and easy-going air of a young boy.
When he has nothing to do, he would often go out and stroll in the big streets and all eyes would fall on him. He has gotten used to being the center of everyone’s attention and honestly does not mind them.
The same thing happens today; the only difference is the one circling him are a bunch of eunuchs instead of maidens.
He was just strolling outside the northern gate of the imperial palace. As he walks, a black object enters his peripheral vision, heading straight for him. Realizing that the object will hit him, Ji Zheng intends to avoid it, and he definitely can had it not been for the thin figure of someone rushing to him while yelling, “Be careful, wangye!”
Ji Zheng freezes for a second and in the span of that one second, that person literally flies towards him before pouncing on him. He staggers backwards and ends up falling to the ground along with that person.
Ji Zheng goes out today without his bodyguards. He only brings a couple of servants with him. They are late in reacting and can only watch their wangye being toppled over by that flying eunuch.
At that moment, the object heads straight towards the two people’s head. Ji Zheng casually pushed it aside with his hand.
As the stool falls to the ground, one of it’s legs hits Tian Qi in the forehead.
Ji Zheng wraps his arms around Tian Qi’s waist. The body that is currently in his embrace feels so soft and supple; thin and slender. The eunuch must have been running really hard, he is breathing heavily, his chest heaving up and down. His breathing feels warm when it falls on his face.
His ears redden.
This is the first time the prince is being pressed down by someone and his first time is taken by a eunuch.
Ji Zheng feels a little uncomfortable. He opens his eyes only for a red droplet to falls into it. His sight immediately turns blurry. He blinks repeatedly.
Tian Qi clutches her forehead and snaps at the dazed servants, “Come! A drop of blood fell into wangye’s eyes!”
‘Wangye’, ‘eyes’ and ‘blood’ when put together are more than enough to put people into disarray. Those servants help them both up before circling Ji Zheng to clean his eyes off the blood.
At that moment, Sun Da Li and a couple of noisy onlookers arrive. Seeing Ji Zheng, all of them immediately kneel on the ground.
Ji Zheng rubs his left eye that has turned red, “Get up!”
All the eunuchs get up. Tian Qi stands next to Ji Zheng as she points at Sun Da Li, “Preposterous! How dare you casually throw things around? The chair you threw has hit wangye!”
Sun Da Li is so scared that he practically throws himself to the ground, “W-W-W-Wangye, please spare me!”
Ji Zheng smiles faintly as he glances at Tian Qi, secretly thinking that the one who hurts him was her. However, Tian Qi has a good intention, so he decides to let it be. He ignores Sun Da Li and turns to Tian Qi, “Your forehead is bleeding.”
Tian Qi clutches her wound, “Thank you for your concern, wangye. This servant is fine.”
Wang Meng takes out his handkerchief and dabs it on her forehead. When the bleeding does not stop, he simply presses the handkerchief against her forehead.
Ji Zheng looks at the handkerchief that is now soaked with blood. He frowns, “It is better for you to get it checked by a physician.”
Hearing the word ‘physician’, Tian Qi’s head suddenly aches, “This servant is more than grateful for wangye’s care. However, if this servant goes to a physician, my superior might find out and reprimands this servant.”
After thinking for a moment, Ji Zheng agrees with her. It is better to not prolong things like fights and scuffles. He takes out a piece of gold from his money pouch and hands it over to Tian Qi, “Why don’t you use this and get your wound looked at by a regular medical practitioner. You saved me today, consider this my thanks.”
“This servant dares not accept wangye’s gratitude. This servant will just consider this a reward,” Tian Qi says while taking the gold and placing in securely on her chest.
Ji Zheng does not want to delay her from tending to her treatment, so he does not say anything to her. Just as he is about to leave, he turns to Sun Da Li, “If you dare to do this again, this king will go to imperial brother and asks him to transfer you to Shanxi. You can go around digging coals over there.”
Sun Da Li quickly forces himself to squeeze a sheepish smile, “This servant will not….. This servant will not….”
Once they return to Shi San Suo, Wang Meng helps Tian Qi bandage her wound. He coincidentally took Jin Chuang paste from An Le Hall before, it finally comes to use now.
After finishing doing that, he and Tian Qi are huddled on one corner, calculating the money they took from Sun Da Li earlier. It totals up to 140 liang. Other than the 100 liang that he stole, they got an additional 40 liang.
Tian Qi sighs as she touches the money, such a beneficial exchange.
Sun Da Li has been scared senseless by the wangye, it is unlikely for him to go after them after this.
Wang Meng pushes the money to Tian Qi and she pushes it back to him, “Take it. But if you lose it again, I won’t care anymore. You must be more courageous after this, do not simply wait for others to save you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you will only let other people steps on you. Even if you can’t fight physically, you can fight using your brain.”
Wang Meng mutters softly, “I am stupid.”
“Yes you are.” Tian Qi agrees. “Aren’t you good at medicine? Do you know how to make medication? Make some and keeps them with you!”
Wang Meng nods.
Tian Qi instructs him, “Once you made one, leave some for me.”
On the next day, Tian Qi is still on duty in Yang Xin Palace.
Seeing the white bandage under Tian Qi’s hat, Ji Heng becomes curious. He walks over to her and takes off her hat, revealing the gauze that is placed on top of her wound.
“Whose teaching was this?” Ji Heng asks as he buckles back her hat on top of her head.
Tian Qi fixes the position of her hat, “Answering Your Majesty, this servant accidentally knocked his head on a doorframe yesterday.”
Ji Heng eyes Tian Qi, saying, “Interesting. You are so short, how low was the doorframe that it managed to knock you in the head?”
Tian Qi gives him an eyeroll in her heart; the emperor sure is idle today. He actually has the time to tease her.
Seeing the unresponsive Tian Qi, Ji Heng speaks again, “Don’t tell zhen you were going through a dog passage.”
Tian Qi’s face twitches, “Your Majesty thinks too much.”
“Tian Qi, deceiving the emperor is not a light offence.”
Tian Qi grits her teeth, she can only tells the truth. She naturally glosses over a couple of important details. She only told him that she saw someone cheating and called him out for it. That person got upset and chased after her to hit her.
From her embellished description, Ji Heng gets the general gist of what she had done. “Gambling and fighting.” He narrows his eyes unhappily. “What on earth have you been doing in your spare time?!”
Tian Qi hastily replies him, “Your Majesty, my entire days are dedicated to serving you! The rest are just to past time!”
Ji Heng knocks on Tian Qi’s head with his hand, “Sweet mouth.”
Tian Qi clicks her tongue.
The expression she made can be considered as a loss of conduct in an imperial presence, but Ji Heng thinks it is amusing and simply lets it be. He thinks for a while before asking, “Who is the eunuch that hits you?”
“Answering Your Majesty, he is a eunuch in charge of managing imperial horses, Sun Da Li.”
Ji Heng thinks about how he should manage this Sun Da Li. If one wants to kick a dog, he must first know who the owner is. Can people simply hit eunuchs who are in the front-most part of imperial duties? Under what offense should he be punished of? Gambling? If he did not gamble in the imperial palace, then he can be accused of fighting. And perhaps cheating.
Ji Heng looks at Tian Qi who does not appear regretful at all. He shakes his head. Never mind, he can just deal with this later. He will just let this little pervert suffer a lost for now.
However, Tian Qi has a good skin. It will not do if it leaves a scar. “Go to the Department of Imperial Physicians and ask for Yu Xue skin cream. If you dare to fight again, zhen will not let you off.”
“This servant thanks Your Majesty’s grace.”
Once she is off-duty, Tian Qi forgoes her meals and heads straight to the Department of Imperial Physicians. She told them that she is injured and that the emperor told her to get some medicine. She didn’t say what he told her to take, so she ends up taking a bunch of good medicines, Yu Xue skin ointment being one of them.
Once she finishes cheating people again, she runs back to Shi San Suo happily.
On the other hand, Ji Heng has asked Sheng An Huai to explain what has happened to him. Sheng An Huai already know what happened yesterday, he reports it honestly to his master. Since he already considers Tian Qi as part of his camp, his words are somewhat biased towards her. Those eunuchs spend their past time gambling; that part, a lot of people can understand. Then, Tian Qi saw danger coming their Ning Wang’s way. He focuses on the part where she disregarded her own safety to save him.
Who would have known that the emperor would harrumphs when he hears that, “What do you mean by heroic and brave to save his own Master? Who is his Master, exactly?”
Sheng An Huai secretly curses himself for messing up. How could he have forgotten that the emperor and the wangye had an unpleasant past together? The wangye interacting with the emperor’s personal eunuch is not something good. Tian Qi’s master is naturally the emperor. If he calls the wangye the master, isn’t he basically implying that the wangye has a covetous heart?
Sheng An Huai tries to mend the situation. His heart is completely overwhelmed in fear as he hastily says, “Your Majesty is right. Tian Qi probably wasn’t thinking too much. She probably just thought she shouldn’t implicate an innocent person because of her fight.”
Ji Heng secretly thinks that the little pervert must have thought Ah Zheng was handsome. That was why she saved him. He harrumphs coldly.