YMPCD – Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Probe

 

Tian Qi sighs in relief over her luck.

To be hit by others in the head, and then tied and dumped into Tai Ye Lake and still live to recount the tale, she must have been helped by the gods.

Oh, not the gods, but the divine turtle!

She thinks the divine turtle recognized her because it’s first meal in the Great Qi was given by her.  Perhaps, that was why it lifted her up.

It is the same as being a guest in a countryside and meeting someone who enthusiastically helped you.  You felt really thankful and would like to repay the deed one day.

That is most probably the relationship between her and the divine turtle.

After Tian Qi was saved, the emperor was very considerate and gave her 3 days off. He let her go back to Shi San Suo to rest.

Not only that, he even sends an imperial physician to check her health.

Tian Qi discovers that she has a strong destiny with physicians this year.  This time, before she even gets to escape, Sheng An Huai blocks the exit.  Lucky the physician this time is not the same as the one in the last time.  If not, she would not be able to explain herself.

Is the physician’s courtyard overcrowded; why are so many of them so idle as to check a little eunuch’s illness.

Tian Qi’s silent discontent remains a silent discontent.  She hides her wrist inside her sleeves, refusing to let the physician check her.  She constructs her excuse secretly.  If the physician is adamant and then finds any problem with her pulse, she will tell them that she was ‘cut’ too clean back then, and that is why her pulse is like that of a woman’s.

However, contrary to her expectation, the physician did not ask to check her pulse.  He presses the back of her head and asks about how it feels.

Tian Qi finds it weird.

Sheng An Huai finds it weird as well, “What about the pulse?”

The physician shakes his head, “No need.  This eunuch is injured on his head, the head is the area of Yun Shen, I will not get anything from checking his pulse.  You said you feels dizzy and nauseous, it is because your head received too much blunt force.  I will give you a prescription and you will need to take it twice a day, you must rest carefully for the next couple of days.  You must not work or bump your head anywhere.”

Tian Qi sighs in relief before nodding in agreement.

After sending the physician and Sheng An Huai away, Tian Qi rests on her bed, immersed in her thought.

She already knows about Sun Da Li’s suicide.  She has the same suspicion as Ji Heng; Sun Da Li would not commit murder over a small misunderstanding.  Moreover, he would not commit suicide the moment the suspicion lays on him; not if he had enough guts to commit such a crime on the first place.

Someone must have used Sun Da Li’s hand to get rid of her.

But who can that person be?

She didn’t seem to have offended anyone…..

If the perpetrator’s motive is not revenge, what can it be?  Whenever a servant dies, it is usually because they are used as a scapegoat or because they know too much.

Tian Qi suddenly remembers that dangerous belt.

That explains a lot.  The perpetrator does not want her to open her mouth, so they decided to silence her forever.

The hell?  Who can that person be?

Tian Qi thinks until her head hurt.  She feels dizzy and wants to throw up, so she gives up thinking and goes to bed.

She sleeps until noon.  A lot of eunuchs get off work at that time.

After Wang Meng gets off work, he buys some supplement before visiting Tian Qi.  He already knows about the incident; in fact, the entire palace knows.  It is not everyday that a front-line eunuch gets thrown into the Tai Ye Lake only to be saved by a giant turtle.

Tian Qi gives the prescription to Wang Meng, telling him to get that for her.  But first, she tells him to cook her food.

Wang Meng obediently cooks her food.  He knows that Tian Qi is feeling nauseous at the moment, so he simply prepares her a vegetable porridge.

Tian Qi looks at Wang Meng, a thought suddenly drifting in her head, “Aren’t you good at medicine?  Why don’t you go to work at the physician’s courtyard?”

Wang Meng stares at her in surprise.

“What?  Am I wrong?”

“No,” he purses his lips, “Do you think I am capable enough to do that?”

“Why not?  Everyone are allowed to take the test to enter the courtyard.  You only need to be good at medicine…. Speaking of that, how good are you in medicine?”

Wang Meng does not know how to reply to that.  He has never compared his ability to anyone else’s; he does not know how good is ‘good’.

The biggest problem however, is not his ability. Wang Meng says, “I am a criminal and also a eunuch…..”

“Tsk, why are you so pessimistic?  Let me tell you this, to live, you must be like water.  You must be able to fill every nooks and crannies.  Just take the test first.  If you pass, put aside some money, bribe people to say good things about you in front of their masters.  Bribe some more people in the physician’s courtyard so you can get along with them, and everything will be pretty much set.  Everything will be okay.  Besides, there are so many eunuchs in the Forbidden City, it’s not like we cannot function without you.”

Wang Meng nods heavily.

Tian Qi pats him in the shoulder, “Let me say this from the very beginning; once you become a physician, do not forget your good friend!”

 

———–

 

Tian Qi only spends one night in Shi San Suo.  The next day, Ji Heng sends an order for her to move into the servant’s quarters in the Gan Qing Palace.  She thinks this is a great move.  She has no idea who her enemy is.  She was attacked once, who’s to say there wouldn’t be a second time?  It is better for her to move into a perfectly safe place.

The only disadvantage is she cannot simply leave the palace now.  For eunuchs who live in Shi San Suo, they can visit the capital once they get off work as long as they hand over their special medallion.  As for those who live in the palace, they will need their master’s order to go out.  They also need to get an approval from whoever is in charge of their master’s palace.

Tian Qi is willing to overlook that problem.  After all, her master is the person with the most power!

Of course, living in the palace has it’s own advantage.  She gets to meet many concubines, and that means she has more opportunities to make money.

For the next two days, the sickly and idle Tian Qi passes her time on the banks of Tai Ye Lake.

She wants to repay the turtle’s grace.

She takes a lot of fish from the kitchen and even some other kinds of meats to appease that turtle.  Some are lean meat, the others a little fatty; all in all, she is pretty idle.

In the end, the conclusion is, the turtle does not like fish.  Instead, it likes the internal organ of land animals.  It doesn’t matter if it is chicken or duck, or pig or lamb, as long as it is their internal organ, he likes them all.

Internal organ is not a precious delicacy, so Tian Qi is free to take them from the imperial kitchen.  The eunuch and the turtle gradually becomes more familiar with each other.  Every time Tian Qi arrives at the bank of the lake, the turtle will swim up to greet her, looking for food.

Tian Qi decides to give that turtle a name.  Since it saved her life, she actually tries hard to come up with a good name.  She decides to name it ‘Dai San Shan’, based on literary texts.  That name comes from the work of a Tang Dynasty poet, Li Bai.  It comes from the sentence, “Giant Ao, do not take San Shan away, I wish to go to Peng Lai’s peak.”

(TN: Giant Ao is a giant legendary turtle in chinese mythology.)

Tian Qi naturally does not have the right to name the tribute turtle, so the name ‘Dai San Shan’ can only be uttered in private.  However, Ruyi overhears that name and conveys it to Ji Heng.

In Sheng An Huai’s eyes, the name ‘Dai San Shan’ is not anything extraordinary.  It is as good as a Wang Er Zhu or Zhang Liu Jin or any other common names out there.  However, Ji Heng finds that name pretty poetic. It is better than the ‘Divine Turtle’.  The literary allusion is good and it is not a mouthful to pronounce.  The name sounds so natural that one could almost not see the literary reference.

How interesting.

And so, Ji Heng calls Tian Qi over; he eyes her from head to toe and cannot see any thread of literacy inside her gold-driven eyes.

Ji Heng asks Tian Qi in uncertainty, “Are you really the one who named the turtle ‘Dai San Shan?’”

Tian Qi thought the emperor is scolding her, so she quickly tries to excuse herself, “Your Majesty, I was just naming it for fun!  I thought it wouldn’t be happy if we call it ‘turtle.’”

Ji Heng narrows his eyes at her, “Why do you name it that?”

Tian Qi does not have the guts to tell the truth because the emperor hates literate eunuchs.  The moment a eunuch is acquainted to historical texts, he is a step closer to abusing his power.  She can only answer him with, “The turtle saved this servant, so I wanted to give him a mighty name.  This servant originally wanted to liken him to a mountain, but Bei Da Shan does not sound very good.  So, this servant adds two more mountains to make it three.”

(TN: Bei Da Shan (背大山) means Lifting a Great Mountain.)

Ji Heng gives her a ‘I just knew a little pervert like you cannot be that educated!’  Then, he asks her, “Then why didn’t you name him Bei San Shan instead of Dai San Shan?”

(TN:  Bei (背) = Lifts.  Dai (戴) = Bears.  They both have the same meaning, but Dai is more poetic.)

“None of the common people’s clans have the surname ‘Bei’ nor do they have ‘Tuo’. ‘Kang’ or ‘Ding’, so I could only name him ‘Dai.’”

(TN: LOL, Tuo (驮) and Kang (扛) means ‘carry on one’s back’ while Ding (顶) means peak.  There are people with the surnames Kang and Ding out there, but not using those characters.)

“………..”  Such a fine name is given so simply?  Reality is cruel; Ji Heng feels a little disappointed.  He purses his lips, “Have you ever study, in the past?”

Such a hard question; she does not dare to lie, but she must not tell the truth as well.  She answers him, “This official learned a character or two when the late emperor established a learning hall for the inner officials back then.”

The late emperor had established a learning hall for the eunuchs.  The eunuchs’ level of literacy went up, and with it, the level of power abuse.  Although Ji Heng disagreed with the learning hall, the late emperor was his own father, so he did not dare to voice any discontent.  After he inherited the throne, he conjured up some excuses to shut down the learning hall.

He naturally did not dare to express any discontent towards the late emperor.

“Have you ever heard of Li Bai?” he asks.

“Yes.  He is a famous poet.  This servant is a big fan of his; I especially like his ‘The Farmer’s Toils at Noon.’”

Ji Heng cut her off with black lines hanging over his head, “That is not Li Bai’s.  And the title is not ‘The Farmer’s Toils at Noon’, the title is ‘Sympathy for the Peasants.’”  He feels a little helpless; talking with this kind of person turns one’s own brain dull.

Tian Qi looks at him with sparkling eyes, “Your Majesty, you are so knowledgeable!”

Never mind the buttering up; being called knowledgeable for just knowing that makes it hard for Ji Heng to accept this situation.  He speaks with an icy voice, “You may retreat.  Do not show your face in front of zhen for the next three days.”

Just like that, Tian Qi gets a three-day leave.  Three days later, her head has completely healed and she shows her face in front of Ji Heng once again.

Ji Heng suddenly gives her a task.

Task: Sentence Shu Fei to death.

Reason:  Harming imperial bloodline.

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