After returning to the palace, Tian Qi pays her shifu, Ding Zhi a visit. She eats dinner at his place before giving him his tea leaves. He sniffs them, looking so happy that he is going to hug Tian Qi tight. After bidding him farewell, she leaves.
After she returns to Gan Qing Palace, she gives the cricket’s basin to Sheng An Huai. Since she isn’t on duty, she doesn’t need to show up in front of the emperor. Sheng An Huai tries to reject her gift for a couple of times before finally accepting it.
It is at that moment that a eunuch from the imperial study arrives and tells her that the prince is looking for her.
Turns out Ruyi is with the emperor at the moment. They ate dinner together and then have a father-son bonding time, in which Ruyi asks for Tian Qi.
Ji Heng can only order people to call Tian Qi over. He really does not understand what there is in Tian Qi to make Ruyi so attached to her.
Everything falls right into place because Tian Qi too wants to give Ruyi the presents that she got him. What she bought are only normal toys for children. She got him a small mask, a cricket toy made out of bamboo, an animal carving on the bark of a tree and a couple of sets of clays. Ruyi is really happy when he sees his gifts. He plays with Tian Qi until both of them completely forget the existence of Ji Heng.
Ji Heng: “…………”
This is the first time he ever feels ignored, as the emperor.
He clears his throat, wanting to draw the attention from the two people, but they pay him no heed.
Tian Qi thought that she is only called here to mollify Ruyi, she thought that the emperor will have other people to serve him. So, she completely puts him out of her head. Even the emperor’s glare of discontent remains unnoticed by her.
Ji Heng can only stands up and walks over to them to see what they are playing.
There are three small figurines on the table: One is Tian Qi, one is Ruyi and the last one is the giant turtle. The figurines are all sized accordingly; Tian Qi is bigger than Ruyi and the giant turtle is the biggest out of the three of them. Ruyi is telling a story based on the three figurines. Since he is just a child, his speech is neither here nor there, but Tian Qi listens in concentration just the same.
“You understand him?” Ji Heng asks curiously.
“Of course not!” Tian Qi replies. Only after saying that does she realizes that she is talking to the emperor.
Ji Heng waves his arm at Tian Qi who is about to apologize. “Why are there only three figurines?”
Tian Qi cannot understand what he is trying to say, “How many should there be, Your Majesty?”
Ji Heng almost says, ‘at least add one for zhen’, but decides against it when he realizes how childish that will sound like. He scolds her with a dark face, “Take Ruyi with you and play outside! Stop messing around in front of zhen!”
Tian Qi does not understand why the emperor is angry again. Maybe the emperor has too much work and does not know where to vent. He gets angry over the slightest thing; what a weird person.
If he is not the emperor, Tian Qi wouldn’t have humored him. In fact, Tian Qi would have hit hit him in the head with her shoes! Tian Qi unconsciously laughs while imagining the scene of Ji Heng getting hit until his head are full of bumps.
Ji Heng: “………….” Why is he getting a bad feeling about this?
Tian Qi covers her mouth before quickly taking Ruyi away. Ruyi drags her to Gan Qing Palace’s Grand Hall. She does not understand why at first, but she does later, after seeing Dai San Shan’s shadow next to the throne.
….. Can somebody tell her what is going on?
She looks at Ruyi’s nanny who is standing between two eunuchs. They are standing quite far away, as though afraid to approach them.
Tian Qi is curious when she sees them, “Aren’t you people afraid that the emperor will see how you are serving the prince?”
The nanny looks at her with a bitter face, “We are too scared to be near the Divine Turtle. What if it bites?”
The three people nods, having clearly experienced it before. The nanny tells her everything that happened today. Turns out, the giant turtle climbed out of the lake earlier today. It crawled to Gan Qing Palace. The emperor did not stop it and instead ask people to look after it.
Everyone was so happy, especially after seeing how it allowed Tian Qi and Ruyi to ride it yesterday. Just as they were about to pet it, it grew angry and bit their hands.
“But still, it treats His Highness really well. It allows His Highness to pet it.”
A strange kind of feeling that is akin to proudness rises inside Tian Qi’s heart. It is as though Dai San Shan is a private pet between her and Ruyi. Other people are not allowed to touch it. She picks Ruyi up and places him on the turtle’s shell. She waves the three people off, “It’s okay, all of you may stand even further if you want. I will look after His Highness.”
The three people retreats backwards, watching them skittishly.
Tian Qi is still afraid that Dai San Shan might bite, so she does not have the guts to let Ruyi be anywhere near it’s head. Ruyi simply watches as she teases Dai San Shan.
Dai San Shan who is originally resting inside it’s shell pokes it’s head out when it feels Tian Qi patting it’s shell. When Tian Qi rubs it’s head, it immediately retreats inside it’s sanctuary again.
In the end, people cannot tell who is teasing whom between Tian Qi and the turtle.
Ruyi laughs happily.
Hearing the sound of his son’s laughter, Ji Heng’s curiosity triumphs over everything. He puts down his book and walks out to check them out.
Gan Qing Palace’s hall is very big. Tian Qi is busy whispering to Ruyi as they laugh, Ji Heng cannot hear what they are talking about. He stands near the throne, earnestly trying to listen to what they are saying.
What he hears makes his face darken.
Tian Qi: “The turtle’s head goes out!”
Ruyi: “The turtle’s head goes out! Hahaha!”
Tian Qi: “The turtle’s head goes in!”
Ruyi: “The turtle’s head goes in! Hahaha!”
The two idiots have no idea how suggestive their words sound. The turtle is an idiot too, for playing along.
“Shut up!” Ji Heng angrily says.
The two people are shocked by his outburst. They stare at him in a loss. Seeing the anger on his face makes them feel aggrieved.
The turtle is shocked too. It entered it’s shell and refuses to come out.
Tian Qi is a little unhappy inside, he was the one who ordered them to play outside. Now that they are playing happily, he comes to ruin the atmosphere. She naturally does not dare to let her discontent show. She can only say, “Please forgive this servant, Your Majesty. This servant is dull. This servant has no idea what he said to offend you.” Other people say that a ruler is half-king half-tiger, but to her, the one here is half-king and half-maniac!
Ruyi looks at him in discontent as though saying ‘imperial father how can you be like this?’
Despite his anger, Ji Heng feels a little helpless, “Do not say that!”
Tian Qi is even more confused, “Say what?”
Ji Heng grits his teeth “The Divine Turtle’s head….” After saying that, his face turns red.
(TN: Tian Qi and Ruyi were calling it (龟头) (guitou) which means ‘penis’. Ji Heng words it differently and politely as (鳌头) – (aotou) which also technically means ‘turtle head’ but without the sexual entendre.)
Tian Qi wants to talk back, “But I didn’t say ‘aotou’, I said ‘gui——“
Ji Heng covers her mouth with his hand.
She is being pressed against the wall by Ji Heng, rendering her immobile. She looks at him with large, scared eyes.
………….. What is going on?
The body opposite him is so soft, as though it can break. He feels a little uncomfortable by the large, watery pair of eyes that are looking at him. What makes him even more uncomfortable is that the hand that he used to cover her lips with is itching, itching beyond words.
Ji Heng is angrier now. His face feels hot. He leans towards her before narrowing his eyes dangerously, “Do you know what that means?”
Tian Qi shakes her head.
He feels really helpless. He lets go before warning her, “No matter what, you are not allowed to say it in the future.”
Tian Qi obediently nods, “Yes, Your Majesty.”
“……” There is actually such a moment in his life where he has to give such orders…. Life…..
Tian Qi is very curious, “That….. Your Majesty, what does that word means?”
Ji Heng looks at her fiercely, “You are not allowed to ask, either!”
Ji Heng orders people to send Ruyi back to Ci Ning Palace, and also Dai San Shan back to Tai Ye Lake. Then, he wipes his palm with a handkerchief.
There is a weird kind of sensation left in his palm, one that he cannot rub off.
When Tian Qi sees that, she thought the emperor is disgusted by the contact with her. Since he does not like her, she should quietly retreat and not prance around in front of him.
When Ruyi returns to Ci Ning Palace, he shows the clay figurines to the empress dowager. He tells her about how kind Tian Qi is and how much he likes her.
Ruyi’s motive is really simple. Since His Imperial Father does not like Tian Qi and even hits Tian Qi, he must make his Imperial Grandmother like Tian Qi. If so, Tian Qi will not have to suffer anymore.
The empress dowager knows that Tian Qi has a sweet mouth. This grandson of his has met a lot of people in his life, but this is the first time he met someone who clicks with him so well. She must reward this eunuch handsomely. She orders people to call Tian Qi over. She praises her a little, instructs her a little and then rewards her with silver.
Tian Qi returns to Gan Qing Palace with a large smile on her face, completely forgetting Ji Heng’s anger towards her.
But, the moment she reaches Gan Qing Palace, she finds the emperor standing outside the hall, staring at the night sky.
Tian Qi bites the bullet and greets him politely, intending to slip away.
But, he calls her over.
Tian Qi feels a little uneasy, she is worried about the emperor’s unstable temper. The worst thing is she has no idea what she did wrong, so she does not know how to coax the emperor.
To her surprise, Ji Heng’s voice is really gentle, “You like going out of the palace?”
Of course! It is more fun! Although her insides are full of energy, she maintains a respectful expression, “What this servant likes completely depends on this servant’s master. If they want to send this servant to an errand, this servant will naturally happily go.”
Ji Heng snorts; is she trying to butter him up?
Ji Heng has found an answer as to why Tian Qi does not know what ‘guitou’ means. For someone who has been castrated when they were only 10 years old, it is only natural for them to not know that.
With that in mind, he suddenly pities this little pervert.
“Since you like playing outside the palace, zhen will give you the permission to.”
Tian Qi is pleasantly shocked, “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
Her eyes are too burning and Ji Heng has to look away as the corner of his lips curls up. “Go to bed!”
From then on, Tian Qi has grasped the general idea of things. Although the emperor is insane, he always gives her a little benefit here and there after he vents his temper. No matter what, he is still, in his own way, a benevolent ruler.