Liu in the Imperial Harem

2020-03-30 09:31:18
Chapter 12

In the second day of Winter Solstice, Noble Consort Wen, Consort Shu, Consort Xian, Consort De, Jieyu Song and Beauty Wang all gathered in the Weiyang Palace to eat the Antique Potage, today's hot pot, with a copper pot boiling on a stove made with red mud. The beef bone soup stewed by Consort for a whole night with her secret recipe was so delicious to let ourselves go that we all kissed her face to show our happiness and gratitude, as if she were the Emperor. Powerful as Consort Shu was, she never imagined that one day she could take away the Emperor’s Consorts. Frightened by us, she sat transfixed for a long time, unknown of her dropped-out makeup. Seeing that, we took advantage of the situation to carve up all the meat she had sliced, totally absorbed in eating the meat. 

“I heard that Consort Yao smashed the Changle Palace yesterday.” While eating, Jieyu Song didn’t forget to take pleasure in other people's misfortune.

I, “How do you know?”

Jieyu Song, “How can I not know? As a writer, I have to view life at any time so as to write great scripts for story-telling. Discovering the minutest detail in everything is absolutely what I’m good at!”

Noble Consort Wen, “Consort Yao made such a big sound. Except for little Liu’er who was sleeping heavily like a dead person, everyone in the harem must have known. Save it! Be perceptive of the minutest detail, huh? Did you forget that it was me that told you that last night! ”

Jieyu Song, “Alright. I won’t update chapters today.”

Hearing that, we all hastily put down the chopsticks, “You are perceptive of the minutest detail! You are the most perceptive!”

Then Consort De began to tut tut tut. She really liked to tut tut tut. She said, “Tut tut tut. For people, it is not a good thing to be eager to do well in everything, right? Why are she mad at us, huh? Her parents are not killed by us. Tut tut tut. I really feel sorry for the Fifth Princess who has such a irritable mother. Don’t you think so? His father refuses to help, even with things like changing the diaper. There is actually no difference in having the father or not! And the mother, alas! Tut tut tut, let me tell you. In raising a child, you have to be even-tempered, otherwise you may frighten  the child out! If he is frightened out, he may have character defects, finding it difficult to marry someone. In that case, we have to worry about his marriage. Tut tut tut, in raising a child, you have to...”

Noticing Consort De was going to begin her lectures on child rearing, I hurriedly said, “Then what happened?” 

In an instant, Consort Xian sat up properly and cleared her throat, “I was going to report to you. At first Consort Yao only threw a tantrum in her own palace, breaking up many things. But then, she went out of the Changle Palce, crying to ask the Emperor to judge for her and calling your names, my Empress. The content I will not repeat here, which are too unpleasant to hear. At that time, the Emperor was discussing with ministers of the Court about national affairs while you, my Empress was resting. Therefore, I ventured to make decision by myself, ordering servants to subdue her and lock her in her own palace. Now there are still servants watching over her. I also ordered a servant to register and put on file the things she had broke up, including two sets of headpiece, three coral trees and a set of superior Green Porcelain Teapot rewarded by the Emperor, a pair of Ruyi Cade made with White Jade, which looks like a gourd but with two symmetrical ears connecting the top and bottom, and some jewelry you rewarded her with. She even tore or cut the silk you recently rewarded her with! What’s worse, she also beat a maid to death and wounded an eunuch. She went too far. It is totally disrespectful to you and the Emperor. Even today’s Yunv Chen in Fulong Temple and Xu Chanfang who was put into the dog house were not as rampant as she. My Empress, in you opinion, what should we do with her?”

I was struck dumb while listening. Consort Xian was definitely the best steward! She even dared to deal with matters of Consort Yao, who is so horrible, and did that in such a organized manner. If I had seen the scene, where Consort Yao swore and broke up things, I would have seen her as a psycho and called a imperial physician for her. 

Consort Shu sneered, “My sister, Consort Xian, it’s really a compliment to her by comparing she with Chen Cairong and Xu Chanfang. Actually I used to think Chen Cairong was the silliest until I met Consort Yao, who was even much sillier. She again broke my bottom line. Considering that those evil consorts becomes sillier and sillier, no wonder we live a much better life in the harem. Dear sister, Consort Xian, do you still remember when Xu Chanfang was in favor with the Emperor?”

Hearing that, Consort Xian shivered, “Don’t mention that and we can still be good sisters.”

Consort Shu clinked her glass against Consort Xian’s, “To our lost youth! We are the women who have been around.”

That gave me a headache, “Come on. Women who have seen the world. Tell me, what should I do?”

Consort Xian, “My empress, let the Emperor to make a decision. History shows that it’s no good for an Empress to dispose of the Emperor’s favourite imperial concubine.It is the biggest hole, which is a synonym of a trap, for an Empress to try to dispose of the Emperor’s favourite imperial concubine for centuries. My Empress, you must learn from history.”

Noble Consort Wen couldn’t agree more, “It’s the Emperor’s favourite imperial concubine. Anguish as it it, he is left to stew in his own juice.” 

Obviously, the Emperor didn’t want to lie in the bed he had made. Before I was prepared to tell him that, he already ordered a servant to call me to the Changle Palace. Out of wrath, I  wanted to lift the table and curse, because I had just boiled the meat and hadn’t even eat a single slice but had to clean up Consort Yao’s mess. I finally restrained myself because the soup base was so delicious. In the conscienceless laughter of the women, I reluctantly and slowly went out with Consort Xian. Among them, only Beauty Wang had some conscience, holding me to the front of the palace and asking, after a long hesitation, “My Empress, can I have a talk with you in private tomorrow?”  

Beauty Song lived as neighbors with Jieyu Song. She laughed a lot but said little. Whenever we gathered together to play, she was always busy in passing the handkerchief or picking dishes for others, totally a unknown and helpful little angel. What did she intend to talk to me in private?! How I wished to know now! I even couldn’t sleep at night!

However, I had no choice. Serious Consort Xian pulled me to the Changle Palace.

It was a deadly stillness in the Changle Palace, except for the intermittent sobs of Consort Yao, “Dear Emperor, you said you would protect me for life. Dear Emperor... Dear Emperor, I am wronged. They all envies me to be in favor with you. They joint hands to frame me. Dear Emperor...”

The Emperor remained in silence. For me, I couldn’t regret more for not bringing a handful of sunflower seeds. Consort Xian, however, expressed in order that since she was the person that handled the matter, she had to ask Consort Yao some questions, “Consort Yao, why did you beat a maid to death and wound an eunuch? ” 

Consort Yao, “Wuwuwu, they irritated me! They were disrespectful to me! Wuwuwu, dear Emperor...”

Consort Xian, “Why did you break up so many rewards given by the Emperor and the Empress? Are you disrespectful to them?”

Consort Yao, “I was in bad mood at that time... Dear Emperor, don’t you tell me that I can do any thing as long as I’m happy, right? Wuwuwu, Dear Emperor... ”

Consort Xian, “Lat night, you abused the Empress, saying she would die early just as the late Empress. Many servants and Consorts in the harem heard that. What do you want to say about that?”

Consort Yao, “Wuwuwu, I didn’t say that! I didn’t! You frame me wuwuwu...”

Just then the Emperor said, “I heard.”

We should have asked Jieyu Song to witness such an striking twist! That was the true reflection that art comes from life.

Consort Yao’s wuwuwu stopped abruptly after the Emperor’s slap over her face (the Emperor’s words was just like a slap over her face). The Emperor said, with his voice as clod as the snow piling up on the top of a mountain, “You don’t deserve to the title Yao.”

I really wanted to remind him that he was the one gave her the title. I also wanted to touch his face to see if it swelled. 

Therefore, Consort Yao, who was in high favor of the Emperor for two years was deprived of her title, reduced to the common and put into the dog house. Seeing her being took off the finery and dragged out in dull looks, sympathetic I was, I didn’t plead for her in the end. 

It was not that I didn’t want to but I couldn’t do anything to help. For her, it was totally out of the mouth came evil, while the dragon had reverse scale, which means that a ruler has his bottom line.

That night, the Emperor crept onto my bed at midnight. Fortunately, I was still awake because of the words of Beauty Wang during the day, which made me hard to fall asleep. Otherwise, I could have been frightened to death by him.

It was never easy to be the woman of the Emperor. In the next recruitment of beauties, I would test the courage of the beauties.

“Jiaojiao, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. I frightened you out, right? It’s my fault. It’s my fault,” the Emperor nervously patted me on the back. The force was so large that I felt I would be patted to death at any time. To save myself, I clasped his hand, “Dear Xiu, why do you come?”

The Emperor held the whole body of me in his arms and asked, “What do you usually do when I’m not here?”

I was... eating sunflowers seeds, chatting or abusing you with Noble Consort Wen, Consort Shu, Consort Xian, Consort De, Jieyu Song and Beauty Wang...

How could I tell him the truth!

I had to reply gently and obediently, “Nothing new. I just stay in the Weiyang Palace to accompany the children. Sometimes other Consorts come to chat with me. I also play the Ancient Qin or practise calligraphy sometimes.”

The Emperor, “Why don’t you come to see me?”

Because I was busy... 

I said, “Dear Xiu, if you want to see me, you will come; if not, my coming will only make you feel bothered.”

I said slowly, as if I was very sad. Though I was smiling, I wore a little frown. Without looking at myself in the mirror, I knew that would make him feel sorry. As expected, he touched my face with deep eyes, as deep as the night in the winter, and asked, slowly stressing each syllable, “Are these your true words?” 

Whether they were or not? How could I know? There were many things in the word that could not be explained clearly. It depended on how you said.

I turned around, refusing to look at him. After a long time, I nodded my head lightly, “Hmm.”  

He hugged from the back, so closely that as if he wanted to recall the missing past, “You are my Jiaojiao... You are the most blessed. You will live a long life. I will accompany you forever, Jiaojiao.”

I said OK.

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