Liu in the Imperial Harem

2020-03-26 10:49:39
Chapter 4

On May 20th, the Emperor called me to serve him.

When the Emperor's verbal instruction came, I was playing the Chinese rope waving game with the Third Princess, and we did not make a beautiful flower while Consort Shu laughed loudly at us in the reclining chair. We were angry and said loudly that we would ignore her from now on! As a result, Consort Shu said that she wouldn't make deep-fried pork fingers for dinner, and then we begged her to forgive us by giving her a foot and back massage.

The eunuch who delivered a verbal instruction is the eunuch's chief beside the Emperor. His name is Fang Mingde and sounds like a knowledgeable person. He is plump and is the most amiable in usual. He smiles like the housekeeper of my parents' family and I like him very much, but I don't want to see the Emperor.

Consort Shu asked me if I want to help the Empress, I said yes, and then she said you just go there. I said what I should talk with the Emperor there, and Consort Shu said, "You don't need to say anything. It's okay for you to throw a tantrum deliberately, but remember to closely watch his expression." I understood a little.

Or I didn't quite understand it.

I was so stupid.

I went to Yong'an Palace in a daze. 

When the Emperor saw me, he took my hand, "Jiaojiao, come here."

Damn it, he is a dirty old man.

I twitched my mouth, put my hands behind my back, lowered my head and didn't look at him.

He sighed, hugged me and said, "I know you will throw a tantrum to me."

I didn't know what to say. He rolled up my sleeves and asked me, "Do your hands hurt?"

Several days passed and I didn't feel the pain anymore. It was Consort Shu who applied me the medicinal oil, not the Emperor. 

A man's woman was beaten by another woman of him, and another woman wiped tears and applied medical oil for the beaten woman. After several days, the man asked the beaten woman, do you still feel painful? 

What a ridiculous and chaotic relationship between men and women.

But I said in a tearful voice, "I feel no pain."

He gave a long sigh and held me on his lap, "Look at me."

After I refused, he bowed his head to kiss my face, my forehead, my eyes, then put his forehead against mine, and his eyes showed the affection of more than 20 years.

I leaned on him and my tears fell down. I knew why I was crying. It was for the Emperor, for myself, for the Empress and Consort Shu, for this miserable and helpless fate. From my crying, there was three-tenth sadness, five-tenth sigh, and two-tenth pity with a weeping beauty.

I cried and sobbed, "It is not painful. I don't feel pain."

The Emperor coaxed me for a long time. That night he did nothing, just hugged me and asked, "Are you angry at me?"

I said, "As your consort, can I be angry?"

He said, "Of course Jiaojiao can be angry. Jiao Jiao can do whatever you want."

I said, "Then I'm angry, I'm going to be furious!"

There was a long sigh in his low laugh. He closed his eyes and rubbed my face, "Jiaojiao, don't be angry, it is my fault. I swear to you, I will never make you angry again."

I remained silent, and then he kept kissing me. He kissed me all the time and said, "Don't be angry... Don't be angry..."

He later said, "Jiaojiao, listen to me, live in Changle Palace, OK? These days I have no time to take care of you, you live in Changle Palace to stay away from those messy things. After getting through these days, everything will be fine and I will have the time to accompany you. Since you like little princess, let's have a little princess who is as good and smart as her." He was wrong. If my child was like me, she would be stupid and also be the naughtiest child in the world. How could she be good and smart?

There are good and smart girls in the world but not me!

After a long time, I said, "I... I will stay at Orchid Fragrance Pavilion and not go out. I beg Your Majesty not ask me to go to Changle Palace. Changle Palace is too large and I will be afraid alone. Consort Shu treats me very well, I am begging Your Majesty... "

I spoke slowly and embarrassedly. I looked at him with tears in my eyes. As expected, I saw a concern on his face.

He was so gentle and said, "Okay."

When I was asleep, he patted my back and I heard him read slowly, 

"My forehead covered by my hair cut straight,

I played with flowers pluck’d before the gate.

On a hobby-horse you came on the scene,

Around the well we played with mumes still green.

We lived, close neighbors on Riverside lane.

Carefree and innocent, we children twain.

I was fourteen when I became your young bride,

I’d often turn my bashful face aside, 

Hanging my head, I’d look towards the wall,

A thousand times I’d not answer your call. 

I was fifteen when I composed my brows,

To fix my dust with yours were my dear vows. 

Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die.

Who knew I’d live alone in a tower high? 

Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die.

Who knew I’d live alone in a tower high?...

Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die.

Who knew I’d live alone in a tower high?..."

Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die.

Who knew I’d live alone in a tower high!!!

The most pitiful thing is that "Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die" is fake, but today "live alone in a tower high" is true.

I hope that the successors don't take the so-called "Rather than break faith, you declared you’d die" seriously.

After I returned to Yihua Palace, I told Consort Shu about the story of last night. Consort Shu heard that I refused to follow the Emperor's arrangements to go to Changle Palace and stay away from those messy things. She made a table of delicious food for me. I didn't know where she got the rabbit. The Taro Rabbit with spicy oil was so spicy that my mouth was swollen. How delicious it is! Consort Shu said, "Liu'er, this table of dishes, first is to thank you for your justice and sincerity. The second... "

She smiled with naughty and said, "Thank you for not being too stupid, You are the person I like."

She said while looking at me meaningfully, "You really look like Yaoyao, no, not all the same. You are good enough as you are and smarter than Yaoyao."

I was so hot that I opened my mouth wide and asked with my tongue hanging out, "I bother you tell me the details, and you will be beaten by pnly saying half of the story if you are a story teller."

Consort Shu stuffed a piece of rabbit meat into my mouth, "What else can I say? Curiosity kills the cat, why do you want to know the details?" She was right, and then I didn't ask anymore, because I was so hot that I could not speak.

In the next three months, the Imperial Noble Consort had been enjoying a comfortable and beautiful life. The Emperor occasionally called others, but most of the time he went to her place. Jieyu Qing who entered the palace with me was pregnant, so the Emperor ordered her to move to the Imperial Noble Consort's place where the Imperial Noble Consort would take care of her. This basically meant that the child would belong to the Imperial Noble Consort. Poor Jieyu Qing was pale all the day. A few months ago, she looked at me with pity, but now she is a poor person!

Shuyi Zheng was also pregnant and promoted to Consort Zheng. Consort Shu said that Consort Zheng's father is just a fourth level doctor and the Emperor likes her very much. As long as she is careful, the child would probably be born safely. Consort Zheng was really very careful. She used to love dressing up, but she didn't apply makeup anymore since she was pregnant. Somehow, she became a good friend with Consort Xian. Consort Xian had no children and was particularly generous and virtuous. Now she is overwhelmed by the Imperial Noble Consort, and Consort Zheng is like an ally for her. She looked the pregnant belly of Consort Zheng with delightful expression these days, so I suspected that Consort Xian is not the woman of the Emperor but his mother.

We didn't care about these things. Consort Shu did not take us out, and we rarely even went to the Imperial Garden. Even the Third Princess knew that although the Imperial Garden is beautiful, she would be taken away by monsters if she goes there alone!

The Third Princess was experiencing the teeth changing period, so she could neither speak smoothly nor fight against food with me. I ate pastry in front of her every day. Consort Shu was happy to watch our show, so the little girl could only hug the Empress's neck to sue me. The Empress laughed so hard that she patted me gently as punishment.

The Empress was still grounded, and we thought this was very good. No one came to bother Niangniang, so Niangniang could take a good rest and nourishment. Weiyang Palace is also very large. She took a walk around Weiyang Palace and we went to accompany her more. There is no need to go out! We almost went to accompany the Empress every day. Recently, Zhaoyi Wen was fascinated with making puppets, after making a set of zodiac puppets, I praised her hardly, so she was more diligent to make that. She started to make a set of cat puppets. Since then Weiyang Palace and Yihua Palace were full of Jiale and me meowing with a puppet. Consort Shu was thinking about new dishes every day. She tried lotus leaf and seedpod porridge, rock sugar winter melon soup. If the new dish was successful, we would eat it, while if it failed...

It would be sent to Yong'an Palace.

Consort Shu said that the Emperor would not eat what she made, anyway, even if he ate it, he would feel her defective dishes are better than those in other palaces'!

The Empress taught me to play the Chinese Zither and chess. She knew a variety of music scores well! It was really a kind of enjoyment to hear her play the Phoenix Courtship! However, the Empress comforted me and said that my music is more energetic. She was sick, so she played the Phoenix Courtship with sorrow.

She was not sick, in fact, she was so sad. I knew it but didn't say that. I said, "Niangniang should laugh a bit more and eat more food, and then you will recover from your illness soon!"

The Empress also writes very well, as I expected, she also writes the lower case. Our lower case handwriting is even somewhat similar.

When we talked about our childhood, it was a coincidence that we were all sitting in the arms of our grandfather to do exercises in calligraphy. Her grandfather is the Prime Minister Shen and my grandfather often mentioned the painstaking "Brother Shen". "Brother Shen" of my grandfather had a lot of students everywhere. The former Emperor believed him the most. Then 22-year-old Emperor had ascended to the throne, and he was both talented and ruthless. Every emperor has a cabinet composed of his own favorites, Prime Minister Shen retired a year ago and then died three months later.

The Empress had no home in the capital. After her grandfather died, her parents, uncles and brothers returned to the countryside to be in mourning for her grandfather's death. She was married to the Emperor who was a prince at the age of fourteen and gave birth to three children. By the age of twenty-four, her children all died. Her families got away of here and her youngest son died only one year ago, however her husband chose twelve young girls to enter the palace.

So the Empress was getting sick day by day and her cough was getting worse and worse. The aunt in charge of Weiyang Palace cried and said that the Empress had blood on her handkerchief and coughed all night.

But the Empress did not allow us to stay to take care of her at night, and she did not hug the Third Princess anymore. She was afraid of passing her sickness to her. We were all worried about her. Consort Shu made a variety of medicated diets for her every day, but the Empress was getting thinner every day.

Every morning we had to greet the Imperial Noble Consort and she was so bad that she picked up faults every day. She punished this one and scolded another one, as if she couldn't prove that she was the sweetheart of the Emperor's if she didn't act like this. Consort Shu and I kept silent like the quail, but she still didn't leave us alone. The “immortal” Consort Chun also had a hard time. The Imperial Noble Consort said that it is unlucky to wear such plain clothes every day and to have a face as white as a female ghost, but Consort Chun didn't even raise her head to look at her. She didn't care and rolled her eyes elegantly as respect before she left. Seeing this, the Imperial Noble Consort was angry and punished her to stay inside her palace for half a month. Zhaoyi Wen and Consort Shu privately said that the Imperial Noble Consort was really stupid, and she could not realize that being grounded was actually a reward for Consort Chun. But comparing to Consort Xian and Consort Zheng, we were only small enemies to her, and she was devoted herself to fighting against two of them. But as seen from her expression, there must be no progress.

In September, the Lord Protector conspired to rebel, and there were human testimonies and material evidences.

On the night of September 15th, it rained heavily. Consort Shu, Zhaoyi Wen and I accompanied the Empress for dinner. Someone reported that the Imperial Noble Consort had been kneeling at the gate of Yong'an Palace for a day.

The Empress stopped eating and gave a long sigh, "We are all miserable people."

Consort Shu was so happy that she had one more bowl of rice, "The Emperor is really a jerk. He took a long time and finally dealt with the Lord Protector. I am thinking about how long he will delay the case! I am almost killed by Chen Cairong in the past four months. Fortunately, it is over, otherwise I really can't hold it anymore." Zhaoyi Wen spitted, "Every time he uses the same trick that he holds someone high and then pushes her down."

Consort Shu said, "As long as it works, it doesn't need many tricks." Zhaoyi Wen spitted again, "I don't care if the Emperor play tricks or not. The way he holds someone up is to let us lie underneath as stepping stone. If he wins, he is the eternal wise Emperor. If he loses, we will be butchered. No, after he wins, if we are still alive, we have to be stepping stones for the second, third and countless times. Marrying such a shameless man, we are so unfortunate."

As they were talking, the Empress suddenly stood up and went out, and then she said, "I'll go to see her."

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