Chapter 189 The crisis of selecting consort (1)
Fortunately, Gu Yun Wan was at the wangfu[1. Wangfu: residence of the prince of first rank]. After she examined Feng Xiao, she said that everything was fine with Feng Xiao. The child gu was like his fingers and toes and became one with him. She had never seen such a situation. However, according to the current situation, nothing will go wrong with Feng Xiao’s body for the moment. However, going as soon as possible to Nan Feng is always good.
Although, Su Yue couldn’t bear to leave Feng Qi Qi, but now this matter concerned the health of Feng Xiao, so, Su Yue gave up her insistence. Su Yue couldn’t go. Su Mei insisted on following Feng Qi Qi. Wanyan Kang didn’t have a way and could only follow his wife. In the end, it was determined that Feng Cang’s couple, Wanyan Kang’s couple, Jin Mo and Gu Yun Wan, these six people would go to Nan Feng.
“Miss, without me serving at your side, you need to take care of yourself! You must pay attention to your safety!” Before leaving, Su Yue held Feng Qi Qi’s hand and kept crying. If she wasn’t pregnant, she would definitely stay at Feng Qi Qi’s side. These past few years, Su Yue and Su Mei had never left Feng Qi Qi. Now, Feng Qi Qi was going to Nan Feng, how could Su Yue not worry?
“Don’t cry. I’m not a kid!”
Feng Qi Qi knew that although they were master and servants, but in fact, Su Mei and Su Yue saw her as their little sister. “Su Yue, you need to take care of yourself! You’re pregnant. You need o nourish and take care of the baby according to the ‘pregnant women’s code’ I gave you. You are now someone who is going to have a baby, you must pay more attention!”
Even when Feng Qi Qi got on the carriage, Su Yue still waved at her.
Not soon after, the news that Feng Cang and Wanyan Kang left the capital was reported to Mu Hua. Mu Hua rushed to tell this good news to Wanyan Hong.
“Your Highness, the opportunity had come!”
“Haha…” The imprisoned Wanyan Hong didn’t change much. He only got a bit chubbier. Because he didn’t get enough sun, his skin was slightly pale, making the aquiline nose appear more prominent which looked more sinister and harsh.
“Better to wait for Feng Cang and the others to arrive at Nan Feng before making plans! Remember to keep in touch with Longze Jing Tian. As long as the matter of Feng Cang is dealt with we can put (blame) this thing on Ming Yue Cheng’s head. Feng Xie simply couldn’t do anything without Feng Cang and Wanyan Kang here. You, go be more social with people. The grand empress dowager is only an old woman. She is all washed up!”
Wanyan Hong smiled insidiously as if the world was already in his hands. After experiencing the matter of Wanyan Lie, Wanyan Hong realized very well that only when the power is in his hands would he be able to rest in peace. What does emperor father matter? What does a son matter? A biological son was not better than the power in his own hands.
During this period of imprisonment, Wanyan Hong’s mentality changed greatly.
Although, no one deducted anything from his life, but it couldn’t be compared to the degree of squandering when he lived in the East Palace. His life was almost hundred thousand times worse. Especially, after being imprisoned, he didn’t have freedom. He could only raise his head and look at the sky. Wanyan Hong couldn’t accept this. It also made him see many things clearly. For example, power. His father had it. His son has it. He didn’t have it. That is unacceptable!
So, no matter what, he wouldn’t give up on the treasured power! Only when he held the power could he be the emperor of the world; could he have endless freedom and could do anything he wants without restriction.
Feng Cang didn’t know any of these things about Wanyan Hong. After having Feng Qi Qi and Feng Xiao, Feng Cang curbed his radiance. He just wanted to spend his days for his wife and child.
Although, this time they went to the south to cure the gu for Feng Xiao, but for this group of people, it was a ‘multinational journey’. Wanyan Kang and Su Mei also took this trip as their honeymoon. The whole trip, this newly-married couple liked everything they saw and was happy with everything they saw. It was as if they came to have fun.
Everyone was in a good mood. Feng Qi Qi was also in a good mood. Originally, she was worried that Feng Xiao would be uncomfortable because the distance was so far. She didn’t expect that this child was very well-behaved. Everyday, he would drink milk and sleep. Sometimes, he would look with a confused gaze at the scenery outside. He didn’t cry like other children.
The only change was Feng Xiao’s attitude towards Feng Cang. Before, if Feng Cang touched him, he would cry. Even if Feng Cang was near Feng Qi Qi, Feng Xiao would cry without stopping. Since the one-month banquet, Feng Xiao’s ‘hostility’ towards Feng Cang was not as obvious as before. Occasionally, he smiled at Feng Cang. After, he also didn’t reject Feng Cang from hugging him.
This matter puzzled Feng Cang very much. Could it be that his son had begin to like this father? In any case, Feng Xiao’s change of attitude made Feng Cang very happy. At the beginning, he had been made fun of by Wanyan Kang for a long time. He (WK) said that Xiao er[2. Er: term of endearment] didn’t like this father. Now, it was the turn for the father and son to be affectionate and the turn for Wanyan Kang to envy Feng Cang.
The further to the south, the warmer the weather got. Unlike the desolateness of Bei Zhou, Nan Feng was full of mountains and rivers and the scenery was full of beautiful purples and brilliant reds. Gu Yun Wan was very happy after having entered Nan Feng. The happiness of returning to the hometown was something no one else could understand.
“Look, this is Qingjiang river. This river comes from our hill village’s Qingliang mountain! As soon as we reach the source, we will be at our Qiang tribe’s hill village!” Gu Yun Wan sat in the carriage and introduced to Feng Qi Qi and Su Mei. All the way, she told Feng Qi Qi a lot of stories about the Qiang tribe. Especially when it comes to the Qiang tribe’s hill village made of bamboo cottages, Gu Yun Wan was very excited.
“Little Wan likes the hill village a lot!”
“Of course! I grew up in the hill village. My mother died early. My father had to manage the hill village and also be a father and mother to take care of me. The whole village bears the good memories of my childhood! If I could, I’m willing to live in our Qiang tribe’s village forever! Like my father and mother!”
Gu Yun Wan had a pair of beautiful eyes. Although, they were not big, but they were full of emotions and full of energy. Just looking at Gu Yun Wan’s appearance, Feng Qi Qi could imagine what kind of person her father Gu De was.
“Qi Qi, don’t worry! My father is a very good person! Seeing that little shizi[3. Shizi: heir of the first-rank prince/crown prince by the main wife] is so cute, he would certainly help!”
Gu Yun Wan knew what Feng Qi Qi was worried about. Staying at the regent’s palace for so long, Gu Yun Wan and Feng Qi Qi had become good friends that talked about everything with each other.
She admired Feng Qi Qi and felt that Feng Qi Qi was a woman amongst woman. She (FQQ) had the tenderness and virtuousness that a woman should have. Obviously, she had a good appearance and a good background, but she wasn’t a bit arrogant. What let Gu Yun Wan admire her the most was that this little woman was never weak. When protecting her husband and child, she showed a strong power that let people couldn’t help but admire.
Gu Yun Wan secretly wrote a letter to Gu De about Feng Qi Qi’s matter. She also said a lot of good things about Feng Cang and Feng Qi Qi in the letter. However, Gu Yun Wan knew the rules of the Qiang tribe. If they really wanted to cure the gu, even if Feng Cang was Bei Zhou’s regent, he must pass three tests.
Gu Yun Wan had once mentioned these three tests to Feng Qi Qi. Mount the mountains of daggers, go through the sea of flames and enter the dragon pool. Although, these three tests sounded simple, but the degree of difficulty was quite hard.
The Qiang tribe had always worshipped warriors. There were very few of their tribe that could pass these three tests. Even thinking about that picture would make people shudder let alone go try it.
Fortunately, Gu Yun Wan had told Feng Cang and the others in advance. Feng Qi Qi was also mentally prepared. So, all this way, Feng Qi Qi had been looking for ways to break the three tests.
Especially, the third test: enter the dragon pool and look for the millennium sturgeon. This was the most vexing problem. No one knew how deep the dragon pool was. Ever since Qiang tribe was recorded in the history till now, there had only been a handful of ‘heroes’ who had been able to capture the millennium sturgeon.
Regarding the three tests of the Qiang tribe, Feng Cang only smiled after hearing about them.
How hard could it be? Would it be harder than those years where he suffered the darkness and coldness alone? Now, he already got the person he loves, also got their little world and their cute child. With these happiness, would he still be afraid of those?!
Feng Cang’s group marched into Nan Feng. Inside Nan Feng’s capital, Ming Yue Cheng was badly burned about the head about the selection of consorts.
“Your Majesty, these are the information about all the beautiful girls sent from all the counties. They are all daughters of good families.” Gu De let people bring in big stacks of portraits of the beautiful girls to Ming Yue Cheng’s study. “You need to choose an empress. The harem also needs to be filled with beauties. Nan Feng also needs new blood!”
After listening to Gu De, Ming Yue Cheng put down the brush in his hand. He stared at Gu De. “Prime minister, all of what you talked about are secondary matters. Zhen[4. Zhen: I, used by the emperor] thinks the most important thing you wanted to express is that the harem needs the power of all aspects to be balanced!”
Gu De laughed after Ming Yue Cheng was so direct. He was about fifty years old and wasn’t tall. His skin was dark and he well-built. The years harshly engraved deep traces on this chief of the Qiang tribe, but his heart wasn’t defeated by the years.
Seeing Ming Yue Cheng point out the most critical meaning of the harem, Gu De stroked his beard and didn’t spoke those high-sounding polite words anymore. “Since Your Majesty knows, you should also know that the harem is a small court. All the forces of the court would be reflected in the harem. If you want the court to be balanced, Your Majesty must first deal with those women of the harem.”
“Prime minister, Xi Qi just became our country’s territory. There are many things that zhen needs to deal with. Zhen doesn’t have the mind to deal with those.”
How could Ming Yue Cheng not know these principles? It was just, his heart was fully filled with a woman named Feng Qi Qi. He didn’t want to abandon these feelings even if Feng Qi Qi was another’s wife. To Ming Yue Cheng, Feng Qi Qi was like a white lotus in the centre of the water. He only needed to guard her from afar.
Gu De didn’t know about Feng Qi Qi. Ever since Ming Yue Cheng became the emperor, he had resisted to take consorts, making Gu De unable to guess this young emperor’s mind. The women of the harem were the best way for an emperor to control the court. Ming Yue Cheng being like this was a bit unconventional.
“Your Majesty, if you insist on not taking an empress is alright. You can first choose some young women to fill the harem. The other things can be taken slowly!” Gu De thought that the reason Ming Yue Cheng wasn’t willing was because the court wasn’t stable yet. There was one more reason why he (GD) worried about the country and the people. Presumably, this young emperor hadn’t been enlightened in this matter (making love) yet. Then, the more it was necessary for women to enlighten him. After all the empress and the continuation of the imperial family were related to the stability of the country.
“Your Majesty has great ambition, but the old saying goes: get married and start a career. Of course, it was to start a family first before you can start a career!”
Gu De wanted to continue to persuade Ming Yue Cheng, Ming Yue Cheng hugged his tummy and screamed, “Prime minister, zhen seemed to have eaten something bad. I will be back soon…”
Not waiting for Gu De to stop him, Ming Yue Cheng rushed out of the imperial study with Fu Er. Looking at Ming Yue Cheng’s back disappear like a gust of wind, Gu De shook his head helplessly. Your Majesty, ah, you use this trick every time, don’t you feel tired?
Seeing that the table was full of portraits of beautiful ladies, Gu De sighed. These women had been carefully selected. Whether it was their character, background, appearance or talents, they were the best of the best. They had sufficient ability to enter the harem and become a consort. Why doesn’t Ming Yue Cheng like this? Could it be that he had some problems?
In the imperial garden, Ming Yue Cheng heard Fu Er say that Gu De didn’t chase them. Only then did he slow his pace and sighed from relief.
“Fu Er, would it be considered that zhen is evading responsibility by being like this?” The imperial garden was full of spring. Ming Yue Cheng narrowed his eyes and looked at the few white clouds in the blue sky.
“Your Majesty, you being like this is being responsible for them.”
The them Fu Er talked about was of course referring to those women who were about to be elected. In this world, how many people sharpened their head and sent their daughters into the palace, wishing they could jump and become a phoenix. But, how would they know what kind of a scary place the harem was? No matter how pure and innocent the women was, after entering the palace, they would turn -from the appearance to their soul- into a devil that could eat people.
Fu Er had been serving those consorts in the palace since young and was used to see the ups and downs. Now, he could understand Ming Yue Cheng. Not to mention that in this master’s heart lives another her! Fu Er dared to say that as long as that woman is alive, no other women in this world can enter this emperor’s eyes. It could only be said that fate played with people!
“Fu Er, you’ve always been so good to zhen! No matter what zhen did, you supported zhen and looked for all kind of excuses for zhen…”
Ming Yue Cheng turned and looked at Fu Er. This servant who had followed him to Xi Qi that year, now his hair was already greyed. He clearly remembered all those cold nights after the death of his empress mother Miao Chu Yun. It was Fu Er who stayed with him, comforted him, encouraged him and also told him, “Your Highness, Fu Er will always stay with you till the last moment of Fu Er’s life.”
Thinking about it, from the moment Fu Er followed him to now, tens of years had passed. Now, he had become Nan Feng’s emperor, Fu Er is still serving him with diligence. The person in front of him was probably the one who understand him the most in this world. To Ming Yue Cheng, Fu Er is a teacher and a friend. He had never treated Fu Er as an inferior servant.
“Your Majesty, this servant had promised empress to take care of you! Empress had the grace of saving this servant. This slave’s life is yours!”
Fu Er’s words made Ming Yue Cheng’s heart warm in this afternoon in the spring. To have such a loyal person at his side was a very fortunate thing.
“Fu Er, where is Feng Qi Qi?”
“Answering Your Majesty, princess has just entered Nan Feng. Miss Gu had already sent a letter through the pigeon.”
“Oh…zhen got it.”
After that, Ming Yue Cheng didn’t speak. He only looked at the clouds in the sky with his hands behind his back. Fu Er quietly retreated to a side and waited for Ming Yue Cheng. Until the sun was gone, and the sun burned its last glory on the sky, Ming Yue Cheng still had the same posture.
Ming Yue Cheng’s desolate back made Fu Er sigh deeply in his heart. He, a servant, couldn’t say to much on Ming Yue Cheng’s matter. However, seeing his master like this, Fu Er still felt sad for Ming Yue Cheng. After all, he saw Ming Yue Cheng grow up and also spent so many years with him in Xi Qi. He loved Ming Yue Cheng as if he was his child from the bottom of his heart.
It was just, life, ah. If it wasn’t full of ups and downs it wouldn’t be called life.
When Gu De left the palace, those officials who had been waiting outside immediately surrounded him. “Prime minister, what did His Majesty say? What’s His Majesty’s attitude?”
These eager officials all had daughters that was in the selection process. So, Ming Yue Cheng’s attitude determined whether their families would rise and achieve meteoric success. Ever since Ming Yue Cheng’s ascension, he never had any thoughts of marring an empress and taking in consorts, making these officials anxious from waiting.
To put it plainly they didn’t care about whether their daughter would be favored. Instead, they cared about whether the emperor would accept such a way that benefits both parties. Daughters were only gifts they contributed. If the emperor accepts, their family would naturally be loyal to the emperor. If the emperor rejects, it would inevitable let these people be frightened.
Gu De had gone through many challenging experiences at court for many years. Naturally, he knew the thoughts of these people. He couldn’t say that they were snobbish and selfish. It had been always like this throughout the dynasties and throughout the history. Only by linking the interest of the imperial family to their own family would let these officials feel at ease. Otherwise, accompanying a sovereign could be like accompanying a tiger. If they didn’t reach a consensus interest and by chance the emperor refused to acknowledge them, then wouldn’t it be bad?
Seeing that Gu De didn’t speak, someone was anxious. “Prime minister, give us some hints, ah! What is His Majesty’s thoughts? We were all looking for you to bring some news!”
“That’s right, prime minister! His Majesty is not young anymore. When would he select consorts? There are already some gossips outside. I’m afraid that if it goes on like this, it would affect His Majesty!”
“What gossips?” Hearing these word, Gu De frowned. He just returned to Qiang tribe for a while, inside the capital there are already gossips that are not beneficial to Ming Yue Cheng?
“Prime minister, it wasn’t I who said them. Don’t blame me!” That person saw that Gu De had become serious, he immediately gestured with his hands that this had nothing to do with him. “All my colleagues must have also heard them!”
When this person said that, the neighboring officials were also uncomfortable. Only now did Gu De got to know that inside the capital there were some critics about Ming Yue Cheng not taking an empress.
“What did they say?”
“This…” Stalled for a half a day, someone responded Gu De in a small voice. “The outside rumoured that His Majesty likes men.”
When these words were spoken, the officials held their breaths and looked cautiously at Gu De. They didn’t expect that Gu De’s face sank first and then he laughed.
“This is simply very ridiculous! His Majesty is a healthy man, why would he like men?! It’s completely a false rumor…”
A clever person caught some sensitive things from Gu De’s words. He immediately asked, “Prime minister, you mean that His Majesty agreed to select consorts? That’s great!”
Not allowing Gu De to explain, the group of people knelt in front of the palace and yelled, “Long live His majesty for ten thousand, ten thousand years!”
“You…” Gu De just spoke when the officials stood up beamingly. “Prime minister, thank you! You are simply an official who did a great merit for our Nan Feng!”
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