I’m Also Waiting for the Male Protagonist to Usurp the Throne Today Chapter 26 Part 2

Chapter 26 Chip Chip Chip Chip Chip

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As the sun rose on a new day, Huo Caiyu went out with Chi Zhongming. He instructed Li Jinyu to stay in the inn and not wander around.

Li Jinyu agreed verbally, but as soon as the two disappeared from sight, he too stepped out into the bustling city streets.

Yesterday’s exercise had not been enough to satisfy his restless spirit. The mere thought of spending another day cooped up inside the inn was suffocating.

Though Huo Caiyu had expressed concern about his excessive walking, he failed to comprehend that Li Jinyu’s desire for movement was an integral part of his being.

As he wandered aimlessly through the city, Li Jinyu grumbled inwardly about his companion’s supposed lack of understanding. Yet, despite his outward appearance of ease, his heart was not as relaxed as he pretended it to be.

Thanks to Huo Caiyu and Chi Zhongming’s insights, Li Jinyu’s eyes were opened to the harsh realities lurking beneath the surface of the bustling county town.

As Huo Caiyu had said, the only ones enjoying the spoils of Qingshui Prefecture were the officials, wealthy merchants, and constables. The common people fared no better than their counterparts in nameless villages, their struggles unnoticed and unacknowledged.

As Li Jinyu gazed upon the desolate landscape of Qingshui Prefecture, his heart sank with a profound sadness. He couldn’t quite explain why, but the plight of the common folk resonated deeply within him, regardless of their race or backgrounds. Their numb and desperate expressions, etched onto emaciated faces, were more than he could bear.

The bustling noise of the main street only served to accentuate the gloom that pervaded the dark corners and alleyways, where poverty and misery festered in the shadows.

Lost in thought, Li Jinyu found himself surrounded by a group of beggars, their tattered clothing and desperate countenances speaking volumes about their dire circumstances. Before he could even react, the beggars had sealed off all the exits.

The leader of the beggars eyed Li Jinyu with a covetous glint in his eye, sizing him up with a calculating gaze. “Who is this young master wandering around in our territory? You’d better hand over all the silver and food you’re carrying, or things might get ugly!”

“Yes, hand them over!”

“Otherwise, we’ll make you pee your pants!”

Li Jinyu instantly understood that he had encountered robbers!

He was actually robbed by beggars in broad daylight…

Li Jinyu was somewhat shocked, but as he surveyed the pitiful state of the beggars before him, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of compassion. He recalled the words of Huo Caiyu, who had warned him that the majority of the beggars in Qingshui Prefecture were victims of systemic oppression, forced into a life of begging due to the heavy taxes levied on other occupations such as farming, trade, and animal husbandry.

In a twisted way, begging had become the easiest and most viable means of survival for many of these wretched souls.

Li Jinyu opened his lips, but in the end, he lowered his head and ran away from these beggars with a “whoosh”.

He was at least a spiritual creature, and it was impossible for him to be threatened by these weak beggars.

As he made his way towards the moat, he couldn’t help but glance back at the imposing gates of Qingshui Prefecture, his mind reeling with confusion. How could this be considered a time of peace and prosperity, as touted by the authorities in the imperial palace?

Li Jinyu eventually found himself standing on the riverbank, sadly gazing at his own reflection in the rippling water. Suddenly, a voice broke through his reverie, startling him out of his contemplation. “Young man, don’t do anything foolish!” the voice warned.

Turning towards the source of the voice, Li Jinyu was met with the face of a young man. “What?” he asked, confusion evident in his tone.

“What can’t be accomplished if one keeps trying and probing deeply? You—” The person pulled on Li Jinyu’s sleeve and pulled him back, lecturing him for a moment before noticing the confusion in Li Jinyu’s eyes. He paused and said, “You…you’re not trying to jump into the river, are you?”

Li Jinyu was taken aback. “Of course not.”

The man breathed a sigh of relief and waved his hand. “I saw you running out of the city and thought you were upset… Since I misunderstood, I’ll leave you alone.” With that, he turned and rejoined his group gathered by the riverbank.

Curious, Li Jinyu looked over and saw several groups of young people gathered under the willow trees. He could hear the sound of chanting, though he couldn’t quite make out the words. It sounded something like “zhi hu zhe ye.”

Li Jinyu approached and found that they were a group of young scholars of similar ages. One of them held a tattered book in his hands while the rest surrounded him, reciting fervently. Even as they took their meals, they continued to chant, clutching coarse cakes in their hands.

“What are you all doing?”

One person lifted his head and looked at Li Jinyu with some vigilance, but upon seeing Li Jinyu’s innocent and curious expression, he relaxed a bit and answered, “We’re studying.”

“Studying?” Li Jinyu blinked and looked around curiously, “Aren’t there any schools?”

“If a teacher sets up a school, he has to pay a high teaching tax, so they don’t bother opening one.” The person shrugged. “We can only study here.”

“Heaven and earth are our school, wind and frost our teachers, and the sun and moon are our candles. All living beings are our teachers,” another person lifted his head and shook it, “Isn’t that great too?”

The others immediately laughed.

But Li Jinyu felt a bit sad.

How many contradictions and weaknesses were hidden under the fresh and vibrant exterior of Di Dynasty?

Even the scholars, the very foundation of the imperial court, were forced to borrow books and study by the riverbank!

Recalling the novel, Li Jinyu realized that this year’s spring imperial examination was about to begin. With a sense of sincerity, he turned to the group of scholars and spoke, “If you work hard like this, you will surely succeed in the imperial examination.”

At first, there was silence among the group. But as Li Jinyu’s words sunk in, the others erupted into bitter laughter. It was a laugh full of sarcasm and self-deprecation.

Li Jinyu asked naively, “What’s wrong?”

One of the group, who had initially thought Li Jinyu was going to jump into the river, smiled wryly. “Nowadays the imperial examinations are nothing more than a farce. Those who pass are often the ones who bribe officials with their money. Who would study hard to pass when it’s much easier to simply bribe your way to a promotion?”

He gestured towards their small group, his tone self-deprecating. “As you can see, only a few of us are truly dedicated to our studies.”

Li Jinyu was stunned and then remembered that Di Dynasty’s selection system relied on a combination of imperial examinations and official selection, with officials having a significant influence over the final list of selected scholars. Unfortunately, the palace examination— the most critical component of the selection process— had been neglected by Emperor Jingchang, making it the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister’s faction to select “their own people”.

The first scholar Li Jinyu met offered him a piece of cake with enthusiasm, and Li Jinyu took a bite without hesitation, savoring the taste of the flour and bran mixture. Despite enjoying the flavor, he knew that most people would turn their noses up at the thought of eating bran.

Li Jinyu’s curiosity got the best of him as he asked, “If the imperial examinations are so corrupt, then why do you continue to study here?”

The scholar smiled softly and gazed up at the sky, as if lost in thought. “When we first began our education, our Master taught us the importance of being self-reliant in times of poverty and helping others in times of prosperity. We may be considered useless by some, but we still hold on to our pride and refuse to give up on our dreams.”

Looking at these few scholars, Li Jinyu suddenly thought of Huo Caiyu. When he had just arrived in this world, he had promptly released Huo Caiyu from the prison. At that time, Huo Caiyu was injured and had been the target of a corrupt imperial physician bribed by Consort Xian.

But every time Li Jinyu went to visit him, Huo Caiyu was always studying.

Even in this corrupt and filthy world, there were still those who clung to the torch of knowledge to light their own path and guide others. These scholars were no different from Huo Caiyu in their unwavering dedication to their studies.

If this world was truly a prosperous era like the one depicted in the novel, then these scholars would surely become the pillars of the country in the future, right?

Li Jinyu was beginning to understand why figures like Huo Caiyu and Chi Zhongming were so determined to overthrow the corrupt Di Dynasty and usher in a new era of justice and prosperity.

The ideal of serving one’s country and its people was noble, yet it seemed so elusive in practice. At one point, Li Jinyu had even considered making Huo Caiyu the Emperor himself, simply to escape his own mundane existence. Even after he had become a spiritual creature, all he had wanted was to live a simple life as an ordinary hamster, enjoying the taste of melon seeds and the comfort of his hamster wheel.

But he knew deep down that he had been gifted with intelligence beyond his hamster instincts for a reason. He wasn’t meant to live a simple, comfortable life.

Li Jinyu closed his eyes and contemplated his newfound purpose.

His plan to support Huo Caiyu’s rise to the throne remained unchanged. Only with a wise and just ruler in power could the country truly thrive. However, he also realized that he could do more than just pursue his own goals. He could work hard to help the struggling scholars, hardworking villagers, and displaced beggars he had encountered on his journey.


“The Prefect of Qingshui Prefecture, Ye Gui’an, is the Prime Minister’s cousin. He is selfish and corrupt, and as an official, he is greedy and unrestrained. If he were to wield all the power in Qingshui Prefecture, it would have been ruined long ago.” Huo Caiyu and Chi Zhongming carefully analyzed the hard-won intel. “The apparent prosperity of Qingshui Prefecture depends largely on the Deputy Prefect, Shen Fuyao.”

“Shen Fuyao is indeed somewhat capable. Alhough he is also a greedy man, he has a sense of moderation. He understands that only if the sheep are not killed can he continue to fleece them day after day.”

“Although Shen and Ye do not get along, Ye Gui’an is foolish and incompetent, and he is also aware that he does not have the talent to govern the people. If Shen Fuyao’s suggestions do not harm his interests too much, he will accept them. If we were to guess who came up with the idea of forming a commercial firm this time…”

“The most likely candidate is Shen Fuyao.”

After discussing their strategy for a while, the two finally decided, “Let’s go and investigate Shen’s mansion tonight.”

With their plan in place, Huo Caiyu’s mind was consumed with worry for Li Jinyu, who had been left alone in the inn. He rose from his seat and announced his intention to depart, but as he did so, he noticed a peculiar expression on Chi Zhongming’s face. With a flick of his fan and a sharp click of his tongue, Chi Zhongming spoke, his words dripping with insinuation, “Being together is really good. Can’t bear to be apart for half a day?”

Huo Caiyu couldn’t help but feel a sense of discomfort at his words. “What do you mean?”

“We are fellow travelers, why pretend?” Chi Zhongming continued, his tone still carried a hint of bitterness. “Brother Huo and Brother Li are the first pair of affectionate Long Yang companions I have seen. It’s truly enviable.”

[T/N] long yang (龙阳) is a term in Chinese culture that historically referred to male same-sex relationships, particularly those between an older man and a younger man. The term originates from a story in the Book of Han, where a prince named Liu Ling had a favorite male lover named Long Yang. In modern times, the term is sometimes used as a euphemism for homosexuality in general.

“Long Yang?”

Huo Caiyu was taken aback by Chi Zhongming’s sudden insinuation, realizing that his comments on “fellow travelers” had been misunderstood. He instinctively denied any romantic involvement with Li Jinyu, taking a step back and insisting, “Jinyu and I do not have that kind of relationship.”

However, Chi Zhongming was not convinced. With a sideways glance, he remarked, “Still pretending? I will never mistake Brother Huo’s gaze at Brother Li. If he is not someone you like, you would never look at him like that.”

As a fellow traveler, Chi Zhongming had a keen eye for the nuances of human relationships. Despite Huo Caiyu’s attempts to downplay his feelings, Chi Zhongming could see the truth plain as day.

“That is……”

Huo Caiyu felt a lump form in his throat as he struggled to explain himself. He wanted to make it clear that his feelings towards Li Jinyu were nothing more than that of a loyal subject towards his Emperor, or an elder brother towards a younger sibling. Yet, when he opened his mouth, no words came out.

As Huo Caiyu reflected on his feelings towards His Majesty, he couldn’t help but compare them to the other relationships in his life. He thought back to the admiration he felt for his father when he watched him practice martial arts, the genuine respect he had for his teacher when he taught him strategies, and the unspoken understanding he shared with his close friends. None of these felt quite like the way he felt towards His Majesty.

There was something different about his feelings for the Emperor— something deeper and more profound than the familial or friendly relationships he had experienced before. His heart was filled with a mixture of sweetness and sourness, and sometimes he felt lost in a way that he couldn’t quite explain….

Huo Caiyu’s expression changed from perplexity to shock, and finally settled into a heavy silence. He finally understood the source of his vague anxiety and apprehension over the past few days.

Huo Caiyu’s mind reeled as the realization hit him. He had developed feelings for His Majesty. The shock of it all was almost too much to bear.

“Hey, you two haven’t figured it out yet, have you? You really haven’t? You sleep together, don’t you? You can bear it? Hey, I’d rather…”

As Chi Zhongming continued to ramble on beside him, Huo Caiyu tuned him out completely. He needed time to process his own emotions.

Once the initial shock had subsided, Huo Caiyu began to recognize his own feelings with a newfound clarity. The relief he felt was palpable— as if a weight had been lifted from his chest, and the budding feelings in his heart were finally allowed to flourish.

Unable to resist the pull of his emotions, Huo Caiyu turned his gaze towards the inn where His Majesty was staying. He felt an unprecedented longing to see him— to be near him, to bask in his presence.

If he felt this way towards His Majesty, then how did His Majesty feel towards him?

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