Chapter 3 Chip Chip Chip
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Despite not having read the novel in its entirety, Li Jinyu was certain that it did not offer an extensive depiction of all the intricacies within the Imperial Palace of Di Dynasty.
In the end, the original plot centered around the male protagonist, Huo Caiyu. As for the villain— and not even the final boss— Emperor Jingchang’s purpose was primarily to amass animosity. Not only did he lack any of the qualities of a good ruler, he also committed every possible transgression that a monarch could commit.
Li Jinyu’s understanding of ancient human wealth was not particularly clear, but the coral, agate, pearls, and jade that he had seen along the way still dazzled his ignorant hamster eyes.
These luxurious treasures are actually used to pave the roads…
Li Jinyu wanted to bend down and tap on the large agate stones laid on the ground, but he refrained from doing so as he didn’t want to be too impolite in front of the palace staff behind him.
He originally wanted to drive them away and move around by himself, but as soon as he opened his mouth, he saw them all kneel down and tremble, so he could only shut his mouth and let them follow him.
It was the start of spring, and the palace was already adorned with new blooming branches. Walking and inhaling the floral aroma in the air, Li Jinyu’s mood greatly improved.
However, this relaxed mood was soon destroyed by a hint of the smell of makeup and powder mixed in with the floral scent.
Turning around a pavilion, a beautiful woman dressed in luxurious clothing walked elegantly towards them. Her eyes lit up at the sight of Li Jinyu. Smiling, she knelt down and said, “This concubine pays her respects to Your Majesty.”
Li Jinyu’s heart skipped a beat upon seeing a stranger. He wanted to step back, but it was too late. He could only grit his teeth and say, “Get up.”
Who is this? Emperor Jingchang’s Consort?
Emperor Jingchang had a large number of concubines in his palace, and he frequently changed his preferences among them. The palace was full of women he had chosen, and many of them had never even seen his face.
After the male protagonist usurped the throne, he released all of these women who had wasted their youth in the palace. He arranged for them to go wherever they wished, and he did not bury or keep them as his own, unlike other usurpers in the past.
In the novel, the identity of Emperor Jingchang’s consorts was not disclosed, so Li Jinyu had no way of knowing who was who. But looking at the familiarity in the woman’s speech, she must have pleased Emperor Jingchang very much. This was the first person Li Jinyu had seen who spoke to him without any fear.
After receiving Li Jinyu’s words, the woman stood up and naturally reached out to take his arm. “Is Your Majesty here to appreciate the flowers today?”
Startled, Li Jinyu took a quick step back, avoiding the concubine’s hand.
Seeing the woman’s slightly surprised expression, Li Jinyu realized that he had once again broken character. He quickly explained, “I…Zhen is feeling a bit weak today. Aifei’s hand might get hurt.”
A trace of surprise flickered across the concubine’s face, but it quickly returned to normal. She casually let go of his hand and smiled, “Your Majesty is busy with state affairs, but taking care of the dragon body is of utmost importance.”
Li Jinyu forced a smile. “Yes, Zhen knows.”
He thought he could just exchange a few words with this unfamiliar concubine and leave, but she followed him and started talking about palace affairs. “A few days ago, Your Majesty has mentioned visiting this concubine’s palace to watch her dance, but this concubine has been waiting for so long and has yet to see Your Majesty. This concubine is sad.”
“…Zhen, Zhen has been busy these two days…”
The concubine pouted lightly. “What have Your Majesty been busy with? This concubine heard that Your Majesty released that disrespectful person and even had the imperial physician treat him in the palace.”
Li Jinyu’s heart suddenly tightened upon hearing Huo Caiyu’s matter from the concubine’s mouth. “Ah… what’s the matter?”
The news spread so fast?
“Steward An arranged for that person to stay in the back palace… Your Majesty’s concubines are all weak women. They are a little flustered when they hear that a man is staying in the palace.”
Li Jinyu blinked and understood.
During ancient times, there were strict measures in place to prevent inappropriate behavior between men and women. Women, in particular, were concerned about being disgraced by immoral men.
However, Huo Caiyu was the future wise ruler, and he did not have any interest in taking control of the women’s quarters in Emperor Jingchang’s palace. He made sure that many women in the secluded palace were wed to suitable partners.
Thinking of this day, Li Jinyu reassured her with ease, “Rest assured, he will not harm you.”
There was a hint of strangeness on the concubine’s face. She opened her mouth, maintaining her composure, and said with a smile, “Since Your Majesty said so, this concubine can rest assured.”
Li Jinyu didn’t take notice of the expression on the concubine’s face. He stepped back again and dryly said, “Zhen still has some matters to attend to. Aifei, enjoy the flowers.”
Quickly, he gestured to his attendants to depart.
The concubine knelt down, “Sending off Your Majesty.”
When Li Jinyu and his entourage were out of sight, she stood up again, and the smile on her face had disappeared without a trace.
The maid in the back couldn’t help asking, “Your Highness…”
The concubine’s eyes drooped slightly, and a hint of helplessness and resentment could be heard in her voice, “It seems that His Majesty really has taken a liking to that man surnamed Huo.”
Startled, the palace maid looked around before whispering urgently, “Your Highness, please be careful!”
The back garden was not their home, so they need to be cautious as people may be listening through the walls.
The Consort ignored her warning and turned her head to gaze in a certain direction, gritting her teeth slightly. “Something must be done.”
Li Jinyu didn’t know what the consort was thinking just now, but his mood to take a walk was immediately dispelled when he ran into an imperial concubine. Afraid of meeting someone else, he could only quickly make his way back home.
Walking around had relieved his anxiety from being cooped up all day.
He spent the whole afternoon in his bedroom, driving away the eunuchs and flipping through the palace documents to get a better understanding of the current situation.
After becoming a spiritual entity, his spiritual awareness was slightly stronger than that of ordinary humans. In the modern world, he had managed to barely learn simplified Chinese characters under his owner’s guidance, but this world used traditional Chinese characters, some of which were different from the ones he knew before transmigrating.
He could only guess at the meanings of some of the characters with great difficulty.
Based on some memorials and notes left in the imperial palace by Emperor Jingchang, it was now the spring in the sixth year of his reign. He had successfully eliminated any open opposition from the previous dynasty and the harem, enabling him to govern as a ruthless and useless dictator without much difficulty.
Emperor Jingchang was able to act recklessly because he had his own support. The two most influential leaders of the civil and military factions in the court, Prime Minister Ye Huaixiang and Grand Marshal Meng Jilang, were both supporters of Emperor Jingchang.
Grand Marshal Meng was a staunch royalist and believed that out of all the sons of the Late Emperor, only Emperor Jingchang had grown up properly, leaving him with no other choice but to support him. On the other hand, Prime Minister Ye believed that Emperor Jingchang’s personality was easy to control, allowing him to consolidate his power over the government.
Of course, Li Jinyu’s speculation was based on his interpretation of the later events in the novel.
In fact, Emperor Jingchang’s written accounts did not mention these two people who contributed the most to his stable position on the throne, though it was also possible that he did mention them, only Li Jinyu couldn’t read their names.
In any case, judging from the current situation, as long as he kept maintaining his image as a cruel and incompetent tyrant, the forces discontented with the court and the Emperor would continue to accumulate. Eventually, the male protagonist, Huo Caiyu, would tear a hole in the situation, and a raging torrent would completely destroy Emperor Jingchang’s self-righteous dream.
But to be cruel and incompetent…
Li Jinyu weighed his options and felt a bit uncertain. How could he be “tyrannical and cruel” when he had to make an effort just to maintain a steady voice when talking to strangers? Based on the original Emperor’s temperament, he should have scolded and beaten the eunuchs when they moved slowly during the day. But he only wanted them to stop trembling and begging for mercy.
Hoohoo, this kind of thing was not something that a simple and innocent hamster like him should have to endure!
Li Jinyu put down the incomprehensible manuscript and plunged onto the soft dragon bed.
In the end, he finally made up his mind— he would deal with it tomorrow. He believed that relinquishing one’s desires could make anything in the world easy to handle.
Dinner provided the greatest sense of solace.
After several consecutive meals, Li Jinyu had to make the difficult decision of giving up on more than half of the delicious food. He could only rub his belly as he made a painful decision, “Starting tomorrow, don’t serve so many dishes.”
There were almost fifty or sixty dishes served for him alone! He felt full after just one bite of each dish!
The eunuch who came in to clean up the leftovers shuddered. “Is today’s meal not to Your Majesty’s liking?”
No, it was merely because His Majesty ate more than before…
Li Jinyu waved his hand. “No, Zhen just feels…”
If Emperor Jingchang were to start considering issues of extravagance and waste at this point, it would ruin his character. He paused for a moment and came up with a reason, “With so many dishes, if an assassin poisons them, it would be too troublesome to test each one. Zhen will be starving by the time all of the dishes are tested.”
The eunuch didn’t understand and asked carefully, “May this slave ask Your Majesty, how much will be reduced tomorrow?”
Li Jinyu looked at the many plates on the table and hesitated, “Cut it in half… no, cut it by three-quarters.”
That way, if he tried harder to eat, there shouldn’t be much left.
The eunuch’s surprised expression was written all over his face.
Would that much food be enough for His Majesty?
But since the Emperor had spoken, he dared not refute and could only nod.
After eating and drinking his fill, Li Jinyu remembered the male protagonist he had saved in the morning and asked, “How’s Huo Caiyu doing?”
“Per Your Majesty’s orders, Young Master Huo has been arranged in the Jinxiu Pavilion. The imperial physician have seen him and said…”
He subtly paused before continuing, “Young Master Huo is physically weak and cannot withstand the punishment. It is feared that he will have a hard time recovering.”
Li Jinyu was stunned, somewhat incredulous. “Huo Caiyu can’t stand it?”
How could that be? He remembered in the novel that Huo Caiyu had practiced martial arts since childhood and could beat up several strong men even in his youth. How could he be on the brink of death now?
Were the beatings in the palace so severe?
What would he do if Huo Caiyu died?
He couldn’t sit still. “Zhen will go see him.”
If the imperial physician couldn’t do it, he could use his spiritual power to heal Huo Caiyu.
…Even though his spiritual power was only a little bit.
The eunuch was stunned, but quickly reacted and knelt down. “Your Majesty, please think twice! The aura of illness is overwhelming, Your Majesty must not do this…”
“Zhen’s mind is made up!” Li Jinyu was remarkably resolute, as it concerned his own survival.
The eunuch fell silent immediately.
As the sluggish dragon carriage arrived at the Jinxiu Pavilion, Li Jinyu paid no attention to the other attendants and hurried into the bedroom without any delay.
Huo Caiyu was lying on the bed, face down, with his eyes tightly closed, as if still unconscious.
Li Jinyu’s whole body stiffened, as he was once again intimidated by the imperial Ziwei aura emanating from around Huo Caiyu.
He reluctantly walked to the bedside and without much thought, directly lifted the covers and pulled down Huo Caiyu’s pants.
The palace attendants were so astounded that they were rendered speechless by the naturalness of His Majesty’s action.
Li Jinyu looked at the layers of gauze wrapped around Huo Caiyu’s buttocks, with a slight seepage of blood, and couldn’t help but feel a little distressed. After all, this was the future Emperor’s butt!
It was said that the blood of a wise ruler, who was destined to rule, had great benefits for the cultivation of demons!
Li Jinyu scanned his surroundings but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, he felt the imperial Ziwei aura and Huo Caiyu’s life energy, and sensed that he was still relatively stable.
Li Jinyu heaved a sigh of relief, and turned to look at the servants standing by. “Where’s the imperial physician?”
A eunuch replied fearfully, “The imperial physician went to prepare the medicine…”
“Tell the imperial physician to make sure to cure Huo Caiyu’s butt!” Li Jinyu urged, then added a sentence imitating the original tyrant Emperor, “Otherwise, Zhen will have his whole family buried with him!”
All the people in the room immediately knelt down in unison.
Li Jinyu didn’t expect his words to have such a powerful impact. He instinctively grasped the wrist resting on the edge of the bed.
When he realized what he was doing, Li Jinyu quickly let go and looked at his right hand subconsciously.
He had just grabbed the wrist of the future Emperor! Could the imperial Ziwei aura that he had touched bring him good luck?
After staring at his hands and fantasizing for a while, Li Jinyu came back to his senses, stood up and prepared to go back.
As he was about to leave, he glanced back and noticed a confusing detail.
When he entered the door just now, did Huo Caiyu clench his hand?
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