The Regent’s Secret Chapter 24

Chapter Twenty Four

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In front of the Lingxing Gate, Wei Che sighed and followed Zhao Heng inside.

Now he wore a blue cloth headscarf and a plain long gown, completely dressed as a servant. In order to play the role of a suitable book boy, his long and beautiful beard had been shaved off.

Fortunately, Wei Che had a youthful appearance. Zhao Heng was still uncertain whether he could pass as a young boy but after shaving his beard, he could still play the role even though he passed the age of twenty.

On the day when Wei Che entered the palace to meet the emperor, if it weren’t for the imperial signboard announcing his arrival, Zhao Heng wouldn’t have recognized him. He saw Wei Che wearing a flying fish red brocade robe with golden threads, and a phoenix belt tightly tied around his waist, which made his slim waist and muscular back even more prominent.

Zhao Heng usually talked casually with Wei Che, so he joked when he saw him, “Who is this handsome young man in red clothes? He accidentally entered my gate and can’t be let out again.”

The attendants standing nearby were all holding back their laughter. They knew Wei Che was a wild and thick-skinned guy, but he still blushed when the emperor made fun of him.

Zhao Heng was still young and had a narrow mind. He quickly ordered someone to bring him a set of small palace eunuch clothes and said to Wei Che, “Don’t be angry, I just want to see how young you can look after dressing up.”

Wei Che thought to himself that even in ancient times, people would dress up in colorful clothes to entertain their families, not to mention entertaining the emperor today. He also thought about how the emperor had been burdened with national affairs and family issues since his coronation and had not been happy for several months. Today was a rare opportunity to make him happy.

Zhao Heng was only fourteen years old at the time. Wei Che was almost ten years older than him. In ordinary households, book boys were usually older than the young masters to ensure their stability. Therefore, Wei Che’s outfit as a servant was not out of the ordinary.

However, this servant had dark skin, deep-set features, and an extremely muscular body. He did not look like a Central Plains person at all. The official responsible for registering the students at the school was quite surprised when he saw Wei Che.

After Zhao Heng finished writing Wei Che’s name in the register, the official looked at the name and realized, “This young master is a relative of the Empress Dowager, he is from Western Yue, right?”

Zhao Shen’s mother, consort of the Southern King, was posthumously honored as Empress Dowager as soon as the Emperor first ascended the throne to distinguish her from the current Empress Dowager. Most people refer to her as simply “Old Empress Dowager” without mentioning her posthumous title. 

The Old Empress Dowager’s family controlled the army of the Western Yue, and many of her servants were descendants of defeated ethnic groups. 

As for Wei Che’s ancestors, they were indeed related to the Western Yue royal family.

Zhao Heng nodded and assured the official, “Don’t worry, he can read, write and speaks Chinese fluently.”

The official hurriedly said, “Young Master, you worry too much. The supervisor had already instructed us that your body is weak, and he is afraid that you may not be well taken care of.”

“It’s okay. My family’s servant has been with me for many years…”

This Zhao Heng was able to sneak out of the palace thanks to the Prince Regent, who had full control over military and political affairs. The emperor had no responsibilities other than dealing with the palace scholars he invited. After paying respects to the Empress Dowager, if the Emperor came up with a reason to skip class for the day, no one could stop him.

Zhao Heng was the emperor, not the crown prince.

Without ten days or half a month of skipping class, no one dared to report it.

Zhao Heng, having entered the Pan Palace, found everything fresh. Soon, his classmates gathered and greeted each other.

The classmates in school were all extraordinary people. Some had already inquired and found out that Zhao Heng’s registration title was Bai Xian. They asked, “Are you a distant relative of the Empress Dowager?”

The Empress Dowager’s relationship was arranged by Wei Che to cover up Zhao Heng’s identity. Naturally, Zhao Heng replied to the classmates, “The Empress Dowager is my aunt-in-law.”

Once his identity was confirmed, the enthusiasm of the crowd immediately diminished. In this school, the background of a new noble or an old family was better than someone who was just relying on a distant relative. Moreover, it was rumored that this person was a sickly child. If he didn’t rely on the Empress Dowager’s name, he might not even be able to study as a part-time student.

The children of the Pan Palace were divided into three levels. The first level was for regular students who lived there, the second level was for those who had special backgrounds and studied as day students, and the third level was for those who just made up the numbers.

Only the second son of the Duke of Dingguo stood silently behind everyone, watching Zhao Heng. His legs went weak, and he trembled as he sat down on his seat.

Coincidentally, the Shu* son of Ning Wang saw this and patted him on the shoulder, saying, “Are you seeing ghosts? Why is your face so pale?”
* born of a concubine

Second young master Shen thought to himself, “You have no filter when you speak. Let’s see who will die and meet ghosts first.”

“I was just surprised by his servant, who looks like a demon.”

“Hmph, you’re scared by a barbarian.”

Shen Cheng’s face looked embarrassed, and he cursed himself in his heart for being foolish.

Among the emperor’s uncles, Ning Wang Shizi had already come of age. Ning Wang had a Shu eldest son and a younger son Shizi, Yan Wang and Su Wang had not yet married.

The eldest son of Ning Wang was seven or eight years older than the younger son Shizi. Due to the awkward age difference, it was disadvantageous for the legitimate son, so Ning Wang had never taken him to any formal occasions. As a result, he had never met Zhao Heng.

Shen Cheng looked around, and besides him, there was no one else who recognized the current emperor. He had nowhere to turn to for help.

The emperor, however, had already walked towards him.

Zhao Heng bowed, “Cousin, we haven’t seen each other since the Mid-Autumn Festival last year. Are you doing well?”

Shen Cheng almost kneeled down. How could he bear to be called cousin by Zhao Heng? “I… um… I’m fine, I’m fine.”

Zhao Heng looked around and found that he was the only one he knew, so he was quite satisfied. He continued, “Cousin, you don’t recognize me. I’m Bai Xian.”

Bai Xian? This is showing off*?
* in chinese its written as xian bai

Wei Che was worried that Shen Cheng might not be able to handle it and might reveal their identity. He quickly whispered to Zhao Heng, “Master, you have to reassure Lord Shen first.”

Zhao Heng realized that he had gone too far as soon as he left the palace, and he said to Shen Cheng, “Cousin, there is no need to tell the Duke and his wife about our encounter, or they will worry about me again.”

Shen Cheng thought to himself that Zhao Heng was strong enough to stay up two nights in a row and gamble with his brothers, so he didn’t need to worry about his physical health, but he did need to worry about his own life.

After silently criticizing the emperor, Shen Cheng respectfully declared that he understood the emperor’s instructions and vowed never to reveal anything, even in his dream. 

Zhao Heng thought that Shen Cheng was shrewd and talented and decided to remember him for a future position in the court. 

If Shen Cheng knew what the emperor was thinking now, he would have cheered three times for the emperor. As a concubine’s son, he had no chance of inheriting a title. 

It was indeed better to hug a big thigh than to cling to a small thin arm. 

Following the tradition, the first lesson after the opening ceremony was etiquette. 

When Li Yi entered the “Exhorting Virtue Building,” there was still some noise, but as soon as he took a few steps, the noise stopped. When he stood on the podium, he saw that all the students were wide-eyed and some of those in the back were stretching their necks to see him. 

Zhao Heng finally saw Li Yi at this moment. 

A thought suddenly came to the emperor’s mind: the grudge between Royal Uncle and the abolished grandson was probably much deeper than he thought. This person Li Yi was not the kind of person who needed fancy clothes and attire, as Royal Uncle had suggested.

In order to show the importance of the opening ceremony, Li Yi wore only a simple ancient-style dark robe, which billowed and fluttered as he moved, revealing the twelve undergarments underneath, which made him look even more ethereal.

Zhao Heng couldn’t help but think of the phrase “as bright as the moon, pure and noble like a lotus” when he saw him. This rumor was not an exaggeration at all.

Before the lesson began, Li Yi first instructed the students on proper manners, pointing out those who were not performing properly or had made mistakes. Li Yi felt a headache coming on, it seemed that he had a lot of work to do.

Everytime when someone needed correction, Li Yi singled out a young man in the back row who was wearing a white robe and had perfect manners, standing out from the crowd like a crane among chickens.

Li Yi was impressed and wanted to call him up to demonstrate, so he sent an assistant to fetch him. As the young man approached, Li Yi suddenly felt short of breath and almost forgot where he was.

Zhao Heng saw Li Yi’s expression and knew that he was nervous. He had seen this expression many times since he became emperor.

The young emperor also clenched his right hand under his robe, his heart beating rapidly. The only thing he could assume was that Li Yi recognized him, even though he had never seen Li Yi before. 

Zhao Heng’s nervousness was noticed by his classmates, but it was rare for a student not to be nervous when called upon by a professor. 

As was customary, the assistant first reported the student’s place of origin and name, and only then did Li Yi realize that he was the nephew of Zhao Shen’s maternal family. This was nothing unusual. 

Seeing Li Yi’s sudden realization, Zhao Heng, a very astute person, quickly figured out what was going on. 

He couldn’t help but confirm that the rift between Li Yi and the Crown Prince was far beyond his imagination and might be as serious as a cat chasing a mouse. 

Thinking of the cat that had caught the mouse twice – once in prison and once in a temple – Zhao Heng couldn’t help but smile. 

Coming to the Pan Palace was much more interesting than being in the palace.

The author has something to say: The teaching assistant’s words are really old-fashioned.

Is this chapter a bit more lighthearted? I wonder when this cat will be ready to eat~

Darkness in the lower belly to the darkness in the upper belly, if the younger one finds out that the older one has played him, what a scene…

Entering the academy, memories come flooding back.

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4 thoughts on “The Regent’s Secret Chapter 24”

  1. Great to see this translation alive! \(=^w^=)/ Thank You for the hard work Translator-sama! (♡ ὅ ◡ ὅ )ʃ♡


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