Ch 10 “You are this king’s sweetheart.”
King Ke’s mansion was very large. It was on the southwest corner of the imperial city, adjacent to the inner city, and occupied an entire square.
The palace was divided into three roads: east, west and central, all of which led to five-entry courtyards. Several halls before and after the central road were used for celebrations and sacrifices. They were closed normally, and the west road was also empty. Xie Chaoyuan only lived on the east road. The front was the main hall, and the second entrance was the study room, and the third one was Xile Tang, which was the living room.
Being led by Xie Chaoyuan from the east to the west, Xie Chaoling silently looked around, and all the way, most of the houses in the mansion were empty, deserted and desolate, even servants, only a few could be seen.
There was only one master in King Ke’s mansion, Xie Chaoyuan. He had not yet married, had no children, and had no concubine; he didn’t like too many people around him. Xie Chaoling also found that the servants on the side of this little highness might as well have all been allocated to him, in fact, the amount of people in this palace was very thin.
Xie Chaoyuan always had a smile on his face, but in fact his personality was gloomy and withdrawn. Xie Chaoling pondered secretly, that’s why he was so lifeless in this mansion, there is depression everywhere, and everyone was as cautious as a bird with a bow pointed at it. This little Highness was only sixteen years old, how could one raise him to have such a temperament.
“Linlang, what are you thinking?”
Xie Chaoyuan’s slightly low voice sounded in his ears,.Xie Chaoling returned to his senses, met Xie Chaoyuan’s dark eyes that looked at him, and he swallowed the words that were on his lips. Forget it, he was too lazy to meddle.
“It doesn’t look like there’s any fun in your house, there are empty rooms everywhere.”
Xie Chaoyuan laughed lowly. He raised his hand and brushed the strands of hair that had been blown away by the wind to his temples: “The scenery in the garden at the back is not bad, let’s go there and take a look.”
Xie Chaoling nodded and followed Xie Chaoyuan forward.
Behind the mansion was a large garden surrounded by mountains and rivers, with curved corridors and pavilions. Although there were no bright colors, there were pine and secluded pine trees everywhere.
Climbing to the highest tower, one can overlook the entire palace. Behind the bell tower and the drum tower at the entrance was the well-regulated Sanlu Mansion; the various pavilions in the garden at the back were much more arbitrary and more casual. Dotted in the shade of mountains and rivers, there was a large lake on the west side, and there was also a martial arts field and a racecourse on the other side of the lake.
Xie Chaoling narrowed his eyes and saw the soldiers who were training on the martial arts field. A rough estimate, there were about four to five hundred soldiers.
The prince of Daliang had a food town but not a vassal. He can only have thirty-six guards at most, and Hu Yuan’s* cannot exceed five hundred. However, with the same 500 people, compared to Xie Chaorong and other scumbags with their flattering people, these people in Xie Chaoyuan’s house were real troops, playing with swords and spears.
* ancient position whose duty is to protect the safety of the home
Xie Chaoling watched for a while, secretly amazed, and thought to himself that it was no wonder that this man dared to attack the Crown Prince of the East Palace. If he wanted that position, it was not just a joke.
His heart was inexplicably chilled, but the palm that was being held by Xie Chaoyuan was sweating. Xie Chaoyuan looked at him, still calm and composed, Xie Chaoling lowered his head and pulled out his hand.
Xie Chaoyuan pulled his hand back again and a maid handed him a handkerchief. Xie Chaoyuan held Xie Chaoling’s hand, and wiped the sweat off his palm little by little.
Xie Chaoling’s lips moved, looking at Xie Chaoyuan’s slightly drooping eyes, he didn’t say anything.
Even though he was forced to do such unspeakable things last night, Xie Chaoling never consciously made a fool of himself in front of this little highness as he was now.
Xie Chaoyuan didn’t say anything, just wiped his hands for him. Xie Chaoling seemed to be aware of the extremely oppressive aura on him, and this feeling made him very uncomfortable.
Xie Chaoling drew his hand away again: “Let’s go, let’s go to the lake and have a look.”
He turned around and left first, and Xie Chaoyuan followed.
There were pavilions on the rockery near the lake, the best place to view the lake. Xie Chaoling stopped by the platform and leaned out. The lake water under the mountain was clear and sparkling, with numerous koi fish, bright and shiny, and countless small fish.
After walking for so long, it was Xie Chaoling’s first time that he saw something really interesting in this mansion. He took a look at the fish food brought by the waiter with great interest, and carefully sprinkled it down bit by bit.
Xie Chaoyuan smiled behind him. How often did his older brother show interest in these little things, but now that he was no longer a crown prince or a prince, now he could truly show his true nature.
This was the best.
Xie Chaoling was having a good time, and soon forgot the unpleasantness that was inexplicably born earlier. He turned back and asked Xie Chaoyuan: “Your Highness, do you want to feed the fish?”
Xie Chaoyuan casually picked up a mung bean cake from the snack box on the table and threw it lightly. The cake drew an arc in the morning light and fell into the water, causing a small splash.
The next moment, a ferocious big koi jumped up from the water and grabbed the cake in one bite. A group of fish came up to smell the smell, shook their heads and waved their tails frantically biting and grabbing the snacks from the big koi to their mouths, and the water continued to roll over with white waves.
The mung bean cake was eaten cleanly in an instant.
Xie Chaoling frowned slightly, and tilted his head to see Xie Chaoyuan watching this scene with interest, but his black eyes were cold, and he asked him: “There are a lot of fish food, why does Your Highness have to feed the fish like this?”
Xie Chaoyuan stared at the gradually calming water, and said indifferently: “What’s the point of sending it to the one who sees it? Isn’t it interesting to see them vying for the same thing?”
Xie Chaoling said: “Your Highness is too extreme.”
Xie Chaoyuan turned to look at him: “Linlang doesn’t like it?”
After looking at each other silently for a moment, Xie Chaoling raised his hand and touched his face: “Outsiders must not know that His Royal Highness King Ke is like this. Fighting over and over again, in the end, no one has gotten the advantage, where is the fun? If it is like this, Your Highness. wouldn’t it hurt others and not benefit oneself?”
Xie Chaoyuan said, “That’s why this king wants to be the one who feeds the fish.”
Xie Chaoling smiled: “Your Royal Highness is naturally not something in the pool.”
He didn’t say anything else, turned around and continued to feed the group of fish below slowly, Xie Chaoyuan no longer bothered him, and stood silently watching.
A servant came to pass the message at the back, saying that someone from the Empress Dowager’s Palace had sent food, and Xie Chaoyuan was asked to go to the front to meet him.
The Mid-Autumn Festival was approaching. The Empress Dowager asked people to send over snacks, wine and fat crabs, all the best. Although the Empress Dowager Zhao wanted to support Xie Chaorong, who was born from her own niece, she always treated other grandchildren equally. There was no shortage of rewards in every mansion.
Xie Chaoyuan casually listened to the report and asked Xie Chaoling, “Do you still want to visit the garden?”
Xie Chaoling nodded casually.
Xie Chaoyuan instructed Wang Jin to follow him and wait for him to go to the front.
Xie Chaoyuan’s back turned away, then Xie Chaoling threw the last bit of fish food in his hand into the water, smiled, and motioned to Wang Jin in a low voice: “Let’s go, look ahead.”
Wang Jin lowered his head and responded cautiously.
Walking forward along the lakeside veranda, passing a small bamboo forest, there was a courtyard in the forest. The courtyard door was half closed, and one could see that there were people living in the courtyard.
When Xie Chaoling looked over, the young man at the door, was also looking at him curiously. The man looked about fifteen or sixteen years old, with a handsome appearance, wearing a green shirt and long coat, and he didn’t look like a servant in the house. Xie Chaoling’s mind was moved, and he heard the little one call him: “Hey, are you new here?”
Xie Chaoling ignored him and asked Wang Jin, “This place looks quite big. Who are the people living here?”
Wang Jin replied in a low voice, “Most of them are people that Master Zhang collected for His Highness.”
Xie Chaoling had already guessed it. This was definitely not the first time that kid who sent him to Xie Chaoyuan did this. There were many people like him in this King Ke’s mansion.
He asked, “Why don’t I live there?”
“You are not like them.”
“What’s the difference?”
Wang Jin lowered his head lower: “His Royal Highness let them live here, arranged for someone to teach them to read and write, dance with swords, make swords, teach them all kinds of skills to settle down, and then send them to the most suitable place for them. Until they die, they will have to work for His Highness. You are the person at the tip of His Highness’s heart, so you don’t need to do this.”
Xie Chaoling frowned, he understood in an instant that everyone here, both men and women, had a beautiful exterior. A beauty, especially those who have learned their skills, would be the best for use as secret spies and informers. The little highness was only sixteen years old and he already had such a city, thus he dared to say that he was the one feeding the fish on the shore.
That small Langjun was still looking at Xie Chaoling. Xie Chaoling withdrew his gaze coldly, and looked at Wang Jin: “You tell me all this, so are you not afraid that Your Highness will know and blame you?”
“His Royal Highness has instructed that no matter what you ask the slaves, as long as us slaves know, they must not deceive you.” Wang Jin respectfully said.
Xie Chaoling lowered his voice: “Then do you know who I am?”
“…this slave doesn’t know.”
Xie Chaoling snorted and turned to leave.
Xie Chaoyuan just received the Empress Dowager’s reward, and got two big baskets of fat crabs. When Xie Chaoling entered the door, the things had not been removed. He glanced at it and Xie Chaoyuan asked him: “Do you eat crabs? This king asked the cook to make it for you. What flavor would you like to eat? Steamed or spicy crab?”
“I eat both, make more spicy ones.”
Xie Chaoyuan smiled, and Wang Rang by his side immediately went to the kitchen to instruct them.
Xie Chaoling sat down to drink tea. Xie Chaoyuan stepped forward and handed him a candy: “The Empress Dowager gave it, try it.”
Xie Chaoling took it, threw it into his mouth, chewed it, and said casually, “It’s quite sweet.”
“Is it delicious?” Xie Chaoyuan smiled.
“When I was a child…”
Xie Chaoyuan only said these words, paused slightly, looked at Xie Chaoling and continued: “The first time I went back to the palace to see my crown prince brother, he gave me such a candy. At that time I thought it was really sweet, and there was no sweeter candy than this. Afterwards, the East Palace no longer welcomed me. Even if this candy can be found everywhere, I always felt that it was not as delicious as the East Palace’s.”
Xie Chaoling’s heart moved slightly, and he asked something he shouldn’t have asked: “So Your Highness and His Royal Highness must have some brotherhood. However, now his whereabouts, life and death are unknown because of His Highness, does Your Highness feel guilty?”
Xie Chaoyuan said in a low voice, “The Heavenly family has no Father, no son, no brothers, and the crown prince older brother is just a fish in that pond.”
“What about me? What am I?” Xie Chaoling blurted out.
Xie Chaoyuan bent down, put his hand on his cheek, and said in a low voice, “You are this king’s sweetheart.”
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