Chapter 6: Adultery on the Shores of the Taiye Pool (3)
Because today was the Spring Lantern Festival1, I was aware that the coloured lanterns that the other countries had offered in tribute were hung up around the Taiye Pool. And now, after listening to the little beauty’s softly worded entreatment, I took a moment to carefully weigh the pros and cons between staying here to see more beauties and accompanying a little beauty to see the lanterns…Then, I straightforwardly stood up from my seat and quietly exited the palace while pulling the little beauty’s hand.
The flower branches surrounding the Taiye Pool2 were all tied together with colourful silk, and lanterns of different shapes hung around the lake in a full circle. Looking at it from far away, it was very beautiful. The little beauty was pulling me along the whole time, avoiding the palace maids and inner attendants, as she headed towards the lakeside. We had arrived at where the colorful lanterns were yet she didn’t look at the lanterns. She merely pulled me along and walked towards a spot where the lantern light was darker. I was pleasantly surprised from this walk. I really almost believed that I was a lover that the little beauty was pulling along.
Perhaps it was because I was feeling a bit too excited, I didn’t watch my step and stepped on a piece of stone which caused me to stumble many steps before I was able to come to a stand still. Bowing my head, I saw the extremely overdeveloped “pectoral muscles” on my chest and immediately, it was like a bucket of cold water had been poured over my head. How could I be her lover? Right now, I was just the Crown Princess Zhang-shi3.
My mind had just felt clear-headed when my body suddenly felt cold. Raising my head to look around, it turned out that we had already arrived at the deep forest area beside the lake. The little beauty beside me had long gone to who knows where. My heart chilled and it was only now that I realized that there was something wrong. Before, I was enticed by the little beauty’s charm and only knew to follow her, but now, it could be assumed that she had other plans. Otherwise, why would she deliberately take me to this pitch dark place when there were clearly a lot of colorful lanterns outside? What lantern were we supposed to look at?
In the middle of my bewilderment, a low voice suddenly came from within the woods not far away from me. I carefully listened for a moment and suddenly understood. F***. The little beauty wasn’t bringing me here to look at lanterns, she wanted me to come catch the adulterers, ah!
Aiya ya! Beauty fools all, ah!
That sound of that voice slowly drew near, but I didn’t have anywhere to hide so I could only randomly find a tree with a thick trunk and rushed towards it. I just wanted to hide behind this tree, but who knew that after raising the ends of my dress and running over there, I would unexpectedly find someone already hiding behind this tree. It was clearly too late to change to another spot and I didn’t have the time to consider all that much, so I had to squeeze in against that person’s shoulder and whisper: “Hey! Squish over a bit!”
Contrary to expectation, that person was also easy to speak to. When he heard what I said, he didn’t ask any questions and hurriedly moved to the side. Not only making some room for me but also kindly pulling me over. I was extremely thankful and promptly whispered: “Thanks, brother!” And then I quickly turned around to reel in my tail-like dress train. I had just managed to pull the ends of my dress into my arms, when the voice behind me finally arrived.
“……You should treat her nicely, treating her like this is too unfair.”
“Treat her fairly, and yet who would treat me fairly?”
“Ying Yue, leave the Fifth!”
“……He treats me very well.”
“I could treat you even better!”
“You cannot! He can give me a whole lifetime with just the two of us, can you?”
“……Ying Yue, you cannot be this harsh! ……Just wait for me for some time, okay?”
“Oh Qi Sheng, let us let go of each other, okay? You’ll live your life with your wife and concubines, I’ll guard my heart and live my mediocre and dull days, occasionally thinking of you during my free time. Isn’t this good enough?”
Wow! Such an excellent voice and expression, ah! The two of them unexpectedly stopped not far away and didn’t leave. It was only because I was standing downwind of them that the sound was transmitted over really clearly without a single word being left out. As I listened, my mood surged and the person beside me was also entranced by what he heard. When he heard “Qi Sheng” these two words, he even lightly nudged me and said in a low voice: “Ah! It’s the Crown Prince, ah!”
I nodded: “Correct!”
That person continued: “The Fifth? The woman is the Fifth’s wife? Zhao Wangfei4.”
In my mind I said, your brain works pretty fast kid.
Behind us, Qi Sheng and Jiang-shi were still dawdling over the same topic, so it was estimated that there was still a good length of lines for them to go through. The person beside me had clearly also realized this point as he used his shoulder to lightly nudge me and ask: “Hey? Do you have any melon seeds?”
I shook my head.
That person softly sighed: “What a shame.”
After saying that he reached into his chest pocket and rummaged around for a while before he handed over a paper bag and asked: “I have Osmanthus cake, do you want any?”
I waved my hand: “No, I don’t like eating sweet stuff.”
“Oh…” That person heard that I didn’t want to eat and simply ate it himself. He ate while inarticulately whispering : “Talking about this Prince, he is so…which woman would be hard for him to go for yet he just has to go for his own brother’s wife. Too much personal moral conduct isn’t good.”
I nodded my head in approval. Just the beauties in the Eastern Palace alone were too many to count. Each and every one of them had big breasts, slim waists, and pretty faces. This Qi Sheng’s brains really weren’t used well. Why would he fancy someone with average looks like Jiang-shi!
That person whispered again: “I heard that the Crown Princess was also a rare beauty. Unfortunately, she just had to end up with this kind of husband, she’s too pitiful!”
I also agreed with this point completely so I hurriedly answered: “The pitiful one is not only her. You don’t know this but in the Eastern Palace, there are uncountable beauties who are keeping each other company like widows. Ah! What a pity!”
That person said: “If I was that Crown Princess, I would also climb the wall and be an unfaithful wife.”
I continued: “Actually, she would much rather climb the wall and wait for an unfaithful wife.”
That person concluded with: “No matter how we say it, that Crown Princess is miserable enough.”
Ah? I understand if you say I was pitiful, but just how was I miserable?
I was just about to refute him when I heard Jiang-shi say from the direction of the tree over there: “Actually……she’s merely a pitiful person, even her child is gone.”
That Qi Sheng only gave a cold and low snort and then said: “Wasn’t that just in order to frame you!”
Jiang-shi gave a low sigh and said: “In this world, how could there still be this kind of heartless person. To go so far as to exploit even their own children.”
Qi Sheng paused for a moment and then coldly said: “Whether or not there was a child at all is arguable. If it wasn’t for her doing something to my food that day, how could I have stayed the night at her palace? It was only once, how could she just happen to get pregnant!……”
Hearing that, I felt really embarrassed. So it turned out that that Zhang-shi had actually used a drug in order to sleep with Qi Sheng. Putting it that way, she really was too pitiful.
“Truly shameless!” The person beside me softly sighed and said.
I joined him and said: “It is indeed shameful.”
Needing to use drugs just to seduce a man and then becoming the people’s gossip topic. Zhang-shi ah Zhang-shi, you were really blind to this beautiful body of yours!
Just as I was sighing, the person beside me had already finished the Osmanthus cake in his hands and offhandedly clapped his hands together to get rid of the crumbs. A few crisp “pa, pa,” sounds rang out. I immediately turned to stone in the wind……
Beside the tree came Qi Sheng’s cold shout: “Who?”
I opened my mouth and watched with wide eyes as the person beside me suddenly deftly fled onto the trees like a monkey. And then after that, Qi Sheng’s body quickly and violently appeared in front of me.
Although today was the day of the fifteenth full moon, because we were deep within the forest, the moon was covered by the treetops so much that you could only see a shadow. Qi Sheng used his hand to clamp down on my throat. He bowed his head and he stared for quite a while before he recognized me. His fingers finally loosened, and he seemed to be suppressing his anger as he asked: “What are you doing here?”
I used my hand to touch my throat before raising my eyelids and looking upwards. Then, I looked at Qi Sheng and tentatively asking: “If……I said I was here to look at the moon……you……would you believe me?”
The night was too dark and I couldn’t clearly see Qi Sheng’s expression, but just by looking at the situation, he didn’t believe me. My mind was right in the middle of thinking this when his hand actually let go of me. He said in a cold voice: “Go back!”
Aiya! I fervently wanted to hear those words of yours. Hearing that, I hurriedly raised the hem of my dress and headed back the way I came. However, I had only taken two steps before I inadvertently caught a glimpse of the corner of a white dress from behind another tree. I couldn’t help but do an act of kindness and so I stopped, turned around, and told Qi Sheng: “Hey! Tell her that the next time she wants to go to a dark place like this, make sure to wear dark clothes. White is too conspicuous. It won’t be good if other people were to see it!”
Finished speaking, I didn’t have the leisure to look at Qi Sheng’s expression as I promptly lifted the ends of my dress and jogged away. Who would have thought that this matter would be ruined by me shooting my mouth off. Just because of these words, even though everything was originally okay, I ended up attracting misfortune upon myself yet again .
That evening, once the feast had ended and we had just returned to the Eastern Palace, Qi Sheng announced that I was to be confined indoors for a month. When he said this, everyone was stunned, and I dumbfoundedly stared at him for a long moment. In my heart I said, good for you Qi Sheng ah, you brat, you’re quite adept in the method of destroying the bridge after crossing the river! You think I have it easy in the Eastern Palace? The only thing I have left is the pleasure of looking at beauties to tide over my urge to f***. It was just this one thing and yet you cut me off from it!
Also! Why was it that you were allowed to look at the stars and the snow with your brother’s wife, but it was wrong for me to look at the moon by myself? Where was the justice? Huh? Screw your grandma Heavenly Lord Si Ming!
Nobody understood why I was suddenly confined indoors while I clearly knew but couldn’t say it, so I could only let everyone feel depressed over it first. Lu Li even felt unbearably aggrieved on my behalf. Little comrade Lu Li had originally held a great deal of enthusiasm when she accompanied me in attending the feast. She only went to the washroom halfway through, but after she came back she couldn’t find Qi Sheng or me. Afterwards, she had seen Qi Sheng and I coming back from outside with one walking in front and the other behind them. She thought that Qi Sheng and I had gone out together and was secretly happy for half the day although it was all in vain. Who would have thought that just as we returned to the Eastern Palace, we would encounter such bad news. Thus, Little comrade Lu Li’s young and tender spirit couldn’t withstand it.
Because I was confined indoors, even the pretty maids who were serving in the palace were suddenly fewer in number. No electricity, no internet, and no beauties. I was bored to the point that I was really left with only watching the moon to pass the time.
Sitting outside on the palace steps and gazing at that round moon, I really wanted to let out my voice and howl for a moment. But by the time I opened my mouth, I suddenly lost interest in it. If this was in the the past, I could howl for two tomatoes and things like a basin of water to wash my feet, but now, even if I were to howl what would come out of it? Ah, just thinking about it made me weary, so I could only let out a deep sigh and be done with it.
Originally, Lu Li had been quietly sitting beside me all along, and hearing me sigh, started choking up again: “Crown Princess……”
“Stop!” I quickly reached out and started talking with Lu Li. “Can we stop crying?”
Lu Li used one hand to wipe away her tears while strongly nodding her head.
1. I believe this was previously translated as New Years Eve, but I think the Spring Lantern Festival would suit it more. It’s celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese calendar and marks the end of Chinese New Year. Like its name suggests, pretty lanterns are involved. More importantly, its a day to spend with family and friends.”↩
2. Taiye Pool is the name of the lake.”↩
3. Indicates that it’s a woman’s clan name/maiden name. Basically a honorific.↩
4. Sure most of you know this already, but wangfei means Princess, or the consort of a prince.”↩