Translator’s Note: Hello there~ Sorry for the wait ;_; I couldn’t update as I was swarmed with some rl issues. Here’s the chapter, enjoy 😀
When Emperor JingKang heard his question, he was surprised.
He looked at the stacks of memorials arranged and placed over the table, thought for a moment, and then slowly said: “Most men are fathers. Emperors are fathers and so are the men from ordinary families. Although they are all fathers, a father from a common family is different from a father from the Imperial family.”
Xiao Heng listened to his words with utmost seriousness and asked, “How are they different?”
Emperor JingKang’s dragon eyes stared at Xiao Heng.
“In a common family, a father and son are just father and son, but in the Imperial family, a father and son are not only a father and son but also a ruler and his minister. First, they are a ruler and his minister and then a father and son.”
In the Imperial Study, the flame of the candle jumped. The Chief Eunuch, who was standing by the side, bowed his head respectfully.
There was an imperceptible tremor in Emperor JingKang’s solemn and majestic voice.
“Be it the common people or the one who sits on the throne1The author used the term ‘九五之尊’ which translates to ‘9 and 5 reign supreme’. According to ancient Chinese beliefs, the number 9 ranks as the highest number, and the number 5 is a ‘middle’ or ‘central’ number. Thus 9 and 5 together came to be regarded as a supreme combination which symbolized the Emperor. (Source: Baidu), all are humans. And as long as they are human, their hearts are made of flesh. The same is true for fathers. They all hope that their children will be healthy and live a good life. It’s lamentable that when they’re born in the Imperial family, they have to abide by the Imperial family’s mode of conduct.”
Xiao Heng silently memorised his words before saying in a low voice: “This official understands.”
There was no more sound in the room. Xiao Heng finished the tea in his cup and got up to leave.
Emperor JingKang reminded him in a low voice as he grabbed a file from the table, “Ah Heng, the child will be born in a bit more than two months. Remember to choose a good name for the child first.”
Xiao Heng: “Yes, Your Majesty.”
Emperor JingKang was silent for a moment, then raised his hand and took out a sheet of paper from the file: “Here, Zhen had listed these names yesterday. You can take a look first.”
The Chief Eunuch stepped forward and took the piece of paper to hand it to Xiao Heng.
From the strokes of the characters on that paper, he could easily discern that these twenty or so male and female names were indeed listed by Emperor JingKang personally.
Although Xiao Heng looked at it roughly, he knew that all the names on that paper were carefully thought out. He was taken aback. Coming out of his daze after a while, he bowed his head and said respectfully: “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
When Xiao Heng came out of the Imperial Palace, the palace gate was already closed. However, he was the leader of the LongQi Guards, so he was granted a tablet that allowed him to enter and exit the Imperial Palace at will.
When he entered the palace, he did not bring any guards with him. Therefore, he was the only one who left through the large Palace gate, riding a horse.
The moon had risen as the sun had sunk westwards. The fallen leaves of autumn, which were scattered in front of the Palace gate, fluttered in the wind. In the dead of the night, only the sound of his horse’s hoof, stepping on the street, could be heard.
As soon as he pulled the rein, the horse stopped.
He lowered his head and looked at the shadows on the street.
They were the long and thin outstretched shadows of a man and a horse.
After staring at it for a moment, he looked back at the gate.
Behind the tightly closed gates, the Imperial Palace, which was encircled by the high walls, was awfully silent.
He recalled Emperor JingKang’s words. ‘In the Imperial family, a father and son are not only a father and son but also a ruler and his minister, with the latter being the more important one.’
But he had also added that the hearts of all people, including the fathers’, are made of flesh.
Holding the reins in his hands tightly, he thought of the fleshy little fetus in Gu Sui’er’s belly, who loved to kick and turn over again and again.
A trace of warmth spread in his lonely heart.
Gu Sui’er was awfully worried about Xiao Heng, so she couldn’t sleep.
However, she tried to do it since Nanny An had told her to take a good rest for the well-being of her little tadpole.
She knew that both she and her little tadpole had been terrified by what happened today. Hence, she had to make sure to rest well, at least for the sake of her unborn child.
She closed her eyes, trying to get herself to sleep.
Although she fell asleep after some time, she couldn’t relax due to the unnerving dream she saw.
In the dream, she was sitting by the window. A white jade vase containing two osmanthus flowers was placed on the window sill. That vase was something that Xiao Heng had given her before.
She fiddled with the two osmanthus flowers, thinking of Xiao Heng in her heart and feeling scared that he would be implicated by the incident that transpired earlier in the day.
When she raised her head to look up at the sky, she saw that it had become overcast and a chilly wind had begun blowing. As a result, all the bamboo in the courtyard swayed violently.
She was somewhat frightened and confused. All she could think of was why Xiao Heng didn’t come back and why Nanny An had disappeared along with all the maids.
For a split second, she almost thought she was back in her maiden home but when she looked down, she noticed that her belly was still big and pointed2If the belly of a pregnant lady is pointy, it’s believed that she’s carrying a boy while if it’s wide, she’s believed to be carrying a girl. However, this is nothing but a myth. There are other reasons which cause a pointy belly, like recti diastasis, muscle structure of the mom and the fetal position..
It was obviously not this big when she was still in the Gu Family Village.
At this time, her little tadpole started moving. She didn’t know what it wanted to do but the child was kicking and arching over violently. Its plump little buttock started showing up on her belly as one side bulged more than the other and vice versa. It felt like her belly had become the surface of some turbulent water body which had ripples.
“Little tadpole… What happened to you?” She mumbled in a low voice.
Just as she said this, a sudden stream of bright light compelled her to open her eyes wide.
She raised her head in surprise and saw the sun descending from the sky, slowly coming towards her window.
She stared at it without blinking, wondering how the sun could have possibly fallen from the sky.
When the sun reached her body, it shrouded her belly, and slowly disappeared as if it had blended itself with her.
When the sun integrated into her body, her body exuded a burst of warmth. This warmth was like the sun in winter, which made people lazy and comfortable. She felt so relaxed that she wished to curl up her body to her fingertips and lie down.
“Mmm…” She awakened slowly, hearing her own pleased voice as she murmured in her sleep.
It took her a while to understand that she just seemed to have had a dream.
She woke up in a daze. After a few moments, she realized that a person was standing in front of the bed.
Widening her eyes in an effort to see clearly, she saw Xiao Heng.
He was standing in front of her bed, staring at her quietly but attentively.
If a man suddenly appeared beside the bed while they were sleeping, ordinary people would have been scared silly. However, Gu Sui’er was not.
She had been hoping that Xiao Heng would be out of trouble all day long. Her continuous prayers only had one plea– the safety of Xiao Heng.
Her thoughts were simple and pure. Seeing Xiao Heng standing in front of her, she felt elated regardless of his incredibly unexpected arrival.
“Third Master…” She called out in a low voice.
He looked at her without saying a word.
“When did you come back?” She said while she strived to get up.
But she had a hard time getting up due to her big belly.
Xiao Heng stepped forward and pressed her down by her shoulders to prevent her from getting up. In a horse voice, he stated: “Lie down. You don’t have to get up.”
He had not been inside for long, so his hoarse voice still carried the coolness of an autumn night.
Gu Sui’er stopped struggling. She lay there obediently without uttering a word but her eyes were fixed on the man in front of her.
Xiao Heng looked down at the woman. Her long inky black hair was scattered on the bed, making her appear more soft and docile. Her current visage was capable of reminding men of all the poignant poems they had ever read in their lives.
As she lay on the bed, she stared at him earnestly with her large and limpid eyes on that fair and clean little face, giving him the feeling he had become her heaven, her earth, and her everything.
He couldn’t help but recall the night when he held her in his arms. At that time, she looked at him the same way as now. Her moist dark eyes were filled with this familiar confusion.
He also remembered her body. It was petite and tender, white as snow and unimaginably soft.
Maybe he was looking too hard at her because the thoughts in his heart were all completely exposed in front of Gu Sui’er through his eyes. As a result, she turned her face to the other side with a shy look.
A fire was ignited somewhere in Xiao Heng’s heart. He took off his robes, got under the quilt and wrapped his arms around her.
Feeling her back sticking to him, she trembled slightly.
He hugged her, put his face on her shoulders, sniffed the unique fragrance of her body, and said hoarsely: “Don’t be afraid, I’ll just hug you.”
Gu Sui’er was indeed a bit frightened at the beginning. Even though she herself had tried hard to forget that night many times, her body had remembered it. Therefore, at this moment, she became nervous.
But when he spoke, she suddenly felt a kind of incomparable loneliness and helplessness. It was like walking on an empty mountain road at night. When looking at the surroundings, everything appeared so magnificent and mysterious, only the person is insignificant; trivial enough to be homeless, trivial enough to be engulfed at any time.
She even felt that the man burying his head in her shoulders was not a noble Young Master from the RuiDing Mansion, but a person like her.
Fruitlessly walking on the path of life with empty eyes, not knowing where to return to.
Hence, she gritted her teeth, hoping to restrain herself from shaking, and letting herself be free from that distant nightmare.
After that, she rolled over with difficulty, stuck her belly against him, and awkwardly raised her hands in an attempt to embrace the lonely and cold man.
She even felt that he was like a helpless child now. When her little tadpole is born in the future, she would definitely embrace her child like this.
He too didn’t expect that she would hug him like this. Her embrace was soft, fragrant and incredibly gentle.
He felt pleased by her actions so he couldn’t help but lift his head to kiss her chin and then kiss her face.
Her breath was pure and clean, making him feel an urge to continue.
Thanks for reading٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶! If you like my translations, please consider rating it on NU and supporting me on:
- 1The author used the term ‘九五之尊’ which translates to ‘9 and 5 reign supreme’. According to ancient Chinese beliefs, the number 9 ranks as the highest number, and the number 5 is a ‘middle’ or ‘central’ number. Thus 9 and 5 together came to be regarded as a supreme combination which symbolized the Emperor. (Source: Baidu)
- 2If the belly of a pregnant lady is pointy, it’s believed that she’s carrying a boy while if it’s wide, she’s believed to be carrying a girl. However, this is nothing but a myth. There are other reasons which cause a pointy belly, like recti diastasis, muscle structure of the mom and the fetal position.