On the third day of the first month, there was heavy snowfall in the capital. A shiny, silver coat of snow draped over the capitol, resembling willow catkin and goose feathers.
Wen Chan was wrapped up in a thick tiger-fur jacket and wore a furry cotton cap on his head. With his ears covered tightly, he sat by the threshold with a hot-water bottle in his arms.
Ah Fu wasn’t any inferior to Wen Chan with his dressing. He was like a big ball too. Keeping both hands inside his sleeves, he stood up straight beside Wen Chan.
Wen Chan’s delicate cheeks became red as they froze with the coldness of the air. While looking at the snow falling everywhere, he lightly breathed out a puff of cold air. “Let’s build a snowman in the yard after the snowfall stops.”
“Your Highness, the snow this year can almost freeze people. If your highness wants to see a snowman, just ask the servants to make it.” After walking a few steps, Ah Fu stepped into the snow. As he stood there, his legs sank until they touched the actual ground. By that time, the snow was almost halfway up his leg. He grinned and said, “The snow is thick.”
Wen Chan said, “I have not built a snowman for a long time. So through this snowfall, I thought of getting back the fun that I used to have.”
It has indeed been a long time. Even though he couldn’t remember the last time he made a snowman in his previous life, he could still remember that whenever it snowed, he would just look at it for a while. Then, he would go back to take care of his affairs, having hardly any free time.
The snow stopped after noon time. Wen Chan called out to the subordinates from inside and outside his bed-chamber to gather at the garden. He summoned them to make snowmen together. Since they were all youngsters, everybody became very happy once they heard that Wen Chan was calling them to play outside together. Energized, they went out to make snowmen.
Wen Chan also joined in with them. However, his tender pair of arms became red and swollen just by touching the snow for a while. Because he wasn’t ready to believe that he was this delicate, he braced himself to roll out a few small-sized snowballs. But at last, he wasn’t able to do it anymore. So he obediently withdrew and tightly held his hot water bottle.
He changed into the new pair of cotton boots that Ah Fu had brought for him. After changing into it, he became a spectator, watching the palace servants making huge snowmen. After piling up snow, they were able to find carrots for their noses. But they weren’t able to find suitable eyes and mouths for their snowmen.
After Wen Chan thought about it for a while, he got up and went to his study. He took out his langhao1writing brush of weasel bristle from his study. He then dipped it in ink to paint round eyes and curved mouths for the snowmen.
The servants together made three giant snowmen as tall as Wen Chan. They became even more adorable after Wen Chan drew their eyes and mouths. Seeing this, Wen Chan became so happy that he bestowed every one of the servants with silver coins, making the entire bed-chamber section happy.
But the snowmen’s cuteness didn’t last long. After the snowfall stopped, the temperature began to rise. The snowmen withstood it for two days, but at last, they couldn’t keep it together. The face of the snowmen melted. When looking from afar, it looked as if black tears were flowing, making them seem a bit horrifying.
Wen Chan got up early in the morning to see the snowman. But he didn’t think that he would see such a scene. Just as he saw this, he ordered the palace servants to take down three big snowmen. They took them down, turning them into a pile of snow ruins.
The emperor’s reward came early in the morning on the 15th day of the first month. Every year on this day, the emperor will send gifts to the palace masters and silver coins to the palace servants.
The gifts sent were several sets of newly made clothes, jade crowns and hairpins of excellent material, many books, and gold leaves. All of which were sent in three huge boxes.
While Ah Fu was checking on the gifts, Wen Chan laid down on the Ruan Ta2 It’s like a sofa.. He relaxed his eyes, but he wasn’t able to sleep.
After checking everything, Ah Fu softly asked Wen Chan,” Your highness, I heard that there will be fireworks in the capitol this evening. Does your highness want to go see it?”
Wen Chan, who was about to fall asleep a while ago, sobered upon hearing this. His pitch-black eyes were somewhat blank as he pondered about it.
Wen Chan remembered clearly that in his last life, it was on this day that he met Jiang Yueying on the side of the Donghu bridge.
Jiang Yueying was the first queen of Wen Chan. The Jiang family wasn’t that outstanding in the capital at first. Jiang Yun was just a third-ranked official, but later after Jiang Yueyang became the queen, Wen Chan upgraded Jiang Yun to a higher-ranked official. Unfortunately, soon after he was promoted, Jiang Yun died of an illness. The sons he left weren’t efficient. Wen Chan tried to make them better, but his efforts were in vain. In the end, he had to let them do as they wished.
He originally wanted to protect the Jiang family on behalf of Jiang Yun. But Wen Chan became pissed off after knowing that the crown prince who Jiang Yueyan had given birth to was from a secret affair with an imperial guard.
Jiang Yueying was the queen of the nation, so Wen Chan gave her a decent method of death. He allowed her to choose the way by which she wanted to die3Literally it says that he gave her a sword, poisonous wine, and three feet long white silk. Giving a concubine silk is like asking her to hang herself, and giving a sword to military personnel is like asking them to die.. In public, it was declared that the queen died due to an illness and they conducted a huge burial.
If Wen Chan was still brooding in his previous life, then in this life, he has completely let go of this matter. And talking about it, he still had failed Jiang Yueying and the beautiful ladies of the harem in his last life.
It looked as if Wen Chan went lost in his thoughts for a while. After he came back to his senses, he said to Ah Fu, “It’s pretty rare for it to be so lively. Let’s go have a look.”
Once again, he chose to go through the same Donghu bridge as before. But this time, unlike his previous life, he is not going to help up a girl who almost fell down on the bridge among the congested tide of the crowd. He is also not going to give her his Tiandeng4Sky lanternin a friendly manner.
Night fell, and the city was ablaze with lights.
Several lanterns were scattered in the night sky, floating high up in the air. Wen Chan inside the palace looked up to stare attentively at them.
He changed into a new set of clothes. He wore a huge vermillion gown in which auspicious clouds were embroidered with gold threads. A layer of snow-white fur was attached to wide cuffs and the hemline of the paozi5 Chinese-style gown. Fox fur wrapped around his neck area. Ah Fu had let loose his hair and added a braided pigtail to the left side. The pigtail was tied with a red ribbon, perfecting the look of a jubilant person. His whole body gave off Spring Festival energy.
Wen Chan was filled with a childish nature when he was sixteenth. His eyes were big and bright. His lashes were thick and long. His lips were red, and his teeth white. And together with his red gown and the pigtail, he very much resembled a young girl, delicate and soft.
Before leaving, he wore a tiger-designed cotton hat on his head and took a hand warmer to take along with him. He then sat in his carriage and left the palace.
The red lanterns on the street clustered up high one after another, illuminating the entire road with unparalleled brightness.
At this time, most of the people from the capital have come near Yufu Street. Because of the annual Lantern Festival, the girls from Yufu brothel will come to the front of the brothel to sing and dance, and Yufu Street will be densely packed with vendors from the beginning to the end of the street. Some of the stalls sell sachets, some sell lanterns, and some sell masks and gadgets. Of course, the most sold-out item is the sky lantern. It seems that every household will buy a sky lantern tonight. They will write down their wishes on the lantern and then let it fly away by the East Lake.
The carriage went directly for Yufu Street. But when they came close to the street, the carriage could not move forward due to the thick crowd. They had to stop the carriage by the roadside and then step into the crowded area.
Qinqi and Shu Hua stood to the left and right of Wen Chan, blocking others with their sturdy bodies. And Ah Fu followed behind him. The three people surrounded Wen Chan in a tight circle without making him feel suffocated.
Maybe it is because Wen Chan’s appearance is too refined that it caught the eyes of many outsiders. And most of them are youths. He touched his tiger-designed cap, bewildered as he thought, Is he unnecessarily attracting a lot of attention from others?
After walking on the road for a while, the sound of pipa6The pipa, pípá, or p’i-p’a is a traditional Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the “Chinese lute“, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 31. and yanqin7hammered string musical instrument rose. Wen Chan halted on hearing the sound. He stood up on his toes and stretched out his neck to see what was happening. He caught sight of the magnificent Yufu brothel, surrounded by a huge crowd. Everyone was watching eagerly and clapping their hands.
When Wen Chan stepped towards the crowd, the guards voluntarily paved the path for him by pushing aside the people. Since they had tall and sturdy structures, they finished this action effortlessly. When the others saw this, they naturally understood that Wen Chan wasn’t an ordinary person. So one by one, they stepped aside.
He got ahead of them, only to see a group of enchanting girls wearing bright-colored dresses dancing with the music. Some wore gold hairpins and jade rings with heavy makeup, while some wore silk gowns. They were also girls dressed in an elegant and clean look. The group was filled with girls of all kinds of appearances.
The pretty girls swiveled their dresses according to the melodious floating of songs from the zither. Just a smile or a look from them was able to hook up souls, making many male onlookers absent-minded.
Wen Chan spotted a girl wearing a green dress from the group of dancers. Her eyes were like almonds, and her eyebrows were perfectly shaped. Her lips slightly curled up as her soft, slender fingers drew up a peanut cactus flower8, looking charming and lovable.
From the vast sea of memory, Wen Chan collected the information that this girl’s name is Zhu Xue. Wen Chan had once seen her when she was around 30. At that time, she was the female keeper of the Yufu brothel. But when Wen Chan used to come there occasionally, he would order her to play the zither.
In truth, Wen Chan doesn’t like the Yufu brothel, and he greatly loathes the cosmetic smell in the brothel. But Liang Yanbei really likes to come here. He was a young flirt at that time, and his favorite was Zhu Xue. Every time he went to the brothel, he would ask for her. His gloomy mind will make him run over to the Yufu brothel to check what is so special about this Zhu Xue to make Liang Yanbei captivated like this.
After going to the brothel several times, he found that Zhu Xue is remarkably skilled at playing guzheng and seemed to have an emotional connection with it. At last, he was subconsciously brought into the melody of the zither. So much that he started asking for her every time.
Later, when Liang Yanbei found out about this, he started choosing another girl named Lan Quan instead of her to not compete with him. That time he was really infuriated with him[WC].
After the dance finished, the female brothel keeper came out gracefully, shaking her handkerchief. She smiled and asked, “Does this young gentleman9Can be used to call a young playboy from a rich family want to continue?”
“Naturally.” Someone replied.
As soon as he heard this voice, his body stiffened. He turned his head to see an elegant youth wearing a jade gown coming out from the crowd. His elegant face contained a smile that wasn’t really a smile. Who else can it be other than Liang Yanbei?
A tingling sensation arose on his face, and he couldn’t help but shiver. His heart was shaking endlessly. He had come to the lively Yufu brothel in his last life too. But Liang Yanbei didn’t come there at that time, let alone come to answer the riddles. Is it because he came here early in the morning that he encountered a scene different from his previous life?
The female brothel keeper of the Yufu brothel had prepared five sets of riddles. If anyone answers five of them correctly, they can choose any of the girls from the brothel to have a spring night10sex. But if they only managed to get the first one right but got the second one wrong, they have to give twenty taels to the female brothel keeper. And the number of silver coins will keep on increasing as it goes. But Liang Yanbei successfully managed to reach the fifth set of questions.
The female brothel keeper smiled and said, “Young gentleman, you should think before choosing. If you answer the last set of questions wrong or if you can not answer it, then you have to give me 50 taels.”
Liang Yanbei gently raised his eyebrows. The tone of his voice was lazy as he said, ” If I answer these questions wrong, I have to give you 50 taels for nothing. Isn’t this exactly what you want?”
The author has something to say.
Passerby: Hey! Whose carriage is this? Don’t you know that it is blocking the way?
Horse: I am the horse of the graceful and noble Ninth Highness. Do you dare to displace me from here?
Passersby: I don’t dare to. I don’t dare to……
Sorry for posting this chapter late. I had exams, so I couldn’t translate this on time. I am so sorry na.
Thank you so much for reading the chapter. If you liked and wanna support me, you can comment down your thoughts or you can send me a Kofi.
If you found any mistakes please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
- 1writing brush of weasel bristle
- 2It’s like a sofa.
- 3Literally it says that he gave her a sword, poisonous wine, and three feet long white silk. Giving a concubine silk is like asking her to hang herself, and giving a sword to military personnel is like asking them to die.
- 4Sky lantern
- 5Chinese-style gown
- 6The pipa, pípá, or p’i-p’a is a traditional Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the “Chinese lute“, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 31.
- 7hammered string musical instrument
- 9Can be used to call a young playboy from a rich family