Published at 12th of May 2019 07:00:02 PM

Chapter 85

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Chapter 85: Abandon the Old and Welcome the New

Translator: Flying-Lines

After waiting for ages, people finally met the Prince Eight who arrived in dust. Without seeing each other for nearly fifteen years, the emperor and the prince seemed to be so perfectly intimate that no gap could be spotted between them. The father shook his arm and expressed sympathy and solicitude for his son's hardships while staying in Shu. The son cried his eyes out and kept saying that it was really hard for his father who even fell ill from overwork. Next to them stood the old Empress Li, who was now totally lost and confused. What a lucky family of three!

A group of officials standing under them were quick to cooperate with their performance, each of them wiping tears with sleeves and feeling touched by the deep love between the emperor and the prince. No wonder the weather in our country was so favorable, people enjoyed such peace and prosperity and everything took a turn for the better, thanks to the good example set up by the Royal family! After the reunion, the emperor shakily held his son's hand and gave a brief introduction of each courtier. This was the head of the royal cabinet who almost died, and that was the Great Bachelor of Wen Yuan Ge who served the country with distinctive merits, those were the five cabinet ministers, guys standing backward were...Minglan could hardly remember their names, there were too many of them!

"Father, what does the Prince Eight look like?" asked Rulang without hesitation. In fact, what she asked was also what all women present wanted to know.

With a loyal and patriotic look, Sheng Hong said with his head help up high, " His Highness is the lord of creation, he does well in both literature and martial skills and he looks undoubtedly spectacular."

All female members of the family believed in his words, since it would be much better to have a gorgeous ruler. Yet Changbai stole a glimpse of his father and then remained silent. Actually, the Prince Eight just looked okay with his square face and big ears. Emperor Gao, the first founder of the dynasty (Tai Zu), a man of exceptional ability, was, reputedly, known as an unbearably ugly-looking man. His ugly gene was so powerful that it still existed even after being modified by several beauties, generation after generation. But then again it was appropriate and safe for an emperor to have a plain appearance.

Equipped with sharp awareness, all civilians knew they should feel joyous with the royal family. Many of them set off firecrackers and those who were wealthy even donated a wide range of things to the poor, aiming to show their congratulations. Little Changdong was also cheerful to witness the Crown Prince appointment since he was given a few days-off because of it. When he went back home from school, he secretly told Minglan about what he had heard from the beggars. Those guys said that it was the second almsgiving within the same month, and they were all expecting to have the appointment ceremony on a daily basis. After hearing him, Minglan couldn't help smiling.

Changdong turned eleven years old this year and grew much taller, not a little boy anymore. He had always been polite and deferential in front of his father and brothers, but he still acted mischievous when with Minglan. Minglan encouraged Changdong to show good articles praised by his teachers to Sheng Hong, and indeed, Sheng Hong complimented him on his work a few times. Therefore, Changdong was more motivated to study hard. He got up early, stayed up late and sometimes looked like a dummy when he spoke to others.

Minglan was afraid of him learning by rote and often advised him not to be too obsessive, "Studying hard in exchange for the Royal family's recognition is very common. Nine and a half out of ten guys study hard for becoming an official. However, can every student with good grades become an outstanding official?" she asked. "Your homework has been very good, so naturally you can make it to the list even though not in a prominent position in imperial exams. It is undoubtedly more important for you to learn truths, code and manners about the society so that you could get along well with fellow colleagues and teachers in the future. And if you are an official, you can also be a blessing for common civilians, don't become a dummy after reading." After all, Changdong was not as smart as Changbai. He relied only on his stubborn drudgery.

"I just want  my mom to live better," he said while smiling bitterly. Minglan looked at him for a moment, then caressed his head and gently sighed.

After the grand ceremony, the old emperor intended to hand over all political affairs to the Crown Prince so that he could take some rest. Unexpectedly, the Crown Prince was that filial that he ignored all trivial matters such as meeting the courtiers and other official visits. He just took care of the old emperor with his heart and his soul. In the daytime, he tasted every first spoon of the old emperor's potion. At night, the Crown Prince slept on a lounge in the old emperor's bedchamber. He had been doing this all day long without a rest, and after ten days, the newly appointed Crown Prince had lost so many pounds that his costume looked too large for him.

The old emperor sighed, "My boy's filial piety is unparalleled and I feel very contented. But a Crown Prince should concentrate on state affairs."

The prince replied, "All my brothers can be Crown Prince, but I only have one father."

The old emperor sobbed in tears and held his son in his arms. They both cried bitterly. All couriers praised the Crown Prince's piety after hearing this.

Bo Tianzhou, the Right Military Governor of Commandery of Five Armies, had been ill at home since the end of last year because of his age. He also agreed that it was a pity if the children didn't have the chance to repay their parents, the Crown Prince was undoubtedly a virtuous and filial person! Therefore, he followed the imperial order to enter the palace during night and gave his commander's tally to the Crown Prince.

Minglan showed a slight smile when hearing this piece of news from Changdong.

After half a month, one night the death knell tolled loudly and the notifying clappers struck, four times as Minglan counted attentively; then she heard the footsteps outside start to be chaotic. After a while, Danju came in and said, "His Majesty passed away."

Minglan, with not much political consciousness, did not feel so sad. The death of the old emperor was like the dropping of the second boot on the upper floor. Everyone bit their teeth and awaited. Yet it came so late that it made people feel anxious, and even caused the death of many cannon fodder.

Everything was ready. The new emperor came to power next day and instantly announced the Great Amnesty.

The emperor's funeral was carried out in an orderly manner. Imperial orders were announced by the court, stipulating that anyone with a title and officials above sixth rank were forbidden to hold a feast or get married during a year, and all civilians half a year. Females holding imperial mandates should follow the same as officials. All couriers were rather busy, they not only had to cry regularly before the bier, but also drafted the former emperor's posthumous title as 'Ren' (benevolence).

Then the new emperor started the conferring ceremony. The Empress Li was titled as the Empress of Holy Peace, and the Imperial Noble Consort the Empress of Holy Virtue. The rest concubines were also titled according to the grade. At the same time, Princess Shen was titled as the new Empress, becoming a motherly model for all civilians. The whole nation then mourned in deep sorrow for the deceased old emperor.

During this period of time, a little interlude occurred. The left head of Taipu Temple believed the new emperor needed more gorgeous concubines. Believing that he had fathomed the emperor's mind, he proposed that more beauties should be selected as imperial concubines, so that the Imperial Harem would be enriched and more royal descendants would be born. However, he was criticized harshly by the emperor and even deprived of his official title. "I already have sons, and I shall keep mourning for three years!" said the emperor.

Not all families were delighted about this order. Some noble families in the capital city had long waited to send their daughters to be Imperial Harem, but after waiting for three years, many of their daughters would miss their prime years for marriage. However, many felt quite relieved. For example, Minglan believed she would sure be married in three years.

It took more than half a month to finish the former emperor's funeral. After putting his coffin in the mausoleum, this "leave the old and greet the new" event eventually came to an end.

Rulan took off the mourning apparel which she had been on for quite long as soon as possible, then quickly put her favorite bright dresses on. Molan, as usual, composed those mournful poems and even wept occasionally. For which, old Mama of Wang Shi satirized her furtively, calling her a widow who just lost her husband. And Minglan kept working on her embroidery on the theme of homosexuality. Frankly speaking, she was not a fujoshi, but after coming to this repressive world, she had to please herself and let go of her twisted ideas by doing so.

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At this time, the Qi Mansion was also removing mourning decorations. The servants quietly took down white lanterns, white silk ribbons and other things. Yet the Mansion was now in disorder, and the door was guarded by chief maids and girl servants of Junzhu Pingning, allowing her to talk in private with her son.

"You brat! What did you say?!" Junzhu Pingning was shaking all over out of rage.

"I said, I am now in the Hanlin, if there is a better marriage in the future, will you change again? So why settle so early?" retorted Qi Heng while sneering coldly and ironically.

Qi Heng's face turned aside with a loud snap, which immediately left several obvious finger marks. "You disobedient, unfilial thing! How dare you!" shouted Junzhu harshly.

Tears emerged from Qi Heng's eyes. "Well, mother knew what I want clearly. I was only a step away from my dream, why are you so heartless!" asked Qi Heng while laughing with sorrow.

Junzhu Pingning looked at her trembling palm and felt painful inside her heart. She trembled and retreated a few steps and then struggled to stand still. "On the day of the feast, the three of us sat together, and I tried to sound out Lady Wang. Just as I said a few words, Madam of Marquis Yongchang interrupted me by saying that she found Minglan a wonderful girl. She even chose a good day! So, what do you want your mother to say?! To fight for the girl you want?"

Knowing that his mother was a proud woman, Qi Heng, who had been in the habit of apologizing his fault, still felt flames burning inside his heart, "…… Mother always thinks very fast and speaks with clear logic, I guess you instantly thought of having in-laws with Marquis Yongchang, right? That way, your daughter-in-law is a legitimate daughter, and you'll feel much more superior!"

Junzhu choked on her son's words, and she had never imagined that her gentle and obedient son would behave like this. Ever since he heard this, he had been ignoring her with extreme indifference. Junzhu heaved a sigh and said with difficulty, " I just mentioned it to Sister Wang. Not yet settled. If you don't like the match with Rulan, just forget about it. It's will never see Minglan again."

Her words stunned Qi Heng, his mind fluctuating like the tide, then a burst of sadness overwhelmed him and drove him in tears.

Junzhu could not help weeping as she looked at her son, "You can't blame your mother for being greedy for power. You've always been flattered by others since you were a child and have never experienced that downfall, but you've seen those snobbish faces since 'Shen Chen Mutiny'. Some people even secretly laugh at us... "

Qi Heng was reminded of those days before the lunar new year, his face turning pale, his elegant brows knitted.

Junzhu's heart ached when looking at her son. She pulled him and persuaded softly, "Are not all these things happen because of the word 'power'? If you had an uncle, if your father were the heir of our house and if we were strong enough, you could marry whoever you like. Mother really wants you to be happy and I can even force the Sheng family to send her to you as a concubine. But... Heng'er, our splendor is just ostensible now. By the time your grandfather (maternal) passes away, the Xiangyang Mansion will be passed on into other's hands. Your big aunt and I have never been on friendly terms with each other. We can't rely on either side, maternal or paternal! When the new emperor ascends the throne, old courtiers might be abandoned. What may happen to your father is known. You see, he has spent years in the salt business, can you imagine how many people are looking enviously at him, just waiting for him to make mistakes so that they can take his post? So how can your mother not think more for our family?!"

With these words, she began to weep bitterly.

Qi Heng's vision was blurred by tears, and in a trance, he suddenly recalled a small thing happened during Minglan's childhood. She was then just a little girl, squatting on the ground holding a flower branch. She was digging into the ground and making two flat trenches which she called as parallel lines. These two lines looked very close to each other, but would never meet.

He deliberately teased her and threw a caterpillar on her skirt. The little girl screamed and stamped to get rid of that worm. However, he laughed and pointed to the two lines on the ground that had been connected by her footprints. He said with a smile, "That's what happened, they meet now."

The little girl was as delicate and pretty as a porcelain doll, but she was very angry. Her soft white skin was suffused with the dewy light of a lotus blossom, making one itch to reach out and touch her. Then he hastened to make amends, but the girl refused to forgive him. After picking up a piece of mud and throwing it at him, she turned and ran away.

He tried to chase after her, but was immediately stopped by pages who had found him after hearing them talking.

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