Now that things have reached this state, the officials realize that they have no other choice but to accept the situation.
And then, after another sacrificial ceremony presided by Grandmaster Tian Yi, the ascension happens. Although it is rushed, it is magnificent just the same.
At the end of everything, Murong Cang bestows Yun Qian Yu with his prized sword.
Li Jin Tian then announces Murong Cang’s first decree as the Retired Emperor; “From today onwards, Princess Hu Guo is to help the emperor in his rule. The Retired Emperor personally bestows her the Shang Fang Sword that gives her the power to kill first and reason later, along with the power to criticize unruly ruler and disloyal officials.”
The ministers sigh again; has the Retired Emperor turned muddle-headed? Why did he give so much power to Princess Hu Guo.
Yun Qian Yu steps forward to receive the sword. After thanking Murong Cang, she turns to face the ministers, “For now, the Shang Fang Sword is in my hands. Once the emperor rules on his own, the sword will be returned.”
She made such a public promise that nobody has the cheek to complain again. Since she publicly promised that, that means that the sword is not hers to keep and will not be handed down to her children and grandchildren. Instead, it will be returned to the emperor.
The ascension ceremony ends at noon. Since the Retired Emperor’s birthday celebration will be held at night, none of them returns home and continues getting busy inside the palace.
Yun Qian Yu isn’t exactly idle either. Since Yu Jian is now the emperor, he needs to move into Murong Cang’s palace. The Retired Emperor does not seem reluctant at all, to leave the palace that he has lived in for more than 40 years. Seeing Yu Jian ascending the throne is a wish that he has finally fulfilled.
After getting busy the entire day, the pair finally settles in their new respective palaces.
Not long after, the Department of Rites sends people to inform them that the birthday banquet is about to begin.
Since Murong Cang is now the Retired Emperor, some details need to be changed.
Yun Qian Yu is so busy the entire day that she didn’t have time to eat anything. Her stomach grumbles a little.
Gong Sang Mo walks in while carrying a couple of small plates. “This is only the first day and you already skipped lunch. How can my heart ever be in peace?”
Yun Qian Yu happily sits down, “I am so hungry.” She picks up her chopsticks and starts eating.
“Slow down. I don’t think you will get much rest in the banquet later on, so eat a little more. Save some energy to deal with those cats and dogs,” Gong Sang Mo meaningfully says.
“You seem to know something. What happened?” Yun Qian Yu asks while eating.
Gong Sang Mo smiles, “Ding Hai Wang is here.”
“Ji Shu Liu?”
“Correct. I don’t think he comes with good intention.”
“Soldiers came to assume their positions and water flows above the ground; I would be more worried if he didn’t come,” Yun Qian Yu waves the chopsticks in her hand.
“He is not an easy enemy. He is harder to deal with than Long Jin. Long Jin plots in the dark, but Ji Shu Liu does it openly. He wants you to watch him putting traps all around you but without having the ability to do anything about it.”
“That is only because he has never met me,” Yun Qian Yu narrows her eyes, seemingly plotting something.
Gong Sang Mo watches her in amusement.
“Remember, you still have me. You can practice on the big fish, but if you ever need my help, I will be there to help you,” Gong Sang Mo openly volunteers himself.
“Alright,” Yun Qian Yu does not plan on being courteous with Gong Sang Mo. After all, Yu Jian can only do so much on her own; with his help, she will be able to do more things.
Once Yun Qian Yu is full, she changes into her official robe before going to the banquet with Yu Jian.
Murong Cang arrives not long after them.
Since today is Murong Cang’s birthday, all the ministers and the imperial family members attend it with their families. Only the primary wives and daughters are allowed to participate in the banquet, so children of concubines like Murong Bing are not here.
Just as the banquet starts, an announcement can be heard from outside, announcing Ding Hai Wang’s arrival and his request to give Murong Cang his birthday present.
“Send him in,” Yu Jian looks at Yun Qian Yu. When she nods at him, he waves him in.
Ji Shu Liu enters with large, eye-catching strides.
Yun Qian Yu looks at him; he is wearing a silver robe paired with silver headgear. His steps are like the winds. Upon closer inspection, she discovers that he is a handsome young man. His skin is like fine jade and his eyes are narrow and bright like stars. He is tall and elegant; seeing him makes one think of the saying, ‘the elegant jade tree facing the wind.’
Yun Qian Yu narrows her eyes, why does he look familiar?
After a moment, she finally remember who he is. He was the poisoned man that Yun Qian Yu saved. He was wearing a black robe back then. Now that he is wearing a silver one, he looks even more esteemed and dignified.
“Ding Hai Wang, Ji Shu Liu greets the emperor, the Retired Emperor.”
“You may get up!”
Ji Shu Liu who is not bowing very deeply stands up. “This official personally prepared a special gift for the Retired Emperor’s birthday.”
Ji Shu Liu waves his hand off and his helpers immediately bring in a big box.
Looking at the way his lips curl, Yun Qian Yu can tell that the gift is nothing ordinary.
He claps his hand once and the lid of the box is pushed open from inside. A beautiful, golden-haired and blue-eyed lady walks out of the box.
Her nose-bridge is tall and her eyes are light blue. Her golden locks paired with her tall frame and her curious dress attracts the attention of the menfolk.
Yun Qian Yu involuntarily looks over at Gong Sang Mo only to find that he has been looking at her. He is not attracted to any foreigner at all.
She is immediately appeased.
Murong Cang’s face darkens while Murong Yu Jian does not understand what this is all about. What he does understand is Ji Shu Liu does not have any good intention.
Yun Qian Yu raises her eyebrows, “Ding Hai Wang’s gift is really refreshing. Accept it!”
Ji Shu Liu looks at Yun Qian Yu in surprise, “Princess Hu Guo is really candid. Would you like to watch Lisa’s dance?”
The beauty named Lisa speaks in an accented voice, “Lisa’s dance is really beautiful.”
Ji Shu Liu smiles at Yun Qian Yu.
Yun Qian Yu gets up; her blue palace dress makes her look so refined. She walks to Lisa and inspects her from head to toe, “Do you know what your position is?”
“I am a gift for the Retired Emperor,” Lisa raises her neck, revealing her long and slender neck.
“Do you know what a gift means?” Yun Qian Yu continues asking her.
Lisa frowns. She only needs to dance, why is the other girl speaking so much?
“You don’t know? Then, let bengong tells you.” Yun Qian Yu walks two steps away from Lisa. “A gift is an offering. It’s main use is to make people happy. As a gift, one must know their place; you must stand wherever your master told you to stand. You must do whatever your master wants you to do. You can only speak when spoken to, can only dance when asked to. If they like you, they can reward you. If they don’t, they can give you to other people. Do you understand it now?”
Although she is speaking to Lisa, she is looking at Ji Shu Liu.
The more Lisa listens to her, the unhappier she becomes. She turns to Ji Shu Liu, “I don’t like this place! Send me back!”
“What? Ding Hai Wang didn’t tell you that gifts does not have their own freedom?”
Ji Shu Liu finally opens his mouth, “What Princess Hu Guo said is right; a gift must know their own place.”
Yun Qian Yu waves her arm away. A couple of maids, then, drags Lisa away.
“Is this it, Ding Hai Wang?” Yun Qian Yu returns to her seat.
“Of course not. This king stumbled upon a pair of peculiar brother and sister while patrolling. Lisa is the sister. Andy is the older brother. He is a story-teller, he travels through kingdom to tell stories. This king especially brought him today to entertain the Retired Emperor.”
Yun Qian Yu secretly muses to herself: As expected, there is another one.
Murong Cang says, “Bring him in.”
A 20-something-year old man walks in. He seems to understand etiquette better than Lisa. He greets them the western way that only Yun Qian Yu understands out of everyone inside the hall.
“Your name is Andy?”
Andy turns to face her, “Yes, greeting Your Highness the princess.”
“Andy, us in the East have our own way of greeting. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In your culture, the other party will reply back, but that is not the case here. You have travelled far and wide, you should have known all that.”
Andy looks at her in surprise, before turning to Ji Shu Liu.
“It is Andy who lost conduct.”
Andy bows down as a way of apology.
“Ding Hai Wang said that you are a story-teller. Why don’t you tell His Majesty the Retired Emperor a story?”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
Ji Shu Liu goes to his seat and Andy sits next to him.
This Andy is indeed knowledgeable. He has travelled a lot after leaving his kingdom, he is very accustomed to the traditions of Jiu Xiao and Mo Dai Kingdom.
The description of the stories that he encountered while he was traveling is extremely vivid.
“Andy has travelled through a lot of Eastern kingdoms, the thing that Andy hates the most is having to use chopsticks to eat. The ones we used in the west are better; our knives and forks,” Andy says while looking at the chopsticks in his hand in disdain.
“Bengong disagree with what Andy said,” Yun Qian Yu starts sending him sharp looks while the corner of her lips curls up.
“Please do share your views, Your Highness,” Andy says rather modestly.
“Knives and forks indeed look beautiful, but they can only be made after mastering the art of metallurgy. Our chopsticks aren’t the same; they have been used for a very long time. Do you know how your people eat before the invention of knives and forks?”
Yun Qian Yu made the motion of eating using bare hands. When the Nan Lou officials see that, they laugh loudly while Andy’s face darkens.
Yun Qian Yu smiles before saying, “Chopsticks have their own standard length. 7.6 inch. That represents people’s 7 emotions and 6 desires. There are two chopsticks in a pair, but they are considered one. Do you know why?”
Andy isn’t the only one who doesn’t know the answer to that. Even the rest of the people there are curious. They didn’t know there are so many things to know about the chopsticks that they use so many times in a day.
“It is because of our Taichi and Yinyang concept. Taichi is 1, Yinyang is 2. 1 is 1. 2 is 2. There is 1 in 2. 2 of 1 makes a 2. That is a saying from our common folks. Bengong believe that the 3rd wangye from Jiu Xiao Kingdom and Crown Prince Long Jin from Mo Dai Kingdom knows that as well.”
Bei Tang Ming and Long Jin can only play along in embarrassment. Honestly, they have only known this as well.
“The chopsticks need to cooperate when in use; when one moves, one will stay still. Only then can you pick up things. If they both move together or both do not move at all, you will not be able to pick up anything. That is actually pretty reasonable and can also be applied to people and the things they do. Only good people will do good things. Other than for eating, chopsticks can also be used to press acupuncture point, for massage and to scrape things. It is very useful for people traveling in the Jianghu. If you did not bring it with you, you only need to pick up a couple of branches or reeds and smooth them over a rock. You can immediately use them after washing.”
The more Andy listens, the shocker he seems to becomes. He has travelled around the east for almost 10 years and yet he still has such little knowledge about chopsticks.
As for the rest of the officials, the more they listen, the more they agree to her. The image of a little pair of chopsticks suddenly rises in their hearts. Princess Hu Guo sure is knowledgeable.
Yun Qian Yu isn’t finish. “Bengong does not think that chopsticks are inferior to knives and forks. The chopsticks that you are using are made of the wood of nan trees so that the user can hold it with ease. The base is made of pure silver; there are also ones that are made of gold. Different guests use different kinds of chopsticks. The one you are using are also used by nobles.”
Although Murong Cang and Murong Yu Jian appear calm, they are actually surprised on the inside. Murong Cang secretly thinks: This girl’s mouth is so clever. It is just a pair of chopsticks and she already goes into a long rant. That Andy-something looks like he is going to choke from his own breath.
Yu Jian’s respect for his imperial sister multiples. Once they return to their own palaces, he must ask her what books she read. He must read it too, to gain more knowledge.
Gong Sang Mo is surprised too. It is true that chopsticks in the palace have their own grades, just like his own Xian Wang’s manor. He is very sure that this is not written somewhere. The girl once told him that she has memories from two lifetimes, this must be from the other lifetime.
Yun Qian Yu looks at the expressions of the people, and then at Andy’s darkening face. She goes on, “The knives and forks in the west can easily be used be people as long as their arms are long. As for chopsticks, they need to be practiced, usually from a very early age. That is why there are so many brilliant young scholars in the east; it is because they need to learn to work their brains from a very young age.”
Yun Qian Yu looks at Long Jin, “Just like our Crown Prince Long Jin. He could read poems when he was only 3, learned martial arts when he was 5 , and by his teens, he was already an extraordinary figure in Mo Dai Kingdom.”
Long Jin look at her curiously; why does she keep talking about him today?
Yun Qian Yu then turns to Ji Shu Liu, “And also Ding Hai Wang that you are familiar with. He assumed the position as Ding Hai Wang when he was only 12. For the past 8 years, he did a great job with securing our coastline.”
Ji Shu Liu toys with the cup in his hand as he looks at Yun Qian Yu in interest.
In the end, Yun Qian Yu sets her eyes on Andy.
“Andy, do you still think that forks and knives are superior than chopsticks?”
Andy’s face suddenly turns amiable as he gets up and bows down the oriental way. “Andy was superficial, thank you for your teaching, Princess Hu Guo.”
Yun Qian Yu does not say anything.
The looks on the officials’ faces have changed. This is not their first time seeing someone winning a debate, but only Yun Qian Yu have won so brilliantly like this. They now understand why the Retired Emperor trusts this little lady so much.
Ji Shu Liu puts down his cup and smiles, “Before this king arrived, this king heard about the appointment of Princess Hu Guo. This king especially prepared a gift for the princess.”
The looks on everyone’s faces change. Ding Hai Wang is not done yet!
Yun Qian Yu knows that a person that Gong Sang Mo warns her about will not be simple.
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