People said that the women’s fight in the harem had always involved tidy and innovative methods. The arrival of Princess Qin Yu Zheng opened my eyes about how the world worked.
Qin Yu Zheng came from the imperial family, Rui Wang’s manor was basically a little-version of the harem; that makes her skilled when it came to fighting for men. I suffered a terrible lost under her hands.
Method No. 1: The evil ones always went to complain first.
On the second day, she pulled open her sleeve and pointed at some ugly whip marks on her hand before complaining about my terrible behavior. “Yan Lang, you must give me some justice! I waited for An Lang in front of his house for such a long time, yesterday. I asked him whether or not he could take me with the two of you the next time you two goes out to play. Who could have known……. He told his people to whip me!” In order to express her grief, tears and assuming the body language of someone who had received a grievance was necessary.
I was shocked senseless.
I was the one with the wounds and injuries!
If I did the same and show Yan Ping the injuries I sustain, he would have thought it came from Father! After all, other than drinking with those old military officials, the great Regent’s other hobby was coming after his child with a latch! That was a well-known fact within the kingdom.
Women were more likely to be a little aggressive than usual when it came to confronting their love rivals. The best example to that was this one female emperor who strangled her own daughter; the closest to her was Rui Wang’s Qin Yu Zheng.
I stared with bulged eyes as Yan Ping pulled back her sleeves with eyes so gentle it might as well be water. After that, he turned to me with a pair of icy, sharp eyes.
Honestly, even if Yan Ping hadn’t believed her, I would have disregard everything and went for her. But upon realizing that Father would have no one to offer him incense if I wasn’t around, I forced myself to hold it in.
Trick No.2: Take advantage to show appropriate reaction when the enemy shows weakness.
For all people knew, I was a man. Men were of course bold and uncouth.
Since the beginning of everything, in order to play the convincing role of a man, I used to follow Father around and copied his action. Uncle Tong caught me once, he laughed at me for a long time.
Once, he told me, “Xiao Lang, if you grow a beard like the old master and wear his clothes, there will be no telling between you and him.”
I was trying to copy the way Father threw off door latch when he said that. I excitedly copied the way Father rushed into the door, I knew I managed to flung it outside without even looking. I only heard a pained scream. I had a bad feeling about it; I curiously poked my head outside to check and saw Father who had just returned from the morning court.
He was used to be the one wrecking the door latch and now that the table had turned, he did not manage to react on time. It hit him on the head, forming a bump right away.
…… En. Father needs to practice on his alertness.
I naturally received a good round beating after that. From that, I learned from Father that unless you could find someone you could vent to, just hold it all in. Other than holding it in, there was also a method called ‘military-like oppression’. There was also that method called ‘conciliate’, I heard he always used that move against his opponents in the court, but he had never used them on me so I hadn’t learn them yet.
It was obviously not suitable for me to use ‘military oppression’ on Yan Ping.
Ever since her crying episode that day, I would see her every time we went out. When it rain, she would give Yan Ping a handmade coat. When it was hot, she would give him fungus soup.
When times like that came, I really couldn’t wait to turn into a gentle and considerate woman like that to accompany Yan Ping.
As I tried to come up with a counterattack, news about me trying to fight for a man with Qin Yu Zheng spread to the entire kingdom.
Father was furious. His position was really high. Because of the court matters, he would only come one once the day ends.
One day, Qin Yu Zheng was ill and had to recuperate at home. That was a heaven sent opportunity for me. I made an arrangement with Yan Ping to wander in the Tong River at night. I unexpectedly bumped into Father by the door. His tone was really high, “Where are you heading to, you unfilial child!” My soul almost flew from the shock.
From the light from lanterns, I could see his pale face. I immediately forced myself to laugh and help him walk, “Night has come so I thought I should wait for Father in the gate.”
“Liar!” He harrumphed coldly before pushing me away and entering the door in large strides, “You didn’t look like you were waiting for me! You look like you were anticipating that Yan brat!”
My feet froze. Ever since Father became the regent, he kept telling me to stay away from Yan Ping.
Even Uncle Tong earnestly advised me, “Xiao Lang, those pair of father and son from Yan Clan….. The older one is a fox, the younger one is a little fox. You have a blind heart, it is better if you keep some distance from them.”
The power struggle in court had nothing to do with me, so I always ignored that kind of advice. But Father’s mood was particularly bad that day, I did not dare to talk back. He dragged me back into the house by my ears and ordered his people to lock the gate securely, basically blocking the dog’s escape to hit it.
(TN: Blocking the enemy’s escape path and beat them.)
———— I understood. Spring where flowers bloomed occasionally have hails and summer where the garden was at it’s most abundant would occasionally have thunderstorm. Even though there wasn’t anything remotely romantic between Yan Ping and I; even if Father resort to force and beat me up while locking me in my courtyard, I would still consider this as a stumbling block in my love life.
With a body full of injuries, I jumped over our manor’s wall. By the time I reached the Tong River, it was already 9 pm. I thought Yan Ping already left. Even though I was upset, I didn’t think I would be able to sleep that night if I didn’t go to Tong River.
A couple of boats were floating in Tong River, their lights were all off. I sat on the bank in disappointment. The wounds in my body hurt, but it couldn’t compare to the pain in my heart.
As I wallowed myself in self-pity, a little boat came from afar. Although the light on the boat was dim, the man inside the boat was someone I would always recognize no matter what circumstances I was under.
I sat on the bank in shock, my mouth opened wide. Yan Ping didn’t left, he actually waited for me the whole time! The delight in my heart was on par with that one time when Xiao Huang muddle-headedly woke up from sleep and bestow me a marriage with Yan Ping.
Persistence would always be rewarded! I almost cry from joy!
I was still muddle-headed even after I sat on the boat. He did not avoid me like usual just now, he even personally pulled me up to the boat with his hand. I secretly touched the spot that he had touched just now, it felt as though I was touching his hand. The heat on my cheek made my entire body heat up. My cheeks felt as though it was on fire; my heart was truly pleased inside.
I did not have the courage to look at him in the eyes, I pretended to look around to cover up the redness of my face.
There were food and wine in the boat. The night was quiet as the refreshing night breeze of summer blows. I gradually sobered up; this was a good opportunity! I must not waste such a beautiful night. I bravely asked him to play ‘Feng Seeking the Huang’ for me. Though he lightly frowned, he quickly put up his zither and played the song.
I stared at him like an idiot, it felt as though time had stopped. It felt as though he and I were the only one who exist in this world, and the music of his zither was the only sound. I had never felt such a joy before, everything felt so calm and quiet.
His fingers expertly played the zither as he looked at me with a smile. I had no idea why, my mind suddenly blanked out and I leaned onto him and peck his lips.
After doing that, I panicked.
Three years ago, when I was fourteen, I force-kissed him on a big road.
Three years later, when I was seventeen, I took advantage of his distraction and kissed him again.
The result would clearly be the same; perhaps, he would soon kick me into the river! I lowered my head, waiting for his foot.
But he did not do anything.
I heard a chuckle from him before my chin was lifted up and was made to look at him. The moonlight and the stars all seemed to have entered his eyes, it was shockingly bright. Traces of smile and affection seemed to have filled his gentle eyes. He leaned down, and with an expression that was hard to resist, he kissed my lips.
My brain crashed and my entire body seemed to have trembled. My hands and feet were numb, I couldn’t move them at all. Joy and happiness filled my heart and at that moment, I was willing die for him.
The pain on my back was no longer there. After enduring Father’s wrath, this sweet moment was the thing that I had been waiting for, for more than a decade. I watched him grow from afar. Every day, I prayed that I could share even a moment with him. I was willing to offer him every moment of my life. I was willing to prostate myself on his feet and listen to his every order in exchange for a smile on his face.
Perhaps all the mortals were asleep that night. So the gods had came to me and fulfill the one thing that I wanted.