Chapter 5 The most beautiful of the five beauties
According to the routine of drama, I, the fresh, just out of the oven zhuangyuan and an ambitious youngster, many girls should be chasing after me. However, after I worked for a few months, I didn’t even see a female fly.
- Zhuangyuan: the first ranked at the imperial exam
I carefully reflected and felt that the culprit must be Yan Yaoyi.
He said he wanted to kill the regent without the slightest scruple. First, they had to steal the tiger tally that was in the regent’s possession. Otherwise, if something happened, the regent could mobilize the army immediately and rebel without care for the peace of the world and the harmony of the society.
- Tiger tally: a two-piece object made in the shape of a tiger, used in ancient china as proof of authority. One half of the tally could be matched to a military officer to command the army
I asked him, “Do you have any good ideas about how to steal the tiger tally?”
“The regent is someone greedy for money and a lecher. Zhen had once bestowed a beauty to him. It wasn’t easy for this beauty to find out where the tiger tally was hidden. Unfortunately, the night she was about to make the move to steal the tiger tally, she was discovered by the regent. Her fate…,” He suddenly stopped speaking and only smiled coldly.
I said, “Since you know that he didn’t guard against beauties, you can bestow a few more. There will be one that would be successful.”
- Zhen: I, used by the emperor
Yan Yaoyi shook his head and sighed, “Zhen also wants to, but the one that zhen bestowed him that year was considered the second most beautiful of the world. Having crossed the vast ocean, no other beauty could enter his eyes.”
- Having crossed the vast ocean: widely experienced in the vicissitudes of life.
“That isn’t right. That one was the second most beautiful of the world. Isn’t there still the most beautiful of the world,” I asked curiously.
Yan Yaoyi sighed sadly. He grabbed my hand and put it against his face. He threw me a few flirtatious glances and said, “As for the most beautiful of the world, that is zhen.”
A month passed by pondering like that with Yan Yaoyi. I was with him every day. We hadn’t come up with a good way to clean up the regent yet when I didn’t know from where a gossip started to emerge. It said that I and him were both cut sleeves and the sleeves became entangled with each other. It caused that every time this official walked through the imperial garden, I will encounter palace maids who snickered and looked at me with glowing eyes. Sometimes, there would be some who would run to me and ask, “Are you the one on the top or bottom?”
- Cut sleeve: gay
I couldn’t take it anymore and called in sick for a few days to stay at home and let the rumors fly away.
My own nest was the best. I had been tortured so much by Yan Yaoyi that I was both mentally and physically exhausted. After I returned home, I stayed in bed every day and could be compared with that weak and ill big brother of mine.
On this day, I slept till the sky went dark and the earth black. Suddenly, a gong rang in my small hall and I jumped from horror and in fright. When I looked closer, the one who was smiling like a spring breeze in March and standing in front of my bed with a small gong, if that wasn’t that incapable ruler Yan, who else could it be?
Out of anger, I jumped from my bed and yelled, “You Majesty, disturbing one’s dream is the most immoral thing. There is no question about that!”
He took a leisure stroll to my bed and sat on it. That lazy smile was kept on his face and he said casually, “Beloved official, you had been sick for so many days, zhen misses you.”
In front of this incapable ruler’s thick as the sky face, I can only express strong condemnation.
He was like a turtledove who easily took possession of my nest. His glazed eyeballs turned around my room. There was dislike everywhere they turned to. In the end, he returned to my small bed and his eyes brightened. I followed his gaze. Boom! A fire was immediately lit behind my ears.
On the bed, under the bedding, a corner of a red silk stuck out. Cough, cough, it happened to my embroidered little tudou.
- Tudou: undergarment covering the chest and the abdomen.
Yan Yaoyi’s finger hooked and the little tudou was pulled out completely by him. He stared at it with slightly narrowed eyes for a while. His brows raised slightly, and he asked, “Beloved official, what is this?”
After my thoughts were messy and intertwined for a moment, I calmed down and said with a straight face, “You Majesty, this is…a handkerchief.”
He nodded. He still held that cloth firmly in his hands. Contrasting with the soft red satin, his pair of fine wrists was as delicate as white porcelain. Although, I had a man’s soul but my body is that of a woman’s after all. He kept holding my little tudou like that without letting go. Gradually, my face reddened.
After torturing me enough, he unhurriedly asked a rhetorically, “What? Why had zhen never seen this kind of handkerchief? What use do these few cords have?” He asked with a serious expression, but his eyes seemed to have a faint smile.
I braced myself and answered, “It’s the latest fashion of our Jianghuai. It’s very normal that you haven’t seen it. As for these few cords, they were made in order to have more diversified functions.” My expression didn’t change. I became more and more smooth at cooking up excuses, “For example, when you have dinner, you can tie these cords around your neck to avoid staining your clothes.”
After the speech, I smiled sweetly at him and felt that my excuses were invulnerable. Bu Yuan, Bu Yuan, you are truly a genius.
“So, it’s like that.” Yan Yaoyi suddenly came to the realization and continue to ask, “Beloved official, do you have one more of this kind of handkerchief here?”
“I have but.” How could one only have one tudou in her life? “But for what do you want it?”
“It’s nothing. Zhen feels that the design of this handkerchief is so considerate. It would be a pity to not bring it to greater height.” He turned that piece of fluffy clothe casually. When the red waves rolled down, a deep smile was buried in a pair of clear eyes. “So, zhen planned to get two pieces and show it to the beloved officials tomorrow at the morning court while performing the popular song-and-dance duet of northeast China.”
My eyes twitched.
He seemed to think that he hadn’t struck me enough with thunder. After thinking for a long time, he asked with smile, “Song-and-dance duet, song-and-dance duet. Zhen still needs one more person. What about…beloved official performs it with zhen?”
“… Your Majesty, just now this official hasn’t woken up fully and said something wrong. This is not a handkerchief but a woman’s tudou,” I smiled. If one wants to die, it was better to die from being beheaded because of deceiving an emperor than to die in shame. Since I already admitted, I didn’t wait for him to ask and simply admitted everything, “Your Majesty, pardon me, this official…is a woman.” I automatically knelt on the ground.
My head was as low as it could be, waiting for the son of heaven to get furious and show his prestige. I waited for a long time and only heard a slight sigh.
“Just as zhen had thought. How could there be a man in this world who looked less like a man than zhen?”
“…Your Majesty is wise.”
He laughed once. He reached out and grabbed my chin, forcing me to raise my head. I was kneeling on the ground, he was sitting on the edge of the bed. I looked up and stared at him. His head lowered more and more. The ripping smile of spring water became larger in front of my eyes. I didn’t know when the tangled hair already fell on my shoulder and enveloped me in a faint fragrance.
“Your Majesty, this…”
I haven’t finished speaking yet when my lips were covered.
“Zhen has found the most beautiful of the five beauties.”