The Star of the Phoenix Accompanying the Emperor Is a Good Omen
There was quite a large amount of blood in the mouthful of blood that the Emperor had coughed up. A large patch of the gate had become dyed by his blood. When Zhang Yuan saw him cough up the blood, he let out a shout: “Your Majesty! Your Majesty, you must not die! You must not and cannot die!” While shouting, he ran over and supported the person that had fallen. He then went to wipe away the blood coming from the corner of his mouth.
Who knew that after wiping away a bit, a certain person that had coughed up blood would reach out and pinch Zhang Yuan, squeezing out a few words through the gaps in his teeth: “Don’t wipe it. It looks more troubling with a bit of blood.”
Zhang Yuan immediately reacted and stopped wiping away the blood. He just held the Emperor and continued to shout: “Your Majesty, how could you have coughed up so much blood! Your Majesty!” While shouting, he went to slam on the gate, “Is there anyone inside? His Majesty coughed up a bunch of blood and fainted! Save his life!”
The Emperor pinched him again: “Louder!”
Zhang Yuan raised his voice even further, “Imperial concubine Yun! It’s not looking good for his Majesty, quickly come out to look at him one last time!” He began crying and placed his head on the Emperor’s body. While crying, he quietly said: “Do I need to keep up this loud voice? This is too unlucky!”
The Emperor quietly said: “I will give you a raise when we get back.”
“Oh, your Majesty! You must not die! Da Shun still needs you here! Imperial concubine Yun! His Majesty has coughed up blood, and that blood has dyed the Winter Moon Palace! How could you be so hateful!” Upon hearing that there would be a raise, Zhang Yuan immediately began doing his best to shout and scream.
The master and servant just sat in a puddle on the ground. Although there were palace servants holding up umbrellas, they would still be hit by the rain that was blown in by the wind.
The sound of banging came from the Winter Moon Palace’s gates, and the servants inside just shook her heads helplessly. The palace maid in charge gave the order: “Continue to keep watch. You absolutely must not open the gate. I will go pass this message on to imperial concubine.”
After saying this, she quickly left. When she arrived at the moon viewing platform, she seemed to still be able to hear the sounds of the gate being banged on.
Imperial concubine Yun was completely fine. Whether it rained or not did not matter to her. Either way, even if it was clear outside, she would not go out. At most, it meant that fresh fruit could not be brought in, thus she just ate a little less.
At this time, a hidden guard kneeled at her side and was telling her about what had happened outside the palace. Just as the palace maid came in, she heard a female officer say: “Go find out which guy prepared the bag of blood. Once you have found out, just kill them.”
The palace maid in charge felt her head swell, as she quickly trotted over and discussed with imperial concubine Yun: “It seems to be eunuch Zhang. Those two have always been partners in… always advanced and retreated together.”
“You can just say that they are partners in crime.” Imperial concubine Yun rolled her eyes, “Just let them cause a ruckus… Hah!” Before she could finish speaking, she began coughing. The hidden guard handed her a cup of water; however, imperial concubine Yun waved her hand, “I can’t drink.” Listening closely, her throat sounded a little hoarse.
The palace maid in charge sighed slightly and covered imperial concubine Yun with a cloak, advising her: “How about bringing in an imperial physician to take a look! It’s been a few days, and imperial concubine’s cold does not seem to be improving. This servant is feeling a little worried.”
“No need.” Imperial concubine Yun was very carefree. What cold? She continued to look indifferent. Perhaps it was not limited to just a cold. Perhaps, even if she was about to die, she would still have an indifferent appearance.
There was nothing that the servants could do. They could only light up the brazier in an attempt to warm the moon viewing platform. Unfortunately, the hall below the moon viewing platform was too large. No matter how much charcoal was added, it still felt cold. They tried to advise her a few times to return to her bedchamber, but she would not listen.
The palace maid in charge saw that imperial concubine Yun was being exceptionally stubborn, thus she did not continue to advise her. Instead, she just said: “His Majesty is still outside knocking. Imperial concubine, even if you do not think about your own body, you must think about reputation. With his Majesty getting soaked in the rain outside, and you catching a cold in the palace, if the word were to get out, what would his Majesty think? Last time, the word that was spread was that his Majesty left the Winter Moon Palace without wearing his outer shirt. Have you forgotten?”
Imperial concubine Yun became alert and quickly stood up, “Let’s go back to the bedchamber. This One is suddenly feeling sleepy and wishes to sleep.”
The hidden guard secretly gave the palace maid a nod, and the female officer quickly helped imperial concubine walk in the direction of the bedchamber.
Outside Winter Moon Palace, Zhang Yuan had become tired from banging on the gate, and his voice had become hoarse from shouting, but there was not the slightest movement from inside. He helplessly stopped and shook the Emperor, who was still in his lap: “Your Majesty, get up. It seems that this play has been seen through.”
The Emperor opened his eyes a crack and asked him: “It’s been so long. Has there really not been any movement inside?”
Zhang Yuan shook his head, “There hasn’t.”
The Emperor was stunned for a moment. Who knew what he was thinking, as he was slightly dazed. Just like this, he lay on the ground for the duration of a stick of incense. He finally let out a sigh and used his hand to support himself to get up from the ground. Perhaps he had laid there for too long. Upon standing up, he sneezed, scaring Zhang Yuan, who called for someone to give him a cloak.
“Let’s go back.” The Emperor waved his hand, “Back to Zhao He Hall. We are sleepy.” After saying this, he glanced one more time at Winter Moon Palace’s gates. The rain had already washed away the blood from the bag of blood that he had bitten down on. He turned around and sat back on the imperial sedan and said to Zhang Yuan: “Send someone to bring Jian Zheng from the Board of Astronomy to see Us in Zhao He Hall.”
Zhang Yuan quickly sent someone to do this then let out a sigh. This was not the first time that the Emperor had gone to knock at Winter Moon Palace’s gates over the years. In Zhang Yuan’s memory, it seemed that ever since he had entered the palace and begun following the Emperor, this play was something that could be acted out at any time. In the beginning, the Emperor would act on his own. Later on, he would end up participating, with a new trick being added each time. This time, they finally used the blood bag as a prop.
In the past, when the Emperor had failed, he became more bold with every failure. This time… he secretly looked over the person on the sedan and felt that this old emperor’s head a few more white hairs. The dragon robe looked thinner, and the wrinkles on his face looked deeper. He sniffled and felt a little uncomfortable.
When they returned to Zhao He Hall, he arranged for the Emperor to get changed. Just after he finished changing, Jian Zheng from the Board of Astronomy arrived. The Emperor asked him: “Have you observed the stars today?”
Jian Zhen had a bitter expression: “Your Majesty, it is raining every day. The stars simply cannot be seen!”
The Emperor facepalmed. How could he have forgotten about this. But he still had to talk about it, thus he asked: “Did you not say that the star of the Phoenix was very clear? Even if it is raining, you should be able to get a feel for it, right?”
This time, Jian Zheng nodded, “What your Majesty said is correct. The star of the phoenix is flourishing, and it is shining even brighter. Even with the heavy rain and thick clouds, its light is still shining through.”
The Emperor sat down and slightly nodded, asking: “What about Ming’er?”
Jian Zheng paused for a moment then said: “The star of the Emperor is also shining. The star of the phoenix is accompanying the star of the Emperor. This is… a good omen.” He did not dare to continue speaking. For the star of the new emperor and phoenix to be shining so brightly, the star of the old emperor would naturally become bleak. The Emperor’s health had been deteriorating for the past two years. No matter how he said it, it would not sound very good.
Sure enough, before the Emperor would react, Zhang Yuan was the first to become unhappy. Glaring angrily at Jian Zheng, he quickly said to the Emperor: “Your Majesty, don’t listen to his nonsense.”
“What is there to not listen to? We called for him to come in order to hear him say this. Go stand to the side!” The Emperor chased Zhang Yuan away, but his heart felt bitter. The change from old to new and the cycle of life and death, even if he was the ruler, he could not escape those rules.
He sighed and said to Jian Zheng: “If they are prosperous, then it is fine. We are the emperor. As the emperor, We cannot only think about myself. We must think about the entire country and this world. The wife that Ming’er chose is quite competitive, and We like her quite a bit. With that girl helping, Da Shun will be without worry.” He waved his hand: “You may leave!”
Jian Zheng bowed then retreated. The Emperor looked sideways at Zhang Yuan and sighed heavily: “Aren’t We getting quite old?” While saying this, he felt the wrinkles on his face, “Who knows how much longer We can live for. Will We be able to see that girl finish producing those steel weapons? Will We be able to see them conquer Qian Zhou?”
Zhang Yuan angrily glared at him, “You’re fine, so why must you insist on speaking about that? Just a few days ago, were you not talking about taking me and eloping with imperial concubine Yun?” This eunuch was quite angry, and he spoke without thinking about the weight of his words. He did not even refer to himself as this servant, repeatedly using I. “You might be old, but I am still young. I do not plan to die that early! But if you die, I will not have anyone left to take care of. Based on his Highness the ninth prince and his wife’s tempers, I cannot take care of them. When the time comes, I can only follow you down your path. Your Majesty, if you care about this servant, just live for a few more years. This servant entered the palace when I first began to understand things and have never seen the outside world. This is too great of a loss! Entering the palace and becoming a eunuch, I cannot even have children. In the future, there will not be anyone to bury me… Thinking about it, why is it so saddening?” As he spoke, he began to wipe away his tears.
The Emperor was speechless, “Shouldn’t you be comforting Us? Why have you become even more saddened the We are? Even if you became a eunuch, have We ever mistreated you? Think for yourself, when have We ever punished you? Beat you? Don’t believe that We don’t know, but which palace servant has not suffered a little behind my back? Not to mention eunuchs, haven’t palace maids also been beaten? I heard that there are also some that have been stuck with needles… Ah, We cannot be bothered with the matters of women, but tell Us, have We treated you well? When you were sick and could not get out of bed, did We not give you a vacation? Has there been any shortage of nice things that you have received?”
Zhang Yuan was also angry, loudly saying: “Then you will only take care of this until half way then stop caring for it? Every single day, from morning until night, it’s all about death. Imperial concubine Yun ignores you, so you just go on about dying. If you died, and I ended up executed by the new emperor, how could that be handled? How painful would that be! How about I just bury you with the dead!”
“I say, you damn eunuch, you seem to have become quite spirited, no?”
“What if I have!”
Inside Zhao He Hall, the sound of an emperor arguing with a eunuch rose. But the servants that heard it did not feel that it was too unusual. After all, this was not the first time that the two fought. At first, they felt that it was unbelievable, and some had even gone to persuade them to stop. An old eunuch even tried to hit Zhang Yuan. As a result, what was it that the Emperor had said? “Just try and hit him? I will tear your head off. Fucking shit, I finally find someone that will argue with Us, and you want to scare him. We will exterminate your family.”
From that moment on, there was nobody else that worried about the matters between the master and servant.
Just like the present moment, the two were arguing and even began fighting, as they went back and forth, “When have I ever mistreated you?” followed by: “When have you ever treated me well?” Like this, things continued for an hour before finally calming down.
At the same time, coming toward the capital along a road from the West, there was an old man sitting in a carriage that was covered in thick cloth to block the rain. The wheels of the carriage were completely covered with mud…