Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 26 – Cicada Escapes Its Shell
Meng Fuyao, her head full of golden hairpins, her body decorated with pearls and jade, in an outfit of hole-filled clothes full of hip hop style, frigidly sat next to a certain Zhan named conqueror.
Today, his Royal Highness Zhan was so handsome that it made one boil in anger. Because of his royal dragon robes and golden crown, there was outlined a glowing pressure from his jet black eyes and brows. Most men wearing it would seem gaudy and red, but worn on his body it made one feel a brightness before their eyes, while unwillingly sighing that clothes also depended on the person who wore them. Never would good colors fail to perform on a good body.
The Tai Yuan Emperor Qi Hao’s Grand Birthday was today. During noon time at Qingyun Hall the birthday feast started with sixteen seats, with this state’s talented officials accompanying to specifically entertain the envoys of the various other states. The Tai Yuan Emperor’s health seemed not well, only formally making an appearance at noon. He raised his cup to the various envoys, said a few polite phrases, then got on his sedan chair and left, leaving the rest to continue to enjoy the banquet.
Nemesis was the largest state, and their envoy was the younger brother of the emperor, so they were in the most respected position. And the extraordinary features and manners of Zhan Bei Ye, were naturally the objects of many people’s gazes.
Being the female companion of the outstanding Royal Highness Zhan, Meng Fuyao knew that she would definitely have the fortune to be inspected by many. Thus the ginger juiced face, hairpin-filled head, and fishing net outfit all came into battle with her. Every one of her ten fingers each was fitted two rings, and a golden bracelet was on each of her arms, causing her to “ding ding dang dang” the entire journey. She specifically chose face rouge that was a copper apiece at the night market, with the fragrance offensive – wherever she passed by, was wherever sneezes would sound out in a cluster.
Meng Fuyao’s fishing net dress was even cooler. A perfectly good purple-accented, hundred-folded golden butterfly gown had each of its butterflies dug out by her, only leaving one butterfly-shaped hole after the other that showed the plain cloth dress underneath.
If she wasn’t afraid of being dragged out and beaten by palace guards for desecration of the palace, Meng Fuyao was originally planning to wear her underwear on the outside.
Qingyun Hall’s gold and jade glittered, Meng Fuyao was extremely colorful, the facial colors of the various envoys turned purple, and Zhan Bei Ye acted like nothing was wrong.
The moment the emperor left, Meng Fuyao immediately used her hand to beckon at a palace maid. “Waiter!”
“Waiter” was at a loss as to how she should approach this problem. Against the disgusted and shocked stares, Meng Fuyao righteously gave an order. “Bring me cut Xiang fish!”
The whole hall was engulfed in clamor at once, with a stretch of whispers sounding out. Xiang fish was smelly, brined fish, absolutely base and degrading food. Only the lower class commoners and coolies of the Seven States would eat this stuff – anyone with the slightest bit of class would disdain to even speak of this food, let alone at the dignified setting of the Tai Yuan Emperor’s birthday banquet.
The faces of the Tai Yuan marshals all turned blue and black staring at Zhan Bei Ye. Placing a cup of wine next to his lips, Zhan Bei Ye drank the whole cup without a pause. Heavily placing down the wine cup, his long brows lifted and his gaze swept out, immediately shooting out a blade-like sharpness. “What are Sirs staring at this prince for? Could it be that the dignified Tai Yuan Empire is unwilling to even serve a piece of Xiang fish to its guests?”
Being swept by Zhan Bei Ye’s gaze, the marshals felt like iron wood had struck them, and with a jump of their hearts their backs instantly gathered a layer of cold sweat. Only then did they remember the demonic reputation of that prince who could kill without blinking. It was rumored that the Moluo tribes that bordered his fief were beat scared – even a glance from Zhan Bei Ye could cause them to wet their pants in fear. Today it seemed that the rumors were true as expected, and adding on his harsh tone of voice that sounded especially uncomfortable to the ears, the marshals hurriedly and repeatedly commanded the maids to go out of the palace to purchase that stinky fish.
The Xiang fish was delivered, the blackened fish completely out of place amidst the golden plates and silver cups. The royal kitchen even intentionally scattered on fragrant spices, but it still couldn’t mask the penetrating, powerful stink. Honored guests on both sides of the hall all began to frown while holding their noses and turning away, and their bottoms felt like they were on pins and needles, unable to sit still.
Meng Fuyao used both hands to take large bites and munches, and kept giving some to Zhan Bei Ye. “Here, have one, commoners’ food sometimes actually has genuine taste! if it wasn’t because you princes and nobles have never had the opportunity, I usually wouldn’t even give it to most people to eat.”
Eyeing the smelly salted fish whose aroma and color were extremely questionable, Zhan Bei Ye’s eyes changed and his face became complex. Fuyao grinned while waiting for him to lose his temper. Go shout, be furious, flip the table! This is a Tai Yuan national banquet, even if you are another state’s respected prince, if your behavior went overboard you would still be chased out.
At the very least, if this rebellious girl got chased out it would also be good.
Fuyao viciously looked around Zhan Bei Ye’s Life Gate acupoint, with an impulse to prod him there with her finger. If it wasn’t for Zhan Bei Ye sealing her true qi, preventing her from running away, why would she need to eat this foul-smelling fish? She hated fish the most!
Zhan Bei Ye looked at the salted fish for a while, then looked at the unruly and defiant expression on Meng Fuyao’s face. Suddenly he reached out his arm, and took the smelly fish.
Under the stares of many people and among the sharp intakes of breath around him, the honorable, fierce Prince Highness finished eating that piece of salt fish as if no one was there.
After finishing he even carefully savored the taste, then nodded. “Not bad, there is genuine taste.”
Meng Fuyao’s face darkened, and she sulked, “I didn’t finish my words, I meant that it had genuine bathroom taste.”
Zhan Bei Ye’s eyes sliced across her face like blades. After a while he said, “You ate more than I did.”
After sitting for a short time, Meng Fuyao’s demands came yet again. “I need to relieve myself.”
You’re not going to follow me even when I relieve myself, right? Meng Fuyao smugly smiled, although this idea was a little cheesy, it was still pretty useful.
With a lift of his hand Zhan Bei Ye drank all of the wine in his cup, then very naturally replied. “Ok, together.”
Alright fine, let’s go together, it’s not like you’ll follow into the woman’s bathrooms anyways. After being frozen for a second, a smile crept up on Fuyao’s face while she agreed. “Ok, together.”
The fierce Prince Highness and his lady companion both went to relieve themselves. Traveling through the mass of strange gazes, they calmly walked out, each led by their own little eunuch to the male and female restrooms. The moment Meng Fuyao saw those bathrooms, she thought not good. Those male and female bathrooms were actually facing each other, with embroidered flower carvings separating them above the wall that allowed the head to be seen vaguely. In other words, if she wanted to jump out the window, Zhan Bei Ye would definitely see it.
Turning her head to look at Zhan Bei Ye’s expression, fury immediately rose up in her heart. Looking at his completely unmoved expression, he must have knew long before that the palace bathrooms were like this!
Fuyao hoisted up her dress indignantly, and with a long stride she entered the bathroom. It might have been called a bathroom, but actually it was just a regular room equipped with a toilet stool, a lacquered box to the side containing some dried jujubes. While deeply contemplating Meng Fuyao sat on the toilet, contemplating how to escape while at the same time grabbing some of the dried jujubes to eat. Only after eating a while did she realize, it seemed that this stuff was supposed to be used to plug her nose and alleviate the smell.
With this thought Fuyao frantically regurgitated her half-chewed jujube, then spotted with her eyes that there seemed to be a little speck of grain-sized, questionably colored thing on the jujube. A feeling of disgust immediately welled up, and she leapt up and started spitting into the toilet with vomiting sounds.
She only spit out a couple mouthfuls before she heard someone say with shock, “What is lady doing?”
Raising her head, Meng Fuyao saw two palace maids come in through a small door. This door was covered behind the screen, and if one didn’t pay any attention they wouldn’t discover it. From the opened door gap, she vaguely saw row after row of toilets, most likely the large bathroom in the middle of the palace. Behind those toilet stools, she could see a flap of half-opened skylight window.
With a turn of her eyes, an idea formed.
“This sister please save me!” Meng Fuyao made a large turn, crawling up from the toilet with her tears rushing down in streams. “Please save my child!”Footnotes An emperor’s Grand Birthday is when they turn an age divisible by ten. For example, 50th, 60th or 70th birthdays. This was said in English, not Chinese. Eunuchs were common servants in an imperial palace Common fruit in China related to the date. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube