I feel like the explanation from the author might be a bit of a let down but the breakdown at the end of the chapter. My favorite has to be urbanscrappy about the time of death and the green to red transformation of the old Qu Qing Ju to the new present Qu Qing Ju.
This chapter has been provided to you by me, ororomunroe90 and leecherleechleech.
Chapter Sixty Two Reality
The Spirit Master didn’t notice He Heng passing the stick over to Qu Qing Ju. He gave them another Taoist bow, “Two honored ones, no other guests are coming here today. This Taoist bids you farewell.” He left the place, stroking his beard.
Before Qu Qing Ju could react, Spirit Master Xuan Ling had already walked into the forest. She could only see the back of his figure as he quickly disappeared from her sight.
He really did look like a powerful master, leaving so gracefully and only showing the back of his figure. Qu Qing Ju lowered her head to look at the stick in her hand. She might not understand the meaning of what was written but she could still detect what was wrong with the stick.
Most sticks were part of a set amount, the writing of a particular style. The one she received had the wrong type of coupling, the topics were unrelated and the tone was wrong. Even the poem was constructed randomly with no rhyme or reason.
Perhaps this stick had been a practice stick of one of the junior Taoists of the monastery? No wonder the Taoist looked profound but couldn’t explain the stick. Did he also think the stick wasn’t right?
“Nine mountains quiet and green tears flower red, three geng fire five geng chicken .. …” Qu Qing Ju toyed with the stick as she recited the two unrelated lines. She raised her brow and stood up, “Wang ye, I don’t think there is anything more to see here. Why don’t we leave?”
He Heng saw that she didn’t seem to care about the stick since she’d handed it over to Mu Jin behind her. He smiled and agreed: “Let’s leave then.” The Taoist said that they were some honoured persons and that the number of Jing guests had lessened after that incident in Jing City. He must have noticed their status from their high-quality clothing and the assassination attempt had only occurred a few days earlier.
As for that part about them climbing up the mountain, he turned to look at the rosy blush that still hadn’t faded from Qu Qing Ju’s face. It was a very visible fact. Ghosts and gods, it was just that one saw what one expected.
What nine mountains quiet and green tears flower red, three geng fire five geng … … He Heng’s expression suddenly changed. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to look at Mu Jin, who was supporting Qu Qing Ju, “Let ben wang see the stick again.”
After seeing no objections coming from wang fei, Mu Jin carefully gave him the stick. She noticed that wang ye’s expression was slightly strange.
“This stick has nonsense written on it. Don’t waste any effort in keeping it,” He Heng threw the stick to Qian Chang Xin beside him, before turning to speak to Qu Qing Ju, “The road down is more difficult, we’ll use the sedans this time.”
Qu Qing Ju didn’t look at his actions and only smiled and nodded in response. The couple walked ahead of He Ming, who was perplexed by his brother’s actions. He Heng said: “A stick that has no rhyme or reason, it seems that your er sao’s hand isn’t very lucky.”
Qu Qing Ju smiled as she replied: “I asked you to come along this time. You didn’t join me because you said that I was requesting for the both of us. Now you disdain my hand for being unlucky. That’s not fair.”
“Fine, fine, good men don’t fight with women,” He Heng smiled as he waved his hand, “We should still descend. There’s a small stream at the foot of Bai Yun Mountain. We can have a picnic beside it.”
“That’s good,” He Ming acted as though he didn’t see the flirtations between the two, a sincere smile on his face, “Yu di had always wanted to have a meal in the midst of nature.”
As the three talked, they walked along the black stone path. Somehow, the topic switched to the matter of He Ming being attacked when he went to Jiang Nan.
“The Royal Court might be fighting heavily but this matter will eventually reach a conclusion,” He Heng understood his predicament, patting his shoulder as he comforted sympathetically, “There is always difficult matters in the world. You just have to endure them.”
“Er ge is right, even if fuhuang is honoured of the nine-five ,[i] he cannot do as he pleases.” He Ming smiled, “Don’t worry er ge, yu di understands.”
He Heng nodded. He looked at the three step-carriages in front, saying: “Si di first.”
“You first.” He Ming slightly bent his body, expressing the respect that he had as a didi for his elder brother in every way.
After the three got on, Qu Qing Ju looked at the scenery through the sheer cloth. She felt the carriage start to sway as it moved. He Ming was right. Even the Emperor, as the honoured of the nine-five, could not do as he pleased, let alone everyone else.
Suddenly, she straightened, honoured of the nine-five … … nine … … five … …
Patting her face, Qu Qing Ju once again relaxed lazily onto the soft cushion. It didn’t matter if she thought too much. All she did today was get a trash stick, nothing else happened.
Every step taken going down the mountain had to be firm. The servants carrying them carefully and steadily stepped on each stone stair. When they had finally reached flat ground, they all simultaneously let out a breath. Flat road was much easier to travel on than going downhill, and much safer too.
Just then, they saw several carriages heading towards them from the opposite direction. The carriages looked alike and had two armoured guards standing by each carriage.
Qian Chang Xin’s eyes narrowed and he instantly understood. This was most likely the female candidates [ii] who were being sent to Jing City from the other parts of the country. His expression didn’t change and continued to proceed forward, not letting the servants give way.
The driver in the front didn’t know who it was, but after seeing the many guards following behind the three sedans, he knew it was most likely a family of an official or nobility who’d came out to see the wilderness. He drove the wagon to one side and waited for them to pass by before moving on.
The candidates in the wagons looked at the sedans traveling past them and started to talk amongst themselves.
“I wonder who is sitting in the sedans. Look how big the procession was.” A candidate who looked fifteen stated, “It looks so magnificent.”
“With this many guards and servants, it can’t be a normal person,” A slightly fatter candidate glanced at her, “Maybe it’s a wang ye or jun wang.”
“Dream on! Is it that easy to meet a wang ye or someone similar?” Another candidate joined in, “Maybe it’s a wang fei or a xiaojie.”
Instantly, the candidates in the carriage laughed.
The guard driving the wagon heard the noise inside and his face became colder. Looking at the way they boasted, they didn’t have the fate to become an honoured person.
He recalled the news he’d heard recently. There was a rumor going around that Jing City wasn’t stable these days. Cheng Wang and Duan Wang were both recovering in the Jing suburbs. His expression changed. Could it have been Duan Wang or Cheng Wang who had passed by? Otherwise, who else would have such a big procession in this place right now?
When the sedan stopped, the curtain in front of Qu Qing Ju was lifted. She took Mu Jin’s hand to get out of the sedan. Looking at the green grass and the stream nearby, she couldn’t help but sigh: “This place does have good scenery.”
When she turned back, she saw the servants were already building a stove and lifting chairs. In a short while, everything that needed to be prepared was completed. Qu Qing Ju felt that the artists under her management who acted in historical works were weaklings. Just looking at the sheer abilities these servants had, those artists would fail in comparison.
He Heng walked to her side, pointing at the stream as he spoke: “This stream is very wide, so it was named Qing Xi River. On the other side lies one of our properties. It was bestowed by fuhuang two years ago.
The frustration of having too many houses and not enough time to live in them made Qu Qing Ju give a small smile: “A piece of fuhuang’s paternal love. It’s just a pity that we don’t go out very often. We can’t even visit all the properties that fuhuang has bestowed, such a regret.”
“In the future, I will spend some time accompanying you out and about,” He Heng saw the joy in her smile and his own smile became more visible. He pulled the other to sit down on the table constructed earlier by the servants before announcing, “I had the guards hunt down some game so that the chefs from the fu can make some dishes for us to taste.”
He Ming soaked in the sunlight, his heart warming up. He pointed at the stream as he ordered: “Sun Hai, see if there’s any fish there. If there is, bring me a fishing rod.”
Sun Hai hurriedly ran to look at the edge of the stream. He quickly ran back. He smiled as he answered: “Wang ye, this one saw fish in the water, but could not see how large they were.”
“Then ben wang is going fishing,” he stood and raised his hands in a fist to He Heng, “er ge, didi is going to fish for a while.”
He Heng nodded, “Be careful, don’t get your feet wet.”
Hearing this, He Ming smiled, “Don’t worry, er ge, didi knows.”
Qu Qing Ju watched as He Ming lifted up his robe. After tying the cloth at his waist, he ordered the servant to bring a bench, a rod and fish bait to the stream edge. She sighed. Many of the seventeen or eighteen year old youths in her previous life were immature children. He Ming was already this steady. Now though, he was expressing some of the vitality that young people had. She didn’t know if it came from the heart or if it was just an act.
She glanced at He Heng sitting beside her. This person was just over twenty. To have the mind and tactics he did, it could be inferred that the Imperial House was a place that toughened people. The complexity of the Imperial House already surpassed the entertainment circles of her previous life. In the entertainment circles, the most you lost was fame. In the Imperial House, if you lost, your life, wife and children were also forfeited.
Just thinking about it, it couldn’t have been easy for He Heng, as a young man in his early twenties, to be the way he was. She felt, in a deep part of her heart, a small drop of maternal care form.
But after she thought of the person’s cunning, that tiny bit of maternal care instantly disappeared. She casually used a silver pick to spear a piece of pear and put it into her mouth. Tender, juicy, the taste was also good. She speared another piece to hold up in front of He Heng, indicating for him to have a taste.
Tasting it straight from Qu Qing Ju’s hand, He Heng nodded. He smiled: “Not bad.”
Qian Chang Xin glanced at the pear that had been placed very close to wang fei. Didn’t wang ye dislike pears?
At Jin An Princess Royal’s fu, He Gui Nian flipped through the invitations in her hand. She said with a calm expression: “Just say that ben gong is exhausted these days, and won’t be receiving any guests.” These people only wanted to get exclusive news about Duan Wang and Cheng Wang. Didn’t they know that as a woman, how would she even know such things? But even if she did know, she wouldn’t tell them anything.
Thinking about the palace news, she hesitated and summoned one of her most intimate servants, Du mama: “Last time at the admiring picture banquet, ben gong heard er dimei likes fruit. Ben gong has lots of new fruit here. Get someone to send some over to er dimei. Also, the medicine that ben gong had prepared for er di and si di, send that over as well.”
Du mama listened before asking: “Princess, since the court is in a mess because of the assassination attacks, why don’t you wait a few days before sending the items over?”
He Gui Nian’s face was solemn as she explained: “The Imperial Guards had found out that while the handicraft of the arrow used to attack Duan Wang was normal, the wood used for the arrow shaft is one that could only be found in the mountain of one of Rui Wang’s properties. This matter has already been transferred to the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice. Sooner or later, they will be reporting to fuhuang.”
Du mama’s expression changed slightly. A long pause later, she finally hypothesized: “Emperor has always been partial to Rui Wang, then this … …”
“The world is watching,” He Gui Nian gripped a card, “fuhuang might favour Rui Wang but he cannot stop the mouths of the world. No matter what the result is, Rui Wang… … unless ben gong’s three brothers are all gone, he will have no fate with the throne.”
“Nubi will go immediately,” Du mama understood and hurriedly left.
Flipping the card in her hand, she saw what was written on top, “Chang De Gong Fu Wei shi.” She gave a cold smile. Did that person think she would be honored by her presence because she was the lao taitai of Chang De Gong Fu? She thought too highly of herself. There were many people in Jing City who were older than her, but she didn’t pay them any honors. Not to mention that this old lady was part of a gong fu that was definitely going to fall.
I made a terrible translation here because the author grabbed bits and pieces and shoved it together
Nine mountains quiet and green tears flower red is from a poem by Li He called Xiang Fei. Xiang Fei is the daughter of Emperor Yao, and actually the younger of two very famous sisters of Chinese mythology, E Huang and Nv Ying who both married the same Emperor Shun who succeeded their father. The poem refers to the death of Emperor Shun, after which the two sisters committed suicide in the river. Nine mountains is Jiu (nine) Yi Mountains, the burial place of Shun, quiet and green is the color of bamboo, and the tears flower red are the bloody tears of Xiang Fei.
Three geng fire five geng chicken is a Tang Dynasty poem called “Encouraging Learning” (劝学). It is about a scholar working hard into the night (until 11) with the lantern fire and then sleeping until when the chicken/rooster cries (3 am) to wake up and start studying again.
Feng flies elegantly, the four seas beg huang is from the poem “Feng Seeks Huang”. It’s a love poem about a man who saw a woman and is expressing his longing and love for her. He’s the feng seeking the huang around the world.
The basic meaning that Qu Qing Ju and He Heng saw here was the nine-five of the Emperor in the first phrase. And everything else is up for people to examine. The first phrase belongs more to He Heng and the second about Qu Qing Ju.
[i]九五之尊: the numbers nine and five come from possibly the most influential Chinese Classics I Ching (Yi Jing). It is a book on divination taken in part from Zhou Jing (of Western Zhou Dynasty) which was based on oracle bones. The divination is done on a set of 64 hexagrams(each with six horizontal lines, unbroken ones are yang, broken lines are yin). The first and best hexagram is Qian (six unbroken lines) which is the most masculine and also represent Heaven or the Sky. The first two lines represent the earth, the second pair the people, the third pair heaven. The first, third, and fifth lines are yang (the position, unrelated to whether the line is broken or not). The second, fourth, and sixth lines occupy a yin position. Five is the most masculine and the best representation of heaven. The nine (jiu) isn’t an actual number, it’s a symbol that indicate (yin/yang) of the number. Hence, nine-five representing the Mandate of Heaven and the Emperor – creating the nine dragons on the emperor’s robes with five feet, the construction of the Forbidden Palace and was one of the reasons the first Zhou Emperor (as king) marched on the last Shang Emperor when he interpreted an solar eclipse.
[ii]选女: women (girls) chosen for the draft into the palace. They will either end up as palace maids, or concubines.