Refusing to Serve Me? Then Off With Your Head! Chapter 57

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Chapter 57

For the People

Books like 'The Virtue of Women' told us that after marriage, women should just listen to their husbands, or else, the consequences would be dire.

I deeply regretted the fact that I had forgotten the essence of marriage, even after copying those books so many times.  Marriage was never a peaceful thing; there would always be some problem somewhere.  It was said that to appease the common people, one must do what the people wanted them to do.  However, as long as the ruler was smart, going his way and his way alone might not be a bad thing

In my case, the emperor was a ruler who engaged in politic and was used to having his way.  Debating with him would only result in defeat.  History taught us that without a strong backing behind a reformation theory, the likelihood of being beheaded in front of the Meridian Gate was really high.

(TN:  It was said that criminals would be beheaded in front of the Forbidden City's Meridian Gate.  You can read more about the Meridian Gate .)

I was a petty little person who had a penchant of avoiding trials and troubles; realizing that I was completely powerless in this situation upsets me a little.  I stepped into the hall before giving a bleak last glance to the person behind me.  Tian Bing Qing tried to hold his laughter as he disappeared from sight.

Feng Zhao Wen imposingly looked at me before saying, "The empress sure is bold.  You actually slipped out of the palace without zhen's permission!"

Ever since I got pregnant, I was held captive in Zhong Hua Palace.  Even going to the imperial garden needed to be accompanied by him.  I was in such a hurry when leaving the palace earlier that I did not get to inform him.

He was like a tiger slowly showing his claws, at the moment.

I hesitantly tried to excuse myself, "I was doing it for the people!"

General Huang's family was indeed a part of the Great Qi's common populace.

He was clearly not satisfied with my answer, "Zhen didn't know that the officials in the capital are too busy eating snacks to be doing their jobs!"

True; 'for the people' was too excessive from my part.  If I had to personally tend to every person in the kingdom, I would have tire myself to death.

I stepped forward and laughed drily, "I was just putting myself on the line to help my brothers!"

(TN:  She literally said 两边肋骨插 = 'piercing oneself with knives to help another'.)

Su Ren and Zhao Yong were my brothers.

He narrowed his phoenix eyes before looking at my body, "Where are the knives?"

Well d.a.m.n!  Writers always like to exaggerate the difficulties faced by their heroes to keep the audience's interest on them; I was just saying that for the sake of saying!

He patted my abdomen with his claws before sighing a little, "When will you start caring about our son in your stomach?  When will you stop running here and there without a care for your own safety?"

Anger and gentleness could both be detected in that sigh of his.  He looked like an injured tiger who was retrieving it's claws, one that wanted to lie on the ground so you could pat his tummy.

I looked at him sincerely; "Honestly….. The child in my stomach could also be a girl?"

This time, he was really angry.  He trained his fierce phoenix eyes on me, "Does the child being a girl means you can simply run around outside?!"

The ruling people loved to use this method to scare the common populace; one moment, they were soft and gentle and then the next, their swords were at ready.

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Feng Zhao Wen was the leader of the ruling cla.s.s, so he was probably the best at doing that.  He pinched my nose angrily before whispering to my ears, "Don't you know you are carrying a life with you?  What if something happens?"

I think, these couple of months, people treated me like I was a rare porcelain.  Everything was done gently and in a careful manner.  I decided to take advantage to that and yelped in pain even though it didn't hurt, "It hurts… It hurts…. Be gentle!"

The sound of Tian Bing Qing's knees. .h.i.tting the ground could suddenly be heard from outside before he panickingly said, "Please contain your anger, Your Majesty!  Be careful of Her Ladyship's body….  Please contain your anger, Your Majesty!"

I turned to look at him. Tian Bing Qing was kowtowing on the ground while repeatedly asking the emperor to 'contain his anger'.  He raised his head in between kowtows and was suddenly tongue-tied.

His Majesty's hand was still pinching my nose.

We maintained that weird posture and looked at each other while Tian Bing Qing reddened, looking like he would rather turn into thin air. He hid behind the door, forgetting even etiquettes.

Feng Zhao Wen and I looked at each other before bursting out in laughter.  He finally took his hand away.

After laughing enough, he hardened his face and admonished me, "Don't think everything is okay now.  Once we return to the palace, you are grounded.  Recuperate properly on the dragon bed!"

I glared at him in discontent.

He maintained Father's strict control over me, just like when Father was still alive.  Commit some misdeeds and I would be grounded.  At least Father allowed me to move inside my room.  His Majesty was a lot more ruthless; I could only move within the dragon bed.

I hugged his arm and cried foul over that punishment.  He narrowed his eyes and simply said, "If you continue complaining, you will be grounded while copying 'The Virtues of Women.'"

That punishment was too cruel and unreasonable.  By the time our meals were served, I lost my appet.i.te and ate only two pieces of vegetables.

His Majesty seemed to have no appet.i.te as well.  He sighed as he looked at the listless me, "I originally planned to take you out to stroll around…."  Under my spirited eyes, he picked up a vegetable and ate it without saying a word.

I better fill up my tummy up with something!

Under my stubborn persuasion, Feng Zhao Wen finally agreed to take me out to stroll around the city.  The only problem was he was wearing the court's official robe, while I, my palace's dress.  In the end, Tian Bing Qing had to go to the palace to get us regular clothes and bring Yan Ping over to be our coachman.

The first part, I agree with; the second part however, was a little questionable.

We would be strolling around as a pair of husband and wife; why would he take a completely unrelated individual along?

Under my probing gaze, he spoke in a leisurely tone, "Zhen remember that year, when zhen came to visit as the Crown Prince.  Tsk tsk, you were so thoughtful towards Yan Ping."

Me: "……."  Your Majesty, you were too petty!  You actually still remembered all that?

Perhaps, what I was thinking was showing on my face; Feng Zhao Wen lazily leaned back as he tapped on the table with his long fingers:  "There are a couple of important memorials back in Zhong Hua Palace, waiting to be reviewed.  Ignoring the country for personal reason like this…."

I secretly scolded myself for not being able to keep my expression in check.  I flattered His Majesty, saying something about needing to know when to work and rest, and then, something more about taking care of his dragon body, and then, something about the kingdom being prosper etc….  All in all, strolling around with me today was all good and no bad.

He probably heard a lot of these kind of words; the more he listened, the uglier his face became.  In the end, he spoke with a darkened face, "Is it hard for the empress to say, 'you have it hard, husband?'"

My face reddened in an instant……  Never in a million years would I be uttering sweet words like that.

If the emperor was unhappy, it would inadvertently impact the trip.

And so, I tried to appease him by saying that my feelings for him and his care for me could not be expressed by mere frivolous words.

His Majesty snorted; "Such a glib tongue yet such a small gut."

By the time we left the manor, it was already nearing dusk.

The two of us walked together while holding hands while Yan Ping walked five steps behind us as we walked through the busy streets of the capital.

I had stayed in the palace for so long that the haggling noises beside me and the variety of stores in front of my eyes seemed so surreal.  I could even smell the scent of wines from a couple of streets away!

The Great Chen placed importance in etiquette; it was imperative for men and women to maintain distance from each other.  The Great Qi, on the other hand, was more socially liberal; it had only been a couple of years, yet some changes could already be seen.  I could see many men and women holding hands while strolling around.

Under my imploring gaze, the emperor took me and Yan Ping to a restaurant; after all, it would be inappropriate for him to be stingy in front of his own official.

Speaking of that, this really made me emotional.  The emperor raised a toast towards Yan Ping while saying, "4 years ago, you, zhen and the empress were here drinking wine.  It felt like it was only yesterday."

>> >>

The same people at the same place, years later.  Even I felt like this was a dream.

The outside world had changed, even the emperors had changed twice, only this restaurant remained in it's original place, bright and brilliant.  It was still making big money; the shopkeeper really knew how to do business.

Yan Ping raised a cup of wine, "This official would like to give a toast to Your Majesty and Your Ladyship!"  He drank it in one go.

Maybe he hadn't shared a table with His Majesty for too long; he seemed too cautious.   The atmosphere turned cool when it should be bustling.  So I raised a toast only for the wine cup to be s.n.a.t.c.hed away by His Majesty, "The empress is already pregnant, do not drink wine!  Zhen will drink on your behalf!"

I looked at the cup in my hand that had been changed into tea.  I lowered my head and eat some of the dishes.

Pregnancy was like a watershed; the wine was over there, while I was over here.

The two of them quickly moved on to political topics; it was as though they had dragged the dragon table over.  If there were memorials, the emperor would have turned this place into his imperial study.

——- This was the peril of marrying a workaholic man.  Other than picking me food every now and then, it was as though he had completely forgotten my existence.

I buried my head, feeling a little loss on the inside.  The concubines in the harem was not my compet.i.tor, my compet.i.tor was the court.

Perhaps I could only attract his attention if I talked about politics…..

"Your Majesty, Yan w.a.n.g's manor has raised at least 2000 secret troops; how are you going to deal with that?"



The two of them finally paid me a little attention; they looked pretty tense.

I was satisfied with the attention, so I lowered my head to continue eating, but the emperor blocked my chopsticks, "Are you saying…… Are you sure Yan w.a.n.g has raised at least 2000 secret troops?"

He leaned onto me, his phoenix eyes deep.  Although he looked calm, I could somehow sense his anxiety.

"You didn't know?  I have asked Wu Ke to handle this."  But, Wu Ke had not returned.

Yan Ping's voice sank a little, "Your Ladyship, how many people did General Wu Ke brought with him?"

I tilted my head, trying to remember how many of them escorted me out of the palace, "Around 100 or 200 people."

100 or 200 against 2000…..  General Wu Ke was unparalleled in the battlefield; hence the t.i.tle 'the G.o.d of War'.  He should be able to cope with that, right?

"Your Majesty, do you think something has happened to General Wu Ke?" It was very rare for Yan Ping to look as nervous as he currently seemed.

>>>> >

Wu Ke was riding a horse; to travel from that suburban town to here shouldn't take too long, why wasn't there any news?

Was it a really fierce battle?

Before I even had time to think, a coa.r.s.e voice could be heard from outside the restaurant, "Don't even think of running away, criminal!"  It sounded like the authority chasing after criminals, but the voice was so big that it was as though they were doing it on purpose.

The officials these days were too unprofessional.

I gave His Majesty a criticizing look before going to the window to take a look.  The moment I opened the window, a blade came in and went straight for my neck.  I dodged it and jumped into our table as the bowls and cups crashed on the ground.  An arm was looped around my waist tight, before he placed me behind him protectively.

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Refusing to Serve Me? Then Off With Your Head! Chapter 57 summary

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