Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 24

T/N: I’m anticipating a busy day tomorrow, so I’m posting this chapter a day early. Enjoy!


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Chapter 24 – An Imperial Decree

The empress and Zhou momo glanced at each other, knowing that the crown prince was satisfied. “Today’s pastries are very good. Zhou momo, bring him to get a reward.”

“Yes.”

The empress saw that the crown prince was satisfied and felt relieved. “Let’s go with this one, ba.”

“Yes, Mother Empress, it’s him. Thank you Mother Empress for looking for such a good person. The age is a bit young, but it is also easier to teach.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at his mother gratefully.

“It’s good as you like. I will mention it to your Father Emperor. If there are no problems, then I will make an imperial decree.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

Lin Jia Bao came out of the main hall of Yong Shou Palace and saw that Lin momo was waiting there. He quickly stepped forward. “Momo, are you better?”

“I’m much better now. How about you? Going by yourself, were you afraid?” Lin momo asked.

“I wasn’t afraid. Today, Her Majesty complimented how well the pastries were made! Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also asked me a few questions. Momo, this is the reward that Her Majesty bestowed. There’s also this jade pendant. His Royal Highness bestowed it.” Lin Jia Bao gave the bag of reward that Zhou momo gave him to Lin momo, and he also showed her the jade pendant.

Lin momo looked at the jade pendant and then returned it to him. “Since His Royal Highness rewarded it, you should keep it well.”

When the empress mentioned the matter to the emperor, he also felt that this method was feasible. Immediately he sent someone to investigate Lin An Zhu’s background, and it took no more than two days. Everything regarding Lin An Zhu’s life, from the small things to the big things, everyone in his family, his relatives, his neighbors, etc., and even the prior generations of his family’s ancestors were all clearly investigated.

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“Zi Tong*, the candidate you chose this time is good.” The emperor praised. For many generations, the Lin family made a living as farmers. His family background was clean. Also, the Lin family’s eldest brother became a xiu cai this year with outstanding achievements. There was also a big chance that he might pass the provincial level imperial exam in the coming year. The emperor has always been fond of talented people. “In the future, he will be from an official’s family, this kind of life history is not bad.”

[*T/N: 梓童 zi tong – appellation of the empress by the emperor]

“That’s right, Your Majesty. This family is prosperous in children. Look, this Zhang shi gave birth to a dragon and phoenix pair*, so blessed.” The empress was very pleased.

[*T/N: 龙凤胎 long feng tai – twins of mixed sex]

“Zi Tong, look, the Lin family’s eldest daughter also gave birth to a dragon and phoenix pair last year.” The emperor was also very satisfied.

“It would be nice if he could give our Cheng Er a dragon and phoenix pair.” The empress sighed with feeling.

The emperor thought about how the Xuan Yuan Dynasty’s royal family had yet to give birth to a dragon and phoenix pair. “If there is really a dragon and phoenix pair in the future, then I must reward him handsomely, ha ha!”

The empress took a look, saw that the fifth day of August was a good day, and had a momo make arrangements.

In the evening of that day, the empress’s imperial decree smashed the tranquility of the Royal Snack Kitchen.

Lin Jia Bao was stunned when he heard the empress’s imperial decree.

“An Zhu, quickly give thanks, ba. Tomorrow morning, there will be a specialist momo to come pick you up.” Zhou momo came personally to read the empress’s imperial decree.

“Giving thanks to Her Majesty’s grace.” Lin Jia Bao’s little face turned pale white, and he knelt down to thank her.

“Zhou momo, you see, this child is so happy that he’s in a stupor. Ha ha.” Lin momo helped An Zhu up, and spoke to Zhou momo with a smile.

Zhou momo did not mind. Before she left, she kindly reminded, “Tonight, you guys should make some preparations. Don’t make the momos wait tomorrow.”

Zhou momo and the person who came to pass the message left.

Lin Jia Bao began to cry.

Momo, I’m afraid…” Lin Jia Bao cried loudly.

Yu Shuang and the other two girls surrounded him, giving him congratulations, and telling him not to cry.

“This is a great thing, ah. What are you crying for? Other people can beseech and never get it!” Yu Long said sourly.

Yu Ling patted Yu Long. “Don’t talk anymore. Look at how broken-heartedly An Zhu is crying, ah.”

Momo, does this mean I can never leave the palace? Wu wu*…” Lin Jia Bao didn’t know what he had to do as the crown prince’s xiao shi, but he vaguely sensed that he would never be able to get out of the palace again.

[*T/N: wu – onomatopoeia for humming, whimpering, or crying]

“I miss my family very much. I was thinking of reuniting with them when I leave the palace. They’re all waiting for me!” Lin Jia Bao cried so hard that he couldn’t breath properly.

“An Zhu, ah. Don’t cry anymore. You will be the crown prince’s person in the future. Good days will come later. It’s not for certain that you can’t leave the palace, and it’s not for certain that you won’t be able to see your family.” Lin momo stroked his back as she consoled him.

“Yeah, An Zhu. Don’t cry anymore. Your eyes will go bad.” Yu Shuang also comforted softly, and reached for a cup of tea for An Zhu. She touched the teapot and found it cold. “Yu Long, help me add some hot water.”

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

“An Zhu, listen to Lin momo. This is the empress’s imperial decree. It can no longer be changed. You can only accept it. If you resist the decree, not only your own life is not guaranteed, but it will also affect your family. Think about it carefully.” Lin momo spoke to him with a bit of severity.

“Wu wu wu wu… momo, I understand. Wu wu…” Lin Jia Bao also knew that Lin momo was right, but he couldn’t stop his tears.

Yu Long came over with a tray, put the teapot on it, and went to the place where the water was boiling. In her heart, the more she thought about it, the more jealous she got. Why? An Zhu was so lucky! Wasn’t it because Lin momo often brought him along with her to show his face before the empress? If the one that Lin momo brought along were she, maybe the one with a lucky life today would be her!

The more that Yu Long thought about it, the more unwilling she was. She looked at the boiling water and a vicious thought sprouted from her heart. If An Zhu’s face was ruined…

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 23

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Chapter 23 – An Imperial Decree

July 7th, Qi Qiao Festival

The Royal Snack Kitchen was very busy. In addition to making cakes for the empress, they also needed to make a great amount of qiao guo*, to be sent to other palaces as gifts from the empress in celebration of the holiday.

[*T/N: 巧果 qiao guo – there is no English equivalent translation that I can think of. It’s a fried dough snack.]

The way to make qiao guo is: first put white sugar into the pot and melt it into a syrup, then mix in flour and sesame, combine well and then spread it out onto a flat surface to cool. After cooling, use a knife to cut it into squares, fold it and twist it into spindle shapes, and then deep fry until golden. It was not difficult to do, but the amount of work to be done was relatively large. Lin Jia Bao and the rest were busy from early morning till now.

“An Zhu, stop what you’re doing for now. Come with me to deliver the bird’s nest cake to the empress niang niang first.” Lin momo handed over a food box to An Zhu.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“Yes. I’m coming, momo.” Lin Jia Bao put down the things in his hands and then went to wash his hands.

“Lin momo, how about you take me too?” Yu Long asked Lin momo. Today was the Qi Qiao Festival. She purposely wore the delicate embroidered pouch that she spent a long time embroidering, and wanted to show her face in front of the empress.

“No need. It’s fine with just An Zhu and me. The three of you pay attention to making the qiao guo.” Lin momo ignored her request. How could she not know Yu Long’s intentions?

Yu Long watched Lin momo and An Zhu leave, feeling indignant in her heart.

When Lin momo took An Zhu to the main hall of Yong Shou Palace, she saw Zhou momo waiting right outside the hall.

“Lin momo, you two are here. Both the empress niang niang and the crown prince are here, they’re waiting for your desserts.” Zhou momo gave Lin momo a meaningful glance.

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“This must be An Zhu. I heard from Lin momo that your skills are quite good.” Zhou momo said to An Zhu with a beaming smile. She was really satisfied with his appearance, and thought to herself that she should be able to report back on her mission with this.

“Greetings, Zhou momo.” Lin Jia Bao stepped forward to say hello to Zhou momo, and smiled shyly at her praise.

Lin momo walked in front. Suddenly she bent over cradling her stomach. “Oww, why does my stomach hurt so much all of a sudden…?”

Lin Jia Bao nervously supported Lin momo. “Momo, what’s wrong?”

“Ooh, my stomach suddenly feels uncomfortable, oww… An Zhu, ah, you and Zhou momo go in, ba. It’s too lacking in manners to go see the empress niang niang and crown prince like this.” Lin momo said to An Zhu.

“Lin momo, what will you do? Is it really bad?” Lin Jia Bao asked, not assured.

“It’s nothing. I’ll be fine after going to the restroom. Just go.” Lin momo said.

“Yes.” Lin Jia Bao carried the food box into the main hall with Zhou momo.

In the main hall, the empress and the crown prince were sitting and talking, when the empress spotted An Zhu coming in with the snacks. Lin Jia Bao stepped forward and knelt down to salute. “An Zhu of Royal Snack Kitchen, kowtows to empress niang niang and Your Royal Highness.”

“Rise.” The empress looked at him carefully. It was indeed as Zhou momo had said; he really was a child with a pleasing face.

The empress saw the magpie-shaped pastries on the plate. “What kind of dessert is this? The shape is very seasonal.”

[T/N: Magpies are associated with the Qi Qiao Festival. It is said that a flock of magpies fly together to form a bridge that reunites the two lovers, cowherd and weaver girl.]

“Replying to Your Majesty*, this is bird’s nest cake. It is made of maltose, crushed bird’s nest, sugar, and cake flour, and it tastes sweet. Today is the Qi Qiao Festival, so we specifically used the magpie mold.” Lin Jia Bao replied carefully.

[*T/N: The text and the characters often refer to her as 皇后娘娘 huang hou niang niang, which translates to “empress” (皇后 huang hou) and “suffix for empress / imperial concubine” (娘娘 niang niang), which I’ve been translating as “empress niang niang” in dialogue and “the empress” in text, but I decided to change it up to “Her/Your Majesty,” because “Your Majesty” matches more with “Your Royal Highness” (in reference to XYHC).]

The empress saw that he answered in an orderly manner, did not panic, and was not timid. She liked him a little more.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at Lin Jia Bao’s cute little face. “How long have you been in the palace? How do you feel about the palace? Are you used to it yet?”

“Replying to Your Royal Highness, An Zhu has been in the palace for more than a year. I am already accustomed to life in the palace. The palace is very good, and I have learned how to make snacks from Lin momo.”

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng asked again, “Where are you from? Where does your family live? Who else is in your family? Do you have any siblings?”

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

“An Zhu is from Pei County in Xu Province. My family is in Lin Jia Village, not far from Pei County. In my family there is my father and mother, I also have an older brother and two older sisters, and one younger brother and one younger sister.” Lin Jia Bao answered truthfully.

Everything that Lin Jia Bao just said, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng already knew. He watched his treasure speaking each word with his little mouth, and a passionate fire lit up in his heart.

“Your family is prosperous in children. Very good.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng put emphasis on the words ‘prosperous in children,’ speaking with ulterior motive.

The empress listened to the crown prince’s words, and nodded in satisfaction. “Your mother is very blessed.”

“Ha ha, you are also a blessed person. Take this, a reward for you.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng gave a ruyi scepter jade pendant to Lin Jia Bao.

[T/N: The ruyi scepter is a symbol of power and good fortune. 如意 ru yi also means “as you wish” or “as you desire”]

Lin Jia Bao looked at the ruyi scepter jade pendant and froze.

“His Royal Highness is rewarding you. Quickly give thanks.” Zhou momo tugged on An Zhu.

“My thanks to Your Royal Highness!” Lin Jia Bao received the jade pendant and smiled sweetly. This was the first time he received a reward alone.

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Didn’t Love You Enough 22

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Chapter 22 – Prelude

Lin momo came into Zhou momo’s room with a food box.

“It’s almost the Qi Qiao Festival. We, at the Royal Snack Kitchen, came up with some new snacks. Zhou momo, you serve by the empress’s side, you understand the empress’s tastes the best. I want to ask you to help us sample these desserts.” Lin momo said as she put the food box on the table.

“Elder Sister, if you made it then it is definitely good. Empress niang niang loves eating the snacks that you make.”

Both Zhou momo and Lin momo were from the empress’s family, and between the two of them, they had relations as in-laws. They both entered the palace together, and have looked after each other all these years, treating each other like sisters.

Lin momo took out a plate. “Try this one. This is bird’s nest cake. The cake mold is also newly made.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“This magpie’s shape is good. Elder Sister, you’re so attentive. The empress niang niang will definitely like it when she sees it.” Zhou momo picked up a piece of pastry, and put it in her mouth to try the taste. “The flavor is great! Elder Sister, you just wait to be rewarded, ba.”

“Then I will take your lucky words, ha ha.” Lin momo also smiled. She saw the roster that Zhou momo had placed on the table. “It seems like you’re busy. Did I disturb you?”

“Ai! Elder Sister, I am precisely worrying about this at the moment. The empress niang niang wants to bestow a xiao shi* from Yong Shou Palace to the crown prince. I looked and there is not one that is suitable. How am I supposed to report back** on this?”

[*T/N: 小侍 xiao shi – supposed to be the lowest ranking concubine]

[**T/N: 交差 jiao chai specifically means “to report back after completion of one’s mission,” but here she can’t even complete the mission.]

“There are very few palace attendants in our palace. This is a difficult task.” Lin momo said with concern.

“There are only two who meet the conditions, but their appearance is too ordinary,” Zhou momo grumbled.

“Then what to do, ne? Appearance not good. The empress niang niang definitely would not be satisfied.” Lin momo agreed. “Speaking of appearance… the ger at my Royal Snack Kitchen is very good.”

“Alas, it’s a pity that he’s just thirteen years old.” Zhou momo said regretfully.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

“Not thirteen years old. He turned fourteen years old just last month. But he’s still a little small.” Lin momo said. “His appearance is really good. He has big expressive eyes, and also very pleasing dimples.”

Zhou momo listened to what Lin momo said, and thought about it. “Why don’t I report all three of them to the empress niang niang? It would be nice to have one more name on the list.”

“That’s right. Two candidates are too few. It would look better to have another name on the list.” Lin momo guided carefully.

“En, then let’s do it like this.”

The next day, Zhou momo handed the names of the three candidates to the empress. After looking over the list, the empress slapped the roster onto the table. “Zhou momo, what are you doing? Why are there only three candidates? And there’s even one as young as thirteen years old to make up for the shortfall in the number of people!”

Zhou momo hurriedly knelt down, and gave the answer that she had previously thought out. “Empress niang niang, it’s not that I was not diligent. The number of palace attendants in our palace is really too few. There are only two suitable ones, but their appearances are just barely satisfactory, how could they possibly make the crown prince “specifically favor” them? I could only add another one. His age is a bit young, but his appearance is very good, and won’t bring disgrace or humiliation to His Highness, the crown prince.”

Zhou momo saw that the empress’s expression looked a bit better, and continued to say, “This ger works at the Royal Snack Kitchen. He’s very lovable and sensible. He just turned fourteen years old last month. He’s a bit smaller, but gers and girls are different, being a little younger just so emphasizes their freshness and tenderness.”

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“Although that’s the case, I’m afraid that Cheng Er won’t like.” After listening to Zhou momo’s explanation, the empress no longer had a reason to blame her.

“Empress niang niang, why don’t you let the crown prince take a look. If he doesn’t like him, then we can only choose among the palace attendants in other palaces.”

“En, let the crown prince make his own decision. It’s the person that he will be favoring, so he must like him. Zhou momo, you go and make some arrangements.” The empress did not want to choose a candidate from another palace. If it were not someone from her own palace, she wouldn’t be at ease. Moreover, selecting someone from another palace would draw more attention, which was inappropriate. I hope that Cheng Er will be satisfied with this candidate.”

“Yes.”

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Didn’t Love You Enough 21

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Chapter 21 – Prelude

“Mother Empress, there’s no need. I still have to nurse my health for another year or two. I’m afraid it’s not appropriate to take a concubine right now.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng shook his head.

“Why do you need another year or two? A year has already passed. What is Imperial Physician Qian doing? Didn’t he follow the army to help nurse your health?” The empress was a little angry.

“Mother Empress, don’t blame Imperial Physician Qian. He was very diligent in helping me detoxify and taking care of my health. But, going to battle outside, inevitably it will be hard to manage sometimes. The poison has already been cleared from my system, but in terms of recuperation of my health, it is still somewhat lacking.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng replied.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“Then what should we do? You went to war for close to a year, this doesn’t matter, but now you’ve come back. If you don’t get near female charms for another year or two, and don’t have any sons, like this, I’m afraid there will be rumors about the crown prince having some sickness again, ah.” This was what the empress was concerned about.

“But right now, I’m not fully recuperated. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Although I could force myself to go to bed* with someone, there still won’t be any sons.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng continued to mess around with the empress. Actually, his body has already recovered, but for his baby, he would rather drag things out for another year or two than to get close to another woman.

[*T/N: 行房 xing fang – he used a word that was a euphemism for sexual intercourse, so that it wouldn’t sound vulgar]

“How is this good in any way?” The empress worried.

“Don’t worry, Mother Empress, I thought of a way.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said to his mother.

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“I want to concentrate my favor* on one ger. I will dote on this ger in particular, and don’t go to any other concubine. And it’s harder for a ger to get pregnant, compared to a woman. Then even if I don’t have any heirs for a year or two, it would be very normal.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng elaborated his plot.

[*T/N: 专宠 zhuan chong – the words he used here are telling. 专 zhuan means “for a particular person / focused on one thing / concentrated / specialized” and 宠 chong means “to love / to pamper / to spoil / to favor”]

“Specifically favoring a ger, this kind of reputation for favoring beauty…” The empress heard him out and thought that this idea was okay, but it would still hinder the crown prince’s reputation.

“Mother Empress, this is the best method. Compared to the rumor of the crown prince having an illness, this rumor is already much better. I’m still young. It’s not a big deal to say I adore beauty.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng continued to lobby his idea.

“Ai*! Then it can only be this way. Do you have someone in mind?” The empress asked the crown prince.

[*T/N: 唉 ai – an interjection or grunt of agreement or recognition. Can also be a sigh (of defeated consent).]

“Not yet. Requesting Mother Empress to help me look for one. It’s best if it’s someone from mother’s palace.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said, calm and collected, without batting an eyelid.

“Zhou momo, you heard what the crown prince said. Tomorrow, give me a list of suitable candidates within Yong Shou Palace.” The empress looked at her trusted aide, Zhou momo, who was standing to the side, ready to serve.

Whenever the empress chatted with the crown prince, she only left Zhou momo in the vicinity. She trusted Zhou momo.

“Rest assured, empress niang niang, I will have the list of names ready by tomorrow.” Zhou momo patted her chest confidently.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng listened to Zhou momo’s words, and his face revealed a joyful expression.

At the same time, Lin momo of the Royal Snack Kitchen received a message from His Royal Highness through his secret guard. After Lin momo heard the message, her brows furrowed together, and she sighed.

After receiving the empress’s order, Zhou momo went back to look through the roster of Yong Shou Palace’s personnel.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

Zhou momo took a look and became muddle-headed. There were only five ger palace attendants in Yong Shou Palace! Two of them were already over twenty years old. One of them was only thirteen years old. Only two of them were of appropriate age: fifteen and sixteen years old. These two gers looked after the gardens within Yong Shou Palace. Zhou momo specifically went to take a look at these two people.

Both of them were average in looks, and did not stand out at all. How could the crown prince “specifically favor” either one of them?

Zhou momo walked around her room in circles. How was she supposed to report to the empress tomorrow?

Knock knock.

Zhou momo heard the knock on her door and opened it to see Lin momo standing there. “Elder Sister*, what brings you here?”

[*T/N: 老姐姐 lao jie jie – she called her 老 lao “old (as in age)” 姐姐 jie jie “older sister,” which might sound rude in English, but I doubt that was her intent, so I opted for “elder” instead.]

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Didn’t Love You Enough 20

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Chapter 20 – Prelude

“None of your business!” Lin Li Er heard Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother said her brother was an odd jobs man and hissed angrily at her.

“I heard that it was a big package. It should be a lot of money, ba.” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother probed unrelentingly.

“Not telling you,” Lin Li Er retorted forcefully.

Wu shi also did not want to divulge the information to her. She knew that wealth should not be exposed. “Not much. Aunt Lin*, our family still has matters to attend to, and it’s not convenient for me to entertain you. Please return, ba.”

[*T/N: 大娘 da niang – “aunt” used as a polite address, not actual relative]

“Oh my! Are you putting on airs now that you’re the wife of a xiu cai? Even if you don’t say, I know. Just an odd jobs man, nothing more. I bet he sent a big bag of copper coins back. Ha ha ha ha.” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother saw that neither of them was willing to say, so she speculated maliciously.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

Lin Li Er took out a big broom to drive her away. “Are you leaving or not! Leaving or not!”

Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother left Lin Da Zhuang’s house, cursing and stumbling at the same time. “You damn girl, so spicy. Be careful, you won’t get marry like that.”

It was almost noon when Zhang shi arrived at her in-laws house. Everyone in the Qin family was there. Lin Jin Er was also very happy to see her mother.

“What brings you to visit, Mother?” When Qin Kai Xing saw her, he also came forward to give his mother-in-law a salute.

Zhang shi first gave her regards to the father-in-law and mother-in-law of her daughter, and then she saw her eldest grandson, Cong Ge, and the baby twins.

After that, she told them all about the letter that Lin Jia Bao sent back. When the Qins heard this, they were also happy for their in-laws.

“Mother-in-law, when are father-in-law and Jia Wen preparing to set out?” Qin Kai Xing asked. He had an idea.

“They are preparing to head out mid-August. It will take half a month’s journey.” Zhang shi replied. The family had discussed it. Only Lin Da Zhuang and Lin Jia Wen would be going. She also really wanted to go, but her eldest daughter-in-law was going to give birth in October, and there were three children in the family who all needed looking after.

“Consider if this is possible or not. How about I accompany them to the capital this time? I’ve never been to the capital. It just so happens that I could take this chance to go take a look. There are some goods in the shop. I’ll bring them along with me, and scope out some social connections. These products are all good. It’s just that the decorative designs around here are a little out of date, but maybe it’ll look fresh to the people in the capital. At that time, I will also buy some popular cloth from the capital and bring it back.” Qin Kai Xing was very business savvy, and he has calculated everything.

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Old Master Qin heard this and also agreed very much. His son had already gotten married and started his career, so it’s not bad for him to go out and learn through experience. He said to Zhang shi: “Mother-in-law, ah, Kai Qing said it well. Let him go along. We have a horse carriage and everything else. You don’t need to spend money to rent one. I’ll also send along a few more shop assistants* and servant guards** as escort. This way, the journey will be a bit safer.”

[*T/N: 伙计 huo ji – can mean “partner, buddy, waiter, servant, or shop assistant,” so I chose the meaning that seemed most compatible with the context]

[**T/N: 家丁 jia ding – servant hired to keep guard, run errands, etc]

“That’s a good sentiment. Thank you, in-laws. When I go back, I will talk to them about it.” Zhang shi naturally agreed.

At noon, the Qin family enthusiastically had Zhang shi stay for lunch. In the afternoon, they sent her back via horse carriage.

When Zhang Hui Niang returned home, she told them about the Qin family’s intentions, and everyone felt good about it. After that, Lin Da Zhuang’s family got busy.

Just when Lin Da Zhuang’s family was happily renovating the house and making preparations to go to the capital, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was also drawing up his plan.

In the blink of an eye, July arrived. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng rejoined morning court. The way he dealt with matters in court was increasingly mature and slick. The court officials all sensed that His Highness, the crown prince, was getting more powerful and intense with each passing day. They had confidence in his abilities, and were also afraid of him.

In the afternoon as usual, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng came to Yong Shou Palace to spend time with his mother, chatting and eating snacks.

The empress was very pleased that the crown prince often came to accompany her. Her second prince, Xuan Yuan Han Qi, preferred physical activities, and didn’t come over as often. In comparison, the crown prince was more considerate, often coming to keep her company. All the married women that paid visits to the empress would praise the crown prince for his filial piety.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

“Cheng Er, look, in just a few more days it will be the Qi Qiao Festival*. I invited some unwed women of court to enter the palace for dinner. What do you think? How about we take this opportunity to first help you select a side concubine? Right now, you only have three concubines by your side. That’s too few, and they are all old by now. I don’t think you much like them anymore.”

The empress was thinking of getting a concubine first. When affairs with the Xue family were settled, then they could take their time and carefully choose a crown princess. After all, she would become the future mother of the country. She must be a ruling mother to the land. So they could not be sloppy or careless.

[*T/N: Qi Qiao Festival a.k.a. Qixi Festival is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. It celebrates the annual meeting of two lovers, the cowherd and the weaver girl, in Chinese mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.]

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Didn’t Love You Enough 19

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Chapter 19 – Presage

After listening to Jia Wen’s reading of the letter and looking at the drawings that Jia Bao painted, Zhang Hui Niang wiped her tears. “This child’s paintings are so good. That pastry looks just like real.”

“It seems like Jia Bao’s life in the palace is good, so I can rest assured.” Lin Da Zhuang was also very happy. “Tomorrow, make a trip to our in-laws. Jin Er has also been worried all this time.”

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

When Lin Jia Bao’s eldest sister, Lin Jin Er, heard the news that Lin Jia Bao had entered the palace, she was so sad that she nearly had a miscarriage*. Luckily, it was just an alarm and not actual danger, and she safely gave birth to a pair of twins of mixed sex**.

[*T/N: 动胎气 dong tai qi – when a pregnant woman gets upset, stressed, or angry and it affects the fetus negatively.]

[**T/N: 龙凤胎 long feng tai – one male twin and one female twin, it’s auspicious, with the male baby representing a dragon and the female baby representing a phoenix]

The Qin family was happy to the extreme with this birth. The rarity of giving birth to twins of mixed sex reaffirmed Madam Qin’s belief that Lin Jin Er has a good life fortune. After Lin Jin Er’s one month confinement* was over, Madam Qin handed over the rights to manage the household to Lin Jin Er, and she became a good grandma who spoiled the children.

[*T/N: The Chinese believe that a woman’s body is weaker after birth, and that she should stay indoors for an entire month to recuperate.]

Lin Da Zhuang opened the kerchief, and indeed there was a lot of money. They counted a total of one hundred and thirty-five silver taels. “So much money, ah!”

“Wow! Wow!” The dragon and phoenix twins were very excited. With so much money, how much delicious food could they buy?

“Why so much? Isn’t the salary one silver tael per a month? Plus the twenty taels that he brought into the palace before, at most there should only be thirty something taels. I heard that Lin Jiao Jiao only sent back twenty something taels.” Lin Jia Wen said with doubt.

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When Xuan Yuan Han Cheng saw that Lin Jia Bao had packed thirty-five taels of silver, he had someone add another hundred. Then he thought about it again and was afraid that it would not be appropriate, so he ordered them to use fragmented pieces of silver*. This was why the bundle that the Lin family received became a much bigger package.

[*T/N: Because a giant piece of silver would be too conspicuous for commoners to use. It’s like paying with a hundred-dollar bill versus paying with a ten-dollar bill.]

“So what? Jia Bao is working in the empress’s palace. The empress in the biggest in the harem, of course she is the most generous, and gives out lots of rewards.” Zhang shi* said. When the family heard this, except for Lin Jia Wen, everyone thought that it was reasonable!

[*T/N: Zhang shi = Zhang Hui Niang (the mother). 氏 shi is a suffix meaning “clan name / maiden name” so it is attached to a married woman’s maiden name to indicate the family that they came from. I see this used a lot in stories with a harem to differentiate the harem members without referring to them by their full name.]

Lin Jia Wen’s wife, Wu shi, was also thinking that there would be enough money for when her husband goes to Xu Province for the xiang shi* exam next year.

[*T/N: 乡试 xiang shi – the triennial provincial imperial exam during the Ming and Qing Dynasty]

Lin Li Er touched the exquisite embroidered pouch. The embroidered flowers and plants on it were so beautiful. The pouch was also bulging. The contents spilled onto the table. “There is still more in this pouch!”

Five silver fruits and three gold melon seeds poured out of the pouch.

“Ah! This is made of gold. It’s so beautiful!” The little girl pinched a seed to examine it up close.

“This really is palace made. It’s so skillfully carved. This silver fruit is about two taels in weight.” Zhang shi estimated the weight of the silver fruit by bouncing it in her hand.

The entire family was so happy that they circled around the table in delight.

They discussed what to do with this large sum of money. First, it was travel expenses for the trip to the capital. Second, it was money for Lin Jia Wen’s xiang shi exam at the provincial capital of Xu Province.

As for what was left, Lin Da Zhuang planned to renovate the house and add a few more rooms to expand the house. Seeing as there would be a new addition to the family population and the children were getting older too, matters of the house were of imminent concern.

Originally, he had wanted to save money for his son’s xiang shi exam next year, but now he didn’t have to worry about it. Building a house in the rural area was not expensive, manpower plus raw material; a few dozen taels of silver could get the job done well.

If there was still money left, they could buy more land. Right now, there was no need to pay land taxes. And more land equaled more income.

No one had any objection to putting this new land under Lin Jia Bao’s name. And if Jia Bao sent more money back in the future, they could buy even more fields. Then, when Jia Bao came back, he would have something to rely on.

The things in the embroidered pouch were left alone for now. If by any chance some pressing matter came up, they could use that as emergency funds to respond to the problem.

Early the next morning, Zhang shi went into the city to visit her daughter. Lin Da Zhuang and Lin Jia Wen went to Li Zhen’s house to discuss the renovation of the house and the purchasing of land.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

Not long after they left, Lin Jiao Jiao’s family showed up at their door.

Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother heard yesterday that Lin Jia Bao had sent something back and was very curious, so she came bright and early today to get the news.

It was not good for Wu shi to chase her away, so with Lin Li Er supporting her, she could only invite the other person to sit down. “So early in the morning, is there some matter?”

“I heard that your ger sent some things back, so I came to inquire. Haha. Your family’s ger, where is he working now? My family’s Jiao Jiao is working at a high-ranking niang niang’s palace, ne!” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother gossiped.

Wu shi could not stand her manners. “Our Jia Bao is working at the snack kitchen in the empress’s palace, ne!”

“At the empress’s palace, ya!” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother paused, and then proudly said, “That’s just doing odd jobs in the kitchen. My family’s Jiao Jiao works in the presence of the niang niang. How much money did your family’s ger send back?”

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 18

T/N: Busy day tomorrow, so I’m posting this chapter a day early in case I get overwhelmed tomorrow. Happy reading!


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Chapter 18 – Presage

Half a month later, in a clearing of the Lin Jia Village, Li Zheng* was making an announcement of the notice from the county seat, it was good news, telling families that they could go to the capital to reunite with those family members who were working in the palace during the mid-autumn festival.

[*T/N: This is my first time coming across this name in the raws. I think he’s the county head.]

When the villagers heard the news they were all abuzz with chatter.

“Da Zhuang, there is a letter for your family at the post. I brought it back for you.” Li Zheng called to the party of Lin Da Zhuang’s family. “Jia Wen, come and take a look. It’s your family’s ger who sent it. What a big package.”

Li Zheng has become affectionate towards Lin Da Zhuang’s family. This year, Lin Jia Wen passed the county level imperial exam*, and he was now a person with scholarly honor and glory. He didn’t have to kneel anymore in front of the county district magistrate**.

[*T/N: Previously, he was a 童生 tong sheng, which meant that he was only a candidate for the exam, and now he is a 秀才 xiu cai, which means he has actually passed the county level imperial exam.]

[**T/N: 县太爷 xian tai ye, doesn’t seem to be an actual title of a government post, but “county district magistrate” is my best approximation in English. 县 xian = “county,” and 太爷 tai ye = “(respectful term of address for) one’s grandfather / somebody’s father / older people / the head of the house (used by servants) / a district magistrate”]

Lin Jia Wen ignored Li Zheng’s fawning attitude. He received the proffered bundle and half-heartedly exchanged a few words.

Everyone in the village heard Li Zheng’s words and was curious about that package. Several people started to coax and said, “Lin xiu cai open it and let everyone see, ah. What good things did your family’s ger send back, ah?”

Of the ten people who had entered the palace, only the Lin* family’s unwed daughter, Lin Jiao Jiao, had sent something back. Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother was so pleased with herself. Every time she met someone she would say how good her family’s Jiao Jiao was, how she was working at some high-ranking niang niang’s* palace, how appreciated she was over there, and how she sent back quite a sum of money.

[*T/N: Presumably a different Lin family, not Lin Jia Bao’s family.]

[**T/N: 娘娘 niang niang – a respectful suffix or term of address for the empress or an imperial concubine]

The bundle that Lin Jia Bao sent back this time was so big. All the villagers were staring hard at it and guessing how much money he had sent back.

Lin Jia Wen ignored their coaxing and hurried back home with his father.

Zhang Hui Niang supported her daughter-in-law who was more than six months pregnant. “Is there some good news?”

Lin Jia Wen transmitted the news that Li Zheng had announced. Then very excitedly, he said, “Jia Bao sent something back!”

The whole family was excited when they heard, and hurriedly urged, “Quickly open it and see…”

Ever since Lin Jiao Jiao had sent something back to the village, they have all been hoping that Jia Bao could also send a letter to them. It’s been more than one year, nearly two years, since Jia Bao has entered the palace. They were worried all the time. Even an oral message would be enough to ease their minds.

The family could not wait to open the package. Inside was a stack of thick letters, an exquisite embroidered pouch, and there was also a bundle wrapped in a kerchief, which should be money.

Lin Jia Wen first unwrapped the stationery. He looked over it. Lin Jia Bao’s handwriting was relatively large. Then he began to read it out loud to everyone:

Dad, Mom, I am Jia Bao.

My days in the palace are very good. Currently, I am working at the Royal Snack Kitchen inside the empress’s palace, specializing in making snacks for the empress.

Lin momo, who is in charge of the Royal Snack Kitchen, is very kind to me. She taught me how to make snacks. Now, I can make several different types of desserts and pastries on my own, and they all taste pretty good. It’s a pity that you can’t eat them. But after I leave the palace, I can make it for you all to eat every day.

Every month I get one silver tael as salary, and there would often be rewards. When I leave the palace, I can open a dessert shop inside the county. In the future I will definitely be able to make a lot, a lot of money, and then I will buy a big house in the county. Our whole family will live together!

Dad, Mom, Big Sister, Big Brother-in-Law, Big Brother, Big Sister-in-Law, Second Sister, Little Brother, Little Sister, I really miss you all!

The empress is bestowing a favor this time. You must come see me during the mid-autumn festival. I was afraid that you would not have enough money for the journey, so I sent all the money and rewards that I collected. There’s also the money that you gave me when I entered the palace. I didn’t use it, and there are no expenses in the palace.

You definitely have to come see me. Jia Bao misses you all!

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 17

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Chapter 17 – One Year

For a time this good news spread in the palace, and the palace servants rushed to tell each other. They were grateful to the emperor, the empress, and the crown prince’s benevolence.

In this way, rumors about His Royal Highness gradually disappeared. Afterwards, gossip about the Xue family’s younger generation’s love affairs was spread around, and the people’s attention was diverted.

Lin Jia Bao has been in a state of excitement since he got the good news. At night, he would toss and turn in bed, thinking of this and that.

He didn’t know if Lin Jia Village would receive the news, and whether they would visit him or not. The road from Lin Jia Village to the imperial capital took more than half a month of travel. What about the long road? More than half a month’s journey, would there be a lot of problems? Was there enough money at home?

The more Lin Jia Bao thought, the more he could not sleep. He got up, walked out of his room, and arrived in front of Lin momo’s door. He knocked on the door. “Lin momo, are you asleep yet?”

“An Zhu, what is it, you haven’t slept yet?” Lin momo opened the door and saw Lin An Zhu. “Come in.”

“What’s the matter? Talk to momo.” Lin momo looked at Lin Jia Bao’s frowning face and asked with concern.

In the past two years in the palace, Lin Jia Bao has long regarded Lin momo as his elder. He told Lin momo all of the troubles in his head. “Momo, what do you think I should do?”

“Don’t worry, let momo think about it for you.” Lin momo’s family was a child of the empress’s maternal family, their home was right in the capital, so she didn’t have the same worries as Lin Jia Bao.

Lin momo thought about it and said. “How about this? You can write a letter home, and send some money back. Momo is acquainted with a gong gong in the imperial kitchen. I can have that gong gong help out, and send your letter to the relay station for post horses.”

“That’s great, momo, can you really help me send a letter back to my family?” Lin Jia Bao was a little worried.

“It’ll be fine. All the palace servants ask cai ban* for help. As long as you don’t take anything out of the palace that should not be taken out, otherwise you will be found out at the palace’s gate, and everyone will suffer. That’s why, normally cai ban only helps those who they’re familiar with.”

[*T/N: 采办 cai ban – I don’t know what this is supposed to be. Based on context clues it feels like this should be a noun or a job title, but all the dictionary gave me were verbs such as: “to buy on a considerable scale / to purchase / to procure / to stock up”]

“Then, thank you so much, momo. I’ll go and write the letter right now.” Lin Jia Bao went back quickly.

Back in his room, Lin Jia Bao spent most of the night writing away. He put his monthly salary and reward money into a purse that Yu Shuang jie jie embroidered for him. He thought about it, and then also put the money that his family had given him when he first left for the palace into the purse. There weren’t many places to use money within the palace, and his family definitely needed it more.

Early the next morning, Lin Jia Bao gave the prepared bundle wrapped in cloth to Lin momo, and also asked about some words that he didn’t know how to write. He had momo help him fill in the blanks.

After finishing these, Lin Jia Bao finally set down the stone in his heart, and began to count the days, waiting for the arrival of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Lin momo did not give these things to the cai ban, but to the crown prince’s shadow guard.

That very night, Lin Jia Bao’s bundle was already placed on Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s desk.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at the letter and smiled. The first piece of paper was meant to be a written letter, but it looked more like a drawn picture.

On the paper, there was a small person who was making pastries. Jia Bao painted very carefully; even the patterns on the pastries were painted exactly the same. In the blanks spaces were the words: father, mother, big sister, big brother-in-law, big brother, big sister-in-law, second sister, little brother, little sister, I miss you all!

The second sheet of paper had more words, some of which were written by Lin momo. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was thinking how he would have his treasure learn the characters well in the future. It seems that his treasure also had a natural gift in painting. In the future, he would have him learn that well too.

The general meaning of Lin Jia Bao’s letter was that his time in the palace was very good, now he was making snacks in the Royal Snack Kitchen of the empress’s palace, the momo in the palace was very kind to him, and the sisters in the palace took good care of him.

He told his family members to rest assured, that he was all right, and that he just missed his family. Now that he has learned how to make a lot of different snacks, he wanted to open a snack shop in the future and be self-sufficient. At the end, he also asked his family to visit him on the Mid-Autumn Festival.

After reading the letter, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s face turned black. His baby has already planned out his life after leaving the palace… this was not good!

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng thought that Lin Jia Bao was now fourteen, still a bit too small to eat. But if he kept him by his side and raised him for a year or two, then he could probably eat him, right? He already couldn’t wait…

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng instructed his shadow guard to send Lin Jia Bao’s family letter to the Pei County relay station as soon as possible. Secretly he began to make plans…

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 16

T/N: Couldn’t get this one out yesterday like I had wanted (ended up having to work overtime, ugh 😫). But it’s out today, so Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Boxing Day! Enjoy. ❤️


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Chapter 16 – One Year

Rumors such as: the crown prince ordered hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war to be buried alive, the crown prince liked to sadistically kill children, and even, the crown prince liked to eat human flesh, etc, circulated around and continued to spread despite prohibition.

The common people’s ability to differentiate between truth and lies was poor. They tended to listen and believe just like that. When it came to stories about the royalty, they discussed even more enthusiastically. The more a story was prohibited from spreading, the more curious they became.

In Yong Shou Palace, the empress had just gotten Zhou momo to handle several eunuchs who were spreading rumors.

“Don’t be angry, Imperial Mother. It’s not worth it if your anger affects your health.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said to her consolingly from her side. “Originally, the incident this time was not so serious, it’s because the Xue family is adding fuel to the fire, and that’s why it blew up like this.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“It’s that Xue family again, but your imperial father said that they won’t be able to hop around for long.” The empress thought of the crown princess and was able to let loose a knot of angry air. To the outside world, the crown princess was confined to bed due to illness, but the truth was that she had already “died from illness.”

[T/N: “died from illness” – she really is dead, but it’s in quotation marks, because the so-called illness was manufactured and not natural]

Er’chen would also like to thank Imperial Mother. This time, while I was away on campaign, you helped to clean up my palace. It’s been exhausting for Imperial Mother, I* have troubled you.”

[*T/N: There is no pronoun in the raws, but I add them occasionally to make the sentence smoother in English.]

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng did not bring Yuan Fu on this expedition, but instead, left him at the palace to coordinate with his imperial mother to clean up the crown prince’s East Palace.

While he was not in the palace, many saboteurs had eased up their vigilance. Now these people have been cleaned up, and the crown princess’s people have been secretly taken down. After obtaining the method for how they contacted the li wang, these people were all exterminated. Now the ones in contact with li wang were all Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s shadow guards, and they did not let li wang find out that there was anything unusual.

“There’s no need for thanks between us.” The empress patted the crown prince’s shoulder.

He said he was not worried, but the empress still could not help worrying when she thought of the impact these rumors would have on the crown prince’s reputation.

At night, the emperor came to Yong Shou Palace to sleep and saw the empress sitting on the bed frowning.

“Your Majesty, look at how cacophonous these rumors have gotten. Originally, I was going to wait for Cheng Er* to come back and help him get a side concubine. Now the rumors are flying everywhere. I’m afraid the ministers will have ulterior motives. This candidate is not easy to decide.” The empress complained to the emperor.

[*T/N: Nickname for Xuan Yuan Han Cheng]

“Don’t worry about it, zhen* is already working on it. In fact, rumors come and go quickly. As long as there is new news, people will slowly forget the old ones. Cheng Er’s body still needs to be conditioned. There is no hurry.”

[*T/N: 朕 zhen – pronoun for the emperor]

“But Cheng Er’s reputation still needs to be mended.” The empress thought about it and suddenly a light bulb flashed in her head. “Your Majesty, you see, in three months it will be the Mid-Autumn Festival. How about having the next imperial decree be reuniting the palace servants with their families on Mid-Autumn Festival. This is an unprecedented grace, which could also help Cheng Er amass some good fortune.”

“This is a good idea. We need to be more attentive to the regulations. We have to properly arrange the time and place for the palace servants and their families to reunite. When the palace servants leave the palace, they must go through a body search, and there needs to be more guards. We can’t let anyone take advantage of loopholes.” The emperor thought more. “Okay, tomorrow zhen will have people arrange it. You don’t have to think about it anymore. Let’s go to sleep earlier.”

In the Royal Snack Kitchen, Lin Jia Bao was kneading the dough while listening to Yu Ling and Yu Long chat. “I heard that His Royal Highness was reincarnated under a murderous star, that’s why his anger is so difficult to deal with.”

Yu Ling, do you want to die! His Royal Highness is a brilliant general and a great hero.” Yu Long heard Yu Ling talking about the crown prince like this and angrily rebutted.

“Please don’t talk anymore, big sisters. If Lin momo came over and heard you, it would not be good.” Lin Jia Bao advised.

“Humph!” Yu Long sneered coldly.

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Lin momo came back with a smile on her face, and Yu Shuang, who came back together with her, could not conceal her excitement. “There is good news, wonderfully good news!”

Yu Ling was the most energetic. She circled around her and asked, “What good news? What good news?”

Lin momo announced with a smile. “This year, the crown prince led troops and won decisively against the barbarians. To celebrate, the empress passed a decree, during the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, the palace servants can reunite with their families!”

“Really? Truly? Everyone can be reunited with their families? Even me?”

“Everyone can. At that time, the palace will arrange everyone into batches. Everyone will have two hours to meet with their families. The notices are posted.”

“This is great! The empress is so kind, ah!” Everyone was very excited and happy. After years of leaving home, there was no better news than reunion with their families.

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 15

T/N 1: Thank you to the anonymous Ko-fi Supporter! ☕🍰
(I’ve updated the coffee counter on the support page.)

T/N 2: Click here for a general announcement on “Delayed Updates?”


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Chapter 15 – One Year

In May of the fifth year of Yun Tai, the Xuan Yuan Empire won the final victory against the northern barbarians. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng sat inside the main tent of the barbarians’ leader, his heart filled with a myriad of emotions.

He was baptized by war over a period of more than nine months, and his character became more reserved, making it hard for people to guess his thoughts.

The expedition was not smooth at the beginning. When Xuan Yuan Han Cheng took the army to the border city, it was already winter.

The climate in the north was extremely cold and the soldiers from the capital could not adapt and fell ill. Fortunate, there were enough herbs in the army to prevent casualties.

The barbarians knew that the army of the Xuan Yuan Empire came and also knew that the difference in strength between the two sides was great. The barbarians did not dare to respond head on. Instead, they would often ambush the army during their march or raid them at night. Although they were scattered, they still caused a lot of casualties, which gave the soldiers plenty of headache.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

The battle continued until the spring. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng calculated how to lure a part of the enemy’s main force into a trap and ambushed them, causing a great injury to the barbarians’ battle spirit.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng followed up the victory and pressed his offense, and after several battles, he hit upon the barbarians’ ruling city.

With his maternal uncle, Zheng Yuan Hou, keeping watch in the back, army provisions and supplies kept up. After another two huge battles, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s army successfully broke through the barbarian’s royal city.

“Your Royal Highness, Zheng Yuan Hou asks for an audience.” The imperial bodyguard outside the ten came in to report.

“Have Zheng Yuan Hou come in.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng just finished talking when he saw a middle-aged man wearing strong armor walk in.

“Your Royal Highness, you just passed down a command, to exterminate the barbarians, this… perhaps you should deliberate a bit more, wait for the emperor’s reply.” Zheng Yuan Hou was the blood-related older brother of the empress from the first wife. In this war, he also admired the crown prince’s excellent ability to make wise decisions, however, differences in opinion have arisen in dealing with the issue of prisoners of war.

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“No need, I have already sent reports to Imperial Father.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng understood Zheng Yuan Hou’s thoughts. After all, his imperial father and his younger brother did not die because of the barbarians in this life, so his decision to exterminate the barbarians would seem cruel.

“But, Your Royal Highness, this is not good for your reputation! To execute all the men, women, elderly, and children of the barbarians… or how about, just execute their royal family, and the rest will be slaves.”

“Uncle, don’t try to persuade me anymore. I have decided. The barbarians have always been a cunning and tenacious bunch. If you don’t pull them out by the roots, even if you make them slaves, they are not of our nationality. There will definitely be differences at the core. Must put to death! When it comes to cruelty, which of the villages they slaughtered did not have old people, women, and children. Be cruel this time to relieve us of hidden dangers in the future and to deter other small tribes. This is the best decision. I don’t care about my reputation or anything. I think Imperial Father will agree with me,” Xuan Yun Han Cheng said.

“Without any better options, then so be it.” Zheng Yuan Hou also knew that the crown prince’s analysis was correct. Alas! But in this way, he was afraid the crown prince would have to bear the notoriety of cruelty.

In May of the fifth year of Yun Tai, the crown prince ordered the extermination of the royal city, regardless of age or gender: men, women, old, and young. The whole city was awash in blood, and more than twenty thousand were wiped clean off the face of the earth. There were no more barbarians in the world.

By the time the emperor received the news, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was already leading the army and on their way back.

The crown prince’s command to annihilate the barbarians caused a big wave in the empire.

One after another, the imperial historians wrote and claimed that His Royal Highness’s means were too cruel, which was detrimental to the benevolence of the Xuan Yuan Dynasty.

Some people even said that His Royal Highness went over the son of heaven’s head and gave this order without the permission of the emperor. This was contempt for the emperor and should be severely punished.

But the emperor suppressed such words. Alas! The crown prince was only nineteen years old. In the end, he was in the prime of his youth, and was unlikely to consider his decisions at length. This method of handling the matter was simplistic and cruel. As a result, it was too excessive.

Under the pressure of the imperial court, the emperor had no choice but to cancel the ceremony of going outside the city walls to personally welcome the crown prince back, and after the prince returned to the palace, had to have him reflect on his errors for half a month, prevented from attending morning court, as a warning.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

In the Imperial Study Room, Emperor Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen was right in the middle of instructing the crown prince.

“In this half a month, you have a good rest. Next time, you are not allowed to do things like this. You are the future heir apparent to the throne. A prince with a brutal reputation. What the courtiers think of you. Ugh! Forget it, you are still young, go back and think about it. You must consider what is appropriate behavior in many things. Going too far is as bad as not doing enough.”

The emperor always thought that the second son was more impulsive, but he did not expect the elder son to be the same. Ugh! No hurry, his body was still robust, he could teach for a few more years. The crown prince was already doing quite well as it were.

“Yes. Er’chen understands.”

Over the following period of time, news about the cruelty of His Royal Highness spread throughout the Xuan Yuan Empire. When people with ulterior motives propagated the news, the contents became more and more severe.

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