Chapter 77 – Lunar New Year’s Eve
Out of nowhere, a gust of wind blew the window open, and a man in black flashed inside. Zhang Ji He was startled.
The man in black gave Zhang Ji He a medicine box and said, “His Royal Highness said your son will need this.”
Once he confirmed that Zhang Ji He has received the medicine box, the man in black jumped out the window and disappeared into the night without waiting for Zhang Ji He to say anything back.
Zhang Ji He excitedly held the medicine box and opened it. The ointment inside was crystal clear and it glowed with green light. As soon as he cracked the lid open, a wave of medicinal fragrance wafted up to his nose. Zhang Ji He thought that with this his son would have a good chance at recovery. He clenched the medicine box and inwardly made up his mind…
Half a month passed.
Xuan Yuan Zhao Hong lost contact with the people that he had sent out to the capital, and he knew that something was wrong…
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Crown Prince Xuan Yuan Han Cheng must have found out about the impotency medicine, and the crown princess’s illness must have something to do with the crown prince.
Xuan Yuan Zhao Hong summoned his confidants to discuss for a long time, and in the end Xuan Yuan Zhao Hong decided to take a preemptive gamble…
On the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month, the Chinese New Year officially kicked off. The period between the small year* and the big year* was called the “busy year,” and the crown prince’s East Palace received many tributes from government officials and subordinates.
[*T/N: In this story the “small year” refers to the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month. Depending on the region, this date may vary, but the idea is that it is a specific date near the end of the twelfth lunar month when people start to get busy preparing for the New Year. The “big year” is the 15th of the first lunar month. Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, from the 1st to the 15th of the first lunar month.]
The tribute items were mainly foodstuff and rare objects from various places. Qiu-momo sorted them out one by one and recorded the items in a book for His Royal Highness to review, and then they were put into the warehouse for storage.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng intentionally let Lin Jia Bao participate in the proceedings so that he would have an understanding of all of this. During the Spring Festival, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng also handed the job of rewarding the courtiers to Jia Bao. Like this, Lin Jia Bao’s status was imperceptibly increased as all the courtiers, both high and low, attached importance to Lin Jia Bao’s existence.
On the 24th day of the twelfth lunar month, red lanterns were hung up in the palace, and the palace must be thoroughly cleaned inside and out. On the 26th day of the twelfth lunar month, couplets and imagines of door gods were hung on entrances. In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, red paper cuttings and the symbol for good fortune were also pasted around the palace.
Lin Jia Bao bestowed the good fortune symbol he had written to Yuan Qing, Shu Ya, and Shu Qin. From a palace servant waiting to be rewarded in the past, he has now become a noble person who could give rewards to others.
On New Year’s Eve, the imperial family banquet was held in the Hall of Preserving Harmony. Only the emperor, empress, princes, princesses and concubines of the harem attended the New Year’s Eve feast. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng naturally went with Lin Jia Bao.
Lin Jia Bao looked very festive in dark red embroidered clothes. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng held Jia Bao’s hand tightly: “Don’t be nervous, dear.”
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng paid his respects to his imperial father and imperial mother together with Lin Jia Bao. After that, he very naturally and casually guided Lin Jia Bao to sit down, and had Jia Bao sit in the seat beside him.
For a moment, all eyes gathered on Lin Jia Bao. The place next to His Royal Highness naturally belonged to the crown princess. But now that the crown princess was ill, His Royal Highness actually let a ger xiaoshi sit beside him in such an overt manner. Everyone in the Hall of Preserving Harmony couldn’t help but look at him.
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This was also the first time that Lin Jia Bao was appearing in front of everyone in the harem so many people were watching him curiously. This ger was not as peerlessly beautiful as the rumors said he was, and the people were wondering how exactly did he win the favor of the crown prince…
The banquet seats were divided into an east side and a west side. The emperor and empress sat at the top. At the front of the east side was the crown prince Xuan Yuan Han Cheng, followed by the second prince Xuan Yuan Han Qi, then the third prince, the fourth prince and the fifth prince, and finally the princess.
At the front of the west side sat the emperor’s favorite imperial concubine. Behind her were the nobles and the crown prince’s concubines and other womenfolk. Because only the crown prince was presently married, the other four princes did not bring any female relatives along with them to participate in the banquet.
Yu-shi and Song-shi were sitting very near the back. Song-shi did not feel anything in particular about this arrangement, but Yu-shi was different.
Yu Qin twisted the handkerchief in her hand, jealous beyond compare. Why was that ger able to sit beside His Royal Highness…?
Both the emperor and the empress naturally saw the crown prince’s actions, but neither of them seemed to realize that this was a violation of the rules, and they chose to laugh without saying a word, as if this was a normal thing. It made everyone even more curious about this Lin-xiaozhu…