Chapter 79 – Worshipping the Heavens (25.1)
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was working inside a big tent. It has been three days since he left Lin Jia Bao. His thoughts were already overflowing…
Three days ago, he said goodbye to his reluctant darling and went with his imperial father to worship the heavens. This was the first ceremonial worshipping event* in six years, and also the most important ceremonial event.
[*T/N: 祭祀 ji si – to offer sacrifices to the gods or ancestors]
In order to ensure good weather for crops along with peace and prosperity for the country this year, the emperor must cleanse himself and fast for three days. He then has to personally pray to the heavens for blessings and lead the cicil and military officials along in prayer.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng maintained daily correspondence with Lin Jia Bao. This was the first time he had been away from Jia Bao for so long since Jia Bao came to him. His hidden guard had couriered a letter from Lin Jia Bao to him, and the corners of Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s lips raised slightly as he read it.
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In the letter, Lin Jia Bao described his daily life in detail. In the morning, he went to give his greetings to the empress. After lunch, he would take a nap for a while. Then he would study with Master Qiu. Afterwards, he would practice calligraphy and painting on his own.
In the letter, Jia Bao candidly told Xuan Yuan Han Cheng that he missed him, saying that when Xuan Yuan Han Cheng came back, it would be just in time for the Lantern Festival.
He coquettishly said that he wanted to go to the Royal Snack Kitchen to make dim sum, and asked for Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s approval. Jia Bao also said that he wanted to make sticky rice dumplings for the Lantern Festival by himself, and asked Xuan Yuan Han Cheng what kind of filling would he like, etc. Even though it was just mundane daily things, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng never got tired of reading it over again and again…
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng picked up a brush to write a reply to Lin Jia Bao. In his letter, he also wrote about how much he missed Jia Bao. Concerning Jia Bao’s desire to visit the Royal Snack Kitchen, it was not impossible, but Yuan Qing must accompany him and he must also bring along imperial bodyguards. Moreover, he could only stay in the Royal Snack Kitchen for two hours at most. He urged his darling not to tire himself out. As for the sticky rice dumpling filling, he liked whatever filling that his darling liked. He asked for Jia Bao to patiently wait for his return. In just two more days, he would be able to make the return trip back to the palace and reunite with Jia Bao.
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After Xuan Yuan Han Cheng finished writing, he handed the letter to his hidden guard and told him to deliver it as quickly as possible. He also asked the hidden guard, “Has there been any headway with Zheng Rong?”
“When I came over here there was no new progress,” the hidden guard replied.
“Go back and tell Zheng Rong to give me the answer that I want as quickly as possible.” If too much time lapsed, then Prince Li would definitely sense that something was wrong.
A few days ago, a hidden guard reported that they caught two people who came to make contact with the spies in the crown princess’s palace. Of the two, one of them ingested poison and killed himself. The other one was caught right before he could take poison. However, this person was Prince Li’s sishi*, and refused to speak all this time.
[*T/N: 死士 si shi – “death soldier,” a person willing to sacrifice his life for a cause]
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was a little disappointed that he could not get concrete evidence of Prince Li colluding with the crown princess.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng got up and walked out of the tent. He came to the big tent of his father, Emperor Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen, and talked to him about Prince Li. Emperor Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen listened carefully and then said, “I will send spies to Li City to gather intelligence on Prince Li.”
After that, Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen discussed with the crown prince about the sacrificing ceremony to the heavens tomorrow. Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen was very satisfied with this son of his. This time, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng offered to let the other princes come to the ceremony.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said that his younger brothers were all grown up, and they could all be involved in the events of the Xuan Yuan Dynasty. He also hoped that in the future his younger brothers could become helpful to the Xuan Yuan Empire, and work with him to make the Xuan Yuan Empire prosperous.
In the previous generation during the fight for the throne, Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen did not share any fraternal love with the other princes. What they had was only mutual vigilance against each other, and they would scheme and plot against one another.
It was a joyful and praiseworthy thing that the crown prince of the current generation could interact harmoniously with the other princes, with the elder being friendly and the younger ones being respectful.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
At this moment, a eunuch’s voice came from outside of the tent flap. It was Zhao Yong, the head servant that attended at the emperor’s side. When he entered the tent, an imperial bodyguard followed him inside. That imperial guard has his head lowered and was carefully carrying a salver.
Zhao Yong first stepped forward to greet the emperor and the crown prince. The imperial guard behind him also saluted. Zhao Yong then brought a bowl of soup to the table.
“Your Majesty, please have a late night snack. I have prepared wild mushroom soup for you tonight.”
When the imperial guard saw that His Royal Highness was also in the emperor’s tent, his eyes jumped. He hurriedly bowed his head and stepped back. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng glanced at him and felt that this imperial guard looked familiar, so he stopped him and asked, “What’s your name?”