T/N: Three for three. Woot!
Chapter 24 – First Meeting
Ever since jun wang brought his army back to the capital, everyone in the Fu palace cheered. For an entire month, the royal palace had a festive atmosphere, but today there was one place that was not the same.
The solemn silence entangled the palace’s hall. Only the sound of lashing sounded from time to time. The pa pa sound of flesh being whipped caused one’s skin to break out in gooseflesh. None of the palace servants dared to go near the main hall. They’d rather take a detour than go through that place.
The center of the hall.
A person who was whipped until their flesh was a mess could not endure anymore and fell down. Fresh blood was splattered on the ground. The bloodied man with disheveled hair looked particularly miserable, but no one sympathized with him.
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The people standing around the hall looked on blankly at this scene. They all exuded a forbidding atmosphere. One glance revealed that they were all soldiers who have fought through bloody battles. On the battlefield, what kind of misery have they not witnessed? Missing limbs and eviscerated organs were all common occurrences.
The bloodied man was lying breathless on the floor. His vision was blurred by blood. A lash mark ran vertically down his left eye. The mark traced down his eye and halfway down his face. He vaguely saw a tall figure coming towards him. A sense of oppression followed.
He opened his mouth, letting out a haa haa sound, as if he wanted to say something. A foot suddenly stepped down on his chest. With little effort (from the foot), he coughed up a bit of blood and a few drops of blood spilled over the edge of the man’s shoes.
“I… aah…” The bloodied man’s face scrunched up and he vomited another mouth full of blood.
The foot on his chest suddenly exerted more strength. The force was almost enough to crush his sternum and drilled into his opened wound. His entire face turned paper white.
Not only did the man not have any sympathy, but he also continued to exert pressure. The person beneath his foot twisted with pain and started to struggle, but that only hurt himself more. With more blood spilling, the big hall was filled with the iron stench of blood. If this went on the bloodied man was likely to be trampled to death.
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Seeing him on the verge of death, the others were still indifferent. To them, even if this man were to die a thousand, ten thousand deaths, it would not be enough. Because betrayers did not need sympathy!
At this moment, a rush of footsteps came in from outside the hall.
The people in the hall finally reacted, but it was with a wrinkling of their brows. The general had commanded that no one were to disturb them. Didn’t expect that there was someone dumb enough to do so.
The group of men all immediately turned to look at the man that was stepping on the traitor. That man’s eyebrows did not move at all.
The other party hesitated for a moment outside the hall and seemed to finally gather the courage to walk in. Seeing the bloody scene within the hall, the newcomer kept his head low and did not look about. It was the Fu palace’s old Steward Li.
The man’s threatening eyes fell on him as if to say ‘if you don’t give me a satisfactory answer, I will deal with you.’ Steward Li couldn’t help feeling afraid. Although it has been a month, he still could not get use to this man. Wang ye’s eyes always scared him, so he was always careful, afraid of being caught (doing something wrong) and penalized.
“Wang- wang ye, someone outside is asking for an audience,” Steward Li stuttered.
At this time, a young man standing to the right side, with a black band tied around his forehead, gave Steward Li a cutting glance and said in a cold voice, “Wang ye commanded that no one should be allowed to come in and disturb us. Knowing this, you still went against his order, you sure have guts!”
Steward Li immediately knelt down in fright. He looked anxiously at the man. “Wang ye please forgive me. This little person truly has an urgent matter. The two people outside have the old wang fei’s* keepsake and are asking to see you. That keepsake is a jade pendant of mandarin ducks**, so this little person dare not delay. That’s why…” He has been in the Fu palace for more than ten years, so he deeply understood the importance of that jade pendant to the old wang fei. Reportedly, the old wang fei had intended to leave that jade pendant for her future grandson’s wife. Such an important thing, he dare not delay!
[*T/N: 王妃 wang fei: princess. This is referring to the ML’s grandmother.]
[**T/N: 鸳鸯 yuan yang: mandarin duck. A pair of them signifies an affectionate (and/or happily married) couple in China.]
“You are certain that it is the mandarin duck pendant?”
The man slowly opened his mouth to speak. His deep and solid voice was not as cold as his appearance.
Steward Li nodded quickly. “This little person had personally seen the jade pendant before, so I should not be mistaken.”
“Let them come in.”
Once he received an answer, Steward Li immediately left that oppressive feeling hall. After he left, he realized that his back was soaked through with sweat, and in his heart he still felt a thread of anxiety. Not daring to think about it again, he tried to erase the image from his mind.
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Outside the Fu palace, An Zi Ran, who had just received permission to enter, looked over at Steward Li to see that the steward’s forehead was covered in sweat. There was some doubt in his heart, but he still pressed down that feeling of unease and stepped into the palace with Steward Su at his side. They headed towards the main hall.
Seeing the hall in front, An Zi Ran’s face suddenly changed slightly.
He could smell a hint of blood in the air, and as they got closer to the main hall, the smell grew stronger. He was almost certain that some bloody incident took place in the Fu palace, and it most likely resulted in someone’s death.
Once they arrived at the entrance to the main hall, An Zi Ran rearranged the expression on his face to something more neutral, not revealing the slightest peculiarity. Then together with Steward Li they entered.
The thick smell of blood slapped them in the faces. The first sight that greeted them was the bloody and mangled* body lying on the floor.
[*T/N: 血肉模糊 to be badly mangled or mutilated (idiom)]
Steward Su’s legs turned to jelly. It was his first time seeing such a cruel and bloody scene, so it was normal that he could not accept the reality of it right away. An Zi Ran immediately moved to support the elderly man.
After a short while, An Zi Ran could feel eyes on his body. It was a gaze that gave off a presence that could not be ignored. Unable to resist, he lifted his head to look. In a split second, his eyes clashed with a pair of deep and chilly black eyes that were like a swirling maelstrom.
T/N: Whew, the ML is finally here! _(:зゝ∠)_ As I was translating, I chuckled a bit at how hard the author was trying to make him come across as cold and cruel. We all know he’s going to be whipped by the MC eventually. Huuhuu~
For a newbie translator like me I don’t think I could’ve made it here without the amazing support of the community. You have all been wonderful and patient readers. I would like to thank you again for all the kind and supportive comments you’ve given me. It’s especially fun when I see readers interacting in the comments section and speculating about the story together. I feel like I might really be able to see this story through to the end with all of you. So let’s enjoy this ride together!
~ Muse ♡
Updating Schedule: I’m going to make Mondays my updating day for TBL, so you won’t have to wait very long for the next chapter. See you soon!