Chapter 155 – The Golden Carp in the Water
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Jing Rong left Fuyang hall in haste worried that Jing Hua would find him for a talk. Unfortunately, just as he feared, Jing Hua caught up to him right outside Fuyang hall and barred his way. With an attitude of remonstrance, Jing Hua said, “Why did you stand on Jing Yi’s side in front of imperial father earlier?”
‘This is ridiculous!’ Those were the words that flashed in his mind when questioned by Jing Hua. “I don’t really understand what you mean by that.”
Jing Hua snorted coldly. “Jing Rong, you don’t need to act clueless in front of me. I always thought that you had no intention to vie for my position and was planning to give you peace of mind and appoint you as Xiao Yao King, but it seems like I have underestimated you.”
‘Xiao Yao King? The Carefree King?’ That title strongly stirred Jing Rong’s emotions. He smiled, “I wish that if one day Imperial Father does bestow me such a title, I would also be as happy and free as the title implies.”
“Alright! Since you want that title, don’t say anything the next time Imperial Father asks you about another good plan!” Fury was burning inside Jing Hua since it was very clear to him that Jing Rong and Jing Yi teamed up earlier to isolate him.
‘That won’t do!’ Not waiting for Jing Rong to speak, Jing Hua suddenly turned around and glanced several times behind him before confirming that Jing Yi didn’t come out yet. Then, he grabbed Jing Rong and pulled him further to the side. He probed him with a question, “Jing Rong, tell me. Whose side are you on in the end? Jing Yi’s or mine?”
Sometimes, Jing Hua’s show of force really made Jing Rong speechless. ‘God! Why is there such a crown prince?! How can he be so idiotic?!’ If he was a girl and was throw into the harem, he wouldn’t even be alive after two days. In a warning tone and with a frown, Jing Rong stated, “Crown Prince, the walls have ears and spoken words are like spilled water. You grew up inside the palace and should know what words can be spoken and what shouldn’t be uttered. You should be clearer than anyone else about this principle.”
Unfortunately, the crown prince spoke with impatience written all over his face, “I just asked you a question. Whose side are you on?”
Jing Rong was rendered speechless. His warning couldn’t be clearer and more obvious, but this idiot still didn’t get it? “Crown Prince, my wish is…” Jing Yi’s interjection suddenly disrupted his sentence.
“Are you two discussing the situation at the border?” His tone remained as neutral as possible.
Jing Hua noticed Jing Yi’s arrival along with several ministers. Seeing the scene, the ministers knew that the current conflict was a private matter among the princes that they have no place in, thus they quickly departed. Jing Yi approached his brothers while bearing a smiling expression brimming with hidden meaning.
Jing Hua coldly glared at him as he bitingly spoke, “Only coming out now? Is Prince Yi so anxious to entice those ministers into your faction?” His words bore an enigmatic undertone.
Jing Yi is naturally not an easily bullied person. He retorted in a light tone, “Crown Prince, you also know that Fuyang hall is imperial father’s place! You should take care of that loose mouth of yours instead of saying things that could displease imperial father.”
“When you were talking about the situation at the borders, suggesting a shock and awe strategy, didn’t you notice imperial father’s expression?”
“What do you mean?” questioned Jing Hua.
Jing Yi chuckled. ‘This kind of crown prince is an absolute farce.’ “Forget it. It’s better if your Highness realized it on your own.” Simultaneously, he glanced at Jing Rong with slyness carved into his expression.
‘This doesn’t bode well!’
But soon, Jing Yi’s countenance returned to one brimming with admiration as he chatted with Jing Rong, “I didn’t know that you are so knowledgeable about military strategies and had such a thorough understanding of the situation. Anyways, I would like to express my gratitude for backing me up earlier.” His words seemed as if they were deliberately meant for the crown prince to hear.
He intentionally created conflict between Jing Rong and Jing Hua. However, he overlooked a point; Jing Rong had never cared about this crown prince’s title. They can fight all they want, what does this have to do with him. All along, Jing Rong remained serene without the slightest sense of pressure. He lightly told Jing Yi, “I was only speaking about the merits of the most reasonable solution. I didn’t even think about standing on whoever’s side. We are all brothers bound by blood. Why should we need to divide ourselves so clearly?”
“You’re wrong.” Jing Yi’s deep expression suddenly seemed to brighten, and his mouth picked up like the sharp edge of a blade. He spat out, “From the moment we were born, we were destined to divide and demarcate what is ours. Our hearts cannot be clearer about this.”
‘Destined to divide and demarcate what is ours!’ Those words negated the meager existence of their familial bonds. Jing Yi walked off after leaving behind his dazed brothers.
After Jing Hua snapped out of his daze, apart from being indignant or angry, he spoke with unabated spirit, “This Jing Yi, so what if he had the ability to fight with me. Right now, I am the crown prince and it will be so in the future. Sooner or later, I will have enough power to uproot him and let him know the consequence of going against me!” He clenched his fists tightly as he spoke words that also served as a warning to Jing Rong.
Jing Rong felt an emerging headache. He shook his head and departed.
Meanwhile, Ji Yunshu already left Concubine Xiao’s residence. Her indifferent expression didn’t differ much from when she entered the hall, except for that fleeting smile that held no happiness. It was an alienated smile that didn’t make people feel estranged but simply cold. At a moderate pace, she walked toward the south gate with her sight staring straight ahead without deviating anywhere.
A strong gale suddenly swept through the harem, blowing on Ji Yunshu’s cloth and long black hair. The wind was blowing wantonly, causing everything to flutter or dance along with it. The scene wasn’t touching, but it seemed as if the landscape didn’t belong to the treacherous and deep palace.
As she walked, her mind replayed her dialog with Concubine Xiao.
“Teacher Ji, could it be that you are fond of this painting?” Concubine Xiao’s phoenix eyes were dyed with a charming hint. She felt that this painting would certainly move Ji Yunshu.
Unfortunately, this is Ji Yunshu… “Master Bai’s works are nothing short from absolute beauty. A collectors’ item heavily sought after by later generations. Such a pity that this humble one is a wanderer with no peaceful abode. Who knows if tomorrow I won’t sleep among nature. For such a precious painting to be with me, I fear that despite cherishing it, it will one day be ruined. I think, in this case, it is better if it was safeguarded inside the palace.” Ji Yunshu skillfully evaded Concubine Xiao’s question again, causing the latter to be unable to continue offering different gifts.
Even the hint of an alluring smile on Concubine Xiao faltered in front of Ji Yunshu. With a stiff smile, Concubine Xiao politely said, “This imperial one has a taste of your cleverness.”
“Your Ladyship’s words are too heavy.”
In the end, Concubine Xiao got up from her chair. Her golden embroidered shoes set off, striding to Ji Yunshu only to stop in front of her. Ji Yunshu immediately got up and adopted the posture of a vassal in front of a monarch.
In a low voice lashed with hidden meaning, she asked, “Teacher, tell me your opinion; between those who walk the lands and those who fly in the sky, which is superior?
The actual meaning is to ask her that between Jing Rong and Jing Yi, whose side will she chose? It’s a similar question that Jing Hua had asked Jing Rong about who his allegiance belongs to. The core question was the same, but the method used to ask differed.
At that moment, Ji Yunshu gave only a reply, “Then, does your Ladyship think that a golden carp in the water can choose?”
Ji Yunshu recalled the expression Concubine Xiao made at that time and couldn’t help but smile. Women in the harem are mostly great schemers and could scheme left to right and all day until their hair turns gray.
As soon as Ji Yunshu retired, Jing Xuan wanted to chase after her, but her mother stopped her. Jing Xuan called out several times, but Ji Yunshu never turned back.
At this moment, she already arrived at the south gate but no sight of Jing Rong. Thus, she boarded the horse carriage first. “Let’s go!” She told the coachman.
The coachman replied, “His Highness is not here yet.”
“We’re not waiting for him.”
“Then, do you want to return to the Rong estate?”
“No, we’re going to Liang mountain.”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
We have a series of chapters that are very political, but you will understand why later.