Princess, Spare My Life - Chapter 18
Chapter 18: Someone Still Intends to Run Away (Second Part)
“Daoist Xiao Yao was originally the strongest expert of the former dynasty, but those times were dark. In order to resist the Xiongnu, he laid down the pen and took to sword to combat them, joining the military. However, the former imperial court had been ruined and destroyed as even the government officials were unable to pay soldiers to fight for the country. He has no ambition to serve the country, and he was unable to kill the Xiongnu. He was also framed by a greedy superior, so he took off his armor in anger and fled to seek an immortal.”
“Later, while paying his respects to a certain mountain of immortals, he incidentally met a martial arts master who was in seclusion. The martial arts master escaped to a Daoist temple within some isolated and hidden mountains because he killed a high government official from a major family. ‘Tianyun Temple’ means ‘to accompany the clouds in the sky.’ This was the origin of the legendary Tianyun Temple. To this day, the Tianyun Temple is renowned throughout the world, however, no one knows where it is.”
“When Daoist Xiao Yao learned the martial arts, he left the mountains and found out that the country was in the midst of a rebellion. The Xiongnu took advantage of the chaos to plunder as they dispatched a multitude of their troops into the front lines. The founder of the current dynasty dealt with the insurrection by leading the young soldiers from influential families to the north to fight the Xiongnu. Xiao Yao was the master of the pen and sword as he fought the Xiongnu. From then on, he was known as a hero by everyone under the heavens. The owner of the Godly Medical Sect Shen Jizi, owner of my Thousand Jade Pagoda Yu Wantian, the White Horse Temple’s Master Kong Wen, and Yellow Spring Valley’s Cheng Tianyao had all responded to the trouble and became involved with worldly affairs.
“Yellow Spring Valley’s Cheng Tianyao and the wealthy merchants of the former Qin Dynasty both provided funds and provisions for the military. My family’s master, Yu Wantian, assassinated the leaders of the Xiongnu. Master Kong Wen gathered thirty-six divisions with seventy-two guards who were all proficient in operating machines and experts in construction. He guided soldiers to defend the Great Wall, preventing the Xiongnu from even taking half a step into China. During the war, a spring epidemic spread, but fortunately, Elder Shen Jizi was extremely clever and came up with a wonderful plan. He had already distributed medicine to the entire army beforehand, which freed our armies from the plague while the Xiongnu suffered great casualties from the plague instead.”
“This time, our armies were able to withstand the enemy with the help of the five masters. After the Xiongnu retreated, the Great Ancestor invited several scholars from all around the country to overthrow the old dynasty’s imperial court and government to establish a new dynasty. However, the five masters refused the Great Ancestor’s invitation. Instead, the five masters went their separate ways after making a covenant with the Great Ancestor, which was called the ‘Alliance from Under a Cliff’’. The imperial family promised that even if they conquered the world, they would never hurt the five master’s martial arts sects by abusing their government power. Shen Jizi promised to never treat nor care for any member of the imperial family so the others could avoid treating the imperial family as an enemy for having too much power. The Thousand Jade Pagoda swore to never assassinate anyone from the Gu Imperial family nor any officials of the imperial court. As for Great Master Kong Wen and the Yellow Spring Valley’s owner, their oath is…something that I am not quite sure of.”
“The current emperor is the Great Ancestor’s third son. He once left home to become a martial artist and he always had a chivalrous heart. During those times, he participated in the fights against the Xiongnu, became a war hero, and finally became an emperor. Now, the top generals of the imperial court are almost all of the martial artist war heroes who fought against the Xiongnu with him. Furthermore, Tianyun Temple’s Daoist Master Xiao Yao used to be their master as half of them were members of the Tianyun Temple. Therefore, the Tianyun Temple’s status in the Dayan Dynasty was very high. If it was not for the Tianyun Temple’s unwillingness to participate in political affairs, Daoist Xiao Yao would have been titled the royal tutor of the Dayan Dynasty…”
After reaching this point, Yu Qinghong sighed, “It was no wonder that when I snuck onto the boat that day, I made a huge miscalculation! It turns out that she was a disciple of Daoist Xiao Yao! I heard from my master about how Daoist Xiao Yao’s martial arts had reached perfection. I fear that there is no question that he is the number one in the country.”
After she finished speaking, she suddenly remembered. Why was she saying her own thoughts out loud to this prince consort without restraint? She immediately changed her way of speaking. “Your wife is a disciple of Tianyun Temple, so how do you not know of any of this?… Ouch! Why did you stop so suddenly?”
Yuan Shang did not speak, quietly observing the white jade flights of steps on the distant mountains. The snow-white stone steps were at an angle of forty-five degrees from the mountainside in front, more than ten meters wide in width, and about one-hundred meters high. Above those steps, a lofty temple stood within the clouds, appearing barely visible. On top of the temple’s main hall, there was a glazed-tiled roof with the words “White Horse Temple” as the lower-left corner was covered with a bright red jade seal.
Looking up from here, one could intuitively tell the majestic atmosphere of the White Horse Temple. It was as if it were built on top of the skies so immortals could cultivate in tranquility.
On the white jade steps, not only were monks there, but there were also government officials wearing gowns, rich and wealthy merchants, and civilians. Numerous people were densely packed on these steps. On both sides of the steps, many monks were wearing gray robes who patiently and courteously received guests. Regardless of whether they were officials or civilians, the gentry or wealthy businessmen, all were treated equally. Those monks did not stop moving and continued to accept guests, just like the receptionists of big companies with good service attitudes.
Yuan Shang discovered that these officials did not dare to take advantage of their position to bully people on these white jade steps. Even if civilians accidentally bumped into them, they would just glare angrily at them but did not dare beat and reprimand them.
After watching for a while, Yuan Shang said, “Let’s go!” They passed by the road to the White Horse Temple and walked on the other road to leave.
As she witnessed the rumored White Horse Temple for the very first time, Yuan Shang brushed past it.
Below the White Horse Temple was the Xiao county. Many stalls were selling small objects such as small jade Buddha figurines, Guanyin figurines, and so on. The densely-packed stalls were lined up on both sides of the road and the roads were filled with boisterous crowds. The area was similar to a bazaar as tea, pastries, beef, and even candied haws were being sold.
Yuan Shang stopped at a stall and picked up a jade earring, noticing that while the earring appeared to be made of jade, it was crude. The earring had the shape of a water droplet with some scarlet blemishes inside like there was blood dripping within the jade. Among those spots, one of the blood-like droplets was smaller than the rest.
Yu Qinghong observed it and said, “This earring is not auspicious at all, do you actually like it?”
Yuan Shang had ignored Yu Qinghong as always. She placed the jade onto her palm and touched it as she felt it was warm. Yuan Shang did not say anything, took out a small piece of silver, placed it on the stall, and took another jade tablet as she departed. From behind, the stall owner thanked her.
Yu Qinghong was extremely annoyed but had nothing to say to her. When she said that the earrings were unlucky, but she still bought it. But whether or not Yuan Shang bought was completely unrelated to her, so what else was there to say?
She rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, I know! Do you want to give these unlucky earrings to your princess wife? I’ll call it!” Seeing Yuan Shang cautiously tuck the earrings into her bosom, she bit her lower lip and said, “Humph! This princess worries about the country’s military and political affairs all day long, but also needs to mull over the plots and schemes within the imperial court. Yet she is still not tired of all that! I believe that even a commoner’s daughter would live happier than her! Even when she decided to marry, it was for power. Despite that, would you still buy a gift for such a person like a buffoon? There is no way that she will appreciate it! What kinds of precious treasures has your family’s princess not seen? How could something you got off a street vendor be rarer than her treasures?”
Yuan Shang looked at her but did not say anything. She moved her gaze towards the roads stretching to the horizons and suddenly said, “How long will your Thousand Jade Pagoda last?”
Yu Qinghong said, “What do you mean by how long will our Thousand Jade Pagoda last? Do you mean that our Thousand Jade Pagoda will fall?!”
Yuan Shang sneered. “Since the Thousand Jade Pagoda is a major martial arts sect, it won’t last for that many years. Has any significant place ever lasted forever? If you’re not going to take me to an inn and undress there, then I don’t mind if I never take that hidden weapon out of you! ”
Yu Qinghong said “ah” in a loud voice. “Are you going to remove the hidden weapon?” Seeing Yuan Shang’s face that was missing a smile, she realized her voice was too loud. She said with embarrassment, “Okay, I…I will take you there. Unfortunately, my place…”
“Even if we had gone there, that place can no longer be used as a stronghold. However, it can still be sold for funds, so how is it a pity?”
At this moment, Yu Qinghong was surprised. “How do you know? Have you investigated our Thousand Jade Pagoda?”
“Does this need to be investigated?” Yuan Shang’s tone revealed her disappointment. “With that kind of brain, you still dared into the palace to do an assassination? It’s no wonder that your attempt failed.”
Yu Qinghong’s eyes were red, even tears fell out. “I’m not smart, otherwise, how could I fall to your plans? If my senior sister was there, you wouldn’t be so arrogant…but I don’t know where my sister is. ……”
“Your senior sister was the one using throwing knives?”
“Humph! You can bully me, for now, but just wait for my senior sister to come back…”
“When she comes back, we can talk about it! Right now, she is still in prison!” Yuan Shang indifferently said.
“You!” Yu Qinghong was angry but helpless against her.
In the corner of the courtyard within the Xiao county, there was a signboard that said Shenjibu manor. Yu Qinghong knocked on the door of the courtyard as it was opened by a young servant. When she saw Yu Qinghong, she asked, “Who are you looking for? We’re not open today.”
Yu Qinghong kicked him and said, “Don’t you see that I’m in a hurry? What is the secret password?!”
The little servant climbed up from the ground and covered his throbbing thigh. He said, “Young Lady, you demand that we give you the password…”
Yu Qinghong was finally going to be free from the silver needle’s torment, so how could she have the leisure time to dawdle with this servant? She said, “Once this door is locked, no one will come. No one is allowed to approach my courtyard!”
The little servant immediately nodded and replied, “Yes!”
Yuan Shang took out the jade tablet that she had just bought as she threw it to the young servant; she said, “Take it, crush it, and bring it back to me. Then, boil a pot of hot water, the hotter the better.”
The young servant pinched the jade tablet and glanced at Yu Qinghong. Yu Qinghong shouted, “Do as he said!”
After the servant left, Yu Qingrong took a Yuan Shang into a room in the courtyard. The room was extremely clean and orderly; there was a variety of small decorations like a little girl’s room.
Yuan Shang instinctively knew that this was the place where Yu Qinghong would normally stay at. Without further ado, she sat on her bed and said, “Take off your clothes!”
Yu Qingrou’s complexion suddenly changed, “Wha—what are you planning to do?”
Yuan Shang looked away from her, searching for a few packets of powder. She said, “Take off your robe and show me your wrist. First, take the medicine before I use the hot water mixed with powdered jade to take the needle out.”
Yu Qinghong’s face flushed red as she shouted, “Why didn’t you say that in the first place?!” She rolled her eyes and said, “‘Men and women should not touch hands when they give or receive things.’ You don’t have to touch me… It’s better if you just told me how to do it; I will do it myself!”
Yuan Shang was too lazy to talk about nonsensical matters with her. “I was the one who prescribed the medicine, so only I know how to use it. If you make a mistake, then your wrist will become useless! If you don’t want to be disabled, then just leave it to me!”
The Dayan Dynasty was very open-minded as there was no such thing as rituals that must be done between men and women. In fact, people from all-around did not care about it. Yu Qingrou snorted. When the servant brought the jade powder and hot water here, she closed the door, inserted the lock, and took off her coat. As she pulled up her sleeve, her mouth still carried words of provocation. She said, “Judging by your scrawny body, you don’t seem that competent in doing those misdeeds…” After she said that, she grinned.
Yuan Shang would, of course, disregard this. However, Yu Qinghong was used to Yuan Shang’s indifference. From the self-concerning, he continued to say, “Why do you need the jade powder to take the hidden weapon out? What’s the reason for that?”
Yuan Shang finally glared at her. “Shut up!”
Yu Qinghong closed her mouth.
Yuan Shang handed her a packet of a little sticky blue medicinal powder; she said, “This should be applied externally.” She took out a pill and said, “This should be taken orally.”
Per her instructions, Yu Qinghong swallowed the pill, took the paste, and applied the medicine onto herself. Yuan Shang watched her movements quietly.
After she rubbed the blue paste onto her joint, Yuan Shang waited for the time equal to half an incense stick going out. Then, she wiped the paste off and began to massage the joint with a very peculiar technique. Yu Qinghong’s eyes widened for a long time, but she still didn’t understand what she was doing. She only felt that it was particularly comfortable in the place where Yuan Shang’s palms were rubbing. Perhaps, Yuan Shang’s hands were well maintained due to her body’s previous owner being raised well by a wealthy family. Her palms were slender and delicate; the skin was soft and white.
Yu Qinghong’s face was feverish as she watched her movements without a word. After a bit of time, a tip of a silver needle revealed itself from her joint.
“Strange, why can’t I feel anything at all?” Yu Qinghong began to sense that her wound was numb, and it was as if she had no inkling of what was going on. She could not even feel Yuan Shang’s palms that were still holding onto her hand.
“The process of removing it is very painful, so I have given you an anesthetic.” Yuan Shang repeated her particular movements, extracted three silver needles, and pulled her sleeves back down. Then she said, “Finished!”
Yu Qinghong said, “Done already?”
“Yes!” Yuan Shang stood up and said, “Now let’s go to Chengde’s residence!”
Before Yuan Shang finished speaking, Yu Qinghong’s eyes flashed with a glimmer of anger. She lifted her leg and kicked toward Yuan Shang’s knee. It was both fast and accurate and if the kick was successful, Yuan Shang would become disabled.
(TLN: Main reason why I dropped was because of the chucks of exposition and history that explodes my brain… /*~*)
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