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MJT Chapter 1

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(t/n: Hello reader, I translated this entire novel over a year ago to practice my chinese. Enjoy.)

editor: Piamo

At the break of dawn, two hundred men and horses arrived outside the capital. After the gatekeepers saw the men’s waist tokens, they were not respectful, but spoke in an official manner, “In accordance with the law, your highness’s army can only be stationed three miles outside the capital.”

“You!”

One of the men raged, but the leader of the group raised a hand to stop him and said, “Find a place for our brothers to camp, I will head in by myself.”

“Your highness, I should go with you.”

“I will go alone.”

Forcefully pressing down on his shoulder, Hou Feng slightly nodded towards his men and mounted his horse. The city doors opened and Huo Feng entered the capital alone.

Huo Feng was Southern Chu’s great general. As the only brother of the Jiazheng emperor, when the dynasty met with grim situations, he had to be extremely careful. Although he was a general with 700,000 of Southern Chu’s men under his command, with his wives and children trapped in the capital, he could only submit to humiliation. Usually, Huo Feng would avoid returning to the capital, but his concubine had given birth to a son one month prior, so his majesty issued a decree ordering him to return to the capital immediately, forcing his return. If he did not return, he would be resisting a decree, a sign of disrespect, and he and his mens’ families would be unable to avoid entanglement. He did indeed miss his wives and sons a bit. But returning was incredibly dangerous.

“Old Huang, I’m really anxious about the prince returning alone, that place is a den of wolves,” Xu Baicai, a soldier who had returned to the capital with Huo Feng, said worriedly.

Huang Han thought of the prince’s figure, and similarly concernedly replied, “I also worry. But while we are here, we must speak and work carefully. Their people are everywhere, so we must not give the prince any troubles or any weaknesses. Go, find a place to camp.”

“En.”

The two men mounted their horses, taking the two hundred soldiers to find a place to camp three miles away.

Eunuch Zhang Zhong sat in a courtyard feeding the birds. One man bowed towards him and whispered in his ear, “Lord Dugong[1], Huo Feng has returned.”

Zhang Zhong’s hand froze for a moment, but he soon continued to scatter the rest of the rice grains in his hand onto the ground. The man immediately waved his hand and a eunuch quickly brought in a pot of hot tea. Zhang Zhong wiped his hands, then took a tea cup and took two sips, before slowly asking, “How many men did he bring?”

“About two hundred men. Our people blocked them outside the capital. Only he entered. He is currently on the way into the palace.”

Zhang Zhong handed the tea cup over, and the eunuch immediately received it. Zhang Zhong stood, still slowly speaking, “Prince Yue[2] just returned, we should give him some face. I am going to see his majesty now. Where is Chongren?”

The eunuch replied, “The noble consort called him over.”

“Then wait for him to return, let him come see me.”

“Yes.”

July days always brought troubles. Zhang Zhong yawned and brought a few men to the Jiazheng emperor Huo Wenlong’s bedchamber. Outside the bedchamber, Zhang Zhong heard a faint cry from inside. He raised his sleeves to cover his mouth, hiding the satisfaction on his lips. The eunuchs guarding the door opened the door to the bedchamber. Only Zhang Zhong walked inside, and in the outer room called with a shrill voice, “Your majesty, this slave requests an audience for important matters.”

The promiscuous sounds from inside ceased and a lazy male voice traveled out, “I am busy.”

“Your majesty Prince Yue has returned to the capital.”

“He has returned? So quickly!”

Movement sounded from inside the room. After a while, the Jiazheng emperor walked out clad in his dragon robes, though his hair was a bit messy and his dragon robes seemed to have been thrown on casually. His body still had the strong stench of pleasure making.

The Jiazheng emperor could be considered an able-bodied man. However, after years immersed in wine and pleasure, the corners of his eyes and mouth had all sagged, revealing a state of weakness unfitting of his age.

Zhang Zhong personally poured tea for his majesty and respectfully spoke, “Prince Yue has returned to the capital to report on his duties. Will your majesty see him today?”

The Jiazheng emperor stared at the tea hesitantly, finally asking, “Has his crime been confirmed?”

“All confirmed, just waiting for your majesty’s decree.”

The Jiazheng emperor waved his hand irritably. “Since it’s already confirmed, do what needs to be done. But still ‘question’ him clearly. He is still my brother after all, I can’t have the people calling me coldblooded with a disregard for blood ties.”

“Yes-”

“Go.”

Zhang Zhong bowed and retreated, eyes sparkling with the joy of securing a big success.

Zhang Zhong left, and the Jiazhong emperor sat on the throne, frowning. He still held some brotherly affection for his little brother. But this little brother had control over the military and  Zhang Zhong had also found that he had plans for rebellion. This could not be forgiven. No matter how important brotherly affection may be, it cannot compare to the rivers and mountains (the empire).

“Your majesty, why do you still not come, this servant can wait no longer.”

The serious expression on the Jiazheng emperor’s face immediately became one of obscenity. He put down the tea cup and stood up to quickly enter the bed chamber. On the large bed, a sensual and voluptuous beauty lay half-naked with long hair flowing, very charming.

“Aifei[3], I’m coming.” Pouncing on the bed, the Jiazheng emperor impatiently shed his dragon robes, raised his body and pressed her down.

“Your majesty……ah ah ah…….”

A spring night is worth a thousand gold. With a beauty by one’s side, forget about brotherly affection, even the rivers and mountains are no longer important.

————————————————————————————————————–

The Jiazhen emperor loved beauties, yet with three thousand beauties in his palace and six thousand belles, only Noble Consort Ru bore him a son. This child smoothly became the crown prince. Although Noble Consort Ru was only a noble consort, she was prized and her birth family was not ordinary, so she was already the owner of the inner palace. Even the empress had to greet her with comity.

At this time, Noble Consort Ru half lay on her chaise lounge as a man fanned her. With half-lidded eyes, Noble Consort Ru appeared incredibly comfortable; however, the words that escaped her mouth were not very pleased.

“That foxy girl Zhang Zhong gave his majesty really knows how to wait on people. His majesty keeps staying in the bedroom for her, not even going to court. Really, ‘a king deeply in love no longer attends morning court’[4].”

The man did not make a sound, but the fanning stopped.

Noble Consort Ru opened her eyes. Although the corners of her eyes showed signs of age, her peerless elegance could not be overshadowed. It was no wonder that she could be the object of his majesty’s affections for so many years. But these few months Noble Consort Ru was quite unhappy.

“Chongren, I don’t blame you, I know of your sincerity, but Zhang Zhong has been too unkind with this move.”

Once this man opened his mouth, a cold and clear voice sounded out, “ Lord Dugong has his own reasons for his actions. However, that is just a big-breasted, brainless girl. Niangniang[5] has no need to be familiar with her. No matter how favored she is, she hasn’t borne a son. Before long, his majesty will get tired of her.”

Noble Consort Ru smiled. “You’re right. Chongren still thinks most thoroughly.” She sat up, tenderly stroked Yi Chongren’s face, and sighed, “In this palace, only you understand my heart. You are the flower who understands me, my noble. Without you, the crown prince would have…”

“Niangniang, don’t mention the past. The crown prince is blessed with fortune. That time he just accidentally fell in the water and this servant was lucky enough to see it. Even without this servant, there would be someone else. Sometimes, mentioning things too often will make them come true. Niangniang should pray for the crown prince’s fortune instead.”

“Ah, look at this mouth of mine. The crown price must stay safe and healthy. Chongren, I’m becoming more and more reliant on you.” Noble Consort Ru leaned on Yi Chongren’s shoulder, extremely intimate.

Yi Chongren’s face showed no signs of joy or panic from Niangniang’s favor, his expression as cold as his voice. Paired with his makeup, he was truly terrifying.

Yi Chongren raised his hand, rubbing his thumb against Noble Consort Ru’s red lips, then said, “Niangniang, this servant should leave.”

“Can you not accompany me a bit longer?” Noble Consort Ru entreated.

“Wait for this servant to finish work before coming to accompany niangniang.” Yi Chongren coldly spoke this short sentence. 

Noble Consort Ru smiled like a flower and waved her hand. “Then go.”

Yi Chongren stood up, bowed, and retreated. After he left, Noble Consort Ru touched her red lips that had just been touched by him with regret in her eyes, wondering why such a beautiful man had to be a eunuch.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Everyone in the palace knew of how Noble Consort Ru favored Yi Chongren. Even the Jiazheng emperor knew. However, Yi Chongren was a eunuch. No matter how much Noble Consort Ru favored him, he wouldn’t be able to do anything, so the Jiazheng emperor kept one eye open and one eye closed. Otherwise, with Noble Consort Ru’s jealous temperament, she’d make trouble with all the women by his side. With Yi Chongren to restrain her, he wouldn’t say anything. As long as both sides weren’t excessive, it would remain peaceful.

After leaving Noble Consort Ru’s chamber, Yi Chongren walked a few steps before someone stopped him, bowed, and spoke, “Lord Qianhu[6], Lord Dugong wishes to see you.”

“En.” Indifferently, Yi Chongren began walking on the path to leave the palace. He was in the inner palace, so he couldn’t ride a litter. Two men carried the litter behind him. 

The eunuchs in the palace of Southern Chu all had to wear makeup. Even the top ranking eunuch Zhang Zhong had to apply powder and draw eyebrows after waking up and washing every morning. It was said the dynasty’s founding emperor liked this, so the trend of eunuch makeup continued. Some eunuchs looked pleasing, looking quite good after applying powder and drawing eyebrows, while other eunuchs simply looked demonic, like Zhang Zhong. Yi Chongren could be considered the most beautiful eunuch in the palace, but the makeup on his face made him look like a man-eating monster.

Crimson eyeliner curving upwards, a face as pale as a ghost, deep purple lips, paired with his unfathomable skill and cruel methods, even the Jiazheng emperor who originally wanted to be served by him was dissuaded by that face and cold aura. It had been a whole fifteen years since Yi Chongren entered the palace at the age of ten. These fifteen years, he went from being the lowest ranking eunuch to the second most powerful eunuch in the court through his unorthodox strategies and schemes. In addition, he was the savior of the crown prince, the confidant of Noble Consort Ru, the imperial guard’s Lord Qianhu, and Zhang Zhong’s trusted subordinate. He was at the height of his power in the palace. Everyone believed that once Zhang Zhong passed, he would be the most powerful eunuch in the palace.

After leaving the inner palace, Yi Chongren sat on the litter. Leaning on the litter and closing his eyes to rest, he twisted the jade ring on his index finger. Ears twitching, Yi Chongren opened his eyes and lifted the litter curtain as someone walked over. His eyes flashed and he spoke: “Stop.”

“Stop-”

Following the order, the litter stopped. Immediately, someone lifted the litter curtain for Yi Chongren. Yi Chongren remained seated in the litter without the intention to leave, eyes watching the man in front of him slowly walk closer with a group of men and horses. In other words, the man was being “escorted” by a group of men and horses.

The man pursed his mouth after stopping below Yi Chongren’s litter, trying to mask the disgust in his eyes. If he had known he would meet this person, he would have entered the palace later. 

Unfortunately, he couldn’t just ignore him, especially when the other party was clearly waiting for him. Facing the imperial guards and Hu An guards[7], Huo Feng wished they would all be struck to death by thunder.

Swallowing this anger, Huo Feng, this prince of Southern Chu, arrived before Yi Chongren, clasped his fists and saluted, “Yi gonggong[8].”

“Your highness,” Yi Chongren disrespectfully sounded, only now leaving the litter. Coldly sizing him up, the corner of his lips curved upwards. “This servant heard your concubine bore you a son. This servant offers the prince my congratulations. Returning to the capital this quick, you must have many matters to attend to.”

Hearing these piercing words, Huo Feng calmly spoke, “I have returned quickly to report on my duties and reunite with my family. Yi gonggong must be busy, I will keep you no longer.”

“Your highness has finally returned to the capital, this servant is not busy.” 

As expected, Yi Chongren didn’t plan on releasing Huo Feng. The two men had met before, before Yi Chongren had risen to power, when he still had to show respect when meeting Huo Feng. After attaining power, he spoke to Huo Feng with a mocking attitude. Huo Feng hated eunuchs, especially ones like Yi Chongren who had hands stained with the blood of countless loyal officials. He could never forget how former prime minister Zhang Deyuan’s family died tragically at that person’s hands.

Raising a hand, letting the left and right guards retreat, Yi Chongren’s cold eyes landed on Huo Feng’s face as his purple lips lightly spoke, “Does your highness still remember the incident that occurred in the palace five years ago?”

“This prince’s memory is not very good.” Huo Feng sneered in his heart.

Anger ignited in Yi Chongren’s eyes before being suppressed in a second.

“Your highness may have bad memory, but this servant will never forget. Should this servant remind your highness?”

“Since this prince can’t remember, why mention it again?”

As the two spoke, Yi Chongren suddenly raised his hand to lightly flick Huo Feng’s shoulder, like he was flicking away some dust. Huo Feng retreated a step with a disgusted face, as if he had been touched by something dirty.

“Your highness, farewell[9].” 

Even if they did not speak of the event from five years ago, Yi Chongren sent Huo Feng those words: farewell.

“Lift the litter-”

The litter curtain was lowered, and Yi Chongren’s demonic face was obscured from Huo Feng’s view, but Huo Feng couldn’t help but scrunch his brows in his heart. What was that look Yi Chongren just gave him? And why did he suddenly mention that event from five years ago? And what meaning did that phrase “farewell” hold? Huo Feng’s eyelids twitched a few times and he turned around.

In the litter, Yi Chongren put away the mocking look he had used to face Huo Feng. Outside the litter, Huo Feng watched Yi Chongren gradually disappear. Five years ago, in the imperial garden he couldn’t help but ridicule Yi Chongren as a demon, a castrated dog. Yi Chongren replied to him at that time with the phrase: “Beware of attracting demons when returning at night.” After that time, he and Yi Chongren could be considered to have completely torn off each other’s masks of civility. Afterwards, he had regretted his own indiscretion. Although he controlled seven hundred thousand men, when facing this den of wolves, he could only endure. Offending Yi Chongren was tantamount to offending the Hu An guards. He had already expected that Yi Chongren would bring him troubles, but in the end Yi Chongren didn’t do anything. However, three months later, prime minister Zhang Deyuan was convicted of unwarranted charges and his whole family was decapitated or exiled. Zhang Deyuan and his son both died at the hands of Yi Chongren.

Huo Feng suddenly chuckled in his heart. The event five years ago. In addition to his feud with Yi Chongren, there was also the tragic death of Zhang Deyuan.

“Your highness, farewell……”

Huo Feng’s body was suddenly covered in cold sweat.

“Your highness?” a court guard tasked with escorting Huo Feng asked.

Huo Feng said calmly, “Let’s go.”

Five years ago……-farewell…… Huo Feng resisted the desire to look back. Yi Chongren, what do your words really mean?

[1] Dugong: kind of means supervisor, he’s basically a really high ranking eunuch

[2] Another title for Huo Feng since he’s the brother of the emperor

[3] Means favored concubine

[4] This is a line from the poem Chang Hen Ge by Bai Juyi which is about the story of Emperor Xuanzhong of Tang and Yang Guifei. Yang Guifei is one of the four beauties of ancient china.

[5] Way to refer to a consort

[6] Literally means thousand households.  A fifth rank military position with a thousand men under their command.

[7] These guards don’t seem to appear to exist in history.

[8] Way to refer to a eunuch.

[9] 一路走好 is a way to say farewell. It’s a saying often used to put the deceased to rest, though it most often means: the road ahead is long and unpredictable so I wish you reach your destination safely. These words sound pretty ominous here since they’re often used to address dead people. I can’t really get the right vibes in english :/

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3 responses to “MJT Chapter 1”

  1. TY for this translation! By chance are you still looking for an editor? (Couldn’t figure out how to DM you on twitter ^^; I’d be happy to volunteer if so!

    Like

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