Sitting on the bed, Yi Chongren massaged his sore waist. After bathing, he laid down, not wanting to move, too tired. As expected, he had to acquiesce to old age. Today was the crown prince’s wedding day, and as the crown prince’s yifu and the leader of the inner court, Yi Chongren started preparing for the crown prince’s wedding a month ago. The inner palace didn’t have a female master, so Yi Chongren, the actual master of the inner palace, had much to worry about. A certain emperor who was greatly stimulated by the crown prince’s wedding became very consistent with bedroom matters, leaving Yi Chongren in today’s tired state. Fortunately, the crown prince finally got married, so he could finally rest for a few days.
Huo Feng had sat on the throne for eight years. The crown prince went to the border to gain experience for three years, leading his troops to victory in several battles. He wasn’t afraid of hardship and slept and ate with the soldiers at the border, winning the admiration of the soldiers in the military. Afterwards, the crown prince went on an inspection tour in plain clothes for two years to understand the suffering of the common people. In the three years since he returned to the capital, the crown prince’s performance greatly satisfied Yi Chongren. The court ministers were delighted to have such a brilliant crown prince, and worried that the crown prince still refused to get married as he got older. The emperor’s harem was empty, and if the crown prince also didn’t marry, wouldn’t it be bad?
Under the influence of imperial father and yifu, the crown prince also wanted to find a congenial woman as his wife. During the two years he was on inspection, the crown prince met a pair of sisters. The two sisters were from the jianghu, the elder sister was bold and earnest, and the younger sister was gentle and intelligent. The two sisters each had their charming points. The two originally didn’t know about the crown prince’s identity and they both fell for the crown prince as they got along, while the crown prince formed favorable impressions of these two sisters. Not knowing what to do at the time, the crown prince steeled his heart and left without saying goodbye, returning to the capital.
The two sisters were deeply in love with the crown prince, so after the crown prince left, the two discussed for a night and finally decided to accept each other. The two women took their bags to the capital, but then realized that the man they loved was actually the crown prince of the dynasty. After Yi Chongren learned of this matter, he directly let the crown prince accept the two women as it wasn’t impossible for two women to share a husband. With yifu’s support, Huo Yunkai let go of the knots in his heart and took the sisters to the Eastern Palace. Huo Yunkai just returned to the capital so he didn’t want to marry so early, delaying the marriage until now. Of the two sisters, the elder sister became crown prince consort, and the younger sister became concubine. After Huo Yunkai ascended the throne, one would become empress, and one would become noble consort, jointly in charge of the inner palace. The crown prince consort and concubine were both pregnant which was also the reason why Huo Yunkai decided to get married.
Huo Feng was unable to give Yi Chongren status, and the crown prince didn’t just get married, but married two at once, so Huo Feng was immediately stimulated by his son, which was also the reason why he was so sexually active during this period of time. Yi Chongren didn’t care about status. Even without a title, he was already tired at this point, so if he did gain a title, it’d be harder for him to disengage. Douzi and Baozi were already fourteen that year, and in a few months, they’d leave the palace to build their own residences. The two children could now help their imperial father. The three sons were all very promising, so Huo Feng’s burden became much lighter.
Yi Chongren was very tired today, so after drinking some wine, he went back to Ningshen palace to bathe and rest. Huo Feng was still in the great hall drinking with the ministers. After drinking enough, Huo Feng called the crown prince to the imperial study alone to tell him some words from father to son. Nowadays Huo Yunkai was more prudent and self-reliant and had a restrained temperament. Huo Feng did not expend much mental and physical effort on this son, and it could be said that the crown prince was able to grow to this point entirely because of Yi Chongren. Even Douzi and Baozi were able to display such capability in court because of Yi Chongren’s painstaking teachings. In this family that wasn’t really a family in the imperial palace, Yi Chongren could be considered the true “virtuous wife”.
Huo Yunkai respectfully poured a cup of tea for his imperial father. As a father, he treated his bloodline, his responsibility with deep awareness. These eight years, many people still opposed imperial father exclusively favoring yifu, and every time, imperial father suppressed these opponents’ voices and unconditionally loved yifu as always. And yifu, scrupulously controlled the inner court for imperial father, taught them three brothers for imperial father, and shared worries with imperial father when he was having trouble dealing with state affairs. In Huo Yunkai’s heart, yifu was not only his other father, but his mother. But because of yifu’s identity, imperial father could never give yifu a title. This was imperial father’s greatest regret and also his greatest regret.
Huo Feng drank the tea poured by the crown prince with gratification and ruefully said: “In a blink of an eye, you’re going to be a dad, and Douzi and Baozi are leaving the palace to build their own residences. Imperial father is getting old.”
Huo Yunkai felt like he was going to cry and immediately said: “Imperial father is still in the prime of life. It’s still early to be talking about being old.”
Huo Feng laughed and shook his head. He really was getting old, already losing his ambition, only wanting to grow old with another person. His eldest son had a similar appearance to himself, but his thoughtfulness was just like another person.
“Crown prince, do you still remember what imperial father told you eight years ago?”
Huo Yunkai felt his heart tremble and he seriously nodded his head.
Huo Feng said: “The reason why imperial father sits in this position is half because I was forced and half because of your yifu. If it weren’t for him, imperial father, you, and Douzi would have been reduced to a pile of bones long ago.”
Huo Yunkai felt his emotions fluctuate. He often remembered when yifu took him out of the prince’s manor. And it was also at this time that he learned that yifu was a good person, learned that yifu suffered all kinds of grievances.
“Crown prince, imperial father is passing this land to you. Protect it well.”
Huo Yunkai gradually kneeled down and kowtowed: “This son dare not disappoint.”
Huo Feng walked to the crown prince and supported him up with both hands, eyes full of emotion: “Thank you for succeeding imperial father.”
Huo Yunkai was also emotional and said with reddening eyes: “Imperial father, this son wants to drink a cup from your and yifu’s wedding feast.”
Huo Feng patted his son’s shoulders and laughed: “You will, definitely will!”
By the time he returned to Ningshen palace, Yi Chongren was already asleep. Huo Feng knew he was exhausted and didn’t bother him. After washing, he carefully got in bed and lay in the spot Yi Chongren left for him. The two always lived at Ningshen palace, and Huo Feng’s bed chamber had long become a piece of decoration. Yi Chongren liked the peace of Ningshen palace, and Huo Feng followed him. After eight years, Huo Feng’s sideburns were beginning to turn white, but Yi Chongren still maintained his appearance from eight years prior. Time didn’t leave any traces on his face.
Holding Yi Chongren’s waist, Huo Feng closed his eyes. He and Yi Chongren had already been together for almost ten years. These eight years, his love for Yi Chongren only grew, yet this person never said a word of love to him. But Huo Feng knew that he was in Yi Chongren’s heart. Perhaps he had a place in Yi Chongren’s heart since long ago. It’s just that neither of them knew.
“You’re back……?” Deeply asleep, Yi Chongren suddenly mumbled a phrase. Huo Feng tightened his embrace and pecked a kiss on his neck: “En. I spoke with Yunkai for a bit. Go to sleep.”
“You go to sleep too.” patting Huo Feng’s hand, Yi Chongren yawned, not making any more noise.
Huo Feng closed his eyes, smelling Yi Chongren’s scent, and soon fell asleep.
Yi Chongren gradually awakened from his slumber in the late morning. Stretching, he got out of bed. Pushing open the window, the bright sun shined overhead, and he twisted his waist, walking out. Once the maidservants saw him get up, they immediately brought water for him to wash his face and a cup of mouthwash. Yi Chongren wiped his face and asked: “Where’s his majesty?”
“His majesty went to the imperial college and will have lunch with some scholars, so you don’t have to wait for him.”
Yi Chongren frowned in his heart, that person seemed to return very late last night. Now he went to the imperial college so early in the morning. Did he think his body was made of steel? Ever since Huo Feng’s sideburns began growing white, Yi Chongren became more concerned with bodily care. Huo Feng was eight years older than him, so he had to pay close attention.
“Your excellency, Lady Qin is here.”
Yi Chongren quickly rinsed his mouth and strode out of the room. Seeing Xiaoqin carrying a child inside, Yi Chongren reached out to hold the child who had just turned two in Xiaoqin’s arms, calling for her to come inside. Xiaoqin was once willing to be a saboteur by the Jiazheng emperor’s side, and because she served the Jiazheng emperor, she didn’t want to get married. Who knew that on her way back to the capital with Yi Chongren, she developed feelings for the unmarried Xu Baicai. Xu Baicai didn’t care that Xiaoqin used to serve the Jiazheng emperor, instead thinking that Xiaoqin was very brave. The second year after they returned to the capital, Xu Baicai brought betrothal gifts to the Zhang residence to propose marriage. Zhang Deyuan and his wife were Xiaoqin’s adopted father and mother, so when Xiaoqin found such an ideal husband, Xu Baicai was even a general, they were very happy and immediately agreed. Now, Xiaoqin was already the mother of three children.
Entering the room, after the servants withdrew, Xiaoqin said: “Dage, next month Baicai and I are returning to the border.”
Yi Chongren raised his eyes: “Why in such a hurry? Didn’t you just go back last year?”
Xiaoqin smiled and said: “Baicai said it’s too pitiful to separate Ruan dage and Huaiqiu ge. He wants to hurry and bring Ruan dage back to the capital. He said that of the four of them only Ruan dage is on the solitary path now. As brothers, they should help him.”
Yi Chongren snorted: “Then you can only blame his own incompetence.”
Ruan Xingtian and Zhang Huaiqiu were often separated these few years because Ruan Xingtian was a general who had to return to the border. Zhang Huaiqiu wasn’t willing to go to the border with Ruan Xingtian, so Ruan Xingtian could only suffer from the pain of being separated in two places. Zhang Huaiqiu never married and Xiaoqin gave her and Xu Baicai’s second son to him. Zhang Deyuan and his wife weren’t not disappointed that their son got together with Ruan Xingtian, but they also didn’t make things difficult for them. But from beginning to end, Zhang Huaiqiu refused to give Ruan Xingtian status. The two lived and ate together in the capital, no different from a couple. Ruan Xingtian once had a wife, but she passed away from illness, only leaving him a daughter. Last year, Huo Feng granted her a marriage to the top scorer in the palace examination, and now she was almost a mother, living happily. With no other worries, Ruan Xingtian only hoped that he and Zhang Huaiqiu could rest and fly together.
Huo Feng didn’t return at noon, so Yi Chongren wanted Xiaoqin to stay for lunch. Baozi and Douzi were also coming at noon. The two children were moving out of the palace soon, so they, who had grown up by daddy’s side, couldn’t bear to part from him. But fortunately they could still enter the palace everyday and often dine with daddy.
As the two people were chatting, a eunuch suddenly ran into Ningshen palace burning with anxiety and trepidation, yelling with panic: “Your excellency! His majesty fainted!”
Yi Chongren’s expression became alarmed. He returned the child to Xiaoqin, and his figure abruptly disappeared from the room. Then his stern voice could be heard asking: “Where is his majesty! Have you called the imperial doctor?!”
“His majesty suddenly fainted at the imperial college, people have already been sent to find an imperial doctor, Lord Zhang is sending his majesty back to the palace and ordered this servant to report to your excellency.”
Yi Chongren only felt a “buzz” in his head. Firmly biting the tip of his tongue to keep calm, he hurried towards the palace gates. That person was still fine yesterday, still holding him to sleep last night, how could he suddenly faint! He must be too tired, that must be it! Yi Chongren madly rushed towards the palace gates as leaves flew all around him.
Reaching the entrance to the palace, he saw Zhang Huaiqiu driving a horse carriage over. Yi Chongren recognized Huo Feng’s imperial carriage and rushed over. Without a word, he jumped on the imperial carriage, not even speaking to Zhang Huaiqiu, and Yi Chongren rushed into the carriage. That moment, his heart seemed to stop beating.
Throwing himself on Huo Feng’s unconscious body, Yi Chongren’s hands trembled. As soon as he grasped Huo Feng’s hand, Yi Chongren turned his head to yell out: “Huaiqiu! Hurry up! Let the imperial doctor go to Ningshen palace!”
Zhang Huaiqiu firmly smacked the horse’s ass.
Soon, the crown prince, the two princes, and the important court ministers all gathered at Ningshen palace. By the bed, Yi Chongren’s face was pale as he sat there and the crown prince stood behind him. Baozi and Douzi’s eyes reddened. Imperial father suddenly fainted so the two were extremely frightened. The imperial doctor already checked his majesty’s pulse, and the medically skilled Ji Di pressed his fingers on his majesty’s wrist to check again. After a while, he removed his hand, and Yi Chongren immediately asked: “How is his majesty!”
Ji Di frowned: “Same result as the imperial doctor’s pulse diagnosis, his majesty overworked and became ill. In addition, the internal injuries he sustained from his years leading troops never fully recovered, so illness adds to illness. His majesty definitely can’t work too hard any more, he needs to recuperate.”
Yi Chongren took a few deep breaths and nodded: “I see.”
The imperial doctor made a prescription, and after Ji Di saw that there weren’t any problems, he gave the prescription to Lu Tao. Y Chongren glanced at Douzi and Baozi as the two children left with Lu Tao. At this time, Yi Chongren couldn’t relax if other people simmered Huo Feng’s medicine.
“Yifu, imperial father is going to be fine.” Huo Yunkai soothed.
Yi Chongren gently wiped the sweat perspiring on Huo Feng’s forehead and told himself, also telling everyone at the scene: “His majesty will be fine.” Then, he stood and bowed to everyone in the room. Everyone was startled.
Standing straight, Yi Chongren said: “His majesty has fallen ill from overwork so he can no longer deal with state affairs. I hope that you all can assist the crown prince with all your heart so his majesty can recuperate at peace.”
“This is our duty. At this time, Lord Yi must take care. His majesty still needs your care.”
Yi Chongren’s bow gave many people quite a shock, even startling Huo Yunkai. Yi Chongren turned towards Huo Yunkai and hoarsely said: “Crown prince, from today onwards, you must lead the state until your imperial father is in good health.”
“This son is at your command.”
No one was dissatisfied with Yi Chongren for going beyond his authority, and at this time, Yi Chongren’s words were tantamount to his majesty’s words.
After he finished explaining, Yi Chongren sat by the bed and held Huo Feng’s hand right in front of the crowd. Only he himself knew how agitated, how uneasy he was.
Xie Ming motioned to the others, and they all quietly withdrew. Huo Yunkai deeply glanced at imperial father and yifu and also withdrew. Once the door closed, Yi Chongren hugged Huo Feng. The end of their promise of ten years hadn’t arrived yet, hadn’t arrived yet!
“Your majesty, there are still two years for our agreement, can you wait no longer?” Yi Chongren placed Huo Feng’s not warm enough hand on his own face. He was never so scared of someone leaving him.
Huo Feng’s breathing worsened, and his eyelids moved, as if he was awakening. Yi Chongren hastily shouted softly: “Your majesty! Your majesty!”
After struggling for a long time, Huo Feng finally opened his eyes. Yi Chongren’s hands trembled. Huo Feng’s gaze gradually moved to Yi Chongren’s face and he struggled to tighten his hold on Yi Chongren’s hands. He opened his mouth with difficulty: “Chong, ren……”
Yi Chongren’s heart tightened, and his lips parted: “Huo Feng……”
For so many years, he seldom called this person’s name unless he was emotional. But at this moment, he didn’t want to call this person “your majesty”. Huo Feng was visibly happy to hear Yi Chongren call him so, slightly smiling.
“Sorry…… scared you……”
“You scared me.”
Yi Chongren stabilized his mind, poured a cup of water, and helped Huo Feng drink it. Huo Feng drank weakly, and then tugged at Yi Chongren to say: “I’m, very tired, accompany me to sleep for a while.”
Yi Chongren gradually laid Huo Feng down and said: “Lu Tao is simmering your medicine. Drink your medicine before sleeping.”
Huo Feng frowned: “I’m fine, just a little tired, I’ll be fine after sleeping.” His words weren’t as weak as before.
“I’ll accompany you after you drink your medicine. You fainted so you can’t not drink medicine.” Yi Chongren’s hands were still shaking. He twisted a damp cloth and carefully wiped Huo Feng’s face and hands. Huo Feng’s Adam’s apple moved several times and he deeply gazed at Yi Chongren as he took care of him. After Yi Chongren wiped him off, he hoarsely said: “Chongren, if I abdicate, will you think I’m a coward?”
Yi Chongren’s hand paused, and then grasped Huo Feng’s hand, fastening their fingers: “I was just thinking about how to persuade you to abdicate.”
Huo Feng smiled. Yi Chongren lightly said: “The land is at peace and the common people live in peace and work happily. Now could be considered ‘the golden age of Kangzheng’. These years, you worked assiduously for the country and the people. I saw this all.”
Pausing, Yi Chongren grasped Huo Feng’s other hand: “In the past, I called you a coward because you held troops yet never made yourself emperor, letting an incapable ruler and corrupt ministers spread misery and suffering. As the emperor, you had a clear heart. Now, I’d rather you be nothing than see you faint again.”
Huo Feng was especially moved by Yi Chongren’s words. He finally attained it?
“Chongren, am I in your heart?”
Yi Chongren leaned forward and kissed Huo Feng lightly, not answering yet answering, and said: “As long as you want me, I won’t leave.”
Enough, those words were enough. Huo Feng broke into a smile, joy filling his body.
“I’m not the emperor anymore. Our promise needs to be changed.”
The corners of Yi Chongren’s mouth raised. Huo Feng laughed and said: “Chongren, let’s grow old together in conjugal bliss, alright?”
Huo Feng laughed heartily as if he obtained a treasure he had waited for so long, too long. The sound of laughter traveled out of the room, traveling out of Ningshen palace. Yi Chongren also laughed, because of Huo Feng’s joy, because of a person’s longing and happiness for him. No matter how much he suffered from an unfair fate in the past, at this moment, he thanked the heavens for giving him those hardships. Because of those hardships, he met this man who loved him so much.
It’d been eight years. There was no need to say more. He had long clearly understood this man’s feelings for himself. Even if ten years passed, he believed that he and that person would have another ten years and another ten years.
There were many people in Yi Chongren’s heart, but there was one person who could never be replaced.
Huo Feng, I, Yi Chongren, am yours.
The eighth day of the first month of the ninth year of Kangzheng, Huo Feng, who was resting in Ningshen palace, issued an order passing the throne to the crown prince, and he became father of the reigning emperor. The second month of the same year, Yi Chongren retired from official duties, and the inner court’s matters were passed to the empress and noble consort. The third month, crown prince Huo Yunkai officially ascended to the throne, changing the era name to “Yonghui”. As soon as the new emperor ascended, he passed an order to seal his yifu, Yi Chongren, as “Yide Wang”, respectfully “De fu”, to enter the temple of the emperor. Once this imperial decree was passed, the world was in uproar. Huo Feng was unable to give Yi Chongren a title, but his son was able to accomplish it. And there was one thing Huo Feng only told his son, which was after he died, only Yi Chongren’s coffin could be placed next to his coffin. The coffins of the empress and imperial noble consort who died long ago were put in another part of the imperial tomb.
The fifth month of the first year of Yonghui, a group of people left the palace, left the capital, on a sunny day. In the carriage, Huo Feng and Yi Chongren, who had just become grandfathers for a month, leisurely looked at the streets of the capital. The two unburdened people were prepared to take a good look at the land of Yue and properly make up for all the time they had wasted in the past. But one person was still a bit dejected.
“Chongren, I’m already fine, I don’t need to eat this medicine.”
“This is the medicine the imperial doctor and Lord Ji prescribed to you to strengthen your body. Just pretend you’re eating sweetened peas.”
“Sweetened peas? It’s obviously bitter.”
“Good medicine tastes bitter.”
Should he confess to Chongren? After thinking about it, a certain person still obediently ate the “sweetened peas”. Forget it, between eating medicine and his life, his life was still more important.
In the imperial palace, Ji Di whispered to an imperial doctor: “You must never leak this matter! If Lord Yi finds out we tricked him, we’ll die!”
“Yes yes yes, this official definitely doesn’t dare to say anything.”
“En. Put more hawthorn in his majesty’s medicine.”
 义德王 same yi as in yifu. 王 means he basically a prince now
 德父 fu as in father
End of main story
t/n: Thank you everyone who has read up until this point. All of your likes and comments make me very happy. There is an extra but I don’t plan on translating it since I’ve moved on from this novel for quite some time. It’s quite cute so if any other translators want to work on the extras feel free to ask me for help. I’ll be back next week with a new novel so stay on the lookout for that. It’s BG but it’s a mystery tragedy so I really like it. The novel I’ll be working on after that will be BL. Hope you’ll stick around. Follow me on Twitter @sleepyneedle for translation updates. 🙂