Concealed by Brocaded Clouds, Frost on the Roads: Volume 02 Chapter 04

March 04, 2022 Oyen 0 Comments

Sorry for a long delay for this chapter, I finished the other deadline translation first lol~ Enjoy~
Chapter 4: The Moon Moved The Shadow of The Flower to Start All Over Again
translator: Oyen

The sky turned from black to gray, and then gradually turned blue, and slowly turned white. The entire inner courtyard of the palace was silent, but at this time the bedchamber of Fengyi Hall was already lit up.

The maids and chamberlains bowed outside the door of the hall, while several of the Emperor’s close chamberlains had already waited in the inner chambers for the Emperor to change and rise. When the nine-dragon crown was fastened, the Emperor slowly turned back around and prepared for the morning court.

The close attendant opened his mouth and shouted as before, “The Emperor is going!” But, he saw that the Emperor gently swung the bright yellow robe of the Imperial clothes, signaling the crowd to silence.

The close attendant was stunned and hurriedly closed his mouth. The Emperor turned back to look inside the lotus curtain. Because of the draped curtain, and the heavy layers of tassels, the person on the bed could barely be seen, only the outline of a beautiful figure was reflected in the shadows.

The Emperor’s mouth smiled as he gazed for a few moments before he rose. The maids and chamberlains of the Fengyi Hall knelt in two lines, kowtowing to send the Emperor off.

Concubine Ning was very sleepy. It wasn’t until near noon that a sound came from behind the curtain.

The head of close attendant, Tian Qing, rushed forward silently, going up to the front, only to hear concubine Ning softly asking, “What time is it?”

Tian Qing replied back, “Mistress, it’s almost noon.”

Mu Ningyan was stunned. “It’s already this hour?” Tian Qing replied, “Yes, the Emperor has instructed this maid not to wake Mistress, so that Mistress can rest well.”

Mu Ningyan was silent for a long time before she ordered, “Serve the bath and change clothes.” Tian Qing answered ‘Yes’ and with a wave of her hand, several maids entered with the washing things.

The maids gently lifted the curtains of the bed, only to see that their Mistress’ face was heavy, lying on the side of the bed, as if she was thinking carefully. Her long black hair was spread out on the pillow, lining the fair skin of her neck more and more like snow, shining brightly. Just by looking closely, it could be seen that there were spots of red everywhere, which were clearly the traces of favour left by the Emperor.

The handmaiden Tian Qing hurriedly lowered her eyes and looked away, not daring to look again. Just vaguely felt a little strange. This concubine was favoured by the Emperor, but she didn’t see the slightest look of joy.

Perhaps her Mistress was very special. Since entering the palace, the Emperor had never visited this Fengyi Hall, and this concubine wasn’t like the concubines of other places. She just lived in her own small life idly.

Baili Haozhe also didn’t order people to infer, just went straight inside. He wanted to approve the memorial in the imperial study, but he couldn't resist, skimming two memorials and tossed them aside.

The hall was quiet, only the handmaid Tian Qing stood in front of the curtain to wait. Seeing the Emperor’s footsteps lightly, she was busy saluting as a courtesy. Baili Haozhe waved his hand lightly and asked in a low voice, “What about Mistress?”

Tian Qing replied, “Reply to the Emperor, Mistress only got up not long ago and just came out from the bath.” After saying this, she silently lifted the curtain for the Emperor. When the Emperor entered, she quietly withdrew.

The black hair cascaded down like a waterfall, so smooth and pleasant to look at. She sat on her side in front of the nine-curved bronze mirror, clutching an ivory comb in one hand and black hair in the other, combing it without a moment of hesitation. Her skin colour was extremely fair. At this time, her half arms were exposed, and it was like snow. He looked at it for a long time, only to feel dazzled and fascinated.

She seemed to raise her eyes, the person in the bronze mirror was clear and gentle. There was another person faintly. She was shocked and turned her head. Seeing the Emperor was standing by the side and just smiled slightly. There seemed to be infinite tenderness in his eyes. He reached over and took the ivory comb, just standing like this, combing her hair all over her head.

The hall was quiet, only to see the shadow of the window moving. The breathing of the two was shallow and faintly audible.

She didn’t know how long it took, but he put down the comb and whispered, “Rest for a while, I still have memorials to approve.” Then, she gave a soft ‘En’ to reply.

Xiao Lu-zi and the others of the Chengqian Hall had thought that today’s Emperor must be in the Fengyi Hall. They were all thinking in the same way that they were chatting and laughing. Looking up, they saw the Emperor step in with a gloomy face, so they busily salted one after another. Seeing that the Emperor didn’t say a word, he just waved his hand to signal everyone to withdraw.

Baili Haozhe paced back and forth for a long time, tapped his hands lightly, and gently commanded. “Go and summon Tian Qing.” The man who leapt in through the window answered. “Yes.” And then he leapt out.

“Bring the thing here!” There was a delicate small jade box appeared in sight. Baili Haozhe stood with his hands folded and closed his eyes. His face was without a trace of expression.

He finally opened his eyes, pressed his hand, and the jade cover opened in response. In an instant, the tip of the nose was full of rich aroma. He froze at one end, although he had already smelled a faint hint of musk in the warm fragrance of her skin when he was just brushing her hair. But these brown things in the box still made him feel very angry.

Musk had always been a forbidden object in the palace because it could cause infertility to the women in the harem after long-term use. It could be said that it had always been something that concubines in the palace avoided. But she actually stole such a large box.

She only needed to use most of what was in this box, and she would be infertile for life.

Furious, he raised his hand and was about to knock the box down. But he quickly stopped and commanded, “Go, find the Imperial physician to change the contents. Just say it was this Emperor’s order. As long as the smell is similar, beneficial and harmless to the body.”

Tian Qing saluted, “Yes.” He was about to bow down and retreat when the Emperor had another order. “Remember, clean out the contents of the box and don’t leave a single trace.”

The lights in the inner hall had been turned off, and the moonlight soaked through the panes and spread on the ground. Mu Ningyan stared for a long time, then she turned over lightly. It seemed that the Emperor wouldn’t come over tonight. Probably because her heart was at ease, after she closed her eyes, her sleepiness came over.

Suddenly, her eyes opened in a cold sweat. The scene in her dream was like a cocoon, wrapped around her, almost suffocating. A hand caressed her forehead. “What’s wrong?”

Mu Ningyan was shocked and sat up violently, only to see the Emperor sitting sideways on the edge of the bed with only his inner clothes on. She didn’t know how long he had been sitting like that, she struggled to come down and salute, but he held her down. “Sleep.”

He laid down beside her, his arms circling her firmly and strongly. She shuddered and stopped struggling, like a docile cat curled up in his palm.

In the afternoon, there were few people in the Fengyi Hall, and Baili Haozhe came directly from the imperial study. At the door, the maid was about to salute, only to see the Emperor make a silent gesture. So, she held back her voice, not daring to make a single sound.

Lifting several heavy curtains, he saw concubine Ning and Crown Prince were practicing at the table in front of the window. Concubine Ning held a fan in her hand, and slowly fanned the wind for the Crown Prince. Both of them whispered occasionally, almost inaudible because they were far apart.

Baili Haozhe stood under the shade of the curtains for a long time, staring at the two motionless and almost foolish for a moment.

Since Mu Ningyan entered the palace, he had never given up the investigation of her origins, but there had been no response. According to the investigation, Madam Ruan did have a sister, married to the family of Mu in Xinzhou, who was a wealthy merchant, and indeed had a daughter named Ningyan. But because she was raised in a deep boudoir since she was a child, she wasn’t seen at all. Because the Mu family died seven or eight years ago, the business operation was unstable. There were changes in the house, and the maid who had served Mu Ningyan in the early years had been replaced. The spies took the portrait of Empress Ruan and inquired in detail, but the reply was that family Miss Mu did have some similarities with the portrait when she was a child, only because of her age, coupled with the fact that people’s faces would naturally change when they grew up, so it was really impossible to give a positive reply.

As a result, almost all the clues were broken.

Mu Ningyan inadvertently looked up and saw the figure standing by the curtain. She was busily saluting and greeting. “This concubine greets the Emperor.”

Baili Haozhe smiled slightly, “In this hall, you don’t have to be formal.” Reaching out and taking her hand. Her hand seemed to move slightly, and he squeezed it harder. Her skin was soft and cold, like jade. In this hot and dry weather, her hand was a little cool, as if it could calm people’s hearts.

He said softly, “In the future, if you and I are in the same place, you don’t have to give me a salute.” The Emperor’s tone was extremely gentle like the breeze fluttered in her ears. For some reason, Mu Ningyan couldn’t help but think of all the things that happened last night, and her face burned hot. She only replied lightly, “I don’t dare. This… is against the rules.”

The corners of Baili Haozhe’s mouth faintly smiled as he turned his head to gaze at her. “Someone once said that in this palace, as long as the Emperor likes it, it is etiquette, it is rule…” He looked at Mu Ningyan without moving, as if he wanted to see her through once and for all.

Mu Ningyan lowered her eyes. Unable to discern the look under her eyes, she replied back, “This… this concubine will obey the Emperor’s will.”

At this time, the Crown Prince had put down his pen and kowtowed. “This son greets father Emperor, long live father Emperor.” Baili Haozhe reached out and pulled him up. “Get up. What book did Imperial Tutor Fu teach today?” Then, the Crown Prince answered one by one.

There was a row of windows on the east side of the hall, and the light entered through the curtain, the silvery lights were circulated on the two people. Because there was ice all around, it didn’t feel stuffy at all. Baili Haozhe looked at it like this, couldn’t help but smile, and said, “Just now, imperial tutor Fu praised our Crown Prince’s intelligence in front of me, saying that although the Crown Prince is small, he had the ability to never forget…”

Baili Haozhe smiled and said in a gentle tone. “It seems that Concubine Ning today taking care of the Crown Prince’s food and living, and even his studies, is really a contribution that can’t go unnoticed. You say, what reward do you want?”

Mu Ningyan shook her head and said faintly, “This is originally within my duties. This concubine really doesn’t dare ask for the Emperor’s reward.”

Baili Haozhe muttered, “If I said that I want to reward you, I must reward you. Well, a few days ago, the Western Regions paid tribute to a pair of Hetian jade chess pieces, and I will reward you.” He looked down at the Crown Prince and said, “Emperor’s son, is it okay ah?”

The Crown Prince’s eyebrow turned a beautiful arc. At this time, his smile was big and increased his handsomeness. He nodded his head vigorously. “Of course it’s okay ah!”

Mu Ningyan lowered her eyes and said, “Emperor, I don’t know how to play chess.” But, Baili Haozhe laughed and said, “I will teach you,” and then he leaned up and ordered, “Go and fetch the jade chess pieces that were tributed from the Western Regions a few days ago.”

Shi Quanyi stood outside several heavy curtains with his head down, and occasionally heard the Emperor’s voice whispering. “I had said it can’t be put here… Look, if I land here, you see… You have lost…” He couldn’t help but feel a chill in his heart. The Emperor didn’t even call himself ‘This Emperor’ in front of Concubine Ning. He had been in this palace for many years, and how could he not understand the Emperor’s meaning? The Emperor had apparently already regarded Concubine Ning as Empress Ruan, the one he married and loved to the depths, only to this one person in the world that he wouldn't use ‘this Emperor’ to call himself.

A moment later, the Emperor laughed lightly, “Teaching is teaching. If you lose, you'll be punished.” Concubine Ning’s voice was also extremely low, it was vague. “Emperor please forgive, this concubine has already said that this concubine can’t.”

The Emperor laughed softly, and was probably in a very good mood. “I have yielded to you so many times, and you still lose. Then I will certainly not be concerned…” There was not a sound from Concubine Ning for a long time.

The Emperor seemed to laugh lightly, his tone was softened to the extreme. “Well, well… angry ah? I will offer an apology, I will apologize, can’t I?”

Concubine Ning didn’t know what to say. After a moment, it was only ‘En’ that was heard from Concubine Ning, mixing with an oppressive feeling. Shi Quanyi didn’t dare to listen any further, and was busy waving his hand at the people who were waiting, and led them to leave.

Others only said that the Emperor was cold and didn’t like women. However, after Concubine Ning arrived, the Emperor came to this Fengyi Hall everyday, and his mood was like a day. Even those of them who were on duty felt refreshed.

However, Concubine Ning still seemed to be cold and distant, as if she didn’t care about anything.


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