SSTWT 19

Edited by: Eithran

Translated by: Megane


Chapter 19: Serve the Lord and Save the Country (4)

Ye Huai followed Zhao Yurong into the main hall. This is where Zhao Changyu meets the courtiers on a daily basis. He sat tall on the main seat of the hall. Apart from the addition of a few pillars, there were no chairs in the hall.

“Father Emperor.” Zhao Yurong took a few steps forward, leaving Ye Huai behind. She lifted up her skirt to run to Zhao Changyu, “What’s the matter about Father Emperor to finding Gu xiansheng? Gu xiansheng was in the middle of telling a story to this daughter.”

Zhao Changyu also didn’t expect that Zhao Yurong will come, too. He was surprised but his face was expressionless. He just let someone bring over a chair and bring his daughter to sit on the side. “What story did Gu xiansheng tell you?”

“Last night, he told this daughter about the sea. Earlier, he was telling me about Mulan who enlisted into the army. I still haven’t heard the end of it when Father Emperor summoned him.” Zhao Yurong held Zhao Changyu’s arm and partly complained.

After listening to Zhao Yurong, Zhao Changyu’s face was stiff. He carefully examined Ye Huai.

Ye Huai was standing in the hall, admiring Zhao Changyu’s beauty. At this moment, Zhao Changyu turned his eyes to him and their eyes collided. Suddenly, there are sparks flying.

“Audacious! Gu Cheng Qi, If you see the emperor, you should kneel down!” Chen Yan shouted as he stood behind Zhao Changyu.

“No need.” Zhao Changyu lifted his hand to stop him, “Where did Gu xiansheng know so many strange stories? Why don’t you tell me about them?”

Say what? Should I tell about “One thousand and one nights”? Ye Huai inwardly ridiculed, “The emperor is very knowledgeable. This worthless commoner is afraid that it is unworthy for your ears.” Ye Huai humbly said.

“Xiansheng still haven’t said it. How can Zhen know if it’s unworthy? Zhen had read Gu xiansheng’s article about providing disaster relief to the poor. To provide grain and three items to give disaster relief to the poor is very well-written. Zhen intends to follow xiansheng’s suggestion and hand it over to the Ministry of Revenue for a detailed implementation starting from the vicinity of the imperial capital before gradually extending it to the whole country.” Zhao Changyu said.

“Really?” Ye Huai hasn’t answered yet but Zhao Yurong is very excited. “This daughter told you that Gu xiansheng is very talented! Father Emperor really has insight and know people well!”

“However……” Zhao Changyu changes the topic. Ye Huai just put down his worries but suddenly he’s hanged up, “The article doesn’t correspond to the structure of the imperial examination system. And the writing is scribbled, the article is written in variant forms and the narrative is plain. You should explain to me, how did someone who entered the county school at eight years old, became a zhongshi[1] at twelve years old, and became prodigy who became  a gongshi at the age of fifteen, write this kind of article?”

Ye Huai was stunned by Zhao Changyu’s words. He used to write medical papers. He also used that style to write the article for the imperial examinations. Although it’s concise and straightforward, it wasn’t in line with the ancient aesthetic.

Not to mention that he wrote all of them in simplified characters.

520: “Ding, The host’s behavior deviates from the original. Deducting 150 hero points. There are 4,750 hero points remaining.”

Ye Huai: “Can you not add fuel to the fire?”

520: “Don’t you think that it’s surprising? Great, Host!”

Ye Huai: “……” Show me where you are excited about!

“This worthless commoner thinks that it is advantageous to writing efficiency so it simplifies the strokes on the article.” Ye Huai summoned up his courage to explain that. Zhao Changyu’s eyes were too sharp and full of murderous intent. It’s just like the teaching director of his school.

Fortunately, when writing the article, there are no punctuations[2]. Otherwise, is it necessary to say that in order to facilitate the examination of the teacher, so he specifically broke the sentence?

It’s really taking the people into consideration!

“I heard that Gu xiansheng completed the examination in half of the time. I originally didn’t believe it. It turned out that it was the merit of these variant characters!” Zhao Yurong said, “Father Emperor, Gu xiansheng is very interesting. This daughter likes him. Can you give him a job to tell a story to me every day?”

When Ye Huai heard this, he felt that the butcher’s knife is about to fall on his head. Great princess ah, if you say that, won’t your dreadful father get jealous?

Zhao Changyu showed an indulging smile and said to his daughter, “Chen Yan, pass down the imperial decree. Grant Gu Cheng Qi entrance to the Hanlin Academy.”

Chen Yan knelt in an instant. This absolutely does not conform to the rules!

“Why aren’t you going?” Zhao Changyu did not hear Chen Yan’s answer for a long time and calmly reminded him.

Chen Yan quickly received the imperial decree and went out to handle it.

“Thank you, your majesty.” Ye Huai hesitated for a moment. He finally obediently bent his knee and bowed to Zhao Changyu.

“Don’t bother thanking Zhen.” Zhao Changyu said, however, “Your name will be removed from the list of those scholars who took the imperial examinations. And tomorrow, you begin by reporting to my study to copy scriptures for Zhen. You should learn the strokes well.”

Heavens! This emperor is worse than his obsessive-compulsive mother!

“If you want to hear the story, pass on the sentence to the palace and I’ll tell him to come to you.” Zhao Changyu faced Zhao Yurong to tell her that. When facing his daughter, he can be considered as gentle as water.

Ye Huai barely supported his expression until he left the palace. He hurriedly said goodbye to Zhao Yurong and went back to Drunken Pavillion’s kennel.

“Cheng Qi, I heard about it.” Jiang Yan heavily said after he entered the room.

Brother, can you stop looking at me like I am going to die? Ye Huai put up the official clothes in his hand. A small eunuch just came and sent to him the robes. And made him report tomorrow morning.

“Cheng Qi, accompanying one’s sovereign can be like accompanying a tiger. Have you considered it well?” Ye Huai had been exempted from the imperial examination qualifications. But the news about him being conferred to become an official had spread out inside and outside of a long time ago. Directly granting an official title without going through the exam, this is an honor better than being the Imperial examination champion. But then again, the imperial order made it so that he can enter the Imperial Hanlin Academy by making him a ninth ranking official. The top three candidates who passed the imperial examination are arranged to the seventh ranking official at the lowest.

“Jiang Xiong, I don’t have a conjecture of his Majesty’s intentions. I also can’t change his meaning.” Ye Huai put down the official robes. His eyebrows show sorrow but his mouth is rising, “Tomorrow, I will begin entering the palace.”

“Cheng Qi.” Jiang Hao paused. He apparently doesn’t know what to say nevertheless, he finally added a sentence, ”Although you didn’t pass brilliantly, in any case, you have received an official position. If you cannot forget Hua Lingling, would it be better to try again?

Ye Huai smiling expression froze. This Jiang Hao looks quite normal. How can he have problems with his brain?

Jiang Hao looked at Ye Huai’s expression and thinking that he hit the mark, he hardened his heart. He stated, “As an older brother, I watched you grow up. I’ve always treated you like my real brother. You had once tried to dive to your death for Hua Lingling. I think that it is very heartfelt. Since you’ve got a trump card, why not try again?”

After Jiang Hao said these words, he patted his shoulders and went out of the door to leave Ye Huai some space to consider his words.

Ye Huai stood blankly at the same place. He said in his mind, “Xiao Lingling, I really don’t like Hua Lingling, you have to believe me!”

520: “Yes, I believe you but there is some random usefulness.”

Ye Huai: “Don’t think about it. I’ll take a bath and sleep.  Tomorrow, I need to report early or else it will simply demand my life.”

A dreamless night, Ye Huai slept very soundly. The next day, he wore the official clothes and set out from the west side of the city. Together with other officials, he waited outside the palace until the time to enter in ranking order. Officials like Ye Huai, even if they entered the imperial court, they stand at the very end, neither speaking nor seeing the emperor.

However, when Ye Huai looked around curiously in the crowd, Chen Yan approached him while smiling as fresh as daisies. Many officials knew him and went to greet him. They respectfully called him Chen Gonggong(eunuch) and then followed his pace with their eyes to Ye Huai’s body.

When Chen Yan finally walked to Ye Huai, most of the eyes in the palace square were concentrated on Ye Huai’s body.

“To attend to the imperial order.” Chen Yan paused then made a respectful posture, “His Majesty has an imperial order, please stand at the forefront. It is more suitable to present a memorial to the emperor.”

At the forefront? Ye Huai looked at the two men standing nearest to the Palace gate. Their robes are embroidered with different specifications of the dragon. One of them is Prince Qin and the other is the crown prince. Can a ninth low ranking official like him stand next to them? Did the emperor find that there was a target missing when he was practicing archery?

In the end, Ye Huai was arranged by Chen Yan to stand side by side with Prince Qin and the Crown Prince. This position is like the first row in the university class. It’s obviously the genius’ seat but it is hard for him to slack off.  Ye Huai is maintaining the smile on his face but his mind is on the verge of collapsing.

What about the agreement of not needing to speak in morning court?

What about the agreement that as long as you maintain courtesy, you can quietly stand at the end?

And what about the agreement of being a ninth ranking official?

Zhao Changyu, what do you want to do!?

Ye Huai just stood up to go and he received countless “friendly” sights. After all of this, everyone knows Ye Huai. They also know that this is the rumored candidate who was removed from the list of candidates and is the only exempted gongshi.

The mind of the superiors[3] of officialdom is more than anything else. And all the people are invariably guessing at the same time. What is in their boss’ mind? Saying that he regards this man as valuable, but he only gave a ninth ranking official title. Saying that he is unimportant, but he made Chen Yan specifically come and arranged for him to stand just a little behind the Prince. He was supposed to stand at the back. If the emperor really asked him, he will also ask him to enter the palace hall. Ask him again later.

Today, it lets them feel very puzzled. For a while, no one dared to come forward.

“Are you Gu Cheng Qi xiansheng?” However, when everyone is unmoving and quietly watching him, Prince Zhao Qifeng opened his mouth, “I heard older sister mention you.”

“Your Highness, crown prince.” Ye Huai didn’t kneel down but he bent low and bowed. The officials behind them issued sounds of disapproval. The Prince didn’t mind it instead he helped him stand straight and asked him to rise.

“Elder sister said that Gu xiansheng has a vast amount of knowledge and can tell many interesting stories.” The Crown Prince said. “This prince is also interested in these. If xiansheng is free, why not tell me some?”

“Can xiansheng tell a story?” Ye Huai still hasn’t replied yet when Qin Wang came to also join hands, “It’s just right. This prince had also gone to many places. Let’s meet in the future to compare and see who has more interesting stories.” When Prince Qin finished saying this, he smiled.

“Your highness crown prince praised me too much. However, I only have read a few books. It’s not as much as Prince Qin. I don’t dare to show off.” Ye Huai was genuinely modest about it.

The crown prince and Prince Qin once again persuaded him with a few words. The time has finally come. Ye Huai followed the two men in front of the group and crossed the palace gate to the main hall.

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[1] zhongshi – passer of the provincial imperial examinations.

[2] no punctuations – Ancient chinese writing don’t use punctuations.

[3] superiors – I think the superior or boss may be pertaining to the emperor himself.

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8 thoughts on “SSTWT 19

  1. I can see them just going back and forth about this forever…
    “No, no, my stories are worth nothing compared to the Prince’s…”
    “Don’t be so humble, we’re all scholarly men, I insist, please, go ahead.”
    “How could I dare to? Your highness would naturally have much more fascinating tales to tell.”
    Me: … ahhh, just tell them already!!

    Liked by 2 people

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