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  • Chapter 8
    作者:Su Manling      更新:2024-01-06 10:43      字數:1047
        My husband was bestowed the title of Highest of Xiangdong, General Ningyuan, Satrap of Kuaiji, in the thirteenth year of Tianjian. Later, he was conferred as Waitress and General Xuanwei. Of the eight sons of the emperor, he was the most outstanding. Though I had only been married to him for a short time, I could feel the underlying conflicts in the big royal family. Anyway, I resolved to stand by his side. My only hope from now on was to live out my days with him.

        Xiao Yi’s memorial was about our marriage and my situation in the new home; he asked for a greeting at the palace. Though he was one of the princes, he had to write a memorial and get permission before we could go to the palace. I had myself well made-up and followed him to the palace in Taicheng.

        The Capital City Jiankang had three layers. In the middle was Taicheng, where the emperor’s palace was built. The west was Sitoucheng, the camp of the emperor’s Bodyguards, and the east was Dongfucheng, where the mansions of the officers were located.

        I was a little nervous to see the emperor for the first time of my life. Xiao Yi comforted me, saying, “My father is a kind person; he treats everyone nicely. No need to worry.”

        I knew that our dynasty was historically Buddhist. From the emperor to his concubines, from the officers to the normal civilians, almost everybody believed in Buddha. The emperor had mentioned his belief before ascending to the throne.

        “I am afraid that he is too kind to everybody. I heard that he could even forgive the sin of rebellion.”I did not know why I said this, but when I finished, I regretted it.

        Xiao Yi stared at me as he scolded, “Don’t you say those silly words when you see him later.”

        “Silly? Xiao Zhengde is an ambitious one, even the children of civilian families know the truth, and yet your father tolerates him.”

        Xiao Yi’s face turned serious and he warned me, “Pei, remember, don’t talk about this.”

        “Okay,forget it.”I changed to another topic, lowering my voice.“I heard that the poor people all went to temples. Now the country has to support more than two million of them. What if nobody goes to work, but instead become monks and nuns? How could our country sustain itself?”

        “You think too much.”He smiled and patted my head with affection.

        “Qifu, your face looked so ugly when you were angry, like the door-guarding god.”

        He could not help laughing aloud. “I have no way to fix you.”

        I was so happy when with him.

        When we arrived at the door of the palace, a vision suddenly came to my mind; the door was tainted with blood, and its wood had been slashed and pierced with blades and arrows. I panicked when I saw this vision. This south Zhuque Gate was the most important gate of the palace, and it was named after a red bird of fortune. In any case, this vision was not auspicious. The big door was like a vortex, as if it would swallow me in the next moment.

        When he saw my face turn pale, he asked me with care, “Is anything wrong? Are you uncomfortable?”

        I shook my head and tried to smile. “Nothing’s wrong. Maybe I’m a little tired.”

        Our father was a kind-looking old man with white hair. I’d admired him since I was a little girl. He was a good emperor, good at both societal and military issues, hardworking and thrifty, and caring about the people. He and seven friends formed a literary group named the Jingling Eight, and they’d created a new form of literature. My husband loved collecting books; I had seen 200 books written by our father on his bookshelf, including “Q&As about Chunqiu,” “The Main Principles of Book of Documents,”“Talks about The Doctrine of Mean.”

        Our father is too old now, I thought, that’s why his ambition isn’t as strong as before. But he had done many good things for the country and its people, like encouraging the lifestyle of frugality, adding to the education budget, and so on. . .

        He was very happy to see us, the new couple, and gave us many gifts. But most of them were Buddhist scriptures. It looked like I should work hard on writing those scriptures.

        Then we went to the harem to greet the mother of the prince, the Precious Junior Concubine Ding, and Xiao Yi’s mother, The Virtuous Concubine Ruan. Ding was wearing some beautiful decorations of gold-made flowers and jade earrings. She was in control of the whole harem currently. But my mother was sighing right now, which made me upset.

        My heart was sinking. The happiness from just moments ago with the father dissipated.

        I heard the mother of the prince comforting my mother, saying, “Sister, why are you like this? Today is a happy day; your son has been married. You should be happy.”

        My mother was still unhappy and unsatisfied. “I have believed in the Buddha for so many years, hoping only for my son to be safe all his life. But this . . . this one even the heaven has furies with. How could this have happened to me?”

        “Greetings to Precious Junior Concubine Ding, and greetings to my Mother Concubine.”I bowed down as if I hadn’t heard their conversation.

        “Look at her! What a beautiful and well-mannered one. The descendant of princesses are different from the others,”Ding praised me.

        My grandmother was Princess Kangle of the previous Qi Dynasty.

        But my Mother Concubine did not show anything good to me.

        Finally, she sighed and said to me, “You’d better take care of yourself. Do more good things to change your fate.”
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