Sending away a total of seven people, including Jiang Yan and Shen Guangzuo, two days later, other male concubines also came to Chu Yu one after another, spilling out all of Huan Yuan’s plans. They also received what they wanted: freedom and future.
As for who to recommend who to specifically, due to Chu Yu being unfamiliar with her surroundings, she could only give these matters into Rong Zhi’s hands, letting him take over completely.
Although Chu Yu still didn’t trust Rong Zhi entirely, in such a completely unfamiliar world, if she didn’t borrow others’ strength, she would only be able to fly around like a fly without a head.
Some male concubines were satisfied with just leaving, but others weren’t. They didn’t forget to tell on others before leaving, such as tattling to her who who who what day what hour said what bad things about the princess; but those things went in from Chu Yu’s left ear and went out from her right. She smiled as she nodded, but forgot all about them once she turned around.
She didn’t know if three women could form a show, but she did witness how three men formed a show. If she really had the patience to sort through all these confusing relationships, she didn’t know how much time she would spend on it. Better to just not pay attention to any of it, and cut through the mess cleanly.
In only a few days, almost everyone had gone. Except those that couldn’t be sent away, those that didn’t want to be sent away, and those that had no place to be sent to, from the original male concubines of more than twenty, only six were still living at the palace.
Even though being surrounded by a huge group of beautiful men everyday was very pleasing, after looking at them for a long time, Chu Yu would still feel dazed. Not to mention that most of them weren’t staying here because they were really willing to, so if they were kept here together for long, trouble would be unavoidable. Although she killed Huan Yuan’s matter in its cradle, she couldn’t be sure that some Zhang Yuan or Li Yuan wouldn’t hop out some time in the future. Better to send all of them away as soon as possible. She would also be very conveniently doing them a favor, so they would have gratitude in their hearts later.
Chu Yu knew, that if she was the Princess of Shanyin from before, she would definitely not be as unable to maintain authority as she is now. But the prestige of the Princess of Shanyin was basically built up by severe methods, and she couldn’t harden her own heart to imitate that. So she could only be the Chu Yu from more than a thousand years later, and use her own methods.
Although Chu Yu had originally wanted to send all of them away, in the end, she still unexpectedly kept six people.
The twelve-year-old boy she saw at the banquet the other day was named Baili Liusang. He was the one that didn’t have anywhere to be sent to. After all, he was only a twelve-year-old boy, and even if he was talented, his abilities were still limited. And when the Princess of Shanyin met Liusang at first, his father and mother had already been killed by robbers. If she sent Liusang out of the palace now, he would have nowhere to go.
As for Liu Se and Mo Xiang, even though they had the chance to leave the palace, both rejected it and expressed that they were definitely going to follow beside Chu Yu, even beginning to do the first crying then fussing and at last threatening to suicide trick. About these two, Liu Se came from a very poor family, and because he heard that the Princess of Shanyin loved pretty men, he took the courage to “ambush” at a spot where the Princess of Shanyin often visited. Therefore he was taken into the palace. As for Mo Xiang, he was the toy sent to the Princess of Shanyin by some other noble. Supposedly his family had committed a great crime and had all been executed.
One of the two cried that if he was chased out he wouldn’t be able to live, while the other teared up and accused Chu Yu of calling him Little Xiangxiang1 before and now was kicking him out. At the same time, one was going to hang himself while the other threw himself into the river, as if they had arranged all of it beforehand. How could Chu Yu not know that they were only putting on a show! She had seen these methods way too many times on TV, so she had thought of hardening her heart and chasing the two out anyway, but then worried about them trying too hard to commit suicide, and accidentally really kill themselves some day. So she could only keep them.
She just couldn’t make herself do it.
Another was called Hua Cuo. He was the male concubine that was sick and so didn’t attend any of the two banquets. But different from Huan Yuan’s claim of illness, Hua Cuo was really sick and couldn’t get out of bed. His survival depended entirely on the excellent medicine and doctors at the Princess’ Palace, therefore Chu Yu couldn’t send him away just like that either.
As for Huan Yuan…… Chu Yu was very conflicted over this person. Only after reading his information did Chu Yu know, that Huan Yuan’s forefathers, the Huan family, was originally a powerful noble clan too. But several decades ago, because the head of the Huan family revolted, the Princess’ of Shanyin’s forefather Liu Yu found a chance and killed him. And the members of the Huan family who didn’t participate in the revolt were placed under house arrest, and one after another killed over the decades. Leaving Huan Yuan as their only bloodline.
Two years ago, the Princess of Shanyin saw Huan Yuan by chance, and fell for him. So she thought of many ways and finally moved Huan Yuan into her palace secretly. As for whether Huan Yuan was willing or not, she didn’t care.
Judging from this layer of relationship, Chu Yu’s forefathers were the enemies of Huan Yuan that killed his family and murdered his entire clan. It had always been said that one and the killer of one’s father could never live under the same skies; and now Chu Yu’s family was the killer of his father, the killer of his mother, and the killer of his every family member. The reason why Huan Yuan didn’t stab her with a knife was because he was enduring this humiliation, not because the hatred wasn’t there anymore.
But the interesting thing was, as the descendant of a sinner, although Huan Yuan hated the Princess of Shanyin, he still needed to rely on the princess’ power to preserve his own safety.
And the last person was Rong Zhi.
Chu Yu had asked him before whether he wanted to leave or not, but Rong Zhi didn’t answer, just smiled and recited the song “Feng Qiu Huang”2 . His tone was so gentle, that Chu Yu’s heart beat faster and her cheeks grew hot, that she felt embarrassed and didn’t ask again.
How was the life of a princess like?
As a princess, she neither needed to care about the country or the commoners, nor did she need to worry about foreign enemies or internal revolts. She had food, had drink, had shelter, had land, had power, had prestige, and beautiful men in addition to all that, so no wonder the Princess of Shanyin was so bored that she spent the most of her youth on the big and magnificent bed in her bedroom.
Now that she had already came into this body, no need to think about it, the Princess of Shanyin was probably already dead. Chu Yu didn’t care about how she died, just that, since she inherited the Princess on Shanyin’s body, then naturally, besides eating, drinking, whoring, and gambling…… Uh, maybe not whoring, but besides eating, drinking, and gambling, she should use her vision from more than a thousand years later to discover some new things for her to have fun with. Or else, in this time without computers, life would be lifeless and lacking fun.
Spending some time to study the Princess of Shanyin’s handwriting, Chu Yu discovered that the Princess of Shanyin had always wrote in semi-cursive script. Her handwriting was very pretty, so it would very difficult to imitate it in a short time. After thinking about it again and again, Chu Yu decided to practice clerical script. Starting from the beginning, so no one could point out the difference in their handwritings.
Spending two to three days, Chu Yu was able to make her neglected handwriting look like words again. Seeing that it can now be used to fool others, though barely, Chu Yu was too lazy to make things fine or perfect, and began to execute the main task of the princess: having fun.
Staying at home was boring; all she could do was eat and drink. Now she was already bored enough to use luminous pearls as pinballs. If she let things progress themselves like this, she would probably follow the examples of ancient people and tear silk to listen to the sound of it. So very soon, Chu Yu extended her gaze to outside the Princess’ Palace.
The city that Chu Yu was now in was called Jiankang, but in the time span of more than a thousand years afterwards, it’s name would be changed to Jinling, and at last — Nanjing.
The thousand year old ancient capital Nanjing; this city concentrated too much flourishes and glory, too much chaos and vicissitudes, thicker and heavier than could be imagined. Reborn in ancient times, and reborn in just this time and this place; if she didn’t tour this place seriously, she would be letting down heavens’ goodwill.
Now that she decided to go play, Chu Yu naturally had her own rules. If a whole crowd of guards followed behind, and she shopped around the streets with people both before and after her, what fun would that be? The only benefit of that would be if they saw some nice, handsome boy it would be easy to kidnap him. But now Chu Yu didn’t have this hobby, so she didn’t need that at all.
She had just cleared up a batch at home; even the six left gave her a headache. After all, she wasn’t the Princess of Shanyin; she didn’t have such a big appetite.
Chu Yu also didn’t want to attract too much attention on the streets, so the best solution was to disguise herself. She put on men’s clothes, and cut her hair shorter and tied it up, transforming into a beautiful youth.
Her appearance was originally delicate and pretty, so even if she were disguised as a male, she still stood out as good-looking.
The two sneaked out from the back door of the Princess’ Palace. Passing through a remote alley, they came to a busy street.
Stores filled both sides of the street, flags fluttered in the wind, and tall willows were planted in front of some people’s doors. It was springtime now, and when a warm breeze blew, catkins flowed with them in the air. Some landed on Chu Yu; Chu Yu picked the catkin up, and tossed it away after observing it carefully. Although this catkin was the same as that in the Princess’ Palace and that from more than a thousand years later, Chu Yu still couldn’t help but feel elated.
As she walked, Chu Yu realized that many people were gazing at her with intense gazes. At first, it was only some young girls about sixteen or seventeen. She didn’t think much about it. But later it expanded to eighty percent of the people on the streets looking at her, pointing at her, and whispering to each other at the same time.
She had never met such a situation before. Chu Yu was a little alarmed. Why were all these people looking at her? Chu Yu did think she was kinda handsome in men’s clothes, but it wasn’t up to the point where she could charm people like this. So why was she being stared at?
Was it because they could tell that she’s a girl?
Chu Yu stopped her steps, walked towards a commoner girl closest to her, and asked: “Why are you all looking……” Before she could finish her words, the young girl shrieked, raised her hand to pull out the fabric flower clipped in her hair, and threw it towards Chu Yu.
Chu Yu felt her heart shudder, immediately backing up: “What are you doing?” Did she look so much like a bestial sexual predator? That even a young girl would throw things at her to prevent her from approaching? But if she was throwing things for self-defense, shouldn’t she throw something more lethal?
Furthermore, she had looked at her own face in a basin of water before. She had thought that her appearance was pretty presentable……
After the young girl’s actions, a terrifying thing happened. All the men and women around Chu Yu took out things: some had flowers, some had wickers, some had unripened melons and fruits, and someone even had a small Chinese cabbage……
All of them were thrown towards Chu Yu.
This word suddenly surfaced in Chu Yu’s mind. She instinctively pulled on Yue Jiefei, covered her head, and started running.
Things were already like this. If she stayed where she was to be attacked by the people, then she would be an idiot!
Although Chu Yu could absolutely order Yue Jiefei to beat up those people or even chase them off, she wasn’t the Princess of Shanyin after all. As a young girl born in a free and equal society, she had no disdainful attitude of seeing the commoners as lowly ants. Meeting such a situation, her first reaction was not to “beat the crap out of these lowly ants for I, the Princess”, but to not know what to do and therefore running away.
After a few steps, Chu Yu turned back to look, and her face went pale. The people that were throwing things at her not only didn’t leave off with just throwing, they actually all started chasing her. And at the same time yelling.
Chu Yu had never seen such a parade. Her thoughts were tangled in a mess, so she didn’t notice what their were yelling at all. She only wanted to escape quickly, so she pulled on Yue Jiefei and ran even faster.
These people were basically a violent mob! Even if, even if she looked like a bestial sexual predator, they still didn’t need to chase her down and kill her, right?
But the faster Chu Yu ran, the more energetically those people chased. At first it was just about a dozen people chasing behind Chu Yu, but after each street she ran through, more people would be added to behind her. In the end, it even turned into a hundred people crowd!
Chu Yu and Yue Jiefei were racing madly in front, while more than a hundred people were chasing madly behind them. What a mighty and spectacular scene!
1. Little Xiangxiang: 小香香. In Chinese, when one word in a name (most usually the last word) is repeated as one’s nickname, it shows affection and closeness. Can also have a meaning similar to that of “sweetheart” or “darling” because 香/xiang is basically “sweet-smelling”.↩
2. “Feng Qiu Huang”: 凤求凰, song/music piece played on a Chinese zither that also had lyrics. Literal meaning “phoenix searching for phoenix”, and is pronounced the same way as the original title of this novel, 凤囚凰, whose literal meaning is “phoenix imprisoning phoenix”.↩