Walking around the screen blocking the entrance, a pretty but timid girl about fifteen or sixteen entered Chu Yu’s eyes. She was the person who called herself You Lan. The young girl named You Lan wore a light blue quju1 , carried a bronze basin, and was followed by two more girls. Each of the two other girls held a folded towel and followed behind You Lan with their heads bowed.
When You Lan walked in, she first glanced at Chu Yu carefully, then set the basin down on the six-footed basin rack by the wall.
Chu Yu stopped her from wetting the towel she took from the other two girls and ordered, “You two, go out…… You, You Lan, can stay.” Chu Yu felt weird trying to call out You Lan’s name in an experienced tone.
The two young girls dared not to dissent, bowed slightly then backed out the entrance slowly. Chu Yu instructed You Lan in a cold voice, “You, come over here, closer.”
A dash of uneasiness flashed across You Lan’s expression. She slowly moved to the bed and knelt down uprightly, afraid to infuriate Chu Yu.
The young girl’s fearful attitude comforted Chu Yu’s flustered heart. When facing the youth named Rong Zhi, his neither humble nor aggressive attitude made Chu Yu unable to grasp and control the situation. If she wanted to know who she was, where this is, the fastest way would be to inquire the people around her. But Chu Yu was a cautious and careful person. She knew that her questions might invoke suspicions, and Rong Zhi did not look like someone that could be easily fooled. Under comparison, the fearful and trepid You Lan would be a better target for interrogation.
Chu Yu never thought that she would have this day, when she was so scared and panicked that she needed to obtain courage and confidence from others’ fear. But the reality was so.
She needed courage, to help her face all this.
Calming down her emotions, Chu Yu smiled slightly, “You Lan, let me ask you, how old are you now?”
You Lan looked a bit scared. She answered timidly, “Reporting to the Princess, sixteen.”
Chu Yu pondered for a moment. “How long have you been here, serving me?”
Ingeniously guiding, asking about random subjects, after a while Chu Yu finally turned to the topic: “I’m going to ask you a few questions. If you answer them well, I will treat you well, but if you dare to lie me or fool me, then beware…… look at me when replying!” For the last sentence, she suddenly raised her voice, speaking in a cold tone. Deterrence.
Different people require different ways to deal with. Although scaring a girl younger than herself wasn’t nice, Chu Yu didn’t have the heart to care about that now.
The last shout made You Lan shudder in fear. She dared not protest, and raised her head timidly to look at Chu Yu, “Please ask, Princess.”
Seeing the effect she was attempting to achieve, Chu Yu softened her voice, and cut directly into the topic, “Who am I?”
You Lan stared back blankly, not understanding why Chu Yu would ask such a question, “You’re the Princess?”
Chu Yu cursed in her heart, you guys keep calling me Princess how could I not know that? She pointed out the important point: “What I’m asking is my name. I want you to say it out loud.”
You Lan immediately bowed down to the ground, “You Lan dare not say the Princess’s name out loud.”
Chu Yu replied lightly, “Say it, for I tell you to. I won’t punish you for this.” She was very anxious to know the answer, but had to pretend to be casual about it, not letting her anxiety show.
“Princess……” The voice was conflicted.
As You Lan hesitated, Chu Yu grew more and more impatient, finally exploding: “Say it!”
Chu Yu’s stern shout sent a tremble through You Lan. Still kneeling on the ground, she replied quickly: “Princess is named Liu Chuyu title Shanyin.”
The Princess of Shanyin, Liu Chuyu?!
In this length of one second, Chu Yu’s brain was blank. Even her eyes seemed to lose their sight for a moment.
The Princess of Shanyin…… Liu Chuyu?
In history, this person did exist. Chu Yu knew who Liu Chuyu was.
During this time period, there was Pan An, Wei Jie, Mu Rongchong, Du Guxin, Lanling King, Ji Kang, Wang Xizhi2 , and…… The Princess of Shanyin Liu Chuyu.
Most of the princesses in history only had titles but no names recorded. But the Princess of Shanyin Liu Chuyu, a princess born in the Song Kingdom of the Southern Dynasties, had her name passed from generation to generation, all the way down for more than a thousand years. It wasn’t anything nice though. The name of Liu Chuyu has been nailed to the pole of adultery more than a thousand years ago in disgrace.
The most famous deed of this princess was her words to her younger brother Liu Ziye when he became emperor. She told him, “Although your highness and I are different sexes, we are the children of the same father. Why can you sleep with so many different women, while I must be only with my husband? This is so unfair!”
Even though many women slept around privately in the dissolute court, nobody dared to openly ask the emperor for men like the Princess of Shanyin. Never before in history nor after in the future; this could only be called fierce! And extremely fierce!
Not even the daughter of the U.S. president dared do so, but more than a thousand years ago the Princess of Shanyin did. She not only did so, she did so “righteously”.
And after the younger brother Liu Ziye as emperor heard his elder sister’s words, he ridiculously thought it made sense. So he immediately corrected his “wrong ways” and painstakingly selected thirty handsome youths for her to enjoy.
For Chu Yu, the identity of the Princess of Shanyin was not the top priority. She even almost forgot the shame and humiliation moments ago. After she learned of the time period she was in from others’ mouths, her whole spirit began to shake, as if the entire world around her started to collapse.
More than a thousand years!
How frightening time can be!
This body wasn’t hers anymore, and the environment also underwent huge changes.
Maybe she should be satisfied, because when she should have been dead, life took such a turn to resurrect her. This life, could be said was totally by chance.
Her family her friends her everything are so far away now, far enough that even if Chu Yu used all her might to extend her arms, even extending until they broke, she still had no way of reaching the shadows of the twenty-first century, more than a thousand years later.
Father’s stern yet caring inquiries, mother’s loving rambles, brothers and sisters’ occasional contacts, friends’ happy expressions…… all gone.
What surging disaster.
So many loved ones and memories, cut mercilessly by the blade of time.
Pain overwhelmed her.
1. Quju: 曲裾, a type of traditional Chinese clothing.↩
2. Pan An, Wei Jie, Mu Rongchong, Du Guxin, Lanling King, Ji Kang, Wang Xizhi: 潘安, 卫玠, 慕容冲, 独孤信, 兰陵王, 嵇康, 王羲之; list of Chinese men in history, the first five were all famous for their handsome appearances.↩