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Other thoughts arose in Jing Qi’s mind for none other than the sole reason of Helian Zhao’s righteously-spoken set of words in Court; first, he lauded Helian Pei’s military and literary skill, then urged this old man of his that couldn’t do goddamn anything to lead his troops into battle in person, putting it under the glorious name of remedying the army’s low morale.
Helian Zhao and Helian Pei one-hundred-percent resembled the concept of striving to accomplish extraordinary feats, actually looking like flesh and blood kin, which was rare. Whether it was Helian Zhao himself or the group of confidants under him, someone had managed to get the hint, resulting in Helian Pei getting flattered into arrogance.
Naturally, there were people that intensely opposed this, stating that precious progeny could not even exist in an area of danger, so how could the Emperor endanger himself? Moreover, Helian Zhao’s intentions were known to everyone on the streets — excluding his old father, Helian Pei.
Helian Pei thus mulled this over. Thinking himself to be very important, he withdrew from Court in order to go talk it over.
The Vakurahs had created trouble in the previous lifetime, too, after which they went to war and got suppressed, purely being the loud sound of wind with very little rain falling. There was a clamor for the greater half of a year, and then everyone respectively went to do what they ought to be doing.
However, Jing Qi was aware that there were some areas of difference. An example was that, compared to his memories, this unrest came to be much earlier, and much more suddenly.
This was why he had no plan of action.
Nine cities successively lost in a month, the Vakurah entering a no-mans-land — that hadn’t ever happened before, either.
The Dynasty was quarreling chaotically, and he was ruminating mentally.
Helian Zhao was clearly wanting to avail himself of the conflict to put his not-dead-yet Father Emperor to death. The next manner of business was, in his view, likely very easy — for instance, once the old Emperor died, he believed that he would grasp some military powers, and those powers would, in the name of pacifying the insurgency, continue to expand, after which he could rebel out in the open.
No matter how tremendous the Crown Prince was, no matter how much backing he received from major Dynasty officials — that flock of old men had skills in lips and minds, but what real power was there?
Real power had to be fought for using real swords and spears.
Helian Zhao had been suppressed down low by the Crown Prince these years due to the latter having a handle on him. Back in the day, if the Guangs affair had been displayed before the old Emperor, his following fate would likely be even more tragic than that of the one that had entered the Imperial Clan Court. But, if the Emperor tactfully moved to the underworld for his retirement, who would then care if he revolted?
The Crown Prince was a dependable person, so he naturally refused to allow such a huge risk, opposing it at all costs.
How old Helian Pei was, and how many catties he weighed, was something only he himself didn’t understand. Everyone knew well that, were he to go out, he probably wouldn’t really be able to return. At the time that no tigers were on the mountain, the lone monkey that was Helian Zhao would be named tyrant, even though there was going to be a mass of chaos. However…
Was wearing down Helian Zhao like that possible?
Jing Qi was somewhat weary of such a life. Even if Helian Yi genuinely succeeded the throne, then disallowed him from departing the capital, he would, at the maximum, not have that open-world freedom, and, at the minimum, wouldn’t be made to return to dreams every midnight anymore, where his head was filled with these vulgar matters of contending for power, making for a peaceful life.
The citizens of the Great Qing also had hope.
Speaking of caution, he dreaded being more overhead than Helian Yi, lest one step caused a branch off into trouble. Having Liang Jiuxiao’s lesson from last time, he almost thought to think through every single person and every single event; yet, the momentum of a foreign race’s iron hooves coming southwards could not be stopped, and the time remaining for him was getting lesser and lesser, the argument in Court getting intenser and intenser.
For several successive days, he would leave morning Court to go to the East Palace, sometimes only coming back at nightfall, and would lie down to sleep on his return, regardless of whether the sky was bright or dark. Good politicians always made plans for the worst, so a day he got tied up was a day that he was situated within a pessimistic mindset.
In a few days’ time, he had gotten thinner. Consequently, Wu Xi, who had been waiting in the Prince Estate everyday to catch him yet everyday was unable to, couldn’t keep watching this, and straight-up asked someone to put a guest room in order, intending on staying put at the Estate. Ping An appeared to be simple and honest, but he was ultimately a bit more reasonable than Ashinlae and Nuahar’s lot. For such a long time, so many things occurred right under his nose, and the Shamanet’s intent was something he intrinsically knew of very clearly.
It was simply that he understood his own role, and the Master’s affairs were never to be interrupted.
Upon seeing him about to arrive at this moment, he took the initiative to tidy up a guest room that was extremely close to Jing Qi’s bedroom, then explained once Jing Qi came back.
Jing Qi waved his hand. All his words having been exhausted from talking in the outside world, he was a bit disinterested in talking upon his return, and simply replied, “Don’t neglect him.”
Ping An then knew that this was his Master tacitly agreeing to the Shamanet’s approach. At the beginning, he felt that the Shamanet’s thoughts were something of a pipe dream; Nanjiang couldn’t possibly be any further away, and it was impossible for him to remain in the Great Qing, since even if he wanted to, the country wouldn’t dare to let him. Also, what sort of person was his Master? Even though he had casually admitted to the Emperor that he was fond of men, and he dawdled in Yellow Flower when he had free time out of fear that others didn’t know that he was behaving improperly, he was still a Prince of the Great Qing. Keeping some gorgeous pets and messing around was fine, but following a foreigner to leave his homeland for somewhere faraway was unreasonable.
Even so, over these several years, Ping An had observed him with a cool eye. At the onset, he thought the Shamanet to be a bit thoughtless, uncommunicative, and thoroughly malicious-feeling when he did things, which was really grotesque. But, slowly, the other had grown — though he still didn’t speak too much to strangers, he had truly been ripened by this foreign land, no longer being that obstinate youth that didn’t know the immensity of the heavens.
The properties Ping An had purchased outside on behalf of the Prince Estate had already gotten quite hefty over the years, and he had extracted the majority of the Estate’s assets outwards without even spirits knowing about it. He was thinking that, if the Prince was truly willing, and truly had the heart to, leaving the capital wasn’t an impossibility.
In any case, the Shamanet was the most reliable person he had ever seen. Whether he was a man or a woman didn’t matter; at the very least, he was someone keeping the Prince company, so he would never be too lonely.
Ping An thought wholeheartedly about Jing Qi. Though he had the capability, his mind didn’t have many twists and turns to it; all he knew was that he was the Prince’s servant, his Master was good, and he was living his life delightfully.
It was still bright outside. Before the hour for dinner to be sent out came, Jing Qi instructed all in the Estate to dine by themselves, and for no one to come bother him. Thus, he hastily tidied himself up and shut his eyes in rest as he laid upon the couch. Right when he was half-asleep, he heard someone speaking in a hushed voice outside the door, and a minute after, that door was pushed open from the outside. He slightly lifted his eyelids to see that it was Wu Xi, and only then did he remember that he was already in the Estate.
He sat up, rubbing his eyes as he smiled. “Is the Shamanet Estate broke, and you’ve come to borrow money?”
Wu Xi voluntarily sat down at the side. “Ping An said that your health was poor recently. I’m here so I can help take care of you.”
The ‘getting taken care of’ Jing Qi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Okay, you can stay then. It just so happens that it’s chaos out there; tell your people not to always be running off outside. You’ll be able to go back to your own territory with a talk’s worth of effort, so don’t grow a new branch out of a knot at this critical juncture.”
Wu Xi nodded. Jing Qi bringing up the matter of his imminent departure gave him an extraordinary amount of words that he wanted to say, but he couldn’t express them. He knew that taking Jing Qi away was unrealistic, and he needed to discuss terms with the Great Qing, as well as wait until he returned to Nanjiang to spread his wings out fully before he could act. For that reason, he wanted to take advantage of the time he was in the capital to see him more.
He sometimes thought himself to be unable to speak well, and unable to incur fondness in people. Before, he had the mind that he needed to slowly pursue Jing Qi, but now, he was afraid that here wasn’t any time left to do that, which was upsetting.
Jing Qi had promised that if he left the capital later on, he would go look for him in Nanjiang; after that day of happiness, though, he felt alarmed once more. He feared that the other might forget, or might come to like someone else in that very long timeframe, and as soon as all the things that followed came to mind, it felt like someone was prodding his heart with a small knife.
However, even with the myriad of thoughts in his mind, he said only one single phrase after firmly composing himself: “Have you eaten anything yet?”
Jing Qi yawned. He had gone to morning Court before daybreak’s light, stood there plotting in a whirl while simultaneously listening to heroes of every path war with their words in Court, then got dragged into the East Palace by the Crown Prince afterwards. Helian Yi wouldn’t go so far as to starve them, but how could anyone still be in the mood to eat right now with all the dark clouds pressing down on the royal capital’s walls?
He had run east and sped west for the whole day, and at this moment, he felt like all his limbs were numb, so he made a half-assed noise. “Mn.”
Ping An spoke up from the doorway, however. “Master quickly had a couple bites of thin congee at dawn, then left. After he came back from a whole day out, he drank half a cup of tea, but didn’t call for dinner to be brought to him.”
Jing Qi laughed. “Why on earth are you defaming your superior again?”
Noticing that he was truly worn-out along with a quite poor complexion, Wu Xi took his pulse. His brows furrowed for an instant, and then he took out a brush and paper, wrote down a prescription, and handed it over to Ping An. “He normally analyzes things heavily, and he hasn’t been eating regularly these days, so his qi and blood are insufficient, and he has no energy. This is for use in nursing health; get someone to decoct it and remember to have him take it on schedule.”
Ping An hurriedly accepted it.
“If one wants to be healthy and energetic, they can’t ruin their routine,” Wu Xi said to Jing Qi again. “When you should be eating, you can’t go hungry. When it’s not the hour for closing your eyes, you can’t be sleeping all the time, either. You claim this is a rest, but once you close your eyes, it’ll likely last until midnight. If midnight passes and you’re tired but can’t sleep, that’s even worse. If you eat something when you get up, you won’t be half-unconscious.”
Jing Qi nodded. “Mm, makes sense.”
His mouth said that it made sense, but that didn’t mean at all that he was going to get off the couch. Wu Xi knew that this gentleman was the model of ‘accepting ideas humbly, but not repenting even in death’, so he was too lazy to jabber with him, turning around and leaving. A short while later, he personally brought in a bowl of steam-emitting congee. Ping An jumped in fright, rushing to go take it. “How could you be the one to get that? This slave—“
“You can go do you your work,” Wu Xi said. “I’ll watch him eat.”
Ping An was taken aback for a moment, a subtle emotion suddenly rising in him. He felt that, after worrying about this lazy-manager-esque Master of theirs for more than ten years, he now finally had a backbone-like Master that was honorable and kept to his words. Hence, utterly touched, he considerately withdrew, closing the door upon his departure.
Wu Xi held the bowl, blew on it to cool, then brought the spoon up to Jing Qi’s mouth, wordlessly and motionlessly waiting for him to open it. Jing Qi’s appetite had never been great, and when he had no energy, he was even more disinclined to eat anything. “I’m not hungry right now,” he said, exercising patience.
“Eat at this exact time every single day, and you’ll naturally get used to it and get hungry.”
Jing Qi wasn’t even tired anymore because of his disturbance, so he said exasperatedly, “I seriously…”
Wu Xi held the bowl and grasped the spoon, watching him silently.
Having grown this big, Jing Qi was always doing whatever he wanted; never had someone compelled him like this before. Going by the norm, he thought that he ought to be unhappy, but for some reason, he instead couldn’t get mad at him. He had a staring match with him for a short while, then ended up conceding defeat under his opponent’s persistence. With a sigh, he got up and took the little porcelain bowl and spoon.
On the inside, he simply couldn’t figure out what special ability this little toxin had, to make him repeatedly make exceptions because of him.
The translator says: *ping an voice* finally, someone will take care of my boy