Edited and Proofread by KitKat
Shu Guifei was the birth mother of the Third Prince and having entered the palace for many years, she was immensely favored by Emperor An Qing.
She hailed from the Shu family of Ding An, her brother being the General of Yuzou, Shu Lin Ting. Her maternal family was the Xue family of Yejing. The Xue clan was one of the six founding families of the Da Ye Empire. As such, her influence should not be underestimated. This had also given her an edge to stand against the Empress.
Before, when the third prince was still young, and Emperor An Qing was still a somewhat responsible monarch, Shu Guifei had to give way to the Empress. However, ten years later when her son was coming of age and Emperor An Qing was becoming muddle-headed, Shu Guifei’s ambitions had resurfaced.
As the Crown Prince’s position was becoming more stabilized, Shu Guifei had gotten impatient. Seeing Emperor An Qing’s obsession with the crazy Taoist, she hatched a plan and arranged for the appearance of this ‘Alchemist’. If it weren’t for Xiao Zhige’s scrutiny, her plot would’ve been seamless.
Nonetheless, Xiao Zhige had no intention to expose her. He had his scouts collect a sample of the pills that Emperor An Qing was taking and had it examined. The pill indeed contained valuable tonic ingredients that even the Imperial Physicians could find no fault with.
However, after sending Hu Shifei the list of ingredients, he simply wrote back: Highly potent concoction, not suitable for regular intake.
This tonic pill was indeed effective in energizing the body but if taken incessantly, the body would get used to this state and become dependent on the pills. Discontinuance in usage would reduce the body to a withered state, even worse than before taking this pill.
Furthermore, the pills lose their effectiveness with each dose. It would still be effective if taken for one to two months but, after that, the dosage had to be strengthened to achieve the same result. As such, the potency of this pill would only increase to the point that the body could no longer absorb, causing the meridians to burst out like a broken dam.
In any way, there was no upside to taking this pill.
As of now, Emperor An Qing was very fond of this Taoist master and had kept him by his side. It seemed it wouldn’t be long till he felt the destructive aftermath of this pill.
An Chang Qing bit his lip. He did not expect that the Emperor would die this soon in this life.
In his previous life, Emperor An Qing was bedridden for two years before he reached his end and called Xiao Zhige back to Yejing. This time, it happened too soon…
An Chang Qing looked at Xiao Zhige and wondered if there would be any repercussions to this acceleration.
In his previous life, the Crown Prince lost his virtue in the eyes of the court and was stripped of his title. The Third Prince was sent to subdue an uprising and was assassinated by the refugees. As a result, Emperor An Qing only had Xiao Zhige left to pass his throne to. This had caused countless rumors to spread, that the Crown Prince’s immoral acts were a setup by Xiao Zhige and the Third Prince had died by his hands… Even Emperor An Qing’s death was his doing.
With the suspicion of killing his brother and father, Xiao Zhige’s throne reeked of malfeasance.
An Chang Qing looked at Xiao Zhige with some heartache. He did not know how Xiao Zhige had managed it in his last life but in this life, he refused to let him bear this unwarranted reputation.
An Chang Qing asked softly, “When we return to Yejing… What does Wangye intend to do? Are you going to compete with the other princes for the throne?”
Xiao Zhige saw the concern in his eyes and said, “The Crown Prince and The Third Prince will fight this deathmatch by themselves. There is no need for me to interfere. Isn’t it better to sit by and reap the benefit as the two of them finish each other off?”
“But they might not allow us to stay on the sideline.”
Xiao Zhige nodded and smiled at him, “That’s why when father falls ill, we have to find a reason to delay our return to Yejing as long as possible.”
An Chang Qing understood his plan. He smiled and said, “So has Wangye come up with an excuse yet?”
“Not yet,” Xiao Zhige replied calmly and went on to tease An Chang Qing, “If Nuo Nuo can have my baby then we’ll have a solid reason for not returning.”
An Chang Qing froze momentarily before he reacted and kicked Xiao Zhige on the calf, “Wangye is becoming more and more unruly!” Especially since last night!
Xiao Zhige let An Chang Qing vent his anger and then held him in his arms. He wrapped his hands around his waist and repeated his question from before, “Nuo Nuo hasn’t let me know if last night was satis…” Before he could finish, An Chang Qing angrily blocked his mouth with his hand.
“It was very satisfying!” An Chang Qing answered with haste.
However, Xiao Zhige believed that An Chang Qing was only trying to make him happy. Although he liked it that his Wangfei was being considerate towards him, Xiao Zhige insisted that it was his duty to satisfy his spouse and secretly planned for tonight.
An Chang Qing was completely oblivious to Xiao Zhige’s dilemma. He pushed the man away and left to manage the manor.
Time flies when one is busy. In a flash it was evening.
When An Chang Qing had taken his bath and returned to the bedroom, he was pulled into bed by the fully-prepared Wangye. The initial grumble in reluctance gradually turned into sporadic moans…
This night, silhouettes could be seen merging in the dim moonlight as the bed continued to shake, all the way till the fifth hour of the night.
The next day, An Chang Qing could not get out of bed.
Xiao Zhige finally regained his confidence but watching An Chang Qing resting wearily against the bedrest, he felt some regret and heartache. He ordered Anfu to deliver An Chang Qing’s breakfast and went on to feed him attentively.
But An Chang Qing just stared at him and refused to open his mouth. He didn’t know what had gotten into Xiao Zhige last night. No matter how much he cried, the man would not let him off. Even now he could still feel his back aching.
Being stared at by An Chang Qing, Xiao Zhige’s smugness was replaced with a sense of guilt. He could only try his best to coax his Wangfei, “Nuo Nuo doesn’t like the porridge? I’ll have the kitchen make some chicken soup then.”
“There’s no need,” An Chang Qing took the bowl of porridge and took a sip, “My body is a little unwell. It’s uncomfortable to sleep with two people in bed. Sorry but can Wangye sleep in the study tonight?”
Xiao Zhige, “…”
At this point, even someone as dense as Xiao Zhige could tell that An Chang Qing was mad at him. Xiao Zhige was confused regarding the reason but seeing An Chang Qing’s sullen expression, he could only comply and dare not ask.
After he finished the porridge, An Chang Qing was feeling drowsy and went back to bed.
Xiao Zhige sat by his side till he was fully asleep. He covered him with a quilt and ordered Anfu to guard outside before leaving– there were still pressing matters waiting for him to resolve.
And so, on this day, the lieutenants who were eagerly expecting their General saw him come in with a dark and murderous look.
Xie Ling, who had always been sharp, quickly found an excuse and slipped away. Tie Hu saw him fleeing at the speed of light and immediately followed. Qi Wei was one step too late. He was caught by Xiao Zhige and dragged all the way to the fields in the suburbs.
It was now the month of May, the wheat that was planted some time ago had grown considerably. Under the hot sun, many farmers could be seen carrying buckets of water on their shoulders to irrigate the fields.
Qi Wei was trying to stay small and quiet like a baby quail. He did not know the reason why Xiao Zhige brought him here but intuitively, he knew that it was nothing good.
“The prolonged winter has delayed the harvesting to August. It’s likely that the crop yield will be poor this year.”
This matter had been discussed once after the war had ended. Qi Wei wasn’t sure why Xiao Zhige brought it up again but he dared not speak up and could only wait for Xiao Zhige to elaborate.
Sure enough, Xiao Zhige added, “The second half of this year will not be peaceful. We have to find ways to grow more crops for the people or else, things will get very difficult later on.”
According to An Chang Qing, the uprising which started in Suzhou would advance to the rest of the country. Based on Emperor An Qing’s nature, Xiao Zhige could practically guess his course of action. To suppress the uprising, he would need to mobilize the army. But sustaining the army required food and money. Now that the treasury was empty, where else could he get these resources other than the people?
It’d be great if the uprising could be pacified but, if not, the next two years would continue to be tough on the common people.
Yanzhou was Xiao Zhige’s main base; he had to be prepared and keep it strong.
Qi Wei was also concerned regarding this matter, “We’ve already planted whatever we could.”
Sadly, Yanzhou was a barren land with harsh climate and little water. It was difficult to grow anything here. The yield from one acre of plantation was much lower than that of the south. Any farming activity was only enough to feed their own family. In times of war or natural disaster, the people would starve if they depended solely on this harvest.
Although there were plans to change this over the years, the many battles against the Bedi people had halted any progress.
“Keep thinking,” Xiao Zhige said to him sternly. He gave him a serious look before turning away, “When you return, work with Xie Ling and gather the experienced farmers to discuss. We have to come up with a solution.”
Qi Wei nodded with a bitter face.
The Empress Dowager’s birthday fell on the 17th of May. On this day, Emperor An Qing proclaimed a general amnesty to celebrate.
Xiao Zhige sent back to Yejing the gift he had prepared and a letter begging for forgiveness for his absence due the current state of Yanzhou.
Although they did not see it with their own eyes, the report from the scout stated that the Empress Dowager’s birthday banquet was strikingly extravagant. And to please the Empress Dowager, nobles and dignitaries from all over the country had sent invaluable items as gifts.
The celebration was supposed to last nine days but on the fifth day, an emergency report was sent from Suzhou: the peasants of Kangyong county that shared a border with Bingzhou had revolted.
In half a month, their numbers had risen to nearly 10,000. They had overpowered the officials and soldiers of the areas along Sishui River.
This did not happen without a trigger.
The people of Suzhou had suffered much after the snow disaster due to the lack of aid from the imperial court. Houses were destroyed and lives were lost. It was hard enough for the survivors to get by with the little food they had managed to save but the court still demanded heavy taxes from them. Naturally, most commoners could not afford to pay this amount.
The tax collecting officials couldn’t care less for their circumstances. They resorted to violence when a farmer could not pay his tax and caused his death. This act angered the people and they hung the officials on a tree right outside the village entrance.
Knowing that they had committed a crime, the villagers decided that since they had nothing to lose anyway, they banded together and rebelled.
Similar events had been happening in other villages as well. However, the local magistrate did not take it seriously, sending out only a few men to suppress the insurgents. After several failed attempts, he realized the severity of this matter but by the time the report reached Yejing, half of the villages in Kanyong county had amalgamated with the rebellion.
8 thoughts on “TTBE 59”
A new unjust tax on top of the natural disaster and war. What else could it lead to, except a rebellion?
Thank you forthe chapter 💗
Thank you so much for your hard work! 💕💕💕
Double chapters, woooo🥳🥳🥳
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Just finished binged reading this story in two days and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Thank you for ur hard work in translating this story <3l
Thanks for the chapter!
Hope you’re well, welcome back.
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Sorry for the long break.
The last few months had been really hectic for me😥
Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed the two new chapters.
I’ll try my best to dish out at least 1 chapter a week but if not please be patient with me 🤞
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Do not worry everyone happens to us unforeseen but it is good that you are well and thanks for continuing with the translation, the truth was already missing them 🤗
Thank you so much for all that you do. I’m so grateful for your hard work. Please take care of yourself first….. this story is worth the wait ❤️🙏
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Welcome back! Thank you so much for sparing a bit of your time to translate. Don’t worry, for as long as you don’t drôle this wonderful story, we are all willing to wait however long needed. Wishing you well.
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