After sending off Emperor Chu, Shen Fengyue finally had time to interrogate the system.
“Tell me, what happened? I’m talking about Yan Yan and Sanlang, what did you do to the old emperor?”
The system’s tone was tinged with fatigue, “First, I knocked him out, and then I fabricated a dream of spring for him, creating the illusion that he had a moment of intimacy with you. As for Yan Yan and Sanlang, it’s called bedroom fun. You know what I mean.”
F**king bedroom fun, just as Shen Fengyue was about to continue, the system yawned.
“I’m so tired. I’ve been tired all night. I’m going to rest now. Don’t bother me if there’s nothing else.”
The system went offline.
A week later, Shen Fengyue truly experienced the power of the system. He originally thought that this artificial idiot was just a free chat companion, but he didn’t expect that it had some serious skills hidden in secret.
That night’s performance was just the tip of the iceberg. In the week that followed, Emperor Chu was enchanted by the system’s bedroom skills, losing his mind and soul. He even went to Shen Fengyue’s room every night for a whole week.
Rewards poured into the palace like flowing water, leaving the women in the harem stunned and envious with red eyes. The Chu Emperor’s eyes toward Shen Fengyue became increasingly tender.
After a week, Shen Fengyue was promoted to the imperial concubine and given the Guangju Palace to reside in, all thanks to the system’s help.
Shen Fengyue was at a loss, looking confused.
“Guanguan, Jujiu, on the islet in the river. Graceful and virtuous lady, the gentleman loves you.”1It’s a line from a poem named “Guofeng·Zhounan·Guanju” The Chu Emperor embraced Shen Fengyue’s waist and looked at him, saying, “Yan Yan is a virtuous lady, and I am pleased with her.”
“This palace was specially built for Yan Yan, symbolizing our deep love for each other,” the Emperor Chu continued.
Shen Fengyue was still holding the imperial concubine’s seal in his hand, dressed in magnificent attire, standing with the Chu Emperor at the entrance of Guangju Palace, staring blankly at the grand hall before them.
In black and gold characters, four large characters were written in a lively and vigorous manner, “Guangju Palace.” It was likely written by the Chu Emperor himself.
The large vermilion gate was tightly closed, with golden patterns carved on it, and peach and plum trees planted on both sides.
It was summer, and the peach and plum trees were in full bloom, with many petals weighing down the branches. The fragrance of the flowers was carried by the breeze.
“Shall I show you, Yan Yan?” Emperor Chu took the precious concubine seal from his hand and handed it to Luo Xue to put it away, and then forcefully squeezed into the entrance with Shen Fengyue, interlocking his fingers tightly.
Two palace maids stepped forward and pulled the door handles to the left and right respectively, revealing the mysterious veil of the palace.
Walking inside the door, there was a spacious courtyard with flower beds on both sides, planted with various flowers and plants of different kinds. At first glance, it seemed as though half of the imperial garden had been moved inside.
In the middle were two jade-white large water basins, with lotus floating inside, and green leaves dotted with a touch of red. The red lotus was in full bloom, with small water droplets still clinging to the petals.
The main hall was unusually large, and it was accompanied by two side halls, both with front and back corridors and glazed tile roofs.
As they stepped into the main hall, Shen Fengyue and the Chu Emperor saw that the decoration was luxurious, with a variety of rare treasures and objects dazzling the eyes, making it difficult to know where to look.
The walls were tinged with a faint red color, and as soon as they entered the hall, they smelled a warm and fragrant scent.
Shen Fengyue asked, “What is this?”
The attendant Hong Mei respectfully replied, “In response to Your Majesty, the walls are coated with pepper and mud to create warmth, and fragrance which symbolize having many children.”
Shen Fengyue was surprised and asked, “This…”
“The favor of the imperial harem,” Emperor Chu smiled and took over his words.
Shen Fengyue was amazed. This system was really talented, even able to create a special favor for the imperial concubine.
“It’s hot in the summer, and the Emperor is afraid that the imperial concubine will feel uncomfortable, so he had the Inner Court send over five buckets of ice.” Eunuch Shen waved his hand, and several young eunuchs entered with five buckets of ice and placed them around the room.
The temperature in the room instantly dropped, becoming pleasantly cool like air conditioning.
The Emperor then pointed to a luxurious bed on the side and said, “I know you like to lie down, so I had a special bed made just for you.”
Following his gaze, Shen Fengyue gracefully leaned down on the bed and responded gently, “Sanlang’s heart, Yan Yan knows.”
Emperor Chu and his entourage left with satisfied expressions after being praised by Shen Fengyue. He patted Shen Fengyue’s hand affectionately and said he had other matters to attend to before leaving.
Shen Fengyue dismissed everyone, claiming that he needed some peace and quiet. As soon as everyone had left, he lay down on the bed and sighed.
“God, I can handle crossdressing, but having to act with that 50-year-old man every day is just too much!”
After a while, no one responded.
The system had been unusually silent lately, and Shen Fengyue sensed something was wrong. He tentatively asked, “System, are you okay?”
The system finally responded with a burst of laughter that caused its data to shake and tremble uncontrollably.
Shen Fengyue, “Wh-what’s wrong?”
The system sighed deeply, and then whispered, “I’ve gone crazy, how could I let you go?” After that, it burst into laughter, and then unilaterally cut off the connection and disappeared without a trace.
Shen Fengyue felt anxious.
After being flustered by the system’s words, he began to toss and turn on the bed, and finally couldn’t bear it and got up to go for a walk in the imperial garden to clear his mind.
“Your Highness…” Hong Mei and Luo Xue wanted to follow but were stopped by Shen Fengyue.
“I want to walk alone in the garden, you don’t have to follow, go and do your own things.”
Shen Fengyue continued walking aimlessly in the garden, feeling suffocated by the lack of freedom he experienced as a woman in ancient times.
He had been confined to the palace for days, spending his time either eating or sleeping, engaging in verbal sparring with other women, and acting out romantic scenes with the old emperor. The entertainment was severely lacking, and he feared that if he continued like this, he would eventually become depressed.
As he wandered the garden, the spring breeze blowing on his face failed to alleviate his feelings of suffocation. The beautiful scenery around him also failed to capture his attention.
When he realized that there was no one else around, he discarded the facade of his earlier embarrassment and strode forward with large steps, his every step creating a gust of wind. As he walked deeper into the garden, he heard a splash followed by a young child’s voice.
“Even you despise me!” He seemed to be annoyed.
Shen Fengyue heard the commotion and became interested. He followed the sound and stealthily approached a willow tree not far away, where he overheard a conversation.
He saw a boy of about eight years old standing by the lake, holding a handful of stones and throwing them into the water with great force, looking very angry.
As the stones hit the water, they created a large splash, causing the boy to hastily retreat. However, he was still splashed, and his clothes were getting wet, making him even more annoyed.
The boy wanted to pick up more stones and continue throwing them, but Shen Fengyue stopped him and said, “Young man, skipping stones is not played like this.”
Upon hearing the voice, Chu Xi paused his movements and looked back, seeing a gorgeously dressed and beautiful woman walking towards him with large strides from behind a nearby willow tree.
She walked with a strong gait that seemed more masculine than feminine. This was a bit strange to him, and a hint of confusion flashed in his eyes.
The woman walked up to him, her appearance strikingly beautiful, and she arched her eyebrows and eyes with a gentle tone, asking, “Little friend, are you having trouble skipping stones in water?”
Chu Xi frowned and said nothing, tilting his head up and staring at her with his dark eyes.
Having spent several days in the palace and seen many rare and exotic treasures, Shen Fengyue’s horizons had been broadened considerably. He noticed that the child’s clothing was made of exceptional materials, but it appeared somewhat outdated.
He frowned and pursed his lips, looking at the child with a mix of confusion and curiosity, like a little old man.
After experiencing the bloodshed of the previous two worlds, he now feels closer to children. Children are great, innocent, and lovely, with less scheming and no need to worry about being tricked.
Shen Fengyue squatted down and looked directly at him, taking a glance at the stones in his hand, and said, “Do you want me to teach you how to skip stones?”
Chu Xi did not respond, but Shen Fengyue didn’t expect a response from him anyway. He just felt bored after being cooped up in the palace for too long, and it was rare to have someone alone with only a child, so he wanted to indulge in his natural instincts.
Disliking how his dress was too restrictive, he lifted his skirt and picked and chose under the tree, finally selecting a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist, he sent it skimming across the water.
The stone skimmed across the water’s surface before lightly touching down and gliding forward, leaving behind ten ripples before sinking into the water.
Satisfied with his handiwork, Shen Fengyue looked on with pride. Despite all these years, his skills had not diminished.
Though he didn’t show it, Chu Xi was paying attention to Shen Fengyue’s movements. He picked up a stone and threw it into the water, but it immediately sank without even a hint of skipping across the surface.
This little boy is quite stubborn.
“First of all, we need a flat stone, the flatter the better, but it shouldn’t be too thin and should have a certain weight.” Shen Fengyue picked up a stone from beside him and waved it to show the boy. When he noticed the boy’s sneaky eyes, he chuckled and continued, “Hold the front end of the stone with your index finger and the rest with your middle finger. Use your thumb to apply force. Bend your knees at an angle, slightly tilt your upper body, and then throw the stone. This way, the stone can skip and bounce on the surface of the water.”
After finishing his explanation, he demonstrated the action again, and the stone skipped and bounced ten times on the water, a perfect demonstration.
Chu Xi didn’t say whether he understood or not he just followed Shen Fengyue’s instructions and managed to make the stone skip eight times on the water’s surface.
Although he had a mature personality, he couldn’t suppress his childlike nature, and a hint of joy appeared in his eyes and his lips slightly curved upwards.
“Happy?” Shen Fengyue asked, but the moment he looked over, the joy in Chu Xi’s eyes disappeared.
Shen Fengyue clicked his tongue and thought to himself that this kid is really difficult to deal with.
Despite being ignored by the child, Shen Fengyue didn’t force him and enjoyed skipping stones in the water for the whole afternoon. The kid nearby was also doing the same. Chu Xi had extremely high comprehension skills and managed to master the skill of stone skipping almost as well as Shen Fengyue in just an afternoon.
Shen Fengyue couldn’t help but sigh at how boring palace life could be, to the point where they could spend an entire afternoon playing with water.
When the day started to wane, he patted himself down and got up to leave. Suddenly, the kid next to him spoke up.
“My mother died today, and I feel really sad,” the child said, crouching on the ground.
Shen Fengyue paused and thought for a moment before also crouching down to act as a sounding board for the child.
“My mother didn’t have an easy life when she was alive, and everyone looked down on her. She took out her frustrations on me, but even so, I’m still sad that she’s gone,” the child said, rambling on as tears streamed down his face, but his voice was steady and calm.
Silent tears flowed down his face. If it wasn’t for Shen Fengyue turning his head to look at him, he wouldn’t have noticed.
He seemed to be indifferent to his tears and didn’t bother to wipe them away, just kept talking.
Suddenly, he asked Shen Fengyue, “I don’t know your identity, but from your attire, it’s clear that you’re of high status. I have a question, are status and position really that important?”
Shen Fengyue thought carefully and answered truthfully, “It’s important.”
“Just having power and status means you can have a lot of things, right? Others can’t easily look down on you anymore, right?”
Shen Fengyue replied, “In theory, that’s true. As long as you stand high enough, you can see far. Standing at a high place and looking at the crowd, naturally, no one can bully you again.”
“I want to become the tallest and strongest person so that no one can ever look down on me,” he said.
Shen Fengyue praised him, “Your ambition is high, I wish you success.”
Finally, a faint smile appeared on the child’s face. “Thank you for listening to me, I feel much better now.”
Shen Fengyue smiled and said, “You’re welcome. It’s getting late, it’s time to go back. Maybe we’ll meet again someday, little friend.”
Chu Xi nodded and watched him leave.
At this moment, a nanny suddenly ran over in a hurry, pulling Chu Xi to look around. Seeing that his clothes were wet and his hands were covered in mud, she couldn’t help but mutter, “Ninth Prince, what are you doing here? It’s hard for the old servant to find you. What have you done to make yourself look like this?”
Chu Xi didn’t say a word and his eyes inadvertently glanced in the direction where Shen Fengyue had left. The nanny followed his gaze.
The old nanny in the palace had a keen eye and recognized who it was from just a glimpse of the back. She warned Chu Xi, “That’s the current favored Imperial Concubine Yan. Ninth Prince, we can’t climb up to such a high-ranking person with our status.”
Chu Xi had been silent with his head down, thinking about Shen Fengyue, who was about to leave. He couldn’t help but call out loudly to him, “Imperial Concubine!”
Shen Fengyue was taken aback and stopped his steps. He turned around slightly to see another person there and immediately acted like a showman, becoming elegant and graceful.
He looked back and smiled slightly in the sunshine, and everything around him seemed to lose its color, truly stunning everyone.
“Ninth Prince, what can I do for you?” he asked.
Ignoring the nanny’s dissuasion, Chu Xi broke free from her and ran to Shen Fengyue in a hurry. He lifted his small face and asked seriously, “Imperial Concubine, will you come to the Autumn hunt this year?”
Shen Fengyue slightly bent over, “Yes.”
Chu Xi looked determined, “Then you must come and see me!”
Shen Fengyue was momentarily stunned, but then smiled and replied, “Okay.”
Chu Xi didn’t want to leave and lingered for a while, finally coming up with a question, “You’re a palace concubine, how did you end up skipping stones?”
Holding a finger to his lips, Shen Fengyue whispered, “Shh, it’s our secret.”
“Yes, don’t tell anyone else.”
“Okay. But you have to come see me during the autumn hunt.”
After nodding, Shen Fengyue bid him farewell and walked away.
With his eyes fixed on the receding figure, Chu Xi watched him disappear into the distance.
The nanny caught up with him and pulled his hand, urging him to go back. She kept muttering, “Oh my little prince, when did you provoke the noble concubine? I heard that the noble concubine has a bad temper, be careful not to anger her.”
Chu Xi shook his head, and his lips curled up slightly, “No, she’s very kind.”
- 1It’s a line from a poem named “Guofeng·Zhounan·Guanju”