The next morning, when Shen Fengyue woke up, the person beside him was gone, and he missed the free heater that had been snuggling up to him. He groped around and touched a cold object behind him.
What is this?
He picked it up and saw that it was an exquisite dagger. The black scabbard was set with an oval turquoise, and when he held the handle and pulled out the dagger, a cold light flashed, revealing his clear reflection on the icy silver blade.
It is a good knife.
Shen Fengyue put the blade back and felt both angry and amused. He thought that Lord Shen’s taste in gifts was really hopeless. While others gave rare objects, he either gave heads or knives, like a disaster in the gift-giving world, completely different from those flashy and cheap playboys outside.
He put the blade away and called someone in to serve. Today happened to be the day of his return.
After the Spring Hunt, he returned to the palace. Whenever the emperor was delayed in having his meal due to official duties, Shen Fengyue would bring a food container to remind him to eat properly.
On this day, Lord Shen had already left, and only Chu Xi was in the study, reviewing the memorials.
Shen Fengyue walked up and opened the food box, and Chu Xi immediately put down what he was doing and obediently ate. When he ate, Shen Fengyue had nothing to do, and once he spoke to him, Chu Xi would rack his brains to talk about topics that women liked, which was really boring.
His eyes were drawn to a red bow on the desk, which was adorned with gold thread patterns.
“What is this?” Shen Fengyue was curious and picked it up. It was somewhat heavy, and he needed both hands to hold it. He plucked the bowstring with his fingers, and it was incredibly tough. He couldn’t tell what material it was made of, but it must be very precious.
This is a good bow.
Chu Xi knew what he was asking and answered after swallowing his food, “It was a gift from Lord Shen, named Tri-Surge Fury Bow.”
Shen Fengyue was silent for a moment. Yes, Lord Shen liked to give gifts like knives and bows. This bow was very much in line with Lord Shen’s unique aesthetic taste.
“The Lord is thoughtful. This is really a good bow.” He casually praised it and put the bow down.
Chu Xi seemed unwilling to talk more about Lord Shen, so he changed the subject, “Next month is the Empress Dowager’s birthday, and the son wants to make something bigger for you.”
If he didn’t say anything, Shen Fengyue wouldn’t remember. Recently, the system seemed to be immersed in its own spiritual world and disappeared for a long time without notifying him of such things.
“You just inherited the throne, and it’s not good to be extravagant. It’s good enough to have this intention.”
Chu Xi shook his head and said frankly, “This is Mother’s first birthday as Empress Dowager. As a son, I should do something big for you.”
Chu Xi was a bit stubborn and always followed through on what he said. He insisted on making something big, and at the Empress Dowager’s birthday banquet next month, it was luxurious and extravagant. When Shen Fengyue sat on the phoenix chair in the center, he felt filial piety coming from Chu Xi.
He was full of it.
Because it was the Empress Dowager’s birthday, men from outside were not allowed inside, so there were no court officials present. But the invited guests were all well-known noblewomen in the capital, as well as dignified imperial relatives.
Each person had a separate small square table in front of them, with exquisite food on top. Except for the luxury of the emperor and the empress dowager, the dishes for the others were the same. As everyone ate, they presented their congratulatory gifts.
The first one was definitely the emperor. Chu Xi smiled and turned to Shen Fengyue, saying, “The gift this son prepared for the Empress Dowager is a painting called ‘Centenarian’s Blessings,’ created by a hundred elderly individuals who have reached the age of a hundred.”
“Wishing the Empress Dowager a long and healthy life, and longevity as vast as the rivers and mountains.” He stood up and toasted to congratulate him.
Shen Fengyue accepted it with a kind and charitable smile, his body trembling slightly. The tail feathers of the golden phoenix on his head shook unsteadily with his movements.
“The emperor is thoughtful. I am very satisfied.”
In ancient times, people did not live long lives, so it was not easy to find a hundred centenarians in the capital. The emperor had put in some effort.
As he finished speaking, an old man with white hair walked in from outside. He held a scroll in his hand, walked briskly, had a ruddy complexion, and his eyes were clear and bright, unlike ordinary old people with cloudy and yellowish eyes.
As soon as he arrived, he handed the scroll to two palace maids around him. The two maids opened the scroll, revealing a painting about one meter long.
The painting depicted pine trees and cranes, and the characters for “longevity” of various sizes and styles were scattered around the painting.
“Humble Servant Lian Lexian pays respects to the Empress Dowager. May the Empress Dowager live as long as the pine and cypress trees and have a long life,” he bowed slightly to Shen Fengyue.
Shen Fengyue stood up from his seat and urged him to stand up quickly. He then walked down to him and asked him softly, “How old are you this year, old man?”
“This servant just turned over a hundred and ten this year,” Lian Lexian replied.
Shen Fengyue was surprised by this number and asked, “Is the old man’s body in good health?”
“My body is healthy, my children are filial, and I am well-cared for. Everything around me is beautiful, very beautiful!” Lian Lexian had a kind and friendly face, and people couldn’t help but feel close to him. He carefully looked at Shen Fengyue and said, “From the Empress Dowager’s face, I can see that she is a blessed person. I hope that the Empress Dowager will be as happy and healthy as I am in the future.”
This was the best blessing.
Shen Fengyue let the old man stay for the meal and returned to his seat. The banquet and gift-giving continued.
The emperor set a good example, and the others followed with their gifts.
Shen Fengyue saw that they were nothing but rare treasures, lacking in novelty. Although he was not interested, it was a good thing for others to wish him a happy birthday, so he always had a smile on his face.
He smiled for a long time and soon felt his muscles sore and his face out of his control.
Oh, he smiled too much and got a cramp.
After a while, it was Lord Shen’s turn. Shen Fengyue had a headache as soon as he saw him stand up from his seat, his face stiff with a smile, and his left eyelid twitching slightly.
“The Empress Dowager is extremely noble and her birthday was approaching. I have been thinking hard for days about what kind of gift is worthy of the Empress Dowager. I finally came up with an idea,” he said to Shen Fengyue on the stage. “I only hope that this small gift will make the Empress Dowager smile.”
Shen Fengyue, who had been smiling all along and had a face that was now stiff from the smile, said nothing.