No matter how anyone else looked at it, Talented Lady Zhang was in an extremely bad mood tonight.

When she returned to Linhua Palace and sat in front of the mirror to remove her makeup, she said hatefully, “I wasn’t the one His Majesty was looking at tonight.”

Her palace maid, Chun’e, hurriedly rushed to console her, “Talented Lady, don’t let your imagination run wild1. If it wasn’t you that His Majesty was looking at, could it be that he was looking at Beautiful Lady Li? Just look at how shabbily she dressed.”

“It’s exactly her.”

this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!

No matter how anyone else looked at it, Talented Lady Zhang was in an extremely bad mood tonight.

When she returned to Linhua Palace and sat in front of the mirror to remove her makeup, she said hatefully, “I wasn’t the one His Majesty was looking at tonight.”

Her palace maid, Chun’e, hurriedly rushed to console her, “Talented Lady, don’t let your imagination run wild1. If it wasn’t you that His Majesty was looking at, could it be that he was looking at Beautiful Lady Li? Just look at how shabbily she dressed.”

“It’s exactly her.” 

Talented Lady Zhang gritted her teeth, “She deliberately dressed like that. Everyone dressed up grandly to the best of their abilities, yet she was the only one who was dressed frugally. How could she not stand out that way?”

As it slowly dawned on Chun’e, she said, “If it’s like you say, then Beautiful Lady Li’s mind is simply too deep.”

Talented Lady Zhang snorted coldly, “She even said that she wouldn’t go in the afternoon, yet when she went, she deliberately dressed like that. She really has good schemes!”

Chun’e quickly said, “As the saying goes, a biting dog never barks. This kind of character that has their mouth tightly sealed shut and doesn’t utter a word normally are usually the ones who are the most formidable characters!”

 咬人的狗不叫 (yaorendegoubujiao): someone who will actually act on something will never warn you beforehand (derived from idiom, ‘a barking dog never bites’.)

What a good dog that never barks!

Upon thinking about the way she acted at the banquet once more, Talented Lady Zhang became even more resentful. 

Well great, now she had made an enormous mistake that caused others to laugh at her, and had even almost been accused of the criminal charge of disrespect! However, His Majesty hadn’t even taken a glance at her, and only looked toward Yan Shu.

Li Yan Shu!

To think that a woman who came from such a remote and desolate town could unexpectedly have such great abilities!

But then she heard Chun’e say worriedly, “Then in this way, wouldn’t Beautiful Lady Li be the first to be favoured?”

Talented Lady Zhang quivered in shock.

If Beautiful Lady Li was favoured with that countenance of hers, would any of them still be able to have good days ahead of them?

They wouldn’t!

She pondered for a while, then said, “Take a pouch of silver and go take a trip to the Laundry Bureau2.”

She beckoned for Chun’e to come closer to her and relayed her remaining orders in a low voice that no one else was able to hear.


pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:

Having stuffed herself with delicious dishes at Rouyi Hall, Yan Shu’s body had warmed up and didn’t feel cold at all when returning to Yongning Palace. After washing up, she burrowed into her blankets for a good night’s sleep. 

In her dream, she dreamed about the Lunar New Year’s Eve banquet once more, with mala hot pot, crispy roast pork, cream lobster, flame grilled fish — all foods that she had wanted to eat in her previous life, but couldn’t.

 麻辣 (mala): lit. numbing and spicy / referring to a kind of spiciness that is used as a base in hotpot, soup (malatang), etc.

Drooling out a night’s worth of saliva, she woke up bewildered and dazed the next morning to a ding sound from the system. 

[The melon from yesterday has had new progress. Marquis Xia Yi heard that Marquis Lin Wu had noisily broken off his relationship with his wife and plans to reminisce on his old dream with Marquis Lin Wu’s Madam.]

 重拾旧梦 (chongshijiumeng): depending on the context, can refer to recalling past memories, and in this case, would be in reference to meeting one’s first/old love with the old dream being the past memories.


Yan Shu immediately came to her senses extremely energetically, [Then the future heir actually belongs to Marquis Xia Yi?]

System, [No.]

Yan Shu’s eyes widened, [Even this isn’t true? Marquis Lin Wu’s Madam is truly too formidable!]

System, [Don’t worry so much about other people. Today, I have a melon of yours.]

Yan Shu, [My melon? What melon of mine?]

Before the system could speak, Ren Dong came into the room while carrying a bundle of clothes, saying from outside of the bed’s canopy, “Is master awake now? This servant has just ironed your clothes for you, so put them on while they’re warm.”

It was already extremely difficult to crawl out from underneath the blankets in the morning during the cold of winter, and it was even more so when she had to put on clothes that were still icy cold. Thus, in order to make her feel more comfortable, Ren Dong would iron out her clothes in advance every day.

Groaning, Yan Shu finally sat up and asked the system as she picked up her clothes, [What melon of mine?]

System, [There is someone who is trying to harm you.]


Just as those words had just been said, she suddenly sneezed as soon as those clothes were in her hands. She was suddenly stunned.

There was someone who was trying to harm her?

And in the next instant, she proceeded to sneeze again.

This caused Ren Dong to be startled, “Master, could it be that you caught a cold? It must have been that you didn’t have enough bedding last night. This servant ought to have given you another blanket…”

 奴婢 (nubi): this slave/servant

“I’m afraid it isn’t a cold,” Yan Shu rubbed her nose and threw away the clothes in her hand, “It should be that the clothes were contaminated with something.”

Ren Dong stared blankly at it, “Don’t tell me it’s peach blossom powder?”

Yan Shu was allergic to peach blossoms. Just one touch would trigger all kinds of reactions, from constant sneezing and a blocked nose to rashes that would appear all over her body. She could even have anaphylaxis and find it difficult to breathe, which could be deduced that her allergy was quite severe. 

Judging from her symptoms just then, it did seem that she was having a relapse in allergic reaction.

Thinking this, Ren Dong hurriedly threw the clothes far away, yet did not forget to say in confusion, “But right now it’s winter, and the peach blossoms shouldn’t have bloomed yet.”

Yan Shu thought for a moment, “Don’t know whether the few in the Department of Horticulture’s3 greenhouse have bloomed yet.”

Ren Dong understood in a flash, “That’s right! The Department of Horticulture’s greenhouse has all sorts of flowers!”

But how could this peach blossom powder appear on clothes that had just been washed without any rhyme or reason?

Ren Dong heaved out a sigh, “You normally don’t even venture outside the door and only know how to eat the whole day, so how could you possibly still provoke another’s annoyance?”

Yan Shu: “…These words, you make it as if I’m just a good-for-nothing.”

 饭桶 (fantong): lit. a rice bucket / fig. a good for nothing

Ren Dong: “…You more or less are, ahem ahem…”

Meeting Yan Shu’s glare, Ren Dong quickly changed the subject, “That being said, in the end, just who in the world would hate you to that extent for them to even come up with such a poisonous idea?!”

Yan Shu thought it over for a moment, “There is no one else in this palace who would recognise me apart from Talented Lady Zhang.”

Hearing that, Ren Dong thought carefully, “Whenever the peach blossoms bloom in spring, you never go out, so it isn’t difficult for others to find out about the peach blossom powder after asking around. In this way, don’t tell me that it really is Talented Lady Zhang’s doing? But why would she want to harm you?”

Yan Shu was also unable to understand her, “Don’t tell me that I ate too much last night and caused her to be unable to eat her own fill?”

Ren Dong: “…”

What sort of outlandish motive did that count as? Did you think that everyone’s thought process would be like yours?

“Maybe it’s because she caused a fuss at yesterday’s banquet and felt as if she didn’t have any face left, so just wanted to vent her anger on you!” Ren Dong angrily said, “Whatever the case, you can’t have suffered for nothing, so let’s go and complain to the Empress Dowager!”

On the other hand, Yan Shu suddenly sobered up, saying, “Let’s not even mention whether or not I’ll be able to appear in front of the Empress Dowager first. At present, these are all merely our own speculations. Without even a shred of evidence against her, she could completely deny the whole situation, so why should I risk everything to have the Empress Dowager accept this as the truth?”

Ren Dong paused and said unwillingly, “Could it be that we can only suffer in silence for nothing? She’s only a talented lady, yet she’s capable of committing harm to others wantonly with that low status of hers just by relying on her natal family’s wealth and connections! Is there even any order in this palace anymore?!”

Alas, she was the only one who felt sorry for her beautiful and sweet-tempered master who neither strived  nor fought for anything. She was made to suffer in vain within the palace, simply because her natal family was further away, her father more upright and honest than others, and her family a little poorer than others.

The world really was unfair!

Who would have thought that her master, who had never consistently strived nor fought for anything, suddenly smirked and said, “Who said we would only have to suffer in silence for nothing?”

Ren Dong was stunned, “Then what else could we do?”

“Come,” Yan Shu beckoned her over and leaned closer to her ear, “This is what you should do…”


At noon, Talented Lady Zhang was leisurely drinking tea when she saw Chun’e quickly come in through the palace door.

Seeing that no one else was around, Chun’e said, “Talented Lady, Yongning Palace has just invited over an imperial physician. They’re currently decocting the medicine right at this moment and the whole courtyard is filled with the strong scent of medicine.”

“An imperial physician was invited over?” Talented Lady Zhang raised an eyebrow, “That seems quite serious, don’t know whether or not she has rashes all over her face now.”

Let’s see just how she can gain favour now!

Chun’e hurriedly said, “This servant failed to make any inquiries on that, so how about we go and take a look?”

Talented Lady Zhang waved her hand in satisfaction, “Forget it. Who would want to see that ugly appearance? Even if we go, we’re bound to be unable to meet her in the end. How could she possibly face anyone like that?”

Chun’e nodded and went along with what she said, “This servant heard Ren Dong say that this illness would only go away after ten days to half a month. She won’t have any way to scheme then!”

This was exactly what she wanted, so Talented Lady Zhang nodded her head in satisfaction.

Nevertheless, she heard Chun’e say once more, “Right, this servant also just overheard a rather novel piece of news.”

“What happened?”

“Apparently something happened in the manor of Imperial Concubine Li’s paternal aunt!” said Chun’e.

“Imperial Concubine Li’s paternal aunt’s manor?” Talented Lady Zhang said rather impatiently, “Why are you going around in circles like this? Just who is that?”

“It’s Marquis Lin Wu’s manor!”

Chun’e said, “The paternal aunt of Imperial Concubine Li is the Marquis Lin Wu manor’s Madam, so isn’t Marquis Lin Wu’s manor not her paternal aunt’s home?”

Talented Lady Zhang thought about it and then said, “What happened?”

Chun’e hurriedly leaned in closer, “Apparently Marquis Lin Wu brought in a little concubine a few days ago. This angered the principal wife so much that the Madam caused a ruckus, and in the end, the servants in the manor offered up evidence of Marquis Lin Wu Madam having had an affair for a long time with other people, and even having had one with a lot of people!”

“Unexpectedly there’s even such a thing?” 

Talented Lady Zhang’s eyes widened.

Chun’e nodded vigorously. “There are already a lot of people in the palace discussing it, so do you think this matter could be false when this sort of shameful incident has already made its way into the palace?”

“That does make quite a lot of sense!”

Talented Lady Zhang snorted, “Serves her right!”

If it hadn’t been for Imperial Concubine Li’s deliberate provocation last night, then she wouldn’t have found herself in such an awkward situation. 

Hmph, there was no one in the entire capital who was unaware of the fact that although Imperial Concubine Li’s natal family the title of Count Yong Liang, it was practically a household that was empty and lacked any power, with the whole family relying on their paternal aunt’s in-laws. So if these in-laws were to break up at present, Imperial Concubine Li would be the one that would be embarrassed!

Thinking of this, Talented Lady Zhang said, “Continue to ask around and update me if you receive anymore news.”

“Yes.” Chun’e nodded hurriedly.


At this moment, Imperial Concubine Li was sitting restlessly within Yimei Palace.

Upon seeing that Zhang Bao, the little palace eunuch, had hurriedly come to stop in front of her, she quickly asked, “Have you looked into it? Where did that piece of news come from?”

Zhang Bao said, “This small one has finished looking into it and found out that the first to tell people about it was a palace maid that came from Linhua Palace and was headed to the Laundry Bureau.”

 小的 (xiaode): this small one (talking to superior)

Linhua Palace?

Luxiu, a palace maid, said, “Isn’t that Talented Lady Zhang’s place of residence?”

“That’s right.” Zhang Bao nodded his head as well, “Apparently this Talented Lady Zhang’s natal family is the capital’s Weaving Bureau’s envoy, having bribed every department in the palace before, and thus, has quite a lot of acquaintances.”

“What a slut!” Imperial Concubine Li gritted her teeth, “I only said the truth yesterday, yet she unexpectedly dared to retaliate ah! Even having arranged to smear my paternal aunt and my Count Yong Liang’s innocence for no reason?!”

Lu Xiu and Zhang Bao hurriedly echoed her words, “Your Ladyship, this is a major issue and we must not let her off lightly!”

An insignificant little talented lady dared to offend her, an imperial concubine that was several ranks higher than her in status, this was simply just too daring!

Imperial Concubine Li sneered coldly, “Fine then, doesn’t she love to talk and sing? Then let her know just how formidable I am!”


For something like allergies, everything would go back to normal soon after throwing away the source of the allergy. Thus, Yan Shu pretended to be sick on the surface, but was actually resting within her palace and eating deliciously.

It was an entirely different story for Talented Lady Zhang though.

First, she suddenly had vomiting and diarrhoea in the middle of the night, then suddenly had a high fever and after taking bitter medicine for two days with great difficulty, finally recovered. However, her voice had become hoarse and gruff, seemingly able to picture a rough man with a beard and sideburns talking whenever she opened her mouth, truly quite frightening.

She wasn’t outstanding in the harem in terms of appearance, with the only thing she was able to rely on being her voice, yet now her voice was destroyed, causing her to be extremely hateful.

After gritting her teeth and spending a large amount of money, she finally discovered some clues4. It turned out that she was poisoned, and that the other party was after her voice.

Unable to get over her anger, she wanted to bring her complaint to the Empress Dowager. However, don’t know how many people already resented her for stealing the limelight at the New Year’s banquet, so they obviously wouldn’t allow her wish to be fulfilled…


When Ren Dong came to report to her, Yan Shu was sitting on the kang5 and writing something. 

After Ren Dong finished speaking, she maturely lamented, “Shooting the first bird with a gun, as expected, it’s better to keep a low profile, that way you’ll at least be able to preserve your life!”

Ren Dong nodded vigorously, “Who told her to harm others first; serves her right!”

Then she asked curiously, “Master, what are you writing?”

Yan Shu said, “Since I have nothing to do, I’m trying to write a story.”

Having eaten so many melons left and right, all of them full of strange twists and turns and eye-catchingly bizarre as well, she didn’t even have anyone she could gossip over them with, so why not edit it a bit and make them into folk tales? Perhaps one day it would be able to be brought to the market and published, even maybe making her a sizeable amount of money.

After she finished speaking, she was about to start to write again when she saw the little palace maid, Lian Xin, come in to report, “Master, a decree from the Empress Dowager has asked for you to go to Ci’an Palace so she can have a word with you.


the author has something to say:

A certain emperor: Why did zhen not appear in this chapter?

A certain author: You’re banned from speaking for a chapter.

A certain emperor: You dare?!

A certain author: ??? Want to be banned another chapter?

A certain emperor: …Mother.

[1] 胡思乱想 (húsīluànxiǎng): to indulge in flights of fancy

[2] 浣衣局 (huanyiju): second of the eight bureaus in the inner palace, responsible for providing laundry services to the palace and imperial family

[3] 司苑 (siyuan): department of horticulture is in charge of the produce and greenhouse of the imperial family

[4] 蛛丝马迹 (zhūsīmǎjì): lit. spider’s threads and horse tracks / fig. traces or clues

[5] 炕 (kang): a heatable brick bed

modern day kang bed
mala hot pot
crispy roast pork
cream lobster

[ start typing here ]


this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!

For the first time, Yuwen Lan discovered that someone knew his secret.

He looked up at the seemingly inconspicuous woman in the far corner.

Just who was she?

Not too long after, all the other imperial concubines soon discovered that the Emperor’s eyes seemed to be always only pointed in one direction.

Following his line of sight, they looked down and saw that it was two women who were sitting at a table near the door of the hall. One was dressed plainly, as if she were a palace maid, while the other had adorned herself so extravagantly that she was even on the same level as Noble Consort Zhou, Consort Ning, and the rest of the consorts.

They were all able to guess who it was in their hearts.

In a low voice, Ren Dong also said to Yan Shu, “Master, why does it feel to me as if His Majesty keeps looking in your direction?”

Yan Shu didn’t take her words seriously at all, only saying flippantly, “It can’t be. Wouldn’t he be looking at Talented Lady Zhang? Just look at how eye-catching she is!”

As she spoke, she had a taste of the Western Lake fish soaked in vinegar that had just been served on the table. Mm, the meat of the fish was tender with a sweet and sour tang to it, even unexpectedly having the umami of the crab soaked into it — truly extraordinary.

The voices of the two of them floated over to a certain side, causing Talented Lady Zhang to grow increasingly certain of her conjecture.

Ever since the Empress Dowager had arrived, the Emperor had intentionally or otherwise continued to look over in this direction. Thus, she concluded that dressing herself up today seemed to indeed have some effect.

This invaluable feet of woven brocade, this precious stone hairpin that cost ten thousand gold just for one, were truly the perfect finishing touches. 

It was just that the distance between the two was still a bit too far, and she still had to find a way to make a memorable impression on the Emperor, so she must not miss this great opportunity for nothing.

As a result, she called for Chun’e, her palace maid, to fetch her a pipa, carrying it over to the middle of the hall and and opened her mouth to say, “On this beautiful occasion, chenqie would like to sing a song for Your Majesty and the Empress Dowager, wishing the both of you good fortune and health.”

 枇杷 (pipa): traditional chinese instrument that’s played by plucking the strings

Not to mention that the pipa had been inlaid with mother-of-pearl, it even could be said that it complemented her dazzling appearance.

The eyes of Noble Consort Zhou, Consort Ning, and the rest of them, burned with a raging fire, their hearts filled with all kinds of curses that stemmed from their jealousy and resentment.

Absent-minded, Yuwen Lan said, “Granted.”

The palace servants hurriedly moved over a round stool. Talented Lady Zhang hugged the instrument and sat down, plucking at the strings with her fingers that resembled scallions, and started to sing in a delicate voice.

“A single straight stalk of purple bamboo, make a bamboo flute and send it to me…”

It turned out that Talented Lady Zhang was actually playing and singing a Jiangnan ballad. The melody was graceful and lilting, and the lyrics were all kinds of tender, delicate and charming. They had even been sung in a Suzhou1 dialect, which indeed caused people to sit up and take notice.

 江南 (jiangnan): often refers to the sunny south, often regarded as one of the most prosperous districts due to its wealth in trade.

After the song ended, everyone had no choice but to applaud.

The Empress Dowager even intentionally asked, “Are you from Jiangnan?”

From the side, Hu’an, a manager within the Department of Ceremonies2, said, “Reporting to Empress Dowager, Talented Lady’s father is a weaving envoy from the capital, with their whole family being true capital citizens.”

Talented Lady Zhang also said with a smile, “Chenqie heard that the Empress Dowager is fond of Suzhou ballads, thus, especially sought to learn a few poems. However, my singing isn’t too good, so thus, must have made you laugh.”

The Empress Dowager nodded, “At least you have the heart.”

In between speaking, she snuck a peek at the Emperor out of the corner of her eye. However, he only calmly took a sip of tea, his face indifferent, with not a ripple of disturbance to be found.

However, Consort Ning suddenly said to Imperial Concubine Li beside her, “This ballad is indeed pleasant to hear, just that the lyrics are a bit difficult to understand. Oh, that’s right, Imperial Concubine Li, your hometown is in Jiangnan, quickly tell us, what is the meaning of that song?”

Imperial Concubine Li showed a troubled look, looking around and saying, “This… I’m afraid this sort of thing isn’t appropriate to say on a night like this.”

Once these words were said, everyone present couldn’t help but be curious—

Oh, it isn’t appropriate to say? What exactly did Talented Lady Zhang sing in her song?

Consort Ning burst into laughter, what else could be inappropriate to say? Don’t tell me the lyrics are disgraceful?”

大逆不道 (danibudao): referring to disgraceful behaviour that’s a grave breach of societal norms, e.g. being unfilial, rebelling, etc

Talented Lady Zhang’s complexion changed completely, immediately shaking her head and saying, “How could this concubine dare to do so?”

Imperial Concubine Li, however, covered her lips and smiled, saying, “Contrary to that, that isn’t the case, Her Ladyship Consort Ning is just joking. This song, however, is simply just uncultured language said between rural people, talking about passionately making love. Something like, ‘A single straight stalk of purple bamboo, make a bamboo flute and send it to me, bamboo flute against the mouth, mouth against the bamboo flute, back and forth like a little carp’s tail, young girl’s cheeks blushed with pink, my little…”

“Oh my!”

Before Imperial Concubine Li could finish speaking, Consort Ning interrupted her, covering her ears and scolding her, “You too, Imperial Concubine Li. How could you speak such language at an occasion like this? How could you tarnish the ears of His Majesty and the Empress Dowager?”

Having heard what was said, Imperial Concubine Li hurriedly got up with a face full of panic and bowed toward the seat of honour, “Your Majesty, Empress Dowager, please forgive me. Chenqie has acted out of propriety…”

Tch, she was only the one to relay those words, so even if they wanted to blame her, they couldn’t put it on her. As a result, both the Emperor and the Empress Dowager didn’t say anything else, however, everyone soon turned their eyes to Talented Lady Zhang.

Only Yan Shu, who was holding up the freshly served fish soup and drinking it, shook her head in her heart—

The so-called shooting the first bird with a gun, having to take responsibility for as much work as your skills, even coming out to scramble to and fro blindly for no purpose — you’ve done it this time, haven’t you!

Look how nice it is to just eat honestly like me!

Mm, this fish soup is sour and spicy, truly delicious.

Not far away, Talented Lady Zhang was as if she was sitting on pins and needles, having rode the tiger and unable to get off, her feeling of pride that had just sprouted instantly vanished like smoke in thin air. Having no other alternative, she hurriedly kneeled and said, “Asking for His Majesty and the Empress Dowager to forgive me. Chenqie also learned this from the people in the Department of Musical Instruction3. Chenqie is not from Jiangnan, and at that time, worked diligently on the intonation for the sake of singing well, not at all aware of what one was singing about.”

骑虎难下 (qihunanxia): lit. finding it hard to get off after riding a tiger / fig. impossible to stop halfway.

Consort Ning and Imperial Concubine Li no longer said anything, only coldly looking on as bystanders. 

After a while, the female official by the Empress Dowager’s side, Zhu Shu, came out to mediate the situation, “Presumably there are many folk tunes amongst the people like this, Talented Lady Zhang must have done it unintentionally.”

After these words fell, the Empress Dowager also raised her hand, “Forget it, today is a big celebration, all of you return to your seats.”

Only then did Talented Lady Zhang dare to get up, carrying the pipa and returning to her seat with her tail between her legs.

Imperial Concubine Li also returned to her seat, and while no one was paying attention, shared a look with Consort Ning, a tacit understanding that goes without saying in their eyes.

The palace servants serving in the banquet began to bring out new dishes again. Although Noble Consort Zhou and Consort Ning continued to fight over talking to the Empress Dowager, Yuwen Lan’s face, from beginning to end, showed no sign of happiness or anger.

Dealing with everyone on one side, the Empress Dowager’s gaze travelled toward that faraway corner once again, and couldn’t help wonder, could it be that the Emperor had taken a liking to the one near the door that just kept eating?

That’s… really a unique preference.


pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:

Seeing all the cold dishes, hot dishes, pastries and snacks, and hot soup all come one after the other, just as Yan Shu had eaten to the point of bursting, the New Year’s banquet finally came to an end.

When the Empress Dowager got up from her seat to leave, everyone got up to respectfully see her off.

Yuwen Lan also got up from his seat of honour, following the figure of the Empress Dowager as she walked out of the palace hall door and boarded her palanquin, still trying to seek out that girl’s thoughts.

However, he heard her burp in satisfaction and secretly smack her lips, [Tonight was all kinds of delicious, it would’ve been perfect if we had a few more spicy dishes. Let’s do the maths, today is the eighth day of the lunar year, when would the next banquet be? Little New Year? Damn, I still need to wait another half a month…]

 小年 (xiaonian): also known as the festival of the kitchen god and is often the event that kicks off the main festivities for the spring festival

Yuwen Lan, “???”

Why is it all about food?

Then, he heard her sigh in her heart again, [Since it’s already set in stone, might as well just sit back and relax4. It’s still a blessing to eat good food without being sexually satisfied5 in life.]

Yuwen Lan, “???”

Now what does this mean?

What is the meaning of ‘sexually satisfied’?

t/n: would make sense that yuwen lan is unaware of what this means since it’s modern day slang

Why is this woman’s thoughts so… strange?

Yuwen Lan narrowly stopped his footsteps.

However, if he did so, afraid that would inadvertently alert the other party6.

He continued to endure, feigning that nothing happened and walked out the door of the palace hall.


The Head of the Imperial Guards, Fu Hai, could sense that there was something different about His Majesty tonight. 

After coming out of Rouyi Hall, although he still went to the imperial study to read the memorandums as usual, he didn’t start writing for a long time, as if he was distracted.

Fu Hai was pondering it over secretly when he heard the Emperor ask, “Who was sitting at the end tonight?”

After having accompanied him for many years through the good and bad, Fu Hai hurriedly replied, “Replying to Your Majesty, the one who came out to present a song just now at the banquet was Talented Lady Zhang, the daughter of the capital’s Weaving Bureau envoy, Zhang Tong.”

After those words were said, the Emperor didn’t react at all.

He then added on hurriedly, “The one sitting next to Talented Lady Zhang is Yongning Palace’s Beautiful Lady Li.”

As soon as those words were uttered, the Emperor finally opened his precious mouth, “Where is she from?”

Fu Hai finally knew that he had guessed right, hurriedly replying, “This small one recalls that Beautiful Lady Li was born in Qingzhou prefecture’s An De County, entering into the palace through the imperial draft three years ago.”


Yuwen Lan pondered to himself secretly, a place that was a few hundred miles away from the capital, how could she possibly be aware of affairs that were regarding him?

However, he heard Fu Hai sigh in his heart, as if deeply moved, [Hey, looks like this Beautiful Lady Li is about to get promoted. Who could’ve thought that the first person in the harem to catch the Holy One’s eyes would be a little insignificant Beautiful Lady?]

Disturbed by the voice, Yuwen Lan raised his hand and said, “You may withdraw.”


Fu Hai bowed and retreated a step, mulling it over in his heart, [What sort of situation is this? Since you’ve already taken a liking to her, why didn’t you ask her to come and serve you? It isn’t early anymore. My dear Emperor, a moment of the spring night is worth a thousand pounds of gold!]

 春晓 (chunxiao): spring night refers to a night of love making; spring is often an euphemism for sex

Just as he thought of this, he felt as if he could feel the icy tip of a blade at the top of his head. Fu Hai quivered, unable to figure out when he had touched on an inverse scale of His Majesty’s, only quickening his footsteps out of the door.

inverse scales usually refer to the soft spot of a dragon and resemble something or somebody you shouldn’t touch, and doing so would lead to dire consequences.

With his ears finally quiet, Yuwen Lan tiredly rubbed his forehead, thinking for a while before calling again, “Someone come.”

This time, the person who entered was a Brocade Uniform Guard clad in a flying fish robe7.

 锦衣卫 (jinyiwei): secret police force of ming emperors

“Go and take a trip to Qingzhou Prefecture’s An De County, and look into the imperial draft of that year.”

The Brocade Uniform Guard nodded, immediately exiting out of the door to carry out his orders.

Yuwen Lan picked up the case in the memorandum once again, but his mind seemingly hadn’t fully come back yet.

His mind would always go back to that woman from the banquet.

—Three years ago, on his way back to the capital, he encountered a sudden clap of thunder8 and fainted. Upon waking up, he gained the ability to read minds, but gradually lost the functions a man should have.

Over the years, he had secretly been sending out people to inquire and seek a cure, but it was all to no avail. 

This was a big taboo, especially as an emperor. He had always taken strict precautions in defending this secret to death, so much so that even his trusted aides and eunuch that he relied on the most were unaware of it. 

So, how exactly did that woman know?

Just who was she?

Just where did it all go wrong?

His heart became more and more chaotic and disorderly, so he simply put down his papers and called over another little eunuch who was wearing a rounded collar gown.

“Keep a close watch over Yongning Palace. Big or small9, Zhen wants to know every single detail.”


the author has something to say:

A certain emperor: Woman, you have successfully attracted Zhen’s attention

A certain author: Kid, this sort of opening is seriously too low standard.

A certain emperor: Woman, you know too much.

A certain author: ???

[1] 苏州 (suzhou): prefecture in jiangnan.

[2] 司禮監 (silijian): in charge of etiquette and ceremonial rituals

[3] 教坊司 (jiaofangsi): in charge of music and dance practices for banquets and festivals

[4] 既来之,则安之 (jilaizhi, zeanzhi): since it’s like this, we should just accept it

[5] she literally says ‘xing福’, which is a homophone with ‘幸福’ (good fortune). it’s slang that alludes to a sexually satisfied life by replacing the first character ‘幸’ with the character ‘性’ for sex

[6] 打草惊蛇 (dǎcǎojīngshé): lit. beat the grass and scare the snake. / fig. Inadvertently alert the enemy

[7] 飞鱼服 (feiyufu): worn by the ming dynasty imperial guards.

[8] 惊雷 (jinglei): lit. sudden clap of thunder. / fig. a surprising turn of events

[9] 事无巨细 (shìwújùxì): lit. things are not separated according to their size (idiom) / fig. to deal with any matter, regardless of its importance

almost cried translating that folk song QAQ
if any of you guys can offer me a better translation, please comment it down below, i’m rlly out of ideas GHDSFLKJD ;-; the raw is:


Yuwen Lan walked into the hall and looked up, seeing something similar to an ocean of precious stones and pearls, the jewellery that was draped over these women’s heads and bodies almost dazzling him under the reflection of the hall’s light. 

Noticing the fragrance of cosmetics in the air becoming stronger, he frowned slightly and said lowly, “All rise.”

All the women complied, returning to their seat one after another, each and every one of them seemingly putting on their noblest bearing in their formal attires, yet they all still quietly cast their gazes toward him.

“The hall seems to be brighter now that Your Majesty is here.”

this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!

Yuwen Lan walked into the hall and looked up, seeing something similar to an ocean of precious stones and pearls, the jewellery that was draped over these women’s heads and bodies almost dazzling him under the reflection of the hall’s light. 

Noticing the fragrance of cosmetics in the air becoming stronger, he frowned slightly and said lowly, “All rise.”

All the women complied, returning to their seat one after another, each and every one of them seemingly putting on their noblest bearing in their formal attires, yet they all still quietly cast their gazes toward him.

“The hall seems to be brighter now that Your Majesty is here.”

The one who spoke was Noble Consort Zhou, who was seated near the very front of the banquet. Yuwen Lan knew her since she was the Empress Dowager’s niece, as well as his own younger cousin sister in name.

 表妹 (biaomei): younger female cousin via the female line

Today, she was dressed like a big red lantern at the entrance of a temple. The smile on her face seemingly extremely appropriate, yet the voice in her heart was full of malice.

[Each and every one of these lowly sluts have unexpectedly dressed themselves up even more eye-catchingly than me. Seems like only after dealing with them properly will they properly understand the rules.]

—Ever since he started having the ability to hear other people’s voices three years ago, Yuwen Lan had already become accustomed to seeing all kinds of duplicity1, thus, he only said indifferently, “Zhen is not a lantern, so how could Zhen light up the hall?”

 朕 (zhen): used by emperors to refer to themselves, (lit.) ‘subtle’

Yet there came a pfft sound, with a woman nearby saying laughingly, “Your Majesty is indeed humorous, however, Her Ladyship, the Noble Consort, has always previously been the most proficient in speech, so how is it that today she’s made such a blunder2?”

This was Consort Ning, the Grand Princess Consort’s niece, and had been sent into the palace by the Grand Princess. Yuwen Lan had seen her a few times, so he had an impression of her.

 长公主 (zhanggongzhu): current emperor’s sister

Naturally, he could also hear this woman cursing at Noble Consort Zhou in her heart, [Hmph, did you think you could overwhelm me and trample me underfoot if you just draped your whole body in red? Why don’t you look for a mirror instead and see just how ugly you’ve become? If you want to compare, it’s still my ruyi3 phoenix hairpin that’s better, truly not a waste of my 2,000 taels of silver. See, isn’t His Majesty looking at me now?]

Seeing as this was probably the first time the Emperor had looked at her ever since she entered the palace, Consort Ning hurriedly straightened her back and raised her head with a smile to meet the gaze that came from above. 

But who would’ve thought that the Emperor just took one glance at the top of her head and frowned, “The things on your head seem to be very expensive?”
Consort Ning paused, but Noble Consort Zhou said hurriedly, “In Chenqie’s opinion, I’m afraid Consort Ning’s hairpin can’t be made without producing at least 3,000 taels of silver. It’s just that in this past period, the harem has tightened its expenditures to show support for the snow storm that affected the capital, just don’t know where the Department of Treasures got the silver from?”

 臣妾 (chenqie): this servant/concubine

Consort Ning could only explain in a hurry, “These things are all bestowed by my paternal aunt, the Grand Princess, not from the Department of Treasures.”

 婶母 (shenmu): wife of father’s younger brother

After speaking, she was still a little panicked, not knowing whether the Emperor would still go and look into the Grand Princess manor. 

Fortunately, Yuwen Lan did not speak of it again.

That was because in addition to the two women in front of him who were scolding each other, a multitude of various other voices were still pouring into his ears—

[Hmph, these two stupid women are usually accustomed to being arrogant, let them have a taste of their own medicine today.]

[Fortunately I can squeeze into this corset dress after starving for three days, and sure enough, this Jinling cloud brocade is indeed very good. How could these coarse and stupid village women enter into His Majesty’s dragon eye? Your Majesty, look over here!]

[What if these two idiots annoy His Majesty and drive him away? I’ve been diligently practising with my blood, sweat, and tears for three months, yet I haven’t even had the chance to present my dance to His Majesty! Fools!]

pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:

Although mind-reading had a distance limitation, so Yuwen Lan could only hear the few that were close to him, these few were already noisy enough. 

He took a sip of tea out of boredom, sincerely feeling that instead of watching these women act out such a boring play, he’d much rather return to the palace and look through more documents. He never would have come here in the first place if it wasn’t for the Empress Dowager putting so much pressure on him to come.

At this moment, Yan Shu, who was sitting at the end, was eating a new melon with the system. 

[It’s even the Emperor’s melon? What is it?]

System, [The Emperor cannot participate in worldly affairs4.]

Yan Shu, [??? Cannot participate in worldly affairs? Doesn’t that just mean he’s unable to do it?]

System, [Exactly right.]

Yan Shu almost spat out a mouthful of hot tea, [Is that really true? You’re not joking, right?!!]

System, [? Are you questioning the level of professionalism of this system? Has this system ever joked before?]

Yan Shu, [But how could there be such a thing??? And he’s even the emperor of a country!!!]

System, [Men, there will always inevitably be various unspeakable secrets5. Is the emperor of a nation not a man?]

Yan Shu, […]

That’s true. In the past two years that she had been following the system in eating melons, she had encountered all kinds of weird men, some had a habit of liking to crossdress, cut sleeves6, violent lunatics, alcoholics, gambling addicts, and so on. She had caught a large majority of them in the imperial court’s civil and military officials, so comparing a simple, ‘cannot participate in worldly affairs’ already counts as one that isn’t too bad. 

But wait… 

Isn’t this still the Emperor!!! Even her husband in name!

She was shocked once more, [Why did you only inform me of such an important matter now?]

System, [This system has also just now received the news.]

Yan Shu, [Then what did I even enter the palace for??? Could it be that I should observe being a widow for a lifetime???]

System, [In any case, you don’t have much ambition anyway, so just live as a widow. A lifetime passes by extremely quickly, just one blink and it’ll be all over.]

Yan Shu, […]

Are these human words? She had finally managed to obtain a healthy body with much difficulty, could it be that this one would also pass with a blink of an eye as well?

System, [It’s better to know than not to know. It’s already set in stone, so just take it easy.]

Yan Shu, […]

Having eaten melons for so long, yet this was the first time she had eaten a melon of her own; and it was even such a big one, of course it was natural for one to be caught off guard and somewhat bewildered.

It was to the extent that she wanted to take a sip of tea, but failed to hold it properly, causing the cup to fall to the floor and make a clanging sound.

At this time, the Empress Dowager had not yet arrived, so the banquet had not started, the hall still quiet. Thus, this sound inevitably attracted the attention of many people. 

The women at the front of the table all looked sideways, and upon seeing the way that she was dressed without any sense of presence, unable to even measure up and be as eye-catching as the palace maids of Noble Consort Zhou, Consort Li, and the rest, they all didn’t take her seriously and turned their heads back one after the other in succession.

Only Talented Lady Zhang, who was sitting at the same table as her, whispered, “Is Sister Li already drunk before the banquet has even started? Just that I’m afraid His Majesty didn’t hear you.”

Yan Shu paid her no mind. 

She finally realised why the Emperor had never entered the harem—wasn’t this wanting to fucking enter, but also couldn’t?!

At this moment, she felt as if she had just gone through the ups and downs of seeing through the affairs of this world.

Rather than struggling and exerting all one’s strength in giving it all to pursue an impossible goal that required her to be irreconcilable adversaries7, it was indeed more comfortable for one to give up earlier.

Everything returned to normal after the serving maid brought a new teacup, and Yuwen Lan, who was seated in the distance, also retracted his gaze.

Compared to the women near the front who resembled flowers and birds, lanterns, and even chicken feather dusters, he felt that that clumsily dressed girl seemed more easy on the eyes.

The only thing was, just why did she drop the cup? Was it just to draw his attention too?

It was just a pity that he couldn’t hear her thoughts at all since he was seated too far away.

After a while, the sound of an announcement rang out from outside of the hall, “The Empress Dowager has arrived!”

Yuwen Lan stood up in greeting, and the hall packed full of concubines also followed busily in saluting, the hall ringing out with the sound of, “Respectfully greeting the Empress Dowager.”

The mother and son met in the middle of the hall, Yuwen Lan stopping and saying respectfully, “Respectfully greeting Imperial Mother.”

 母后 (muhou): “imperial mother”, used by the emperor’s children to refer to his main wife, the empress. despite having their own concubine mothers, the emperor’s children were not allowed to call anyone but the empress ‘imperial mother’.

Let alone the fact that the voice sounded deep and resonant, clear and extremely easy on the ears, being this close to the Emperor was also a rare opportunity. Yan Shu seized this opportunity and hurriedly stole a glance, finally seeing that face more clearly. 


What dragon and phoenix-like appearance, pure and upright, white like jade, a brilliant ray of light…

The lines of poetry that she had known for two lifetimes all gushed out at this moment, lingering in her mind.

The rumours weren’t false, truly a beautiful man!

But what a pity!

Yan Shu silently let out a sigh. So good looking, yet can’t be used—truly the highest degree of wasting natural resources8!

Yuwen Lan paused.

‘Good looking, yet can’t be used’?

‘Wasting natural resources’?

What did that mean?

He attempted to seek out the source of these thoughts out of the corner of his eye, and discovered that it was that clumsy girl from just now.

At the close proximity of this moment, he could clearly tell that her countenance was indeed delicate and pretty, her face not having applied a thick layer of makeup.

Aijia has arrived late, must have made you all anxious from waiting, huh?” The sound of the Empress Dowager’s laughter came from beside his ear.

 哀家 (aijia): (lit.) “This grieving one”; used by a widowed empress/consort dowager

Yuwen Lan could only control his expression, saying, “Imperial Mother has had it tough, quickly, please sit.”

[Tch, you better speak clearly. Why is he impotent? Was it congenital? Or was it because he suffered some sort of trauma, leading to this result?]

Yuwen Lan paused again.

He heard it extremely distinctly this time. That girl had used the word ‘impotent’.

That’s right, that’s exactly how Yan Shu described it. Since she was currently shouting at the system right now.

Normally it was okay if she ate other people’s melons, but this huge melon had blown up beside her, and was even related to her own fate. Coupled with those startling looks that resembled a celestial’s, how could she possibly remain indifferent?

She felt that there could definitely be a solution to the situation, so she should understand the root cause clearly first and then discuss more in depth later.

System, [The root cause is temporarily unknown, however, it shouldn’t be congenital.]

Huh, if it wasn’t congenital impotence, then that indicated that perhaps there was still a chance?

Yan Shu’s eyes lit up, having not perceived the surging killing intent that rushed forth from not too far away.

That’s right, the moment he heard that word, a wave of killing intent had already welled up in Yuwen Lan’s heart.

No one else in the entire place had known about this apart from himself.

So how did this woman know?

Then, in the next moment, he heard her mulling over it to herself again, [Maybe he can try ‘The Plain Woman’s Sutra’, ‘A Concubine’s Remarkable Methods’, and that sort of thing, and if that indeed doesn’t have any effect, then he can also try ‘Heaven and Earth’s Intersection of Yin and Yang9, Endowed with Bountiful Joy and Happiness’!]

Yan Shu, who is the so-called phenomenon that hasn’t eaten the pork but has seen the pig run10, has in any case, eaten so many melodramatic and obscene melons over the years, these precious books had only been picked up in passing. As if remembering the melon in ‘General Xuan’wei and the Little Widow’, that skillful position, the lustful little widow precisely using ‘A Concubine’s Remarkable Methods’, inviting the brave man and great general, firmly accepting him in her pomegranate skirt.

Tch, it’s truly sentimental beyond words, so heart wrenching yet erotic, thinking about it now still made one overwhelmed with excitement.

“All rise. Today is a holiday, no need to stand on ceremony too much.”

The Empress Dowager’s voice interrupted her beautiful memories. Yan Shu hurriedly rearranged her expression, following everyone in thanking the Empress Dowager for her favour and getting up.

Yuwen Lan hid his turmoil in his heart, calmly leading the Empress Dowager to her seat.

The banquet officially began, with the palace servants finally serving food such as sliced chicken with lotus flowers, braised duck simmered in bird’s nest, assorted shark fin soup, roast lamb head, golden shrimp, stuffed crab, and so on. At this time, all sorts of delicacies filled the banquet table, causing people to be dazzled by the sight. 

The biggest advantage that this person, Yan Shu, had, was precisely her ability to adopt a light-hearted attitude. Now that things had already become a foregone conclusion, it was useless to be at a loss, so she put her whole mind into focusing wholly on the delicacies in front of her and started to eat seriously.

Because the Emperor had never attended in the past, there was never anything like a New Year’s banquet in the palace. She never had the chance to attend normal banquets either, so today, she would count it as eating until she was satisfied. The chicken slices with lotus flowers were silky and tender, the stewed duck with bird’s nest fresh and fragrant, a mouthful of the assorted shark fin and it seemed to exceed the bounds of immortality, while the roast lamb head was simply too good!

No need to even mention the crispiness of the golden shrimp or the plump stuffed crabs…

Both the cold and hot dishes were amazing, coming today was indeed not in vain!

Happening to look up, she saw Noble Consort Zhou, Consort Ning, and Consort Duan, all competing with one another to either speak eloquently in front of the Empress Dowager, or propose a toast to the Emperor. Imperial Concubine Li, and Wang zhaoyi, were also taking the initiative to present music and dance, each and every one of them attempting to outdo one another11, making the atmosphere of the banquet extremely lively.

 嫔 (pin): mid rank concubine title, ‘imperial concubine’, typically six positions

 昭儀 (zhaoyi): slightly lower than ‘imperial concubine’. i’m just going to leave this one as the pinyin since writing ‘lady of bright deportment wang’ will seriously be a mouthful

Only she hid in the corner, eating and drinking thoughtlessly.

Not even noticing that the Emperor, who was the centre of everyone’s attention right now, was completely focused on her.


the author has something to say:

Yan Shu: Hold on, eat first as a sign of respect.

A certain emperor: Is Zhen not even as important as these few dishes?

Yan Shu: Brother, who are you?

A certain emperor: …

[1] 口是心非 (koushixinfei): (lit.) for the mouth to wrong the heart / (fig.) to say one thing and mean another, two-faced

[2] 马失前蹄 (mashiqianti): (lit.) the horse loses its front hooves / (fig.) sudden failure through miscalculation or inattentiveness 

[3] 如意 (ruyi): an s shaped object that’s usually made of jade and symbolises good luck

[4] 人事 (renshi): euphemism for sex

[5] 难言之隐 (nanyanzhiyin): a hidden trouble hard to mention / an embarrassing illness.

[6] 短袖 (duanxiu): (lit.) “cut sleeve”, derived from when an emperor was unwilling to wake his male lover, who was sleeping on his sleeve, so cut it to avoid waking him up. / euphemism for homosexual

[7] 你死我活 (nisiwohuo): (lit.) “you die, i live” / (fig.) two parties cannot coexist

[8] 暴殄天物 (baotiantianwu): to waste natural resources recklessly, not to know how to use things sparingly.

[9] 阴阳 (yinyang): ‘yin’ normally refers to females, and ‘yang’ usually refers to males. ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ are often used to refer to the sexual properties of the two genders, so ahem, you can take this ‘intersecting’ of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ as an allusion to sex.

[10] 没吃过猪肉也见过猪跑 (meichiguo zhurou yejianguo zhu pao): (lit.) “hasn’t eaten the pork, but has seen the pig run” / (fig.) a person who hasn’t done the deed, but has seen it been done

[11] 争先恐后 (zhengxiankonghou): (lit.) striving to be first and fearing to be last / (fig.) outdo one another

golden shrimp

sorry for the wall of footnotes, it’ll probably get better after most of the titles are out of the way and stuff.


The cold wind swirled in the courtyard and plucked away the last dead leaf from the old tung tree. 

Ren Dong carried a food box, trotting away, and finally returned to the hall of Yongning Palace.

Compared to the other palaces in the harem, this place was secluded and remote, and the furnishings in the hall were rather simple. 

A charcoal bamboo basket made the room just barely warm. 

Seeing her coming back, Yan Shu, who was warming herself by the charcoal basket, immediately asked, “What are we eating today?”

this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!

The cold wind swirled in the courtyard and plucked away the last dead leaf from the old tung tree. 

Ren Dong carried a food box, trotting away, and finally returned to the hall of Yongning Palace.

Compared to the other palaces in the harem, this place was secluded and remote, and the furnishings in the hall were rather simple. 

A charcoal bamboo basket made the room just barely warm. 

Seeing her coming back, Yan Shu, who was warming herself by the charcoal basket, immediately asked, “What are we eating today?”

Ren Dong took out the contents in the food box one by one, and said, “We have stuffed mushrooms, roast duck with bamboo shoots, an assortment of stir-fried vegetables, eight treasure tofu, right, today is the eighth of the twelfth lunar month, so we have Laba porridge as well!”

Yan Shu then came to the table, “I like stuffed mushrooms the most, the Laba porridge in the palace is also delicious, not bad, not bad!”

With that, a mushroom stuffed with three different kinds of minced meat entered her mouth.

Oh, it was delicious and juicy, the fragrance of the minced meat in the glutinous rice didn’t lose to the delicate feel of the shiitake mushrooms, really the best pairing with rice!

Of course, this was also thanks to the nimble feet of Ren Dong, since if she had taken her time in coming back and caused the food to cool, the flavour would have been greatly reduced.

The hierarchy within the harem was strict. The imperial concubines with high ranks often had their own servants sent from the Department of Palace Delicacies1 that were in charge of their meals. However, Yan Shu was only a Beautiful Lady2, so she could only have her own people go. 

There are no more than eight eunuchs and palace maids in Yongning Palace, and from the few that had been brought from her maternal family, only Ren Dong really understood her tastes, thus, the person who brought her meal every time was always Ren Dong. 

“Right, master,” Ren Dong said again, “I heard that there would be a New Year’s banquet tonight. Just now, De Wang, who manages the Department of Treasures3, went to Talented Lady4 Zhang with something bundled in a cloth. Don’t know what they’re sending her again.”

At the mention of this, Ren Dong felt that this was unfair for her master—

The concubines had rules on how much they ate, and a budget for the spending allocated for their clothes as well. Yan Shu’s rank was low, so naturally she couldn’t be compared with the concubines above her. However, that Talented Lady Zhang was clearly of an even lower rank, yet stubbornly relied on the fact that her maternal family was wealthy to bribe the palace’s eunuchs so that from time to time, they would find some good quality clothing, jewellery, rogue, foundation, and so on, all wanting to step on her master’s head. 

“I don’t think any of the other Ladyships5 are as good looking as you,” she lowered her voice wistfully, “If we had the spare money to dress you more extravagantly, you would definitely outshine them all.”

Yan Shu couldn’t even care less about that, “That’s all just useless, dressing up like a fairy, yet His Majesty still won’t come tonight.”

Tsk, this is her third year in the palace, yet she has never glimpsed even a corner of the Emperor’s robe.

Speaking of him, he could be called a legendary figure today. Back then, the previous emperor’s prestige and bloodline were weak, and the imperial clan’s various kings were all eyeing his position covetously. At a young age, he killed his way out of a siege, unifying and succeeding the throne in the midst of a bloody rain and violent winds, and took just three years to stabilise the country and organise the imperial court, which could be said that he actually had some amount of ability.

What was most important was that his looks were rumoured to be incomparable to that of mortals.

Yet within these three years, the Emperor had never set foot into the harem, not even showing up easily to festival banquets.

Yan Shu was of low status, not qualified to go and pay her respects, so she had not yet had the opportunity to verify whether the rumours of him being a celestial being were true or not. 

But in spite of this, the concubines in the palace still didn’t give up hope, banding together and lining up one after the other, and like Talented Lady Zhang, doing their best to enter the Emperor’s sight first; all except for Yan Shu.

Hearing what she said at this moment, Ren Dong hurriedly persuaded her, “Even if His Majesty doesn’t come, it’ll be fine as long as you show your face to the Empress Dowager. If the Empress Dowager takes a liking to you, and often asks for you to chat with her in Ci’an Palace, wouldn’t you have a better chance of meeting His Majesty?”

Yan Shu was currently putting a yellow piece of eight treasure tofu into her mouth as she said perfunctorily, “Forget it, isn’t that Noble Consort6 Zhou still the Empress Dowager’s niece, yet isn’t she still the same as well? Oh, this tofu is seriously crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!”

Ren Dong, “…”

Ai, just by judging from her master’s appearance, if she had even a tiny smidgen of ambitious spirit, afraid she would have already made a name for herself! Yet all she cares about all day long is what she should eat and all the gossip she hears out of nowhere.

At this time, she heard her say again, “Right, I heard that Noble Consort Zhou’s parents have been having a couple’s quarrel over these past two days, don’t know if she and the Empress Dowager have heard of it yet.”

Ren Dong’s eyes lit up, “Could it be that Madam Cheng found out about Benefactor Cheng’s sixth concubine that he raised outside?”

“That’s right.”

Yan Shu nodded as she ate, “This little six does indeed have some small schemes, taking advantage of the fortunate timing of her pregnancy to spread the news and provoke Madam Cheng into making a fuss. However, Benefactor Cheng would still anyhow be distressed for his own flesh and blood, and Madam Cheng’s cannot possibly override him, so he will most likely demand for little six to be accepted into the manor and become a proper concubine.”

 胳膊拧不过大腿: (lit.) arm cannot pinch one’s thigh / (fig.) the weak cannot overcome the strong

Ren Dong clicked her tongue, “If little fifth had been this scheming last time, then the she wouldn’t have passed away. That said, just how old is Benefactor Cheng already, yet he’s still got such a bellyful of trickery, isn’t he ashamed?”

 香消玉殒: (lit.) fragrance vanishes and jade crumbles / (fig.) a beauty passes away

“He’s a man, most of them are like that.”

Yan Shu gulped down a mouthful of Laba porridge, only feeling that it was sweet and dense, so appetising it reached all the way down to her stomach. 

Try another taste of a piece of duck, oh, the imperial kitchen is very skilled in controlling the heat, the duck meat is soft and delicious, the flavour of the bamboo shoots had even seeped into its texture, the meat was fragrant yet not greasy, salty and delicious.

She had come from a modern world and traversed through time to get here. In her previous life, she had been in poor health, hugging herbal decoctions and medicine ever since she was a child, and could not eat this nor that. Despite all her efforts, she had barely managed to survive to her youthful years, yet she had still died under the torture of her illness. 

Although in this life, she had somehow passed through to the ancient era, for her to possess a healthy body that didn’t make her worry about what she could eat or drink already made her cherish this opportunity, and grateful to the heavens. 

Furthermore, she gained a melon eating system after she entered the palace. From time to time, she was able to eat all kinds of novel melons, with each family’s harem having some juicy love history told to her everyday, she was constantly overwhelmed with excitement. 

吃瓜: (lit.) eat melons / (fig.) derived from eating melon seeds when watching entertainment, it figuratively means listen to gossip (a western equivalent would perhaps be eating popcorn)

 Right at this moment, the voice of the system once again reappeared in her mind, [New melon, Marquis Lin Wu’s heir isn’t his own son.]

Yan Shu almost choked on the Laba porridge, [There’s even this?]

The entire capital was well aware that Marquis Lin Wu only had this one son, who was normally the apple of his eye, yet unexpectedly it isn’t his?

pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:


After lunch, the cold wind outside howled even more severely.

Yan Shu was currently eating Marquis Lin Wu manor’s huge melon, then heard someone outside the door say, “Is Beautiful Lady Li inside?”

Hearing that voice, it was exactly that Talented Zhang that Ren Dong had just spoken of. 

Yan Shu’s rank was low, so the other concubines disdained to deal with her, thinking it was beneath their own honour, nor did she also show herself in front of others either. This Talented Lady Zhang, however, was very different. Although she was the lowest-ranking concubine in the palace, she often came to the place of her, the second-to-last ranking concubine, to make her presence known.

It wasn’t polite to not see her when she was already at the door, so Yan Shu had Ren Dong open the door.

Sure enough, she saw Talented Lady Zhang step into the room and greet her, “Sister Li must have already had her meal, so having nothing to do, I came over to your place to chat.”

Yan Shu smiled politely, “Please sit down, is it cold outside?”

“It’s alright. I dressed warmly, so I didn’t notice either.”

With a smile, Talented Lady Zhang unhurriedly removed her brocade cloak that was line in ink, seemingly worth a fortune at a glance, and even intentionally smoothened out the snow white animal down that lined the brim of her cap. Only after that did she settle down in her chair, “There’s a New Year’s banquet tonight, and I even heard that His Majesty will be attending. Has Sister gotten ready yet?”

As she spoke, the plum blossom dangling hair ornament that was crafted of pure gold at her temple continued to sway, and borrowing the afternoon sun that poured into the room, the bright light was so dazzling that it blinded people’s eyes.

Ren Dong’s heart seemed to harbour a fire. This Talented Lady came here wearing a new cloak and jewellery, wasn’t she just here with the aim of deliberately making fun of her poor master?

However, Yan Shu frowned and rubbed her forehead tiredly, even covering her mouth and coughing twice, pretending to be weak as she said, “Unfortunately, I caught a cold yesterday, so I don’t feel too well today. I’m afraid I won’t be able to go tonight.”

Ren Dong, “???”

Not feeling too well? Didn’t you just swallow one bowl of rice and two bowls of porridge?

Zhang cairen’s eyes lit up, but she tried to cover it up and said, “What a pity, it’s such a rare chance to see the Emperor’s face. I was even thinking that if Sister didn’t have any jewellery, I could even lend you two!”

Yan Shu covered her mouth and coughed twice, “Thank you for your good intentions, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make use of it now.”

Probably out of fear of getting sick as well, Talented Lady Zhang hurriedly got up and said, “Then I’ll let Sister rest well, I won’t intrude on you any longer.”

With that, she put on her newly made mink cloak and led her palace maids out the door. 

The room became quiet again. Ren Dong cast a grieving and lamenting glance toward Yan Shu, “Didn’t you hear that His Majesty will be there tonight? What a great opportunity, so why are you pretending to be sick?”

Yan Shu didn’t pay that any mind, “Even if I go, I’ll be seated at the bottom, separated by dozens of people in the middle. His Majesty can’t even see past other people, yet can still see me?”

Rather than watch those bored concubines strive for his favour, it was better for her to stay in her room and continue to eat melons, just halfway through digging up Marquis Lin Wu Madam’s relationship history, yet it was already so thrilling!

But Ren Dong said, “You’re the hope of the entire An De County’s common people! In any case, our county has never before produced an imperial concubine, so how could you be so unambitious and abandon yourself to despair?”

Yan Shu, “…”

She just wanted to be a happy salted fish, can’t afford to carry such heavy moral shackles, okay?

咸鱼: salted fish refers to someone who wants to laze around and do nothing

However, before she could speak, the little palace maid, Lian Xin, entered the room and said, “Beautiful Lady, the Empress Dowager’s palace maid has just come to deliver a decree. His Majesty will be there in person tonight, so all concubines must be sure to attend the New Year’s banquet in Rouyi Hall. 

Yan Shu, “…”

Great, I can’t even be lazy when I want to.


Twilight descended, the lanterns were lit at the first signs of darkness, the entire palace shrouded in splendour.

Living in a remote area of the palace, her status too low for her to ride a palanquin, Yan Shu struggled all the way to Rouyi Hall, her little face having already turned red from the cold. 

Fortunately, the warmth of the hall soon faded her two spots of blush, making her complexion look quite good.

Because they received news of His Majesty personally attending today, the concubines all arrived particularly early tonight, decked out in gold and silver, having all applied powder and cinnabar, all exceptionally gorgeous. 

Even Talented Lady Zhang was dressed even more extravagantly than when they had met in the afternoon. Adorned in a palace dress clustered with gold plum blossoms, a gold hair pin with precious gems and blossom and butterfly pearls, lips painted bright red with rouge, she looked extremely eye-catching.

In contrast, Yan Shu was wearing a lotus coloured coat and skirt, only a pearl dangling hair ornament in her hair that had been coiled up, her plain appearance seemingly extremely pitiful.

Ren Dong was completely helpless, wanting to dress her master up prettily, yet Yan Shu insisted on the light makeup, so light that it didn’t even have any sense of presence, thus, she had no choice to do so.

At this time, Yan Shu was sitting almost near the end of the banquet, and compared with the concubines in front of her with their heavy makeup, she really had no sense of presence. 

However, it was different for Talented Lady Zhang, who was sitting at the same table as her. Ren Dong could clearly feel that Noble Consort Zhou, who was in the seat of honour, Consort7 Ning, and the others, were all intentionally or otherwise shooting daggers at her with their eyes.

In an instant, she suddenly had a flash of insight, finally understanding her master’s intentions—to stand out in such an occasion was clearly seeking enemies for oneself; and furthermore, they were all extremely powerful enemies!

This Talented Lady Zhang really has the guts.

Talented Lady Zhang, however, did not seem to sense it herself. At this time, she was sitting upright, assuming her best bearing, patiently waiting for His Imperial Majesty to come. 

By contrast, Yan Shu was exactly like an extra, listening to the system’s melons while looking at the pastries on the table, wondering when they can start eating.

Oh, the pastries for this huge banquet are truly different at first glance, this lotus cake really looks too alluring. 

Not long after, with a “His Majesty has arrived…”, tonight’s main character finally appeared on the stage.

Everyone saw a figure wearing a black dragon robe enter into the hall. He was tall and imposing, the face underneath the golden crown seemed to be carved like a knife, with wind billowing with every step.

The mood of the concubines in the palace hall began to stir in excitement, getting up to salute him, each and every one of them calling out in a lovable and coquettish voice, “Respectfully greeting His Majesty, long live.”

Yan Shu copied their usual practice, after all, it was a rare opportunity for her to sneak a peek. But unfortunately, she was too far away and could only vaguely make out that the other party had a straight nose, thin lips, and strong jawline. It seems that he was indeed quite good looking.

At this moment, there was the sound of a ding in her ear, and the voice of the system rang out, [There is a big melon of the Emperor’s.]


the author has something to say:

System: There’s a melon of the Emperor’s.

Yan Shu: What melon?

System: Your husband is very handsome.

Yan Shu: …

[1] 尚膳监: managed by eunuchs. the department provides the food for the imperial household

[2] 美人: a low ranking concubine title, titled ‘beautiful lady’, quite low on the hierarchy, below the noble consorts, consorts, and imperial concubines. an unlimited amount of people can possess this title.

[3] 司珍: department that is responsible for making or purchasing the imperial household’s share of jewellery and treasure and is under the ministry of revenue

[4] 才人: a low ranking concubine title, titled ‘talented lady’, even lower than beautiful lady. an unlimited amount of people can possess this title

[5] 娘娘: seniority appellation that’s used for empress or imperial concubines 

[6] 贵妃: high ranking concubine title, titled ‘noble consort’, ranked only below the empress. there are typically only two people who can hold this title.

[7] 妃: high ranking concubine title, ‘consort’. typically only four positions of this title are open.

mushroom stuffed with minced meat
eight treasure tofu
roast duck with bamboo shoots (closest i could find)
assortment of stir fried vegetables
laba porridge

just thought i’d try my hand at tling chinese novels since this doesn’t have a translation! please do go easy on me, i’m not fluent in chinese and this is mostly with the help of a dictionary as well, so don’t expect fast updates,,,

this novel is so good though, mc is a foodie and just wants to laze around all day while the emperor can read minds HGLSDFKJDFS 100% a chaotic novel LMAOSDKSDFJ

on another note, i got hungry translating this chapter, haven’t eaten yet GHSDFLJSDF