Royal Descendants

Royal Descendants

Chapter 6 - Chapter 6

In the Lingnan Prince's Manor, Bairen dismissed the crowd and asked in a low, urgent voice, "What have you found out? Whose idea was this?"

Cen Chaoge frowned and said in a low voice, "It was Princess Dunsu's idea."

"Princess Dunsu..." Bairen had also heard of this princess, whose husband's family was a major clan in the imperial city, with generations of officials and great influence in the court. Princess Dunsu was an important figure in the royal family.

Bairen recalled the imperial secrets that Dong Boru had told him the other day - Qi Xiao was actually Emperor Wu's legitimate son. It all made sense now. Princess Dunsu was Qi Xiao's biological aunt, much closer than the emperor, so it was natural for her to scheme for Qi Xiao. Bairen grew more and more worried. "Did Princess Dunsu specifically request my sister?"

Cen Chaoge shook his head, "It doesn't seem so... I heard that Princess Dunsu mentioned it on the day she returned to the palace, because they were talking about selecting concubines for the Crown Prince, and that's when our princess was brought up. But at that time, they didn't specify which princess. But later, for some reason, they settled on Princess Roujia. It was only a matter of a day or two, so they couldn't have sent someone to look into it. As for why... I'm not sure about that either."

Bairen pursed his thin lips slightly, "So... the emperor may not know yet, and even if he does, he hasn't told Father and the others... There's still room for change, still..."

Bairen silently gazed out the window, lost in thought, secretly strategizing in his heart. Cen Chaoge hesitated for a moment before advising, "Your Highness, actually, if Princess Roujia comes, it won't harm you. You know the current situation. If the princess comes, it will be much better."

"Even you say so?" Bairen felt greatly disappointed. "Chaoge, we grew up together. Don't you know my sister's temperament? If she enters the Crown Prince's residence, and in the future, the Crown Prince takes a Crown Princess and several concubines... will my sister still be alive?"

Cen Chaoge said nothing, giving a bitter smile, "I'm doing this for you too. Our situation is awkward now, and we need someone to help us out of this predicament. Although I'm not familiar with the Crown Prince, from what I've heard and seen these past few days while gathering information, if Your Highness can gain the Crown Prince's favor, life will be much better in the future."

Bairen was anxious and unwilling to hear this. He frowned and shook his head, "I said this is not up for consideration... You've been tired these past two days. Go rest first. I'll think carefully about countermeasures..."

Cen Chaoge had no choice. He could only comfort Bairen with a few words before leaving. Unexpectedly, when he exited the main hall, he ran into Dong Boru who had come to find Bairen. Cen Chaoge bowed with his hands, "Sir Dong."

Dong Boru nodded and asked about the marriage alliance. Cen Chaoge answered as before and sighed, "Sir Dong, it's not that I'm heartless. You've seen the current situation. Just because we've been at odds with the imperial city these past years, we don't have a single close relative here. Our Lingnan Prince's Manor is like an isolated island in this capital, with no one to rely on. It's not easy to have this connection with the Crown Prince, yet His Highness wants to refuse it."

Dong Boru sighed, "How could I not advise His Highness the same way? But His Highness also has his difficulties... Alas, if it could be refused, that would be good. A real man should stand tall under the heavens. How can he entrust his fortune to a weak woman?"

Cen Chaoge gave a bitter laugh, "I used to say such things often, but only after coming to the imperial city did I understand the depths... Forget it. Since it's His Highness's wish, even if it means painting the ground with my brain matter, I must go do it. I've only been able to find out this bit of information after moving about these past two days. It's truly shameful. Sir Dong, please go in first. I'll go seek out some more channels."

Dong Boru knew his difficulties and nodded before going in.

Cen Chaoge took a deep breath and left the Lingnan Prince's Manor, heading to a restaurant in the west of the city.

Cen Chaoge had a servant reserve a private room at the restaurant in advance, specifically instructing them to have their best chef meticulously prepare a table of dishes and wine. Cen Chaoge arrived at the restaurant to wait at the hour of the snake, and it wasn't until noon that the person he invited finally arrived at a leisurely pace.

"Lord Xi, please sit, please sit..." Cen Chaoge hurriedly greeted him with a smile, turned and gave the waiter a piece of silver, "Serve the dishes quickly."

The waiter promptly pocketed the silver and went off diligently.

Xi Xiang smiled, "Sir Cen is really too polite. Such a grand reception, how dare I accept it?"

Cen Chaoge quickly laughed, "Lord Xi jests. You work hard every day in the Internal Affairs Department. Others want to invite you but can't find the time. Today, you've given me this face to come out. It's not that I'm being polite, but that you're giving me face."

Cen Chaoge's words made Xi Xiang feel flattered. He said "much obliged" with a smile and sat down.

Cen Chaoge's servant hurriedly came forward to fill the two men's cups with the wine that had been warmed earlier. The two exchanged pleasantries for a while longer. When the wine flowed and the mood was high, Cen Chaoge waved his hand to let the servant out and smiled, "Lord Xi, about the matter of the Crown Prince and our princess that we mentioned last time..."

Hearing this, the flush of wine on Xi Xiang's face faded a few shades. He leaned in close and lowered his voice, "Congratulations, Sir Cen. This matter is almost settled..."

After saying just this much, Xi Xiang stopped talking, pretending to be drunk and just eating. Cen Chaoge felt disgusted in his heart, but still smiled and took out a bank note from his bosom, discreetly passing it to Xi Xiang's hand, and laughed, "But I don't know what this 'almost' means?"

Xi Xiang glanced down and smiled, pocketing the bank note while laughing, "His Majesty is most gracious. The 100,000 dan of grain to aid Lingnan has already been allocated. We're just waiting for the eighth day of next month. His Majesty will dispatch a high official to personally escort it, and along with the grain... will be the letter about the marriage alliance."

Cen Chaoge's heart stirred. The eighth day of next month? That's just ten days from now...

"There's nothing else really. Oh right, I also heard... because there hasn't been much contact with Lingnan, besides those people, they also want to select a few more Lingnan natives to... to accompany them along the way, in case something goes wrong. You know, our people here can't understand the Nanjiang dialect..."

Xi Xiang seemed to be really drunk, letting out a wine burp and laughing, "I think that servant boy of yours is not bad. Ask him if he misses home. If he does, let him go back with them..."

Cen Chaoge's heart began to pound involuntarily. He paused, then laughed, "Lord Xi jests again..."

"Hey! You don't believe I have this ability, do you?" Xi Xiang suddenly perked up, widening his eyes and tipsily pounding the table, shouting, "I, as the director of the Internal Affairs Department, can't even handle this small matter? Let me tell you... not... not to mention your servant... even you! I can add you to the list of people accompanying them! How hard could that be..."

Cen Chaoge's heart raced faster and faster. He quickly helped Xi Xiang sit up and smiled apologetically, "You're right, sir, you're right..."

"Sigh..." Xi Xiang poured himself another cup and drank it, sighing, "Speaking of which... you've really had it rough. Take your servant boy for example, who here treats him like a person? Everyone orders him around, even that waiter just now looked down on him. This old man isn't stupid, if this were in your Lingnan, since he's a servant of the Civil Minister's family and attends to you personally, he may be a servant in the manor, but outside, others would treat him like a master! A servant of the Prime Minister's household has the rank of a seventh-grade official, that's the principle..."

"But that's only in your Lingnan. In the Imperial City, who's heard of a Lingnan Civil Minister's family servant?" Xi Xiang belatedly realized he misspoke and lightly slapped his own mouth, laughing, "Pah! Look at this old man's loose lips... a few more drinks and I forget my place. Young Master Cen, please don't take offense, the Lingnan Civil Minister is a rare capable official, this old man has long admired his reputation..."

Cen Chaoge gave a wry smile and shook his head. The words were crude but the reasoning wasn't - what was there he didn't understand after being in the capital for a month?

He grew up in Lingnan, where people only recognized the King of Lingnan and didn't know who the Emperor was. As the son of the Minister, Cen Chaoge was fawned over wherever he went. Even the King of Lingnan had to give him some face.

Usually, while he couldn't quite call the wind and summon the rain, at least he didn't have to flatter eunuchs like this. Cen Chaoge glanced at the drunk and dazed Xi Xiang beside him, feeling even more disgusted in his heart.

Only after entering the Imperial City did Cen Chaoge have his eyes opened. He used to think he had some status, but in this Imperial City full of high officials and nobles, he was actually nothing. Not to mention he now had an additional identity - the study companion of a hostage prince. Others avoided him like the plague, who would be willing to pay him any mind?

This past month, Cen Chaoge had gotten his fill of the fickleness of human relationships. Before, he didn't understand why Bairen always harbored resentment in his heart and was determined to climb up. Back then, he had even advised Bairen that fame and fortune were the most despicable things in the world and not worth obsessing over.

Now Cen Chaoge just felt his lofty disdain back then was laughable. He suddenly remembered what his father had told him before he left Lingnan: This journey will be full of untold difficulties, be careful in all things. If you make it through, your future prospects will be limitless.

Thinking of his grand ambitions back then, Cen Chaoge didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was just because of his many years of relationship with Bairen that he had impulsively agreed. Thinking about it now, it was really...

Xi Xiang didn't know Cen Chaoge's current feelings. He ate meat and drank wine while muttering to himself, "Why isn't Young Master Cen saying anything? Oh... this old man understands, Young Master Cen is homesick? Indeed... Lingnan is a great place. This old man has never been to Lingnan, but has heard others speak of the southern frontier's scenery. It's much better than our Imperial City, eternal spring, not like us here... with sandstorms year-round... Young Master Cen, stay a few years and you'll know. By then, your fair little face... will be just like this old man's, just like it..."

Drunk, Xi Xiang's eyes were glazed as he murmured, "If I were you... I'd go back long ago. Others, accompanying the Crown Prince to study... have a bright future ahead. You, what about you? In the future, if by chance... by chance... you'll die... along with him..."

Unable to resist the alcohol, Xi Xiang fell asleep with his head on his arm.

Cen Chaoge turned his face to the side, looking at Xi Xiang with a complex expression, hesitating in his heart. But Xi Xiang was already dead drunk, even if he wanted to discuss something it was impossible now.

Cen Chaoge got up and opened the door to the private room, letting the two young eunuchs following Xi Xiang come in. He said in a low voice, "Lord Xi had a few too many drinks and fell asleep."

One young eunuch nodded, "No matter, like this we just can't return to the palace. We'll send Lord Xi to his residence in the western city and it'll be fine."

Cen Chaoge nodded, watching the two young eunuchs lift the person. He closed his eyes, gritted his teeth and stopped them. After a moment's pause, he took out another purse from his bosom. It felt like it weighed a thousand pounds in his hand as he slowly handed the purse to that young eunuch and said softly, "Please, young sir, give this purse to Lord Xi when he wakes up and tell him I said... there is one more thing I need to trouble Lord Xi with."

The young eunuch quickly agreed and took it, supporting Xi Xiang down the stairs.

Half an hour later, Xi Xiang's group finally arrived at a small two-entry courtyard. The young eunuch lifted the curtain of the sedan chair slightly and said softly, "Lord Xi, we've arrived."

Xi Xiang exited the sedan chair, his face showing not a hint of drunkenness. He hurriedly entered the courtyard gate and went straight to the main hall. Inside, Jiang Deqing was slowly sipping tea. Seeing Xi Xiang arrive, he smiled, "How did it go?"

Xi Xiang quickly approached and bowed, personally serving Jiang Deqing tea while saying softly, "Rest assured, Master, everything has been arranged."


Hi, I'm Nightowl. I thrive in the quiet hours of the night, where my translations come to life. You’ll often find me with a cup of tea, surrounded by my collection of vinyl records, sharing stories that keep us all up a little too late.

Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@lwothgin.