所以看见出了这档事，除了抱紧 @擂文 大大摸摸，也只能暗自叹气为那个抄袭作者如此奇葩的三观默哀。。。┑(￣Д ￣)┍
In order to avoid suspicion from Prince Yu and the emperor, Jingyan used the medicine Lin Chen gave him and forced himself to attend the court session merely a day after their return to the capital. Fortunately, years of military life have bestowed him a strong physique and iron will, and since everyone else was also under the weather, no one saw through his guise.
When he finally makes it back to his manor, Jingyan nearly loses his footing at the gate, and is caught by Fei Liu before he collapses.
What follows are long days of feverish sleep. The medicine from Lin Chen seems to have calming and analgesic components; Jingyan fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of many people he has missed.
In those short bursts of wakefulness, all he does is eat and drink. Fei Liu seems to have gotten strict orders from Lin Chen, slapping his hands away whenever Jingyan reaches for the pile of reports. He would stuff Jingyan’s hands back under the covers, saying firmly, with childish seriousness, “Be good! Eat more! Sleep more!”
Chastised against reading and no sleep is forthcoming, Jingyan blinks in the darkness and thinks back to what Meng Zhi said when he came to visit earlier. Nothing seems amiss with the two Hua women and Brother Qi’s response to the emperor’s questions, yet Jingyan cannot help but feel that he has overlooked something crucial.
Although Meng Zhi holds immense power as the Commander of the imperial guards, there is very little he can do when it comes to the Xuanjing Bureau. The information Tingsheng sent along via Fei Liu is also too fragmented to make sense.
Thankfully Xia Jiang does not have anything on Lin Shu at this point; to him, the one person that he is dying to eliminate is Prince Qi. 1
If it were him, he could probably piece together an entire picture from those scattered leads…
As Jingyan’s eyes grow heavier, Fei Liu suddenly snaps his head around to look outside the window in alarm, yet there is no tension in his body, indicating that whoever has come does not harbor malicious intentions.
Fei Liu is already familiar with Meng Zhi and can recognize his footsteps.
Then it must be Xiaoshu.
Lin Shu has climbed over the walls again. Before, he never bothered evading the servants because once upon a time, Lin Shu was not a guest in Prince Jing’s manor.
Now, however, he can only carefully make his way around the guards and towards Jingyan’s rooms. Before he even reaches the door, he feels a sharp gust of wind rushing towards him. Lin Shu blocks the attack instinctively. He pauses when he realizes that the person in front of him is no more than a child.
“Name,” the boy asks simply, raising his head to look at Lin Shu.
“I’m here to see Jingyan.”
“With name, you are guest.”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Pretty Boy.”
Lin Shu clasps his hands in a light bow, nodding formally, “Master Pretty, my name is Lin Shu.” 2
Fei Liu instantly perks up; many people would laugh at his name, this person not only does not laugh, he has also called him a Master!
He must be a good man.
Alas, “Lin Shu is no good.”
Lin Shu is puzzled, “Why not?”
“Lin Shu no good!” Fei Liu cannot explain the reason, he only knows that the Buffalo in the room told him not to let Lin Shu in. He clenches his teeth in frustration, “No good!”
“You heard me wrong, I’m not Lin Shu, my name is Lin Su, S-U--” his eyes glitter with mischief, “Jingyan is injured, I’m here to visit him.” 3
“Lin Su...Su-gege!” Fei Liu’s expression wavers, an unnamed emotion grips him as he feels a sudden kinship with the name, he calls again, “Su-gege!”
He really likes that name.
Since this person is not Lin Shu, Fei Liu lets him in.
Fei Liu watches as Lin Shu sets down a package on the table and then settles himself by Buffalo’s bed. He lifts the bedcovers to check the injuries, and spends the next hour sitting like a statue. When Buffalo shows no sign of waking up, he gets up and leaves.
When Fei Liu goes back into the room, he comes face to face with an awake Buffalo, whose expression so distressing that Fei Liu feels his own heart clench.
He opens the still warm and fragrant package. Inside, stacked in neat piles are freshly-made hazelnut cookies.
Three days later, word from the palace has it that due to illness and weakened mental state, the emperor has authorized Prince Qi to govern all matters of the court in his stead. 4 The news ignite a round of fierce debate amongst the officials, Prince Yu and Prince Xian have even kneeled outside the palace to petition for an audience, but to no avail.
Thankfully, Prince Qi has a highly regarded reputation as a competent leader, so no one voices dissent at the arrangement.
However, after hearing the news from Meng Zhi, Jingyan immediately presses the man in concern, “Did Brother Qi see His Majesty then?”
“It looks like His Majesty is quite seriously ill, even the decrees were spoken from behind his bed curtains. These past few days no prince has been to see him, even Noble Consort Yue and the empress were not able to meet with His Majesty.”
“Has His Majesty agreed to an audience with Brother Qi?”
Meng Zhi looks up puzzled, not grasping the nuanced difference between these two questions, so he answers honestly, “The orders I received were to seal the imperial palace, not admitting anyone...that would include Prince Qi.”
“Then is there a written decree stating that Brother Qi has the full authority to govern the court?”
“I have not seen one...There is a written decree with the same thing I just said, ‘names him as his proxy.’ Your Highness, please do not worry too much, Prince Qi is familiar with the court operations, and most of the officials would happily do his bidding, I am certain that he would handle everything with ease.5 Over the years His Highness has led various projects to completion, every single one of them executed to perfection.”
“Your Highness is a seasoned warrior, you should know the severity of your injury this time. Please take time to rest, we still have Xiaoshu in the capital, he would help out if something does come up.”
Jingyan turns to Fei Liu, as if not having heard Meng Zhi’s words, “Take a message for me to Prince Qi’s manor, tell Brother Qi to please come see me tonight.”
Prince Qi arrives much earlier than anticipated. Jingyan sits on the bed dressed in his proper outer robes, his face having gained some color after another dose of medicine. When he sees his brother, he mentions no word about the assassination and steers the conversation in lighter directions, asking about Princess Qi and the young prince.
His brother’s gaze has been fixed on his chest from the start. Frowning deeply, Prince Qi opens his mouth several times to say something, only to trail off uncertainly, his face crumpling.
Jigyan has never seen Prince Qi looking so lost and perplexed before. In all his memory, his brother has always been gentle and graceful; even in the prison cell, the guards said that he shed his royal robes with dignity, never losing his poise in the face of death. He was the one who made Jingyan understand that royal birth and privilege had nothing to do with a noble heart.
Yet that calm and collected person now has worry written all over his face for Jingyan.
Jingyan averts his eyes, cannot bear to see the anguish on his brother’s face, and forces out the words, “I hear that His Majesty is ill and has made Brother his proxy in court?”
“That is true.”
“Have you considered the possibility that he is not really ill?”
Jingyan knows their Father. Although he was never the favorite child, he still received paternal attention from time to time.
But before being a Father, he was first and foremost the emperor. As long as he is still sitting on the throne, he would never allow anyone to cover that position.
As a son, Jingyan respects him, but as a subject, Jingyan does not trust him.
He has also held the Imperial Seal in his hands, its intricately engraved stamp dictating everyone’s fate, he knows the weight it carries and the power it wields.
As an emperor, Jingyan did not want any of it, yet his Father would gladly exchange everything for its possession, including his paternal heart and human goodness.
That day in the Great Hall, with the tip of his Father’s sword pressed against his chest, Jingyan had firmly said that he would not become a second Prince Qi.
“Jingyan, are you making me doubt our own Father?” Prince Qi holds his brother’s gaze and continues with conviction, “I know what you are worried about, but I must trust him. Because if even we-- the closest people he has-- do not trust him, then he would truly be the most lonely man in the world.”
The most lonely man? He was once that person...
Jingyan closes his eyes. What an unsurprising answer. If Prince Qi had hesitated even one bit at the question, then the thing that all of them have been fighting for all these years, Yan Que, Lin Xie, and Mei Changsu, would be for naught. For Prince Qi, the sick person in the palace is not the emperor, but his aged and frail Father.
If Jingyan’s fear comes true and this turns out to be a trap, then tonight would be the last time he and his brother could sit together like this. If he were honest with himself, he called his Brother Qi here not only to dissuade him, but also to see him one last time.
He will give his Brother Qi everything he desires. 6
Before they part, Jingyan gives into his instinct and wraps his arms around his brother in an embrace, just like when they were younger.
Prince Qi is afraid of putting stress on his wound and settles for gently patting him on the head, “The wound must hurt quite a bit...I haven’t seen you cry these past few years.”
Jingyan startles. It does seem like a long time ago since he last cried.
In the past life, after he was nineteen, he had shed tears for Lin Shu, Prince Qi and those lost souls of 70,000 Chiyan soldiers, but never for himself.
In this life, everyone around him is alive and well. There is nothing to cry about.
Prince Yu carefully selects a silver bow from his storage, its delicate limbs covered in intricate etchings of feathers.
“This bow was made by a renowned craftsman, Jingyan once wanted to have it years ago. It should meet the most scrutinizing standards of Lin Shu,” he says.
Prince Yu sends an envoy with the bow to Lin Shu, rather pleased with himself. Unbeknownst to him, another bow arrives in Lin Shu’s hands at the same moment, delivered by none other than Lie Zhanying.
He is holding a long box, in which lies the crimson iron bow that used to be proudly displayed in Jingyan’s room, a bow that is now severed cleanly in the middle by a sword.
------------------------I AM FOOTNOTES ON STEROIDS--------------------------
1. Orig: 眼中钉肉中刺 (yan zhong ding rou zhong ci), lit. a nail in the eye and a thorn in the flesh, used to describe an intolerable annoyance/obstacle, often a person, that has to be removed.
2. Lin Chen’s name for poor Fei Liu is 小美人儿 (xiao mei ren er), which literally means little pretty person. 美人 (mei ren) is a genuine and politely accepted compliment for a beautiful woman (yep, usually just women), but when you add “er” to the end which is a diminutive often used in nicknames, the whole term becomes a bit flirty and facetious. It’s either an endearment a man would use for his lover behind closed doors, or more commonly, a catcalling word in less respectable situations, e.g. a brothel. Lin Chen takes it a step further and adds “xiao” (small) at the beginning to make the name more appropriate for Fei Liu’s age. So here Lin Shu is actually addressing Fei Liu as 小大侠 (xiao da xia)，which is a bit of an oxymoron since it literally means “small big master.” In the pugilist world, “da xia” is respectful term for an accomplished martial arts expert.
3. Lin Shu purposefully says “Su” to confuse the poor boy, since Shu and Su sound so similar, and I believe it was mentioned somewhere in canon that the dialect in the capital could make these two words sound practically the same. The interesting thing is that for any given pronunciation in Chinese there are more than a dozen different written words to choose from, yet Lin Shu opts for the exact same word as in Mei Changsu’s name, which is 苏，and he explains in the text “苏 (su) as in 苏醒 (su xing)”, also picking the one meaning out of several for the word 苏 that is “revive” or “come back to life.” :)
4. The proper term is 监国 (jian guo), lit. supervise the state, which is a method used in Ancient Imperial China where the emperor appoints either the Crown Prince or a trusted high-ranking official to govern the court in his stead, whether because he is away from the capital or physically unwell. Towards the end of canon, Jingyan was the 监国太子 (Crown Prince who governs the court) since the emperor was in declining health but still alive. In some occasions, this term is also used to describe a proxy who rules in the emperor’s stead when he is too young to make decisions, e.g. the young son who ascends the throne after his Father’s unexpected early demise, the proxy would be either a powerful close relative or highly respected official. Either way, having a proxy is not a decision lightly made, because that person could easily abuse the power to further his own agendas.
5. Meng Zhi says that with political matters, Prince Qi will be 游刃有余 (you ren you yu), lit. there is extra wiggle room for the butcher’s knife when inserted between joints, i.e. expertise comes with practice. It’s used to describe when someone handles something so skillfully that not much effort is required.
6. Jingyan actually uses the word 成全 (cheng quan), which has slightly different meanings depending on the context. The most common one is “fulfill someone’s wish,” or “do someone a favor,” though it usually carries a slight self-sacrificing element to it, e.g. the situation is fraught with obstacles, but I will find a way to 成全 your wish. Here Jingyan simply says he will 成全 his brother, without specifying in what exact aspects. My interpretation is that he will give Prince Qi the best possible ending in every way.