The news that his Concubine Father would be in charge of the campaign made Li Xu Yan feel very proud. In the whole of Da Yan, which married Ger could still appear outside, much less fight enemies on the battlefield? Imperial Father’s love for Concubine Father is very unique and unmatched.
Thinking of this, Li Xu Yan’s expression changed subtlety. He remembered Concubine Qi, who had been granted death by his Imperial Father, then rescued in the nick of time and assigned a heavy protection detail of imperial guards. What kind of feelings does Imperial Father have for him? First, he destroys his whole family, then he pampers him in the Zi Chen Palace. What did he hope to achieve by being so hot and cold? Concubine Qi has adopted the Sixth Prince, how will this impact himself and his Concubine Father?
Li Xu Yan frowned in worry. After looking up, he saw the Sixth Prince carrying a new book satchel into the royal study, spreading out the valuable paper and ink-stone on his table.
Li Xu Yan walked over and pointed to the few black and blue bruises on his jaw, asking in surprise, “Sixth Imperial Brother, what happened to you?” Only one day after going to the Zi Chen Palace, this imperial brother killed four people. He thought that this younger imperial brother was cowardly by nature, but it’s clear now that he was deliberately hiding behind clumsiness.
The reason why he exposed his real self so suddenly was probably to gain Concubine Qi’s favor. But judging by his injured jaw, Concubine Qi was very displeased with him.
Gao Min had advised him countless times, when you meet a strong person, don’t rush to dispose of them just because you feel threatened, that might cause you to lose an excellent helper. The best move was to try to win them over first, if you can’t win them over, then you can strike.
The current Sixth Prince was worth recruiting, whether or not he had talent, he had enough value as Concubine Qi’s adopted son. Concubine Qi had inexplicably won his Imperial Father’s trust and favor, and that made Li Xu Yan feel very uneasy.
Li Xu Dong covered his jaw and shook his head, “It’s nothing, I was injured by a few wicked slaves.”
“How can a slave be bold enough to hurt a prince’s face?” Li Xu Yan obviously didn’t believe him, he sighed then urged, “If you have any difficulties in the future, Sixth Imperial Brother can just come to Tian Chen Palace to find me and Concubine Father, we will not ignore you.”
You won’t ignore me? Where were you guys when I was being bullied in the past? There are so many princes without concubine mothers and fathers in the palace, which of them have received help from Concubine Gao? Isn’t that how he ruled the Six Palaces? Everyone praised Concubine Gao for his charity, benevolence, and literary and military talent, but in his opinion, he wasn’t all that. He couldn’t even compare to his Concubine Father’s pinky.
Li Xu Dong pretended to be grateful, but inside he was sneering.
The other princes and study companions arrived, making him feel a huge disparity. Before, these people wouldn’t even look in his direction, but now, they rushed forward to enthusiastically greet him. This was all because he was adopted by Concubine Qi, one of the two people who received favor in the palace. Even if he had no chance at succeeding the throne, his future was still bright.
Also, because he’d boldly flogged the wicked slaves to death, the emperor finally noticed the awkward positions of the other princes and began rectifying the inner palace. He’d brought everyone some relief, so naturally, he was very popular in the royal study room.
Li Xu Yan was also very popular, but the flattery was all false. The reason the other princes were in such awkward positions was because of his Concubine Father, how could they possibly genuinely admire Li Xu Yan? Perhaps in private, they all hated him to the bone.
Concubine Qi’s family was destroyed, his situation was extremely tragic. Even though he regained the emperor’s favor, he was still a virtual widow, the princes and their concubine mothers and fathers really couldn’t work up any jealousy.
Li Xu Dong felt the changes brought about by his upgraded status, but he didn’t feel any joy or pride. It didn’t matter what other people thought of him, what matters was whether or not his Concubine Father was disappointed in him. He was more attentive in class, went above and beyond on any tasks assigned by the teacher, and memorized and studied the difficult documents, only putting down his books and brush at lunch break.
The attendants carried in the lunch boxes, but Zi Chen Palace’s attendant was particularly eye-catching. He’d brought in a very big food box, it looked very heavy.
“Why is there so much?” Li Xu Dong looked at the five-layered food box in surprise.
“This was personally prepared by the Master. He said that Your Highness has a big appetite, he was afraid that you would not feel full with an ordinary serving.” The attendant explained with a smile as he unpacked the layers and neatly arranged them on the desk. A rich aroma instantly filled the air, causing everyone to glance over.
“Concubine Father also knows how to cook?” Li Xu Dong opened his eyes wide in astonishment. His Concubine Father looked weak, but he was actually very strong. He’d sensed it in the way he used the whip, the technique and strength were very refined. He thought that such a powerful person would shun kitchen work, he never expected him to personally cook for him.
Li Xu Dong was overjoyed, then he felt a little shy. His appetite was indeed really big, several times bigger than ordinary people’s, but because of this, his most feared punishment was when the servants withheld his meals. When he moved into Zi Chen Palace, he didn’t want Concubine Qi to look at him in disgust, so he tried to control his appetite, but unexpectedly, it was still discovered.
It seemed that Concubine Qi was paying way more attention to him than he’d imagined.
Thinking of this, Li Xu Dong felt full even though he hadn’t eaten, he was full from extreme happiness.
Very slowly, he ate all his food bite by bite, wanting to sigh in comfort. In the past, because of hunger, his hands and feet always felt weak, so the horse riding and archery practice in the afternoon felt especially difficult, but now, he seemed to have endless strength.
After class, he impatiently rushed back to the Zi Chen Palace, and halted his hectic footsteps when he saw the person standing in front of the desk, fiddling with a few pieces of cardboard.
The man was bathed in a beam of sunshine, his white delicate skin was nearly transparent, like mist, he looked like he could dissipate with a light touch, disappearing forever.
Li Xu Dong was shocked by this sudden thought and felt an inexplicable wave of panic.
“Concubine Father.” He called out urgently, then felt his throat clog up.
“What is it?” The man didn’t look up, his voice was lazy, revealing a free and unrestrained character.
“My, teacher, assigned some homework, there are a few questions I can’t understand, Concubine Father, can you help me?” Li Xu Dong quickly hid his panicked expression and randomly found an excuse to talk.
“Bring it, I’ll take a look.” Zhou Yun Sheng put down the cardboard and cleared some space on the desk.
Li Xu Dong spread the book out in front of him and pointed to a few lines of text. Zhou Yun Sheng glanced at it, then smiled faintly, opening, “You’re Highness really can’t understand this?”
Li Xu Dong nodded.
“Then why did I see you write down notes for this article in your notebook last night? Your ideas and opinions were very unique.”
Li Xu Dong was stunned, his ears slowly turned red. Last night, Concubine Father had only glanced at his notebook, only one look, barely a second, but he’d unexpectedly read and memorized all the contents, just how smart was Concubine Father’s mind? If Imperial Father didn’t repress him, just how dazzling of an existence would he be? Everyone says that Concubine Gao is an outstanding talent trained in both literary and military arts, but compared to Concubine Father, he is nothing!
Li Xu Dong never understood why his Imperial Father, whom he’d never met, favored Concubine Gao so much, enough to handicap Concubine Father to this extent. Concubine Father was clearly the best person in the world. However, it’s a good thing that his Imperial Father was so blind. It was enough for only him to know about Concubine Father’s specialness.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t know that the wolf cub’s adoration for him had already reached the point of blindness. He grabbed the wolf cub’s ear and asked, “In the imperial study, when the teacher questions you, do you say that you don’t understand anything?”
Li Xu Dong didn’t dare lie, he hesitated before nodding his head. His daily life was already miserable, if he showed off his outstanding talent, he had no idea how far he would be exploited and suppressed by those concubines and servants. He didn’t want to become a tool.
But that was before. Concubine Qi had picked him out even when he was worthless and made such beautiful promises to him. Even if Concubine Qi was only pretending, even if he later found out that he had other motives, Li Xu Dong would accept it. Currently, he was actually worried that he didn’t have enough exploitative value and would be abandoned by Concubine Qi.
Zhou Yun Sheng let go of his red ears and instructed, “Your true self is who you are, you don’t need to hide. Even though I, Qi Xiu Jie, am reduce to this, protecting you is still an easy task. Remember, my, Qi Xiu Jie’s, son can be evil, can be a saint, but cannot be a coward. So what if you outshine Li Xu Yan? If the Gao Min father and son try to attack you, I have plenty of ways to clean them up.”
His tone was very clear and light, but it made Li Xu Dong feel an extremely powerful strength, as if there was nothing in the world that could make him frown in worry. And he would only reveal this strength in front of him, in order to protect him. Li Xu Dong was overjoyed, he tugged at the hem of his Concubine Father’s clothes and eagerly nodded, his eyes slightly flushed.
“Don’t put on such a good-for-nothing expression. Go back and copy this article one hundred times, you’re not allowed to sleep until you finish. In the future, only ask me for help when you’re truly puzzled. You’re not allowed to pretend to not understand when you do, and are especially not allowed to pretend to understand when you don’t.” Zhou Yun Sheng was raising Li Xu Dong according to the standards of a future emperor, it was naturally very strict.
Li Xu Dong didn’t feel the least bit intimidated, he spread out the paper and sincerely said, “I’ll copy it right now, I’ll copy it three hundred times. Concubine Father can supervise me.” He didn’t want to go back to his chamber alone, he just wanted to stay by his Concubine Father’s side.
“Good boy.” Zhou Yun Sheng was very satisfied with his progress, he stroked his head then continued fiddling with the cardboard.
Li Xu Dong copied the lines while repeatedly stealing looks at his Concubine Father, he always felt that he couldn’t look at him enough. After copying the article fifty times, he put down the brush to take a little rest, then shifted closer to Zhou Yun Sheng, who had started cutting a roll of fabric according to the carboard. He asked, “Concubine Father, you’re making clothes? Is it a gift for Imperial Father?” After he said this, his eyes darkened slightly, disgusted with that so-called Imperial Father.
“Him? Is his life that blessed?” Zhou Yun Sheng sneered, then flicked the wolf cub’s forehead and said, “This is a gift for you. See if it suits you when I’m done.”
As a married Ger, the original Qi Xiu Jie was proficient at needlework, so Zhou Yun Sheng had inherited this skill. He thought that since he was raising the wolf cub, he should everything he should do. You can only receive sincerity when you give sincerity.
Indeed, Li Xu Dong was very touched. Blinking his suddenly wet eyes, he hugged his Concubine Father’s arm, unwilling to let go. Finally, he simply curled up at his feet, like a little puppy attached to their owner.
Zhou Yun Sheng smiled, thinking that this child was actually quite cute, raising him wasn’t a negative.
Six Palaces– the buildings of the palace complex where the empress and all of the female consorts lived
virtual widow– to live the life of a widow despite having a living husband; to be a grass widow
cardboard– 硬紙板, yes cardboard 🤷♀️
You’re Highness– He calls him imperial child here