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Chapter 44 With talent, one becomes radiant
“Three years,” answered the old doctor.
Chu Yu raised her eyebrows. Setting down the records, she began to walk out.
The timing was just right.
Those times that had been concealed, perhaps out of coincidence, perhaps with intention, were most definitely something worth looking into. But she could not appear too hasty or obvious.
Of course. Now she was Princess Shanyin.
Chu Yu had already asked that all responsibilities be handed off to Huan Yuan temporarily. Of course this didn’t mean that he was going to immediately replace Rong Zhi. No matter in terms of popularity or reputation, or even experience levels, Huan Yuan was far behind Rong Zhi, who had grown so familiar with the role.
If she tried to shift power like this…without even considering Rong Zhi, the levels below him would likely go into riots, perhaps even revolt.
That’s why although it seemed like she was using “temporary exchange of power” as an excuse, it was really all she could do in the moment.
She asked Huan Yuan to go to Rong Zhi’s place not only to obtain the seal, but also to bring instructions from above and the accounts to Rong Zhi to ask for his advice. He was an encyclopedia for them, with so much experience in handling everything. Under his instruction, they’d be able to halve the efforts and reap twice the profit. If Huan Yuan were to figure everything out on his own, they’d have to waste a lot more energy.
When Rong Zhi had recovered, most of his authority would return to him. Huan Yuan could also help, but not with much.
Taking things step by step, without haste or pride.
Chu Yu had that kind of patience.
After returning to her dwellings, Chu Yu asked for the personnel records from four years ago until now. She asked for more than she needed to confuse anyone who might be alerted to her true intentions. But after all was said and done and the doors were closed behind her, the records that Chu Yu focused on were those from three years ago to four years ago.
There was a sense of surprise, but also that she wasn’t truly surprised by what she saw. Three years ago there had been a big personnel shakeup in the princess’s palace. In other words, the people working here right now were completely different from those who had been here three years ago. As for the people who had been switched out, there was very little indication on the record as to what had happened to them.
Something must have happened in that time period for such a dramatic shift to have occurred.
But now Chu Yu had a different question on her mind. Should she really go and investigate? If the result was different from what she had imagined, or she became so distracted that her judgement slipped up, then wouldn’t she have lost more than she gained?
On the other hand, to put it aside and ignore it…Chu Yu’s curiosity couldn’t be suppressed. Plus, the whole affair might be related to what was going on right now.
After asking for the records to be returned, Chu Yu took a slow walk through the palace, hoping that fresh air would somehow unravel the mysteries that troubled her. But soon after she had walked from the east palace, someone approached from the opposite side. The moment Chu Yu saw him, she couldn’t help but smile a bit helplessly.
The person in question was Liu Se.
Out of Princess Shanyin’s male concubines, Chu Yu had allowed six to stay. Rong Zhi stayed because she couldn’t figure him out, while Huan Yuan’s identity was unique. Hua Cuo had a disability and Liu Sang was too young to be let go. Liu Se and Mo Xiang, on the other hand, remained as nothing more than pretty relics of a time past. The palace did have more than enough resources for two idlers.
Out of these six people, other than the naive Liu Sang, Chu Yu was least worried about these two. It’s just that the reason for them staying made her roll her eyes. Although Mo Xiang never tried much, that whole incident with him getting into her bed naked had given her quite the fright. In comparison, Liu Se seemed to have stayed behind for more subtle longer term harassment.
Although they were forbidden from entering the eastern palace at random, each time Chu Yu left the eastern palace she seemed to bump into Liu Se wandering around. It was more contrived than anything, with excuses that were each stranger than the last.
For example, three days ago. When Chu Yu saw him, he’d been looking around with a confused look on his face. The moment he spotted her, he ran over in excitement and claimed that he had been lost. He said this while standing less than twenty meters from the main path of the palace–a completely shameless excuse.
And then two days ago. Liu Se walked by her and pitched onto the ground, staring up at her with teary eyes. At the time Chu Yu really wanted to tell him that his acting skills couldn’t compare to the prince–it was like the difference between a third rate star and an Oscar-winning actor. But in the end she didn’t say anything, just handed him over to a nearby guard before leaving.
The day before yesterday was even more amusing. Chu Yu saw him playing with something on the ground and walked closer out of curiosity. What she saw was him with a pale face, tears dripping from his eyes, a small shovel in his hands, as he…buried flowers.
A thousand years earlier than Lin Daiyu, huh.*
Liu Se’s little tricks were always quite crude and easy to see through so that even in her exasperation, Chu Yu found them amusing. They were a small change of pace every single day that she almost found herself looking forward to.
But today seemed to be something different. Liu Se walked right up to her without pretending to twist his ankle or look around, or even vomit blood or bury flowers. Coming up to her, he spoke with a mournful look. “Princess, recently every day you’re either with Rong Zhi, or looking for Huan Yuan. Has Liu Se done anything wrong for the princess to grow so tired of him?”
Chu Yu gazed at the youth before her. He was in his teens, and had been born poor. Without much of an education or a strong body, his only specialty was his natural beauty. To gamble all of his future on becoming a male concubine, was a choice of desperation, but also an expression that he was unwilling to be holden to poverty.
Compared to Rong Zhi, Liu Se’s thoughts were as clear as glass.
After making up her mind, Chu Yu looked at him with a smile. “Do you know why I haven’t been minding you much these days?”
These days, no matter how many tricks Liu Se tried, Chu Yu had always ignored him with a cold attitude. Now that she suddenly seemed so approachable, Liu Se was shocked and surprised. “I don’t know.”
Chu Yu smiled and spoke the script that she had prepared, “You are incredibly beautiful. But compared to Huan Yuan and Rong Zhi, you are lacking. It’s important for you to learn that skin-deep beauty will always age. Inner talent is more important. That’s why they say that with talent, one becomes radiant. That’s the case with Huan Yuan.”
Liu Se thought about it for a long moment. Without saying much, he left.
“He’s leaving already?” asked Yue Jiefei out of curiosity. Honestly, he hadn’t quite understood what Chu Yu was talking about just now.
Chu Yu smiled. “Probably gone to develop his disposition.” In the short term, she wouldn’t have to worry about his harassment.
Right after dealing with him, another figure on the road made Chu Yu’s rising heart sink again. The person was obviously coming for her, so she didn’t bother with pointless dodging and approached after a bit of psychological preparation. “Ninja…my prince.” Phew, that was close.
He Ji walked up and spoke politely. “Princess, after attending our morning council, the emperor told me that he had not seen you in a while. He wishes for you to enter the palace and see him.”
The emperor. In other words, Princess Shanyin’s younger brother, Liu Ziye.
*A reference to one of the four most renowned novels of China, Dream of the Red Chamber, where one of the female protagonists Lin Daiyu is so sentimental that she tears up over and carries out a burial ritual for flowers.