I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country (Chapter 11 - onwards) - Chapter 034
- I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country (Chapter 11 - onwards)
- Chapter 034 - His Majesty's picturesque beauty
The owner of Fragrance of a hundred flowers took Gu Yuanbai and Xue Yuan to the room next to Prince He.
Officials of the Great Heng Dynasty were forbidden from frequenting places of temptation. Of course, Gu Yuanbai couldn’t knowingly break the law, so he asked the owner to lead them down the path with the least people and gave him enough money to let them get in quietly and then leave quietly.
The room wasn’t very big, and the decorations were ordinary and frivolous. Gu Yuanbai stood in the center and looked around, feeling that nothing suited his sense of aesthetics.
Prince He was to the left of their room. The left wall had a cheap wooden bed covered in white gauze fabric. The owner moved it to the side, and there was a wooden fan hiding behind it. There were several holes in the fan, just enough for someone inside the room to peek through them.
The owner explained with a smile. “Don’t misunderstand, this is for ventilation. In the morning and evening, we move the furniture away when we use incense so that the fragrance will pass through each room.
Gu Yuanbai nodded and told the owner to leave them. After the door was closed, he held onto his robes and sat in front of the wooden fan.
Xue Yuan sat down comfortably next to him. Remembering the young Emperor’s delicate disposition, he looked down and glanced at his ass.
“Is your ass getting cold?” Xue Yuan asked directly.
Gu Yuanbai had spent the last three years in the ancient world, and in that time this was the first he heard such a vulgar sentence from someone around him. His eyelid twitched. “We order you to shut up.”
In the next room over, a young man sitting at the table with Prince He was whispering in a quiet voice. Soon, someone knocked on the door of the room, and several men from the Fragrance of a hundred flowers came in.
Gu Yuanbai glanced, a frown in his eyebrows.
Did Prince He actually like men?
The men, with their backs to Gu Yuanbai’s direction, lined up like concubines being selected. Prince He was behind them, so it wasn’t possible to see how they looked.
If he remembered correctly, Gu Yuanbai was pretty sure that Prince He didn’t like men, and that he particularly disliked same sex relationships, which were gradually becoming more common in the capital.
Gu Yuanbai waited quietly for a while, and the young man in the room said, “Turn around.”
The group of men turned around, facing the wall, just so that Gu Yuanbai could see their looks clearly. The men all had clear, smooth faces, and among them, some could be called beautiful. Gu Yuanbai objectively commented, “Pretty like a girl.”
Xue Yuan heard him and gave him a glance.
Gu Yuanbai turned his head keenly and narrowed his eyes. “Do you have something to say, Guard Xue?”
“I don’t dare,” Xue Yuan said with a fake smile. “What Your Majesty said is correct.”
It was a shame to hear someone with boundless appeal say these hired hands were ‘pretty like a girl’. It was damned strange.
Gu Yuanbai turned his head and continued to look at the room next to them.
Watching closely, he noticed the expression on Prince He’s face across the group of people. His expression was really wrong, a combination of uncontrollable disgust and deep depression. With the way he looked at the men standing with a sullen face it could be seen that he was not in a very good mood.
Gu Yuanbai pondered about it and, after thinking for a while, he got up and said, “Let’s stop looking, close it.”
Xue Yuan also got up and he was about to move the furniture when a gust of wind blew in through the window, carrying the fragrance in the courtyard and coating the room. Gu Yuanbai choked in the harsh fragrance, and he leaned against the closet and started coughing violently.
The sight of the young Emperor coughing was scary. Xue Yuan instantly remembered the sight of him coughing blood a while ago. His expression changed instantly, and he reached out and picked up the young Emperor in his arms.
“Go away– cough-” Gu Yuanbai said fiercely, “You–”
He was interrupted by another long string of violent coughs.
“Shut up!” Xue Yuan’s expression was ugly, “Just stay with me!”1
He set Gu Yuanbai down on the bed and went to find a towel and water. The tall, broad figure rushed back and forth around the room, carrying a gust of wind that brought the overpowering scent with it. Gu Yuanbai coughed uncomfortably, and he stammered out, “The scent…”
Xue Yuan strode forward and closed the window. He looked at the bed again, brought the wet towel, and pulled down the bed canopy.
The bed was submerged in dim light, and the scent was finally cut off. Gu Yuanbai held onto the bed frame to avoid falling over.
This body had grown up pampered, receiving the most meticulous care in the country and using only the best quality scents. Now, when he smelled such an inferior, irritating scent, Gu Yuanbai’s nose was overwhelmed by the fragrance of a hundred flowers.
In truth, the longer he lived, the more he realized it hadn’t be easy to live for that long.
Xue Yuan took Gu Yuanbai in his arms, let him lie against his chest, and wiped his face with the towel. Gu Yuanbai coughed, muffled, his thin chest constantly rising and falling. In the dim, small space, his weak cough could make one think he was on death’s door.
Xue Yuan frowned with a dark expression and he wrapped the young Emperor in a blanket. He picked him up and walked out of the door with a calm expression.
All sorts of respected guests and young men outside looked at him. Gu Yuanbai was still coughing under the blanket, the sound dampened by the fabric. The white blanket shook slightly with the cough, and a few strands of black hair hung down on the outside.
Just being able to see a few strands of black hair and a layer of fabric made people get imaginative. When the blanket shook, wasn’t it because a beauty was scared?
A youth stepped forward, stopped in front of Xue Yuan, gave the blanket a look and said, full of righteousness, “This young man doesn’t want to go with you, how can you just wrap someone in a blanket and forcibly take them away?”
“Yes,” a respected guest on the other side said loudly, “this place doesn’t allow forcing people, and coercion is not something a gentleman would do.”
Xue Yuan sneered, unable to suppress his hostility. “Go away.”
The wealthy young man blushed from the rebuke. Xue Yuan had no patience, so, when he looked like he was about to say something more, he just lifted his foot and kicked him, walking out with a fierce aura.
Everyone in the yard felt frightened by him. The young master that had been kicked fainted to the side. Xue Yuan’s steps were getting faster and faster, and his expression was very unpleasant.
Fuck, if the young Emperor can’t even endure the scent, what’s the point of going inside?!
Doesn’t he know how weak he is?!
Soon, Xue Yuan walked out of the courtyard gate with a sullen face. The outside of the street, at the entrance of the alley, was full of people, so Xue Yuan held the young Emperor and walked deeper into the alley. After kicking away a few stray dogs, he found a place with no smell.
The blanket opened and Gu Yuanbai leaned against the wall with it. Some of the oddly strong fragrance still lingered inside his nose, and his energy was exhausted. He could only cough with a low voice and his shoulders shook constantly, almost like a sign of life leaving him.
The young Emperor slouched, his pale fingers clutching his clothes, and he could barely hold himself up, with nothing to support him.
Xue Yuan looked at him quietly for a while. His eyebrows wavered and the corners of his mouth pressed down, and he stepped forward next to the young Emperor. Then, he pulled the Emperor’s white hands onto his chest, letting him hold his clothes.
“Stupid show of strength,” Xue Yuan sneered. “Lean on me.”
In the courtyard of Fragrance of a hundred flowers.
While Prince He was selecting young men, he suddenly heard a coughing from next door. His heart jumped and he stood up instantly, a thumping in his chest. Panicking and restless, he waited for a while and, when he calmed down, he said to the young man, “Go next door and see who is in the room.”
The young man went to check, and when he came back he had a complicated expression on his face. “Master, there is no one next door.”
Unable to understand his own mood, Prince He sat down blankly, looking at the group before him with a sullen expression. He lost interest in picking anyone. After sitting for a while, he suddenly got up and walked out the door.
The moment he stepped out, Prince He ran into Li Yan and Tang Mian, who were walking together.
The two of them also saw Prince He. In a flash of panic, Li Yan, the son of Marquis of Pingchang, pulled the painting he was carrying at his back, avoiding eye contact and not daring to look at Prince He.
Instinctually feeling something was wrong, Prince He’s face sunk. “What are you doing here?”
Tang Mian was also caught off guard. He barely managed to calm down and reluctantly replied, “To answer Prince He’s question, this one came out to see the world with the Pingchang heir.”
“See the world?” Prince He stared intently at the paintings they were trying to hide. “What’s that?”
Tang Mian and Li Yan went pale, and the two looked a little scared and panicked.
Prince He said sternly, “Come here!”
Tang Mian and Li Yan followed Prince He into the room. Under Prince He’s oppressive gaze, they had already gone white, but they still did not dare to take out the paintings.
If Prince He knew… if His Majesty knew…
Were they going to die?
Prince He’s patience was almost gone. “This prince will say it one last time. Take it out!”
This stern voice frightened the two boys, who had not yet had their adulthood ceremony,2 completely. The two placed the paintings on the table with trembling hands and they unfolded them one by one. Next to them, Prince He looked down, slightly startled.
In the paintings there were two men with different appearances that Prince He did not recognize, but the unfamiliar faces gave him a sense of familiarity.
After looking at them for a long time, he raised his head with an unreadable expression and he looked at Tang Mian and Li Yan. With a deep look that hid murderous anger, he said, “Get out!”
Tang Mian and Li Yan glanced at the paintings subconsciously, then left, pale.
Prince He looked at the paintings on the table, his anger building up. When he grabbed one of the paintings, about to tear it up, his hands shook, but he wasn’t able to.
His hand was frozen, and he didn’t have the strength to destroy the painting.
Prince He threw the painting down in dismay and muttered, “Bring these two paintings back to the manor and place them in my study.”
Deep in the alley.
When the young Emperor’s cough finally calmed down, Xue Yuan took a step back.
Although Gu Yuanbai was a mess, he was still extremely composed. He glanced at Xue Yuan, stretched out a hand and said in a dull voice, “Handkerchief.”
Xue Yuan searched himself, found a balled up handkerchief, and handed it over. Gu Yuanbai glanced at the fabric in disgust, and Xue Yuan repressed his anger. “It’s not used.”
Gu Yuanbai finished composing himself, and then, when he thought his expression should finally be back to normal, he looked at Xue Yuan and said slowly, “We don’t want any uninvolved parties to know We were here today.”
Xue Yuan replied, “This official also doesn’t want anyone to know that he entered the Nanfeng Pavilion.”
Gu Yuanbai showed a satisfied look. “Very good.”
He threw aside the handkerchief he had used. Xue Yuan glanced at it unexplainably and then looked away.
The two of them walked out of the alley one after the other, only to find that there were several brothels besides the Nanfeng Pavilion.
When they passed a brothel, they could hear the sound of laughter, and a female voice laughing delicately said, “Those scholars have been calling sister Chuchu the nymph of the Luo River. I wonder how many people want to eat the rouge on her lips!”3
Xue Yuan heard these words and asked casually, “Your Highness, have you ever eaten the rouge on a woman’s lips?”
Gu Yuanbai: “…”
Gu Yuanbai smiled slightly. “Have you been eating any, Guard Xue?”
“No.” Xue Yuan’s lips twitched in apparent distaste and said politely, “Your Highness, this officer isn’t in the habit of eating other people’s rouge.”
Gu Yuanbai, “It just so happens that We haven’t.”
Xue Yuan said, “They say that she’s beautiful like the nymph of the Luo river, does Your Highness think she’s that beautiful?”
Gu Yuanbai smiled when he heard the words. He turned his head and glanced at Xue Yuan. The curvature of the corners of his lips displayed his steadfast self confidence. The Emperor said, “No matter how beautiful the nymph of the Luo river might be, is there such picturesque beauty as Ours?”
Xue Yuan looked at his confident, vigorous smile, and suddenly, his heart seemed to beat twice as fast.
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