Lying on the ice to look for carp...

Another day where lunch was served in the Yangxin Palace Hall. The wide range of dishes were rich and dazzling, anyone smelling the mouth-watering aroma would sigh upon having the blessing of good food.

The Qin Emperor was accustomed to enjoying these delicacies. He viewed them as if they were nothing special, picky even…

“This fish is not very fresh today.” Ji Yue put down his chopsticks as he harshly judged the food.

Hearing the other man’s evaluation, Wei Lian reached for a piece and tasted it, but didn’t notice any unpleasant flavour. “This subject thinks it tastes fine?”

Ji Yue maintained, “We find it unacceptable.”

Wei Lian: Fine.

You’re the Emperor, your words are absolute.

He knew that the Qin Emperor was an appallingly picky eater, and if he thought the food was bad, then he would be dead set on not consuming it.

“Take it away and have the imperial kitchen make another one.” Wei Lian ordered the palace staff.

In the presence of the Qin Emperor, he had the power to order around the Yangxin Palace Hall’s palace workers.

The palace worker left with an acknowledgment and returned soon after, not with a freshly made fish, but with a person instead.

Judging from the person’s outfit, he was a chef from the imperial kitchen.

Ji Yue smiled faintly. “Do you mean for us to eat this person?”

The chef, who was already trembling with fear from facing the Emperor for the first time, was so frightened that he knelt down on the spot, trembling like a leaf. “Your Majesty, please have mercy!”

He had only heard rumours of his Majesty’s lack of regard for human life and his tyrannical nature. With one comment, he might even be thrown into a pot of hot oil and be fried.

There was no trace of emotion on Ji Yue’s face.

There was no need to be frightened to this degree. He had no desire to taste human flesh.

He killed countless people, not only those who were assassins from various countries disguised within the palace, but also ones that had committed a misconduct. He never wilfully slaughtered the innocent.

It was not worthwhile to make this chef’s life difficult.

Wei Lian saw Ji Yue’s smile gradually vanish, and he couldn’t hold back the urge to chuckle. “Rise, his Majesty doesn’t eat people.”

The cook still dared not raise his head, so he only heard the clear, warm tone like a spring breeze against his face.

This should be the rumoured recently popular Wei Gongzi.

Wei Gongzi was really favoured by his Majesty. Bold enough to tell him to rise before his Majesty gave the word. The chef found the young man’s order conflicting as he didn’t dare to obey it.

Wei Gongzi had his Majesty’s favour, so taking matters into his own hands wouldn’t anger his Majesty. But if he arose without his Majesty’s order, he might drop dead on the ground the next moment.

Ji Yue saw that the cook wasn’t moving so he warned in a cold voice, “Didn’t you hear what the Young Master said?”

Shocked by his Majesty’s words, the chef finally rose. “Thanks your Majesty, thanks Young Master.”

It seemed that he really underestimated the importance of Wei Gongzi to his Majesty.

Wei Lian paid no mind to the cook not heeding his words earlier, for everyone valued their lives, so it was only natural that the man didn’t dare to trust him during their first meeting. He asked, “What have you come to report?”

Now the chef learned his lesson, he dared not ignore Wei Lian’s words as he bowed. “This servant’s name is Wang Shou, the head chef of the imperial kitchen. His Majesty demanded fresh fish, but each day’s ingredients were purchased the day of, to ensure freshness. Today’s fish...was already the freshest, there’s not a second one in the kitchen.”

Even if there was, it was from the day before, one that was long dead and only good enough for the palace workers. How would he dare to present it to his Majesty?

When explaining the situation to the palace maid, she was also afraid to be punished when she returned empty handed, so she pulled him along to confess their crime.

When Wang Shou summoned enough courage to finish, he lowered his head and awaited his punishment. This was out of his power, but the people above him wouldn’t understand the subordinates’ struggle, and if there was any punishment, he could only accept it.

Ji Yue remained quiet after hearing this. He was not a forceful emperor, so he waved, gesturing for the cook to dismiss himself.

But Wang Shou thought the Qin Emperor was waving his hand to have him dragged out and executed. His face suddenly turned pale and dread filled his heart.

Wei Lian suddenly spoke, “This subject knows of a place where there are fresh carp.”

Ji Yue raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

Wei Lian smiled. “Yes, this subject will take your Majesty there.”

Ji Yue raised his other eyebrow. “Then what are you waiting for? Take us to see.”

Wei Lian replied, “Understood.”

The two of them left soon thereafter, the cook stayed where he was, as no one paid attention to him. He hesitated and didn’t know what to do. This was when Li Fuquan looked back at him and gave him a meaningful look that said ‘What are you standing for? Go dismiss yourself.’

Wang Shou was shocked, then repeatedly nodded his head and withdrew without delay, feeling like he was given a new lease of life.

It was all thanks to Wei Gongzi for saving his life...he managed to escape from death's door.

There was lingering fear in Wang Shou’s heart, but there was also gratitude for Wei Lian.

* * *

Ji Yue wasn’t aware that he had inexplicably carried a black pot because of his widespread violent reputation. Even if he had no intention to kill, others still expected him to go on a rampage.

Even a hundred words could not explain himself, not that he wanted to in the first place. After all, killing one person was equivalent to killing one hundred people. From the first blood in his hands, he disassociated himself with one word, innocent.

Only a ruler in prosperous times needed a benevolent and virtuous reputation, highly esteemed by the people. The ruler during troubled times required unyielding might, highly feared by the people.

Needless to say, he was the latter one.

Wei Lian was clueless on this as well. Little did he know that his well-timed remark would inadvertently bring him positive karma and he would receive great help in the future, that was actually not needed.

Right now, they were standing in the middle of a field of ice and snow. Wei Lian was looking at the frozen lake while holding his hot-water container湯婆子 Ancient hand warmer made from copper or magnetic attribute materials in the shape of flat and circular pot.

This was Qinyuan Lake.

In spring, the water surface was glistening with clear colour as far as the eye could see. There was a pavilion on the top of the lake, which could be reached using the nine-turned bridge九曲橋 Or zigzag bridge, where the bridge is designed to turn several times so one could enjoy viewing from different scenes. and where one could enjoy the swimming carp in the water while surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

However, being winter right now, the lake was covered with a thick layer of ice, so even if there were swimming fish, they were lurking under the ice and couldn’t be caught easily.

Wei Lian heard from the palace workers that twenty iridescent祥雲 Actual translation is iridescent clouds; auspicious clouds. According to definitions dot net, cloud iridescence is the occurrence of colours in a cloud similar to those seen in oil films on puddles, and is similar to irisation. Will switch between anything related to colourful. carp in a pale tint of orange霞 Rose-tinted sky or clouds at sunrise or sunset. I’ll juggle between colour or description related to the colour of sunrise or sunset. that were gifted by the Lu Empire last year were kept in this lake.

“As long as we cut through the ice surface. Doesn’t that mean there will be fresh carp to catch and eat?” Wei Lian said.

Before Ji Yue could say anything, Li Fuquan became alarmed, “Young Master Lian, this is a tribute from the Lu Empire. One colorful carp is worth a thousand gold as it is one of a kind in the world. Its purpose is for decoration, not as food!”

That would be wasting natural resources recklessly!

“This is not wasting them.” Wei Lian saw through what was on Li Fuquan’s mind at a glance. His tone was gentle but the content was arrogant. “It’s a lifelong wish for carp to jump over the dragon gate鯉魚躍龍門 According to legend, carp swim upstream against the river's strong current to reach the final leap over the waterfall to transform into a powerful dragon.. So his Majesty’s stomach is where they belong. This is how we get value out of them.”

...The goddamn legend of carp jumping over the dragon gate, not even asking if that was what the carp wanted!

Absurd, it was ridiculous!

But after his previous lessons, Li Fuquan didn’t dare to refute Wei Lian as he turned to his Majesty’s gaze with eyes filled with ‘Is your Majesty not going to control this?’

But when he turned his attention to his Majesty, he found his Majesty was actually smiling.

It was not the fake, cold smile of old. His Majesty’s eyes were curved with his smile, a thin trace of joy within the eyes that couldn’t be concealed, rippling with light and soft colour. Extremely beautiful.

Li Fuquan froze for a moment.

...How many years had it been since he saw a genuine smile on his Majesty’s face?

Hearing his Majesty ask in a low voice, “How does Wei Lang plan to break through such a thick layer of ice?”

Li Fuquan was going to choke.

His Majesty was really considering this proposal!

There was an old tale of King You of Zhou lighting the warning beacons that would summon armies from the surrounding vassal states in times of danger just to make Bao Xi laugh. But now, for the sake of Wei Gongzi, his Majesty would make a meal out of a carp that was worth a thousand gold. This was extremely...unruly!

Li Fuquan’s reasonable side kept telling him this was out of the question, and as the closest attendant, he should persuade his Majesty to remember etiquette and must not perform such an act of rudeness.

But when he saw the rare, relaxed smile in his Majesty's eyes, he hesitated again.

Fine, it would not be a waste if a few carp would make his Majesty happy for once.

It was not difficult to break the lake’s frozen surface, what was hard was breaking the ice around his Majesty’s heart.

If Wei Gongzi possessed such an ability...then he would be eternally grateful to him.

Just as Li Fuquan was determined to change his view on Wei Lian, he heard Wei Lian say lightly, “There was an old tale of Wang Xiang who lay on the ice to look for carp, breaking the ice surface using the heat from his body. If his Majesty removed his clothes and lay on the ice, it should do the trick. Oh, that’s right, Wang Xiang moved heaven with his filial piety, which no ordinary man could do. But since your Majesty is the True Dragon真龍天子 In ancient times, emperors were recognised as dragons descended from heaven. Will switch between these translations: An epithet for the emperor, The True Dragon, Son of Heaven, and true rightful emperor.
, your imperial energy龍氣 Direct translation is ‘dragon energy’. It’s like internal energy but only for the Emperor. It could also mean the royal’s aura. can make the carp break the ice, so there’s no need for the palace worker to do the task.”

Li Fuquan listened in dumbfounded amazement to the serious nonsense from Wei Lian’s mouth.

He retracted his earlier words.

What kind of flowery interpretation was this?

This was Su Daji 蘇妲己 Both in legend and fiction (Fengshen Bang), she is a beautiful femme fatale that caused the downfall of a dynasty in Chinese culture by seducing the King Zhou of Shang to do all of her bidding.being a scourge and causing the downfall of an empire!

Li Fuquan looked at his Majesty in horror.

His Majesty was not going to grant that request, right?!

Authors Corner

The author has something to say:

Although many historical references were used, this was still a story set in an imaginary setting.



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