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As an emperor, one should be most wary of being indecisive and soft-hearted. Jin Yang was very different from the previous emperor. So after he started to govern on his own, his reputation in court grew. Adding on that the vassal princes had submitted and the aristocratic families had lost power, Great Feng became the world of imperial power.
“Greetings, Father-Emperor.” The crown prince, aged twelve, walked into the imperial study. He saw his father buried there reviewing memorandums, his eldest maternal uncle and Prime Minister Zhang standing below. He went up and bowed to Jin Yang.
Zhang Zhong Han and Gu Zhi Yu bowed to the crown prince.
“Ning En has come?” Jin Yang saw his oldest son, put down the brush, and beckoned to Jin Ning En.
Jin Ning En walked next to Jin Yang and saw his father-emperor shove a memorandum into his hand.
“Father-Emperor?” Jin Ning En looked in puzzlement at Jin Yang and then at the memorandum.
“The Bian Prefecture Governor’s law clerk broke the law, but people have asked Zhen to punish him lightly because he once did good deeds. Ning En, what do you think?” Jin Yang looked at Jin Ning En with a small smile.
“This son thinks that good deeds should be rewarded and crimes should be punished. He was promoted and rewarded by Father-Emperor for doing good things, and should be punished for doing bad things. These two are not in conflict with each other.” Jin Ning En thought. “This son thinks that the punishment should be light.”
“Yes.” Jin Yang nodded, took back the memorandum, and wrote a few things.
Jin Ning En looked, and saw that Father-Emperor had refused the other’s request.
“You have seen your mother today?” Jin Yang asked about family matters after reviewing the memorandums.
“Father-Emperor is wise; this son is just preparing to go find Mother-Empress.” Jin Ning En smiled as he bowed, thinking that when he had walked halfway, He Ming had found him.
“Then go. If your mother-empress knows I intercepted you halfway, she will talk to me.” Jin Yang smiled warmly at him, but he did not purposefully act as emperor and senior, making the child embarrassed.
“Yes.” Jin Ning En bowed and left. Before leaving, he bowed to Gu Zhi Yu and Zhang Zhong Han with the bow of a junior.
Zhang Zhong Han looked at Jin Ning En’s back and could not help but sigh inside. Such a beautiful and elegant crown prince—he had some shade of His Majesty in his youth. He turned and saw Gu Zhi Yu had a satisfied expression so he said, “Your Majesty, His Highness the Crown Prince is young, but has the style of Your Majesty back then.”
He knew that His Majesty had put great care into teaching the two imperial sons. Even normal fathers could not do better with their children. This was very rare in the imperial family.
“Prime Minister Zhang, do not praise him. Zhen and his mother-empress have spoiled him,” Jin Yang said with a smile. Although his tone was derogatory, he had great paternal love in his expression.
Zhang Zhong Han could not help but think of the treatment His Majesty had received back in Prince Cheng’s establishment. Maybe because Prince Cheng had been too cold and ignored His Majesty back then, His Majesty was so attentive to the empress and their children.
Gu Zhi Yu also valued his nephew the crown prince greatly and showed a small smile upon hearing the emperor say this.
Jin Ning En left the imperial study and went to Purple Imperial Hall. When he entered, he saw his mother-empress admiring the dancers as they performed, clapping with the beat, leisurely and content.
He looked at the dancer and had some impression. This was a dancer that the officials had presented back when they went to the mountain estate to avoid the heat. In the end, Father-Emperor did not want her, but Mother-Empress did. After that, she was part of the court’s dance department and was favoured by Mother-Empress.
Back then, worried about Mother-Empress, he was speechless and felt that something was not right.
Seeing him come, Gu Ru Jiu beckoned for him to accompany her in watching the beauty’s marvelous dance. Mother and son each held a plate of fruit and ate through it as they discussed the agricultural products of different regions and how the weather would influence these produce.
After two plates of fruit, and done with watching the dance, Gu Ru Jiu waved a hand and had the dancers leave. Then she took her eldest son to find her second son and daughter so they could go to the lotus pond to fish.
Ever since Gu Ru Jiu got into the hobby of fishing, the lotus pond no longer had carp, but some edible fish so the fish Gu Ru Jiu got could be eaten.
“Mother, why have the fish not taken the bait?” The five-year old little princess sat next to Gu Ru Jiu, and was a bit anxious when the fish did not take the bait.
“Silly child, do you know why fish do not take the bait?” Gu Ru Jiu shoved a piece of fruit into the little princess’ mouth. The little princess did not speak, just looked at her with a large pair of confused eyes.
“Because anxious people cannot get fish,” Gu Ru Jiu said wryly. “A good fisher needs to be stable, calm, and good at observing. If you can do all three, you won’t have to fear that the fish will not take the bait.”
The little princess and the second imperial son nodded and nodded, even though they did not understand much.
But the eldest, Jin Ning En, had an expression of realization. Inside, he admired his Mother-Empress even more.
At the noon meal, Jin Yang found a few dishes made with fish on the plate, and without even asking, knew that Jiu Jiu had taken the children to fish again. He divided the meat from next to the gills and the belly to Jiu Jiu and the three children. Then he gave a warm smile.
Although an emperor, he possessed such a good life and had no regrets.
During childhood, he suffered hardship, but after growing up he obtained what he had hoped for. The heavens had been good to him.
After eating, the three children left. Gu Ru Jiu and Jin Yang napped together on the bed, even though most of the time, it was Jin Yang keeping Gu Ru Jiu company as she slept.
Seeing Jiu Jiu sleep quietly beside him. Jin Yang could not help but think back to seventeen years ago when he first met Jiu Jiu. The young girl from back then had become a mature woman now. But time seemed to love her. She was twenty-seven or so, and looked to be in her early twenties. Her skin was tender and white, her hair beautifully black.
He could not help but lightly kiss the corner of her mouth. He loved this woman so much, loved her more than life.
When Jin Ning En was on the road back to his own residential palace, he encountered Dowager Consort Qian.
He rarely saw this dowager consort in the palace, only occasionally at the empress dowager’s. So the two did not have many interactions between them.
“Your Highness.” Dowager Consort Qian bowed to him.
Jing Ning En returned half a bow. The crown prince was half a monarch, but Dowager Consort Qian was the consort of his imperial grandfather, so he could not just accept the bow.
Dowager Consort Qian examined the crown prince. She found he had grown up well. His parents were handsome people, but he had picked their best traits to grow. He was young, but his presence and appearance were extraordinary.
As a dowager consort of the inner palace, it was not good for her to interact too much with the crown prince. After exchanging greetings, she hurriedly left. After a few steps, she could not help but look back at Jin Ning En.
The present emperor was a wise monarch, and if this crown prince had his father’s breadth of mind and talent after he took over, the country would grow better and stronger.
She hoped Great Feng would not have an emperor like the previous one. He misled others and also himself, and even the people of the world.
In the spring of the thirty-eighth year of Delong, the fifty-two-year old Delong Emperor issued an abdication decree and gave the throne to the crown prince in front of the court.
The court was in uproar, but seeing the emperor was determined, they could not persuade him, and had to hold a coronation ceremony for the crown prince.
The court officials thought that Jin Yang, after becoming the retired emperor, could not resist interfering in court, but the retired emperor abdicated completely. Half a year after the crown prince was enthroned, he took the empress dowager to live in Taihe Palace, and never attended to court matters again.
“Your Majesty, the empress dowager and the grand emperor are fishing by the lake—please follow this servant.” Duo Fu was He Ming’s apprentice, and after He Ming retired, he served the retired emperor.
The empress knew Duo Fu and was very polite to him. She followed him for a while, and then saw the retired emperor and the empress dowager.
She had married the emperor for more than a decade, but the two of them were always respectful to each other, and they lacked some affection. However, she did not have any complaints, and did not dare to compare to the feelings between the retired emperor and the empress dowager.
At the lake, she saw the retired emperor and the empress dowager walking hand in hand by the lake. When they passed a flower bush, the retired emperor picked a bouquet of flowers and presented it to the empress dowager.
Seeing the empress dowager’s smile, the empress stopped and said to Duo Fu, “Father-Emperor and Mother-Empress are in good spirits. We will not disturb them.”
Duo Fu said with a smile, “Yes.”
The empress, before turning around, could not help but glance in the direction of the imperial couple.
The retired emperor was kissing the empress dowager’s forehead.
She felt slightly embarrassed, and did not dare to interrupt them even more, turning and leaving with her attendants.
It was rare to have lovers in the world. How many people could be like the retired emperor and the empress dowager, forty years like the first day, without a decrease in their feelings?
“Someone seemed to have come just now?” Gu Ru Jiu turned to look. Other than the dragon guards in the shadows, she did not see anyone.
“Where?” Jin Yang smiled and held her hand. He gazed at the sunset at the end of the lake. “Besides, so what if people come?”
“Old and disrespectful.” Gu Ru Jiu poked at Jin Yang’s chest even though Jin Yang’s appearance had nothing to do with “old.”
Jin Yang grabbed her index finger and gave a low laugh. “I am old, but you still look very young.”
Gu Ru Jiu snorted and pulled her hand back. “Such praise is not sincere at all.”
“No, in my eyes, you are as beautiful as the first time I met you.” Jin Yang gripped her hand hard. “Like the morning light that illuminates my path. No one can rival you.”
Gu Ru Jiu leaned her head against his chest and laughed silently.
You do not know, to me, you are like the fine rain late in spring that nourished my soul.
It is my good fortune to walk with you in life.
Translator Ramblings: One chapter left!!!