Chapter 84 - Ceremony
A pleasant bell rang, sometimes near and sometimes distant, ethereal and elusive. It resembled the voice of the State Teacher, seemingly echoing from ancient times, adding a touch of mystery to the Anguo Tower.
The consorts dared not lift their heads, waiting quietly for the State Teacher to speak.
The identification of the noble sons was a solemn occasion, and on this day, apart from King Li’s family, no one else was allowed to enter the Anguo Tower. Therefore, Su Yu followed the Emperor and sneaked in early after lunch.
When Su Yu arrived, the State Teacher was still on the sixth floor of the Anguo Tower, busy with something unknown. The Emperor, with Su Yu in tow, ascended the stairs quietly and went directly to the practice room on the fifth floor.
It was his first time on the fifth floor of the Anguo Tower.
He had known before that this place was where the Emperor practiced martial arts, in his imagination, the fifth floor should be filled with things like plum blossom stakes and wooden dummies, with sandbags hanging from the beams, and padded mats wrapped around the pillars, maybe even motivational slogans on the walls like ‘Spirit of Martial Arts’ or something.
As it turned out… there was nothing.
The entire fifth floor was covered with padded mats, surrounded by large windows on all sides, allowing bright sunlight to illuminate the room. His Highness King Zhao, who had already regained his human form, was sitting cross-legged next to a pillar, eyes closed in meditation.
Su Yu curiously approached, glancing at the concentrated Highness King Zhao. He saw him sitting upright, eyes lightly closed, jaw slightly retracted, with a calm expression as if wandering through the three realms in meditation.
With a slightly open mouth, a crystal-clear droplet flowed slowly from the corner of his mouth, sparkling in the afternoon sunlight. Upon careful listening, one could hear the faint ‘huhu’ sound.
His Majesty the Emperor walked over and lifted his foot to kick his little brother.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?” His Highness King Zhao opened his eyes with a start, looking around in confusion.
“Is this how you practice martial arts?” An Hongche sat down in front of his younger brother with Su Yu in his arms, raising his hand and smacking him on the back of his head.
His Highness King Zhao raised his head and wiped the corner of his mouth, sheepishly touching his beaten head. He looked up and met Su Yu’s curious eyes with a somewhat embarrassed expression.
“Zhen’s asking you a question!” His Majesty the Emperor became angry when he saw his younger brother's blank gaze and raised his hand, giving him another smack.
“Um, Imperial, Imperial Unkewh, took a nap, I just…” His Highness King Zhao spoke with his head down, and his words were mumbled, his mouth only opening and closing slightly.[TL_Note: In case I couldn’t translate it right, he was lisping]
“Speak clearly!” An Hongche impatiently waved his hand, wondering when his younger brother changed into his younger sister, speaking so carefully.
“Your Highness, could it be because you’re teething some wind leaks when you speak.” Su Yu couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw His Highness King Zhao’s face wrinkled into a bun.
“Wu…”His Highness King Zhao covered his mouth and fell silent.
The three of them stayed on the fifth floor for a long time before King Li’s family came over. The State Teacher descended from the sixth floor and frowned slightly when he saw Su Yu.
“Why are you here?”
Su Yu shrank his neck.
“Until the ceremony is over, do not reveal yourselves.” The State Teacher interrupted Su Yu, addressing the three people sitting on the floor dejectedly.
“Imperial Unkewh… I won’t come down.” His Highness King Zhao said quickly.
The State Teacher ignored them and gracefully moved down.
After the distant bell rang, the State Teacher, dressed in a snow-white ceremonial attire, slowly descended from the black and gold stairs.
The identification of a noble son was a relatively solemn ceremony. Today, the State Teacher wore a trailing robe with a long tail hanging down on the ground.
Following the footsteps of the State Teacher, it slowly slid down the stairs, resembling white mist descending from the heavens. The snow-white robe was intricate and splendid, covered with an outer layer of extremely precious white sharkskin silk.
It was well known that sharkskin silk was woven by deep-sea mermaids and was usually in a sea-blue color. Only a very few mermaids could weave white sharkskin silk, making it an invaluable national treasure. Throughout the entire country, only the State Teacher could wear it.
Snow-white attire and white hair, radiance emanating from each step, as the State Teacher appeared, the several consorts, along with the little princes, all knelt down to pay their respects. Even King Li respectfully bowed.
“Paying respects to the State Teacher.”
The State Teacher’s cold gaze was slightly lowered, and without looking at the kneeling people, he calmly ascended to the high platform. With a gentle shake of his wide sleeves, he sat on the throne in the center of the hall.
“No need for formalities.”
The cold and pleasant voice carried an extremely calming power, causing excitement to appear on the faces of the two consorts. Even the third consort, who originally looked a bit worried, also relaxed a little.
Su Yu leaned over the opening of the second floor, stretching his head to look down.
King Li appeared to be around twenty-seven or twenty-eight, with a handsome face and calm demeanor. Upon closer inspection, he bore a slight resemblance to His Highness King Ling, lacking the perpetual smile that adorned King Ling’s face, presenting a more stable and reliable appearance.
“Chen has three sons, the eldest is five years old, the second is three, and the youngest has just turned one month. Today, Chen humbly seeks an audience with the State Teacher and hopes for the identification of their identities to confirm the royal bloodline of Da’an.” King Li took a step forward, enunciating each word with a robust and dignified voice that resonated throughout the hall, conveying a solemn and dignified atmosphere.
The State Teacher raised his cold beautiful eyes and slightly lifted his hand.
The veils in the hall moved without any wind, and the candles embedded in the pillars like coiled dragons, lit one after another from top to bottom as if with a life of its own.
The several consorts were awed by this magical scene and dared not make a sound.
A servant in white approached, leading the eldest son to ascend the platform.
The First Consort tightly gripped the handkerchief in her hand, watching her son step by step, walking respectfully towards the State Teacher and kneeling before him.
The State Teacher silently observed the child before him, raising a slender, almost translucent hand to gently touch the space between the child’s eyebrows. After a moment, he slowly shook his head.
The servant in white approached, leading the child, who still hadn’t grasped what was happening, back to his mother’s side. The First Consort’s face displayed a clear expression of disappointment, while the Second Consort became even more anxious.
The second child, being quite young, clung to his mother’s clothing and hesitated to follow the servant. The servant signaled to the consort that she could come forward as well.
The Second Consort shot her son a stern look, afraid that such behavior might make the State Teacher think that the child was timid. However, the child clung to the hem of her clothing and refused to let go, so she had no choice but to pull him along as they ascended the platform.
Observing the State Teacher up close inspired even greater awe. Such a handsome face was so exquisite that it seemed as if it was sculpted, far from resembling an ordinary mortal.
The Second Consort hastily assisted her child in kneeling down, and at the moment the State Teacher made a move, she distinctly felt a subtle disturbance in the surroundings, as if an invisible force had instantly manifested
Gently shaking his head, the State Teacher raised his hand, indicating that they could leave.
The Second Consort did not dare to object, guiding her child back to their original position.
The Third Consort, holding the swaddled infant, nervously glanced at her Wangye.
King Li glanced at her expressionlessly, indicating that she could step forward without worry.
Lying on the floor above, Su Yu anxiously observed the proceedings and nudged the reclining An Hongche with his elbow.
“Your Majesty, how do you think the State Teacher could tell?” Could it be that the State Teacher could use magical powers to determine if the child could transform into a cat?
His Majesty the Emperor yawned.
“You’ll find out in a moment.”
The Third Consort bit her lip and walked up to the platform with her child in her arms.
The State Teacher raised his hand, placing it on the swaddled baby, he then slowly lifted his eyes and glanced at the Third Consort.
“Follow Benzuo up.”
Hearing this, the State Teacher unexpectedly stood up and, paying no mind to the bewildered Third Consort on the platform, walked toward the stairs leading to the upper floor.
Startled, Su Yu, who was still lying on the floor, abruptly sat up, causing a resounding ‘thud’ as his head bumped into the Emperor’s head.
“Stupid slave!” His Majesty the Emperor was hurt by the impact and glared at Su Yu with dissatisfaction.
Su Yu quickly pulled up the Emperor.
“Quick, let’s hide.”
“What are you hiding for, the ceremony is over.” His Majesty the Emperor stretched lazily as he casually sat at the small table, ready to enjoy the spicy fish strips.
“Is it over?” Su Yu was a little stunned, but soon, the State Teacher walked up, followed by King Li and the Third Consort holding her child.
“Chen pays respects to the Emperor!” King Li immediately noticed An Hongche and knelt down to pay his respects, and the Third Consort followed suit.
“Rise, ba.” The Emperor waved his hand.
“Open the swaddling clothes and show it to Benzuo.” The State Teacher instructed King Li’s consort as he sat on the soft couch.
“This…” The Third Consort looked at her husband for help. King Li took the swaddling cloth and put it on the table casually.
He untied the cloth belt outside the swaddling, one layer of felt blanket, one layer of a small bedding, and one layer of thin lining made of silk and satin was peeled off layer by layer, and then… there was nothing inside.
Su Yu’s eyes widened in surprise, the swaddle was devoid of any content. No wonder King Li’s consort, who had just given birth, could carry it effortlessly for so long.
The Third Consort saw Su Yu’s gaze and smiled awkwardly.
“Where is the child?” The State Teacher raised his eyes and looked at King Li.
King Li raised his hand and reached into his robes, digging left and right. After a moment of exploration, he slowly took out something and placed it on the bedding on the table.
Su Yu hurriedly approached and saw that in the middle of the bedding, there was a fluffy, black and yellow kitten!
The kitten, already a month old, was quite lively. It twitched its two ears and took a couple of unsteady steps within the swaddling cloths. It raised its head to look around, opening its round and shiny eyes, and letting out a soft meow toward the calm and composed King Li. “Meow--”
The State Teacher quietly observed for a moment, then slowly stretched out hi hand and gently touched the fluffy little head.
“Mi?” The kitten looked at the State Teacher’s fair fingers curiously, stretching out its pink tongue and tentatively licking them.
The State Teacher withdrew his hand calmly.
“This child is born rich and noble, blessed by the Ancestors. It shall be considered a noble son.”
The corner of Su Yu’s mouth twitched. After half a day, that’s how the noble son is identified. Those complicated rituals and elegant verses just now turned out to be just… for fooling people…
The author has something to say:
The Common People: Paying respects to the State Teacher!
Thirteenth Uncle: Open the windows and pay attention to the lighting
Seventeenth Uncle: Light the candles, pay attention to the effect of the scene
Cat Gong: Stage management, quickly get the props
Little Fish: Coming, coming (Hands over spicy shredded fish)
Cat Gong: Stupid slave, not this!
Little Fish: Oh, oh (Hands over the scepter)
Younger Brother: (Hits the board) XX Ceremony Scene Three, action!
State Teacher: (Elegantly swallows the fish strip with a clear gaze) Heaven Bless Da’an!
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