Palace Full of Delicacies

Chapter 90 - Sacrifice to the Heavens (Part One)

Chapter 90 - Sacrifice to the Heavens (Part One)

Prime Minister Lu had recently proven to be very capable, efficiently handling all the unimportant memorials.

Coincidently with the presence of his elder brother and imperial uncles these days, the Emperor frequently threw his son into their care, using the excuse of a ’rare opportunity of their son being away’ to pull Su Yu around, resulting in a backlog of memorials that would have been processed promptly under normal circumstances.

Today was the Manxiang Festival, there weren’t any particularly important memorials. Most were simply greetings from officials across the realm, wishing Da’an a good year and inquiring about the well-being of the State Teacher, while also reporting on the approximate amount of grain that each province could contribute this year. Nothing of great importance, yet it still needed to be attended to.

An Hongche idly placed his son on the table and took out the memorials to read. After finishing one, he would place it by the side of the Eldest Prince and let him use his claws to hold it down.

The young kitten just turned a month old, so why would it listen to his words, instead, it jumped around on the larger memorials, then stuck up its behind and sharpened its claws against the edges of the memorial.

The Emperor lightly tapped the furry little behind with the end of his brush, causing the kitten to immediately turn around and look at him uncertainly.

“Such a fool!” An Hongche sneered, finding his eldest son a bit dim-witted. He seemed as clueless as his younger brother was in his childhood, not knowing how to resist when he was beaten, acting all foolish.

Quickly approving a bunch of memorials, His Majesty paused briefly when he came across the memorial from King Jing.

King Jing lives by the East Sea, and it only took a few days to get to the Capital by boat. In previous years, during the Manxiang Festival, those who lived far away from the ruler would not necessarily come, but this guy would never be absent, but he couldn’t come this year.

There were more and more sea monsters emerging in the East Sea, the memorial said that recently, an Sao Yu and Bo Yu were discovered, but there were only two of them, which were killed by him on the spot.

The Bo Yu was manageable, similar to the Qing Yu, could cause severe drought in the world; However, Sao Yu could incite rebellions. If transported, it could disrupt the local fortune. Thus, it must be slaughtered on the spot.

“Cao Yu, having a pungent smell, was burnt on-site…” King Jing complained in the memorial that the Cao Yu was not delicious, demonstrating his hard work.

An Hongche sneered and raised his hand to reply: “Long-winded!”

“Meow!” As he was writing, a furry paw stretched over and hooked the brush handle.

The Emperor turned to see the little furball squatting by his hand, staring intently at the swaying brush handle. With each movement, the kitten stretched out its paws, but when the Emperor stopped, so did the movement of the brush.

The kitten tilted its head, then leaped up onto his hand and started nibbling on the brush handle.

Quietly observing for a while, His Majesty inexplicably didn’t pull the kitten away but left it hanging on his hand and carried his son to write comments on the memorials.

The memorials were quickly processed, and the Emperor, feeling bored, lifted his hand to nuzzle his son’s nose. Then, he spread out a piece of paper, intending to draw a portrait for Su Yu.

In the storybooks, it was often said to draw a painting of your beloved, and when you missed him, take it out to see it. And if one day that loved one happens to stumble upon it, they might reward you.

Setting aside his son, who was getting in the way, and placing him at one end of the desk as a paperweight, the Emperor tapped the little head with the brush handle.

“No moving around.”

“Mi…” The Eldest Prince shook his head, straightening out the fur that his father had tousled, and curiously stared at the large blank sheet of paper before him.

His Majesty dipped his brush into the ink, contemplating for a moment before wielding his brush.

The thick ink spread to the soft tip of the brush and spread over the sheet. Each stroke carried with unprecedented patience.

Painting with your hand captures form;

Painting with your heart can captures the spirit.

His Majesty didn’t often indulge in drawing, but his technique was extraordinary. With just a few strokes, a plump and juicy fish leapt onto the paper! Frowning slightly, he thought for a moment before adding chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns.

Hmm, that should do it, ba. When that foolish slave sees this painting, he should know that Zhen’s craving fish stew.

Putting away his brush and drying the ink with satisfaction, His Majesty the Emperor happily took out his personal seal and stamped the corner.

Just as the Emperor was putting away his personal seal, a paw covered in ink pressed down next to his beautiful red seal, leaving a black paw print. He had been so focused on his painting that he hadn’t noticed that the furry ‘paperweight’ had wandered off to play with the ink.

His Majesty was immediately displeased. This was the painting he had drawn for his foolish slave, how could another cat’s paw print be pressed onto it?

“Mi!” The Eldest Prince lifted his paw and noticed a black spot on the paper, much to his delight. With a playful pat, he pressed his paw down again.

The Emperor, unable to bear it any longer, flicked his son’s paw, and a white light flashed. A golden kitten leaped onto the table, squeezing aside the furball that was enjoying itself, dipped his paw in ink, and made a paw print on the blank space.

“Meow!” The Eldest Prince thought his father had come to play with him, so he quickly pressed his own paw beside it, excitedly rubbing his head against the golden fur.

Wretched thing! The Emperor was displeased to see other paw prints beside his own, so he pressed down another one, and the little kitten followed suit… Before long, the entire blank space on the paper was filled by the father and son.

When Su Yu finished his chores and returned to call the father and son for lunch, he saw two cats, one large and one small, lying on the spacious desk in the imperial study holding a ball of paper and tearing it apart joyfully.

The Emperor held the paper ball and scratched at it with his hind paws, while the little furball beside him vigorously pounced, extending its tiny claws to scratch.

The plan to personally draw a picture for Su Yu ended in failure.

“Zhen had already stamped it with Zhen’s personal seal, but it was ruined by this kid.” His Majesty, thinking about the stewed fish he had painstakingly painted, couldn’t help but feel a little angry and pointed to the little furball that was being fed by Su Yu to complain.

Su Yu suppressed a smile and wiped the mouth of the little furball after it finished eating.

“Next time you paint, just hold your son in your arms and don’t let him touch it.” Drawing with a kitten around was simply impossible to imagine.

The Emperor considered this and found it reasonable. He reached out a picked out a piece of stewed fish for Su Yu.

Even though his foolish slave hadn’t seen his drawing, he still intuitively made stewed fish for him. In that case, the fate of the drawing was of little importance, if it was ruined, so be it, ba.

Su Yu was unaware of the hidden meaning behind this. In the afternoon, there wasn’t much to do, and the cooking wouldn’t begin until dusk.

Thinking about having to stay up until midnight to worship the heavens at night, Su Yu, who usually didn’t nap in the afternoon, was persuaded by the Emperor to take a nap.

At first, he couldn’t fall asleep. However, when the Emperor said, “If you can’t fall asleep, let Zhen help you.” Su Yu was so scared that he immediately closed his eyes. If he asked the Emperor to help, he would probably sleep until night..

The Manxiang Festival, known as the Sacrifice to the Heavens, was a very grand festival for the royal family.

All the members of the royal family must wear elaborate black ceremonial clothes, topped with a black silk outer robe embroidered with intricate patterns.

The Qinwang’s robes were embroidered with five silver dragons, while the Emperor’s robe was adorned with nine golden dragons. Su Yu also wore a similar attire, but instead of dragons, his robe was embroidered with elaborate cloud patterns in silver threads.

“I still need to attend to the hot dishes, isn’t this outfit a bit impractical, ba?” Su Yu raised his hand, his flowing sleeves soft and smooth.

While it looked good, the issue was that the sleeves were too wide, and he still needed to kill fish and fry vegetables later.

“It doesn’t matter, you need to wear the ceremonial attire for preparing the offerings as well.” The State Teacher walked down from upstairs slowly.

In the main hall of the first floor of the Anguo Tower, the servants had been waiting for a long time holding the State Teacher’s ceremonial robes. Before climbing the tower today, he would first receive greetings from the royal family and officials. The State Teacher’s attire was more complex than the Emperor’s.

Su Yu glanced at the intricate attire held by the white-robed attendants, its trailing hem extending a full yard behind. Suddenly, he felt that his own attire was quite simple in comparison.

As the sun set in the west, golden hues of twilight scattered across the expansive Taiji diagram in front of the Taiji Palace. The special stone material reflected a brilliant light, causing the Taiji symbol at the center of the square to shimmer and emit a sense of mystery.

The rarely-seen State Teacher emerged from the Anguo Tower on this annual occasion, stepping into the Taiji Palace to receive the obeisance of the imperial family and the officials.

At the same moment, citizens across the nation would bow in reverence toward this direction as the sun dipped below the horizon.

Su Yu, as one permitted to ascend the tower for the sacrifice to the heavens, stood around the Taiji diagram, while the hundreds of officials formed orderly rows below the jade steps.

As three dusk drumbeats reverberated, the solemn strains of ceremonial music filled the air, heralding the graceful approach of the State Teacher clad in snow-white robes.

The two yin-yang fish eyes on the Taiji Diagram suddenly rose up, casting long shadows across the diagram as they reflected the setting sun. The State Teacher paused at the center of the Taiji, lightly tapping the ground with the tip of his foot. Like a snow-white butterfly, he effortlessly ascended the stone platform, which stood at a height of three zhang.

The magnificent snow-white robe, embroidered with intricate cloud patterns in gold thread, appeared unremarkable from the shadows. However, standing in the sunlight, the entire person would shine brilliantly.

The soft snow-white silk seemed like celestial clouds, with the yard-long hem swaying gracefully in the breeze. Part of the snow-white long hair was tied up with a jade crown, while the rest cascaded down his back, swaying with the movements of the hem in the wind.

In this moment, the State Teacher exuded unparalleled solemnity and holiness. Even Su Yu felt overwhelmed, with an urge to prostrate himself in reverence.

There were no lengthy chants, no elaborate rituals. With a slight raise of his head, bathed in the golden light, his exquisitely handsome face seemed otherworldly. His pale lips parted gently.

“May Heaven bless Da’an!”

The State Teacher’s ethereal voice, though not loud, strangely reverberated in everyone’s ears, drifting like a chant echoing from ancient times, resonating in each person’s heart.

“Heaven bless Da’an! Heaven bless Da’an!” The officials chorused in unison, their voices reaching the heavens.

As the crowd emerged from the throes of emotion, they found that the State Teacher’s figure had long vanished from the high platform, replaced instead by His Majesty the Emperor standing with his hands clasped behind his back.

Hundreds of officials knelt, calling out Long Live the Emperor.

The author has something to say:

Small theater:

In the competition to play with the Eldest Prince:

Seventeenth Uncle: I have a furry belly with nine pastries drawn on it

Thirteenth Uncle: I have a big tail with black and white stripes

Younger Brother: I have a big red moushe!

Little Fish: I have fish paste, shrimp paste, crab paste…

Da Mao: Mi? (Just one month old, doesn’t understand human speech)

Seventeenth Uncle & Thirteenth Uncle & Younger Brother & Little Fish: = =


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