Palace Full of Delicacies

Chapter 98 - King Jing

Chapter 98 - King Jing

On the thirteenth day of the twelfth lunar month, heavy snowfall blanketed the area from the East Sea to the capital city. Prince Jing set out for the capital.

"I heard that His Majesty sent that mermaid to Anguo Tower." De Zhaoyi said as she visited the Shu Zhaoyi’s Palace, warming herself by the fire and admiring the snow.

Since the incident last time where the palace concubines suffered from internal heat, the Empress indeed reduced the charcoal ration, prompting more movement among the consorts. This allowed them to save charcoal during the daytime.

"Could it be that they want the State Teacher to offer it as a sacrifice to the heavens?" Shu Zhaoyi's expression changed at the thought of such a beauty being treated in such a manner by the Emperor.

"It seems His Majesty is not one to favor demonic beings." Sighed De Zhaoyi. She had thought that the Emperor was finally willing to favor a woman, only to realize that he was merely intrigued and discarded the creature to the State Teacher afterward.

"Why is His Majesty so indifferent about amorous feelings?" Shu Zhaoyi fiddled with the handkerchief in her hand. They had also speculated whether the Emperor preferred men over women, but apart from Xian Fei, they hadn't seen him show interest in any man.

"Speaking of amorous feelings." De Zhaoyi suddenly remembered something and couldn't help but smirk. "I heard that King Jing will be coming to the capital early this year."

"Is it true?" Shu Zhaoyi's eyes lit up, then she sighed. "Unfortunately, we can't go to the dock to greet him."

On the fifteenth day of the twelfth month, Mr. Yuan came to deliver the account books and discuss something with Su Yu.

"How much did you say? One hundred taels?" Su Yu's eyes widened.

Mr. Yuan was talking about Xianmantang's branch near the dock. The shop, built along the coast, had an excellent location, and people had already started booking spots because of King Jing's arrival in the capital on the seventeenth day of the twelfth month.

Mr. Yuan's proposal was that the ground floor spot would cost twenty taels, the second floor fifty taels, and the window seats a hundred taels, excluding the cost of food and drinks.

"The price of the food can be doubled that day, and those highborn young ladies are not short of money. They won’t eat if it’s too cheap." Mr. Yuan said as he clicked the abacus.

"Wait a moment." Su Yu swallowed nervously. "Are you saying that there will be a lot of people gathering to watch when King Jing docks?”

Isn't the State Teacher the national idol? How come the Third Wangye is also so popular?

"Doesn’t Master know?" Mr. Yuan looked surprised. "Every year when King Jing returns to the capital, it's always a grand affair. Ladies and madams from all over the capital who can step out of their homes will go to the dock to greet him."

It is rumored that King Jing is exceptionally handsome and gentle, a dream figure for many young ladies. Once, at a palace banquet, the young lady from the Changchun Marquis's family, who was also the aunt of Cen Cairen, caught a glimpse of King Jing. From that moment on, she was afflicted with lovesickness and vowed to marry King Jing no matter what. However, due to their difference in status, they couldn't be wed. The young lady spent her days in tears and eventually succumbed to her melancholy.

Su Yu listened to Mr. Yuan's account with a puzzled expression, finding it hard to imagine what King Jing, who could captivate people, looked like.

After settling the prices for the seats with Mr. Yuan, Su Yu hurried to the imperial study to find the Emperor.

The Emperor was busy handling memorials, feeling the coldness of the room, he placed the kitten in his vestments onto his hand. "Hold on tight."

"Mew!" The Eldest Prince responded, using all four paws to grasp onto his father's hand.

When Su Yu entered, he saw the Emperor swiftly reviewing memorials with a fur glove on his hand. The glove on his hand was misbehaving, occasionally extending its paws to scratch at the jade brush.

"Your Majesty, what does King Jing look like..." Su Yu wanted to ask if King Jing was particularly handsome. Was he as attractive as the State Teacher? But realizing that saying such things would surely anger the cat, he quickly changed the topic.

An Hongche didn't even lift his head as he replied: "Just like Zhen." Just an stupid cat, nothing special.

Su Yu pursed his lips. That's not what he was asking! Swallowing hard, he couldn't contain his curiosity. "Is King Jing exceptionally handsome?"

The Emperor finally raised his head and looked at Su Yu inexplicably.

Su Yu felt a bit awkward under the Emperor's gaze. "I was just asking casually, haha..."

"Certainly." The Emperor unexpectedly responded, then promptly lowered his head again to continue reviewing memorials.

Huh? Suyu blinked. Surprisingly, the Cat Lord wasn't angry and even admitted that King Jing was exceptionally handsome! King Jing must be incredibly good-looking if even the Emperor himself had to acknowledge it! Su Yu's curiosity only intensified.

On the seventeenth day of the twelfth lunar month, despite the freezing weather, the docks on the eastern outskirts of the capital were bustling with activity.

"I even wore my New Year's clothes early, just so His Highness King Jing would notice me!"

"With so many people wearing pink dresses, King Jing won't even see you!"

"Silk flowers, silk flowers, twenty copper coins each."

The entire dockside was packed with people. Su Yu, pulling along the Emperor dressed in casual clothes, finally managed to squeeze through the crowd and reach the door of Xianmantang.

"Sorry, dear customers, all our seats are fully booked." The waiter stood at the door, repeatedly apologizing and explaining to people.

"How come they get to go in?" A servant, trying to find a spot for his mistress, pointed at Su Yu and the Emperor, discontent evident in his voice.

"They have reserved seats." The waiter replied promptly after glancing at the wooden plaque Suyu presented.

"Young master, could you give the seat to my mistress?" The servant hurriedly stepped forward, blocking Su Yu's path and pointing to a sedan not far away. "You can dine at Xianmantang in the city too, and I'll pay you double."

"Not for sale." Su Yu waved his hand and pulled the Emperor inside.

"Pah, what's the point of two grown men joining in the fun!" The servant spat out angrily.

Finally settled in the elegant seat on the second floor, Su Yu sighed in relief and took a sip of the tea on the table. This scene resembled a bustling tourist attraction in his past life.

The Emperor, annoyed by the noise, kicked Su Yu's leg with a unhappy look on his face. "It's so noisy here."

"This is already the most secluded place." Su Yu quickly pacified, seeing that the Cat Lord was about to get angry. "They make the best spicy shrimp here. Let's order some to try."

The Emperor pursed his lips. It was only made by Su Yu's disciple, how could it possibly be as delicious as what one made by himself?

The elegant seats were separated by screens, and inside, sat mostly young ladies from wealthy families. Everyone elegantly sipped tea and nibbled on melon seeds, discussing the legends about King Jing.

"I heard from my father that King Jing was originally a candidate for the throne. The State Teacher affirmed that this noble son was capable of taking on the responsibilities of the nation." A soft voice came from the neighboring elegant seat, presumably a few young ladies chatting.

"I've heard that too." Another young lady chimed in immediately, her voice full of sympathy. "King Jing was originally the Emperor's older brother and logically should have been the Crown Prince. But unfortunately, the heavy snow blocked the waterways that year, and the Seventh Wangye failed to bring King Jing to the capital in time, allowing the current Emperor to seize the opportunity."

"But I heard that it's because King Jing’s parent was just a Qinwang, not as noble as the Emperor's lineage, so he was deprived of the position of Crown Prince."

"The Emperor feared this exceptionally talented older brother and sent him into exile to the East Sea."

The girls discussed fervently, wiping tears with their handkerchiefs in unison. "King Jing’s fate is truly unfortunate."

"Spicy shrimp is here--" The waiter's call broke the melancholy atmosphere.

"Who on earth still has the appetite to eat at a time like this, it's really ruining the mood." The several young ladies, deeply immersed in the story, expressed their disdain at being disturbed.

Su Yu peeled a shrimp for His Majesty and sneakily glanced at his expression. Seeing the Emperor eat it without any sign of being affected, he breathed a sigh of relief. Coming to the dock to see King Jing was just a momentary whim. If these ignorant civilians caused his precious Sauce any displeasure, it wouldn't be worth it.

At that moment, there was a sudden commotion on the dock. Su Yu couldn't help but look up and saw a splendid ship swiftly approaching, then abruptly stopping. A group of black-clad guards leaped off the ship and lowered the gangplank.

The azure-blue shark silk curtains slowly parted, revealing a figure dressed in moon-white Wangye’s attire, stepping out gracefully.

Poised and solitary, as clean and pure as jade, possessing unparalleled beauty.

Su Yu's eyes widened as he finally understood why the Emperor didn't deny the handsomeness of King Jing. Because, apart from those affectionate peach blossom eyes, King Jing's appearance was almost, identical, to the Emperor's!

Stiffly turning his head to glance at the Emperor, who was munching on spicy shrimp, Su Yu's mouth twitched slightly.

The Emperor glanced at the dumbfounded stupid slave, rubbed his chin, and smirked smugly.

The author has something to say:

Small Theater:

《The Stupid Slave's Admiration for Zhen Is Quite Troublesome》

Little Fish: Your Majesty, I heard that King Jing is incredibly handsome.

Cat Gong: Of course, Zhen’s indeed incredibly handsome.

Little Fish: Your Majesty, I was talking about King Jing.

Meow Gong: I know you're too embarrassed to compliment Zhen directly, Zhen understands.

Little Fish: (⊙_⊙) Did I miss something?

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