Hi, peaches~ It’s Sunday again and here I am. Getting this chapter out today ended up being a bit troublesome. I mentioned before I’m writing my bachelor thesis right now, and just this morning internet broke down at my dorm, so I had to take a 2 hour bus ride back home to be able to work and upload this. But everything’s good now.
I also want to thank everybody who has been supporting me, it means a lot to see people from basically all over the world reading my translations. It makes me want to try to do my best~ Feel free to comment and ask me any questions, unless I’m distracted (=reading danmei), I always try to respond.
Anyways, here’s Part 2 of Chapter 2.
After once again exclaiming how fine and wonderful the baths at the palace were, Eishun finally withdrew.
Successive generations of Emperors had each added structural alterations to this Imperial Villa and it seemed like a point of pride. Since Eishun had so boasted, once he had rested after the meal Sekka moved towards the bathroom accompanied Shohen and Baigyoku.
Seeing the much grander than imagined bathroom, Sekka’s eyes went wide open. One way or another, with an Ahh, even the bitter Baigyoku’s breath had been taken away.
Hot water swiftly poured down into the spacious bathtub from above. It was made from white marble and around it there were figures of dragons, phoenixes and flowers inlaid with jewels. The figures became hazy in the rising steam, producing a fantastic sight. It was everything Eishun had said it would be.
As one would expect, Sekka was also charmed when he saw this bathroom. Since he had been riding in a carriage for several days, he felt bone tired.
Although guards were surveying both the inner courtyard and the entrances, they had not entered the living room and the bathroom. After refusing the help of the maids working in the Imperial Villa, Sekka took a bath watched over by Shohen and Baigyoku.
He threw off the female clothes he’d gotten used to and put on a thin silk gown used for bathing. He tried to hide his body from his own field of vision as much as possible.
Soaking his body in the warm water, he rested, feeling relieved. The quality of the hot spring water was very good. It felt soft and velvety to the skin.
When he looked closer to the figures he realized that the eyes of the dragon had emeralds in them, while the two phoenixes had Sapphires and Rubies embedded in their eyes respectively. The flowers were made out of Cordierite, Amethyst and Corals.
If the Imperial Villa used for recuperation was this gorgeous, the splendour of the Yoh Imperial Palace can be easily guessed. The difference in national power could be plainly seen.
While that may be true, he was still not satisfied to think that Ka country’s defeat had been inevitable.
Why was he the only one shamelessly still alive?
His anger against Kishoh swelled as days passed and he was continuously distressed by feelings of guilt caused by being the only surviving member of his family.
His mother had at great pains ordered him to live a long life. Furthermore, two of the soldiers who had protected him during his escape had been killed. And moreover, there were too many to count soldiers and maids and average citizens who had sacrificed themselves for the Li royal family.
He lived thanks to their sacrifices. For their sakes as well, he could not easily give up his own life. Now that it has come to this, shouldn’t he bear this time of subservience and await an opportunity for revenge?
Overwhelmed by the downfall of his home country, a feeling of heartache simmered in the innermost parts of Sekka’s heart.
That man, he will kill him…
Realizing the extent of the turbulent thoughts running through his mind, Sekka shivered uncontrollably. Such a thing, can he do it?
He recalled Kishoh coming out of the forest riding on his black horse, looking like a sinister jet black gust of wind. He was a man with a strong body and a will of steel, those who defied him he would not forgive but butcher instead.
The difference in ability between them was too great. Kishoh was so much better than him in all that mattered. Thinking of defeating that man full of the arrogance of a Supreme Emperor was really too reckless.
But as long as he stayed alive, some day he could probably carry out his revenge. Only in revenge, he could find the meaning in being the only one left.
Covering his eyes, he rose from within the bathtub shaking his body. His slender, thin boned frame could be seen through the transparent sheer silk.
If he had not been born with such a body, he could have been more useful to his country.
For Kishoh, overthrowing Ka, had ultimately been about his desire for control through expansion of his territory.
Even though he understood that, he could not get rid of the absurd thought that his home country had been overthrown due to his accursed body.
When he picked up the glass tea utensils, a fragrance full of both sweetness and bitterness wafted in the air.
After he’d taken his time at the hot spring, Sekka drank some tea. Because he felt relaxed, he seemed to have regained the composure to enjoy the scent of tea.
The tea was made from seeds and fruits of roses and it was effective in soothing fatigue. Shungetsu had really liked this tea and she had drunk it often. It was something Sekka had taken part in enjoying as well.
“This tea really reminds me of Shungetsu-sama.”
“She always said she liked the taste it left as well as its hue.”
It seemed like Shohen and Baigyoku were also reminded of Shungetsu.
Sekka smiled faintly at their earnest conversation and answered in affirmation.
One way or another he was made to recall his mother, sister and aunt. Be it as it may he still couldn’t believe that his sister to whose death he was even present, his mother and aunt were no longer in this world. Despite all that the feeling of loss just kept growing.
When he thought about it, it was probably a small mercy that his mother did not need to be afraid for Shungetsu’s sake when Yoh had invaded them. Even if he and Shungetsu had escaped the castle safely, the thought that they would still have been captured by enemy soldiers and disgraced made him uneasy.
Even for his older sister, if by any chance a situation arose in which she was defiled, there was no mistake it would be a humiliation worse than death. Even if Shungetsu had lived, she’d probably suffer great hardship due to being a woman.
Shungetsu’s death was Ka country’s and Li royal family’s greatest misfortune, but Sekka found a little relief in the fact that his sister had died without knowing Ka had been overthrown by Yoh.
Shohen and Baigyoku used numerous silk clothes to dry his hair and diligently combed them. His hair, with perfumed oil worked into them, absorbed the light of the candles, giving them a glossy shine.
“Sekka-sama’s hair is so beautiful.”
“Sekka-sama’s and Shungetsu-sama’s hair are almost the same.”
The evening wore on while the two maids talked about these and those memories. When they moved there were guards clinging to them, so they could not speak freely, but inside the rooms there were no observing eyes. Thanks to that they were finally able to relax a little bit.
“I’m sorry for interrupting you at this late hour.”
Incidentally just as they were about to enter the bedroom, Eishun came. As usual, he was also accompanied by guards. Although Eishun worried about them in a heartfelt manner, he always brought guards with him, so to not make any gaps in their surveillance.
“His Majesty just arrived. He summons the Princess, as he wishes to speak with her.”
He also informed that the maids are to stay here.
Summoning him as soon as he arrived, it could only be urgent business. Thinking of the events a few days ago when the man had informed him of the fall of Ka’s castle, Sekka’s face turned gloomy.
“Summoning Shungetsu-sama at this late hour, doesn’t it seem a bit impolite?”
“Wouldn’t tomorrow morning be just as good?”
Eishun apologized repeatedly to Shohen and Baigyoku who had lifted the corners of their eyes, all flared up, and conveyed that it was Kishoh’s order.
“I was commanded to bring the Princess by any means necessary. But I also do not wish to act in a forceful manner towards the Princess. So please comply with me.”
The soldiers who were standing in the doorway took a step forward. Under the soldiers imposing aura, the once approaching Shohen’s and Baigyoku’s faces stiffened and they held their tongues.
He must not let the two be harmed. “I understand,” Sekka said as he forced his way through.
“But please, let me dress first. I cannot meet him looking like this.”
Concealing his expression behind his sleeve, he appealed to Eishun. His hair was lying down past his shoulder without being styled, and he had no makeup on. If he was to act as a woman, it was clear he had to be anxious about his appearance.
“Please don’t take too long.”
One would expect somebody to feel awkward when summoned at such a late hour and so suddenly, so Eishun was willing to compromise. “I’ll wait outside,” he said and exited, taking the soldiers with him.
“Quickly, fix my hair. And put on makeup.”
Shohen and Baigyoku clinged to Sekka who was rapidly commanding them.
“You must not go alone…!”
“Yes, Sekka-sama what are you doing…?”
Both of them were obviously scared of Sekka being disgraced by Kishoh. Namely, if the true identity of the ‘Princess’ would be exposed, it would mean the death of all three of them.
“It’s alright, I’m going alone.”
Sekka’s composed way of talking calmed the two girls. Although it didn’t mean they were convinced, Sekka thought it probably wouldn’t become a situation dangerous to them.
Up to now, in their limited meetings face-to-face, he had felt no desire coming from Kishoh. When he looked at Sekka, the man’s gaze was dry, without any feelings coming through. It was blatantly different from the looks filled with raw desire he felt facing Yoh soldiers.
That man probably had no interest in Sekka, the boy dressed as ‘Princess Shungetsu’. It was natural, as he was no woman. To that extent, why had he not been seen through, that sort of anxiety he did not tell Shohen and Baigyoku about.
“Come now, prepare faster. If we linger, I’ll be dragged away by the soldiers.”
Urged by Sekka, the two handmaids set upon dressing him. They arranged his clothes skilfully and put makeup on him.
The hairpin they put in his styled hair was as always the one he had received from Yougetsu. He got ready to leave, without putting on the necklace he had received from Shohun.
Stopping in front of the door, Sekka looked back at Shohen and Baigyoku.
“If something unexpected happens, I want you two to first think of yourselves. That necklace as well, I’ll put it into your hands, use it wisely.”
“Sekka-sama,” Baigyoku grimaced like she was about to burst into tears. Shohen tightly pursued her lips and bowed her head, stifling her rising emotions.
And that’s that. What is in store for our cute Sekka? Is Kishoh suspecting something? (hint, hint…yes, he is)
Chapter 3 will be split up in 3 parts, as it is almost 50 pages long. I got most of it done, but as I said last week I currently have little time and leftover energy to translate, with the whole thesis thing, but I’ll do my best. The first part will be out next Sunday, as I’m still keeping up with the schedule.
Also, I’ve seen the novel has already been copied on a few novel sites without my knowledge, but that was what I expected, since it happens with practically all of translated novels, so I’m not mad or anything, I just hope my work doesn’t get spread around too much.
Anyways, if you want to support my work, including me purchasing books to translate, and snacks so I don’t waste away in front of my PC, consider buying me a coffee~