Surprise!!! I’m back Peaches~ I told you I was not abandoning this, and I am not since you can see here’s the first part of Chapter 5. Some more keen readers might have already guessed I was back on the grind since I’ve uploaded summaries for 3 other Bl novels I have.
I finished my bachelor thesis more or less successfully (spent two weeks trapped in library from morning to evening…blegh) and I’m back to work now. I was hoping to get this out earlier, but I needed to de-stress after that whole business, so here it is now. (Went to a nerdy festival in Riga and got a sunburn at the beach, fun times.)
Anyways, enjoy the new part, it has shitloads of fluffiness~
永奨（えいしょう）Eishoh – Kishoh’s oldest son, the First Prince.
呉淑妃（ごしゅくひ）Graceful Consort Go – Kishoh’s late concubine, Eishoh’s mother.
明寿宮（めいじゅきゅう）Meiju Palace – Eishoh’s residence.
“Let us use this to make a crown and a necklace and give them to mother.”
Shungetsu said pointing to the Chinese milk vetches blooming in the field. She was only about ten or so years old. However, her facial features already held traces of their mother, Yougetsu, famous as the first beauty of the Midlands.
Sekka was dreaming about a time he and his older sister had gone outside the palace. Even though Sekka had noticed that, strangely enough, he would not wake up. And yet, he also had the awareness of his current adult self. Feeling nostalgic, he gazed at the childish figures of himself and his sister.
“But, even if I give her something…”
His mother would not become happy. Sekka, as if nervous, hung his head bashfully while squeezing his sister’s hand.
He had already comprehended that his body was not normal. And that it was the reason his mom shunned him.
“No way. If it’s something me and Sekka made, she will definitely be happy.”
His sister who was more discerning than other people had noticed the gap between her mom and younger brother. That’s why she always tried to act as a mediator between the two of them. His older sister was a reassuring ally to Sekka.
“Now, let us make it together!”
By Shungetsu’s invitation he sat down on the field. As he was being taught by his sister and maids he plaited the stems of the Chinese milk vetches.
At first he was unable to apply and subtract strength so a lot of stems were wasted, but gradually he got the knack of it.
“Oh, how nice. Because Sekka is a lot more careful, the finished piece is also prettier.”
He knew his older sister was just being fussy, but it did not feel bad to be praised. He felt that the bright necklace of red and purple flowers would very much suit his beautiful mother.
At the end of the long winter, finally they had been visited by spring. That day, for once Sekka had gone outside of the Imperial Palace with his sister. He thought that it was probably because his older sister had suggested as such.
In the field there were such spring flowers as white clovers, dandelions and violets blooming in profusion. A honeybee was fluttering about busily and a pair of butterflies were frolicking around.
There were sakura trees just approaching full bloom around them. The flower petals dancing about in the so slight as to be all but non-existent wind fell into Shungetsu’s hair.
“Sister, the sakura…”
When Sekka noticed it and brushed the petal from her hair, Shungetsu giggled.
“It looks like snow, right?”
The flower petals that rapidly fell as if dancing resembled a winter wind that brought scattered snowflakes. In the next instant the scene was suddenly interrupted and the spring field completely changed.
Before Sekka’s eyes, Shungetsu was lying down on a bed. He was dreaming of last year when his sister had taken to her bed due to illness. He did not wish to see such a dream. But his eyes would not open.
The pallor of the once rosy Shungetsu had become so white as if it was transparent, and so weak. Even if her face was gaunt his older sister was even more beautiful, but it made it all the more heartbreaking to look at. Day by day, the signs of death his sister hid became only deeper.
“When the spring comes, let us go view sakura trees. It’s a promise, Sekka.”
‘Till then, I’ll definitely get better,’ his sister entwined her emancipated finger with Sekka’s and made a promise, but before long she would fall into an endless sleep she would not awaken from. On a late autumn day when instead of sakura petals snow flickered, she became unable to carry out her promise.
“I’m sorry, Sekka. I must go soon.”
“Please wait, Sister…!”
Even in Sekka’s dreams, his older sister was trying to leave his side. If he could have his sister back, it would be fine even if he did not open his eyes a second time. He wished for the contradictions from before.
Before he realized the scene had changed again, and Sekka and Shungetsu were alone in that field from before. Around them snow danced about in the winter wind.
…No, it was sakura petals.
The white flower petals he had mistaken for snow poured down incessantly without end. As if they felt sorry for Shungetsu’s too early death.
Or as if they were fulfilling the last wish his sister’s had to see the sakura flowers. Like in their childhood days, the older sister and younger brother held each other’s hand and gazed at the blizzard of falling cherry blossoms for a short while.
“Take care, Sekka. My precious little brother.”
“I love you,” Shungetsu held out both of her hands and tightly embraced Sekka who had become bigger than her. Even though at the time of death she had thinned out to a degree it was painful to look out, it was thoroughly his sister from before.
Letting go of him Shungetsu smiled sweetly. As if separating the two of them, flower petals fluttered down and he became unable to see his older sister’s figure. Was it sakura flower petals or snowflakes blowing against him, he no longer knew.
Do not leave me behind. His hand eagerly reached for Shungetsu, but missed and grasped at the air fruitlessly. Blocked by flower petals, he could not follow her either.
It seemed like he had not cried out only in his dream. Somebody clasped Sekka’s hand as he struggled with his awareness of dreams and reality.
It was not the voice of his sister. It was the voice of a man. After his sister died and Ka was destroyed, the number of people who called Sekka by his real name was limited. Ironically, one of those few was Kishoh.
When Sekka opened his eyes, he noticed Kishoh’s figure next to him in confusion. It was clear he had been taking a nap in his own rooms at Seika palace. And yet, why was this man here? While he trembled, Kishoh let go of Sekka’s hand.
True, Kishoh did not let Sekka be free for two days without summoning him, but he had government affairs during the day, so they had never seen face to face like this. Kishoh had also never personally come to the Seika palace where Sekka lived.
Rising from the couch on impulse, the tears entangled in his eyelashes spilled over and fell. Surprised by it himself, he wiped the fallen tears in a hurry. Crying while dreaming, he did not know what could be said. It was apparent Kishoh had also heard him call for his sister.
However, far from mocking him, Kishoh clumsily averted his eyes like he was saying ‘I should not have seen but I did’.
“The Emperor is visiting his consort, is there anything improper in that?”
He answered bluntly like he was glossing over the awkwardness. It was a small change in expression, but it was such a rare sight Sekka stared at Kishoh. The annoyingly fine figure of the man was prominent underneath the bright sunlight unlike the semi-darkness of the sleeping quarters.
“It’s not improper, but…your sudden appearance surprised me.”
“We sent out a notice in advance. You were in the middle of a nap, so We waited for you to wake up.”
Definitely he had overbearingly pushed into Sekka’s private room without listening to Shohen’s and Baigyoku’s inhibitions. He could see it with his own eyes. Sekka sighed a little.
However, more than that, he was aggravated by his own person who could sleep away without at all noticing the noise that most likely came about from that. He had exposed his defenseless sleeping figure before this man. Pulling himself together, Sekka began enquiring.
“The busy Emperor personally came to especially visit me, what sort of business does Your Majesty have?”
“We have something We want to hand over to you. …Eishun.”
Summoned by Kishoh, Eishun appeared from the direction of the doors. In one hand he was carrying a birdcage made of iron. Inside of the elaborately designed birdcage there was one small bird.
It was probably a bit smaller than a dove. The cute roundish body was snow white, and the tail was long and slender. From chest to belly its feathers had a beautiful sky blue colour.
“To recompense for the goldfish.”
“…Instead of goldfish, you’re giving me a little bird?”
Just yesterday, because of harassment, he had seen the head of a chicken. He could not comprehend the sense in giving him a little bird purporting it to be in exchange for the goldfish.
“To the I who is like a bird in a cage, you give a little bird to raise?”
“It’s good for consoling boredom.”
Sekka thought he was insinuating that he likened Sekka to a little bird, but perhaps this man was worried about him in his own way.
“Impossible,” Sekka instantly rejected the idea.
Lately, he had restrained himself from strolling around and had spent his time confined in Seika palace. Kishoh had said to be careful of his surroundings, but it was mostly done to avoid encounters with the other concubines.
Kishoh’s words about his mother being killed were constantly on his mind, but he could not ask the man. Whereupon indirectly taking a stab at asking Eishun, the man, keeping His Majesty’s confidentiality, stated that Kishoh’s mother had died in the Inner Palace’s pond. It was an incident that happened in the early period of the late emperor’s enthronement, when Kishoh was about ten years old.
Publicly it was considered an unfortunate accident, but the truth was unclear. At that time Eishun had also been a kid, so he did not know anything more specific.
Right now as well the faithful to the Emperor eunuch put down the birdcage and exited the room without superfluously opening his mouth. He had probably noticed Sekka was not a woman, but since his attitude had not changed at all, the truth of it remained a mystery.
“To make it ride on people’s hands it has been domesticated since a young age, so it should soon get attached to you as well. It’s chirping is not particularly beautiful, but if you teach it, it will memorize words.”
Kishoh tried to take the little bird from the cage. Although it stopped on his finger for a moment, as soon as it was out of the cage it flew away.
Sekka was startled when the little bird didn’t escape through the wide open window, but straight away stopped on his shoulder. When he timidly held out a finger, instead of being timid the bird stepped on it. The black eyes that resembled obsidian stared at Sekka and the bird chirped.
“Hmm. It seems it thinks you are much better.”
“It looks like you are completely disliked. What sort of person you are, even little birds seem to understand.”
Sekka dealt the final blow to the seemingly not amused Kishoh at the right moment.
On one hand he was vigilant against Kishoh, but on the other the man knew his greatest secret which gave him a kind of sense of liberation. It was a type of defiance perhaps.
Until now there had been no other besides his sister that he had opened his heart up to, and had thought he would have to live his whole life carrying this secret. But thanks to an unexpected change in destiny, he was captured by Kishoh, his body forcibly dispossessed and his secret exposed.
Kishoh, the man who had attacked and overthrown Ka was his sworn enemy. He definitely could not forgive him. But to that extent, he thought that at least he did not need to keep up appearances in front of this man.
It was tied to the reason for the unusually harsh manner of speaking Sekka used just now. He had withered enough speaking in front of his mother Yougetsu, but ironically, towards Kishoh his mouth was quite capable of emitting bitter words.
“Does it have a name?”
“If you want, you can give it one. It is a male incidentally.”
Just as Kishoh said that the little bird who was used to people once again jumped from his perch on Sekka’s arm to Sekka’s shoulder and tried to peck at the necklace quite unfettered.
When he turned his face, he ended nestled close to the little bird. The feeling of the soft feathers and warm body brushing against his cheek was very sweet. As if wanting to talk about something, the little bird touched Sekka’s lips with his beak.
The little beak was also warm, and unintentionally laughter sprang forward.
He was surprised by what Kishoh said. Indeed it was probably the first time he had laughed in front of Kishoh not in a cynical or self-deprecating way.
“Looks like the little bird has snatched you away from Us.”
His shoulders were embraced and he was pulled forwards. The little bird flew away in surprise, but Kishoh attacked his lips without a care.
As his lips were gently feasted upon, an unbearably sweet shudder ran to the tips of his fingers. With just this, why did he become unable to move?
Kishoh’s tongue sneakily slid between the rows of his teeth and completely licked the insides of Sekka’s mouth. As his sensitive flesh was caressed his whole body shivered.
The recollections of the several nights of pleasure that were nestled deep inside his body came to the forefront of his brain in succession. He was vexed by his own self who was easily washed away by the pleasant feelings caused by Kishoh. Him being locked up in the Inner Palace and begrudged by all the concubines was that man’s fault.
A man’s hand traced the shape of his body over the clothes. ‘Surely not in the daytime’…feeling Sekka’s apprehension, Kishoh raised his head. Pecking his lips in regret at parting, he let go of Sekka.
Even though he was relieved, there was something like disappointment mixed in as well. Trying to suppress the halfway stirred up flames of desire he adjusted his shallow disheveled breathing.
“With this even that guy will probably understand that you are Ours.”
The little bird had stopped at the back of the couch and was looking at the two with a head bent slightly to one side. Kishoh caught it and put it back into the birdcage. It chirped in protest like it had not yet had enough of playing around.
“If you do not like it, you can boil it or grill it as you like.”
“I would not do such a thing.”
“Absolutely not,” Sekka scowled at the man. He was not pleased with Kishoh being the sender of the gift, but that was no fault of the little bird.
Presuming Sekka liked the bird, Kishoh laughed like had done something for someone. It vexed him to be acting like the man expected, but even if he said he wanted to return the bird right now, he couldn’t bring himself to part with the loveable little bird.
“Now then, We should return to government affairs. Being the emperor is a rather inconvenient thing.”
Kishoh who was for once complaining rose from the couch. As Sekka thought he was leaving, he turned around in front of the doors.
“I have something to tell you.”
Speaking in manner as if he really had just recalled it, Kishoh dropped a significant utterance.
“We are going to make the First Prince Eishoh your adopted child.”
It was like a bolt out of the blue. He could not follow the man’s logic at all. It was the same as the time he had ordered Sekka to enter the harem, he doubted his own ears.
The First Prince Eishoh was truly just under two years old, but he had caught sight of him being held by his wet nurse during events like a game of polo. However, that was all. They have had no point of contact.
A problem more pressing than that was the fact that Sekka was not a woman. Precisely because there was no possibility of conception, this adoption thing probably came around. No, while it may be true, why out of all the people he had to be…
“Are you speaking seriously?”
When he asked that feeling slightly dizzy, Kishoh answered affirmatively like it was a trifling thing.
“To that end, it is only a thing on paper. You probably know this, but Eishoh’s mother has already died. Even if only in name, the existence of a mother is necessary.”
“I realize that, but…nevertheless, why me…?”
He had heard that Eishoh’s real mother Graceful Consort Go had married Kishoh when he was the First Imperial Prince, and after her husband had gotten enthroned through the political struggles, she had given birth to Eishoh and soon died. Unlike Blessed Consort Bu she was not a member of a powerful family, and it seemed the Graceful Consort rank had been conferred to her posthumously due to her achievement of giving birth to the First Prince.
With this type of circumstances, he could recognize that not the First Prince who had no influential backing, but the Second Prince given birth to by Blessed Consort Bu would most likely become the Crown Prince.
The birth of the Second Prince fell behind the birth of the First Prince by merely three months. It was easy to imagine his mother Blessed Consort Bu grinding her teeth because of that.
“Because a substantial amount of the upbringing is done by the wet nurses, it is not necessary for you to do anything. Just like up to now.”
To Sekka’s question, Kishoh gave an answer that was not an answer.
He put the male Sekka who was pretending to be an Imperial Princess in the Inner Palace. He probably thought of giving such a person the role of the mother of the First Prince as nothing special.
“That was not what I said. What I meant to say was that if a mother is necessary there are far more suitable candidates.”
Since he was not a woman, no matter how much be it as it may only on paper, it did not mean he was fit for the role of a mother. “What are you even thinking?” Sekka objected in a stern tone.
“There is no one more suitable than you. Well, children and little birds are basically the same thing. It is fine if you entrust their care to the maids.”
“Little birds and human children are not the same thing. Isn’t Eishoh-sama your own child?”
Did he really have no feelings of affection towards his own child? Sekka felt indignation at Kishoh’s irresponsible point of view. Even if it was true that there was no choice but to leave the true care of both birds and children to the wet nurses and maids, there was a better way of expressing that.
“You destroyed my home country and I detest you. Isn’t it likely I’ll kill Eishoh-sama instead of carrying out my revenge against you?”
“Things like murdering children, you are not capable of. No matter how much you might hate me.”
Pierced by a tranquil gaze, Sekka lost his words. Just like that. He could not do such a thing as hurting an innocent child just because he was the child of a bitter enemy.
“In that case, We will entrust this to you.”
“Such irresponsible…, please wait!”
Kishoh left disregarding Sekka who was trying to detain him. The man was fast at running away. Left behind inside the room there was only the little bird and Sekka.
Involuntarily a sigh escaped him. Not the little bird, but the matter with the First Prince was the real issue at hand. He’d been completely outwitted by Kishoh.
The man was the ‘now that he had said it he would realize it’ type. It had become clear to Sekka from the matter with entering the Inner Palace.
“What the hell is he thinking, that man…”
Even if he was asking a man who was already not there, the answer did not come to him.
The little white bird gazed steadily at Sekka with his head bent slightly to the side in what seemed like wonder.
The lively voice of a child could be heard.
When Sekka came to visit Meiju Palace accompanied by Shohen and Baigyoku, Eishoh was playing with a rocking horse while being watched over by the eunuchs in charge of taking care of him. When he was informed of Sekka’s visit by the wet nurses, he climbed off of the wooden horse and came over briskly with small steps.
Doing so shyly, Eishoh who was not yet able to pronounce words properly called Sekka mom. Recently he had learned to say several new words.
“How do you do, Eishoh-sama?”
When Sekka met his gaze and smiled at him, Eishoh bashfully returned the smile.
After he had become the adoptive parent of the child, the times they had met, with this had yet been several. During the first time Eishoh had clung to the wet nurse and had not wanted to let go, but now when Sekka visited he happily came out to meet him.
He had not played with his younger cousins, so he had no experience being a child’s companion. Before he had met Eishoh he had been worried about how to best connect with him, but it had ended up being needless anxiety.
He seemed somewhat slower to speak and walk than normal, but as might be expected of a boy he was built sturdily. Though he was very young, his features were an exact copy of his father’s. Since he was not familiar with his mother’s Graceful Consort Go’s face, thinking as such was probably too much, but among the three princes Eishoh resembled his father the most.
Eishoh invited him to play with the rocking horse by pulling Sekka’s hand. The luxurious toy was a solidly built wooden structure with inlay work applied to the saddles.
When the wooden horse was rocked, Eishoh giggled and his cheer rose.
He had been worried that the fact he was not a woman would be uncovered by the perceptiveness peculiar to children, but as it seemed in regard to Sekka Eishoh embraced familiarity with him without limitations. There was also no sign that the wet nurses, maids and eunuchs who served Eishoh found something suspicious.
After he had kept company with Eishoh during his playtime for a little while, Sekka ordered for Shohen to take out the things they had brought with them.
“Today I have a gift for Eishoh-sama. It was just something that was delivered to me.”
Presenting the things being gifted, on top of the table there was a paperweight and an inkstone lined up.
The paperweight was shaped like a dragon and from its shade you could tell that it was made from jade of the finest quality. The inkstone was also a rare item with a beautiful stone crest. According to Eishun it was a high class item from Kaizan which was a place in Yoh most famous for producing inkstones.
“I thought Eishoh-sama could from now on use these when starting to practice writing with a brush.”
The wet nurse accepted the items with a thankful appearance and expressed gratitude instead of Eishoh. Eishoh himself was poking the paperweight dragon with immense interest.
“Do you like it, Eishoh-sama?”
When Sekka asked that, Eishoh smiled cheerfully. He was an adorable child. It would have been good if the child’s father was just as lovable.
Since he, the Honourable Consort Li, according to the Emperor’s order had become the First Princes foster mother, it had come to be that every day there was a large quantity of gifts being delivered to Sekka’s side. It was mostly fabrics and necklaces or ornaments such as hairpins and handicrafts, but among them there were local specialties as well. The senders were nobles and government officials whose faces and even names he did not know.
“Following Eishoh becoming the Crown Prince, their motive is to prepare for buttering up to you. Since at any rate, the most favoured of the Inner Palace’s consorts had become the foster mother of the First Prince.”
Kishoh had explained it to him, when he had inclined his head to the side in confusion over the reason for receiving these gifts. “Oh these calculative people,” there was no doubt that the wryly smiling man had predicted that things would turn out this way.
With the Honourable Consort Li who had monopolized the entirety of the emperor’s affection becoming the foster mother of the First Prince the power structure within the Inner Palace had changed. A lot of people were probably thinking this was preparation for the investiture of the Empress or possibly for the investiture of the Crown Prince.
Things had been naturally calculated by Kishoh to that degree. No, rather this was actually the aim of that man.
With Sekka and Eishoh being tied by a foster parent-child relationship, the other concubines including Blessed Consort Bu were kept in check.
Kishoh had said that the Imperial Court and the Inner Palace were closely tied together. Blessed Consort Bu’s father was the prime minister. If the two were two sides of the same coin, the current measures will likely exert influence on the power struggle within the Imperial Court. But above that he probably plans to await their next move.
He did not know whether Kishoh’s scheme would bear fruit, but since the matter with the head of a chicken occurred, incidents like that had not happened. But then it was quite possible Eishun and his men had dealt with them confidentially, before Sekka could witness them.
Seemingly tired from playing and wanting to sleep, Eishoh rubbed his eyes. When the wet nurse tried to take him to the bedroom, he shook his head in denial.
Speaking in an even more faltering tone than previously due to sleepiness, Eishoh tightly grasped Sekka’s sleeve in his small hand. The cute gesture unintentionally made Sekka smile broadly.
“Then until Eishoh-sama falls asleep, let me accompany you.”
Eishoh nodded his head in agreement while halfway asleep. When he held him up in his arms, along with the firm weight the high body temperature characteristic to children could be felt.
“It’s alright, I’ll bring him.”
Refusing the wet nurse who tried to offer a hand, Sekka himself moved Eishoh to the bed. Taking a seat on the nearby chair, he hummed a lullaby. It was a Ka lullaby he had heard when he was very young.
It would probably be better to memorize a Yoh lullaby… While he was thinking about such things, Eishoh fell asleep.
Cute, right? Jelly Kishoh is so funny here…
So the next part should be out next Sunday, though I have to defend my bachelor thesis on Wednesday and I haven’t yet made the presentation..ehehe, so it might delay the next part a bit, but I hope not. I’m determined to finish this novel.
I don’t think I mentioned this before but we’re already past the halfway point in the novel. By my calculations there should only be about 7 more parts before we’re done, so about 2 more months unless I discover a magical way to translate faster. But that ain’t happening with my current PC and phone(it has my fave dictionary I use for translating) who are already half a step in their graves…and need to be replaced asap.
Anyways, till next time, your raving translator~ (Btw, I caught a shiny Tympole in Pokemon White today and that was awesome)
If you like my translations and want to support me so I can spend the summer on a translation binge, consider supporting me on ko-fi, I greatly appreciate everyone who does so~