Hi! Here’s the second part. I’ll be honest this was probably one of the hardest parts I’ve had to translate up to now. There were a lot of sentences I had a hard a hard time comprehending even contextually, not even talking about the Japanese used. And given that I was quite busy this week, it was a real race against time, so I ended up cutting this part in two, so I could get something up this Sunday.
The bachelor thesis defense went about as well as I expected, I got a good mark, but it was a drag and I ended up loosing a ton of respect for one of my professor’s, cuz he was gigass prick.
Anyways, enough whining, you can go read now~
天青（てんせい）Tensei – The name Sekka gave to the little bird. It can be loosely translated as ‘Sky or heavenly blue’.
崔文成（さいぶんせい）Sai Bunsei – part of a group of eunuchs in opposition to Eishun.
It would probably be better to memorize a Yoh lullaby… While he was thinking about such things, Eishoh fell asleep.
Leaving Eishoh in the hands of the wet nurse, Sekka and his party took their leave from the Meiju palace.
The Meiju palace Eishoh lived in and Sekka’s Seika palace were located next to each other. Since the palace buildings were extensive it was common to move around riding a palanquin, but Sekka often took it as a reason to have a stroll. Today Eishun’s subordinate eunuchs were also not accompanying him, since there was no worry about him coming across other concubines.
“Thankfully, Eishoh-sama fell asleep without any trouble today.”
“Recently he has become quite peevish, it’s really difficult.”
“That is true,” Sekka smiled wryly as he agreed with Shohen’s and Baigyoku’s words. A few days ago when he had been informed of Sekka leaving, Eishoh had grumpily not wanted to let go and had been hard to soothe.
“It seems he’s become bigger since the last time we saw him the other day.”
“Eishoh-sama is such a sturdy boy. And he really is a lovely child, he seems to adore the Honorable Consort.”
The two who mercilessly disparaged Kishoh did not say bad things about Eishoh who was that man’s child.
Sekka himself also thought Eishoh was adorable. Because he had lost his mother soon after birth, sometimes you could glimpse a lonely expression unlike that of a young child on his face and it wrenched Sekka’s heart. At first he had only planned to meet the child, but he’d been drawn to Eishoh’s helpless state, and had proceeded to visit Meiju palace after that as well.
Although it was impossible for him to serve as a substitute of his mother, he will probably get used to being the child’s playmate. At least while he remained in the Inner Palace.
He would leave the Inner Palace once the opportunity to carry out his revenge came. Over a month had passed since he’d been brought to Yoh, but it did not mean he had forgotten his true goal.
To that extent, it was fine, be it Eishoh or the little bird, the feeling he had was like that of removing obstacles in the way of his goal. It was irritating to be complying with Kishoh’s expectations.
He’d named the little bird Tensei, and as much as possible took care of it himself by giving it feed and water. Because it understood Sekka was its master, when it was out of the cage it tried to not leave his side. It had memorized several simple words, and would say its own name in Sekka’s voice.
With this, if he was not ordered to attend to Kishoh, life in the Inner Palace would probably not be so bad.
Noticing how complacent he’d become, Sekka sighed a little. His home country had been overthrown and he himself had been brought to the enemy country against his will so it was improbable for this place to become somewhere he belonged. Not to mention, his anger towards Kishoh had not gone away either.
Kishoh as always continued to summon him without giving a break for two days. Although he’d thought Kishoh would lose interest in him in about a month, apparently this body was quite a rare thing. More vexing than that though was his inability to get used to coitus with Kishoh. Because it has added up to so many times, it would be good if he could have no reaction like a doll, but instead each time he became shamefully disheveled.
Furthermore lately Kishoh would frequently sneak away from his government affairs and come to the Seika palace during the day. As one would expect, to the last, he was not coerced into sexual intercourse, but Kishoh would make suggestive caresses and behave shamefully even if he was taking a nap.
As the time they spent together increased, Sekka had a feeling that the sharp point of hatred he had thrust towards Kishoh had grown dull. He wondered if it was because he’d been tamed by the pleasure given to him by that man.
Absolutely not, it could not be like that.
Sekka denied it from the bottom of his heart. No matter what happens, he is the lone survivor of the Li Royal family. He could never forget for what reason his mother had ordered him to survive. And for the sake of fulfilling his family’s regrets.
Locked in the Inner palace, no matter how much he was defiled, he could not lose sight of how he ought to be.
It was time to admonish his fluctuating self. Before they had turned towards the hallway leading to the Seika palace, there were eunuchs awaiting them. Facing Sekka’s party, they kowtowed to them. There were three eunuchs, but none of them had recognizable faces. But then there were a lot of eunuchs, and it was not unreasonable to think he could not remember them all.
“What is your business?”
As Shohen asked that, the most senior of the eunuchs raised his head. He was probably around forty years old. Among the many eunuchs who had gained flab with the adding of years, he had an unusually fit physique.
“The High Steward has commanded us to say he wishes to speak privately with the Honorable Consort.”
Immediately, Ryuu Kouki’s handsome face came to Sekka’s mind. It was probably about the matter Eishun was still investigating. If so he must have gone through either Eishun or Kishoh. However, since this was a private conversation, he must wish to say things he would not want even the two of them to hear.
While he thought it strange, Sekka asked the eunuch.
“Where is His Lordship?”
“He is waiting for you at that square gazebo.”
The eunuch pointed towards the direction of the courtyard. From between the gaps in the tress the roof of the gazebo could be seen. If it was that gazebo, Sekka had also stopped by it several times while strolling.
This was Kouki who had been especially permitted to enter and exit the Inner Palace. If he wished to speak, he would probably visit the Seika palace. Since he had not done so, and summoned Sekka by entrusting a message to the eunuchs, there must be quite a necessity to avoid public notice.
If it’s Kouki, he most likely knows about the matter with Kishoh’s mother, the empress dowager. He felt awkward prying into Kishoh’s business without his permission, but he had thought to once try to carefully speak about it with Kouki. The other reason was that he felt interested in the circumstances of the man who was a former enemy of Kishoh’s.
“Understood. Let us proceed.”
Just as they tried to turn towards the direction of the gazebo under the guidance of the senior eunuch, Shohen and Baigyoku were detained by the other eunuchs.
“With all due respect, we were ordered to bring only the Honorable Consort. The two of you please wait here.”
“Although it was an order from the High Steward, it is impossible for us to leave the Honorable Consort’s side.”
Baigyoku replied in a firm voice. Both Shohen and Baigyoku appreciated Kouki as he had once been in opposition to Kishoh. It was the enemy of my enemy is a friend sort of situation. Nevertheless because there was the recent case of harassment, they were being vigilant against any case of emergency arising.
“The High Steward has the confidence of His Majesty. There is no reason to think that any indiscretion would occur. Please wait here.”
The two maids whose way was obstructed by the two eunuchs looked up to Sekka for instructions in bafflement. The gazebo was close by, though it could not be surveyed from here as the view was blocked by an abundance of trees. If something unexpected happened, it would be possible to call for Shohen and Baigyoku waiting in the hallway.
Ordering the two to standby, Sekka followed the pathway in the garden guided by the other eunuch.
The spring flowers had already wilted, and now the flowers of the early summer were in bloom. Come to think of it, soon there would be a tree peony appreciation party happening in the Inner Palace.
Just thinking of meeting with the other concubines made him feel dejected. He wanted to avoid places where he would be exposed to public attention, but the absence of the top-ranking concubine Honorable Consort Li would set a bad example to others so he had been ordered to attend by Kishoh. [t.n. pfff…I’m sure Kishoh just want to spend some lovey dovey time with his favourite wifey…he…he]
Ahead of the path the gazebo could be seen. However, there was no hint of Kouki’s figure there. He’d probably left because he had been busy, and could not have waited anymore.
Before he could continue to ask about his whereabouts, the eunuch turned around. He extended his fat arm in Sekka’s direction.
Sekka could not tell what had happened. The white veil he wore on his face fell at his feet. Just as he noticed that, his arms were restricted behind his back and a small knife was thrust before his throat.
“If you raise your voice, I will hurt you.”
The eunuch threatened Sekka while using merciless strength to constrict him. His tone of voice oozed uncontainable rejoicing in his own sadism.
It appears that this had been a scheme. He had probably been bribed by the other concubines. Sekka could not relax just because he was a eunuch. It was just negligence on his part to meet in the nearby gazebo just because he was given Kouki’s name.
He inquired calmly while lamenting his own thoughtlessness.
“What is this behavior?”
“I told you to be quiet.”
This time the point of the knife was pressed against his cheek with a jerk. As he recoiled from the feeling of the cold sharp steel, he was dragged to the gazebo and pushed down to the floor.
His field of vision turned about. He groaned without sound at the pain striking his back. Immediately the eunuch bent over him and restricted Sekka’s movement. Although there was clothing between them, the physique of the heavy body could be clearly felt. Conversely his figure could also be understood by the eunuch.
Just as he was about to raise his voice, a piece of cloth the eunuch had taken out was forced inside his mouth. With this he naturally could not emit any sound and call for help. Moreover his arms were tied up behind him with another piece of cloth.
It was extremely skillful. He had heard that among the eunuchs there were people with military experience, and this bastard was probably one of them.
“The Honorable consort is quite delicate. It’s certainly quite hard to entertain His Majesty with these slender hips and waist.”
The eunuch groped about Sekka’s body, and laughed vulgarly. Although it was over the clothes, the sticky manner of using one’s hands made chills travel Sekka’s body.
The fact he was not a woman would be exposed. No, it would not just be the fact he was not a woman… Driven by the fear of his secret being exposed, Sekka glared at the eunuch.
The plea to let him go was absorbed by the mouth gag. He struggled to release himself from the cloth binding his wrists, but it did not loosen one bit. Instead the struggling made the knot tighten even more.
“Ahh, you have a nice scent.”
As the tip of a nose was brought near the nape of his neck, he instinctively turned his face away. It was repulsive. His hair stood on end all over his body. It felt like he was being polluted with just the touch of the damp breath.
It was completely different to the times Kishoh had touched him. It was more visceral, and therefore it made him feel intensely repugnant.
The eunuch gripped Sekka’s collar with his rough hands and tried to widen it. He could not resist him decently with his arms restricted behind him, but he tried to shake off those hands by somehow twisting his upper body.
“Oh, you hate being touched by me?”
The eunuch narrowed his thin eyes even more smiling scornfully at Sekka’s resistance, and touched his chest. He was wearing the specially made underwear, but if it was touched, it could be understood from the sensation. However, Sekka had been slender from the start, so he probably did not think it strange.
“His Majesty is not necessary, I can give you a good time.”
Can it be that his plan was to disgrace him? Sekka was completely confused by the eunuch’s words.
All of the eunuchs serving in the Inner palace had their genitals cut off. Because of the loss of that bodily function, they were allowed to attend to the concubines.
Was this man a genuine eunuch? Had he slipped into the Inner Palace pretending to be a eunuch? As he was thinking about it being suspicious the eunuch’s hand dove under his belt.
He would be done for if his body was seen. Sekka used his barely free leg, and promptly kicked at him. He directly hit the shin of the man with the tip of his shoe, and the eunuch exclaimed in pain.
“…the person who is the Honorable Consort is quite a hopeless case. Her manners are so bad.”
The eunuch raised his head and there was anger burning in his eyes. Sekka’s counterattack had rather ignited a spirit of sadism in him it seemed.
“Or does she desire to be punished?”
The eunuch retrieved the small knife that had been stored for the moment and thrust it before Sekka’s neck. Exhaustedly, tiny pricks of pain ran over him.
“If you are obedient, I won’t treat you badly.”
Licking his own lips, the eunuch pressed the edge of the blade to the place the collar of his dress joint together. Sekka could no longer kick at him as both of his legs were tightly pinned down.
It was no good.
His true identity will be exposed. He tightly closed his eyes in despair and fear. For some reason, behind his eyelids the image of Kishoh’s face rose to the surface.
“What are you doing there?”
From behind him a sonorous voice resounded. It was a voice he had heard before. As Sekka unintentionally opened his eyes, the weight of the eunuch leaning over him had simultaneously disappeared. The eunuch had vigorously tumbled and crashed into the pillar. Just as Sekka wondered if he didn’t sound just like a smashed frog, it ended and he moved no longer.
“Humph. That’s punishment for using my name.”
Kouki spit out in annoyance and returned his favored sword to his hip. Somehow or other it seemed he had beaten the eunuch in battle without drawing his sword, but using the scabbard. The usually aloof man was exposing a rare expression of anger.
“I am sorry for being late, Honorable Consort Li.”
Why did Kouki appear? In any event it was Kouki himself who had been given as Sekka’s caller. Kouki fell to his knees and helped Sekka up, while he was digesting the situation. The man removed the cloth binding Sekka’s arms and the mouth gag, and guided him to a chair in a courteous manner.
“Unfortunately, the Honorable Consort’s jade skin was injured…hopefully there won’t remain a scar.”
Looking at Sekka’s throat, Kouki frowned pitifully. It did not hurt so much, but as expected there was a cut.
As he was gazing at his own throat, thereupon he finally noticed his disheveled collar. Using his yet numb hands, he gingerly adjusted the collar. Kouki averted his eyes in a nonchalant manner, pretending to not see anything.
Nearby the ringleader of the eunuchs who had injured Sekka was lying down on the floor unconscious. Even as Kouki tied him up he did not wake up.
“Ahh, why…the maids…”
Were Shohen and Baigyoku who were still in the hallway safe? His shaking had by no means settled, but there was a great heap of things he wanted to ask even though his words were all jumbled. Despite his words lacking coherence, Kouki understood Sekka’s feelings and gave an explanation.
“The maids are safe. The eunuchs in the hallway were captured by Eishun’s people.”
Just as he heard that, strength left his relieved body.
Kouki smiled encouragingly at Sekka who wore a relieved expression. However, then his expression completely changed and he grimly turned towards the eunuch at his feet and nudged him with his shoe.
“I’ve been paying attention to the party of eunuchs in opposition to Eishun for some time now. Especially this Sai Bunsei, a eunuch with a pretty shady history. The rumors of his misconduct with the maids would not cease.”
Among the eunuchs the castration process was faulty, and there were apparently those whose bodily function had been restored. Somehow or other Sai was one of those kind of people. Guessing that his plan had after all been to violate him, Sekka was most disgusted.
“Because this company was moving strangely, Eishun was informed by a subordinate. And because I made him inform me as well, we came running immediately like this.”
The High Steward Kouki’s intervention in the dissension among eunuchs felt strange, but there were probably reasons for it. He thought it was linked to the power struggle within the Imperial Court. Because he was not informed of that situation, he was completely ignorant of it.
Even so, what had Sai planned to achieve this time with this sort of conduct? Was it for Eishun who he opposed to be blamed for incompetence in management and lose his standing? Or, was it for Sekka himself to fall?
In the first place it was unknown whether this was planned by Sai himself or not. Just like with the harassment up till now, the possibility of him being directed by one of the concubines was high.
“It would have been better to have come a little quicker, but not expecting the man would try to commit violence against the Honorable Consort within the Inner Palace…was our negligence. I am sorry he has caused you injury.”
Kouki’s handsome face grimaced in what Sekka thought was shame at not being able to completely prevent the incident. He hung his head very deeply while kneeling in front of Sekka.
Rather than Kouki apologizing, he should be thanking the man who saved him. If Kouki and Eishun hadn’t sensed something unusual happening, he had no idea what would be happening with him right about now.
“Please raise your head Your Lordship. I…”
Incidentally as he extended a hand towards the kneeling Kouki, he felt a piercing gaze. Taken aback he raised his head. When he gazed at the path over Kouki’s shoulder, he saw Kishoh accompanied by Eishun about to come towards them.
He probably thought it strange Sekka had abruptly swallowed his words. Following Sekka’s gaze Kouki looked over his shoulder. Noticing Kishoh’s party, he grinned broadly.
“You finally appeared? How late.”
Without answering Kouki’s frivolous talk, Kishoh focused his severe gaze on Sekka.
Was he reproaching Sekka for his carelessness in being attacked by a eunuch, or was he astounded by it? There was no expression on the frightfully controlled man’s face, and he could not read his mind to understand what he was thinking about. However, the one thing emitting from Kishoh’s whole body was fervent anger.
“Arrange for a doctor. The Honorable Consort was injured.”
While he listened to Kouki ordering Eishun, Sekka was pierced by a freezing gaze to the point he could make even the smallest movement.
SEKKA…my baby, be strong. Ganbare~
Anyways, next part out next Sunday, unless it also decides to harass me, but it should be fine. I got a new computer, so it should help, cuz my old kept freezing and lagging all the time. (Which also means I’m now as poor as fuck…Yay)
Also, on another note I will be in London from 22th to 27th June, so there won’t most likely be a chapter on that Sunday. I’ll try to put it out before I leave or once I come back, or hell do a double update.
In any case, if you want to support this project and any future ones, please consider supporting me on ko-fi, so I can drown my frustration in coke and rum when translating~