Surprise! I’m back. I’m terribly sorry I disappeared on you guys, especially knowing how shitty that can feel for reader from my own experience. A bunch of RL stuff just piled up and the hot weather just continued to boil my brains to the point I just couldn’t focus on Japanese. I’ve also caught something nasty that’s been annoying me for more than a week, but I think it’s starting to clear up, so hopefully, it should be getting better from now on.
I’m putting it out today, because I just finished translating this part minutes ago and I felt my readers have waited long enough as it is so here it is~
P.S. Since it has been just finished, there has been no editing so forgive any accidental mistakes, I’m quite prone to them.
“It would be good if tomorrow was a clear day, right?”
Sekka who had thought the same thing smiled faintly at Kouki’s words.
As if following Sekka’s request, there was splendidly clear weather the next day.
Since the several day rain the grown all the more green and verdant, dropping deep shadows. The blazing sunlight could already be considered as a thing of the summer.
Sekka had climbed the Palace tower for the first time in a while, and was gazing at the garden.
When was Kishoh going to return? What should he say, when they meet?
He’d been feeling restless since the morning, to the point of forgetting to give Tensei his feed, and knocking down the tea utensils that smashed into tiny pieces. Although he had climbed the tower to distract himself, the Imperial Palace was too vast, and the gates of the Palace could not be seen from here. At best he could glimpse the group of building that made up the Imperial Court.
In spring when he had looked down upon the garden from the tower, he had earnestly wished to leave the Imperial Palace. Now inside of Sekka’s chest singed by a thought that he wished to see Kishoh, and ascertain that he was safe.
As if sensing that Sekka was impatiently waiting for Kishoh’s return, Shohen and Baigyoku stood in the background without saying anything. On the inside they were probably astounded, but gratefully they kept it to themselves.
He was fretting impatiently, but there was no conspicuous movement in the direction of the palace. It was clear there would be a message once Kishoh had returned, but Eishun seemed to be busy as he had just seen hi face once since the morning.
Could it be something had happened to Kishoh? As time passed, Sekka’s face rose in uneasiness.
It happened just as he began to think it was about time to return to Seika Palace. He could see a lone eunuch trotting in the direction of the path leading to the Palace tower.
After a while the sound of footsteps hurrying up the stairs could be heard. It continued till the top floor where Sekka and his attendants were.
That should be the notice that Kishoh had returned. Just as his heartbeat sped up in expectation and anxiety, Baigyoku’s who was receiving the eunuch’s message near the door complexion paled.
“Did something happen?”
Did his anxious thoughts become reality? Feeling uneasy, he enquired before the stiff faced Baigyoku could open her mouth.
“The message was that the Blessed Consort Bu had strangled Bunshoh-sama to death.”
Receiving the unexpected information, his breath was taken away for a bit. Shohen who was near Sekka was lost for words.
The very young appearance of Bunshoh who he had met a few times came to his mind. The childish but well-ordered facial features he’d inherited from his mother the Blessed Consort Bu had given him a somewhat delicate impression of the child.
That small child…
No matter what he could not believe his mother Consort Bu had done it with her own hands. Had the suppression of the rebellion driven the woman to commit the murder?
Blessed Consort Bu and Bunshoh outwardly had been currently released without indictment and put under house arrest in Eimei Palace. Naturally, because Kishoh had already decided to dispose of the two of them, there was no doubt Blessed Consort Bu had conjectured the fate that awaited both of them.
With the mastermind of the rebellion her father being defeated, did she fall into despair? Did she think it better to do it with her own hands, rather than let somebody else kill her child?
Dumbfounded by the overwhelming event, “Umm…” Baigyoku continued in hesitant manner.
“Also, the eunuch said that the Blessed consort Bu had stated that she wishes to meet with the Honorable consort.”
“Thank you for coming.”
Blessed Consort Bu that greeted Sekka upon his visit to the Eimei Palace was dressed in brilliant white garments.
Were those mourning clothes for mourning her son, or were those her own burial clothes…? Both most likely.
In the corner of the living room, armed eunuchs were keeping a watchful eye on Blessed Consort Bu’s conduct. Up till now they had been guarding the Eimei Palace to prevent the escape of the mother and child, but following the death of the Second Prince, they had begun to watch Blessed Consort Bu herself.
Consort Bu greeted Sekka in a perfect manner, and ushering him in guided him to the central table. Eishun who had accompanied him kept a little distance and stood waiting. He had the sort of posture that signified that if something happened, he could immediately subdue Consort Bu.
“I had entrusted a verbal message to the Head Eunuch, but I had thought that the Honorable Consort would surely not grant my wish.”
The stealthily laughing Blessed Consort Bu was as beautiful as ever. It looked like her higher than average self-respect had been repelled by sorrow and misfortune.
“What do you wish to speak with me of?”
Sekka continued to feel agitated inside, but he tried to conduct himself as serenely as possible. It was apparent that things like compassion and pity would be seen as an insult by the proud Blessed Consort Bu.
Wishing to meet the Honorable Consort and speak with her was probably the last wish of the resigned to death Consort Bu. Shohen and Baigyoku had been opposed, saying that it was not his duty to grant the last wish of that sort of person, but Sekka had decided to meet Blessed Consort Bu of his own will.
Not showing a good expression, Eishun who had afterwards come to the Seika Palace had been the same. He had proposed to wait for Kishoh’s return and ask for his judgment, but since Sekka’s resolve had been obstinate, he had consented to the opposite while presenting the condition that he had to be present for it.
“As usual you are like limpid water. Underneath that composed face, you are probably sneering that I certainly deserved what happened.”
“That sort of thing…”
When he raised his concealed face, he met Blessed Consort Bu eyes gazing at him. He had thought that she would be again as always gazing cynically, but something was strange, she was definitely smiling sweetly.
“Yes, I understand now. Honorable Consort would not think such a thing. Even though I harassed you numerous times, instigated the eunuchs, moreover spread rumors of your infidelity, you were calm without a care.”
Calmly, Consort Bu acknowledged her treatment of Sekka up till now.
“Whenever I saw the Honorable Consort, I recalled the lake at our summer resort where I used to play as a child. The lake’s surface that could be disturbed by just throwing rocks would momentarily become still as if nothing had happened. Filled to the brim with azure water, no one is able to catch a glimpse of its depths.”
She had thought as such? Sekka for his part was just perplexed. It might have not been understandable from his exterior, but because the harassment had left him in an unfavorable condition, the case with eunuch Sai had made him fearful from the bottom of his heart.
“Because you are like that, you most likely stole His Majesty’s heart heart.”
Blessed Consort Bu’s tone was detached, there were no biting words like before. “I…” she continued with eyes that were gazing somewhere far away, and not here.
“Was born in a family well known in Yoh, and since I was young raised as someone who would become the empress. I’ve already been sternly disciplined that my duty was to earn the affection of His Majesty The Emperor.”
“I did not have even the smallest amount of freedom,” she smiled weakly.
“My family that had produced high officials like the Prime Minister one after another had continuously sent their daughters to the Inner Palace. However, they were not able to gain the previous Emperors favor, and there was not one who had become the Empress Dowager. It has been the longstanding desire of my family to become the maternal relatives of the Emperor.”
Having a daughter who brimmed with wisdom and heavenly beauty, it was easy to imagine that an ambitious person like Prime Minister Bu would try to carry out this longstanding desire no matter what it takes.
“According to my father’s expectations I entered the Inner Palace and gave birth to a prince. He was the Second Prince, but he had such an influential backing as my father. Everyone in the family expected Bunshoh to become the Crown Prince. …until you came that is.”
Slightly frowning, bitterness momentarily passed through Blessed Consort Bu’s pair of eyes. She was probably recalling the jealousy and humiliation she had tasted due to Sekka entering the Inner Palace.
“With Eishoh becoming Honorable Consort’s adopted child, father began to lose his presence of mind more and more. Because he had provoked His Majesty’s suspicion, and had sensed his person being investigated. If he was struck, there would be a lot of secrets pouring out. He probably ordered Talented Person Chou to do that sort of thing to try to forestall the Emperor.”
 The actual expression goes more like “if he was hit, there would be dust coming off” meaning that if something was investigated in detail you could find many faults and wrongdoings.
Sekka did not squeeze in, and continued to listen carefully to Consort Bu’s monologue. The kneeling Eishun unmistakably was paying attention to Blessed Consort Bu’s every move.
“With Talented Person Chou having failed, it seems he had taken the actions he had up till now. Despite me and Bunshoh being in the Inner Palace.”
As if spitting out an uncomfortable though, Consort Bu sighed. It looked like the woman had been left out when it came to the mutiny, including the matter with Talented Person Chou.
“We’ve been cast aside by father. What father loves is only power. For father, I and Bunshoh are only pieces to be used to achieve his ambitions. To the degree of abandoning us if we lose our value.”
“I’ve understood that my father is that sort of person…” there was a deep, quiet despair in Blessed Consort Bu’s tone of voice.
“Since I’ve been implicated in the things my father has done, nothing can be done about me and Bunshoh being punished. I love His Majesty, but visibly I am not loved by him.”
Consort Bu’s voice shook a little, as if expressing the pain of her heart. She was being dispassionate, but her true feelings could be seen showing through her expression and tone of voice.
“That person did not hold even a shred of affection for me. However, it was the same with the other concubines as well. That person’s heart…no soul has been frozen over. That’s why I thought it unlikely his heart would be stolen by someone.”
Didn’t Kishoh put distance between him and the concubines because he didn’t want the one he specially favored to be killed like his mother? Nonetheless he had no positive proof of that. Again Sekka himself was hesitant to say he comprehended the facts about Kishoh. Blessed Consort Bu gazed at Sekka who was faltering to begin to deny her words.
“Such a person as His Majesty is suffered an injury protecting the Honorable Consort. The Emperor whose body is so precious, for the sake of one woman…”
It seems Blessed Consort Bu completely believes that Sekka is a woman. It was fortunate, but his chest jarred feeling guilty at the deceit.
“That person has changed by meeting you. …I am envious of you. To an already hateful degree.”
While saying she hated Sekka as well, Blessed Consort Bu’s expression was serene. The large eyes were moist, and the tears that slid across her smooth face fell onto the table with a plop.
Kishoh had changed because of him? There was no reason for that…he thought, but Sekka had not known the previous Kishoh.
“In this life where I could not attain anything, the only thing that had been bestowed upon me had been Bunshoh. That’s why I definitely did not want him to be stolen from me.”
“With this my insignificant story is at an end,” the Blessed Consort Bu who was faintly smiling as her tears overflowed seemed at this moment the most beautiful she has ever been.
Sorry about not warning about that bombshell, but I felt it reads much better if you’re not prepared for it.
I can’t guarantee that the next chapter will be out on Sunday, there’s still quite a bit left page wise and I am still not completely back in my mojo. What will happen is that the next chapter will be up shortly after I finish it to let me have a break and then edit it first.
Also, I did keep my eye on the results of the poll during this time, and let me tell you it did end up surprising me, since Affection, the ABO story ended up overtaking the Arab love story that had been in the lead since the beginning. So Affection will become my next project.
Anyways, see you next time~