|Author: Cherish the World||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: raltzero||English Source: Re:Library|
There are plenty of prosperous cities in Eternal Heaven State as shown by how every territory has several flourishing cities. But when it comes to choosing the most prosperous among them all, that title belongs to the royal capital located in the northeast. It isn’t that other Overlords don’t have enough money, rather, it’s the fact that many buildings are only worthy of being used by the royal family in accordance to the standards of Eternal Heaven State. This is also why the royal capital has an exceedingly refined magnificence. Even just speaking about the palace alone, there are three inner layers and three outer layers of the palace in the royal capital that expand to the seemingly vast expanse like a cloud-piercing mountain.
The people living beneath the imperial city slowly grew accustomed to such a sight, but those coming from the outside would usually crane their necks upwards and watch the glorious scene for a long time upon their first entry into the royal capital. In the end, they would smack their lips and click their tongues in wonder as they sincerely comment:
“Now ain’t this an extravagant sight.”
But not all of the people living in the royal capital are relatives of royalty and packed with relatives of civil and military officials; in fact, most of the people are common people. With regards to these ordinary people, they live in such a prosperous royal capital, yet it’s difficult for even them to imagine how the people ruling above them live. For example, it’s rumored that a certain currently-popular cabinet minister would require 43 women to attend to him every night before sleeping. Some would be responsible for kneading his legs, some would be responsible for hammering his shoulders, some would be responsible for warming his bed, and some would be responsible for singing and dancing. There are also those responsible for keeping their mouths open as spittoons and those responsible for keeping wine in their mouths and feeding it to him by mouth; that is, they’re just cups in the form of humans. There are also those responsible for things that can’t be openly told to everyone, if you know what I mean. If we calculate it through the things just listed, 43 actually isn’t enough for this multitude of services.
Let’s use some young master of a certain royal family branch as another example. This young master is a well-known glutton who is extremely careful when it comes to his meals; one of his meals costs at least 20 gold coins. Furthermore, such expensive meals actually have dishes that will be finished in only a few bites. Though it’s said that one will never tire of eating fine food, it also makes people wonder about what sort of foods would be so expensive.
Naturally, the royal capital doesn’t just have these negative tales, it also has some simple and mysterious ones as well.
For instance, that【Imperial Scholar】who just entered the imperial city this year; it’s rumored that he’s a youngster from an ordinary peasant family.
He’s no more than 24 or 25 years-old and dresses up in white clothes. His sleeves are rolled up and he has a white sweat towel around his neck, appearing nothing like someone with a high-ranking position. Such a person isn’t hard to meet as he often brings a young attendant with him to stroll around the royal capital.
Just like what he’s doing now.
“Milord, milord, walk a bit slower, I can’t keep up with you!”
A young child with red lips and white teeth had his hands on his knees as he wheezed for breath. With how cold the weather was currently, every breath he exhaled turned into a mass of white mist.
The person before him turned around. He didn’t appear particularly handsome, but his smile made him as warm as the sun. The man with a head of short hair and regular features couldn’t help but tease his young attendant upon seeing how unfit the boy was:
“Little Lu, you still need to exercise some more, eh?”
The boy called Little Lu raised his head and discontentedly complained:
“Milord, it’s not that I don’t exercise enough. When other people become a high-ranking official, they all live extravagant lives. On the contrary, we’re healthier. We eat boiled greens all day, but I’m unable to eat my fill. If I were to exercise even more, I would starve myself to death.”
The young man smiled as he said:
“Poison is used to attack evil, the five grains are used for nourishment, the five fruits are used for aid, the five vegetables are used for satiation. The mixture of smells and flavor are used to supplement one’s essence and benefit one’s vitality. Do you understand? Consuming more of the five grains, five fruits, and five vegetables will bring great benefits to one’s body. Do I need to lie to you on this?” 1
Little Lu protested loudly:
“That’s not right milord, I remember there being another line: ‘the five domesticated animals are used for benefit’. Cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, and chicken, how come I haven’t eaten any of these five either!”
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When he looked up again, the young man had already turned back around and unhurriedly wandered away, evidently unwilling to chat about this topic any longer.
Little Lu muttered:
“Stingy miser, you won’t be able to marry a wife in this life!”
The young man remarked:
“If I’m unable to marry a wife, then I’ll sell you off for some silver, then go and redeem a girl from a brothel to accompany me and pass the rest of my days.”
Little Lu didn’t think that the young man could hear his mutterings, so he instantly shrunk his neck in response.
The young man didn’t pursue the matter. Instead, he turned his sight towards the heavy snow on both sides of the road, rubbed his hands, and commented:
“It’ll be a good harvest next year.”
Little Lu deliberately said:
“It’s freezing, where would this good harvest come from?”
The young man halted his steps, turned around, and responded:
“You won’t understand these things. Timely snow foretells a prosperous year; the greater the snowfall this year, the better the harvest next year. Take a look at this heavy snow, not only will it not freeze the crops beneath it to death, instead, it will also isolate the outside cold. The den inside the snow is much warmer than the environment outside. In the coming year, the snow will melt into water, which also happens to function as irrigation.”
Little Lu angrily snorted:
“Yes yes yes, you understand everything. Everything from an imperial scholar down to an old farmer who’s farmed his entire life, there’s nothing you don’t understand.”
The young man didn’t get annoyed at these angry words and instead said as he continued smiling:
“Injured farmers are the root of hunger; wounded female workers are the root of poverty. Farmers and textile women are the cornerstones of national stability, so agriculture is naturally a top priority. Even though it is certainly wrong to treat agriculture as the only cornerstone, it is undeniable that once farmers don’t have land to till, it won’t be far from the state’s destruction.”
Little Lu turned his head to the side in dismay:
“I can’t win an argument with you.”
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The young man dropped his hands and asked:
“The thing I asked you to look into last time, any results?”
Little Lu instantly regained his spirit and began a garrulous speech:
“Two days ago, Lingwu suddenly bought a shipment of iron and claimed that it was for replacement of the armored cavalry’s horse armor, but I feel like something’s off. Unfortunately, our hands aren’t able to extend into Lingwu. That woman’s too powerful and Hidden Guard’s informers are aplenty and densely scattered around, so our people simply aren’t able to enter.”
The young man rubbed his bright and smooth chin as he pondered aloud:
“Didn’t they just replace those armors last year? What sort of plan has she cooked up now?”
Little Lu said:
“I’ll go find some people to scout out some information. Compared to this, milord, didn’t you say that you wanted to use the New Year’s Celebration as an excuse to summon thirty-six City Lords to the royal capital for a chat? My head has nearly burst trying to think up the list of names and I also don’t know milord’s meaning, so I have no idea on how to decide the list.”
The young man responded with:
“This is easy to answer. Whoever you think is likely to inherit the position of Overlord, just invite them over.”
Little Lu asked with a baffled expression:
“Every Overlord has basically already appointed their own successor, why is there a need for me to pick?”
The young man gently elucidated:
“Participants are blind. Take a look at the farmland on both sides of this road, do you really think that none of the wheat currently buried will die due to freezing come next spring? There will be plenty of fragile fellows down there unable to endure this cold winter……just like how some heirs will be able to smoothly ascend to power while other heirs are doomed to vie for power, but have already been divided and conferred a city to which they will be City Lord to. The intention of the original ‘dividing vassals’ plan was to have them split internally and go through an internal power struggle. If every household were to smoothly complete their succession, then Eternal Heaven State wouldn’t be far from being destroyed.”
The young man speaking these words held a hint of ruthlessness in his eyes. A gale blew on his sleeves as he turned to the side and continued:
“The first step is to create internal disorder amongst them, thereby weakening their power. The second step is to throw a bone at them, so as to make them tear at each other and sow the seeds of hatred. The third, yet most important, step……is that the world of great struggle is coming and nobody will be able to prevent it. In the face of the irresistible trend, using man’s power to fend it off is equivalent to a mantis trying to stop a chariot. Before such a day arrives, we must verify who our allies are and who the thankless wretches are.”
Little Lu pleaded:
“Milord, this terrible mess is really too chaotic. In my opinion, we should do what we can do and run away from things we can’t do. We’re neither a relative nor a friend to the royal household, so why do we need to help them take back their authority?”
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The young man chuckled and said with a somewhat lonely tone:
“I come from a commoner backgr……”
Little Lu hurried to interrupt his words and said:
“Milord, stop reminiscing about the past, isn’t it just about the kindness of recognizing your worth and employing you? I’ve heard about this so many times that I swear there are calluses on my ears. Ah, that’s right, Princess Lan Na previously heard about our move to invite City Lord to the royal capital for fun and specifically asked me to beg you to add someone in.”
The young man broke out of his thoughts and asked:
Little Lu scratched his head, thought for a while, then answered:
“Oh yeah, it’s the one that the Overlord of Yunyang kicked out of his household. West-Resisting City’s City Lord, the one called Li De.”