Gentle and Graceful Emperor’s Heart (Part 1)
Jin Wangsun couldn’t feel an ounce of strength in his body. He felt as if he was carried over. These Imperial Guards were different to the officers and men from Shuntian Office. All of these Imperial Guards were extremely proud of themselves and carried themselves with the demeanour and attitude of the capital’s number one military force. When Jin Wangsun went to the Imperial Palace for the first time, he challenged six warriors on Liu Shan’s Elites’ rankings, which led to many military personnel developing an extreme dislike for him. As such, they weren’t going to treat him with courtesy when they had the chance not to. They brought him along as though he was a criminal.
Jin Wangsun could grind his teeth with anger, but Ming Feizhen sealed his qi meridians during the tussle. Then he tried to undo the seal by moulding true qi, but that only served to reinforce the seal. As a result, he now couldn’t walk properly. It would’ve been impossible for him to walk so far had it not been for these people supporting him.
Once they arrived at the hall the Princess was at, Jin Wangsun broke away from the two guards on either side of him and told them to fix his appearance for him. Ming Feizhen had beaten him into a gopher twice now. Right now, he looked no better than a farmer.
There was no chance of Long Zaitian helping him. After stalling for ages, he called two servants in the estate to help Jin Wangsun pat the dirt off in the end, and then supported him to slowly head to Princess Jingan’s location.
Princess Jingan sat in the centre of the hall. She was invested in a painting that she was holding in her hands. She gently turned her beautiful snow-white neck and giggled in a soft voice.
She was a beauty that didn’t pale in comparison to Princess Hongzhuang. Her rare characteristic was that she was married. Hence, she exuded a unique aura that sat between a young girl and a young wife, an aura that was hard to distinguish. Nonetheless, it only made her more attractive to men.
Jin Wangsun didn’t dare to look at her for too long. He bowed his head and saluted her, “Your Subject has come to see you, Your Highness.”
“It has been a long time, Young Master Jin.” Princess Jingan finally set the painting down. Her reaction seemed as though she just noticed him. Jin Wangsun went unnoticed by her from the moment he slowly entered up until he came up before her.
“It has been over half a year since our short meeting in Hangzhou, hasn’t it? I’m surprised that you have managed to become a patriarch in a short six months, Young Master Jin… Oh my, pardon my rudeness. I should call you Patriarch Jin.”
Princess Jingan was graceful and educated. She didn’t speak fast, and every word was enunciated clearly. Her speech mannerisms and tone was beyond careful and gentle, yet captivatingly elegant.
“I dare no refer to myself as such before your presence, Your Highness. Your Subject does not dare to be conceited.” Jin Wangsun slowly responded with his head down. He then smiled, “You must be tired from your long journey, yet went out of your way to visit Your Subject. Your Subject is sincerely very grateful. As such, Your Subject has prepared several modest gifts for you. Please accept them, Your Highness.”
He needed Princess Jingan’s assistance with many things, both as the Gold and Silver Sect that rivals the nation in terms of wealth and as Jing Wangsun. Subsequently, his gifts would be anything but modest. However, Princess Jingan didn’t pay him too much attention. Instead, she spoke to Long Zaitian and his company first, “Commander Long, may I ask you to leave us alone? My bodyguard is with me, so I will be fine. Instead, due to the disturbance that erupted at the abode, please guard the outside for safety sake; also, arrange for men to conduct a search.”
Long Zaitian never thought well of Jin Wangsun.
‘Fucking hell. I saved His Majesty, yet was demoted three ranks. This brat is cockier than the sky, and yet wants to be Fuma. Why didn’t that pervert kill him back there?’
Nevertheless, Long Zaitian didn’t dare to oppose an order from the Princess. Moreover, Princess Jingan is graceful and beautiful, not to mention her gentle tone that made it sound as if she was discussing it with him. Long Zaitian felt as though his bones melted upon hearing her speak.
“Of course, of course, Your Subject shall stand guard outside. Should that pervert dare to return, Your Subject shall capture him for you and fry him in boiling oil.”
Princess Jingan slightly frowned. She wore a sorrowful look as though it tore heart to hear something as cruel as frying a live human being in oil. Long Zaitian realised he said something he shouldn’t have, and thus, quickly made up with two random lines before running away.
Jin Wangsun knew that the Princess was sending away unrelated personnel in order to discuss something secretive.
There was a somewhat anxious look in her eyes.However, Princess Jingan questioned, “Young Master Jin, please have a seat. May I ask if those two are your trusted men?”
Jin Wangsun had a sudden realisation, “The two of them are my two most trusted subordinates from Gold and Silver Sect. It is fine for them to listen in.”
He didn’t expect the graceful Princess to be so meticulous and not take any risks.
Jingan cut straight to the chase, “Young Master Jin, according to our agreement, I shall assist you in becoming my younger sister’s Fuma.”
Jin Wangsun’s spirits rose, “Yes, Your Highness. Your Subject will not let you down.”
“That was what I wanted to say,” Princess Jingan looked straight at Jin Wangsun with her bright eyes and suddenly sighed, “It’s just that you seem to lack self-respect.”
Jin Wangsun smiled helplessly, “That is because…”
“You need not speak of it. I have heard enough on my way back to the palace,” a tinge of anger appeared on Princess Jingan’s snow-white face, “There are many ways for one to establish their prestige. Why did you choose to scatter gold and silver on the streets, which subsequently led to the people fighting over it? As a man of higher status, you should be thinking about how to improve things for the people. Do you not feel that you disgraced Gold and Silver Sect with such an act?”
Princess Jingan is several years younger than Jin Wangsun, yet she sounded as though she was an elder sister reproaching her younger brother. Jin Wangsun didn’t dare to raise his head and protest. He kept his head down and bore with the reprimanding.
“Empress Dowager said that she was very pleased with your filial character, which was why she told me to help you at all costs. You know my younger sister’s temperament. She’s kind and upright. She does not like others bullying the people to parade their prestige and power. Young Master Jin, you made a blunder from the very first step. The events that came after were even more absurd. How could you collude with gangs in the pugilistic world and allow them to run rampant in the capital? You hurt the Elder Statesmen and my grandpa. I didn’t and won’t pursue the matter with you. However, it’s only natural that the Dark Robe Brotherhood will make things difficult for you. But, how could you hurt my father?”
Jin Wangsun had his reasons, but couldn’t mention them. He ingratiated himself with officials at all ranks and sent Empress Dowager, Her Majesty a large batch of tributes. He, therefore, thought that he just needed to come to the capital, flaunt his prestige and marry the Princess with a smile that went from cheek to cheek. He never imagined that a Ming Feizhen would crop up out of nowhere and compete for the Fuma position. Had he known that he needed to compete for it, he would’ve known to keep a low profile. A well-learned man is more likable!
As for hurting the Emperor, he was completely in the dark. He, personally, asked everyone involved, and nobody admitted to hitting the Emperor.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to explain; hence, he had no choice but to acknowledge his wrongs to the angry Princess.
“Your Subject realises that Your Subject has disappointed you and Empress Dowager, Her Majesty. However, I am confident that I will win the Fuma selection contest. I will not disappoint you.”
Princess Jingan gently responded, “Empress Dowager ordered me to assist you. I am a mere wife. No matter how I think about it, I can’t help with much besides doing some things on Father’s end. As such, I have sent a letter to Father with the intention of making up. I hope that he will not hold the grudge against you out of consideration for your young age and brashness.”
Jin Wangsun finally realised that the reason that the Emperor was still showing him some degree of respect was thanks to Princess Jingan’s blessings.
Princess Jingan slowly shook her head. She seemed as though she wasn’t used to being outside for so long. She weakly said, “I wasn’t helping just you. One, I wanted to fulfil my filial piety duties as a granddaughter to Empress Dowager, and two, I did it for my sister’s sake. I don’t want her to marry a low-ranked constable and suffer for her entire life.”
“As long as I have your support, I am not worried about ending up with a disappointing result.”
Princess Jingan shut her eyes and leaned back onto her backrest. She maintained her elegant demeanour, but didn’t utter a word. She came to help Jin Wangsun on Empress Dowager’s orders. She, personally, didn’t take a liking to him, especially since he treated something important as marriage as a business transaction. Every time he opened his mouth, it was about results, which was not to her liking. In saying that, she was born into royalty, so she understood the helplessness of women. From her perspective, Princess Hongzhuang marrying Jin Wangsun was better than marrying a constable from Liu Shan Men.
Jin Wangsun didn’t know what Princess Jingan was thinking. He carried on with a smile, “As long as you speak up for Your Subject, there will be no further problems. Today’s incidence is a perfect example. As soon as the villain saw you, he immediately felt ashamed and fled for his life.”
Princess Responded with nothing more than a soft, “Ah.”
“That assailant was truly bold. He knew that the estate is heavily guarded, yet still dared to come in and stir up trouble. Had it not been for Your Subject being forbidden from leaving the estate’s grounds, Your Subject could have called for men to viciously teach him a lesson, erm, apprehend him and send him to the office to be judged by the law.”
“Was he… very skilled?”
Jin Wangsun didn’t know why Princess Jingan, who’s gentle and quiet, began to concern herself with his martial arts skills. As a result, he frowned and replied, “He is, indeed. In Your Subject’s opinion, his skills are not inferior to those in the Hegemon Realm. It is unfortunate that he is a vicious scum. After he trespassed into my estate, he groped men and women. He truly is a perverted demon. To be frank with you, he groped all of Your Subject’s maids that look quite cute all over. He did not spare Your Subject’s family retainers, either. Your Subject must inform you that he even said that he has eyes for Princess Hongzhuang and wanted to teach Your Subject a lesson for her sake. These sorts of thugs in pugilistic world are truly audacious, spouting nonsense…”
Jin Wangsun continued with his rambling without knowing that Princess Jingan’s expression was slowly changing. She didn’t want to hear anymore.
“Given how bad the pervert is, his family may end up being a family of lowly, shameless thieves and prostitutes. The heavens…”
Jingan stood up, “All right, that will be all.”
“I came a long way and saw you before seeing Father. That is wrong of me to do,” The Princess shot Jin Wangsun a glare, “I don’t like having others gossip about me; thus, I shall take my leave now.”
Jin Wangsun wasn’t sure how he offended the Princess. He still didn’t understand where he went wrong.
Princess Jingan then added, “Out of respect for Empress Dowager, Her Majesty, I have done what I can for you. By the looks of things, you should be able to achieve your wish at the Fuma selection given the fact that you are skilled in both martial arts and literature.”
‘It’s obvious what she means. She’s ignoring me and not helping any further from now!’
“B-But Empress Dowager, Her Majesty…”
“Young Master Jin, I must remind you that I was practicing filial piety toward Empress Dowager, Her Majesty, not blindly following orders. Additionally, as it is the case that you wish to be my brother-in-law, please mind your language. Do not say uncouth things and speak thoughtlessly in my presence. Saying that someone’s family are thieves and prost-, i-Is that something that someone cultured would say?”
After saying that, Princess Jingan’s face turned pale, and she gently trembled as though she was suppressing her rage with all she had.
Jin Wangsun knew long ago that Princess Jingan was the exemplar for cultured females and usually never left home. Naturally, that meant that she rarely heard such coarse language. Ming Feizhen aggravated him silly today, which was why he had a moment of carelessness and went too far. He, consequently, rushed to remedy it, “Your Subject apologises for the uncalled for language, Your Highness. Your Subject is a martial artist, and hence, lacks etiquette. Your Subject hopes you do not take offence for the remarks.”
Jingan snorted, but didn’t reply. That was her way of showing her dissatisfaction.
At the same time, however, she was wondering if her Fuma really was in the capital.
Based on what she knew, her Fuma said he was headed to Northern Xinjiang to subdue a riot. He said that it would take him a year and a half.
‘It’s only been months, though. Has he returned to the capital already?’
It seemed as though Princess Jingan was thinking about many things. She supported her snow-white chin in her hand as if she was deliberating something. Her mind was filled with questions, which was visible on her face. Her feet seemingly walked to the exit on their own.
Jin Wangsun rushed to speak up, “But, as for things to come…”
“I know what I’m doing.”
“You are right. You know that Your Subject cannot leave the estate. Your Subject will have to trouble you with the selection contest, then. In addition… eh? Your Subject has not finished yet.”
Princess Jingan kept her head down and pondered to herself. She had already gone into the distance before Jin Wangsun could finish.
Jin Wangsun watched her pretty silhouette vanish. As he watched her leave, he scratched his head and muttered to himself.
‘She’s so cultured and graceful, yet is impatient and has a short fuse?’
*At one point, Jin Wangsun switches from referring to himself as “Your Subject” to “I”. That is not a translation inconsistency.
** “Your Subject is a martial artist, and hence, lacks etiquette” = This is commonly used in literature with ancient China settings. The reason for saying this – as nonsensical as it may seem to us – is that martial artists were considered uneducated, meathead brutes that were brash and rude. They were also viewed as straightforward and blunt. Hence, they were commonly associated with not knowing the etiquette required around political figures, which for the record, oftentimes requires one to pay attention to more than basic politeness.