Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 47: Who’s Going to be Doing Who
The night was dark and the drums that signalled for the streets to be cleared off had already rang within the capital.
The lanterns were slowly dimming and the market that had been bustling in the day was slowly being entrenched in silence and devoid of humans.
Only the bright moon was still hanging high up in the sky, shining upon the Imperial City.
The lanterns inside Cheng Ming Palace had not been extinguished however, as the servants standing outside the long hallway held in their breaths, scared of making any mistakes that could be used as an excuse for them to be beheaded.
Since the Emperor ascended to his throne, it has been a great many years since he had an outburst of this kind.
Although those ministers were certainly made of flappy, loose muscles, their mouths were still in the running for the competition of who can be more vicious.
The Emperor had been so mad from the morning court assembly that he had not yet even eaten anything for the entire day.
On top of a desk lay a sheet of papers.
Under the shine of the bright candlelight, those characters looked even more sloppy and twisted.
But the Emperor had been staring at those sheets of paper for more than half a Shi Chen now.
Flipping them over and over to look and to read them in depth again and again.
And the only words he could say was a very emotionless “Is this what Chen Miao Ping wrote?”.
Liu Gong-gong who was holding a hossu1 in his arms bowed at his waist and said,
“To respond Your Majesty, this servant watched him write this with this servant’s very own eyes.
It seems that the Flower Seeker had hurt his hand beforehand, so these characters may seem a little scrawly.”
Although Chen Miao Ping had the original host’s memories, the original body’s writing style was not something that could be copied at a moment’s notice.
So he had purposefully used a paperknife to injure himself on the palm so that he had some leeway to excuse his different handwriting style.
The Emperor nodded his head in acknowledgement and then returned his eyes to the sheets of paper.
The terrible handwriting and the overly blunt statements were not the main point.
The words that made him contemplate over and over again were only these three sentences:
Use brass as a mirror, could then straighten up clothes; Use history as a mirror, could then avoid repetition; use humans as mirror, could then learn from mistakes……
The ruler is the boat, the citizens are the water.
Water can hold up a boat, and it can overthrow the boat……
…grasps the hearts of the citizens, one rules the world…..
The Emperor sat on his throne for a very long time, overcome by his thoughts.
He suddenly chuckled out softly and then made a joke, sprinkled in a half truth and a half lie,
“This Chen Miao Ping is such a well rounded individual.
Every word is written with such meaning.
It is rare for someone as young as him to have such an understanding and the knowledge.
If he had put these words on the Imperial Court Examination, Zhen might have given him the position of Primus2…..
but that’s over and done with.
He has already missed his chance.”
As soon as he finished talking, he immediately copied all three sentences in its entirety himself and ordered Liu Gong-gong to hang it up on the wall above the front of his bed, shocking the latter internally to his core.
Since its inception, the role of the Emperor has never been an easy job.
Especially with such a recent scandal happening on top of all his normal concerns.
He ordered a servant to take away Chen Miao Ping’s papers and focused his attention back to his regular documents.
But that caused another batch of worries.
Elder Princess Chang Ning’s3 precious only son had galloped on his horse through the streets without any control.
Multiple stands were stepped on and crashed into, and many people were injured as a result.
He was then caught red-handed by the City Warden Inspector, and not even speaking about the fact that he wouldn’t admit to his crime, he had whipped the inspector straight in the face, causing parts of his teeth to fall out.
Now, that man was handing in documents that were crying and begging for the Emperor to release him from his position and let him return to his hometown.
Home? Going home when you’re only thirty or so years of age?
This was the city beneath the Emperor’s feet.
At the capital here, if you were to throw a brick to hit someone, six out of ten would be a relative of the Imperial family or at least the relative of a relative of a relative.
The city inspectors were like the modern day’s neighborhood community watch full of elderly women where if someone were to throw garbage on the streets, one must manage; if someone teased or flirted with commoner women or citizens, one must manage; if there was a robber itching to steal, one also must manage.
They do all the things that the ladies of the community watch would do, but they do not have their ability to hold that authority or a personality that could cause a racket if their warnings were not heeded.
Just in this one month alone, the City Warden Inspector had been changed twice.
This one could be considered the third one.
In this position it was too easy to infringe on another’s authority.
You manage too much, you are in trouble with that group of relatives of the Imperial family.
You don’t, then you’re not doing your job.
The Emperor thought that since this poor soul’s teeth were gone, it was quite pitiful how he couldn’t even pronounce words properly and clearly anymore.
In the future, he probably would even have trouble ingesting food.
So out of generosity, he stamped his approval and even granted the man some gold and money as a show of his worry.
In regards to Elder Princess Chang Ning, well, she had, in her youth, married Zhen Bei Hou4, and she only had that son.
And since some years ago when Zhen Bei Hou had died on the battlefield to protect the country against Da Yue Zhi, she has loved no one more than her only son.
It was to the point where she was scared of holding him in her hands as he may break, or to put him in her mouth, as he may melt.
Nowhere was considered safe enough to protect him.
It was not easy to be a single mother, and what was the point of being so strict and exact with a widow? She would only go running and cry to the Empress Dowager.
The Emperor thought about it and decided not to punish her too heavily.
Letting this issue lightly pass by only grounding her for three months and taking away her allowance for half a year.
Now that the old City Warden Inspector was leaving his position to go back home, which unlucky egg should fill this empty hole……
Letting out a sigh, the Emperor thought about it and then put down his brush.
He said to Liu Gong-gong,
“Zhen remembers, the position of a warden inspector, should be at least a sixth rank position?”
Liu Gong-gong smiled with his eyes curved up,
The Emperor suddenly had a person in mind for this position.
“Hmm…… Why not let Chen Miao Ping fill this spot.
From his answers, he must be someone who is not afraid of standing up against authority and loves our citizens as his own sons.
The rules do state that the Flower Seeker must start in a seventh rank official position, but since the second son of the Xie family has so many achievements under his belt from his battles for this country, it is not that big of a stretch to allow this.”
For Chen Miao Ping to be promoted to such a position would be bending the rules a bit, but he could make an exception in this case.
The most important thing was that he has the backing of the Chang Guo Gong estate.
Those useless sons of powerful families would at least look upon Xie Yu Zhi, with his reputation as a living demon on earth, and not toe over the line.
The more the Emperor thought about it, the more he felt no one else was more suited for this position.
He immediately wrote down his decree and Liu Gong-gong jumped in on the bandwagon and said,
“Praise to His Majesty!”
It was a rare bright and sunny day to start off the morning, but not long after the air would be chilly.
Yesterday, the rock crystal that Chen Miao Ping had ordered Ren Dong to be sharpened and grinded by a craftsman had completed the initial stage of his design.
Because the shape was simple, it didn’t require too much effort.
On each of the two opposite sides, a tassel was latched up with a blue sewn “Fu”5 on it.
With the two tassels and the blue against the rock crystal’s translucent clarity, it was no doubt coming together as a very beautiful piece of jewellery.
Ren Dong asked curiously,
“Gu-Ye, is this to your liking?”
Chen Miao Ping was just lying in the courtyard and soaking up the sunshine.
When he heard that question, he looked more carefully at the pendant.
He gathered a handful of dirt in his palm and used the pendant to shine on it.
He found that the crystal was so clear he could see a tiny ant crawling on the dirt and nodded his head in satisfaction,
I will tell Second Master to grant you all as many rewards as you all deserve and more.”
All the maids in the courtyard had smiles bursting on their faces upon hearing him.
Ren Dong said with the intention from everyone here,
“Then these maids must thank Gu-Ye.”
Chen Miao Ping was the perfect model of one who does not care if the money he’s using is not his and one who loves to use these kinds of acts to show how generous he is.
Xie Yu Zhi had been called away by Xie Yan Ping today, and when he returned, he could only hear the courtyard full of laughter.
The moment he walked in, he could see Chen Miao Ping holding a glimmering rainbow coloured crystal in his hand.
The way he was holding it made that crystal seem as if it was something very special and rare.
“You like these kinds of things? The treasury has a whole pile of them.”
Xie Yu Zhi walked in with his hands behind his back, holding a scroll of paper.
Chen Miao Ping was not paying attention however and reached out to pull him to sit on top of his legs.
He laughed and passed the rock crystal forward,
“Does it look good? Do you like it? It’s a gift for you.”
All the maids nearby who saw this act of intimacy pretended that their senses were not working.
Xie Yu Zhi thought that this kind of pendant was too simple in its craft.
It had a weird shape and the thickness was not even.
He grabbed it closer to take a look,
“Passable, I like it.
In this age and time, giving a pendant to another person meant cementing a relationship.
Xie Yu Zhi had shattered his jade pendant for Chen Miao Ping, and the latter replaced it with another one, which was quite a fair exchange.
Chen Miao Ping was smiling but it was not quite a smile.
He shushed Xie Yu Zhi and then lowered his voice, saying right next to his ear,
“I’m going to tell you a secret.
This is not a normal pendant.
It’s a magical heavenly weapon.”
At that, Xie Yu Zhi turned his head to look at him and stared at those clear, dark, and beautiful eyes.
It seemed like his eyes were cherry blossoms blooming open, enticing and seductive.
Just like the person himself; the more you look at him, the more you feel like he was not real.
He leaned forward to press down on Chen Miao Ping’s lips.
Xie Yu Zhi said prim and properly,
“A gentleman does not believe in magic.”
Which just meant that he does not believe it.
Chen Miao Ping reached out as if to take it back,
“Return it back to me if you don’t believe in it.”
In one swift motion, Xie Yu Zhi had already tied the pendant onto his waist,
Chen Miao Ping hooked a meaningful smile on his face.
He signalled for the maids to leave and lurched forward to wrap his arms around Second Master Xie’s thin waist.
He pulled at the pendant tied by the waist and said,
“Do you want to make a bet? If I can prove that this is a weapon of magic, you will let me do to you as I wish.
If I can’t prove it, you can do with me whatever you want.”
And then promised,
“You want to do whatever, you can do whatever.
I will absolutely not take revenge.”
Xie Yu Zhi wanted to say that even though you want to hit back, you can’t win over me.
But he didn’t want to make Chen Miao Ping angry so he swallowed back those words,
“How are you going to prove it? Find an evil spirit and brandish your weapon of ‘heavenly magic’ at it?”
“I found a succubus6 right here to shine this on.”
Chen Miao Ping held Xie Yu Zhi’s hand and then shined the pendant on his knuckles.
The wrinkles on the skin could be easily seen,
“Hu hu hu, Second Master’s hand is full of scars and injuries hmm.”
A pair of hands with clear bone structure; each finger long and thin, but each held strength.
On the other side, his palm was covered in calluses and scars.
“Who is not injured if they practice martial arts?”
Xie Yu Zhi’s eyes narrowed, and he seemed to realize the specialty of the crystal pendant.
From his waist, he untied it and looked at it more closely.
He was shocked to find that no matter how small something could be, as long as he used the pendant to shine over it, it would be magnified a lot in a second.
It was very strange but quite extraordinary.
He played with it for a while before he could finally stop himself.
His dark black eyes looked back at Chen Miao Ping and pulled on his sleeve, asking,
“How did you do it?”
“Then have you lost or have you won?”
Chen Miao Ping looked at him solemnly.
Second Master Xie could put down his pride for his husband.
His dark solemn eyes on his face, that looked so delicate and gentle, had a flash of laughter fly by,
Tell me now.”
Chen Miao Ping slowly and leisurely popped open a melon seed under Xie Yu Zhi’s eyes.
He patted and dusted his hands as he said,
“The bet had no rules saying that I must tell you the secret.
So don’t put this on your mind.
Instead of dwelling on this, shouldn’t you be worried? Worried about what I am going to do with you?”
Xie Yu Zhi was really curious and his heart felt as if it was being scratched by a cat.
His body leaned on Chen Miao Ping and said,
“The value is only to magnify the item.
It can’t be considered a magical heavenly weapon.”
Chen Miao Ping cushioned his hands behind his head, looking quite like a rascal before shamelessly saying,
“Then I lost.
Do what you want.
You can do as you will with me.”
Xie Yu Zhi did want to throw him on the ground and beat him up for once.
Instead, he threw the scroll, with the Emperor’s orders, that he had been holding at Chen Miao Ping, wanting to provoke him in some way,
“The Imperial Palace sent someone today to pass this on.
His Majesty has appointed you to be the new City Warden Inspector.
You must take up the position tomorrow.”
Chen Miao Ping raised his eyebrows and sat up noisily,
“His Majesty appointed me to a ranked official position?”
Xie Yu Zhi was sitting on Chen Miao Ping’s legs and was almost thrown off.
He reached out to push him back down,
Chen Miao Ping sat back up,
Xie Yu Zhi continued to push him back down,
“It can be considered as part of the Chief Surveillance Bureau, inspecting the streets of the city every day.
In charge of managing safety and security, catching thieves and looking for criminals on the run, those kinds of things.”
Chen Miao Ping thought in his heart that the Emperor wouldn’t be that good to him, and the moment he heard Xie Yu Zhi’s explanation, that was all the proof he needed.
Indeed, there was no way such a good thing could fall onto his lap,
“Isn’t that managing the streets?”
Xie Yu Zhi knew approximately what the Emperor was thinking,
“……Most of it.
But it’s not a lot.
Everyday you just have to walk around.
The tasks are pretty simple and easy.”
Chen Miao Ping did not mind if the position was high or not.
He was only thinking, does this count as being a kept man if he accepted this?
[ Ding! ]
The system jumped out at the perfect time.
[ This position is not considered to be in the criteria.
My dear host yesterday had relied on his own skills in the literary arts to snatch the Emperor’s heart~ This position was gained from your own efforts.
Please continue to work hard to convince more people to trust in you~ The galaxy’s strongest self reliant system is here at your service nee~]
Nee your fucking head.
Chen Miao Ping flipped the appointment decree over and over again, but weirdly enough he didn’t have any negative emotions towards it.
After all it was only a job,
“Oh, then I will go tomorrow.
How much do I get every month?”
Xie Yu Zhi crossed his arms and looked at him contemplatively,
“Not a lot.
Just enough to feed your stomach.”
Who, as an official or part of a wealthy family nowadays, did not own any private businesses? Did anyone really think that with those meager wages one could buy an estate? Could buy singers and prostitutes for leisure? Could eat fish and meat for every meal?
You could starve yourself on that instead.
Chen Miao Ping did not care about that.
He was only thinking that tomorrow would be the first step towards being self reliant and self sufficient.
And then not long after that this dumb system should release him from his contract and leave him be.
Then there would not be a greater thing in this world.
He started getting a little excited and asked Xie Yu Zhi animatedly,
“The entire city would be under my control.
Even the brothels would be mine to manage?”
He had almost forgotten about that.
He reached out to pull Chen Miao Ping up from the chair.
Staring dangerously at him, with an emotionless face, he asked,
“What? You want to go browse around?”
“Browsing’s not a crime,”
Chen Miao Ping laughed a little pervertedly and reached out to pinch his cheeks,
“If you wanted to go, you should let me know.
Tomorrow we can go together.
Since I have been born until now, I haven’t even been there once.”
A deep meaningful smile slowly spread on Xie Yu Zhi’s face.
His eyebrows flew up and his eyes took on a devilish look, when normally, even if you look closely, you wouldn’t be able to see how it could be so.
His long thin fingers clenched at Chen Miao Ping’s lower chin and he said,
“There are a lot of places you haven’t been to yet.
Do you want to take a trip to hell?”
Chen Miao Ping blinked and smiled, a seductive look popping up between his eyes.
“I will go there one day or later, but not right now.”
Xie Yu Zhi narrowed his eyes and said,
“Lust will be your downfall.7 If you dare go into a brothel, do you believe that I will send you to hell by tomorrow?”
Seeing that the other was really mad, Chen Miao Ping reached out to hold Xie Yu Zhi in his embrace.
He hooked his chin up and continued to say sweet words that may or may not be fake,
“Second Master should not be worried that I will play with commoner girls.
I have sworn to the heavens before, that my heart will never change for a second…..”
Xie Yu Zhi unexpectedly shook his head,
“I’m only worried about you.”
This small, tiny, weak body of Chen Miao Ping.
With this kind of posture, if he enters a brothel, it would be hard to say who’s going to be the one doing who.
Click here to bypass all the footnotes!
*1 Hossu: A short staff of wood or bamboo with bundled hair (of a cow, horse, or yak) or hemp as seen below
*2 Primus: The title of the first ranked examinee
*3 Elder Princess Chang Ning: Chang Ning is a title and not her actual name.
It means bright and clear, to live a long life (which usually for the imperial family, they are rarely referenced by their actual names – too “high”/special to be called by just anyone, hence why you see some novels that have the emperor/the princes telling their wives/husbands to call their name rather their title is a very sacred/shocking thing).
*4 Zhen Bei Hou: his title, “Zhen Bei” means the defender of the north and “hou” can be considered as Marquis
*5 Fu: As in the character 福, to have blessings for fortune, luck, etc.
*6 succubus: This has been westernized, but the real term is a mythological creature category that encompasses monsters, demons, to seductive creatures or like a creature that could turn into a human.
Here Chen Miao Ping is specifically implying a creature that seduces men to eat their hearts/body
*7 Lust will be your downfall: the idiom is actually much more meaningful, using the character of “color/lust” itself to describe this.
If taken literally, there is a knife on top of the character lust that plays on how the character 色 is written, which taken by itself means color or lust/pervertedness, and that knife can “drop” over your head at any time because of your lust/inability to hold it in.
It can also mean lust can lower your walls/awareness, sensitivity to danger, making it really easy to be harmed/hurt.
It supposedly comes from stories where men get their due justice when they kept females in captivity for their pleasure.
But there’s also the second phrase to the idiom that states that men fall too easily under a woman’s control.
Either way, these phrases are mostly considered as adage/passed around in commoners.
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