Story One | Emperor Shaan
YM - Yue Mian
YS - Yu Sheng
PBA - Prince Baek Ah
There are also places where I don’t mention who is speaking but the conversation is mainly between Yue Mian and Yu Sheng
Within the next week the ministers who signed the blood treaty were a mess, those who collected artwork, came home to nothing.
Those who collected jewellery to woo maidens, their old dried up wives to make them forget about them being unloyal, had all their chests stollen while others came to an empty storage room.
Those who collected the finest and expensive silk mourned at their loss but the ones who suffered most were the ministers and officials that stored up relief crops, crates of silver and gold and medicinal supplies; not only were they stolen from, they were blatantly robbed, all their confidential papers were stolen that had their private estates and slavery documents.
Gathered at the Left Prime Minister Lee Jeong Meul’s estate. Voicing their complaints causing the left prime minister great discomfort.
“Silence!!” yelled the left prime minister. Not even a single whisper was heard after the LPM spoke. Rubbing his aching head, he shooed away his manservant at his side
“We all have gotten our property stolen from us by who, I don’t know why and for what reason, I cannot fathom. Why? Unless it’s someone who we have invited to join us or someone who we refused, any ideas...anyone?”
He looked around the courtyard but everyone was looking elsewhere avoiding his gaze. “It seems that none of you knows who the assailant is. I will assume that the perpetrator has no relation to any of you and it does not seem as if they are related to the imperial family but we can never be too certain.”
The officials and ministers began whispering amongst one another as they thought of possible suspects. A few minutes passed but still, no one could think of any suspects.
“A committee will be established in my name after I consult his majesty the emperor to investigate the disappearance of our property. Although his Majesty has his suspicions of my loyalty to him, he cannot refuse this request. If he does he will suffer in the end,” he added while rubbing away the grin that has yet to form.
“Yu Sheng, how is the relationship between Prince Baek Ah and his parents?” Yue Mian suddenly asked while chewing on a chestnut rice cake and sipping on tea.
The two of them were sitting in a restaurant on the second floor, dressed in commoners clothing near the LPM’s estate in the capital city.
Lazily staring at Yue Mian he tapped his finger on the teacup before him. Thinking for a moment he answered, “Well, the relationship between PBA and his mother the third noble wife is okay I guess… well to put it in simpler terms it’s strained.”
“How so?” she asked while tying her hair back.
“Baek Ah is one out of two. When she gave birth to her two sons, Hoon Woo and Baek Ah she had complications. Baek Ah came after his brother but with almost a full day - practically killing her. He never received the same amount of attention from the servants, his parents nor siblings.”
“Why is that?”
“Most probably because his growth is slow but I think its because there are too many with ambition and forcefully draw attention to themselves whereas Baek Ah is a loner and quiet.”
“Quiet? But he looked and seemed as though he was about to skin me alive if his suspicions about you cheating were correct!”
“He has always been like that, overprotective of whats his…”
“Ho ho,” she laughed amusedly, “So you are his?”
“I’d like to think that.” Yue Mian’s mouth twitched seeing his seriousness, “It’s no fun teasing you when you are so serious.”
“Then you shouldn’t tease me.”
The restaurant attendant came over, “Have the esteemed guests decided on what you’d like to eat?”
Yue Mian looked up at the attendant, “Can you bring us two bowls of noodles with a herbal broth and some of your tofu skins also I’d like some lime juice to go with it… oh, and can you bring my companion a jug of your in house rice wine please.”
“Yes,” she bowed and walked off.
“I don’t like rice wine.”
“I don’t care.”
“We are on duty.”
“No~ you are on duty.”
(Sigh) he continued, “Baek Ah could be said to be a late bloomer. He attended his classes and lessons like the others but again wasn’t paid any attention. Then came the proposal of his marriage which he flat out refused. The emperor was furious and demanded a reason from him but he still kept his lips shut then after being cross-questioned by the crown prince, his mother and twin brother, he went to see his father late one night and told him that he is interested in men and not women.”
“So he confessed to being a cut-sleeve.”
The cup at Yu Sheng’s lips paused, looking at Yue Mian for a split second, “mm,” he hummed.
Yue Mian, “How did his majesty take this news?”
“He confined Baek Ah and placed him under house arrest. No one knew why Baek Ah was locked up in the palace and they still don’t know.
“It was late at night with only the emperor and Baek Ah in the emperor’s chambers. No one, not even the servants saw him go into the emperor’s chambers.”
Yue Mian, “And you know this?”
“There are no secrets between the two of us.”
Yue Mian, “Interesting…”, “Then what happened?”
“The emperor called him to his palace and confined him in there. Again it was just the two of them. Baek Ah said that his fathers started panicking mostly because a cut-sleeve prince will bring about shame and mockery to the family name.
The emperor sent him away and had him locked up in the house you found us in. When the emperor paid him visits he would beat him up trying to get him to like women saying that this was a sickness that can be cured if he sleeps with a man, now he was forced to do it in front of his father but couldn’t stand up…”
Yue Mian, “Couldn’t stand up… you don’t mean that he was impotent?”
“Mn, normally you would become erect but because his father was there nothing happened. The emperor beat him up again and choked him trying to kill him says Baek Ah but what I think is that the impulses and hatred came out leading the emperor to mistreat his son like that.”
Yue Mian, “Why would you come up with an excuse for your father-in-law when you know he is in the wrong?”
“It’s not an excuse, its an evaluation.”
“What else happened,” she asked him to continue after the attendant left.
“Baek Ah negotiated his life.”
“He thought that the emperor was going to kill him and right there and then he asked to trade his life for information that would keep their family the rulers of the Niad Empire.”
Yue Mian’s chopsticks paused, placing them down into her bowl she looked at Yue Sheng with a questioning gaze, “You don’t mean to say…”
“Yes, he gave up the information about the left prime minister and his schemes. Later on, the emperor found out that although Baek Ah was quiet and to himself, he knew things that no one knew, he even knew about the affair the empress was having with one of the soldiers that were castrated and exiled for an unknown reason.”
“So after Bake Ah told the emperor, the emperor castrated the poor man?”
“I would have killed him and the empress.”
“The Empress is slowly suffering in the shadows.”
“The emperor is forcing her to take a tonic for her non-existing illness.”
“Ah, so he is killing her.”
“Why?”“Baek Ah told him it was better this way to avoid suspicion.”
“Yu Sheng, your wife is dangerous.”
A mouthful of medicinal broth sprouted out of his mouth, “We aren’t married and how can a man be a wife?”