They scolded energetically. The civilian court officials were originally good with words, so they continued to scold Tantai Jin in new and original ways.
Tantai Jin, who was on the throne, was listening attentively.
He didn’t dissuade the civilian court officials, nor did he order for them to be killed. They saw the situation and suddenly felt more confident. Tantai Jin still hadn’t ascended to the throne and he wasn’t universally acknowledged, so he was only a rebellious traitor1乱臣贼子 (luànchén-zéizǐ) – rebels and traitors (idiom); rebellious subjects and undutiful sons/disloyal followers. Those who wanted to be the emperor all wanted reputation, so Tantai Jin surely wouldn’t dare to do anything to them, the old ministers.
Being a hostage since the age of six, and now united with other tribes and demonic creatures, Tantai Jin was totally unworthy of being the emperor of the Zhou Kingdom!
This was the situation that Yang Ji saw when he came in.
Tantai Jin was sitting on the throne while the group of officials were still angrily cursing him and they had already reached the sentence, “May you die childless2断子绝孙 (duànzǐ-juésūn) – may you die sonless (or without sons); may you be the last of your line/to die without progeny/may you be the last of your family line and violently3不得好死 (bude (or bùde) hǎosǐ) – must/may not die a natural death.” It was so noisy that if one didn’t know that this was the Mohe City Lord’s residence, they would have thought it was some kind of vegetable market. Yang Ji glanced at Tantai Jin and his moustache twitched in fear.
He softly asked Gan Baiyu beside him, “What happened? Does this bunch of old men not want to live anymore? And His Highness isn’t angry?”
In the current situation where two countries were at war, they couldn’t really kill all the civil and military officials, but since they scolded Tantai Jin like this, His Highness surely wouldn’t let them go.
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Qyd Jykuw oyp vbl zlyela sq vbl Zkuwl Makcl’p Lktbv Fbyeso Qwyaep yde dso bl oyp vaydpqlaale swv kdvs vbl srld. Tl obkprlale, “Tkp Tktbdlpp byp clld zkpvldkdt vs vblx pnszekdt qsa vos bswap yzalyeu.”
Zl Ubwqldt, obs oyp pvydekdt cu vbl pkel, oyp iwklvzu zssjkdt yv vbl taswde.
Gqvla pnszekdt qsa ydsvbla vld xkdwvlp, psxlsdl ayd swv sq osaep yde vbl hsknlp kd vbl byzz tayewyzzu ekle esod.&dcpr;
Gv zypv, Mydvyk Kkd xshle.
Tl uyodle yde ypjle vbl xkdkpvlap, “Gal usw esdl pnszekdt?”
Tkp hsknl oyp nyzx, ds bktbla vbyd ydu sq vbl aktbvlswp rlsrzl clzso, yde vbl xkdkpvlap clnyxl lhld xsal ldlatlvkn, “Ohld kq ol ekl blal vseyu, ol okzz dsv zlv usw, vbkp est vbklq, clnsxl vbl dlo lxrlasa.”
Gdsvbla nswaytlswp xkdkpvla lnbsle, “Zlp, usw est vbklq, jkzz xl kq usw oydv. R, Qwyd xsw4某 (xǒw) – nlavykd/psxl/kdelqkdkvl rasdswd qsa xl/R; Rd szela eyup, rlsrzl zkjl vs prlyj osaep okvb bkeeld xlydkdtp yde vblal yal xydu svbla rasdswdp pkxkzya vs ‘xsw’ qsa ekqqlaldv wplp yde rlsrzl okvb ekqqlaldv pvyvwp sa aydj (lt: gbld (朕) qsa lxrlasa obld bl’p alqlaakdt vs bkxplzq, psxl lxrlasap/nasod rakdnlp wpl tw (孤) vs alqla vs bkxplzq)., okzz dlhla plahl usw.”
Ebs oswze byhl jdsod vbyv yqvla blyakdt vblpl osaep, bl ralpple ytykdpv bkp qsalblye yde pvyavle vs zywtb ellrzu.
“Do you think I called you here to demand your surrender?”
Is it not so?
Tantai Jin clapped his hands, “Bring it up.”
The attendants brought in a wooden barrel, and everyone helplessly looked at each other, not understanding what Tantai Jin meant by this.
“A dog thief like me doesn’t like to kill,” Tantai Jin said. “You all must be hungry after scolding for so long. Seeing that you are so loyal to the late emperor, I’m really touched, so I’ll offer my help and return the remains of the late emperor to your care.”
Yang Ji had an ominous premonition. He looked at Gan Baiyu, and Gan Baiyu seemed to realise something and lowered his head, not saying anything.
The attendants took out small bowls and successively scooped out portions of meat soup.
Tantai Jin lightly laughed and said, “Help this ‘rebellious traitor’ to entertain the ministers.”
When the attendants pinched the ministers’ chins and wanted to feed them the meat soup, someone looked at the meat inside the bowl and finally reacted, shouting in panic, “This is the flesh of the late emperor!”
Tantai Jin actually cooked Tantai Minglang and let the officials share the food.
Everyone’s expression greatly changed and they desperately struggled. However, how could a bunch of scholars beat the Yiyue assassins? Soon, a succession of retching sounds was heard in the hall.
Tantai Jin curiously asked, “A person you so supported is now inside of you, and you can be forever loyal to him, so why is no one happy?”
Hearing his gentle voice, Yang Ji almost had goosebumps.
Tantai Jin seriously thought for a while then suddenly said, “Ah, well, since everyone isn’t happy, I assume you haven’t had enough yet. Add another bowl of meat soup for the lords who are unhappy.”
As soon as these words were said, no one in the hall dared to speak.
Finally, someone with a frightened expression forced out a smile, “Happy. This old minister is happy. Your High……no, thank you for Your Majesty’s kindness.”
He rolled and crawled, then revealed a stiff smile, “With Your Majesty guarding our Great Zhou, our kingdom will surely leave a mark for generations to come5流芳百世 (liúfāngbǎishì) – (of one’s name, reputation etc) to be immortalized (idiom); earn a good name forever and be eternally prosperous.”
Tantai Jin laughed heartily.
With someone taking the lead, the other officials, who were deathly pale6面如土色 (miànrútǔsè) – ashen-faced (idiom); look ashen, started to laugh one after another.
For a moment, the emperor laughed, and so did the ministers.
Previously, Lord Guan, who scolded Tantai Jin the most, couldn’t accept the fact that he had eaten the late emperor’s flesh, so he stood up and slammed into a pillar.
Tantai Jin watched with great interest as he waited for Lord Guan to break his head open7头破血流 (tóupò-xuèliú) – (lit.) head broken and blood flowing; (fig.) badly bruised; be badly battered/be beaten and collapse.
Tantai Jin retracted his smile and his gaze turned gloomy.
This time, no one dared to scold him and they all kneeled in fear. Tantai Jin looked at Lord Guan for a long time, then finally softly said, “Give his body back to his family.”
Everyone’s face paled. Everybody knew what he meant, and this wasn’t kindness. With Lord Guan dead, his family would also suffer.
The backs of a few courageous officials were suddenly hunched.
Even killing them would be better than the current situation. Their reputation had long been tarnished ever since they ate the late emperor’s flesh. Whether they were willing or not, today, once they left the main hall, they would be jackals of the same lair8一丘之貉 (yīqiūzhīhé) – (fig.) They are all just as bad as each other. with Tantai Jin.
No one resisted anymore and they crawled out one after another.
After the surrendered ministers were dragged out, Yang Ji’s legs almost went weak when facing Tantai Jin. It was stupid of him to think that he could escape unscathed. Now it seemed that since following Tantai Jin, even if he rotted into a puddle of putrid maggot-infested flesh, he wouldn’t dare to harbour a single hint of betrayal.
He stammered and reported, “I’ve made the calculations. M-Mohe’s army provisions are still enough for food to consume the army, no no, enough for the army to consume for three months……the demonic creatures…..demonic creatures that Tantai Minglang left behind……”
Tantai Jin glanced at him. Yang Ji’s legs went weak and he almost knelt down, but Gan Baiyu supported him expressionlessly.
Tantai Jin tilted his head and asked, “Are you afraid of me?”
“This little one doesn’t dare to, this little one doesn’t dare to,” Yang Ji replied.
Tantai Jin revealed a shy smile, “Don’t be afraid, Mister Yang Ji. What they ate wasn’t Tantai Minglang’s flesh but spoiled pork.”
“Pork?” Yang Ji subconsciously looked at Gan Baiyu and Ye Chufeng.
Ye Chufeng didn’t have much reaction while Gan Baiyu nodded imperceptibly. Yang Ji sighed in relief and the overwhelming9翻江倒海 (fānjiāng-dǎohǎi) – (lit.) overturning seas and rivers (idiom); (fig.) overwhelming/earth-shattering/in a spectacular mess feeling in his gut finally faded a little.
Tantai Jin softly10轻声细语 (qīngshēngxìyǔ) – to whisper (idiom); speak softly said, “Look, I won without bloodshed11兵不血刃 (bīngbùxuèrèn) – (lit.) no blood on the men’s swords (idiom); (fig.) an effortless victory/win victory without shedding a drop of blood or firing a single shot and without having to kill everyone. In this lifetime, they won’t be able to turn12倒戈 (dǎo//gē) – change sides in a war/turn one’s coat/transfer one’s allegiance against me in the name of Tantai Minglang.”
Yang Ji thought it over and it was actually true!
Even though it was just pork, that fact still couldn’t erase even a little bit of the fear that Yang Ji had for Tantai Jin. He managed to calm down his emotions with great difficulty and smoothly reported the situation at the army base.
Tantai Jin nonchalantly listened while he looked down at his white jade-like fingers.
What Jing Lan An said was right, even if I didn’t think so in my heart, I’ve got to pretend to be like everyone else, he thought to himself.
Little by little, he tried to figure out and learn the mannerisms of others. At least on the surface, he was learning well.
Edited by: Gaze