TOTLS Chapter 79: Arc 5.9

Arc 5: Harem Competing Strategies Chapter 9

The weather is getting hotter. Tao Yuan no longer sleeps in the main palace at night. Instead, he sleeps in a cooler courtyard in the side palace. He also puts ice in the room to make it less hot, allowing him to have a comfortable sleep at night.

During this period, Tao Yuan has been particularly busy, working on something that he wants to finish quickly, which has made him especially tired.

One night, when Tao Yuan was dozing off, he felt someone lying down beside him. He turned over and nestled into their embrace, saying, “Your Majesty… I forgot, I need to tell you…”

“Forget what?” Xiao Junye looked down at Tao Yuan’s rosy cheeks while he slept, feeling a strong sense of adoration and fondness.

“Something important, I forgot… I need to tell you…” Tao Yuan was extremely tired and wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t forget that there was something he needed to tell Xiao Junye.

“What important thing do you need to tell me?” Xiao Junye asked again.

“Something good, Your Majesty… something that will make you happy. But I can’t remember… I just want to sleep.” Tao Yuan struggled between staying awake and succumbing to sleep.

“Then sleep. When you wake up and remember, you can tell me.” Xiao Junye gently patted his back and said.

“Okay…” Tao Yuan listened to his words and almost immediately fell into a deep sleep. Before completely drifting off, he vaguely thought that when he woke up, he must find an opportunity to tell Xiao Junye. He knew that Xiao Junye would be pleasantly surprised and happy.

The next day, the Emperor had already gone to court when Tao Yuan woke up. The concubines from the harem came to greet him, and then he accompanied them to pay respects to the Empress Dowager.

After returning to Fenghua Palace from the Empress Dowager, Tao Yuan remembered that he had forgotten to tell Xiao Junye the important matter from last night. He realized that he couldn’t delay any longer because in a few months, they would be heading to Luojiang. There were many things to be done in advance before their departure, so things would only get busier. If Tao Yuan didn’t tell Xiao Junye about the matter quickly, they wouldn’t have enough time to prepare.

Tao Yuan went to the study room to find Xiao Junye and told him that he had something very important to discuss and asked him to find a secluded and spacious place.

Xiao Junye, as the Emperor, naturally had his own personal guards who were loyal soldiers dedicated to him. Currently, their numbers were being expanded and increased.

Upon reaching the place where the soldiers usually trained, Tao Yuan pointed to a distant target 1 and said, “Your Majesty, can you hit that archery target far away?”

Xiao Junye glanced at the distant target and replied, “That far? I’m afraid no one can hit it.”

“I can hit it. Do you believe me, Your Majesty?” Tao Yuan looked at him and said.

“Oh?” Xiao Junye looked at him with a skeptical gaze. Although he knew that Tao Yuan came from a military family and archery skills weren’t uncommon for him, shooting such a far archery target was still unlikely, even with a fully drawn bow.

The soldiers brought over a few boxes, and Tao Yuan walked over, opened one of the boxes, and took out something that resembled a wooden box, then returned to Xiao Junye’s side.

Xiao Junye looked at the wooden box in Tao Yuan’s hand and asked, “What is this?”

“This is a bow 2. I’m going to use this to hit the target far away,” Tao Yuan said.

“This is a bow?” Xiao Junye couldn’t see anything special about the wooden box. Bows or long bows doesn’t look like this at all, and it can only shoot relatively small arrows. Sometimes, it can’t even shoot as far as those strong soldiers.

Tao Yuan took the ten arrows handed to him by the attendant and inserted them into the rows of five holes in front of the wooden box. After aligning them with the distant target, Tao Yuan pulled back on the handle beneath the box and forcefully pulled it down, shooting an arrow.

Emperor Xiao Junye had excellent vision, and he initially thought the arrow would drop midway. However, he was shocked to see that the arrow had actually hit the target.

A soldier who had been hiding nearby immediately came forward, carrying the target and running toward them.

Once the soldier approached, he placed the target on the ground, and Xiao Junye clearly saw that the arrow had struck the bullseye. With a sense of astonishment, Xiao Junye approached to remove the arrow but found it difficult to pull out because it had pierced through the target.

“Do you want to try, Your Majesty?” Tao Yuan asked.

“Sure.” Xiao Junye immediately took the wooden box from Tao Yuan’s hands, wanting to personally test whether this so-called “bow” truly possessed such great power.

Aiming at the distant target, Xiao Junye mimicked Tao Yuan’s previous actions, pulling back on the handle beneath the wooden box and forcefully releasing it. The second arrow shot out. Although he hadn’t mastered the technique yet, Xiao Junye missed the target, but the arrow flew farther than the target. Xiao Junye distinctly felt a strong force from the wooden box, almost causing him to lose his grip.

Xiao Junye tried again, this time firmly holding onto the wooden box. Although he still didn’t hit the target, the arrow flew even farther.

“Your Majesty,” Tao Yuan spoke to him, “this is not something that can be mastered in just one or two attempts. It requires practice to master the technique. With Your Majesty’s abilities, I believe it will take no more than two or three days to grasp it.”

Tao Yuan once again took the “bow” and filled it with arrows. He pulled back on the handle with force, and all ten arrows shot out simultaneously.

Tao Yuan looked at Xiao Junye and said, “With this ‘bow,’ it is possible to shoot ten arrows at once. When soldiers take turns shooting arrows, one soldier’s shot is equivalent to the shots of ten soldiers. If they are close enough, these arrows can even penetrate shields.”

“What is inside this wooden box? Why does it have such great power?” Xiao Junye curiously asked.

“After we return, I will explain it to Your Majesty in detail. But now, I have other things to show you,” Tao Yuan replied, turning around and instructing the soldiers to open another box and assemble its contents.

Xiao Junye looked at what the soldiers were assembling and said, “These are… catapults?”

“These are not ordinary catapults,” Tao Yuan said.

Xiao Junye noticed that they did indeed look different from typical catapults, but he couldn’t figure out what made them extraordinary.

Tao Yuan commanded the soldiers to place stones on the catapults and then instructed two soldiers to pull the wooden lever together. The stone was launched into the air. Xiao Junye looked up at the height and distance the stone reached and felt astonished once again.

Although Xiao Junye was amazed that the catapult could launch stones so far and high, surpassing the height of the city walls, he thought the stones were still somewhat small.

Xiao Junye asked Tao Yuan, “Can this catapult launch larger stones?”

“There’s no need to launch larger stones. Even if we could, it wouldn’t kill many people,” Tao Yuan replied. “This catapult is not meant for launching stones. I just wanted Your Majesty to see its height and distance capabilities.”

“Not for launching stones?” Xiao Junye asked in confusion. “Then what is it used for?”

“You will see, Your Majesty,” Tao Yuan said.

Following Tao Yuan’s instructions, the soldiers placed a wine barrel on the catapult, and another soldier ignited the fuel inside the barrel with a torch. Then, two other soldiers pulled the wooden lever with force, launching the wine barrel.

Xiao Junye was still puzzled when he heard a loud bang, and a large cloud of dust rose in the distance.

“What, what is that?” Xiao Junye was astonished.

“That’s the explosives,” Tao Yuan said. “It can be used during a siege or when facing a large number of enemy soldiers. Would Your Majesty like to see the power of ten catapults launching simultaneously? Even I haven’t witnessed it yet.”

Xiao Junye was stunned for a moment and then instinctively nodded. He was indeed curious to witness it.

“Unfortunately, I only managed to prepare these. If Your Majesty wants to see the full power of ten catapults launching ‘explosives,’ we would need to construct more catapults,” Tao Yuan said. “Your Majesty, let’s discuss it further when we return.”

After returning to Fenghua Palace, Xiao Junye couldn’t wait to ask, “Where did you get those things from?”

Tao Yuan replied, “I figured them out myself. It took me many years, and I finally completed them. I will give the blueprints to Your Majesty, and you can find trustworthy people to produce more.”

“Why didn’t you give these things to your father?” Xiao Junye suppressed his excitement and asked.

“In matters of the family, one follows the father’s lead, but in matters of marriage, one follows the husband’s lead. If I hadn’t married Your Majesty, I would have naturally given these things to my father and let him pass them to you. But now I am Your Majesty’s person, so it is only right to hand them directly to you,” Tao Yuan explained. “Your Majesty can assign reliable people to produce as many as needed. However, creating these items requires time and effort. To produce them in large quantities, you will need many trustworthy craftsmen.”

After a moment of contemplation, Xiao Junye said earnestly, “These are indeed crucial items, and they must be made by reliable individuals. But if we want to produce more…”

“You can assign different people to work on different parts,” Tao Yuan suggested. “Whether it’s the catapults, the wooden bow box, or the explosives, they consist of many components. Let different people be responsible for different parts, and then have the most reliable person assemble them.”

Xiao Junye immediately nodded and said, “That’s a good idea.”

“When preparing the explosives, extra caution is necessary. And when storing them, we must be even more careful. If they need to be transported to the border, they can be shipped separately and mixed together upon arrival.”

Xiao Junye nodded earnestly, realizing that with these items, many of his concerns could be reduced, and he would be able to arrange his plans more quickly.

Xiao Junye tightly embraced Tao Yuan and said, “Axixi, thanks to you, you are truly my lucky star.”

In truth, Tao Yuan believed that Xiao Junye was a remarkable emperor. After ascending to the throne, he could have immediately ordered the return of the former owner’s father and reclaimed at least half of the military power. With this support, he could have swiftly eradicated the influence of Yu Wang.

However, if he had done so, it would have been the border people who suffered. Several cities would have been seized, and in a situation where he didn’t know how long he would live, Xiao Junye chose to endure and engage in a gradual secret battle against Yu Wang and his forces. He truly deserved to be called a good emperor who served the country and the people.

That’s why Tao Yuan decided to lend a hand and help him swiftly resolve the border affairs. This way, Xiao Junye would be able to reclaim his military power without any worries or hindrances.

Three months later, there was continuous rain for nearly a month, and finally, it stopped.

Tao Yuan was in the Fenghua Palace, watching the palace maids packing their belongings and considering what else needed to be brought along.

During this time of the year, the grand tide of the Luojiang 3 would occur, attracting many people to come and witness it. The emperor, accompanied by his concubines and ministers, would go to pay respects to the River Dragon King and enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the rising tide.

Due to the distance between the Luojiang and the imperial city, it would take two days and one night to travel by carriage, and they would stay there for over ten days. Therefore, Tao Yuan instructed the palace maids to bring everything that needed to be taken.

Not every concubine from the imperial harem could go on this trip. Only those chosen by Emperor Xiao Junye were allowed to accompany him, while the others would stay in the palace to accompany the empress dowager. Since the empress dowager disliked traveling by carriage, she decided to remain in the palace. As a result, the number of concubines accompanying Xiao Junye on this trip was not large.

The next morning, as they were preparing to depart, the concubines were already waiting by the carriages. When they saw Tao Yuan approaching, they immediately greeted him and bowed.

After Ye Rong finished paying his respects to Tao Yuan, she said, “Please, Jun Hou, get on the carriage.”

Tao Yuan nodded and was about to board the carriage when Xu Gonggong, who was by the emperor’s side, hurried over.

“Jun Hou, His Majesty requests that you ride with him.”

Tao Yuan glanced at the spacious carriage behind Ye Rong and said, “If Ye Guijun is worried about feeling bored alone, you can find someone to accompany you in that carriage.”

“Yes.” Ye Rong bowed and replied.

The other concubines watched the figure of Tao Yuan with extreme envy. They had initially believed that with Ye Rong’s stunning beauty, she would definitely receive favor. Although the Empress was also beautiful, his unpleasant personality made it difficult for his to gain the Emperor’s love.

However, it was now apparent that compared to the imperial noble concubine Ye, the Emperor clearly favored the Empress more. The Emperor rarely visited the imperial harem, with his most frequent visits being to the Fenghua Palace, followed by the Mingcui Palace. The other concubines were completely overlooked. This made them extremely anxious. If they didn’t seize the Emperor’s favor now, it would be even harder when new consorts entered the palace in the future.

Ye Rong watched as Tao Yuan boarded the Emperor’s carriage and gave him a fierce glare before turning to walk towards his own carriage. After everyone had boarded their respective carriages, they prepared to depart.

Alone in the spacious carriage, Ye Rong closed his eyes and began to contemplate. She didn’t understand why, no matter how she seduced the Emperor, his attitude towards his was always indifferent. He even felt that if it weren’t for the need for the Ye family, the Emperor wouldn’t pay any attention to him at all.

This shouldn’t be the case. He was the protagonist with a protagonist’s halo. How could he possibly be inferior to a cannon fodder character? He had to find a way to win the Emperor’s heart. This trip to observe the tide was also a crucial setting in the game. He had to seize this opportunity.

In Xiao Junye’s carriage, Tao Yuan had already been pressed beneath him, and their passionate kisses and caresses had already caused his shirt to be unbuttoned. The once snowy-white skin had turned rosy under his kisses and touch.

Xiao Junye had been drinking water with Tao Yuan’s blood for four or five months now, and his health had noticeably improved. Previously, he would experience multiple headaches in a day, but now it was only a slight headache every few days. Although he no longer relied on Tao Yuan’s scent, Xiao Junye still enjoyed the sweet fragrance on his skin. Just a whiff of it made his body feel comfortable, and his heart felt at ease. All the restlessness and frustration in his mind dissipated instantly.

Tao Yuan held Xiao Junye’s hand when he began to remove his pants and said breathlessly, “Your Majesty, we are in the carriage. People outside might hear.”

“As long as you stay quiet, they won’t hear anything,” Xiao Junye reassured him while removing his pants. “I’ll be gentle and slow. Be good.”

Tao Yuan’s whole body had already weakened from the kisses, leaving him with no strength to struggle or resist. He could only allow Xiao Junye to part his legs.

Tao Yuan leaned against Xiao Junye’s chest, his face flushed and his expression blurred. He was breathing heavily, trying hard to calm his breath. His heart was beating rapidly.

Xiao Junye looked at his face and couldn’t help but kiss him passionately. He truly loved him in this state and felt that although he was always attractive, there was a different charm to him now.

Tao Yuan thought to himself about this liar. He had promised to be gentle and slow, but due to the constant rocking of the carriage, Xiao Junye was using more force than usual. His heart was about to jump out, but he couldn’t scream out loud. The little sound he made was definitely heard by the people outside.

Tao Yuan also wanted to conceive Xiao Junye’s child as soon as possible. He absolutely couldn’t let Ye Rong or Yu Wang’s child take the position of their child, even for a day. He didn’t know when Ye Rong would conceive a child, but regardless of when it happened, Xiao Junye would have to wait until he regained control before he could take action. If he gave birth to the child before that, the child would only have the status of a second-born, not the firstborn.

Xiao Junye kissed his lips and then kissed his cheek. He knew that he had developed real feelings for him, which is why he wanted to kiss and hold him every day. However, he couldn’t show his favoritism towards Tao Yuan before. He had to treat him and Ye Rong equally, or at least make it appear that way to the Ye family and other ministers.

But once he knew he could detoxify and obtained the things Tao Yuan gave him, he no longer had any fear in his heart. Now he was following the plan and accelerating the process of regaining power.

Whether it was in the palace or among the officials of the court, there were many people loyal to the Queen Mother and the Yu Wang, including his extremely biased father. These people would all be replaced, but for the important positions, suitable and loyal candidates had to be carefully selected.

Xiao Junye held Tao Yuan and placed his hand on his lower abdomen, saying, “A Xi, give me a son.”

“Hmm, okay.” Tao Yuan closed his eyes and leaned against Xiao Junye’s chest, softly responding.

“After our child is born, I will protect him and personally guide him. I will be both a strict father and a loving father, ensuring that his life is not lacking in fatherly guidance and care.”

Tao Yuan knew that because of the late emperor’s favoritism towards the Yu Wang, he had never received fatherly love or guidance. So he looked forward to the arrival of their first child, hoping to make up for his own regrets through their child.

“Our child will definitely look like Your Majesty. You will be a great father, and he will grow up under your guidance, becoming as wise and courageous as you.” Tao Yuan also placed his hand on his belly, thinking in his heart, hoping that the seeds planted by Xiao Junye in his body would sprout quickly and grow up fast.

The two of them lay in the carriage, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first child. They didn’t seem like an emperor and empress, but rather an ordinary couple yearning to have their own child.

When Xiao Junye was with Tao Yuan, he occasionally forgot about his identity as the emperor and felt relaxed and at ease.

They set off early in the morning, rested on the road overnight, and continued their journey before dawn. On the second day in the afternoon, they arrived at the imperial villa in Luojiang.

The imperial villa in Luojiang City was much cooler than the imperial city, especially in the evening when the cool breeze made it very comfortable.

Since they couldn’t rest well in the carriage, as soon as Tao Yuan arrived at his own courtyard, he immediately bathed, changed clothes, and got into bed, snuggling under the blanket for a good sleep.

Early the next morning, Xiao Junye took them to the Dragon King Temple on the mountain to pay homage to the Dragon King. Then they waited in the Guanchao Pavilion 4 in the temple to observe the rising tide.

The Guanchao Pavilion was very spacious, facing the Luojiang without any walls, only railings, providing a panoramic view of the entire river.

Xiao Junye sat in the largest room with his ministers, sitting at the top, facing the river. The ministers sat in rows on both sides, slightly turning their heads to see the river.

Tao Yuan sat in the slightly smaller room next door with the concubines and noble ladies.

Although the tide hadn’t risen yet, just looking at the wide river already gave people a sense of open-mindedness and visual enjoyment.

Xiao Junye set down his teacup and said, “During last month’s palace examination, the articles of the top scholar and top military examinee were equally outstanding. Why not take this opportunity to have them each write a poem on the theme of tide-viewing? Let the ministers decide whose poem is better.”

Ke Mingji and Zhao Xiu stood up and saluted, saying, “We obey the decree.”

“Bring them writing materials,” Xiao Junye instructed, then continued, “The poem that is selected as the better one this time will be engraved on the Zhenjiang Stone by the riverside. Let this poem be passed down. Whether you win or not, you must write a poem worthy of being engraved on the Zhenjiang Stone. Otherwise, you will become a laughingstock and be ridiculed by future generations.”

“We will definitely live up to Your Majesty’s expectations.” The two of them answered in unison.

These two top scholars, one was the son of the Minister of Revenue, and the other was the son of the Marquis of Yongning. Both were talented in both literature and martial arts. It was impossible to determine who was superior in either field, so Xiao Junye simply declared them both as top scholars and top military examinees.

Both of them, whether it was their family background or their personal abilities, had caught the attention of Yu Wnag. He was trying to win their support. But for now, they were loyal to the emperor.

These two individuals were also targets of Ye Rong’s strategy. Before entering the palace, Ye Rong had already improved their impression of him. They couldn’t exactly say they liked Ye Rong, but they had a favorable impression of him because of his literary talent. After he entered the palace, they were disappointed for a period of time.

What we know from this chapter is that XJY has a kink as far as I could tell. TY and his hope for the ‘seeds to germinate/ grow quickly’ O.o And YRs head must be full of water -.-
Edit: Hear me out QAQ. I really thought this was already scheduled for today TT TT TT I’ve been clowning myself for the second time now QAQ TT

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If there are any mistakes/error, feel free to comment it down below.

  1. this target pertains to archery target[]
  2. 这是□□. Raws didn’t really say what it was. I just assumed tbh. If you’re all uncomfortable with it, I can change it back to □□. CN censorship at its finest. Edit: After research, Im assuming it is like this but only ten arrows instead of 100. So arrow launcher? I also saw fire cart /Huo che but its for fire arrows not the normal ones. Following the next context I just went with bow lol.[]
  3. Luojiang means Luo River[]
  4. Guanchao Pavillion literally means Tide-viewing pavillion[]

1 Comment

  • Weakkitty says:

    I think its meant to be a crossbow, Ive noticed that’s what gets cencered often.

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