Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 39: How About You Kill Her?
When Xie Yan Ping was young, he assisted the late emperor by taking over Lan Chuan during his reign.
With that achievement, he was crowned the title of Chang Guo Gong1.
This title was very rarely bestowed, only given out to those deemed most respectable, as it was a title that was unchangeable and inheritable by his offspring, until the reigning dynasty is destroyed.
It was also with this title that opened up a path for his eldest daughter to become a royal consort.
From that moment on, he was blessed with the trust and authority by the late and current reigning emperors.
It could be said that from that point onwards the Xie family had a part as the invisible hand of the country, existing as an absolute and integral part of the emperor’s inner circle.
In his later years, Chang Guo Gong could boast that he had a very successful and smooth career, but the one black mark on his record was the fact that he did not have a lot of children.
To count in total, he only had one daughter and three sons: Xie Su Zhi, the daughter of his first wife, Xie Heng Zhi, the eldest son of his first wife, Xie Yu Zhi, the second son of his first wife, and the third eldest, Xie Ping Zhi, the son of a concubine.
Of those, the eldest son had passed away in his youth due to an illness which left him with only two sons.
And now, Xie Yu Zhi, referred to by everyone as Second Master Xie2, has reached the age for marriage, but this Second Master Xie, he happened to have the particular habits of a cut-sleeve3.
In addition to this, he was injured on the battlefield when he was young.
Since it was right in the middle of a battle when his injury occurred, they didn’t have the luxury of having the best doctors from the capital around to treat him.
In the end, nothing could be done and his right leg became disabled from his sustained injury.
Given his sexual orientation, Second Master Xie naturally went to find a man to marry into the family.
There would be a lot of complications if their status was too high, as it was easy for the intended to feel displeased, but if they were too low, it would make them feel like they have no status.
After all, as a man, they would want, and be dictated by society, to continue their family lineage.
No matter how many people had their sleeves cut, they still married concubines and gave birth to sons.
So instead of dwelling on it, he just picked someone out of those who came rushing for the imperial exams, someone who looked passable and seemed dignified enough to marry into his family.
The country was quite open minded in that men marrying men wasn’t a strange idea, but it was a rare case to marry into another family.
To do so as a man was like rubbing the faces of their ancestors into the dirt.
But Chang Guo Gong loved his one and only main son4 from his first wife.
So even if it was a bit over the top for a family of high status like theirs to have a man marry into the family, he still agreed.
Once he knew who Xie Yu Zhi picked, he immediately wrote an official request to the emperor and picked a lucky and blessed day for the two to have their high profile marriage.
In the height of fall, the night air was a bit chilly to the point of freezing.
At the entrance of the mansion of Chang Guo Gong, there were two big red hanging lanterns with their flames being extinguished by the wind.
And if you were to look further inside, the halls were decorated with red ribbons and you could still see some of the boisterous and happy atmosphere that lingered behind from the festivities earlier that day.
But at this time the servants were moving hastily and silently, with disbelief in their expressions, as if something big had happened, something big that was not good.
It was at this time that two maids dressed in green walked out of Qu Feng Courtyard with their heads lowered.
Looking around discreetly, they couldn’t hold in their furious muttering after seeing that their surroundings were empty.
“That Er Gu-Ye5 is too courageous.
It’s the night of their marriage and he still dares to fool around with another woman.
Second Master is going to skin him alive!”
Hearing this, the other maid coldly snorted, “Oh the drama is happening right now.
Those two dogshits have been bound and sent to Second Master’s courtyard.
It’s been at least one Shi Chen now since they have been kneeling there.
After this, their punishment should be passed down to them.”
One Shi Chen, that is two hours, a hundred and twenty minutes, seven thousand and two hundred seconds.
Chen Miao Ping has never before felt time pass by so painfully.
He was kneeling on a road with many loose tiny rocks packed together, feeling every part of the rough surface of those rocks, with his knees pierced in pain.
His body was dressed in a very elaborate and beautifully done marriage outfit, one that probably took a lot of time to make.
It was adorned with decorative jade jewelry which elevated his aura.
Too bad both his hands were bound tight and he was in disarray, making him look like the average pitiful prisoner and the opposite of the lively and elegant composure the marriage outfit once brought out in him.
How could he have transmigrated into such a situation?
The original host of this body was a weak scholar, an entire boneless chicken of weakness, and one with average smarts.
Probably the only redeeming feature he had was his face.
Adding in his usual demeanor of posing like an actual knowledgeable scholar, he was considered within the pool of examinees as a good man.
All these features intertwined were what allowed him to fall into Second Master Xie’s eyes.
When the official imperial palace examination had not started yet, the main testing official was one who bowed towards power and authority, and he had the heart to increase his favorability with the side of Chang Guo Kong’s family.
So before the exams began, he had privately leaked the questions to the original Chen Miao Ping and, in the end, made the very average original him able to surpass everyone.
He was crowned with the title of Flower Seeker6, the reputable name for the overall third ranking examinee.
With these results, his crowned title and his upcoming marriage, he was granted the path to an unlimited future of glory and riches.
But the original Chen Miao Ping was a shortsighted man, overcome by the news and the thoughts of being better than everyone and no longer having to bow at the feet of others.
Of course, it did not help that the servants around him, servants who could be considered beautiful, also wanted to dream that phoenix dream7.
When a particular servant had the intention to hook up with him, the original Chen Miao Ping followed along.
However, what he didn’t know was that there were eyes all around him.
The two of them didn’t even succeed in anything in the end, and on the night of the marriage between Xie Yu Zhi and him, he was bound tightly and thrown to Second Master Xie for punishment.
Who knew if the original Chen Miao Ping died from fright or by kneeling? In any case, it caused the current Chen Miao Ping to transmigrate here.
What his original history was, from this moment onward, was all in the past, and he thought to himself that there was no need to dwell on it.
His knees were in extreme pain, and Chen Miao Ping could not even pretend to faint.
The girl beside him was crying and wailing while kneeling for half a Shi Chen now, making the servants overseeing them throw buckets of cold water down to shut her up.
This almost succeeded in freezing them to death on this icy cold night.
The situation at hand was enough to make him feel like he, with his currently deathly white face, should have just died instead.
Chen Miao Ping was normally a calm and collected person.
He could withstand this, he told himself and lowered his head watching the flowers and the grass, trying to distract himself.
The maid who wanted to hook up with the original Chen Miao Ping could not stand it anymore however, and her body swayed before hitting the ground.
A pale white hand struggled to grab onto the robe of Chen Miao Ping and cried out,
“Gu-Ye…… I’m begging you…… Please ask for mercy from the Second Master…… This maid knows her mistake…… this maid knows her mistake now…..”
Chen Miao Ping thought in his heart, if I had the ability to, would I still be kneeling here with you? And so he immediately and silently brushed her off while shuffling away from her.
He started to count,
And to no one’s surprise, another bucket of cold water was dumped on them.
From behind, a maid dressed in green pulled Chun Qiao up by her hair as she said menacingly,
“Second Master has ordered us that without his command, you must keep kneeling.
Miss Chun Qiao, why can’t you stand it anymore when you have the same cheap and inferior life like the rest of us normal servants? Even such an elegant and lavish type of person like Gu-Ye hasn’t even uttered a sound.”
The last sentence was pitched higher, so you couldn’t hear if it was praise, an exaggeration or mocking insult.
Chen Miao Ping could only pretend that he was deaf and lowered his head even further, looking like he was truly and honestly regretting everything.
Chun Qiao however was boiling with hatred, with one hand trying to protect her hair from the maid and the other pinching her throat to yell towards that tightly shut courtyard door.
With dainty tears sliding down her face, she cried out,
“I am a cheap and worthless maid, a servant that cannot be as respected or as worthy as Second Master.
But that does not mean that I was like a fox trying to seduce my master.
It was Gu-Ye who specifically said that he’ll take me in! After all, men have to continue their lineage, to burn incense for their ancestors8.
Second Master should consider Gu-Ye’s situation.
“Chun Qiao is not requesting anything else.
Chun Qiao is only begging for the Second Master to let this servant be by Gu-Ye’s side to be of service to him.
Not asking for a position, not asking for a proper title, just please fulfill my lovesick heart! If Second Master you want to blame someone, please only blame this servant alone, don’t hurt Gu-Ye’s heart!”
Her wording on the surface made her look like a pitiful girl with no one left to care for, but in reality, underneath her words, she was systematically ruining Xie Yu Zhi’s name.
For one, pointing out the fact that he did not even try to find out the truth before punishing her.
Two, blaming him as jealous, not generous enough to let Chen Miao Ping take in concubines to continue his ancestral lineage.
And three, saying that he was cruel and ruthless, so heartless that he was not even willing to let go of someone who was only lovesick, infatuated, someone who lived only on love.
The maid who was holding up Chun Qiao by her hair immediately became angry,
“You even dare to fill your mouth with rotting maggots, to fill your mouth with worthless lies! I will tear open your mouth!”
Her hand was high in the air, and she was about to hit Chun Qiao’s face when the tightly closed courtyard door suddenly creaked open.
Out from the door walked a man whose attire was the same as Chen Miao Ping.
His posture was straight and elegant, and what glimpses you could see of his black inner garments seemed to forcefully suppress quite a lot of the joyful atmosphere the red marriage attire was supposed to represent.
His face was out of this world, with stern and thin eyebrows, his skin leaning on the pale side.
His lips were a bit red, and his pair of eyes were dark and heavy, which all somehow formed together into a very contradictory picture.
Regardless of his outer appearance however, the moment everyone in the courtyard saw him, they all hushed.
In a very coordinated group action, all the servants bowed their heads and completed their customary greeting, “To see Second Master.”
The man did not respond to the greeting and walked out slowly.
Chen Miao Ping only discovered now that the other seemed to have some issues walking, as he was limping as he walked out.
Since Xie Yu Zhi came out, Chun Qiao was frightened by his presence to the point of speechlessness.
Now that the inky black silk shoes stopped in front of her, it was like her body had all the air sucked out of it and she weakly dropped onto the ground.
When she stumbled back up, she hid behind Chen Miao Ping with a terrified expression on her face, holding onto his shoulders and wailed,
“Gu-Ye, please save Chun Qiao!”
Save who, weren’t you going off on your speech pretty well just now…..
Chen Miao Ping originally was not kneeling very stably, and with her lunge forward to grab him, he couldn’t hold his balance and fell onto the floor.
Just as he was about to rise up, he realized that lying down was ten times more comfortable than kneeling and so pretended to struggle a bit and then didn’t move.
This kind of scene fell into the view of everyone at the courtyard, and it was like the embodiment of the saying where the man had thoughts and the woman was willing, making a perfect pair.
Xie Yu Zhi had a disability in his leg and couldn’t stand for very long.
He signaled for the servants to untie them and then slowly sat down on a beautifully carved wooden chair brought to him.
His eyes interrogatively scanned Chen Miao Ping before he plastered a smile onto his face,
“You like this kind of worthless servant?”
Xie Yu Zhi was the only main son of Guo Gong.
Chun Qiao was just a lowly servant, not even a first tier maid.
Even idiots would know who to pick.
And obviously, Chen Miao Ping was not an idiot.
He twisted his bruised wrists around and under Chun Qiao’s hopeful eyes, he shook his head and said,
“Since Miao Ping has become the husband who married into the Second Master’s family, my life now belongs to Second Master.
How could Miao Ping like anyone else?”
Before he even finished, Chun Qiao’s heart felt like it was dropped in ice and her face became even more deathly pale as her body started to sway once again.
Xie Yu Zhi was not impacted by his words and continued to ask,
“You don’t blame me for not being generous enough and forbidding you from marrying any concubines? Cutting off your ancestor’s incense?”
“Miao Ping has no father nor mother.
Just a floating branch in the water by himself.
Ever since my youth, I have been reliant on the relatives of my hometown and their community to live.
Now that Second Master has promised not to forsake me, I will only ask for the heart of one person.
Never to leave, never to give up.
Never to even have the thought of having a concubine.”
Chun Qiao’s face was full of disbelief and she lurched forward to grab onto Chen Miao Ping’s arms.
She quickly said,
“No Gu-Ye! No! It was you who brought me into this estate.
It was you who said he will be good to Chun Qiao!”
Chun Qiao was originally a poor man’s daughter, sold off by her gambling father to a monster who had three wives that have already passed away.
She was struggling to get away from him and had so happened to be seen by Chen Miao Ping, who spent ten taels of silver to buy her into the Guo Gong Estate to be a maid.
Chen Miao Ping lightly brushed her hand off, “Young lady, you have the wrong idea.
I only pitied your terrible story and family background and had the heart to try and do something good.
I promised to take good care of you, but that does not mean I will take you in as my concubine.”
At this time, he was extremely grateful for what deep meanings each word of the Chinese language could have and especially with ancient Chinese where Chen Miao Ping could freely pick however and whichever way to interpret the wording.
Chun Qiao couldn’t help but cry in pain.
She knew in her heart that if Chen Miao Ping would not protect her, her death was imminent.
She immediately started bowing her head hard to the ground with a clear “bang” sound every time,
“Gu-Ye, it was you who saved Chun Qiao.
Chun Qiao has a pure and true heart towards you, willing to be whatever you want to repay you!”
Chen Miao Ping shuffled away from her bowing and his attractive face that could send people into a daze was very composed and cold, “I only spent ten taels of silver for you.
If you, young miss, want to repay me, just return me the ten taels of silver.”
This sentence immediately clogged all the cries from Chun Qiao in her throat.
She widened her eyes and couldn’t react for a long while.
All around her you could hear the faint sounds of mocking laughter.
Xie Yu Zhi closed his eyes in disinterest.
The lanterns hanging on the pillars of the mansion courtyard were shining onto a high pansy tree, shadowing his jade-like face with the silhouette of flowers.
He said after a while,
“So according to you, this entire thing was her mistake, and it has nothing to do with you?”
“Of course Miao Ping has his fault in this.”
Chen Miao Ping bowed at his waist,
“Since I am already married, I should not have been so close to another woman, especially with such an ambiguous atmosphere.
I had been drunk from the wine today, and my mind was in a daze.
On this marriage night where you and I were to be wed, I should absolutely not have been alone with Chun Qiao and blindly creating this misunderstanding.
I must humbly request punishment from Second Master.”
Xie Yu Zhi brushed off his robe with his fingers that were very structured, making him look more handsome the more you look at him in his bright red marriage outfit.
“There’s no point in punishing you.
After all, husband and wife for one day, gratitude for the next hundred days.
We haven’t even been through one day yet, so there’s no need to be so cruel……”
A faint sound echoed out in the courtyard, and a golden dagger landed in front of Chen Miao Ping.
Xie Yu Zhi’s following words were tossed out very casually, but each word became a bomb blowing up in Chun Qiao’s brain, turning her mind into a field of white,
“This maid has crossed my bottom line, and my heart’s not very happy.
Since you have no feelings towards her, how about you kill her?”
Click here to go to Next/Previous links (to bypass all the footnotes)!
1) Woooo Plum and I are back, and we are glad to be back! Although boy, do we miss our vacation week (of sorts), which not that we didn’t have a day off, but life is a pain sometimes （;へ;）.
In any case, we hope you had a great October!
2) This will most likely be a heavy footnote volume (at least with the setup part) as historical genres… (which as a reminder: you can click on the numbered note/footnote to return below or back to the text where you were reading! I’ll try to set up some links like the one above on those that are very long, like this one, so it’s less walls of text to scroll down manually)
3) Titles and most things were taken from “A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China.” by Charles O.
Hucker which has been an immense help There are a lot of titles, positions, places and people mentioned in this volume, and I’ll try to reference them in a way to not need to look them up, but let me know if I should include something like a mentioned list at the end of a chapter to help out(since the update schedule will be changed as well… which:)
4) I am also still currently in the middle of translating this volume, but historical genres, seriously.
If I ever decide to keep translating beyond this, historical genres no more! (too bad there’s also another volume of this genre coming up) ｡ﾟ(ﾟ´(00)`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ In any case, as this is a very momentuous and painstaking task that somehow gave me more research than I ever did in school (haha…) at least for this volume, the 5 chapters a weekday won’t work out spectacularly unforunately (๑•́ㅿ•̀๑) (or at least feasibly for the amount of time) so…
I’m going to change the update schedule to one chapter every 2 days (sort of, as Plum wanted a more fixed schedule). What the new schedule is going to be is a release of a chapter on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday… (tentatively for now).
It’s about one less chapter per week and a bit more spaced out, but not too drastic of a change (I hope).
Which hopefully will give me enough buffer time to translate/research, and also enough time for Plum and me to proofread and fix「(°ヘ°)
So the plan right now is to release Chp 40 on Nov 4, chp 41 on Nov 6, chp 42 on Nov 8th and then repeat (so 43 on Nov 9th, 44 on the 11th, etc.) which hopefully makes sense…
5) And to end this, I will leave you the wise words of Plum on what the volume is about and what our new protagonist is like (so far for them): “our scum mcs sure can talk” (´−｀) ﾝ
Thank you to those that have read this far! (my eyes are blurring myself （￣□￣；）) See you on Wednesday!
>> Added volume title to match volume 1
*1 Chang Guo Gong: a title that can be equated to duke.
Specifically, the duke of prosperity, which in this case means that with his actions, he made the imperial state flourish (from his conquests).
*2 Second Master (Xie): A title to call Xie Yu Zhi, to call, with respect, that he is the second “main” son of the Xie family (main as in footnote 4).
It can be Xie Er-Ye (but Plum liked the current one ) and is the same as calling Huo Ming Chen as Huo Er-Shao.
*3 a cut-sleeve: is a phrase that means one is a homosexual in ancient china.
There’s a story about this and it ends pretty sad but the phrase is basically based on this story of this one emperor who liked this one man and supposedly didn’t want to wake him up (after sleeping the night together) for his early morning imperial court assembly/meeting and so cut his sleeve off to keep from waking him up (hence “cut-sleeve”).
*4 main son: I’m referencing all sons/daughters of the main/head wife, the “first” wife like a president’s wife, the wife that is the proper one, above all other “wives” of the same man.
Main sons from the main wife has a right to inherit the title over the sons of concubines.
Probably can consider main (sometimes I’ve seen translated as “di”) as in the child not birthed from concubines, and you can probably think of it as the empress of the emperor as the main/first and all subsequent concubines, consorts are not main/head.
*5 Er Gu-Ye: like footnote 2 (and like how Huo Ming Chen can be called Huo Er-Shao), this is a call to reference Chen Miao Ping is the husband of Xie Yu Zhi (Second Master).
The “Ye” is a suffix that is particular to a “master” of the household kind of meaning.
“Er” in this means “second”.
*6 Flower Seeker: as in the rest of the sentence, it means placing as the third overall rank in the imperial court exam (which you can only reach after going and passing through multiple stages of examinations).
*7 Phoenix dream is like phoenix man, wanting to shoot straight to the top/fly over to the top and stand above everyone else from your poor/lowly background – usually means in the case of servants sleeping with a master of the household to jump up in status as like a shortcut
*8 “burning incense for ancestors” – so just specifically about ancient china, in a family, there is usually a place for grave plates of your ancestors in a special room/pavillion where on special occasions or special circumstances, you would bow in respect to all the ancestors that have made this family and ask for protection.
And as a part of that ritual is to burn incense.
In this case, the only people who can step in that pavilion to burn the incense for your ancestors are men, and usually only the “main” son(s) are considered eligible.
The longer the tradition can go for, the longer the incense then can burn.
If you don’t have any “main” sons, your incense is considered to be “cut off”, hence to continue to burn incense is to continue your family lineage.
Also just as a reference of what an estate can consists of (as the wealthier the family, the bigger it is, and it can have multiple courtyards, pavilions, rooms, entrances, etc.
(for each of the masters/mistresses of the household and servant quarters), kind of like a section of land with multiple mansions that is linked together to become an estate?):
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