Disclaimer: This chapter has been translated by sutekii & karma.
It was a sunny afternoon when I went to see Zhao Liang Di. Yong Niang accompanied me followed by twelve palace maids, some carried sandalwood incense burners, some waved feathered fans, some were holding those brocade boxes loaded with gifts. We walked like this in a procession within the Eastern Palace, it was extremely eye-catching. When we arrived at Zhao Liang Di’s residence, she had probably long heard about my arrival so she had the doors open, and stood on the steps waiting for me.
Her yard had a very fragrant Trifoliate Orange tree  planted, little premature green oranges clustered together, like countless small lanterns. I had never seen it before, and felt it was very amusing, I twisted my stomach and went forward to look. Being distracted for a moment, I didn’t pay attention to my footing, stepped on my robe, and just “pa” fell to the floor.
Although I painstakingly practiced over these last three years, I still often step on my robes. This sudden fall was much too embarrassing, Zhao Liang Di came forward at once and held my arm, “Elder sister! Sister, are you alright?”
Actually, I was still two years younger than her…… But as she helped me up, I still grimaced in pain, it was simply too painful.
Zhao Liang Di supported me all the way in, and then ordered tea to be served.
I had really fallen hard, sitting on the chair, I dared not move, simple movements caused my muscle to twitch in pain.
Yong Niang took this opportunity to present those gifts, Zhao Liang Di from her seat gave me a curtsy, “Thank you sister for bestowing these gifts, younger sister is embarrassed and dare not accept.”
I didn’t know what to say, fortunately there is Yong Niang, she supported Zhao Liang Di, “Liang Di please rise. Actually, the Crown Princess has always wanted to visit Liang Di, but just had no chance to. This time, the empress had ordered Xu Niang to be brought into the palace, Crown Princess was worried that Liang Di’s place here would lack care, therefore especially came here today. These gifts, were all carefully selected by the Crown Princess. Although it is slightly superficial, but it is just a small token of affection. In the future if Liang Di is lacking anything, just order someone to fetch it. In this Eastern Palace, the Crown Princess regards Niang Di as her valued right-hand man, really hope that Liang Di does not feel any distance.”
Zhao Liang Di said, “Elder sister’s caring heart, younger sister understands.”
To be honest, what they said I didn’t really understand, I just felt suffocated. However, Zhao Liang Di was not as beautiful as I expected, but she’s very kind, her voice was very warm and gentle. Although I don’t like her, but I also feel I’m unable to really hate her.
I had been in Zhao Liang Di’s palace for an entire afternoon, listening to Zhao Niang Di  and Yong Niang talk. Yong Niang really seemed to be liked by Zhao Liang Di, she spoke very eloquently, causing Zhao Liang Di to cover her face with her sleeve and laugh, and then Zhao Liang Di praised me, praised that I have such a competent court lady.
Coming out from Zhao Liang Di’s palace, I met Pei Zhao. He was on duty today, leading the Yu Lin Army coming out from the room, however he didn’t say anything because with armor on his body, he only cupped his hands and saluted me, “This lesser commander pays respect to the Crown Princess.”
Recalling last time he fortunately lent out a helping hand, I could not help but feel gratitude, “General Pei, that night, many thanks ah!” Otherwise I would have been chased to death by those group of bastards. Although at worst, we could fight them before escaping, but those bastards were all Eastern Palace’s Yu Lin Langs, if they hold a grudge after the fight and found out that I was actually the Crown Princess, that would be far from good.
But Pei Zhao did not bat an eyelid, “What the Crown princess said, this lesser commander does not understand.”
Before I could say a few more words to him, I had already been pulled away by Yong Niang. Back at the palace Yong Niang chided me, “There should not be direct contact between men and women, it is improper for the Crown Princess to have relations with the Chief of the Capital Guards.”
It is improper for direct contact between men and women, if Yong Niang knew that when I slipped out, I often ate, drank wine, enjoyed listening to music and fought with men, she will definitely faint.
My thigh bruised a chunk, A’Du helped me apply ointment. I wanted to sneak out to play again, because I was finally done copying books. But recently Yong Niang has been keeping a close eye. I intended to quietly sneak out in the dead of night, but I didn’t succeed, because that night Li Cheng Yin suddenly came.
Whoever lost, had to eat oranges. A’Du won four times in a row, causing me to eat four large oranges in a row. My stomach was full of acid water, and it was at this moment that Li Cheng Yin came.
According to the words I was forced to mechanically memorize before my coronation ceremony, before he comes, we’re supposed to prepare to greet him, ready his clothing and personal items, the incense for the scented quilt, tea for the night, the next morning’s rinsing water…… All were regulations recorded down very clearly. But that is the job of the palace maids, I need only supervise that they do it well. The problem was, Li Cheng Yin had never come at night before, therefore from me to Yong Niang, to everyone else, all of us gradually relaxed, the lesser-ranked attendants were even more lazy, no one meticulously prepared according to those strict regulations anymore.
So when he entered, there was only me and A’Du sitting in front of the table, playing cards in high spirits.
I had just gotten a good hand, when I suddenly saw Li Cheng Yin. Thinking I had seen wrong, after putting my cards down, I raised my head and glanced up again. Ehh, it really was Li Cheng Yin!
A’Du stood up; every time Li Cheng Yin comes we can’t avoid quarreling, and several times even nearly started fighting. So when he came in, she pressed her hand onto the gold inlaid knife at her waist, with a vigilant look across her face, staring attentively at him.
Li Cheng Yin still had his usual stern face, and then just sat on the bed.
I don’t know what he wanted to do, and could only blankly stare at him.
He seemed to have a bellyful of unexpressed anger, and coldly said, “Take off my shoes!”
At this time, the palace maid on night duty also woke up, seeing Li Cheng Yin unexpectedly sitting here, she immediately looked just like she’d seen a ghost, hearing him say that, she only then came to realization, and promptly came forward to help him take off his boots. Who knew Li Cheng Yin would lift his legs and kick her in the chest, “Tell your master to come!”
Her master, there was no other, at least in this palace her master should be me.
I helped that maid up, then pounded the table, “How can you kick people?”
“Well, I kicked! And I also want to kick you!”
A’Du pulled out the gold inlaid knife with a “shua”, I said coldly, “Did you come here to quarrel with me again?”
He suddenly smiled, “I did not come here to quarrel with you, I came here to sleep.”
Then he pointed at A’Du, “Get out!”
I did not know what he wanted, but I could see he didn’t have any good intentions coming here, creating a disturbance like this, alarming many people. Those who had been asleep had all woken up, including Yong Niang. Yong Niang seeing him come so late at night, could not help but be both startled and elated; startled because of his angry look; elated, well, I reckon Yong Niang felt that him just coming here was a good thing, even if he came specifically to quarrel with me.
The minute Yong Niang came, the atmosphere wasn’t so hostile anymore, she arranged someone to brew some tea, take the laundry, rinse the mouth, ready the nightgown…… Everyone was suddenly busy, disorderly and confusedly preparing grandly. I was surrounded by a bunch of people bustling around helping me freshen up, and then put on the nightgown, as I was coming out, Yong Niang was dragging A’Du away, originally A’Du was unwilling to leave, I didn’t know what Yong Niang whispered into A’Du’s ear, but A’Du blushed red and obediently left with her. In short, after the chaos and turmoil of war, suddenly in the palace there was only me and Li Cheng Yin left.
Until now, I had never worn a nightgown alone in the presence of a man, I felt quite cold, and just now the tugging from side to side also tired me out. I yawned, got onto the bed, pulled the quilt and went to sleep.
As for Li Cheng Yin, whether he sleeps or not, that is not my problem.
But I knew afterwards, Li Cheng Yin also came to bed and went to sleep, because there was only one quilt, he fiercely kicked me, “Move over a bit!”
I had almost fallen asleep, but was kicked awake again by him.
My temper is quite good when I’m almost fast asleep, so I didn’t argue with him, and even gave him half the quilt. He was wrapped in the quilt, with his back facing me, and very quickly fell asleep.
He used his foot and pulled the blanket back again. In the middle of the night, because of the quilt, we quarreled again. He angrily said, “If Se Se hadn’t advised me, I definitely wouldn’t have come here!”
Se Se is Zhao Liang Di’s name, whenever he said her name, his expression and tone is always especially gentle.
I remembered in the afternoon, those words that Zhao Liang Di had said, and also the words Yong Niang said, I finally somewhat understood, and then suddenly my heart-felt a little sad.
Actually, I don’t really care. Before when he wouldn’t come, I also don’t think there was anything to feel sad about, but tonight he came, and I actually feel a little sad.
I know married couples are supposed to sleep together, but I also know, he never thought of me as his wife.
His wife should be Zhao Liang Di. Today I visited Zhao Liang Di, and also sent her a good many gifts, she pitied me, and so advised him to come here.
We Xi Liang women never want others to pity us.
I sat up, and said to him, “You can go.”
He coldly said, “Rest assured, once it’s morning I’ll leave.”
He turned his back on me and fell asleep again.
I could only get up, get dressed and sit at the table.
A single gauze lantern sat on the table, the brimming light of the red candle inside was covered by the screen, a nice lump of light, faint and warm, seeming as though it would overflow, my heart also seemed like something wanted to overflow. I began to think of Dad, Mommy, I started thinking of my brothers, thinking of my little red horse, I started thinking of my Xi Liang.
Every time I feel lonely, I would think of Xi Liang, the days in Shangjing are always very lonely, so I always think of Xi Liang.
Right at this moment, I suddenly saw a faint shadow in the window.
I was startled, stretched out my hand and pushed the window open.
The cool night air caused me to shiver, outside there was no one in sight, only the cool moonlight.
I was about to shut the window, when I suddenly saw in the distance a lump of white shadow on a tree, taking a closer look, it turned out to be a man dressed in white.
I was stunned, must know that this is Eastern Palace, security is tight, could it be that an assassin intruded?
This assassin in white robes was really too daring.
I stared at him, he looked at me, the night was so quiet that even the sound of the wind blowing could be heard, the light on the table swayed restlessly from being blown by the wind, while he stood on the tree top, quietly looking at me. The wind blew the leaves and branches up and down, his entire body bathed in the moonlight, also slightly undulating; and behind him a bright moon, a gale blew his sleeve and long hair, looking as if he was standing in the center of the moon.
I recognized him, it was Gu Jian, that strange person. Why did he come here?
I nearly bit my tongue. In the time that I blinked my eyes, that Gu Jian had already disappeared.
Either I had seen it wrong, or I was dreaming.
I think I made myself homesick, whatever I did, I would be listless. The next day Li Cheng Yin really left early in the morning, and also never came again. Yong Niang take that evening as a happy occasion, and any mention of it would have her beaming with joy, I don’t have the heart to tell her, in fact, nothing happened.
Don’t underestimate my young age, when A’Du and I wandered the streets aimlessly, we once went to the public entertainment center out of curiosity and stood in a circle and watched. We’ve never eaten pork meat, but we’ve seen pigs run.
Yong Niang was grateful for Zhao Liang Di’s kindness. And one time persuaded her to come over and play cards with me.
That day I also knew how to come back, I kept losing, kept losing, could not even win one hand. Losing in affairs of the heart, fine, but even in gambling I was losing; Yong Niang even thought I was suddenly enlightened, and was intentionally losing to Zhao Liang Di to coax her happy.
Zhao Liang Di from then on often came over to play cards with me, her words were also quite charming, such as her complimenting the Xi Liang boots I wore, “We from the Central Plains, never have such exquisite leather.”
I was so happy that I promised her, next time if Father sent someone over, I would have them bring a few good boots and give them to her.
As Zhao Liang Di was playing cards, she asked me, “When does the Crown Princess plan to visit Xu Niang?”
I couldn’t understand why I had to enter the palace to see Xu Niang, she was living well in the palace, she had someone appointed by the Empress to take care of her, why would I still want to go and see her? Besides, Yong Niang had once told me, Zhao Liang Di had made a scene because of Xu Niang’s matter, cried for several days, causing Li Cheng Yin to swear, that even if Xu Niang gave birth to a son, he would never give Xu Niang a glance. I felt that Zhao Liang Di definitely hated Xu Niang quite a bit, however in spite of that, she still wants to bring it up in front of me, feigning generous.
Yong Niang to the side said, “Right now, Xu Niang has entered the palace, without the Empress’s summon, it is also inconvenient for Crown Princess to visit.”
Zhao Liang Di gave a “oh” sound, as if taking it in stride. That day my card luck was pretty good, I won some money. After Zhao Liang Di left, Yong Niang said to me, “Crown Princess must be vigilant, don’t be used as a spear by Zhao Liang Di.”
Sometimes the words Yong Niang says I don’t understand. For example, this phrase “used as a spear”.
Yong Niang said, “Zhao Liang Di hates Xu Niang this much, she will definitely try various ways to ensure her child isn’t born. What she wants to do, Crown Princess might as well let her be, and happily let the situation take its course, however Crown Princess definitely must not let yourself fall into her trap.”
Once again, I really couldn’t understand. The child is already within Xu Niang’s womb, what other methods can Zhao Liang Di use to ensure that the child isn’t born. Yong Niang said, “There are many ways, Crown princess is an upright person, there’s no need to inquire about these things.”
I think Yong Niang intentionally said it like that, because I never felt I was an upright person, but once she said this, I felt too embarrassed to shamelessly press further.
 枸橘 Gōu Jú – The Trifoliate Orange, also known as the Chinese Bitter Orange, is a fruit native to northern China and Korea and resembles a small orange.
 赵良娣 Zhao Liang Di; 赵娘娣 Zhao Niang Di – Zhao Liang Di is her name where else Niang Di is the title she’s bestow with.
 当枪使 Dāng Qiāng Shǐ – A phrase, lit. Used/act as a spear; fig. to be a tool/ to be used as cannon fodder. Originally I was going to use ‘become Zhao Liang Di’s tool’, but changed it because Xiao Feng should’ve understand what that meant. The reason she didn’t understand is because it is a figurative phrase.