Title: This Husband Is Frail And Weak
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 鱼西球球 (Yuxi Qiuqiu)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
Wang Xiuyu handled things extremely efficiently. In the span of a few days, everyone in the palace knew the matter where the prince wanted to marry a male wife into the palace.
Duke Ningxuan, Rong Mingyu, didn’t have much expectation for this eldest son of his, nor did he expect him to become a respectable person or be healthy. According to Rong Tang’s understanding from his previous two lives, the duke’s attitude towards the original owner was rather ambiguous and dispensable.
If he survives, he is merely another mouth for the duke’s palace to feed. If he died, it would be another mound to fill in the ancestral grave.
As for the other concubine aunts and clan members in the palace—to be honest, they couldn’t have any other ideas except to raise both hands in approval of Rong Tang’s desire to marry a man.
If it were in an ordinary family, this matter would definitely cause chaotic squabbling and bickering. As it happens, it was a trivial matter since this issue concerned Rong Tang.
He is someone who is going to die sooner or later, and he is also an honourable, unattached prince. He is determined to get married, and no one can stop him. In this regard, it’s better to marry a man than a woman. Otherwise, he’s supposedly sickly, but on the off chance he gets the lady pregnant and has a child, what then?
The titles of nobility fall to the sons of the wife, then concubines, before following the order of seniority. If an eldest grandson is born, even if Rong Tang dies, the palace will not fall into the hands of others. Therefore, he needs to marry a man, and no one will be happier than those half-brothers of his.
Therefore, when Rong Tang wanted to marry Su Huaijing into the family, he originally thought that the only hurdle he had to pass was Wang Xiuyu. But Eldest Princess Duanyi had come to ask specifically, which surprised him.
Rong Tang nodded, indicating that he understood, then went on to instruct Shuang Fu: “Go to the study and fetch the Buddhist scriptures I copied recently.”
The eldest Princess Duanyi is over sixty years old and sincerely worships the Buddha. In his previous life, in order to take a shortcut to get the male protagonist out of the cold palace earlier, Rong Tang also copied Buddhist scriptures day and night and had them sent to the eldest princess’s residence.
It’s just that in this life, he’d copied the Buddhist scriptures for his own sake; that’s all.
The system didn’t ask him why, and Rong Tang didn’t take the initiative to tell it. When he regained consciousness, there were already several newly copied scriptures in the study. If one looked over unknowingly, you’d think that he’d committed some unforgivable sin and was begging Buddha for forgiveness.
Shuang Fu packed the scriptures in a brocade box and ordered the carriage to stop at the door before leading Rong Tang over.
The weather was getting warmer, but Rong Tang’s body still couldn’t bear the slightest bit of cold wind. Before going out, Shuang Fu had specially fastened a dark red cloak on for him.
Duke Ningxuan’s palace was nowhere near the eldest princess’s palace, and the carriage journey took around thirty minutes. Rong Tang closed his eyes to rest and subconsciously entered the system space to have a look.
Upon entering, he could only see a vast darkness. He curled his lips, revealed a slightly sarcastic smile, and then exited.
Compared with other transmigrators, Rong Tang is truly lucky. Not only did he have three chances to ‘reload and try again’, but from the beginning, he even obtained a powerful binding cheat called “Divine Perspective”.
In the previous two transmigrations, the space of Rong Tang’s system was originally a three-dimensional hologram, similar to the online games he had played in the modern era.
The main character is at the centre of the interface, with an equal-proportion miniature of the surrounding environment beside him. The character’s avatar and rank are in the upper left corner, and the map thumbnail is in the upper right corner. Click on it, and he can view the entire Dayu territory map. After activating anchor points, he can unlock the related areas. He can even spend system coins earned from completing tasks to teleport and switch perspectives.
As a transmigrator, Rong Tang was initially bound to the male protagonist.
Only the male protagonist’s perspective could be switched without system coins. Wherever the male protagonist has walked, the system would deem that Rong Tang has also walked, thus automatically unlocking those anchor points.
These transmigration cheats were really, really attractive to Rong Tang, so much so that he even felt a little carried away at first.
Rong Tang initially said that the three rebirth chances given by the system were too many and would not be used at all. It wasn’t until he actually died again and again that he realised that even with the so-called “Divine Perspective”, it was impossible for him to thoroughly understand everyone’s innermost thoughts.
But this time, perhaps due to Rong Tang’s determination not to complete tasks, the main brain became angry, shut down his access and cheats. When Rong Tang entered the system space again, he could only see an empty void.
The system detected his mood and called out softly: [Host.]
“I’m fine.” Rong Tang said, “It’s also good if I can’t see anything.”
He paused, suddenly remembering something, and asked, “Are you able to see anything?”
Rong Tang recalled previously that when he entered the system space, he would often see a ball of light floating everywhere. The system said that was its core.
Rong Tang smiled: “Where are you right now?”
The sound of electricity passed by in a flash, but the system said nothing.
Rong Tang leaned against the carriage. There was a little incense in the carriage, and gradually he truly fell asleep.
Under the cover of darkness, there is a magnificent and flourishing map that outlines a miniature of the entire world.
In the centre of the miniature, on the long street of the imperial capital, a luxurious carriage slowly passed by. In the carriage sits a young man with light and gentle eyebrows. The illness has penetrated into the bones, and deadly rotten air has permeated out from deep inside the blood.
But as soon as this air seeped out of the body, it was suppressed by the soft smile on the young man’s face. The contradiction between life and death has accumulated in one person, as if it could overwhelm him at any time.
Rong Tang was sleeping lightly as he leaned into the carriage. In an unknown place, there was a cluster of warm and weak little lights gathering on his legs. They seemed to be depending on him and keeping him warm at the same time.
The system spoke very softly: [I’m keeping you company, Host].
It was already past mealtime when they arrived at the eldest princess’s residence. Princess Duanyi worshipped the Buddha sincerely. She was a vegetarian and did not eat after lunch, which had become a common habit for everyone in the household. Even though Rong Tang had come with an empty stomach, he only got a cup of tea in exchange for it. The elderly nurse who served the eldest princess said respectfully but firmly, “Please wait a moment, Young Master. Her Highness is taking a noon nap and will see you when she wakes up.”
Rong Tang smiled and nodded. He sat himself down peacefully in a round-backed armchair in the living room, browsing through the Buddhist scriptures that Shuang Fu had brought over.
He was a little hungry, but it wasn’t unbearable. Two hours passed while he looked through the Buddhist scriptures. It wasn’t until there was movement at the door that Rong Tang came back to his senses. He stood up and saw Princess Duanyi being helped inside by her nurse.
Having just risen from a nap, the eldest princess only had two simple wooden hairpins adorning her head.
Duanyi and Wang Xiuyu are two completely different types of people.
Wang Xiuyu is from a noble family and the queen’s biological younger sister. She is in charge of the duke’s palace. Even if she has a halfwit, sickly son who causes her worry, in the eyes of outsiders, Ningxuan Wang Fei would always be dignified, majestic, and cognisant of when to advance or withdraw. Rong Mingyu isn’t a devoted romantic. Although the younger generation in the palace only consisted of three sons and two daughters, the concubines in the rear weren’t limited to five.
But over the years, the concubines plotted against each other, becoming jealous love rivals, but no one dared to make a scene in front of Wang Xiuyu.
She is the same type of person as her older sister. She only sits in place: a representation and model for all women.
Wang Xiuyu’s only aspects of ego and tenderness were probably all given to Rong Tang.
As for Princess Duanyi, it’s odd that not only is there very little description of her in the original plot, but Rong Tang hasn’t seen much of her in his three lifetimes.
In order to save the male protagonist from the cold palace in his previous life, he beseeched all the way to Duanyi. Duanyi was kneeling in the Buddhist hall and had just finished reciting a sutra. Then, without looking back, she said calmly, “Alright.”
The next day, it was said that Emperor Renshou had hired a new master instructor to teach the princes, and even the fifth prince, who was in the cold palace, benefited from the association and was admitted to the Imperial Academy.
Princess Duanyi has incomparable power, but glancing over from a distance, she resembles an ordinary married woman who doesn’t use cosmetics or wear jewellery.
She doesn’t partake in any power, and she doesn’t get involved in any personal secrets. If he wasn’t aware of the character’s background, Rong Tang would never have imagined that such a reclusive old woman had slaughtered a tiger when she was a child, stood equal to the men in court when she was a young lady, and obtained a reputation as the “female prime minister of the world.”
The viciousness and vigour in her body seemed to have been fragranced away by the joss stick incense on the altar, leaving only simplicity and gentleness.
Rong Tang stood up and bowed respectfully, “Zumu*.”
(*TN: paternal grandmother)
“Mmm.” Duanyi muttered softly, walked over to the left-hand seat and sat down She asked the nurse to give Rong Tang a fresh cup of hot tea, and asked, “I heard that your health has improved?”
“I’ve troubled zumu for your concern. This grandson is much better.” Rong Tang replied.
Duanyi glanced over, her eyes cloudy but bright. She appraised him up and down and actually smiled: “You can actually tell lies. It appears that you’ve improved a lot.”
It was impossible for Rong Tang’s body to be healthy. In his previous lives, he’d strived to carry out tasks. For the public, it was for the sake of “worldwide righteousness”. For selfish interests, when the original owner’s body could not hold out anymore, the divine order would choose a new body for him to live in.
Rong Tang smiled shyly, not embarrassed at being exposed.
Duanyi waved her hand and told the nurse to withdraw. Her line of sight fell upon the scripture book next to his hand. “Which book are you reading?”
Rong Tang closed the book and presented it to the eldest princess: “This is the Diamond Sutra that This grandson copied by myself.”
Duanyi seemed a little surprised, so she flipped it open and took a look.
The handwriting is elegant, and the script is gentle—like a luan gliding and a phoenix floating*. The strength of the one holding the brush is inadequate, so they purposely didn’t stress the upper and lower strokes. The aim was to be distinct, neat, and have a clear conscience.
(*TN: Luan is a mythical bird related to the phoenix. The phrase is meant to suggest the graceful movements of these mythical birds.)
Duanyi turned a few pages. Rong Tang noticed that the atmosphere around her became softer: “If zumu doesn’t disapprove, I request for zumu to accept this scripture book.”
Duanyi answered, picked up the teacup, and took a sip before saying, “Your mother said you want to marry a male wife?”
Rong Tang instantly became alert. He’d come here today exactly for this matter and said seriously, “Yes.”
“She said that the other party is a distant relative of Duke Xianguo’s family. Is there such a thing?”
Rong Tang: “Yes.”
Duanyi eyed Rong Tang. Her gaze was not like an elder looking at a junior, but more like looking directly through his eyes and into his soul: “Duke Xianguo’s name is taboo in Dayu, do you know?”
“Even so, you still want to marry?”
Rong Tang didn’t hesitate: “Even so, I still want to marry.”
“Love at first sight?” Duanyi asked casually, as if chitchatting. Rong Tang was lost for words at once. Alarm bells clanged in his heart, and an unprovoked panic swept through his body. There was only one thought that remained in his mind:
She knows that he lied! She knows that he’s never met Su Huaijing before!
Rong Tang narrowed his eyes, and his thoughts spun as he rushed to figure out how to respond. But the eldest princess smiled softly, breaking the dead silence in the room: “Whether it’s love at first sight or childhood sweethearts, I just ask if you truly wish to receive him into your household?”
Rong Tang’s thoughts became jammed for a moment, and he raised his eyes to meet Princess Duanyi’s gaze. For some reason, he inexplicably felt that any lie he told in front of her would be exposed.
After a long time, he said softly, “I truly wish to receive him into the household and protect him for the rest of his life.”
Duanyi’s fingers gently rubbed the tea cup and looked past him towards the door. After a while, she put down the cup and said, “Then get married. I’ll go inform your father’s side.”
Rong Tang relaxed, and his tense emotions finally eased off. He stood up and cupped his hands to salute Princess Duanyi: “Thank you, zumu, for acceding.”
Duanyi suddenly raised her hand and rapped the scripture book: “The causes and faults in the world cannot be borne by a Buddhist scripture.”
Rong Tang was slightly startled, but the eldest princess stood up and walked slowly towards the door: “But do good deeds and don’t ask about the future. You survived this disaster, but there will naturally be cause and effect. Don’t agonise about whether it is good or bad.”
In that instance, Rong Tang didn’t comprehend the meaning of her words and remained standing there for a long time until Shuang Fu came in and called him back to his senses: “Young Master, let’s go back.”
When they were leaving the eldest princess’s residence, Rong Tang looked up and glanced opposite.
The elegance of bygone days is faintly visible on the dilapidated door of the house. The spot for hanging the inscribed board is empty. The paper strip seal has yellowed. The stone lion by the door has had its teeth smashed. There is a deathly still, ruined sense of chilly desolation breaking through the air.
Back then, there was abundant wealth, but now the weeds are withered and yellow.
Rong Tang turned around and gazed at the princess’ palace through the vermilion door. It was decorated with beautiful white jade tiles, ceramic glaze that shimmered in the sunlight, and magnificent pavilions, kiosks, and rock landscaping. There weren’t many households with such a level of luxury in the entire Dayu.
This striking contrast is located on the same street. For many years, no one has raised an exception.
What is even more contradictory is that the eldest princess is obviously extremely simplistic, but her residence is so extravagant.
He’s been lingering a little too long, and Shuang Fu asked, “Young Master, are we not returning home?”
Rong Tang regained his senses and changed his mind before getting on the carriage: “Go to the Li Mansion on Songjing Lane. On the way, go pass by the Liujin Parlour and pack a table’s worth of rice and dishes together with a plate of lotus pastries to take away.”