Those Years In Quest Of Honour Mine

By Manmanheqiduo,漫漫何其多

Those Years In Quest Of Honour Mine Chapter 1

Those Years In Quest Of Honour Mine Chapter 1

Chapter 1 

Who in the World Hath not Heard of Thee?

A dozen or so carriages were waiting in a line on the street outside Prince Qian’an Mansion. Servants were coming in and out the corner gate, bustling about as they loaded the luggage onto the carriages.

In a wine shop across the street, a few people were popping their heads out and craning their necks as they looked, muttering to each other irresolutely:

“What’s happening? What’re they doing in the Prince’s Mansion?”

“His Majesty’s birthday is in three months. It’s said that those lords in the mansion are going to the capital to offer felicitations.”

“Are they coming back?”

“Nonsense! It’s not like there’s anything for them to do afterwards!”

“His Majesty celebrates it every year. Why do they have to go this time?”

“How should I know?!”

“Get back to work!” The owner of the wine shop slapped their heads and drove them away. With a big grin on his face, he personally poured the customer a cup of tea. “Sorry about that. Please allow me.”

“No matter.” The customer was an outsider. He enjoyed listening in on the conversation they had earlier, so he asked, “Is there more than one lord in the Prince’s mansion? How is it that I heard that Prince Qian’an is still a teenager? Apparently, he has already taken a wife too?”

“No.” The owner smiled, “Apart from Commandery Prince Qian’an, he has a little brother and sister living there.”

The customer nodded. After hesitating for a while, he said, “Why would the royal descendants end up… end up….”

“End up at the poor and barren land here?” The owner finished his sentence with a laugh. “Well, it all started in the days of the late emperor…”

The southern border was far from the Emperor, and the people here were more open. They never shunned political topics. Since it was still early in the morning and there weren’t any other customers around, the owner simply sat down and slowly explained it to him.

“The late emperor had six princes. In his later years, he set his heart on two of them — the second and sixth princes.”

“The second prince was older and more prudent, while the sixth prince was young and intelligent.”

“They say that the late emperor preferred his youngest son more in his later years, but the sixth prince was too young. He had just turned fifteen in the year of the late emperor’s demise. Perhaps he thought that the prosperity of the country needed an older, more experienced monarch. At the time of his death, the late emperor still eventually passed the throne to the second prince, who is known as His Majesty today.”

“After the demise of the crown, Noble Consort Zhong, the sixth prince’s mother, was in so much grief that she passed away as well. And the younger Consort Zhong, the sixth prince’s aunt who also entered the Palace as a concubine, went along with them.”

“Furthermore, it was immediately found out that the sixth prince’s maternal family had also committed crimes. With this series of events, the sixth prince’s position suffered a sudden, devastating blow…”

The customer nodded understandingly, “It is an awkward place to be in indeed.”

The owner and the customer smiled at each other, mincing the words that could not be said before continuing, “But His Majesty is rather benevolent to the sixth prince. In the second year after he ascended the throne, he conferred the title of Imperial Prince Ning along with all kinds of other generous rewards to the sixth prince who had yet to come of age…”

The customer frowned. All of a sudden, a thought flashed past his mind, so he slapped the table and exclaimed, “Imperial Prince Ning! The one who had been taken as a prisoner during the war…”

The owner nodded, “Indeed. In the fifteenth year of Taihe, the northern barbarians invaded our lands. I’m not sure if this esteemed guest knows about this, but there is an iron law decreed by our Great Founding Emperor where a prince has to set off to war with the army to raise their spirits. That year, His Majesty’s sons were either sick or too young, so… he sent Prince Ning.”

The customer hesitated, “That’s…”

“Hahaha! It doesn’t matter if it’s his own brother or son.” The owner then added thoughtfully, “Little peasants like us would not know how the war fared. We only heard news that Prince Ning was too anxious to prove his worth, so he acted prematurely. No match for the enemy, he was taken as a prisoner of war and fell to his demise at the northern border half a year later. Somebody from the frontline even mentioned that in actuality, Prince Ning had defected to the enemy’s side. As to how the events actually transpired… nobody knows for sure.”

“Imperial Princess Ning lost her life when she gave birth to the twins, leaving behind the eldest son of ten years and a pair of two-year-old twins. The three lords were anxious as they were in quite the predicament. If it’s true that Prince Ning has defected, then these children…”

The customer shared his worries as well. “…would be implicated too?”

“His Majesty is benevolent and has kept the rumors under control. He didn’t take out his anger on Prince Ning’s three innocent children.” The owner smiled calmly, “Apart from that, he even made an exception and allowed Prince Ning’s heir, who just turned ten, to inherit the same title as his father. It’s generous treatment indeed.”

The owner cast a glance outside, saying, “Now, the Prince residing in Prince Qian’an’s Mansion is the aforementioned heir of Prince Ning, along with his twin brother and sister.”

The customer was confused again. Hesitating for a while, he said, “You mentioned earlier that Prince Ning’s heir inherited the same title as him, but the one out here right now is obviously the mansion of a Commandery Prince instead of Imperial Prince Ning’s…”

“Hahahaha! That’s because not long after the Prince’s arrival, he immediately requested that His Majesty reduce him in rank to a Commandery Prince, saying that he lacked both the virtue and the talent to accept His Majesty’s grace.”

“The Commandery Prince based our Qian’an as his fief, which naturally turned him into Prince Qian’an. Seven years have passed since then, and Prince Qian’an is well and at peace in our land.”

The customer thought about it in detail momentarily. Having finally understood the whole story, he sighed, “Prince Qian’an is still young, yet he’s intelligent, sensible, and has a sense of propriety as well…”

The owner laughed and shook his head. “And you are mistaken.”’

The customer was puzzled, so the owner said in an unhurried pace, “Of course Prince Qian’an is naturally brilliant, but he was still very young at that time. How could he have understood these things?”

“That’s right!” The customer counted the years and said, “Prince Qian’an was only around ten at that time! How did…”

The owner said, “Actually, it was another person in the mansion who saved the prince and his siblings…”

The customer asked who the person was at once. The owner gave a secretive smile, saying, “There’s no need for me to explain who he is. I’m sure the esteemed guest must have heard about him before.”

The customer sneered, “I’ve just arrived here. How would I know…”

“Zhong Wan.” The owner said with a smile, “Has the esteemed guest ever heard of him before?”

The customer’s eyes gradually widened. He then slapped the table, exclaiming in excitement, “That name has rung through the Imperial City and traveled across Jiangnan! Are you saying it’s the Zhong Wan who has been long yearned after and wished for by the young Prince Yu? Who in the world has never heard of him before?!”