Category Archives: The Times Spent in Pretense

TSP 42.1 – Exhausted Father

“Your Highness, once Yunhan left the dungeon of the Imperial Court of Judicial Review, he accidentally bumped into three passersby. He also had some contact with the other convicts. Our people have monitored all of it,” said the court eunuch who was always by the crown prince’s side. He hesitated before casting his master a glance. “A-also, just now Commandery Princess Fushou handed him a deep dish of pastries. However, the other convicts have already snatched them away. There does not seem to be anything suspicious going on for now. Should we send people to…”

Continue reading TSP 42.1 – Exhausted Father

TSP 41.2

“It’s the fault of this official’s daughter,” said Hua Liuli as she bit her lower lip, her long, shapely eyebrows furrowing just a hint. As if she were concealing boundless amounts of grievances. Yet, she staunchly kept them to herself. “There was miscommunication between this official’s daughter and Young Miss Lin, causing both of us some unhappiness. Then His Highness the crown prince came over and said a few words to her. Never had this official’s daughter imagined that Young Miss Lin would feel this remorseful, kneeling before His Highness and me to apologize.”

Continue reading TSP 41.2

TSP 41.1 – The Quarry

By the time Hua Liuli and the crown prince reached the pavilion,  his servants had already put everything in order. Every two steps within the pavilion stood an imperial guard dressed in ordinary clothes. It was evident that the emperor was not at all reassured with the crown prince leaving the palace.

Spread out on and filling up the stone table were piping hot dishes that both smelled and tasted delicious. Hua Liuli rinsed clean her hands with water and could not help but say, “Although these dishes are different from the ones in the imperial palace,  they whet the appetite upon sight.”

Continue reading TSP 41.1 – The Quarry

TSP 40.2

“Yuanwei, what time is it?” asked Hua Liuli.

“It’s fifteen minutes from the end of the Period of Si,” replied Yuanwei. “Is your honored self preparing to look for His Highness the crown prince?”

“We agreed that I’d go look for him before the Period of Wu. How could I break my promise?” Hua Liuli raised her head. Glanced at the sky. It was a bit overcast. Would it rain later?

Continue reading TSP 40.2

Unforeseen 1-Week Lateness for TSP

As the title states, there will be no chapter release for TSP this Saturday because I f*ked up when counting the chapters I’ve translated. (My heart dropped to my chest when I was searching through my Google Drive just now) I’m really sorry guys; I’ll work harder so that this won’t happen again.

Basically, I’m one chapter part short. If I post something today, then I won’t have enough for my patrons this month. I hope that you guys can understand. If it’s worth anything, I’ll post TSP 40.2 right after I’ve had my breakfast next Saturday.

Thank you for reading,

Sleepchaser

P.S. Forgot to add that if you’re interested in advanced chapters, please wait until November 1st Pacific Standard Time to pledge, otherwise Patreon can and will charge you twice. Click here for the release schedule.

TSP 40.1 – Pear Blossoms Are No Good

Hua Liuli closed her half-open mouth, taking a step back in silence.

“That’s right. Even if Young Miss Lin does not adorn herself, she is still a rare beauty. She’s unlike us, commonplace and vulgar even after meticulously decorating ourselves,” said Jiamin in a peculiar manner. “Young Miss Lin is an elegant person untouched by the mortal realm. We are unworthy of associating with her.”

Following that, Jiamin rolled her eyes at Lin Wan, brushing right past her in large strides.

Yao Wenyin, Tian Shan, and Jiamin had been good friends since young. Now that the other two saw Jiamin angry, they followed her at once.

Jiamin’s words had always lacked basic respect for others. Lin Wan had a delicate and pretty appearance, but was definitely not beautiful. Yet she just had to call Lin Wan a rare beauty. If this wasn’t a taunt, then what was it?

Lin Wan’s expression was unsightly to the max. She watched as Jiamin left, gaze cold.

Coughs spilled from Hua Liuli’s lips as she covered her mouth with a handkerchief. She stood in place, appearing as though she could not endure moving any longer.

When Yuanwei, Yurong, and the other servant girls saw this, they surrounded Hua Liuli promptly and asked her how she was. Those who were to fetch the pills fetched the pills; those who were to pour honey dew poured honey dew, serving her in a burst.

Upon seeing this, Tian Shan, who had already gone ahead, jogged back. Then she instructed the servant girls by her side to help the Hua family’s servant girls in taking care of Hua Liuli. “Commandery Princess, are you alright?”

“I’m fine, I’m fine. I just couldn’t get a good breath down, and my chest felt stuffy.” Hua Liuli gave Tian Shan a smile of gratitude. Nodded in an amicable manner toward Lin Wan, who was standing at the side. Following that, she continued forward, surrounded by servant girls.

Face taut, Jiamin stood in place. Once Hua Liuli had caught up with them, Jiamin sized her up, somewhat doubtful. Could I have been mistaken, and Hua Liuli actually has a weak constitution?

“Elder Sister Jiamin, why are you staring at me?” asked Hua Liuli in a bashful fashion. She even shyly blinked, adding to the image.

Disgusted by Hua Liuli’s act to the point of having cold shivers, Jiamin took two steps back. “Speak properly.”  ‌

“Oh.” Hua Liuli looked down, seeming downcast.

A dry cough escaped Yao Wenyin’s lips. “Jiamin, Second Princess is waiting for us at the top of the mountain.”

Second Princess coordinated this year’s ceremony for the Birthday of the Flowers. Although she did not share the same birth mother as Prince Ying, Her Highness Consort Xian had raised her for two years in the past. As such, she was very close to Consort Xian.

For the sake of Consort Xian and Prince Ying’s face, they could not be too late for the ceremony. But she found Hua Liuli’s pitiful appearance, that with her head lowered, hard to take.

Interrupted by Hua Liuli, Jiamin and the other young ladies turned their heads and forgot about what Lin Wan had said. Once they were up the mountain, and after they met with Second Princess, they did not deliberately make things difficult for Lin Wan after encountering her again.

At the first bloom of apricot and pear blossoms among the mountain, the spring breeze carried a hint of flowers. Although Hua Liuli was not too familiar with the noble ladies of the capital, she would occasionally hear people taking the initiative to greet her.

After nearly an hour of noise and excitement, everyone seemed aware of Hua Liuli’s frail constitution, so dared not disturb her. Everyone sat in a circle surrounding their table, starting to appreciate the posture and movement of the princess estate’s female dancers.

“Commandery Princess,” said Yuanwei to Hua Liuli’s ear with her back bent. “The Lin family’s young miss has been looking at you for a while.”

Lin Wan was the future Princess Consort Ying. As such, an immense amount of care had been used to arrange her seat. She sat in front of Hua Liuli diagonally to the latter’s right. She, who appeared simple and neat, sat sandwiched between noble young ladies bedecked with glittering jewels to her right and left. An inharmonious sight.

“Who told your master to be this beautiful? Other people cannot help but to look at me. There’s nothing that I can do about it.” Hua Liuli grabbed a few fruits from the table and handed them to Yuanwei. “It’s not like I can stop them from looking at me.”

All smiles, Yuanwei handed those same fruits to some other servant girls to share. Then, in a soft voice, she said, “The gaze of that young lady from the Lin family clearly holds ill will. Why did your honored self help her earlier?”

“Sir Lin is an honest and upright individual. He is a good official whom the common people respect and love, and Lin Wan is his beloved daughter. Today, there are countless womenfolk present. If Sir Lin heard rumors that his beloved daughter had been humiliated, he would feel sad and find it hard to bear,” said Hua Liuli, covering the corners of her mouth with a handkerchief. She continued in a whisper, “Although Young Miss Yao’s temperament isn’t bad per se, she is bad with her words. If she spoke with more tact, it wouldn’t provoke other people into lashing back harshly. Both parties don’t really have any hostility or grudges against one another, so escalating things too far would bring none of them benefits.”

What’s more, if Jiamin and her two other close friends actually argued with Lin Wan, it was uncertain who would suffer more losses. At that time, she couldn’t just stand there at the sidelines and watch them fight, right?

There was a time and place for watching a spectacle.

“The embroidery at the foot of Young Miss Lin’s dress is truly a pleasure for the eyes. They seem real and vivid-like.”

“How could that be?” said Lin Wan with a light smile. “It cannot compare even a little to that of County Princess’ colorful brocade dress.”

“What’s good-looking about what I have? Rather, it is Young Miss Lin who resembles a secluded orchid in a deserted valley…”

As she listened to the flattery from people around her, a sense of satisfaction that was difficult to put into words gradually rose in Lin Wan’s heart. She was aware why these people curried favor with her: Because she was the future Princess Consort Ying. Someone they could not offend.

Power. Status.

Faint disdain sprang in her heart. The appearance of these noble young ladies, whom had been pampered and spoiled since childhood, flattering others wasn’t any different from ordinary people’s.

She held them in contempt, yet also enjoyed their current appearances.

Taking a sip of tea, she shifted her gaze to the direction of the stage. The women who were watching the dancers were all of high status. Among them, Hua Liuli was the most unique.

Despite her poor health, and the fact that she did not participate in those poetry-reciting gatherings and the like, she would still draw people’s gazes without them realizing it.

Four servant girls waited on Hua Liuli. Lin Wan did not know what she said to them, but the servant girls smiled and fished out their embroidered pouches. And they placed a few pieces of candied fruit into Hua Liuli’s hand.

Yet, she seemed to think that it wasn’t enough, pulling back the servant girl closest to her and untying the embroidered pouch from her waist. Such an action caused the four maidservants to stop her.

The clothes on Hua Liuli’s body were extremely beautiful. Word had it that the empress dowager had, with the utmost care, arranged to have it made for her. The clothes made Hua Liuli’s skin appear peerlessly fair and tender. Among her fine and ink-dark hair, each hair ornament proved matchless in their resplendence. Her most simple hair pin was more expensive than everything on Lin Wan’s body.

What attracted the most attention was that pair of embroidered shoes, a marvelous creation excelling nature. Who knew how much work and effort had been expended to make them so beautiful?

Translated by Sleepchaser at https://sleepchaser.wordpress.com/ If you read it anywhere else besides Sleepchaser’s wordpress, that copy was stolen. 

“Young Miss,” said Lin Wan’s servant girl when she noticed her master looking at Hua Liuli. She continued in a whisper, “This slave has heard that when Commandery Princess Fushou turned one year old, His Majesty conferred her the position of county princess. Not only did she receive a fief and fertile farmland, every year she would be bestowed many things. Earlier, His Majesty conferred her the position of commandery princess, and after that, he bestowed her an estate, a villa, and more fertile farmland. Outsiders say that His Majesty’s favor is extremely great. Although Commandery Princess Fushou isn’t a legitimate daughter of a First-Ranked Prince, her status isn’t much less than one’s.”

“That’s right. His Majesty has always placed much importance on the Hua clan.” Lin Wan turned her gaze away from Hua Liuli, tone natural as she said, “If it weren’t for her sickly constitution, perhaps she could have been a princess consort.”

The servant girl jumped from fear. She rushed to warn in a soft voice, “Young Miss, such words cannot be said in this place.”

It would be bad if people with certain thoughts believed that her master was mocking Commandery Princess Fushou’s poor health.

Lin Wan pursed her lips. She did not say anything anymore.

On Wangqing Pavilion, the talented young nobles had composed poems for two hours and were feeling tired. Yet for some reason,  the crown prince, who typically left each year after saying a few words, not only stayed from start to finish, but even made comments on everyone’s poems.

Some of the young nobles, whose level in composing poems wasn’t too high, sweated profusely from the crown prince’s comments. They regretted in secret why they had to pose as cultured people and participate in whatever Birthday of the Flowers poem gathering. It was simply inviting humiliation onto themselves.

What’s even worse was the following: Since the crown prince did not leave, the other imperial princes stayed as well, attracting people to the pavilion and causing overcrowding in both the interior and exterior.

“After two hours of composing poetry, perhaps everyone is feeling a bit tired now,” said Fifth Prince, seeming to have heard the shouts of complaint within those young nobles’ hearts, bravely being the nail that stood out in front of the hammer.

The eyes of those young nobles brightened. We’re saved.

However, disappointment entered the hearts of the scholars of humble origins who had participated in the imperial exams and did not receive their results yet. They wanted more opportunities to display their talents in front of the crown prince.

Sorrow and joy could not exist in the same person at the same time. As such, some laughed in happiness while others felt regret.

Never had the crown prince imagined that Fifth Prince, who had always been well-behaved in his presence, would stand out and say these words. He glanced at the trail that led to Wangqing Pavilion, absent-minded as he said, “Does Fifth Younger Brother have any good suggestions?”

“Since we’ve already composed poetry, how about we all paint now?” said Fifth Prince, eyes shining. “During the Birthday of the Flowers, countless flowers are in bloom, talented men and beautiful women aplenty. If we don’t leave behind a few rolls of paintings, wouldn’t this day be lacking in color?”

Prince Ying, Prince Ning, and Fourth Prince took in Fifth Prince’s bright-eyed appearance, their expressions growing subtle.

“Fifth Younger Brother’s suggestion is interesting.” The crown prince nodded a hint. “Then Fifth Younger Brother will be in charge of the next activity.”

Prince Ying, Prince Ning, and Fourth Prince were rendered speechless.

Following that, the crown prince took his time rising to his feet. “May everyone slowly paint. I will have a look at the scenery around.”

Hearing that the crown prince would leave, the talented scholars felt somewhat regretful. Yet, they dared not ask him to stay. They could only salute him and see him off in a deferential manner. “Respectfully sending off Your Highness the crown prince.”

When Prince Ying noticed the crown prince leaving briskly, he immediately made an excuse with no hesitation and slipped away as well. After moving forward for a while, he saw the crown prince standing at a fork in the road, motionless. Prince Ying thought that the scenery there must be unique, yet when he went for a look, he discovered there was nothing special about it.

“What is Eldest Brother looking at?” asked the crown prince, hands clasped behind his back. His brocade robe slightly swayed from the wind, no limit to his good looks.

“Nothing much. Just enjoying the scenery.” Prince Ying felt there was something off about the crown prince today. He usually disliked milling about in a crowd. But today, he seemed to have sprouted roots into the ground, refusing to leave after arriving at Mount Qing.

Now, he stood at a fork in the road, adopting the appearance of a melancholic young noble. He practically resembled a beautiful peacock who only spread its tail feathers for a peahen.

Something was wrong. Something was definitely wrong.

“Is there anything else the matter, Eldest Brother?” The crown prince noticed Prince Ying standing behind him without moving, so arched a brow.

“A crown prince has a precious identity. Brother will worry if you stay here alone,” said Prince Ying, chuckling. “Brother will accompany you.”

The imperial body guards and personal attendants behind the crown prince could not utter a word.

It’s fine. As servants we have no presence. Whatever Prince Ying says is correct.  

“Oh.” The crown prince raised his chin. “Then I’ll have to inconvenience Eldest Brother.”


Lol Prince Ying being a creeper. And Fifth Prince, the painting monster XD

Good news guys! My eyes are mostly all better. Now I can quickly make up on all the translating I’ve missed…

Thank you to my patrons in October:

Naomi N., Ine O., Michelle S., Glen, Len T.. Miniver, Jackie. Auresta. Kimberly, Manowargs. Sab B., Christigale M.. Dayna, Sandrine, Larenda, Michelle, and last but not least, Natacha C.!

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Next release is Saturday, October 30, 2021 EST. 

For those of you interested in advanced chapters, there are NO chapters remaining this month! If you pledge a tier that gives 2+ chapters now, you’re basically my suga daddi. A patreon post detailing November’s release schedule/how many advanced chapters are available will be out next week!

To all readers of Story of Yanxi Palace, I am working on a chapter right now. I’ll try to do a double release in two weeks, but I’ve just been very busy with school and nursing my eye problem. Sorry!

If you like this chapter, please add this novel to your reading list on NovelUpdates!

By the way, I have a new BL novel project, with my own summary below:

By the emperor’s decree, Fu Ming is to marry Jin Yi and become his male wife. The initial reception is cold. Can the two sort things out between them, the winter departing and the snow thawing?

If you’re interested, you can find it here.

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  1. dress: 裙. This character can either mean dress or skirt. I went with dress.
  2. Secluded orchid in a deserted valley: 空谷幽兰. Basically means she is very elegant and graceful.
  3.  First-Ranked Prince: 王爷. Wangye/ Qinwang. First-ranked princes are sons of the emperor. They must be conferred this position, though. Sometimes, someone outside of the imperial family can be a first-ranked prince, but only if they did a huge contribution to establishing the empire.

TSP 39.2

Nothing left to live for, Jiamin climbed into the carriage. Right now, in her mind, there was no longer whatever Prince Ying, whatever Lin Wan. The sole occupant was the Hua Liuli sitting by her side and humming a folk tune.

“Have you had breakfast?” Hua Liuli brought a piece of pastry the size of a pinky to Jiamin’s mouth. “Eat this. It won’t ruin your lipstick.”  

Continue reading TSP 39.2

TSP 39.1 – Embroidered Shoes

Hua Liuli came out in a flash; in just five minutes, she was there. She wore a dress that was eight parts new with wide sleeves, held back with embroidered ropes. One look, and one could tell that she dropped what she had been doing earlier to rush over.

Just when Hua Changkong wanted to insincerely reprimand Hua Liuli for lacking manners in the crown prince’s presence, who would have imagined his younger sister to be even faster than him?

Continue reading TSP 39.1 – Embroidered Shoes

TSP 38.2

All of a sudden, a racket came from outside the door. Dressed in brocade robes and hair bound in a jade crown, the crown prince entered the room in large strides. “Sir Du, I did not have them announce my arrival until now. Please forgive me, everyone.”

“Your Highness.” No one in the Du family had expected the crown prince to make a personal trip over. In succession, they saluted him.

Continue reading TSP 38.2

TSP 38.1 – Good Older Brother

“Imperial Father, is Son-Official this kind of person in your heart?” The crown prince looked at Emperor Changlong, cutting a wounded figure.

“We spoke mistakenly. Our son is a master of the pen and sword, peerless in appearance. How is it possible that you need to seize a woman, this kind of lowly action?” Emperor Changlong felt ashamed of his careless assumption. “Right, a few days ago We received some interesting playthings. Later on, Zhao Sancai will deliver them to the Eastern Palace.”

Continue reading TSP 38.1 – Good Older Brother