MEETING THE ENVOYS
A low ranked eunuch rushed through the palace hallway before coming to a stop before the Royal Study. Outside the door of the study, there stood two guards as well as Steward Yun.
The eunuch who had just came, bowed his head slightly to the other before coming closer and whispered to Steward Yun’s ear.
“Steward Yun, the envoy from Ruanyu has arrived.”
When Steward Yun heard this, he nods his head and dismissed the other servant before turning around to knock on the door. “Your Majesty, this servant request to enter the study.”
Hearing King Song Min’s voice, Steward Yun entered the study then closed the door shut. Inside, the king was busy looking at the memorials and did not look at Steward Yun at all. The study was large. There were shelves filled with books, scrolls and memorials. The king sat before his desk, focused on his work while a frown adorned his face.
Seeing this, Steward Yun bowed to the king before speaking up: “Your Majesty, this servant has just gotten the word that the envoys from Ruanyu have arrived.”
King Song Min stopped looking at the memorial and stared at the eunuch with wide eyes, a panicked expression painted his face.
“Already? Didn’t the report say they will arrive around Wu Shi?” King Song Min asked as he stood up and walked out of the room. “How come they arrived early?” he asked.
“This servant doesn’t know. Maybe there was something that made them speed up their journey?” Steward Yun replied.
By now, King Song Min was rushing through the hallway, followed by Steward Yun and his two guards. “Hurry! We have to welcome them!” King Song Min said with a hint of impatience. If the envoy thought that he’s not giving them face, they might feel offended and offending them is far from what King Song Min wanted.
“The courtyard that this King had told you to prepare, are they ready?” King Song Min asked Steward Yun.
“They are ready, Your Majesty.”
“The banquet for tonight?”
“The finest ingredients have been prepared for the banquet tonight,” Steward Yun replied. “Our distinguished guests will have the best of Dong Xing Kingdom’s finest cuisine today.”
“Good! If anything goes wrong, this kingdom is doomed!” King Song Min said before he turned to one of his guards. “Get someone to inform the people from the princess’s courtyard! Make sure she is ready for tonight!”
Arriving at the Hall of Governance, King Song Min could see the envoys, each one of them standing tall and proud. They were standing in a row, as soldiers would normally do. Perfectly well lined, showing that they are very well disciplined.
Compared to them, the surrounding guards from Dong Xing kingdom appeared like a child playing dress up as a guard.
“His Majesty, King Song Min has arrived!”
Because King Song Min has been hasty, he entered the Hall without being announced. Even so, Steward Yun still dutifully announced his arrival. As soon as the announcement was heard, the guards of Dong Xing knelt down on the ground as they greeted their king.
“Long live the King!!”
The envoys from Ruanyu did not kneel down. Instead, they just bowed their head down slightly while cupping their hands in a hold fist salute, just enough to show their respect to another monarch who is not their own.
King Song Min did not pay this any mind. After all, he understands that he is not their king and that they only serve one monarch. He sat down on his throne.
“Beloved subjects may rise,” King Song Min said before he then watched the guard stand up from their kneeling position. After that, he turned to the envoys with an amicable smile on his face. “Distinguished guests from Ruanyu, please excuse this King’s tardiness. We did not expect you to arrive this early…”
King Song Min’s voice was laced with a hint of nervousness as he stared at the envoys.
Bai Ruohan noticed this, but he decided to simply ignore it. He walked a few steps forward and once more saluted King Song Min. “It is not the fault of His Majesty at all,” he replied. “Our Emperor simply heard that the princess is a great beauty, so he had us make haste to pick her up.”
When King Song Min heard this, he glanced at Steward Yun with an ugly expression. The steward only looked down, feeling guilty.
‘If it were not for those outlaws, I wouldn’t have given my only daughter away…’ King Song Min thought in his heart.
Clearing his throat, King Song Min once more addressed the envoys from Ruanyu. “This king has yet to know how to address this distinguished guest. May I have the honour to know the identity of this guest?”
The corner of Bai Ruohan’s lips curved up before he stood up straight. His appearance turned imposing in a matter of second, as if he’s a great general that is currently standing before a battlefield.
“This lowly one is surnamed, Bai. The given name is Ruohan. Also known as Hanxin Gong. But I believe, I am better known as the War God of Yilian.”
King Song Min and Steward Yun sported a surprised expression. Meanwhile, the soldier of Dong Xing that is present in the hall all has a fearful expression upon knowing the man’s identity. King Song Min did his best to calm down, but the nervousness is still present on his face.
“So it is the War God of Yilian… This King has heard of your tales. Some travelling minstrels would sing praise of your heroic achievement,” King Song Min did not forget to make himself appear favourable in Bai Ruohan’s eyes.
“This king is really honoured to have met you personally in this life-time. Gongye is surely tired from the journey. We have prepared a courtyard for the guests to rest,” as he said this, he turned to Steward Yun, silently signalling the other. Steward Yun only nods his head in reply.
“Xiao Baozi! Come and lead our guest to their courtyard!” Steward Yun called out to one of the eunuchs present in the hall. The eunuch who was named walked forward and bowed his head to the king and the steward.
“This servant received his order,” he said before turning to Bai Ruohan’s group. Though his expression appeared friendly, he was extremely nervous inside. “Honored guests, please follow this way.”
As the envoy from Ruanyu turns to leave, King Song Min caught a glance of a man wearing a mask amongst the group. Based on the way the masked man was dressing, King Song Min could see that this man have a higher status than Bai Ruohan. “Steward Yun,” King Song Min called the steward once the group left the hall.
“This servant is here, Your Majesty.”
“Do you think the Emperor of Ruanyu would send one of his sons over just to pick up the princess?”
Hearing this, Steward Yun was silent for a while before he shook his head. “The old Emperor has already sent one of his general over. The rest is probably still in conquest, and that includes the princes of Ruanyu. After all, the Emperor is already old, they would need to rake up their meritorious achievement so they could fight for the throne.”
“En… When the Emperor dies, his harem will be abolished. Then the princess will be sent home, right?” King Song Min asked.
“As long as nothing goes wrong. In a few years, the princess should be able to come home,” Steward Yun replied.
Hearing this, King Song Min let out a heavy sigh. “I just hope that the princess won’t cause any more trouble…”
Written by: Lin Xiaolong
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