My Princess Has Been Reborn - Chapter 19.1
Chapter 19.1 – An Exceptionally Sweet Smile (1)
“Royal Father, this answer sheet was sent to the Examination Hall by me.” Qi Yang said that matter-of-factly, as if it was how things should have been.
The Emperor was a little stunned, and then angry. Even though he already had a guess, he still felt that it was unbelievable. Fang Chengyue who was still kneeling on the side did not feel surprised, but did not dare to raise his head at this juncture. He simply kept his eyebrows lowered and his head hung, pretending as if he didn’t exist.
Accompanied with a ‘bang’, the Emperor slammed his palm onto the table heavily. Even the tea cup next to his hand rattled three times, making crisp sounds of porcelain hitting each other. “Nonsense! The imperial examination is to find scholars for the country, is it something for you to play around with!?”
However, Qi Yang was not alarmed. Still keeping her saluting posture, she explained, “Royal Father misunderstood. I have no intention of interfering with the imperial examination. The reason I sent this answer sheet is just to borrow the hands of the Spring Exam examiners to help evaluate it.” Then, she added, “I purposely didn’t leave a name, just in case this answer sheet was accidentally chosen.”
Although it all sounded like sophistry, what she said did seem to make some sense.
The Emperor squinted his eyes slightly and didn’t say anything for a while. He just looked at Qi Yang, neither joy nor anger could be clearly discerned from his face.
Qi Yang also looked at the Emperor. Her eyes were so clear with no sign of shrewdness, only a hint of cunning and flattery – she had always been favored by the Emperor, and always acted with propriety. Now she showed a flattering and obedient look, which really made the Emperor’s heart go soft.
Seeing that the Emperor had been appeased for the time being, Qi Yang turned to looked at Fang Chengyue again and asked him as if nothing had happened. “Lord Fang, how is this answer sheet? I just heard you say that you were going to name it as the first place. Now it’s not included in the ranking, but what about the answer sheet itself?”
What else could it be? Didn’t everyone agree that it should’ve gotten the first place?
Fang Chengyue understood Qi Yang’s meaning. He just felt that he was really unlucky, but right now he could only bite the bullet and say, “To be favored by Your Highness’ insightful eyes, the person who wrote it is naturally talented. This answer sheet is truly one-of-a-kind.” He really did like these essays, so he added, “Ranking it as the first place was something I and the other examiners all agreed on.”
As soon as those words came out, the Emperor also became a little curious, so he temporarily ignored Qi Yang’s transgressions and asked, “Is it really that good?” After that, he looked at the servant next to him and said, “Bring the exam paper here for me to take a look.”
Hearing that, the servant finally took the exam papers that Fang Chengyue had been presenting for a long time.
The exam had three stages over nine days, so the answer sheets naturally stacked up to a thick pile. After the Emperor took them, he ignored everyone else and casually read them. He didn’t go through them very quickly, and after reading two pages he suddenly looked up and told Fang Chengyue, “It didn’t follow the rules, so it can’t be included in the examination. This exam paper does not count. Minister Fang, you can return first and move on to the next ranking.”
Fang Chengyue received permission to go, and the Emperor did not hold him accountable for this. He was also secretly relieved, and quickly left.
It was only after he got out from the gates of Xuanshi hall did he feel that his back was already wet with sweat. On the way back, he secretly scolded Princess Qi Yang for acting recklessly. At the same time, thinking of that answer sheet, he secretly felt that it was such a pity that a good talent’s future became delayed because of the princess like this.
Fang Chengyue left the palace gates and returned to the Examination hall to give everyone an explanation. Meanwhile, the Emperor was still looking at the examination paper. His reading turned slower, and the way he looked at it became more careful and attentive. Eventually, he became so absorbed that he even forgot to hold Qi Yang accountable.
Of course, neither Qi Yang nor the Crown Prince would bother him. The siblings looked at each other and felt that the matter was eighty percent in the bag.
Sure enough, when the Emperor finally finished reading the pile of answer sheets in his hand, the first sentence he said when he raised his head was, “Where is this person now? Since he is so talented, why didn’t he go directly to the Examination Hall to take the exam?”
Qi Yang stepped forward to answer the question with a smile on her face, without any trace of the seriousness from before. “I happened to meet her on my way back to the capital. She is very talented, but has never taken an examination before, and doesn’t have any merit or fame. I also had to spend a lot of effort to trick her into answering these examination papers on my other courtyard.” After a pause, she blinked again, acting like a young daughter. ”She’s not just good at literature, she’s also very good-looking.”
When Qi Yang mentioned her other courtyard, the Emperor had a guess in his mind – after all, there was that thing with Zhang Zhen before – after hearing Qi Yang praising her good looks and acting like that, how could he not understand her thoughts?
He became a little amused inside. Since this matter did not really involve the imperial examination, that means it would just count as his young daughter’s mischief. The Emperor became much more lenient, “This person is really talented. You have made a meritorious recommendation, what reward do you want?”
With one sentence, this matter was defined as a recommendation. And the other implicit meaning was that the Emperor was going to snatch the person from Qi Yang.
How could Qi Yang not understand that the Emperor was teasing her again? She blinked and turned her eyes slightly, then smiled and said, “I am now of age, I want to ask Royal Father for a princess’s mansion. As for the person who wrote the essay, how about making her my Chief Historian1?”
When princesses come of age, they would all ask for a princess’s mansion, so it couldn’t really be considered a reward. In the end, what she actually wanted was the person.
How could the Emperor not understand that? He pointed at her with his finger as he laughed, “Oh you, with such a talent, wouldn’t we be wronging him if we only sent him to the princess’s mansion as a Chief Historian?” After that, he continued, “Besides, the official position you want to ask for is not a Chief Historian, right? The Prince Consort2 position is the one you really want, right?”
Hearing that, Qi Yang blinked again and gave an exceptionally sweet smile, “Royal Father is very discerning. I also think the Prince Consort position would be very good.”
While it’s called Chief Historian, their job is usually to be an important person’s aide, and can be similar to a secretary-general or chief of staff position.The specific title the Emperor referred to here is slightly longer than the usual Prince Consort title, as it has a military title attached to it as well
Just as a reminder, he and she sound the same (‘ta’) in spoken Chinese, but written with a different character. When Qi Yang refers to Lu Qipei she uses the female ‘ta’, but the Emperor uses the male ‘ta’ since he still thinks she’s a man.