Who Cares

Who Cares – Chapter 172

Chapter 172 Snuff out


Old Madam Zuo knew that her granddaughter’s literary talent was brilliant, but she didn’t know that in just a few years she had improved to this point. This article was divided into twenty chapters, namely virtue, self-cultivation, cautiousness, thriftiness… Treating relatives, etc. It covers almost all aspects of women as the empress and imperial concubines. It also elaborated the details of how to treat people, and eloquently explained the style of the mother of the country.

Without this article, the world would have never imagined what kind of things the empress should do and what she would look like. With this article, they could realize that while having supreme power and respect, the empress had so many obligations and responsibilities. She shouldn’t be too extravagant, and favor evil and help the wicked. It was precisely because she was the empress that she should practice frugality, punish evil and promote good, and set an example for the titled women of the imperial court and even all women in the world. It was precisely because she was the empress that this article did not talk about how women should be humble and submissive, but instead emphasized self-reliance, discerning good and evil, and cultivating virtue.

After Old Madam Zuo read the manuscript and handed it over to Zhong shi, she said firmly, “If this article is attached to the palace rules as a preface, and once it is implemented, it will be known to everyone in the world. You will establish yourself as a virtuous empress. Whether you can do what you say is the biggest question.”

Guan Suyi chuckled, then said, “Why not? Right now Wei Kingdom has just been established, the population has withered, the taxes has been sharply reduced, and the country treasury is empty. If even the imperial family does not abide by frugality, it will only allow the extravagance to prevail, causing great waste and at the same time stripping away the blood and sweat of the people. How did I grow up from childhood to adulthood, grandmother know very well. The brocade clothes and magnificent dress are only worn this year, in the past only have simple meals and sackcloth clothes, but you never see me unable to stand the suffering. As long as I can eat enough and dress warmly, isn’t life the same?”

Zhong shi hesitated, “Have you ever asked about the emperor’s attitude? If you insist on being frugal, and he is extravagant…”

“Hmm… His Majesty lived more miserably than me when he was young, he’s not a person who enjoys luxury. He is now worried about the huge military expenditure. I will save the harem expense, and hand it over to him as military fund. Now the border is in chaos, the southwest staring like a tiger watching his prey. Everything else can be saved, but the troops can’t be economized. If I do this, he will certainly approve it. Once the palace become more frugal, the courtiers will not dare to be too extravagance and wasteful. In this way, the problem of the empty treasury can be alleviated.”

Old Madam Zuo then made a decision, “Alright, I will enter this article as the preface of the palace rules. After you discuss it with the emperor, I will start compiling it. Your grandmother has no other skills, but I knows the secrets of the past dynasties in great detail. If you want to control the Six Palaces from top to bottom, I will definitely help you formulate the strictest rules and give you the greatest authority, and I will never let the world criticize you. It’s only natural that the superiors make the rules, and the subordinates shall obey the rules.” At the end she lowered her voice and said word by word, “As long as you firmly grasp the power, no one can move you even if you lose your favor.”

Guan Suyi nodded seriously, her eyes darkened. Seeing that the two of them had already made up their minds, Zhong shi didn’t say anything.

After the article was handed over to Emperor Sheng Yuan for reading, he really liked it very much. He even gave Old Madam Zuo a token that allowed her to enter and leave the palace at any time, and helped Madam compile the palace rules. As the saying goes, “there is no way to make a circle without rules“, these women in the palace were fighting all day long, and they had already make the foul atmosphere. It was time to rectify inside and outside, clean up from top to bottom. Others only thought that Old Madam Zuo was writing the history of the Jiuli clan, so they didn’t care about her frequent visits.


Inside the Shuangyun Palace, Shen Jieyu was grooming herself in front of the mirror. From the bronze mirror, she caught a glimpse of Dengxi, her chief maid, quietly entered the palace. She said in elongated voice, “What’s wrong?”

Dengxi sent away the people around and replied in a low voice, “The Empress Dowager agreed to lend you the nails in the palace. This is the token.” Then she handed over an ordinary golden peony hairpin.

“Very good.” Shen Jieyu put on the golden hairpin and asked, “Is there a roster? Let This Palace see.”

Dengxi stepped forward to give a booklet, lowered her voice, “These are the palace maids and inner attendants who were subdued when the Empress Dowager entered the imperial city. Most of them are old people from the previous dynasty, they are extremely familiar with the affairs of the inner palace and occupy important position. Some of them are inconspicuous miscellaneous servants, who, although have low status, are better at concealment and can play a big role in critical moments. The Empress Dowager order you to burn it after you memorize it, so as not to leave a handle. She also has some secret guards on hand, asking you if you want it or not, if you want it, show your sincerity and rescue the imperial grandsons first.”

“Then what can This Palace use to control her after rescuing them? If she turns her face and refuses to acknowledge the debt, who should This Palace look for?” Shen Jieyu chuckled, “This Palace naturally will get those secret guard. You go and tell her that This Palace can rescue the imperial grandsons first and let her send half the manpower over. If it works then it works, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work, it’s not that This Palace has to follow her.”

Dengxi took the order and left, and after about half an hour she returned and nodded, “It’s done. This is the list. She will send people over on the day when the little imperial grandsons leave the palace.”

Shen Jieyu opened it and couldn’t help but smile, “Juili people are so loyal, in order to protect their masters, they’re even willing to become inner attendants. It’s wonderful, mix in these inconspicuous miscellaneous servants, then This Palace is good to go. Five people, although not too many, is enough for the time being.”

Niangniang, how are you going to save the little imperial grandsons? Even Pan Jieyu didn’t dare to take on this, why do you take the risk?”

“Riches and honor are obtained by taking risks, what do you know?” Shen Jieyu said slowly, “Send this medicine powder to Changle Palace, and let the Empress Dowager pick a little imperial grandson to drink it, and it will take effect within three days. The symptoms are exactly the same as smallpox, and even the imperial physician won’t be able tell the difference. There is no need to drink an antidote, it will be better in half a month by its own. When the time come, just report it to the empress, move the little imperial grandson out of the palace for treatment, or feigned death to escape, or find a child who has recovered from smallpox and replace him. It all depends on their own operation, This Palace can only help until here.”

“Yes, this servant is going.” Dengxi put the medicine bag into her sleeve pocket and hurriedly left.

When the Empress Dowager got the powder, she didn’t dare to give it to the little imperial grandsons, but found a few palace maids to try it first. Three days after taking the medicine, the palace maid indeed have blisters all over her body. After lying down for half a month, it healed without medicine, and there was no scar on her face. Only then did the Empress Dowager believe in Shen Jieyu, and after the little imperial grandson drank the medicine powder, she sent the five secret guards over. On the surface it was very secretive, no matter who looked at it, it was just a reasonable transfer, and there was nothing suspicious.

On the same day, the palace rules formulated by Old Madam Zuo were finally released. Guan Suyi read it repeatedly and handed it over to Emperor Sheng Yuan for review. After confirming that there was no problem, she called the concubine to announce it.

Since the last show of killing the chicken to warn the monkey, Pan Jieyu used the excuse of being sick to never leave the Panyun Palace. Dozens of people in the palace were all inspected by her several times, and suspicious people had long been dealt with in secret. Those female guards all put on palace clothes, removed their weapons, and never dared to be unconventional.

After receiving the Empress’s summons, although she was dissatisfied, she was afraid of being rectified, so she had to come to Jiaofang Palace to listen to the teaching under the mocking eyes of everyone.

There is no way to make a circle without rules. Since ancient times, the inner palace has been the place with the strictest rules. The matter with Pan Jieyu last time, presumably you’re all have been warned, so This Palace will not say more.” Guan Suyi ordered Jinzi and Minglan to distributed the thick book of palace rules, and ordered, “This is the palace rules formulated by This Palace in accordance with the old rules. It has been sent to His Majesty and the old ministers, and have obtained their unanimous approval. His Majesty and This Palace have each made a preface for it, hope you will study it carefully and practice it diligently after you get it. In the future, anyone who violates the rules of the palace will be severely punished and will not be forgiven.”

Palace rules had existed since ancient times, and were generally systematic with national laws, with the same binding force. Violating the palace rules was like violating the laws of the country, and countless concubines had been punished throughout the dynasties. Naturally, everyone presents did not dare to raise any objections. They took the book while respectfully complied, after seriously looked over, they all broke out in cold sweat.

This palace rules were very detailed and very strict, from the things worn by palace maids and inner attendants, to the words and deeds of the empress and concubines, each had corresponding rules. And the promotion of palace maids and inner attendants, and the promotion of the concubines, were all need the empress’s approval. In other words, with this palace rule, the empress would become the sole autocratic figure of the Six Palace, everyone would have to look at her first before acting, and everyone would be under her control.

Those who were discourteous in front of the emperor would be demoted, those who had lost their personal virtues would be demoted, and those who were ineffective in protecting the descendants would be demoted… A series of demotions were followed by a series of promotions. At the end, various crimes corresponded to various punishments, all had detailed records. Where is this palace rule? Obviously even stricter than the law!

Except for the empress, how can everyone else live?

When Shen Jieyu was in a rage and was about to fight, she turned to the second half of the book. The content actually annotated the source of each palace rule, and it was not made up by the empress, but actually followed the example from the past dynasties. Each palace rules also cited a concubine who had violate it, and elaborated on her fate to warn future generations.

How could people refute such a detailed and comprehensive collection of palace rules from the past dynasties? Confucianism advocated ancient law, wasn’t this the best example of ancient law? Shen Jieyu could almost imagine how the emperor and the ministers complimented this palace rule when it was presented for review. And she, a little concubine, had no qualifications to refute it.

Besides Shen Jieyu, the rest of the concubines were also overwhelmed by this palace rules, but they did not dare to argue with the empress. Just because the front page of this palace rules not only attached the preface from the empress, but also attached the preface from the emperor, and it repeatedly ordered them to do their best and not to violate the rules. If anyone cause any trouble, it would be equal to disrespecting the imperial decree, and their fate could be imagined.

Pan Duolan was waiting to regain her strength and fight with the empress, but the fighting spirit that had been stored for nearly a month disappeared in an instant. Here on out, what color of clothes she wears and what style of jewelry she wears were under the control of the empress, so how could she fight with her? Between the Empress and the Jieyu, which didn’t feel like much different before, were now built an artificial moat, she couldn’t resist, otherwise she would immediately be buried at the bottom of those moat.

The new official took office with three fires, and those three fires have not finish burning. The empress couldn’t play the trick of killing chickens to warn monkeys again, so maybe now she was waiting for someone to make trouble! You can’t make trouble. If you make trouble, it will give the empress an excuse to punish you! Thinking like this, the feeling of powerlessness hit like a tide, making Pan Duolan on the verge of collapse.

Shen Jieyu repeatedly reminded herself that this was only temporary, with the help of the Empress Dowager, she would get out of this predicament sooner or later, but then she heard the Empress speak slowly, “The emperor promulgated the law of nurturing the people a few days ago, as the mother of a country, how can This Palace not response? In order to carry forward the national law, and also to do good deeds and accumulate virtue, from now on, all the maids in the palace who have reached the age of twenty-five will be released for marriage, and the inner attendants who have reached the age of forty will be released for retirement. This Palace has entered this matter into the palace rules, and it will be effective from now on.”

Among the palace maids and inner attendants who could mix in the palace, which one was not old? As soon as the empress said this, it was equivalent to instantly disintegrating the power system of the inner palace that had long been structured, and taking away other people’s advantages. However, she put it in the name of righteousness and great good, so that people could not say more than half a word!

Shen Jieyu‘s arrangement was destroyed seven out of ten before it even started. She seemed to have been hit with a stick, and the back of her head was sore and swollen, but she had to hold back. The empress’s tricks are really amazing! She didn’t give anyone the chance to fight at all, it was all snuffed out with one move!

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10 thoughts on “Who Cares – Chapter 172

  1. Oh the irony! Guan Suyi absolutely HATED the ‘Lessons for Women’ because it constricted women’s rights and subsumed their every action and thought to their overlords — men. Now she promulgated a set of laws that’s meant to suppress another group of women under another overlord — her as the empress. So it’s okay to press down on women’s rights — what colors they should wear ffs — as long as SHE is the one doing the oppressing. Seriously rolling my eyes at the hypocrisy.

    1. There’s literally a background plot of one of the concubine’s and the dowager empress to kill her. I don’t think her goal here is to suppress women as much as it is to make sure she can eliminate as many dangers as possible.
      I’ve noticed a trend of people disliking her ever since she started actively fighting back. If she is passive for a moment right now that’s the end of her and her family.
      If you’re reading this novel you’ve probably read other palace dramas or watch them. She is trying to weed out all those terrifying plots that lead to family exterminations. Also she’s a confusionist. She will always have to try and balance out the cultural misogyny that was in the work that she was brought into and the overall culture she’s a part of. If this novel is going to stay realistic she can’t be a purely innocent sweet person who never plays dirty in any way.

      1. 👏👏👏👏👏👏 for your insight. And rules about clothing, jewelry, number of servants, housing & decor, even the food provided is all a luxury that depends on status and pecking order not just in the palace but noble & common homes too. Chinese have always been top level bureaucrats and love laying down the law on everything 🤣 guess that’s necessary when you have one central power/government that manages a huge country that incorporates many ethnicities

      2. Thank You, after reading the comments at times I wonder if we’re all reading the same novel or if any of the people understand the concept of a historical novel, based . Plus this is a chinese novel, it stems from chinese culture and beliefs, FL is no longer a commoner but now the empress. In the palace its dog eat dog, now the lifestyle is different and it’s the survival of the fittest. The rules that the FL is setting are not to bully others but to stop any pending bloodshed. This novel is 200+ chapters and people expect the characters to not develop & change?

        Anyway, thanking the translator for your hard work.

    2. It’s literally called Palace Rules, meaning it’s for the palace people only, where on earth is she suppressing women? They are concubines and even in normal households, they still have to follow a set of rules let alone the palace. Still, its better to have a rules book than plot against them in secret and we know they are not her opponents so I feel its better to do that besides, those concubines in the palace are the hardest to deal with and they aren’t innocent either, if you don’t suppress them then it’s bringing calamity to oneself.

    3. This is only meant to suppress the inner harem, which consists of numerous ambitious and dangerous women with equally ambitious and dangerous families. The inner palace law will not be emulated in the population or even among the nobles because it’s only meant for palace use. It’s safe to use because it cannot spread.

    4. Seriously rolling my eyes at this comparison. Lessons for Women killed thousands of women, and you’re worried about the color of clothing a concubine can wear, concubines that are actively planning to killer her and using poisoning a child to do so. I wonder why some people even read ancient Chinese novels like this all the way up to 170 chapters when they’ll still criticize the mc for not having enough modern sensibilities… of course the mc is going to prioritize the main wife…and reduce the luxuries of the imperial harem

  2. I think she should allow the concubines to”reconcile” and “remarry” if they haven’t got pregnant by Emperor. (But author would be pushing it too far to write that in)

  3. To some extent the rules she has come up with will discourage the nobility from sending their daughters to be concubines to the emperor by making the position unattractive. As others have said, these rules will help reduce the fights for power that can occur between main wives and concubines.

    These rules are both helpful and harmful.

    These rules make the main wife, the center of power in the backyard. The current system seems to be one in which the husband can undercut the main wife by bringing in concubines and favoring them. The rules that MC is putting forth prioritize the main wife and her children. In a system, where women are at the mercy of men, particularly wives at the mercy of their husband, these rules can be seen as empowering. However, they only empower particular women.

    in a system where there’s polygamy and polygamy is not going to end anytime soon – the rules that she is putting forward harms secondary wives by reducing them almost to chattel and to servants of the main wife.

    In a situation where women are secondary citizens, it’s hard to make rules that both constrain men and empower women. Generally you end up with rules that only empower women of a particular class.

    The true solution is to make women equal to men, and even today women are routinely treated as secondary citizens in even the most egalitarian countries. So to some extent you can’t blame the MC for being a product of her time.

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