Who Cares

Who Cares – Chapter 83

Chapter 83 Confidant


Emperor Shen Yuan wanted to use Confucianism to govern the country. First, he saw its benevolence ideology as a way to make people obey and control them; Second, he saw that its Three Principles and Five constants* would make his subjects loyal to the monarch and avoid committing rebellion. However, when it compiled and summarized by Xu Guangzhi, the clan etiquette was placed above the national law, that means, the monarch and ministers guidance were placed after the father and son, and the husband and wife.

It was the same three principles, only the order was slightly changed, but the meaning was very different. As the Emperor Teacher said, his policy theory advocated and consolidated patriarchal power, not monarchical power; it strengthened the concept of clan, not the idea of loyalty to the country. In a short period of time, the people’s clan concept would have been strengthened, and they would naturally follow the rules and work diligently. However, as time goes by, they would only know that they have a family, but didn’t know that they have a country, they would only know how to protect their families, but didn’t know how to repay the country. If faced with family troubles and national disasters, it was natural to protect the small family and abandon the big country.

In the end, it didn’t matter to them who was the emperor, they could still live their lives. Just like a soldier who defected and returned home to serve his parents, Confucius praised his filial piety, instead of punishing him, he tried give him honor.

Several great families in the past stirred up storms in the Central Plains, led wars against the feudal vassals, and planned riots. As long as the family existed, the power continued to expand, they didn’t care who the person on the throne was, and even the slightest disagreement could turn the world upside down.

What was the suffering of the people? What if the common people were in trouble? They only have the word “clan” in their hearts, how could they lower their heads to see the commoners crawling at their feet? No, maybe they once lowered their eyes and looked at it carefully, otherwise how could they have created words such as “ants”?

Emperor Sheng Yuan, who used to be one of those ants, hated the rotten and apathetic noble family, so how could he allow them to revive? He picked up Xu Guangzhi’s article and glanced at it for a second, before throwing it into the brazier expressionlessly and burning it to ashes.

Several ministers lowered their eyes and did not dare to look more, lest the fire would accidentally burn them.

The era of the noble family had passed, apart from gradually declining and falling apart, afraid it would be difficult to regain its former scenery and glory. Xu Guangzhi was clearly a smart man, but he chose to attach himself to the noble families and tried to enter an official position. Didn’t he see that the emperor’s recent promotions were all underprivileged students, and the people he suppressed were the children of noble families?

Everyone was confused and secretly fearful, but Old Master Guan and Guan Father were calm and unperturbed. Although they also came from a noble family, they were not from an official noble family. They had expectations for fame and fortune, but they attached more importance on personal cultivation and ideas in their hearts. As long as the children in the family read well and studied well, there was nothing to worry about.

No, study too well was more worrying! Thinking like this, the two secretly glanced at the manuscript placed by the emperor’s side, wondering how to deal with it. Yiyi’s pen name was Lingyun Layman, but she abandoned it and took this “Innkeeper”. It could be seen that she didn’t want to reveal her identity, so they must cover up for her.

The father and son looked at each other and understood.

How could Emperor Shen Yuan not find the exchange looks between the two Mount Tai, he laughed secretly in his heart, and then picked up the manuscript and said slowly, “Emperor Teacher, how does the handwriting of this Innkeeper compare to yours? Although Zhen’s eyes is dull, but can hear the sound of cracking silk and gold in it, and perceive the unstoppable momentum, there is even a strong arrogance on the paper, which is good characters that is rarely seen in the world, right?”

Guan Father hurriedly lowered his head to hide the smile at the corner of his mouth, Old Master Guan then highly praised him, “Where is the emperor’s eyes dull? It’s actually has unique vision and discerning sight! This Innkeeper’s iron painting silver hook characters is like a frightening dragon, not only the framework is upright, but also has the spiritual charm, truly a masterpiece that this minister has only seen now in his life! This minister’s handwriting can be compared with others, but never dares to show ugliness in front of this Innkeeper.”

Never expected the usually humble and polite Emperor Teacher would praise his granddaughter without any reservation like this. Emperor Shen Yuan coughed repeatedly and laughed secretly. He remembered the scene of Madam chopping watermelon with her bare hands, and then looking at the two Mount Tai, he felt that everyone in this family were really cute and he felt more respect.

After the old man finished his round of praise and stopped to drink tea, Emperor Shen Yuan continued to ask, “Zhen once heard Emperor Teacher say that your precious granddaughter is also a master of calligraphy. How does it compare with this Innkeeper?”

Old Master Guan’s beard trembled for a while as if he was a little awkward. After a while, he said, “Back to the emperor, the two should be almost on par.”

“Oh?” Emperor Shen Yuan laughed, “Then Zhen will request for Madam’s masterpiece someday, and ask Emperor Teacher to help Zhen send the word.”

The old man’s cheeks were flushed, and he seemed unable to speak. Guan Father looked at his nose and his nose pointing to his heart, pretending to be an outsider.

After teasing the serious and rigid Emperor Teacher, Emperor Shen Yuan felt very happy, shook the manuscript, and continued, “After the appreciation of calligraphy, let’s appreciate the article again. Zhen guess this Innkeeper should be a scholar of miscellaneous school, although she* mentioned national law everywhere between the lines, and seems to be a Legalist; she understand the essentials of Confucianism in great detail, and can easily cite the sentences and allusions that cannot be obtained by scholars who have not been immersed in Confucianism for decades, and seems to be a Confucian; Her study of historical classics can be called to be penetrating, and it sums up the trajectory of historical development, and seems to like a historian. Counting carefully, it’s really a rare all-rounder!”

After the embarrassment dissipated, the old man nodded again and again, with a smile on the corner of his mouth, as if he was enjoying it. Guan Father and several ministers occasionally echoed, but did not show any abnormality.

Emperor Sheng Yuan fondly touched the manuscript and sighed, “Zhen want to invite this Innkeeper to the palace for a meeting, if Zhen can persuade her to serve as an official, or stay by Zhen’s side to come up with strategy for Zhen, it will be a great blessing in life!” Glancing at the old master’s instantly stiff face, he smiled and reassured, “Of course, Zhen will never treat Emperor Teacher coldly for her. There is a saying in Central Plains that ‘a teacher for one day, a father for a lifetime‘. The teaching of Emperor Teacher for Zhen is comparable to that of a father.” In fact, his father had never looked after him, how could he raise and teach him? Emperor Teacher and Chief of Ceremonies had done far more for him than his father, and he would never forget it in this life.

Old Master Guan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, his old face was wrinkled like dried orange peel.

Emperor Shen Yuan let it slide at this point, pretending to wave his hand regretfully, “Unfortunately, Zhen have sent many people to inquire, but they have not found any clues. It can be seen that this Innkeeper has no intention of becoming an official. Then let her be free and live like free cloud and wild crane. Emperor Teacher, Zhen have one last question, what this ’Innkeeper’ (literal translation: reverse travel, give up people) word means?” (TN: the break down of the word is at the end of chapter 82)

Old Master Guan breathed a sigh of relief and explained, “The inn means a guest house or a hotel. This is a word from “Zuo Zhuan – The second year of Duke Xi”: ‘Today Guo is not in the right way, and protects against the guest house (TN: that became a fortress for the enemy)’. Keeper has two meanings, one is for the owner of the inn and second is a guest of a noble family. Since she already choose the word Inn, it can be seen that word keeper means the former, modestly calls herself just a small shopkeeper who runs a guest house, a commoner.”

Emperor Shen Yuan pondered for a moment, shook his head and said, “The little shopkeeper of a guest house? I don’t think it’s right. The word ‘inn’ (reverse travel) should be interpreted from a superficial level in my opinion, meaning that it’s a traveler who travels in the opposite direction.”

The words paused for a while, and his tone was firm and admiring, “Laozi has a proverb: ‘I have three treasures, which are worth keeping and protecting. One is kindness, the second is frugality, and the third is that I dare not be the first in the world‘. Every time Zhen think about it, Zhen scoff at it. If no one takes the lead, how can Zhen become the emperor? How can the world be at peace? If we do it in the opposite way, give up kindness to be courageous; give up frugality to be extensive; give up behind to be the first, then the hero will be established, the generals will come out, and the people will survive, thus the prosperous world can be expected. Therefore, the meaning of ‘give up people’ is fully revealed, not the owner who give up for the guest, but to sacrifice one’s life for righteousness, and dare to be the first!”

He fixedly looked at Old Master Guan, and sighed, “The mind and courage of this Innkeeper is truly admirable!”

Can the four words “Innkeeper” be explained in this way? Old Master Guan knew his granddaughter very well, and thought that this was just a pen name she chose at will, without any special meaning, but unexpectedly the emperor beautify it and pull out such out of this world reasoning, which made him laugh.

But he didn’t refute, just nodded silently. The other ministers laughed and praised the emperor’s wisdom and knowledge, gradually eliminating his dissatisfaction with Xu Guangzhi and the noble family, and then took the opportunity to leave.


Guan Suyi laid down for half an hour, dreaming of a little baby clinging to her and called her mother, she woke up with tears in her eyes and couldn’t sleep again. It was really uncomfortable to stay in the Zhao Mansion, and seeing Zhao Chunxi and Zhao Wangshu she felt even more heartbroken, she hurriedly washed and went directly back to her parents’ house.

After stepping into the Emperor Teacher Mansion and talking with her mother for a while, she finally calmed down and shut herself in the study to practice calligraphy. In the evening, when it was almost time for dinner, and she was about to untie the lead block from her wrist, she heard a frantic voice from the old man outside, “Well, you little fox, secretly learn the Hundred School of Thoughts behind my back! It’s not only your father teaching, but also your maternal grandfather and grandmother, isn’t it?”

Guan Suyi pushed open the window and looked at the old man with a smile, “Grandfather, aren’t you happy that your granddaughter done a good job in learning?”

“Happy, so happy!” Old Master Guan’s feigned anger expression  suddenly disappeared, he stroked his beard and laughed, “You don’t know, the emperor asked me several times if I knew this Innkeeper, and I almost couldn’t hold back and said it was my granddaughter! Thinking that you want to conceal your identity, and afraid that you will be disturbed by the common people, so I held back. You learn what you learn, and you actually kept it from me? Do you think that I’m also the same class with Xu Guangzhi, who only recognizes Confucianism, and must be strangle the Hundred School of Thoughts? That’s not a scholar, that’s a bandit!”

Guan Suyi repeatedly agreed, and her mood instantly became happy.

Old Master Guan continued, “His Majesty is really interesting. He likes to play around in front of others after drinking a little bit of literature. How do you think he break down the ‘Innkeeper’ word, truly wish flowers came out from the speech…” He slowly recounted the conversation in Weiyang palace to his granddaughter, and then he walked into the study and looked at the table, only to see a line of handwriting like a dragon jumping out of the snow-white paper: give up kindness to be courageous; give up frugality to be extensive; give up behind to be the first; to die? No regrets!

“Was the emperor really hit the nail on the head?” He was dumbfounded for a moment, and then he looked at his granddaughter in shock.

Guan Suyi’s inner shock and emotion were no less than her grandfather’s. She could never have imagined that the person in the world who could truly understand her and see through her was this emperor who had once made her look down on him in every possible way. Yes, looking back in time, the vicissitudes of life, she can change, how do you know that others can’t?

This emperor was not muddle-headed, on the contrary, he was also very courageous, knowledgeable, and wise. The previous life was gone, it’s time to abandon the past and look at the present.

The depression between her brows completely dissipated, and she said word by word, “If fortunate enough to meet His Majesty, Yiyi should take him as confidant and have a chat over the wine.”

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7 thoughts on “Who Cares – Chapter 83

  1. Can’t help but feel that absolute loyalty to the monarch is also bad. What happens when the monarch makes policies or declare wars that causes harm to the people? Not all monarchs will have the interests of the people in mind or make wise decisions. However, it’s true that if each clan just focus on their self interest first, the country will be worse off. Thanks for the chapter!

    1. Yes. But this.. usually happened after 20 or 30 years of a stable reign/after new reign name is established (like this Wei, before Qin etc). You know, peace made the Emperor dull and become tyrant kinda thing. Usually, during the hardship of “rebuilding” or “molding” new Empire, monarch will really put people interest first. Like Sheng Yuan. He hated the noble clans and extended Imperial Family precisely because the struggle and strife that happened prior from the unification. After he introduce many officials from poor background and so on, this officials will be the seeds for new “noble clan” and his own offsprings will branch out into next Imperial/prestigious clan. Tbh, it is a cycle. They are at the phase where monarch put people first because they are fragile (the power of Imperial), then they slowly build up their power and connections, next prosperity ushered and then come time where usually it went awry, when monarch drunk on power (tyrannical rule) or monarch become incompetent due to “static state”.. the noble and powerful clan banded together to overturn the Emperor leading to civil unrest or worst wars with other territories taking advantage. When it comes to this point, it is exactly like this story beginning, rise of a new leader that in turn go to the first phase, put people interest first. 🔄

  2. Wow, turned out the pen name closely related to some poems or is it saying of Chinese text. No wonder we can only get the literal meaning hahaha. It deeper meaning honestly sounds so good. Give up behind to be the first. Interesting that there is that is it proverb or Chinese idiom? Because the literal is rebirth of a give up person. But the proverb kinda allude to forget the past to win this current reality. I am so happy that even when Emperor is just jumping the gun of a fanboy beautifying his idol and accidentally hit the mark, it is hugely significant for Suyi to know someone know of the real meaning of her penname. That is why I support them; because Suyi become happy and he without meaning to ease her worry and guilt (that baby from past life).

  3. Never cared so much about an emperor governing a country until this novel. I’m like oh, so they use these laws to govern a country but here’s the downfall and then Suyi goes well why not just combine the 2 philosophies haha.

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