Priest: I don’t know what to write this week. Let’s talk about trivial
1, About “Hometown.”
* The word used here is 故园 – gùyuán, the word gu read the same as the gu in Gu Yun (although written differently). I’m guessing it is (园).
wordplay, as in this is Gu Yun’s garden (d).
Outsiders would think since Marshal Gu was born in the army, he always ate sand and drank the north wind, and with his wacky temperament, he must be very casual. In contrast, His Majesty had been gracious since he was a boy. His manner is incomparably elegant, even concealing his foreign Barbarian blood.
So on the surface, everything in their private life should be arranged by His Majesty, while Gu Yun was the casual one.
But in fact, Chang Geng, a country-born “Local Emperor”*, was not as particular as he looked. All day long, he had no other interests but to work and exercise. As soon as Gu Yun would go on a business trip, he would live like a monk, going to bed early and getting up on time every day, fighting with iron puppets, then going to court to take care of work. (the bodyguards were too intimidated to chase after the emperor with a sword).
* local tyrant: refers to the influential people who occupy a territory
and has a derogatory meaning
At mealtime, he would eat whatever the kitchen prepared, never complain about dishes he did not like, or be greedy for the delicious food. He would not have the bad habit of drinking a cup of wine after the meal, either. Because he used to not have a good sleep in his early years, he did not even drink tea, let alone wine; he lived solely on plain boiled water…….Waiting until Gu Yun returned to drag him out to live a colorful life once again.
Gu Yun, on the contrary, couldn’t stay idle. Whenever he is free, he must come up with things to do. Moreover, according to Chang Geng’s observation over the years, it was not that the man was fussy, but it was his joy.
After the site selection for the Gu garden was decided, it was natural to renovate it. In the beginning, Chang Geng wanted to do it himself, because he felt it was a big job. He did not know how much effort would have to go into such a sizable garden and was unwilling to let Gu Yun exhaust himself, he could only see to it personally.
After he racked his brain to illustrate the garden design, Gu Yun had also returned from patrol to the north. The emperor ordered the Ministry of Works’ executive officer to bring the design to Marshal for his opinions.
Marshal’s opinions… they were as heavy as a downpour.
The hard work in Chang Geng’s eyes became Gu Yun’s greatest joy at that time. After returning to the capital, Gu Yun ran to the Ministry of Works every day, chatting with the two construction leaders. One day he would add something, then change something else in another. He would offer Chang Geng a heap of bits and pieces of miscellaneous things he thought was impressive.
Today, he’d show him the most popular tiles in Jiangnan, and the next day, he’d showed him five designs for the guest pavilion, asking him to choose which one he liked best. Chang Geng bent his waist, holding a magnifier glass, looking back and forth three times, but could not see any difference between them.
“It’s alright,” Chang Geng didn’t understand his enthusiasm very well. He just thought, “As long as he’s happy.”
Therefore, the construction of the entire Gu garden in the later period was almost entirely built according to Gu Yun’s ideas. He carried out these things with seemingly never-ending patience. He even personally went to see what kinds of bamboo trees would be planted beside the pavilion; when he could not make a choice, he also brought several trees back to the Marquis’s manor for planting to see how they would turn out.
Chang Geng accompanied him to plant the bamboo. He felt that when these trees were standing in a row, they appeared as if they came from the same mother. He thought blankly, maybe they will become different after some time?
Because of the weather in the imperial capital being inappropriate for their growth, the bamboo trees all died, Chang Geng was not able to see the difference. Thus, it remained a mystery.
Long after the Gu garden’s completion, Gu Yun set off his horses in the back of the mountains, while Chang Geng rolled up his trousers to fish.
As soon as there was a fish about to take the bait, Gu Yun’s horses always ran over to join in on the fun, as if they were deliberately making trouble. After sitting for a long time, they did not manage to catch any fish. Chang Geng was not in a hurry either; he calmly changed the bait and sat leisurely, there was no telling whether he was fishing or meditating.
Gu Yun remembered something and suddenly asked Chang Geng, “Didn’t you say that you would take care of building this garden? Why did it all become my job in the end?”
Chang Geng said lazily: “My idea at the beginning is relatively simple, only a small piece of the courtyard.”
In the Gu garden’s entirety, Gu Yun did not make any drastic changes to the small place where the two usually lived, because before, Chang Geng had renovated it down to the detail. From the slightly lowered small courtyard to the flowing and winding water, to the duckweeds and stone steps, all were painted by him.
Gu Yun pillowed his arms and laid down by the lake behind the mountain: “I heard from the construction leaders that you tell them to work however they pleased in other places. I think you only have the patience to build a small courtyard.”
Chang Geng said with a smile: “It’s not that I only have the patience to build a small courtyard, but there is only one courtyard in my heart.”
Gu Yun blinked.
Master Liao Ran once said, “If one’s heart is small, all their sufferings even as large as a house, can only be crammed into that small corner. But if one’s heart was as vast as heaven and earth, then even if their troubles were as large as a mountain, they would become nothing more than a droplet of water in the endless sea.”
Although the master did not like to be clean, he was indeed an eminent monk. When Chang Geng was a teenager, he followed his words and banished his worries and resentments to the four corners of the world. Now, with all his fears and resentments cleared up, he took his “heaven and earth” back to a small seed and put them all into this little courtyard.
In this way, wouldn’t it mean that his feelings were so deep it could never dissipate?
Just as the fish were about to approach, the faint sound of horse’s hooves came again. Chang Geng sighed: “Marshal, if your retired ‘soldiers’ meddle again. There will be no grilled fish to eat in the evening. You can rinse your hands in the water and prepare to lick them for dinner.”
Gu Yun picked up his robe and said, “Wait.”
Chang Geng thought that the Marshal wanted to go train his horse. However, his eyes dazzled for a moment, a splashing sound rang out, he almost had a face full of water.
Gu Yun: “Catch!”
He cut into the water obliquely with one hand, creating no water droplet, catching a fat fish with one move. Its scale sparkling in the light, falling into Chang Geng’s arms with a streak of colorful glow. Its wagging tail created a small rainbow.
The emperor caught it in a hurry, the fishing rod fell into the river: “Gu Zi Xi! How old are you!”
Gu Yun laughed aloud.
Then his joy turned to sorrow. He did not get to eat the grilled fish he so yearned for that night. Afraid that he would catch a cold, Chang Geng took him to take a hot bath, poured him a bowl of cold expelling soup, and resolutely changed the grilled fish into miserable watery fish soup.
He even put shredded ginger in!… This crazy dog emperor!
2, Why did Chang Geng become an emperor but was still chased by iron puppets?
Unlike Gu Yun, who was brought up on the battlefield, Chang Geng didn’t have many opportunities to dance with swords and spears in his life.
After he took over the throne, the country was at peace, the generals all planted fields in the frontier fortress. The northwest camp also organized a melon planting competition to see which general had the largest and sweetest melon. He Rong Hui took first place. Later, he was nicknamed “Great General of Divine Melon.” The man was very proud of it. Every time he returned to the capital to report his work, he would give Marshal Gu a cartful, it did not matter whether or not people liked to eat them.
In such an environment, the emperor was undoubtedly more unlikely to take part in battles. However, he still got up before dawn every day and beat several iron puppets of the Marquis’s house with bare hands, practicing until sweat broke out even in the coldest winter days, no matter rain or shine.
Up to the age where he had grey in his hair, he could still ride the fattest Eagle armor and pull the heaviest iron bow.
Later generations inferred that this should be because of his childhood experience.
He grew up in Yanhui. Even though Gu Yun brought him back to the capital when he was a teenager, he only stayed for less than a year. Before getting used to the extravagance of the imperial capital, he already followed Master Liao Ran to roam the world.
When he was young, he had to rely on his own wit to ease the suffering under Xiu Niang’s abuse.
When he was a bit older, he had to hold the knife in his hand so that he could wait until he was rescued by someone from the wolves.
When he was a young man entering the world, he had met local ruffians, mountain bandits, and all kinds of eccentric people in the pugilist world. There were too many cases where it would lead to a fight with just one sentence of disagreement. Unable to depend on the people by his side, Whether it was fighting or running, he must take care of it himself.
When he finally grew up and returned to the capital to inherit his title, the capital was almost blasted into slags by the Westerners.
Spending the first half of his life in chaos and turmoil, he never had time to learn how to be a superior aristocrat and place his life in the hands of the guards and the imperial army. He was like a lone wolf, even when living a comfortable life, he never dares to forget to sharpen his claws and teeth. He always felt that as he had one more chip in his hand, he should always remind himself that power resembled a floating cloud, he must not indulge and become too reliant on them.
After all, he had tried his best, combined with a bit of fate, went through many hardships and dangers, and could finally protect the things he wanted to protect. How dare he relax?
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