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The little girl in front of him had jet-black hair combed into a bun on top of her in an unmarried girls’ hairstyle. She had a flower in her hair. The flower was studded with star-shaped sapphires. A curved blue gemstone necklace hung from her bun across her forehead.
Her whole person was fresh and elegant, classic and noble, and pretty as the autumn moon. Her jet-black eyes especially shone with luster, more brilliant than obsidian.
There was actually such a stunning beauty hidden in the General’s Manor! The Emperor stared at Zi You without blinking. The Eunuch Yu next to him was getting anxious. He quickly coughed.
His heart thought, ‘Don’t be so useless, okay, old man? The guniang is still young, only twelve years old. Don’t scare her.
Besides, you’re about to turn forty in a few years, old man. I don’t even know how many times you tangled with your heap of women. Now you lost your soul because of an underage little yatou? If this spreads out, if you don’t feel ashamed, the country will feel ashamed.’
Eunuch Yu’s cough called back the Emperor’s soul. The middle-aged uncle also felt a bit embarrassed. His face turned red and he covered up with a cough. “Yatou, Zhen heard you wanted to form a female medical team and follow your grandfather and uncle onto the battlefield. Can you tell Zhen why?”
Zi You curtsied. She replied calmly, unhurriedly, clearly, and distinctly, “Emperor, a war has many casualties. Although Chennu had not done surveys, Chennu understands the numbers won’t be small. Chennu is troubled watching the soldiers guarding their homes and defending the country die or be disabled; and watching relatives face the same dangerous situations as the soldiers. Grandfather and uncle are Chennu’s family and these soldiers are our Great Yan’s guardians. Without them, how can we civilians lead happy and peaceful lives? Before mother died, she told Chennu to guard grandfather and uncle in her place. Emperor, Nanjiang is dense with jungles. There are all kinds of poisons and poison miasmas. The northern grasslands have wolves and Xiongnu people. They are even more elusive, cruel, and vicious. The army only has about a dozen or so doctors. How can they cope?”
***[TL Note: I know there are some disparities between Zi You thinking her mother is dead [public opinion] and the implication that her mother was taken by Zi You’s Indian grandmother, but still alive [from Née Liu and Old General Mu]. I’m not sure what the author’s going with or whether Zi You’s mother would show up eventually, so please bear with the author and this translator 🙏]