|“||This is exquisite artistry, the likes of which you won't find anywhere else.||”|
A young woman skilled at manipulating her puppet and proud of the fact. She used to work in the palace, so she keeps a high opinion of herself. Aside from her puppet 'Lury', she doesn't care for anyone.
Making Dragon's Beard Candy requires exquisite skill. It is made by pulling and teasing a maltose mixture into thousands of strands of sugary silk. Thus, in ancient times, it was a treat only to be had in the imperial palace. Now that it's made its way to the common folk, its unique flavor and texture have made it a popular favorite.
How to Acquire
blue = lvl 1red = max lvl
|Contract||Raised in a palace, accompanied by my Lury, and from now on pledged to you in joy and sorrow. Is this good fortune, or ill?|
|Log In||I've waited ages, and you've only just now returned. I hope you'll take this home a little more seriously.|
|Ice Arena||So this is the place? I guess something is better than nothing.|
|Fatigue||My spirit is willing, but...|
|Recovering||I'm whole again. I won't bother with it anymore.|
|Team Formation||Lury and I are here. Naturally you needn't worry.|
|Knockout||Hard to avoid in this place of life and death...|
|Notice||It's not often I do the cooking. You'd better savor it.|
|Idle 1||No pageantry, no fanfare? ...How mundane.|
|Idle 2||Can't you think straight? What's the meaning of brushing me aside?!|
|Interaction 1||Lury was made by my own hand. Of course I cherish him. How could you compare?|
|Interaction 2||One must have etiquette. You would do well to take stock, lest you become a laughingstock.|
|Interaction 3||A pull of the string grants life. None but I could produce such exquisite craftsmanship.|
|Pledge||It may just be a formality, but necessary all the same... from this moment, we are bound by the knot of joy, and my fate is entwined with yours.|
|Intimacy 1||Having this name endows me with profound meaning. You are thrice blessed to be entwined with me.|
|Intimacy 2||Our fates are one. Let Lury stand witness, and let neither of us forsake it.|
|Intimacy 3||How could my talents be used for serving tea? This duty naturally falls to your domain.|
|Victory||Naturally credit for this victory goes to Lury and myself.|
|Defeat||The heavens conspire against us...!|
|Feeding||Though you fall well short of me, you at least put some care into it. Thank you.|
This Story has been fan-translatedby Revelery.. Official translations will be added when they become available.
The palace maid used the black powder in her hands to carefully trace the corners of my eyebrows in front of the mirror. I raised my hand to let her back away, stood up, and raised both of my arms. The female servant meticulously placed the faint, silky robe on the place where it should be worn.
"Your Excellency, the Empress Dowager’s meal has been delivered to her bedroom on time. The Empress Dowager wants to have dinner with you.’’
The eunuch came to my bedroom respectfully, and he bowed to me. I raised one hand to let him raise his head and nodded softly.
I went forward with steady steps as the hairpin tucked in my hair swayed in sync. The legions of maids and eunuchs followed behind me to the Great Hall until I stood in front of the Empress Dowager's palace. The eunuch reported my arrival to the Empress Dowager in due time.
After the announcement, I slowly walked behind the eunuch into the Empress Dowager’s bedroom and saluted her respectfully.
"Dragon’s Beard Candy, stand up. I've said many times that you don’t need so much courtesy in my inner temple. After all, you are my Food Soul."
"Etiquette and rituals should be practiced three times a day. If it were abandoned, then it is to be laughed at by the people.
"Well, I'm not as stubborn as you. Get up and sit down next to me.’’
I carefully arranged my long dress before sitting down, and slowly placed myself in a posture that would never be disrespectful. My fingers gently smoothed out the wrinkles of the dress. I sat beside the Empress Dowager and watched the official smiling and kneeling in front of us.
I didn't listen carefully to what the official said. His first few words had already exposed his ambitions and desires.
"The widow knows,’’ said Lord Wang.
"Ah...OK, good! Then that problem of mine..."
"The Ai family will consider it. Lord Wang is a courtier. It is always risky to stay in the emperor’s harem for a long time, so leave early.’’
"Yes, yes, thank you, Empress Dowager. Thank you!’’
The Empress Dowager turned her head to look at me, who had been distracted.
"Dragon’s Beard Candy, you see, this is the nature of human beings. They can show their ugly behaviors in order to live for only a few decades, and even put the country in danger at the cost of people's lives. For my son as the young successor, I need to remove all those maggots one by one. "
"Why is the Empress Dowager still….?’’
"If not, how would I get him from telling his purpose to the Ai's family? This cannibalistic court hall, and the people in the family who I still believe in are you and my son. You must not have the heart to leave me. If you don’t betray me, I will give you the honor of all the people. The most noble status.’’
"Dragon’s Beard Candy is the Food Soul of the Empress Dowager. The Empress Dowager is the Master Attendant of Dragon’s Beard Candy. Dragon’s Beard Candy must respect the Empress Dowager. With the exception of the Empress Dowager in this world, where else can Dragon’s Beard Candy go to?’’
At that time, I still underestimated the complexity of the human heart. No matter how sincere the trust, it can still be misunderstood and disintegrate little by little. And no matter how strong the fetters are, it can still break little by little under the hearts of sinister people.
My Master Attendant was the Empress Dowager of the dynasty. She was once a gentle and soft lady, but she became a mother as well.
In this cannibalistic court, in order to protect her young crown prince, she decided to embark on a difficult path that no one understood. The only good thing is that she succeeded.
When the former emperor died at a sudden notice, I didn’t know how much effort Master Attendant took to bring the young child to the throne.
The former child became an emperor under her protection, but the Empress Dowager, who was no longer gentle, forgot that children can grow up.
By chance, I made a string puppet called "Lury’’ under the guidance of a puppeteer.
He has a very similar appearance to humans; handsome, elegant, like a piece of beautiful jade, and the Empress Dowager gave him the name, Lury, when she saw it.
I looked at Lury’s appearance and frowned. Somehow, I always feel that Lury reminds me of someone very familiar, as if I have met someone like him, but no matter what, I couldn’t remember who it was.
The delicate silk thread in his hand dragged his every move, but sadly, it couldn’t break free.
In the palace garden, there are rare and beautiful sceneries outside. The off-season flowers bloom beautifully under the care of the housekeepers. Beautiful birds with long tail feathers rest in the shade of trees.
I leaned on the soft cushion under the shade of a tree, and the maid next to me fanned out a gentle breeze with a large fan made out of bird feathers.
The afternoon sun brought along a gentle breeze, and when my eyelids were about to close, I heard a loud noise.
Such noisy and ignorant voices shouldn’t have been issued in this stately palace.
I frowned and walked to the place where the ruckus was produced. Several concubines were gathered together, and they were constantly jeering around a woman kneeling on the ground.
"What happened? Why was it so noisy?’’
Upon seeing my arrival, the concubines all showed a surprised look. They all retreated to one side, leaving the woman lying on the ground begging for help as she knelt in front of everyone.
"Lord Dragon’s Beard Candy, this woman is a concubine, but she doesn't know the basic etiquette. She has an affair.’’
"Lord Dragon’s Beard Candy, I don’t, I don’t!’’
I couldn’t help but frown at this miserable woman. Her hair was disheveled at her temples, her clothes weren’t neat, and she continued to cry for help in front of me.
I looked at the woman begging for mercy with some headache, and couldn’t help but sighed.
"Well, I will leave it to Her Majesty, the Empress Dowager. Don't make any more noise to disturb the peacefulness of the palace.’’
"...Empress Dowager?! No...Please, please….Tell the Emperor! Don't tell the Empress Dowager! Please, tell the emperor! Let the emperor take away my sin! Please, please! The Empress Dowager will kill me!’’
"Nonsense, the empress will not kill innocent people. Take her away!’’
I looked at the woman with little puzzlement. The Empress Dowager wouldn’t wrongly look at the truth and betray her, so why did she cry so miserably?
A long time later, I learned that the military power of this concubine's family was one of the forces that the Empress Dowager wanted to eliminate recently.
If I knew how fragile my trust was at that time, then everything would have ended differently, right?
But what cannot be changed was that I was like Lury at that time.
Entwined and manipulated by the thread of destiny, and that tragedy of doom was performed step by step.
The woman kneeling in front of the Empress Dowager kowtowed constantly, but her beautiful face was now covered with blood.
I looked at the Empress Dowager, who was drinking tea. The Empress Dowager had on a leisurely look, as if the person kneeling in front of the hall didn't exist.
Maybe the Empress Dowager saw my puzzled eyes, and she raised her hand and patted the back of my hand gently.
"Dragon’s Beard Candy, well done. I didn't underestimate you.’’
Just before I understood what she said, the Empress Dowager had put down her tea cup, and the smile on her lips made me feel strange.
"That being the case, we should be leaving, but for the honor of serving the emperor for many years, I will give you a white cloth, and I will forgive the relatives of your family if you rip it yourself.’’
I widened my eyes and turned to look at the Empress Dowager incredulously. Why does she, who was always reasonable, believe other people's false words at this time without any investigation?
"Dragon’s Beard Candy, are you standing on our family’s side?"
I looked into the Empress Dowager’s eyes and suddenly felt that I had never seen my Master Attendant this clearly. At this time, there was no trace of emotion in her eyes, and it chilled my spine.
I opened my mouth slightly, but her stern expression prevented me from saying anything to refute.
The woman held the white silk sent by the maid, and she stared at me fiercely. At that moment, the glare of that weak human left me as if I have been nailed to the spot, unable to move.
I suddenly caught a glimpse of the concubines who were the ones who caused the earlier fuss, and the smile on their lips made my brain blank.
After they saluted me and the Empress Dowager, one of them showed me a sweet smile.
"Thank you, Lord Dragon’s Beard Candy. If it weren’t for Lord Dragon’s Beard Candy’s help, this scumbag wouldn’t have sought the Emperor, and she will certainly not receive the punishment she deserves~"
I didn't...I just wanted her to get the fairness she deserved...I didn't help you...I didn't …
I didn’t remember how I got back to my bedroom.
But I suddenly felt a coldness that I have never felt, spreading from the soles of my feet to my whole body.
The chill that started from the spine made me feel like I was living in an ice cellar.
Terrified, I held Lury tightly, trying my best to draw even a little bit of warmth from it.
This time, I finally realized the meaning of her sentence.
Who am I to trust? Should I believe her?
The concubine finally died in her bedroom. She was the only woman the emperor married out of his own will. Because of this, she became the most prominent person in the palace before her death.
But even if the emperor doted on her as if he pampered thousands of people, in the end, it was only three feet of white silk that took her away.
The Empress Dowager also took this opportunity to attack and weaken the influence of her family.
I stood secretly in front of her bedroom, watching the emperor kneeling in front of her corpse and crying. As his hands shook, I handed him the handkerchief. The next moment, however, the handkerchief was smacked away by him. I saw this weak man staring at me fiercely like a wolf.
His swollen eyes and his bone-deep hatred made me step back involuntarily.
"Are you here to see what you have done? Did Mother send you here? Are you satisfied?!’’
The sound of questioning was like a hammer hitting my chest. I opened my mouth to explain, but found that whatever I said at this time was so small and powerless.
The hands under my sleeves were clenched and unclenched. I looked at the man who lost an important person, took a deep breath, and drew courage within.
"I will talk to the Empress Dowager."
"What do you want to talk about?’’
"You have grown up, and these things should be left for you to decide."
"Are you trying to mock me?’’
" ...I know what I did was wrong, but this is the only thing I can do. But, please, don't blame her, she just wants to protect you.’’
"I don't need your pity."
"This is not a pity. This is my request. Please give me another chance. There must be some other reason for her to do this... "
"Okay, this is her last chance. I hope she really has another reason."
Empress Dowager asked me to enjoy the moon together. Apart from me, no one can accompany her to enjoy the moon and chat in such a large palace.
I put Lury in my arms, and the Empress Dowager gave me a piece of her favorite pastry, while she laughed and joked.
"You are almost like those little daughters-in-law holding their own princes, like how those wives guard their husbands well. Is it that you also want to find a lover, but you’re too embarrassed to tell me? You can have ten miles of people carrying dowry gifts as 8 people lift your sedan chair for the marriage procession, but you still won’t lose face.’’
I froze, clenching my sleeve slightly, and reluctantly smiled a bit.
"No, what’s good about a lover? Not even the emperor can protect his lover, let alone those who are not as good as him. Lury is better for me."
"...Dragon’s Beard Candy, what do you mean by that? Are you blaming me for going too far?’’
"Dragon’s Beard Candy is not afraid to say this, but Empress Dowager, the emperor has also come of age. There were some things you should have done, yet regarding the concubine, you may have been too arbitrary.’’
"Oh, I see how it is! Okay...you’re not on my side, you’re not on my side anymore…’’
"That wasn’t intentional, I just wanted to ask you…’’
‘’Shut up! Somebody! Punish Dragon’s Beard Candy...she’s forbidden from setting foot outside the bedroom, you must not let her out of bedroom without my permission!’’
"This is all mine! Everything is mine! That ungrateful white-eyed wolf! I did so much for him! Wasn’t it all for him?!
I watched the Empress Dowager’s frenzied state, and once again fell silent.
I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong.
At that time, I couldn’t understand the deep sorrow in her eyes when she had fallen into madness.
In this terrible place, the only person I can trust has finally become the person I couldn’t believe in anymore.
She didn’t punish me further after that, until she stopped asking me to accompany her to dinner.
The days of imprisonment weren’t gloomy, and Empress Dowager didn’t blame me for that unpleasantness.
That conversation made her lose the only person who could stand by her side, and it also made me lose the only person I could trust.
I hugged Lury tightly and buried my head on it.
Sure enough, I only have Lury left.
Humans are untrustworthy and despicable beings...
I sat by the bedroom window and looked up at the sky that hadn't changed at all. I was at a loss, and suddenly, a voice returned me to my senses.
"You see, she wasn't trying to protect me at all. She could even have taken action against you. She was only acting for her own power."
I looked at the emperor who coldly smiled, and I suddenly didn't know how to justify.
"I will take back everything that belongs to me, and I will make her pay for it!"
I looked at the emperor who turned away angrily and suddenly didn't know what kind of excuse to make.
One day, she came to my bedroom without notice. I thought she wanted to say something to me, but she just looked at me quietly, showing a smile I hadn't seen on her face for a long time.
"Maybe the Ai family really did do something wrong...Dragon’s Beard Candy, please brew tea for me one last time.’’
I turned to look out the window. In contrast to the bright moonlight, there was a shout that broke through the sky. The sound of collision between soldier’s weapons had brought the shattering of the porcelain into pieces, and the shrill scream made a frightening sound when the dull blade pierced the body.
The Empress Dowager gently turned my head back, and with a helpless smile on her face, she shoved the teapot she had been carrying to me.
"At last, I finally understood what you said, but it seems too late. I thought he could understand my pain, but it seems that...We are all like your Lury, controlled by something, going further and further down. "
"Call me Master Attendant, will you...I don't want to be an Empress Dowager anymore...a doll named Empress Dowager... I was already manipulated by this title, doing too many things I didn’t want to...I'm tired.’’
"Master Attendant... "
V. Dragon's Beard Candy
The Master Attendant of Dragon’s Beard Candy was once a gentle person, but since she put on that mask named "Empress Dowager", she had forced herself to be a strong and excessive person.
Out of the desire to protect her children, she firmly controlled all the political affairs in her own hands.
Dragon’s Beard Candy, as if she was her own daughter, became the only one she could rely on.
Dragon’s Beard Candy has heard the Empress Dowager ask her the same question countless times with some tiredness.
"Won’t you always stand by my side?"
Dragon’s Beard Candy didn’t know that she was the only person that her Master Attendant could rely on in this chilling and trembling place.
The emperor grew up day by day.
Once a coward, he could no longer understand the mother who had a strong desire to take control of him, nor could he understand her intention to break between him and his lover through brutal means.
Once tenacious and unbreakable fetters, just like this, became a sad story covered by a layer of haze.
Surprisingly, Dragon’s Beard Candy, who was extremely convinced from her Master Attendant, was suddenly shocked from the battle where the emperor had lost. He seemed to have become a puppet in the hands of those people, and a chess piece to achieve their goals.
The Empress Dowager achieved her purpose, and she stabilized her child's precarious throne.
But she didn’t expect that it would only cost him more.
She lost the heart of her child, and the only person who trusted her unconditionally.
Dragon’s Beard Candy closed her heart, and the people who had failed her could no longer enter behind her walls. All that was left in her world was a doll named Lury.
She didn't know why the Empress Dowager would come to her bedroom on that day, showing a gentle smile when she first saw her.
She didn't know why the Empress Dowager never appeared before her after that.
Soon she was kicked out of the palace by the emperor who truly became the ruler of the palace. She was still dressed in elaborate clothes and hugged Lury while walking on the street warily.
Ordinary people on the side of the road pointed to this person in their colorful clothes, and some people gathered together and whispered.
"Did you hear that the Empress Dowager died of illness?’’
"What? Why was there no national mourning?"
"Shhh...I heard that it was a rare cause of death, so they had to bury her hastily."
Standing in the street, Dragon’s Beard Candy tilted her head slightly when she heard those words.
She didn't know why. She cried more than once because of the person who had lost her trust.
She bowed her head down, looking at Lury in her arms as the silk threads were wrapped around its limbs, and revealed an extremely bitter smile.
She thought she knew the reason why she was crying.
When she was still in that colorful garden, she saw countless wonderful performances.
Once upon a time, there were so few puppet masters from foreign countries that used their dexterous hands to use their puppets to perform a sad tragedy.
In that small wooden frame, the dolls that follow the silk thread were like the emperor controlled by the Empress Dowager, and more like ourselves who are constantly moving towards tragedy under the control of fate.