Gluttonous Crown Princess - Chapter 1.1
It was March; Spring filled the air with warmth as peach blossoms bloomed brilliantly.
The city of Chang’an was decorated with lanterns and fluttering brocade streamers everywhere. The two sides of Zhuque Street were brightly lit; the common folk were shoulder to shoulder as they crowded around, watching the excitement while exchanging whispered discussions——
“The crown prince’s wedding is really lavish huh!”
“Of course! The future ruler’s getting married, how can it not be a lavish affair? Besides, the crown prince may only be having this one wedding in his life, so of course it would be carried out grandly.”
“Sigh, our crown prince is really pitiful. Such a wise and refined person, yet so frail and sickly……”
“The crown prince is pitiful, the crown princess he’s marrying is also pitiful. She’s a legitimate daughter1 of a marquis, yet is being betrothed to a sickly man who doesn’t have long to live, in hopes that the happy affair will chase away his ill fortune. If the crown prince passes, wouldn’t she become a young widow at such a young age?”
Amidst the enthusiastic exchange, the magnificent bridal sedan followed the long line of guards of honour and entered the Eastern Palace.
The prince was too weak with illness to personally welcome his bride. So, only when the bridal sedan came all the way to the entrance of the Eastern Palace did the crown prince appear for the kicking of the bridal sedan2, and receive his bride.
The matchmaker2 beamed as she said towards the bridal sedan, “Crown Princess, we have arrived at the Eastern Palace. Get ready, His Highness is coming to receive you!”
The bridal sedan was silent.
The matchmaker called again; still nothing. Could the bride have slept through the entire journey?
A bad premonition crept into her heart; she lifted a corner of the curtain for a quick look.
With just one look, the matchmaker’s expression suddenly changed drastically. Her legs weakened, and she almost fell to the ground.
Inside the bridal sedan, a bride in a bold red wedding dress leaned limply to the side, her eyes tightly closed, and a trace of black blood trickled from the corners of her red lips.
Next to the hand that was dangling lifelessly was a little white porcelain bottle.
The bride who was meant to bring good fortune to the crown prince, had committed suicide by ingesting poison before the ceremony!
When Tao Ti opened her eyes, she was greeted by a sea of festive red.
Bold red bridal canopy, bold red pillows and brocade quilt, bold red wedding dress, bold red paper cuttings in the shape of Double Happiness3…… What sort of situation was this?
Seemingly in answer to her question, in the next moment, a torrent of memories flooded into her mind.
The owner of this body was also called Tao Ti. She was the legitimate daughter of Marquis Yong Wei of the great Yuan Dynasty4, and was sixteen years old this year. The Marquis Yong Wei’s wife, Madam Zhang, and Empress Gu were close friends. When Tao Ti was born, the two friends then agreed to become in-laws.
Childhood arranged marriages were very common in ancient times. However, the year after the engagement was made, Empress Gu died of illness.
Not long after, the five-year-old young prince fell into the ice lake and ruined his constitution ever since. He would get a cold once every three days, a high fever once every five, and had been able to cling onto life solely with the aid of medicinal decoctions. Half a year ago, the Directorate of Astronomy divined that the crown prince’s death was imminent, and unfortunately might not live past the age of twenty-three.
The crown prince is twenty-one this year.
The emperor loved the crown prince dearly, so he arranged for a wedding for him in hopes that it would chase away his ill fortune.
He never thought that the bride’s heart already belonged to someone else. On top of that, as she was unwilling to marry a sickly prince who would be dying soon, she chose to end her life in the bridal sedan.
As a result of a strange combination of circumstances, Tao Ti, who had a fatal case of food poisoning, transmigrated here.
After gaining clarity about her situation, Tao Ti only wanted to rage at her injurious friend, that qiongqi5, whose IQ is as low as that of a common husky——
That fella had returned from a trip to Yunnan and brought her a bunch of mushrooms. Only after polishing them off with great enjoyment did she find out that the mushrooms’ scientific name was ‘chlorophyllum molybdites’, otherwise known as ‘ICU mushroom’, a mushroom that could create the opportunity for the whole village to gather and have a meal6.
To think that she, Tao Ti, a young cub who’s the Taotie Tribe’s 99th generation, with a mouth capable of eating anything and everything, would actually meet her doom on a plate of mushrooms!
The most absurd thing was that the Taotie Tribe were all invulnerable to poison, but Hell had a system malfunction and had mistakenly claimed her. Before she could complain to the King of Hell, she’d been bumped onto the reincarnation platform by an evil spirit.
When she next opened her eyes, she had become this chongxi7 crown princess.
Tao Ti propped herself up into a sitting position while comforting herself with the thought, It’s also a sort of fated affinity to have transmigrated into a body with the same name and surname. Since I’m here, I’ll just have to settle down and make things work. It was likely that the poison in her body had not been completely detoxified; her chest was still aching somewhat, and her throat was also very parched.
The bridal chamber was empty; there was no one else around, and the door was tightly shut.
Translator notes: I thought it would be nice to explain here again, in case readers missed it in the synopsis. Tao Ti is (or used to be, before she transmigrated here) a taotie, which are ancient Chinese mythological creatures that are one of the “Four Evildoers”. As described in Shan Hai Jing 山海经 (the Classic of Mountains and Seas), taotie features include a sheep’s body, tiger’s teeth and human face and hands. It’s a gluttonous beast that eats everything. The monster is so greedy that it even eats its own body. Therefore, the patterns of Tao Tie are often found in ancient cooking vessels, yet only with its head. “Taotie” is now used as a term to describe gluttonous people. Written as 饕餮, it’s pronounced ‘Tao Ti’ in Chinese, which happens to be a homonym of the FL’s name, 陶缇 (Tao Ti).
The Chinese title of the novel is 饕餮太子妃, which literally translates as Taotie Crown Princess, but I thought it sounded cuter and gave more context to use the modern interpretation of ‘taotie’ and title it ‘Gluttonous Crown Princess Tao Ti’ (: With the way she acts with the modern knowledge of regular modern folk, and the bits we glimpse when she recalls her own past, the world of her past life seems to be a mixture of modern & mythical, where mythological creatures are living in modern times (and likely to either be of human form or to take on humanoid forms). Please enjoy this sweet romance fuelled by all sorts of delicious things!
1 Legitimate daughter: Born to the man’s legitimate wife, rather than his concubines.
2 Kicking of the bridal sedan: An ancient Chinese wedding custom. When the bridal sedan arrives, the groom will kick it as if to establish his dominance; the bride inside will also kick from the inside in retaliation. This is to signify that in the future, the man will not be afraid of who’s inside, and the woman will not show weakness.
3 Double Happiness: Double Happiness is a ligature, “囍” composed of 喜喜 — two copies of the Chinese character 喜 (xi), which literally means joy. It is a Chinese traditional ornament design, commonly used as a decoration symbol of marriage.
4 Yuan Dynasty: Written as渊朝, it’s a fictional dynasty, and not the same as 元朝, the Mongol-ruled dynasty in 1271–1368.
5 qiongqi: 穷奇; One of the “Four Evildoers” in Chinese mythology. It is a monstrous creature that eats people. As recorded in Shan Hai Jing, they look like a tiger with wings, and always eats humans from the head.
6 a mushroom could create the opportunity for the whole village to gather and have a meal: A euphemism that the mushroom is highly toxic and could cause death. In Chinese traditions, funerals involve the villagers gathering around and sharing a meal after the rites, hence the saying. As an aside, while ‘chlorophyllum molybdites’ can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, according to Wikipedia, it hasn’t resulted in death (in the U.S.), whereas Baidu (Chinese Wiki) states that the mortality rate is quite high. In short, just don’t eat mushrooms you don’t know, and never pick wild mushrooms without a trained guide!
7 chongxi: 冲喜; A kind of folk belief behaviour in China; it is to let a patient who has not healed for a long time marry someone, and use this “happy event” to “flush” away bad luck in order to achieve the effect of curing the disease. Sometimes it is also possible to let the children marry and give the “good fortune” to their sick parents.
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