[Side Quest: Pear Dies For Peach.]
Shi Sheng was given a shock by System’s sudden voice, causing her to shoot upright.
The room was pitch black. Shi Sheng facepalmed. ‘What the hell? Why are you issuing a mission in the middle of the night? I’m(lz) not taking any missions, thank you very much!’
Shi Sheng toppled back down on the bed.
Shi Sheng, “…” ‘Auto-accepted your grandpa! System, get out here if you have the balls! See if I(lz) won’t chop you into scrap metal!’
[……] ‘Only an idiot would take that invitation.’ [Host, if you don’t do this side quest, the system will deduct all your Life Points. In other words, you will no longer be able to enter other mission worlds—and meet Feng Ci.]
‘Woah! Learned how to use threats? I(lz) just fucking knew you were making the rules up!’
System didn’t make a peep. ‘Don’t annoy her, just let her do what she wants…’
Shi Sheng took several deep breaths before finally managing to suppress her anger.
‘What do you mean “Pear Dies For Peach”?’
[Keywords: Jade Tower, Weiyang Palace.]
Shi Sheng, “…” ‘Just what new ‘feature’ have you pulled out of your arse this time? I dare you to stick to the original and not randomly add new settings! You’ll get bad reviews like this, I tell ya!’
System acted on the principle of “I can’t hear you, I can’t understand you” and blocked out Shi Sheng.
Shi Sheng pushed herself upright on the bed.
‘Was there somewhere called Weiyang Palace around here? I don’t think so…
And Jade Tower…the hell is that? A place to keep jade???
The part of Weiyang Palace used to store jade???
This little bitch system is really testing the limits of my patience.’
Shi Sheng sat on the bed till day broke, whereupon Tao Qin, who had come in to help Shi Sheng freshen up, was startled to find the latter awake and upright, her hair in a mess.
“Mistress…?” Ever since Shi Sheng had been demoted to Jie Yu, Tao Qin switched her form of address to “Mistress”.
Shi Sheng propped up her jaw, asking listlessly, “Do you know about Weiyang Palace and Jade Tower?”
“I’ve never heard of Weiyang Palace.” Tao Qin pondered for a moment. “I have heard of Jade Tower—it’s the palace library. Mistress, why are you suddenly asking about it?”
Tao Qin had a doubtful expression. ‘Why is Mistress asking such a question right now?’
‘Jade Tower = the library? “Only through books can we find jade-like beauties…”? What. The. Fuck! Which Dashen picked this name?! The first thing anyone thinks of when they hear “Jade Tower” is jade, okay?! How the hell would they know it’s referring to books?!’
Jade Tower was located within Lin’An Academy.
This academy was located within the palace. It was the place the various princes, noble heirs, and other assorted scions affiliated with the imperial clan came to study at.
Because plenty of people would be using the academy, it was located closer to the imperial palace’s peripheries where the concubines weren’t allowed.
Shi Sheng had to work quite hard to sneak out here.
“Mistress, what are we doing here?” Tao Qin scanned their surroundings, terrified that they would be found out. “If we’re discovered, you’ll be reprimanded by His Majesty again.”
‘The matter from before hasn’t fully blown past yet, and now you want to sneak in here? Isn’t that just asking people to heap accusations on you?’
“Looking for jade.” Shi Sheng looked at the academy gates in the distance and replied noncommittally.
‘Jade? What jade? What jade could you find in an academy?’
Tao Qin had a befuddled look on her face.
Shi Sheng checked their surroundings. She led Tao Qin to avoid a patrol of imperial guards and circle around to the back of the academy.
“Mistress, what are you doing…?” Tao Qin nervously pulled Shi Sheng back.
The latter rolled up her sleeves and spoke, “Climbing in ah. Didn’t you say we weren’t allowed in?”
“Are you mad?!” Tao Qin dragged Shi Sheng back, an anxious expression on her face. “Imperial students are in there—how could you enter like this?!”
“Then I’ll enter through the front door.”
Tao Qin, “…” ‘But you can’t enter at all! There are tutors in there! Men! Without His Majesty’s permission, how are you going to clear your name if you get found out?!’
“Mistress, we mustn’t enter!” Tao Qin shook her head vigorously.
“Fine. You stay out here, I’ll go in.”
Tao Qin nearly spat out a mouthful of blood.
In the end, she could only resign herself to fate and say, “Mistress, what are you looking for? I’ll go in and help you find it. You can wait outside for me.”
“I don’t know what I’m looking for either.”
Tao Qin, “…” ‘Mistress, are you kidding me? You don’t know what it is you’re looking for, so what’s the point of entering???’
“Alright already, what’re you prattling on for?” Shi Sheng jerked her hand out, moved back a distance, and sprinted for the wall.
Tao Qin watched as her mistress nimbly scaled the compound wall.
It wasn’t that high, so Shi Sheng didn’t have much trouble doing so.
“You coming up?” Shi Sheng sat on top of the wall, lowering her head to look at Tao Qin.
The latter furtively looked around before nodding determinedly.
‘If I don’t follow, what happens if Mistress stirs up trouble again?’
Shi Sheng bent over and stretched out a hand. Tao Qin thought she’d have to struggle to get up there, but who could’ve expected her mistress to easily pull her up?
Shi Sheng jumped down the other side. “Jump down.”
Tao Qin looked down and felt her head spinning. ‘Why do I feel like it’s a way longer drop on this side?’
Tao Qin looked back outside. It wasn’t just her—the ground really was lower on the inside.
“Mistress… My legs have gone soft.” ‘I don’t dare to jump from so high!’
“Just jump. I’ll catch you.” Shi Sheng stretched out her arms.
Tao Qin was still rather unwilling to jump, but during her moment of hesitation, she heard orderly footsteps approaching not far from them. She immediately grew nervous.
Tao Qin shut her eyes, grit her teeth, and leapt.
Tao Qin wasn’t heavy, but Shi Sheng forgot that her current body was still a weakling—she did catch the girl, but in doing so, the two fell to the ground.
“Mistress, Mistress, are you okay???” Tao Qin hurriedly climbed off Shi Sheng and made to help the latter up.
Shi Sheng twisted her waist a bit before speaking, “I’m fine. Let’s go.”
It was probably class time at the academy, for the grounds were empty of people. Shi Sheng and Tao Qin stuck to the buildings as they made their way further in.
After they had left, two figures appeared from behind the large tree they had been standing behind.
“Master, what did this Yun Gui Fei…uh, Yun Jie Yu come all the way here for?” ‘And she even climbed over the wall…’
The man smiled slightly, his gaze gentle. “We’ll know if we follow, won’t we?”
Thinking of the scene he’d just witnessed, he felt like laughing.
The man tailed Shi Sheng from afar. He watched as she avoided the people in the academy grounds and headed for Jade Tower. As she snuck in through the window, the man grew even more curious.
“Master, she actually climbed in through the window!” ‘Is this still a palace concubine???’
“She even climbed a wall, remember?” The man reminded the lad.
The young lad’s expression turned odd.
“Wait for me outside.” The man left the young lad outside Jade Tower as he entered through the front door.
When the page guarding the door saw the man, he bowed slightly. Though his attitude wasn’t very respectful, he showed no sign of attempting to cause trouble for the latter. “Sir Ming.”
The man laughed lightly and lowered his voice as much as possible. “I wish to stay inside for a spell. Can you keep others from disturbing me?”
“Understood.” Since this Sir Ming often came over, the page had no suspicions as to the former’s motives. He left Jade Tower and shut the door behind the man.
Jade Tower was well lit up. Rows upon rows of bookshelves were neatly lined up.
The man searched through the place, but didn’t find the person he was looking for. Seeing the stairs to the side, he climbed them.
There were only two levels to Jade Tower. The books kept here were only meant for the imperial children to study; it wasn’t where the real collection was.
Whatever books the students needed to learn from would be moved over as and when they were needed, and then removed when they were no longer necessary.
But the second floor was different. Most of the books there were collected from the public and were treated as extracurricular material, so they wouldn’t be removed.
 There’s a story behind this idiom. It’s about a pair of brothers, one called Pear, the other called Peach (they might be tree spirits, who would’ve thought?). As you can see, Pear dies for Peach. You can read on for a more in depth explanation but you won’t be missing anything if you skip:
The original is “李代桃僵”. The first character is the one for “pear”, the second means “replace”, the third means “peach”, the last means “stiff/to stiffen” (implying death). I believe it came from a poem or something about how the pear tree took on the pests of the peach tree and died as a result.
There’s also another meaning to it. In military strategy terms, it means to use a small sacrifice to take out an equal, opposing force.
 I know this is a bit confusing, but just think of System as the system’s persona. It’s the part that has complex emotions while the rest is kinda like a subconscious of some sort? All the background processes get delegated out. At least I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.