Chapter 231: Return Of An Old Friend
Xie Jing Xing only left ten short days but the days seemed to be much slower than he was present. It was obviously still the same Prince Rui residence but it did not seem right.
The Mo Yun Army left a few guards in Prince Rui residence to defend the place. Tie Ye followed along with Xie Jing Xing and so did Gao Yang. Ji Furen did not let Ji Yu Shu go since the Ji family only have a single seedling but knew knew that Yu Ji Shu had an unaffected personality that he left a letter and mixed with the expedition troops and left. When Ji Furen discovered it and wanted to chase, Ji Daren held her back, “Ji Yu Shu is impetuous and ignorant. It is good for him to tempted to sharpen his mind.”
And thus in the big Long Ye, most of the people that had good relations with SHen Miao seemed to have left overnight. Gao Yang left so the Gao family send over his younger junior over to look after Ye Hong Guang. Ye Hong Guang was still not awake and just continued sleeping.
Luo Tan seemed to have grown up a lot overnight and no longer provoked or tease others all day or even hang around the streents. Occasionally she would stop and care about the situation at Ming Qi’s side. From the beginning, Luo Tan was entangled in the war between Great Liang and Ming Qi thus Shen Miao told her the entire situations and happenings in Min Qi. That included Fu Xiu Yi, Emperor Wen Hui and also included the suppression of the Luo and Shen families. The more she listened, the quieter she became and afterwards she no longer said anything.
Shen Miao did not console her as there are some matters where one would slowly understand clearly. It was only sooner or later.
The days became much quieter and there were no signs of panic within the commoners in Long Ye. Perhaps they were particularly confident with the soldiers that went for the expedition or perhaps were used to the peace for so many years that they had no recollection of war and thus were not afraid.
Nowadays Shen Miao and those noble families’s Furens had good relations. This was naturally because of her deliberate enthusiasm and these Furens were also very smart. The Imperial family’s biggest threats, the Lu and Ye families, had disappeared from the living and currently only the Imperial family was powerful in Great Liang. Prince Rui residence was related to the Imperial family and Shen Miao had good relations with Empress Xian De, so naturally they were in a hurry to please her.
Speaking of Empress Xian De, Shen Miao would often enter the Palace to visit her. Shen Miao liked to chat with Empress Xian De as Empress Xian De was an extremely talented female and Shen Miao had a wide exposure of knowledge due to her past life of being an Empress. When both of them chat, they could talk about anecodotes all the way to the current situation and their opinions were unexpectedly fitting. Empress Xian De also liked her and everytime they chat, time seemed to go by very quickly.
On this day, Shen Miao wanted to go out again as she planned to enter the Palace to visit Empress Xian De.
The more one enter autumn, the more would one feel the cold. Tang Shu came in with a bowl of goat milk, most likely because Xie Jing Xing left, Tang Shu was just too free every day. Other than being occasionally instructed by Shen Miao to manage the stores, most of the time he had nothing to do. Thus he would think of ideals for meals and even said, “When Master comes back and see Furen become thinner or weaker, he would definitely blame this old servant. It is better to let this old servant make some nutritious meals that will make Furen’s health better when taken.”
Jing Zhe said, “This goat milk smelled really fragrant.”
“If it were other families’ goat milk, it would not be that sweet.” Tang Shu said, “Furen drink this bowl before going to the Palace so that one’s heart would be warm and would not catch a cold during the journey.” He then took a look outside, “These days the weather has turned cold.”
Shen Miao smiled, “Many thanks Tang Shu.” She then picked the bowl up to take a sip.
After only taking a sip, she felt a tumbling in her tummy and almost vomited. She put the bowl down and covered her mouth as her brows wrinkled.
Gu Yu and Jing Zhe jumped in shocked and Tang Shu quickly asked, “Furen, what is wrong?”
Shen Miao shook her head, “Most likely one had caught a cold last night that one felt the goat milk fishy. Since I cannot drink it, I would not drink it.”
“In this case.” Tang Shu said, “One would instruct the servant to get some medicine. May Furen not drink this goat milk first else one would not be comfortable. Later one will instruct the kitchens to make some lighter soups.”
Shen Miao nodded her head and grab onto the cloak as she spoke to Gu Yu, “Let’s go.”
Mo Qing and Cong Yang were already outside and the carriage was prepared. Both of them did not follow Xie Jing Xing to Ming Qi but they were not able to sleep in comfort without worries. Both of them were highly skilled in martial arts and Shen Miao was comfortable in using them thus they remained in Long Ye to carry out Shen Miao’s instructions.
After entering the Palace, Empress Xian De was already waiting for her in Wei Yang Palace as she said with a smile, “You are a little late today.”
“There was a little disorder before one came out.” Shen Miao smiled as she spoke and asked, “Is His Majesty bestter these days?”
“It is still not bad and could even accompany BenGong for a walk in the gardens. But…” Empress Xian De smiled bitterly, “Perhaps it is all deceiving BenGong. Anyways he loves to deceive BenGong and would not speak of anything at all.”
Shen Miao paused and soothed her, “His Majesty fear that you will worry and hope that Your Ladyship would not be worried. This is thinking of you in one’s heart.”
“Perhaps so.” Empress Xian De smiled, “Don’t talk about these. BenGong have some new tea leaves today and the kitchens also made some osmanthus cakes. There are ancient text that indicated that the previous dynasty scholars would put tea leaves in osmanthus cakes as the tea leaves have a light fragrant. With tea, it is call tea cusine. One felt it was not bad thus knowing that you are coming today, one instructed the Imperial Kitchens to make it. If the Emperor knows, one feared that BenGong would be teased. BenGong could only thicken one’s face and look for you.”
“Your Ladyship has praised this official too much.” Shen Miao smiled flightly. “This official wife is from a family with military lineage and has always been rough. One do not know anything about these elegant matters.”
“Save it.” Empress Xian De rebuked, “Even those self-proclaimed civil officials of great erudition and scholarship in Long Ye are not as knowledgable as you. If you are considered rough then won’t the entire civil officials be scorn upon?” She handed the tea over to Shen Miao, “Quickly try it. How is it?”
Empress Xian De liked to brew tea as she liked to watch the tea leaves boiling in the water. The water temperature should be just right, a little more or less would not do. Time had to be controlled well. As for what time of tea leaves, what time of spring water, what type of honey, all these required learnings. All these were trival matters but as an Empress, she did not find it troublesome at all. As to why this was as such, one temprement was trained to be that calm. SHen Miao liked to be with Empress Xian De because her peaceful temperament made one feel that the years were peaceful and one had lots of time.
Shen Miao said, “Deference is no substitute for obedience.” She then picked the teacup up to take a sip. The tea was very fragrant and the aroma was slightly bitter but the aftertaste is dry and sweet. Shen Miao was just about to speak when she suddenly felt nausea and her hand shoke. Half of the tea was spilt as she covered her mouth to tamp down the nausea feeling.
Empress Xian De was startled and quickly took the tea over from her hands. Seeing that her face was not good, she asked, “What is it? Is there anywhere that you fill uncomfortable?”
When Shen Miao felt that the tumbling in her stomach had subsided a little, she then shook her head, “It is nothing. Apologies to Your Ladyship, one is really sorry. Lately it is most likely because one had gotten a cold that one’s stomach always felt uncomfortable. Today when leaving the residence, one also…” Her voice stopped abruptly and an unbelievable expression appeared on her face.
Empress Xian De initially did not understand but after seeing Shen Miao’s expression, she seemed to have thought about something and said in shocked, “Could you be…”
Shen Miao’s fists tightened before releasing quickly, “This official’s wife does not know.”
“Quick, call the Imperial Physician over!” Empress Xian De stood up with excitement and called Tao GuGu, “Take BenGong’s card and invite the Imperial Physican over!”
Shen Miao looked at the tea on the table but her heart was strike by lighting.
She was pregnant before but she was unable to tell clearly if she was actually pregnant or not. Because Xie Jing Xing left a couple of dozens days and her period had always not been accurate thus she did not put it in her heart. She had only thought that she had caught a cold but who knew… Recalling it back, she felt that lately her appetite had been strange recently.
However she was unable to make any certainty to things.
Shen Miao’s heart was somewhat stirred up. Children were considered to her too far away. She was somewhat scared, fear that when the child came to this world, they would face the sorrows and suffering of the people and she was not all powerful and unable to protect them without a single mistake. On the other hand, she was very eager for the child’s arrival.
If it is here, this would be the best gift that the Heavens had gifted her.
The Imperial Physician quickly rushed over and Empress Xian De seemed to be even more excited than Shen Miao, instructed the Imperial Physician to immediately take Shen Miao pulse.
The white bearded Imperial Physician took Shen Miao’s pulse and after pondering for a long time, he then stood up and bowed towards Shen Miao before bowing to Empress Xian De before smiling, “Congratualtions WangFei of the First Rank. The pulse is like beads, it is an auspicious pulse. One is afraid thtat WangFei had been pregnant for more than a month. There would be a new born in the Prince residence.”
Shen Miao was still somewhat incredulous and she asked, “Really?”
It was rare for Empress Xian De to see this kind of dull Shen Miao and started laughing. She then said seriously, “WangFei is asking you, is this real? If there is any mistake, then a heavy punishment would be handed down.”
The white bearded Imperial Physician smiled, “This old official does not dare to lie. If WangFei does not believe, then one can invite a few more physians to take a look.”
It was orginially a joke but Shen Miao said, “Alright, then one would bother you to invite a few more to take a look.
That shocked the Imperial Physican for a while.
Empress Xian De was unbearably happy and knew that Shen Miao was not willing to believe it and must confirm it again. However when she was pregnant, she too could not believe it. Thinking about herself, her gaze darkened but she quickly recovered to her senses and smiled, “Then follow what WangFei had said and invite a few more Imeprial Physicans over.”
Empress Xian De really took good care of Shen Miao and indeed invited over a number of Imperial Physicians to take Shen Miao’s pulse. The result of taking her pulse was the same, Shen Miao was indeed expected one month of pregnancy.”
This was really a coincident. Xie Jing Xing just headed for the expedition and a few dozen days later, Shen Miao was diagnose as pregnant. Like this, one would at least not be that lonely but it could be also even lonelier.
Empress Xian De was overjoyed. Most likely in the entire Imperial family, there were only Emperor Yone Le and Xie Jing Xing, two brothers. Emperor Yong Le did not have any sons and the Xie family did not have any younger generations. The one that Shen Miao was pregnant with was considered the first of the younger generation of the Xie family. Empress Xian De also instructed people to invite Emperor Yong Le over.
When Emperor Yong Le learned of the news, he could not believe it. Empress Xian De smiled, “Thinking about it, in the future if it is a little boy or little girl, they would be calling you Imperial BoBo and call me Imperial GuGu. Isn’t it very interesting?”
“What is so interesting?” Emperor Yong Le was still a little awkward. He did not like Shen Miao in reality because he had a dispute of Xie Jing Xing on Shen Miao. However Emperor Yong Le was unable to change Xie Jing Xing’s mind and was helpless towards Xie Jing Xing and thus he had viewed Shen Miao as if she was an evil female.
“You ah.” Empress Xian De looked at him, “This is an auspicious matter for our Imperial family. It would be good that WangFei give birth to a few more in the future. It is good that the Prince residence is bustling.” There was some envy in her eyes. It was odvious that Empress Xian De liked children a lot.
Empress Xian De’s envious eyes were seen by everyone and Shen Miao slightly pause whereas there was a trace of pain in Emperor Yong Le’s eyes. After a while he then said, “Tonight pack your things and move into the Palace. This matter cannot be spred out and the Palace can protect you.”
Shen Miao was slightly startled
Empress Xian De quickly said, “That is right. Even though Long Ye looks peaceful, there must not be any mistakes in this kind of situation. Also this matter must be treated with the highest confidentiality and must not be known by outsiders. As for Jing Xing’s side, send him a personal letter…”
“Your Ladyship.” Shen Miao suddenly spoke, “This official wife have a matter to request.”
Empress Xian De said, “Speak.”
“May this matter be hidden from His Highness.” She continued, “His Highness is currently in the expedition and if one come to know about the matter, it would be hard to avoid being worried. If someone sinister makes use of it, one would be in a disadvantage. It is better to be hidden.”
Empress Xian De and Emperor Yong Le looked at each other. Empress Xian De said, “What you thought of is not bad but WangFei, if you are not willing to tell Jing Xing then you would need to bear the bitterness and joy of this child alone. One do not know when Jing Xing would be able to return so you have to endure a very long period of loneliness. BenGong had seen many females in the Palace who would also hid the news of pregnancy for many different reasons but the process is filled with grievances. You will need to suffer these grivances.”
“This official wife does not feel grievance.” Shen Miao smiled gently as both of her hands unconsciously stroke her lower abdomen. Upon knowing that she was pregnant, she felt that there was a life inside her breathing together and that was a wonderous thing. She said, “If the result is good then even though the process is difficult, it would still be worthed it.”
“Alright.” It was Emperor Yong Le who spoke. He looked at Shen Miao, “Since it is as such, then he would not be told.”
Empress Xian De still wanted to say more but Shen Miao had already nodded her head slightly to Emperor Yong Le, “Many thanks Your Majesty.”
“Since this is the case then never mind.” Empress Xian De sighed, “But from today onwards you will move to the Palace. BenGong will say that one want you to enter the Palace for company so that those Furens would not come to look for you every three to five days and delay you in looking after your health.”
This time, Shen Miao did not evade it. It was indeed that there was only her, a female, in the residence of Prince Rui and even though there were some guards from Mo Yun Army protecting, there would inevitably be some people who were watching like tigers. On the contrary, because of the Lu and Ye families matter, the Imperial family’sprestige was unprecedently big currently and it was indeed safer to live in the Palace.
For the piece of flesh in her abdomen, Shen Miao did not mind herself to be like that.
When Empress Xian De saw her agreeing, she immediately instructed Tao GuGu to look for the nearest side hall of Wei Yang Palace and cleaned it up for Shen Miao to stay.
Because of this interruption, it was already at night when one returned back.
When Tang Shu saw her finally returning, he then gave a sigh of relief. Luo Tan had returned from outside and learned from Jing Zhe and Gu Yu about Shen Miao’s pregnancy and was both shocked and happy.
Tang Shu was so happy that he did not know what to say. Shen Miao instructed them not to tell Xie Jing Xing as it was the critical juncture of the war thus it was not good for Xie Jing Xing to be distracted. Tang Shu nodded his head continuousy but his heart was sighing and he said that he wanted to burn some incense to Empress Xiao, so that Empress Xiao would also know of this good knews.
Luo Tan was instead very surprised and curious. She wanted to touch Shen Miao’s abdomen but she didn’t dared. At the end she carefully put her hand on it and felt it for half a moment before vented, “Why is there no movement?”
“It is only a month. How would there be movements?” Shen Miao laughed.
“But.” Luo Tan looked at her, “Youngest Biao Sister, we also don’t tell GuFu, GuMu and the rest? If they were to know of it, they would definitely be very happy.”
Shen Miao thought about it and shook her head, “Now Father, Mother and Eldest Brother are confronting Fu Xiu Yi and at such a time one would become their soft underbelly. If a child in included that it would only be tying their hands and legs. Moreover Xie Jing Xing would reach Ming Qi sooner or later and would be meeting up with Father and Mother. If Father and Mother knows about it then Xie Jing Xing would also know.”
Luo Tan thought about it and felt that it made sense before saying, “Even though they do not know, me, the YiMu, knows.” She said softly, “Although one do not know if it would be a little nephew or little niece, one really like the thought of thinking about the little meat ball.”
Luo Tan seemed to be somewhat quiet these days. She originally had a lively personality and that made everyone in the residence of Prince Rui somwaht surprise. Now she finally regained some liveliness.
“This is a big auspicious event in these days.” Tang Shu smiled, “It is necessary to be lively.” He then smacked his head, “Almost forgotten. One should take note on some food. Now that Furen is focusing on health, there must not be any mistakes. And also all the corners of doors and furniture, one must cover it up with cloth.”
He spoke like he was extremely nervous.
Shen Miao laughed. In her past lifetime when she was pregnant with Fu Ming and Wan Yu, she had not experience this kind of treatment. Even Consort Dong Shu did it like a routine and asked her if everything was alright and sent some supplements. If the Shen family did not show concern, Shen Miao feared that she would be in a mess.
Now she was instead calm but the people in the residence of Prince Rui were all so nervous.
She laughed, “There is no need for trouble. Tang Shu, you too pack up. Because I am pregnant, Her Ladyship the Empress wants me to enter the Palace. Leave some guards in the residence and leave some more people. All the important people will be following me to the Palace.”
Tan Shu was startled and seemed to understand Shen Miao’s meaning, “Alright, this old servant will arrange it now.”
“Youngest Biao Sister, do I also go?” Luo Tan asked.
“But I… I don’t know any Palace etiquette. Would it not be good?” Luo Tan asked.
Shen Miao said, “How could it not be good? Your footwork is good and everyone knows that your martial arts skills is high and is close with me, thus I would be even safer. The safety of my child and me would all be depended on you for protection.”
“Youngest Biao Sister, don’t tease me.” Luo Tan comprehended, “But you said correctly. With you and me together, two people is better than one. I will follow you to the Palace.” She then stood up, “I will pack up first.”
After Luo Tan left, Shen Miao stood up.
She did not expect that she would be pregnant at this time but felt that this was also destined.
Pushing open the windows, the autumn mood was very bright and it was beginning to shape to a full moon. After some days, it would be the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Families would have reunion during Mid-Autumn Festival but she was separated with her family. Be it Xie Jing Xing or Shen Xin and the rest, they were all not by her side. This year was destined to be a difficult year but… Sen Miao touched her lower abdomen, because she had a child, because she had become a mother again, she seemed to be able to appreciate the full moon.
Heaves would never treat a person coldly foreer. At least at this momen, the Heaves was a good person. He had gave Shen Miao a rebirth lifetime, bestowed her a man who loved her deeply and a new life.
The past had passed. This was a completely different moonlight.
She asked the child in her womb softly, “Look. You and your Father is looking at the same moon.”
Shen Miao entered the Palace.
Empress Xian De treated her very well and gave her the side hall beside Wei Yang Palace. Shen Miao still used her own people thus there was no inconvenience. Normally Empress Xian De would like to talk to Shen Miao and brew tea. Luo Tan also followed along and since she had a lively personality, Empress Xian De also liked her a lot.
The days passed calmly and if there was anything unexpected, it would be about Ye Hong Guang.
Ye Hong Guang was also taken to the Palace. He did not wake for a long time but unexpectedly woke up one day. Upon waking up, his mind was like a three year old child and did not know anything. When the Imperial Physician took a look, they feared that he had nearly gone mad due to receiving such a big shock.
Like this, Emperor Yong Le did not bother to manage it. Raising a fool would not waste too much rice. Ye Hong Guang would chase butterfly and catch crickets all day in the garderns and was very happy.
Sometimes when Shen Miao saw his and Fu Ming’s face, she would feel that Ye Hong Guang’s life was as miserable as Fu Ming. Both of them were born in good families and it has destroyed their innocent lives.
When Empress Xian De saw her serious face, she thougth that she felt sad for Ye Hong Guang and patted Shen Miao hands to console her, “There is no need to be sad. It is not necessarily a bad thing like this. Now that the Ye family is no longer here, if he was clear minded and knew this when he woke up, one would not know how sad he would be. Even if there was no hatered, there would be pain in his heart. Moreover when the Emperor takes action, it would be cutting the weeds and eliminating the roots thus his life would definitely not be remained. Like this even though he is a fool, he need not need to face those heartbreaking matters and forever be as carefree as a child. Isn’t this good?”
Emperor Yong Le had been suspicious if Ye Hong Guang was pretending to be a fool but the Imperial Physician had taken a look and he had also sent people to monitor secretly and Ye Hong Guang was indeed a fool. The most important thing was that he was already poor of health and now with this injury, his health had become worst. It was also unknown how long he could live.
Perhaps Ye Hong Guang’s experience reminded Emperor Yong Le of his youth. He was also poisoned heavily during his youth and did not know how long he could leave. Just this same encounter made Emperor Yong Le felt a rare compassion and spared Ye Hong Guang’s life.
However Ye Hong Guang was currently a fool and did not know that his life and death was controlled by the Emperor. He had already rolled passed the King of Hell’s hall but still smiled carelessly every day.
However not everyone in this world could be like Ye Hong Guang, living like a child and smiling that openly.
Two months later, Xie Jing Xing had reached the edge of Ming Qi and started to fight with Ming Qi’s army. At the same time th Luo family and the Shen family had meet up at Han Gu Pass and lured the Qin army to the pass.
Both Qin country and Ming Qi had joined forces and was currently confronting the Great Liang army that was led by Xie Jing Xing.
War was always ruthless and once it was started, it was not easy to end it. Moreover two countries fighting one, made it evenly matched.
Shen Miao would bring out the military defense map that she gave to Xie Jing Xing to study. Initially she was unable to see any inkling to it but gradually, some sprouts became to form. It was like the chess pieces that had their routes set were moving step by step according to the road designed by the other party.
Shen Miao knew that if one did not guess wrongly, that military map has reached the hands of Fu Xiu Yi.
In Great Liang and Qin Qi’s battles, there were wins and losses, thus at the moment others were unable to see who actually won. Xie Jing Xing, unlike previous lifetime, did not sweep all the troops off because Qin country and Ming Qi were not in alliance in the past lifetime. At that time it was Great Liang who attacked Qin country first before destroying Ming Qi. However there was also another point, which was Shen Miao knew that Xie Jing Xing had changed his strategy. He was like a smart and savvy hunter that was leading his prey to his trap.
It was indeed the Xie family style of eliminating in one stroke cleanly without any entanglement.
Fu Xiu Yi was being hooked. At the same time of Shen Miao feeling gratified, she could not help but admire Ye Mei’s means. Many things had changed but she could still gain Fu Xiu Yi’s heart and present that military map up, making Fu Xiu Yi trust her.
Sure enough, shortly after that, Xie Jing Xing’s letter was sent back to Great Liang.
The situation of Ming Qi was stated in the letter.
Emperor Wen Hui was seriously ill and crowned the Nineth Prince, Fu Xiu Yi, as the Emperor. When Fu Xiu Yi was enthroned, he had good relations with the Emperor of Qin and had gotten the support of the Monarch of the Qin country thus both countries had launched an offensive to against Great Liang. The other Princes of Ming Qi, including Prince Zhou and Prince Jing had been imprisoned. When dealing with family, Fu Xiu Yi had always handled the butcher’s cleaver with ease.
The Shen family and the Luo family alied with other old familys that were suppressed by Emperor Wen Hui and publicly rebelled, thus crowned as the ‘rebel party’ in Ming Qi but the commoners did not seem to buy it. The Shen family’s clean reputation had exsisted for so many years and would not be discredited that easily.
Xie Jing Xing’s people were in secret contact with the people of the Shen family and not too long, the Shen family would surrender and allied with Xie Jing Xing, formalising their change in sides.
At the end of the letter, Xie Jing Xing indifferently added a few more words, as if it was a dispensable rumour and was added at will.
It was said that there was an Imperial family affair that was circulating in Ding capital. There was a beauty that entered the Palace, who was a far relative of an Imperial merchant. She was as beautiful as a fairy, very intelligent and knew how to speak. The new Emperor loved her like precious stones and placed her on his palm. She was even the title of Mei Furen and in a short time, her favour far aceeded the other consorts in the Inner Palace.
Shen Miao floded the letter and smiled.
Luo Tan asked, “Youngest Biao Sister, isn’t it just a letter? You have read it over and over again and even smiled three times.” Suddenly she looked towards the other side, “Oh. Why did the cat climb till there? And even climb that high?”
Not far away on the tree in the garderns, there was a black cat that was climping up the tree truck and headed towards the taller branches. It was as if the branches could not withstand the weight of the cat, making it swaying and looking dangerous.”
“The faster one climbs, the taller one climbs, one would then fall faster and the pain would be worse.” Shen Miao smiled, “Just watch slowly.”
Another half a year had passed.
Once the war begins, it would not be stopped easily. This was especially true for the war between three countries. Now the fire beacons on all sides were lit, tomorrow the soldiers would meet on the battlefield. There were losses and wins, andn there were retreats and advancements. The Qin country and Ming Qi broke the boat with this war thus their investment to it would be more.
In contrast, the troops that Great Liang brought were considered to be little.
However despite this and the alliance between Ming Qi and Qin country, there was no benefit to be gained from Great Liang. It seemed to be a long and slow tug of war and the pace of Qin country and Ming Qi had gradually discrupted.
It was especially so recently.
In the previous battle, be it small or big, the Qin Qi alliance would win some, especially at the beginning. One would be able to taste sweetness every time and even thought it was not sumptuous, it greatly boost the morale. Both Qin country and Ming Qi troops were very motivated.
Later on, the advantages for the two countries, Qin country and Ming Qi, were no longer obvious. Although there were wins, but there were outward appearance of loss.
All the way to the thirteen mounts of You Zhou.
To Ming Qi and Qin country, the thirteen mounts of You Zhou was the junction of the three countries, Great Liang, Ming Qi and Qin country. It had always been Qin country’s land and as to why it belonged to Qin country, one had to go to the period of the founding of the country. For so many years the thirteen mounts of You Zhou had been firmly standing at the border and it wasn’t because Great liang and Ming Qi did not have thoughts about it but because the complex landscapt of thirteen mounts of You Zhou, it was easy to defend but difficult to attack. If one wanted to conquer it, one feared that a lot of effort was required and with a mistake, it would even tire one out.
Such a difficult bone to gnaw. Even if one wanted it, other than having ambitions, one had to have great courage.
Xie Jing Xing was leading Great Liang troops and was about to launch an attack on the thirteen mounts of You Zhou. This battle was crucial and critical that it could be said as the key point to determine the entire situation. If Xie Jing Xing successfully conquere the thirteen mounts of You Zhou, afterwards he would be able to end the war quickly and he would be able to ruin Ming Qi and Qin country surprising smoonthly.
On the other hand, if Xie Jing Xing was unable to gnaw this bone down, it would only make the Great Liang troops vulnerable. Not mentioning fighting with Ming Qi and Qin country. It would be difficult to resist the attacks from these two countries.
No matter if it was for Ming Qi or Ming Qi and Qin country, all bets were on this battle. It seems that they had placed everything on this gamble.
When Empress Xian De spoke about this matter to Shen Miao, she even joked with her, “At the end the person who is leading the troops is your husband, why till now there is not a single nervousness from you at all?”
Shen Miao smiled gently, “This official wife naturally trust His Highness.” Xie Jing Xing was actually a very sly person. It was Ye Mei’s ability to successfully gotten the military map, with the mistakes, onto Fu Xiu Yi’s hand and gotten Fu Xiu Yi to believe it. However Xie Jing Xing role in it was not small at all.
At the beginning of the war, Xie Jing Xing had been winning and losing lightly, letting Fu Xiu Yi taste some sweetness. Actually, even during those wins, the Qin country and Ming Qi did not benefit greatly but gave others a wrong feeling, that the Qin Qi alliance was very strong.
As this went, Fu Xiu Yi would increasingly trust the things that Ye Mei provided. Even though Great Liang won a few rounds after that, it was only accidental in Fu Xiu Yi’s eyes. He had ignored that the battles that Xie Jing Xing lost were all not important lands and those areas that he won was little but critical. IF one looked even carefully, it was as if it all lined up and there was a faint trend to it.
However Fu Xiu Yi and Emperor Qin would not notice this point because they had some wins in the recent few battles and the Great Liang’s troops seemed to be in a low morale and thus their fights became fiercer, is if one could beat the other based on the atmosphere.
Therefore thirteen mounts of You Zhou was particularly important for Fu Xiu Yi. Now from the military map that Shen Miao direw, Fu Xiu Yi seemed to be cautiously arranging his troops according to it.
Nothing was more enjoyable that this news. The more manpower and financial resources Fu Xiu Yi poured into it, the greater the final blow would be. Xie Jing Xing seemed to have created a gambler. First let him win a little and the winning and losing made the gamble feel that one’s luck was good and so was one’s skill. At the end when the gambler’s heart became daring placed all the wealth in his hands, he would not be slow to pull the net back and capture everything in one swop. Naturally the gamble would lose everything and even one’s blood.
Fu Xiu Yi has started to fall into the trap. As for the Emperor of Qin country, he was more cautious than Fu Xiu Yi or perhaps he had other arrangements in thirteen mounts of You Zhou. However once Fu Xiu Yi’s side start suffering defeat, what was happening with the Qin country was no longer important to Xie Jing Xing. It was as if a gap was opened and each was broken into, thus the subsequent things are much easier.
Luo Tan reached out and carefully placed on Shen Miao’s lower abdomen, “Unfortunately the news of the thirteen mounts of You Zhou only reached now. Howevere this little person is growing very fast.”
Shen Miao looked down at her belly. The period of eight months passed so calmly. It seemed no different from normal days. Even if there was a war, she could face it with a peaceful attitude. It was only because of her family and loved one’s trust and also because she understood that there was a little life that was growing with her.
As a mother, one would become braver and stronger, to be able to take up responsibility and kept one’s mind steady.
Just as she was chatting with Empress Xian De, Tao GuGu rushed in from outside. She seemed to be somewhat anxious but there was an unconcealable look of happiness in her face as she said with a smile, “Congratulations to Your Ladyship. Congratulations to WangFei. The court in front had send the news from the thirteen mounts of You Zhou, His Highness has won!”
“Really?” Empress Xian De stood up at once. She had always been calm and steady but was slightly helpless.
Tao GuGu nodded her head fiercely, “His Majesty is very happy and is currently giving general amnesty to the world.”
“The Heavens has blessed!” Luo Tan put both hands together and muttered.
The thirteen mounts of You Zhou was conquered and good news were sent. What did it meant? This meant that this battle that lasteted for half a year would perhaps be able to become peaceful not too long after. The soldiers would be able to return hom and at the other side, this chaotic land under Heavens would be united and perhaps the grand design would become true in the near future.
Shen Miao caressed her lower abdomen and her heart was filled with joy. She knew that Xie Jing Xing could do it.
Tao GuGu looked at Shen Miao with a smile, “WangFei do not need to be anxious. His Highness the Prince had instructed people to bring a letter over. In a while the letter would be passed to you by the messenger.”
“Really make one enviousl.” Empress Xian De teased Shen Miao, “Don’t send a letter to BenGong and the Emperor and just think of one’s wife. It is just an empty name of brotherhood.”
Luo Tan also said, “Yes. Yes. Really don’t know how to take other people’s feelings into consideration.”
“Young Lady Luo need not be disappointed.” Tao GuGu saw that there was a happy atmosphere and in a rare occation continued speaking, “There is also a letter for you, it seemed that the Young Master of the Gao family hand instructed people to send over.”
Luo Tan wondered, “Gao Yang? For what reason does he send me the letter for?”
Shen Miao and Empress Xian De looked at one another before shaking their head while smiling.
The good news about thirteen mounts of You Zhou had made the entire Long Ye filled with joy. Emperor Yong Le had also unprecedentedly held a Palace banquet, which had not be held for a long time, making it very lively.
Shen Miao did not participate this Palace banquet.
First reason ws that the news of her pregnancy was not spread out. She had been living in the Palace and although there were some speculations outside, Empress Xian De protected her very well. Afterwards when people’s interest slowly died down, they were no longer curious. Second reason was that it was not suitable for the currently pregnant Shen Miao to attend as it would not be good if something happened in the middle.
Moreover, she wanted to return earlier to red Xie Jing Xing’s letter.
Ever since the battle situation become astounding and worrison, Xie Jing Xing’s letter would not be oftenly sent over. Most likely sending this letter would also be troublesome as he did not send her any letter for the past two months.
Shen Miao opened the letter up.
There was nothing special with the letter. It was written that he was doing well and praised his own achievements before commenting on how worthless Fu Xiu Yi was. He said that other than Fu Xiu Yi having some means in the matter of the heir apparent, he was a mess in terms of ruling the country. The courts of Ming Qi was so chaotic that there was no need to worry at all.
He then mentioned Mei Furen.
It was said that Fu Xiu Yi had held Mei Furen up very highly that there were people in Ming Qi court that were discussing it. Mei Furen previously could be said that the Inner Palace was weaving in. However in some short months, she could enter and exit Fu Xiu Yi’s Imperial Study at will. Fu Xiu Yi did not seem to regard her as only a beauty but also an auspicious General. Even some of the ‘victory’ battles were all due to Ye Mei.
Currently in the courts of Ming Qi, Ye Mei was able to get whatever she wanted. Other than Fu Xiu Yi, she did not take anyone into consideration. Fu Xiu Yi also indulged her, on one hand, he felt that she was beautiful and intelligent, on the other an it was because of Ye Mei’s abilities.
It was just that when Xie Jing Xing spoke of those, there were ridicule in his words and directly took Fu Xiu Yi as an idiot. Not mentioning that, he was still full of arrogance and said that everything was prepared and he was only waiting for the other party to get themselves caught in the net. After the win of thirteen mounts of You Zhou, one thought that there would not be necessary for him to take action at Ding capital side as one feared that Ye Mei would be tortured to death by Fu Xiu Yi. Fu Xiu Yi was not considered broadminded. He had previously personally praised Ye Mei as the ‘Auspicious General’ in front of the court officials and this ‘Auspicious General’ now made him suffer a disadvantage in the most critical battle so how would Fu Xiu Yi be willing to let it go.
Of course, Xie Jing Xing also arranged an especially interesting thing. He let it out that Ye Mei was a spy of Great Liang and the purpose she came to Ding capital and got close to Fu Xiu Yi so that she could be a chess piece for Great Liang. Fu Xiu Yi could never tolerate betrayal so naturally he would put in all efforts.
Looking at Xie Jing Xing’s handwriting, Shen Miao was almost able to see of him lazily writing with a look of rejoice in other’s misfortune.
She folded the papter but felt that there was something else in the envelope. Sure enough, two red beans rolled out from inside.
Red beans that inspire the memory of one’s love.
He did not write words of yearning in the letter but use two red beans to proof that he did not forget Shen Miao for a moment. One did not know if he was putting on airs or being childish.
After thinking about it, Shen Miao took out a sachet from the side and placed the two red beans carefully inside.
“The fifth letter.” She said.
Ming Qi. Ding Capital. The Imperial Palace.
In the dark gloomy dungeons, there were suffocating atmosphere everywhere that seemed to be mixed with something else, making one nauseating.
At the innermost part of the jail, there was a female sitting naken on the floor. Both of her hands were cuffed to the walls and both legs were immersed in ice cold sewage water. There were a few fat mice that were in the sewage water that would call to her legs and gnaw her toes. The flesh and blood of some of the toes were already blurred and the scent of blood seemed to attrct those hungry crazy mice and the more they gnawed.
To watch as one’s own body was being eating by mice, not only female, even males would go crazy. But this female did not make a noise. Only she herself knew that it was not because she did not want to scream but one’s throat was already hoarse and scream would only gain a worser torture.
This female was no one bu Ye Mei.
In a few short days, it was as if one had fallen from Heavens to Hell. Ye Mei had never thought that she would have such a day that death would be better off than living. She totally did not expect that Fu Xiu Yi was a heartless person.
She only knew about the defeat of the thirteen mounts of You Zhou, her heart started to feel uncomfortable. But she felt that base on her intelligence, she had not necessarily reached the worst point and perhaps could still hold onto Fu XIu Yi. However Fu Xiu Yi did not give her any opportunity at all. He was scarily vicious and direcly capture Ye Mei in front of the consorts of the Inner Palace and brought her to prison.
Afterwards she was tortured till today to force her to speak of the tasks that Great Liang assigned to her.
Ye Mei indeed did not know what was going home and hoped to explain herself. However her appearance was no longer her weapon as from the first day she entered the prison, Fu Xiu Yi hatefuly instructed other to use the red hot iron to burn both of her cheeks.
One of her eyes was burned by it and since there were no medical treatments in the dungeons, she went blind.
Ye Mei was never afraid. She did not fear a hopeless environment and was not afraid of how bad a situation could be. Even if she was trampled by other now, she would still be as vigorous and stubborn like weeds. The only thing that she was afraid of was her appearance because it was her only eternal weapon.
This weapon had no disadvantages and with it, one would be able to survive in a hopeless environment, reverse a bad situation, step on the person who trampled her and live with ease. However once her appearance was destroyed, she would lose the ability to make others feel bonded to her and matters would be hopeless.
She indeed felt the hopelessness and even lost her fighting spirits. She felt that no matter what noise she came out when the mice gnaw on her toes would not make a single change.
A blind person whose cheeks were burnt. She could imagine of how terrible her appearance was. She could seduce others to give up their lives as the world had no shortage of such people since people would even lose their lives to pick the flowers by the cliffs. How that the fresh flowers had become wild weeds, moreover this weed is filled with scars, who would use one’s life to pick?
Fu Xiu Yi was really vicious. He was entangled with Ye Mei for so long and perhaps he understood Ye Mei’s abilities and simply destroyed Ye Mei’s appearance so that she could not do anything.
Ye Mei felt so much hate!
The footsteps were heard coming in from outside and the air of the dungeons felt particially fresh.
She used some effort to twist her neck and use her only working eye to look outside.
Fu Xiu Yi was standing outside.
He said coldly, “Ye Mei, Zhen will give you one last chance to say whatever you know.”
“What does ChenQie knos?” Ye Mei asked. She still called herself as ‘ChenQie’, as if by doing so, she could still prove that she was still Fu Xiu Yi’s favoured consort and was like a fish in water in the Inner Palace.
Fu Xiu Yi frowned hatefully and seemingly disgusted by her ugly appearance, he turned his head away, “Zhen had already investigate everything clearly. You are a spy from Great Liang so you should have a channel to communicate with them.”
Ye Mei laughed loudly.
Her laughter was hoarse and she no longer had a pleasing voice but instead somewhat pierceful one. She did not know why did Fu Xiu Yi said that she was a spy. Perhaps Fu Xiu Yi gave himself an excuse for losing the batter. He had deployed his troops incorrectly and wanted to push all blames onto her.
She said, “No matter what ChenQie says, Your Majesty is unwilling to believe so if ChenQie talk about the channel, would Your Majesty believe it or not? Or does Your Majesty think that it is this Chen Qie who is lying?”
“Say it and Zhen would bestow your body to be intact.” Fu Xiu Yi said coldly.
Ye Mei laughed. Now when she laughed, her appearance look so horrible like she was a ghost but she still did not feel it and said like she was holding a dagger, “Your Majesty, this transaction is just too horrible. What kind of term is bestowing one’s body to be intact? If Your Majesty speak about giving ChenQie a route to live and think of ways to treat the injuries on ChenQie’s face, ChenQie could take it into consideration and speak of what ChenQie knows.”
Fu Xiu Yi was not angry but laughed, “The people who betrayed Zhen would not be alive!”
“So Your Majesty might as well kill ChenQie then?” Ye Mei said, “One had heard that Rui WangFei was initially deep in love with Your Majesty and even pursued but Your Majesty treated her cold and frosty. Afterwards the matter died off.”
Now Xie Jing Xing’s identity was known to Fu Xiu Yi and naturally he knew about Shen Miao’s identity. Upon mentioning of Shen Miao, Fu Xiu Yi’s face became uglier. In his entire life, he was used to hold all matters in his hands. However it was only Shen Miao’s matter that went wrong. He had initially thought to use the love Shen Miao had for him to bring the Shen family over but there was a setback with Shen Miao and the Shen family was not controlled, making hime going through one big circle. Now the Shen family went against him and made his head ached. In addition to these, Shen Miao gave up on him and in a turn found someone who looked even better and it was as if she was slapping Fu Xiu Yi’s face in front of the entire world.Fu Xiu Yi was extremely angry about it. Now hearing Ye Mei bringing it up, it was poking at his injuries.
“I had originally thought that Rui WangFei just had a little luck and was born a little better thus she could be able to become a Prince Consort and live an envious life. Now it seemed that she is smarter than I had originally thought. Perhaps she had long known that by staying beside Your Majesty’s side, no matter if she is loyal or not to Your Majesty, at the end, the result would be the same. And that would be not even having a good death.” Ye Mei said.
“Impudent!” Fu Xiu Yi said.
“I have lost to Your Majesty.” Ye Mei said, “Your Majesty was still in love with me not too long ago but could now make me become like this. One odviously know how precious one’s appearance is but made one feel so grieved as to one wish one were dead. But Your Majesty, let me tell you that you are not better off than me. You have pushed all your wrongdoing onto me but do you think that you would have a good ending?”
Fu Xiu Yi’s expression became bluish green, no matter who was it was cursed like this, no one would be happy. Moreover now he was extremely adversed towards Ye Mei and the hatred was as deep in one’s bone. For Ye Mei to anger him at this time, it made him even angrier.
“You would not have a good ending as you are not their opponent. The fact that Shen Miao did not choose you but chose Xie Jing Xing had proven that in her eyes, you are not worth a hundredth of Xie Jing Xing. So take a look, now even though I do not have anything and ended up as a prisoner, your ending would not be any better than me. You will also lose. The thirteen mounts of You Zhou was just a start and after that you will keep on being defeated. This Ming Qi empire would collapse in your hands and at that time, you are just a Monarch of a fallen nation! I will hereby wish you that your troop would fall like mountains falling and your Fu family’s dynasty would end in your hands and would not appear in hundreds of lifetimes!”
Fu Xiu Yi stared at her coldly, “Are you finished? Zhen had already given you your last chance.”
Ye Mei gave a long sigh and no longer speak.
There was an air of hatred stuck in her heart as she had never hated someone like this before. Fu Xiu Yi ruined her appearance and she knew that there was no hope of turning things around for her thus she poured out all her anger and hatred before she died. However after that pleasure she woke up. She had forgotten what kind of person Fu Xiu Yi was…
However it was already too late to regret it. Moreover Fu Xiu Yi was never a person who gave another a chance to regret. That year he did not lose anything due to Pei Lang but he treated him like that. Now because of Ye Mei, he lost thirteen mounts of You Zhou and after hearing Ye Mei cursing him like this, Fu Xiu Yi would definitely not let her die that easily.
He said, “Since you care about your appearance that much, Zhen would help accomplish it.”
He said to the jailor beside, “Cut off her four limbs and make a Beauty Basin. Place her in the East of the city for thousands of people to appreciate.”
“Great Liang’s spy that has such talents for singing and dancing. Zhen would fulfill you and make you a plaything to bring others joy and let you have a good life.” After he finished speaking, he turned around and strode away, not caring of the heart-rending cries behind.
Beauty Basin. That was a plaything for the nobles of the previous dynasty. One would choose a beauty to rear at home and they would be squatting at the corner of the room. If the master wanted to spit or dump the discarded tea, they would pinch the beauty chin and let the beauty’s mouth swallow everything down. It was like a living spittoon.
This was treating a person as an animal, actually even worse than an animal. Because it was too cruel, these kind of beauty would generally not live long thus the previous dynasty’s Emperor and Empress abolished it.
Now Fu Xiu Yi brought out this already abolished method and used it on Ye Mei. A beauty basin without four limbs was the most inferior of all as they would have lost their beauty.
Commoners would be afraid of such strange things and would definitely come to scold and slam it. This was even more tomenting to Ye Mei than death as she had always regard her appearance more important than life. As for her who always wanted to climb up, she was even lower than the civilians that she looked down upon that she was not even considered ‘human’. Fu Xiu Yi really knew her well.
Thus dealing with her would be beating a snake seven Cun (1 Cun = 1 Inch), aiming for its heart.
The once famous Mei Furen who was respected in the Imperial Court and Inner Palace was ruined like this. Her appearance, abandonment and demised was just too fast and what remained was her reputation of a beauty and being Great Liang’s spy.
But what about Fu Xiu Yi?
Ye Mei’s curse had been fulfilled.
Even though he had pushed all faults to Ye Mei, everyone under Heavens looked at him like one was looking at a joke. As a Monarch, one had a spy beside but did not discover her due to the beautiful appearance and at the end lost the thirteen mounts of You Zhou. The reputation of ‘fatuous ruler’ gradually spread among the commoners.
The commoners did not see the process and they only look at the results.
Fu Xiu Yi had become a complete joke, from the beginning to end. The worst was that just like everyone predicted, from when Great Liang obtained the thirteen mounts of You Zhou, they became more courageous and kept on winning. Ming Qi kept on retreating and continuously lost, like the previous victories were just a dream. Great Liang’s strength was indeed just too fearsome.
When it rains, it poured. At this time, Qin country started to gradually take up the route of self preservation. It seemed that they had the intention to surrender to Great Liang and currently Great Liang’s spearhead was now aimed at Ming Qi, making Fu Xiu Yi’s head beaten and brow schorched.
It was thoroughly awful.
The situation of the war was always changing.
Great Liang had gained the thirteen mounts of You Zhou and using the thirteen mounts of You Zhou as the base, they started to counterattack. They chose not to confront the Qin country but started with Ming Qi.
The Qin country had chosen to protect themselves when Great Liang launched an offensive attack against Ming Qi and even sent messenger to try to negotiate, willing to compensate instead. Qin counter was weaker in terms of military affairs and dragging the war for so long had emptied the Qin country’s treasury and the taxation for the commoners made them start to be chaotic.
The Qin country was aware of the seriousness of it. Compared to the collapse of a country, compensating through land naturally did not matter.
For Qin country to pick such a time to flip, it was not a good thin for Ming Qi. However irregardless of Fu Xiu Yi’s soft or hard approaches, Qin country did not pay any attention to it.
This naturally had to be credited to Xie Jing Xing. First he drew a big biscuit for Qin country and let the Qin Emperor think that Great Liang did not have the extra energy to deal with Qin country and currently only wanted to take Ming Qi down. Xie Jing Xing did it seamlessly.
It was necessary to break them apart and this method was played well.
Great Liang’s troops quickly fought all the way to Ming Qi’s Ding capital.
And in Wei Yang Palace in Long Ye, Empress Xian De instructed the palace made to pour wine.
This was a ‘palace banquet’ but there were no hundreds of civil and military offices, no consorts of the Inner Palace. There was only Shen Miao, Luo Tan, Emperor Yong Le and Empress Xian De. Empress Xian De said, “Tak this as a family banquet and consider it that a celebration for Jing Xin’s accomplishment.”
Once Xie Jing Xing take Ding capital down, it would be considered as setting the dust for Ming Qi. Naturally Xie Jing Xing would not let Qin country off. To remove the weeds, one had to eliminate the roots thus getting it done once and for all was the best policy. Without Ming Qi to support Qin country, it was like an arrow at the end of its flight. Xie Jing Xing had dragged the battle for so long and only used strength now because this was the moment.
It would not be long before this long and cruel war end. At that time, the four seas would be stabilise, there would be peace under Heavens and it would be truly the realisation of everyone’s wishes.
“Youngest Biao Sister, drink this.” Luo Tan placed the plum juice in front of Shen Miao and looked at Shen Miao’s small abdomen and said, “The Imperial Physican had said that that it would be time for birth in two months. One do not know it would be a little nephew or little niece.”
Shen Miao’s eyes hang down and her lips widen, “Very quiet, most likely a female.”
“That may not be true.” Empress Xian De said, “There are also sons that are quiet and daughters that are naughty. But when Jing Xin returns and discover that he had become a Father, one do not know how much ruckus he will cause.”
When Shen Miao thought abt that scene, her head did not ache. If Xie Jing Xing knew that she had hid it from him for so long, he would throw a tantrum.
But… One would take a step at a time.
Just as they were chatting, Emperor Yong Le walked in from outside.
Shen Miao did not see much of Emperor Yong Le and most likely Emperor Yong Le still did not like her as his attitude towards her was not good. However lately because of the child in her womb, he had warmed up to her a lot. Perhaps it was also Empress Xian De’s persuasion that he would instruct others to send over any good medication when he gets it.
Luo Tan was somewhat afraid of Emperor Yong Le and immediately sat up in alarm.
Four people were sitting at the table eating. Luo Tan was in a somewhat predicament but Shen Miao was alright. Emperor Yong Le had a cold expression and it was Empress Xian De that was the happiest. She said, “This time Jing Xin had achieve a big meritorious deed. When he return in triumph, one have to celebrate it well. From BenGong’s view point, just give WangFei a title of ‘Gao Ming’. Their Prince residence is not short of anything so it is good to have a ‘Gao Ming’ title.”
Emperor Yong Le paused and made an “En” sound.
Empress Xian De asked, “Don’t you think it is good?”
Shen Miao, “…”
How could this be answered? If one said “yes”, Emperor Yong Le would obviously not be happy. If one said “no” then wouldn’t it be like slapping Empress Xian De’s face in front of everyone? These Emperor and Empress were indeed interesting to give her such a question to answer. Shen Miao smiled and said, “About all these, it is better to talk about it when His Highness returns.”
“That is also true.” Empress Xian De nodded her head, “Perhaps he has other ideas.” She then looked at Luo Tan, “About Young Lady Luo’s side, when Gao Yang returns, is it good for BenGong bestow a marriage for you both?”
Luo Tan almost choked on the cakes in her mouth. If it was others, she would have gone back but she was facing the Empress and could only look at Shen Miao pitifully.
Shen Miao suppressed her laughter, “Your Ladyship, these are not in a rush. It is better to wait for Gentleman Gao to return. Perhaps Gentleman Gao has other plans.”
When Luo Tan heard Shen Miao helping her speak, she felt relief but she felt strange after Shen Miao finished. What were those words? It seemed that Gao Yang was not attracted to her. She was a young lady that was like a flower and jade, she was also a Young Lady of the Luo family of Xiao Chun City… That was wrong. Why was there a need to compare? She did not have any intention towards this side of matters.
Emperor Yong Le looked at Empress Xian De and said deeply, “Eat.”
Empress Xian De started blaming, “Already mention that it is a family banquet so it should be carefree. Why so serious?”
Ever since Xie Jing Xing started reporting frequently, all the high ranking officials in the imperial court were settled down, seeming to see clearly the ambitions and methods of the young Emperor. Even though there are only two brothers in the Xie family, but neither brother were kind hearted. One was good at balancing the courts, one was good at expanding the frontier. As for the hearts that were filled with awe, it made the court much quieter.
Even the memorandums criticizing Emperor Yong Le having no descendant were only a few.
Empress Xian De had a rare quiet day and there were some subtle changes with her feelings of Emperor Yong Le. It seemed that the formally Emperor and Empress that treated one another as honoured guests had started becoming a pair of ordinary couple. Emperor Yong Le was a very principled person and he would always be rule abiding towards his treatment to Empress Xian De. These days, Empress Xian De would occasionally make some willful actions and Emperor Yong Le would go along with her. Although it was not intimate, it was rare.
It was always said that the observer saw things the clearest. Shen Miao felt that Emperor Yong Le was very affectionate to the Empress. It was like everything was headed towards the correct direction and upon Xie Jing Xing’s return, perhaps for a long period of time, one would be this fortunate.
Empress Xian De suddenly thought of something and said, “Tomorrow one would dig up the two earthern jugs of snow wine that I buried under the plum trees last year. It would most probably be very fragrant when it is open. Your Majesty should come with me and at the same time bury this year’s one in. WangFei and Young Lady Luo should also come. After digging it out, let us go to Cui Hu Pavilion in the evening to drink and appreciate the lotus flowers while tasting the snow wine.”
Luo Tan was gluttonous so naturally she agreed to it. Shen Miao also nodded her head but Emperor Yong Le was somewhat helpless. Empress Xian De only had nterest in brewing tea and wine so when she was happy, she was like a child. But at the end he nodded his head. When Empress Xian De saw it, she was very satisfied and continued eating while chatting with Shen Miao on some interesting matters.
The next day happened to be a sunny day. Summer usually came earlier in Long Ye but fortunately the mornings were the coolest so Shen Maio and Luo Tan went over early. Shen Miao was heavily pregnant and could not accompany Empress Xian De to dig out personally. Luo Tan was loud and had big movements thus fearing that she would mess things up, Empress Xian De and Tao GuGu dug it up.
Emperor Yong Le said, “Quickly get up, it is not good to hurt one’s hands.”
“In the past years it had always been ChenQie and Tao GuGu that dug out together.” Empress Xian De’s forehead had beads of sweat shimmering but she was in all smiles when she continued, “Snow wine had to be personally dug out for it to taste fragrant. In the future if Your Majesty have interest, one can also personally bury one and dig one out, then one would know how it is experienced.” When she spoke, she and Tao GuGu had dug out another jar.
Emperor Yong Le suddenly frowned and paused before pressing his chest in silence.
Empress Xian De carried one of the earthern jug. That jug was particularly small and adorable thus one did not need much effort to carry it. She did not find it dirty and did not fear that the soil would get onto her clothes, as if one was carrying a treasure, she lifted it to Emperor Yong Le and unblugged the jug under Emperor Yong Le’s nose and asked, “May His Majesty smell if it is fragrant or not?”
“It is very fragrant.” Emperor Yong Le said with a frown.
Empress Xian De looked at him, “Is Your Majesty not find it good? Else why would there be such an expression? Could it be that it had gone bad?” She was somewhat suspicious and went to smell it.
Emperor Yong Le smiled gently and just as he was about to speak, his eyes went black and he missed a step and fell down!
“Your Majesty!” Empress Xian De jumped in shock and the little jug of snow wine fell onto the ground. The grangrant aroma was mixed with the debris, making the area smell lightly bitter.
“Quick call the Imperial Physician!” Shen Miao quickly instructed but there was an inauspicious hunch that rang in her heart.
The gauze was put down and the master of the Gao family had finally arrived.
This was Gao Yang’s grandfather, Gao Zhan.
The Gao family was a lineage of family that practiced medication and was also quite famous in Long Ye. Among the youngest generation in the Gao family, Gao Yang’s medical skills was the most outstanding one he was one that was restless and wholeheartedly wanted to enter officialdom. The Gao family’s leader saw that he was so stubborn and thus simply drove him out of the Gao residence. Empress Xian De was sympathetic to Gao Yang’s talents and afterwards arranged him to head to Ming Qi and become Xie Jing Xing’s good friend and also assisting Xie Jing Xing.
At the beginning Emperor Yong Le’s poison was discovered by Gao Zhan himself. If it was not Gao Zhan that had such high level of medical skills, Emperor Yong Le would not have lived for so many years. However the curse of thirty five years had passed and those who knew felt that it was a miracle but this miracle was not easy to create.
Gao Zhan shook his head towards Empress Xian De.
Empress Xian De’s tears suddenly fell.
Luo Tan did not follow but Shen Miao was present. Upon seeing Empress Xian De tearing, Shen Miao’s heart was sour. Those with clear eyes knew clearly what Empress Xian De’s feelings towards Emperor Yong Le. Moreover Emperor Yong Le was not an unfeeling Emperor. Both of them were introverted but deeply affectionate. Once they lost one, it must be a fatal blow to the other.
“Gentleman.” Empress Xian De suppressed her sobs and said, “His Majesty… How long does His Majesty have?”
Gao Zhan saw everything and sighed deeply, “At most, one month.”
“How can it…” Shen Miao was shocked.
“The Emperor’s illness was accumulated since the early years. In this one year, the toxicity had already invaded the internal organs and he is currently supported by his own sheer will. The Emperor had bore a lot of pain and it is very strong to last till now.” Gao Zhan said, “This old one had had previously seen the Emperor’s sickness. The Emperor is a tough person and bore too much. Even now he is still maintaining his strength. If Your Ladyship have a heart, do persuade His Majesty. He had walk too difficulty and now is suffering too much. He had planned for other for an entire lifetime and sometimes one has to be selfish.” He then bowed to Empress Xian De and spoke solemnly, “These days, may Your Ladyship accompany His Majesty well.”
After Gao Zhan left, Shen Miao wanted to console Empress Xian De but she did not know where to start.
In the matter of pain, it would be no avail for others to comfort. The blade was not at oneself thus one would not be able to feel the pain. People would console lightly for a few sentences like it could solve everything. But it was not always the case.
Empress Xian De forced a smile and said, “You go back first. BenGong… BenGong is good.”
Shen Miao did not say anything and only told her to take care of her health before withdrawing.
Upon returning to her room, she could not help but caress her abdomen and open a sachet on the table.
The red beans looked smooth and whole.
There were so many separantion in life and death in this world. One moment a person was smiling with joy and collapsed the net moment. Heavens was too cruel and was not willing to give humans a good time and good luck. One could only depend on oneself.
She would protect her lover and her loved ones.
Empress Xian De sat in front of the bed as Emperor Yong Le had woken up.
She looked down deep in thought and her face was so gentle that it was as if time had turned back and everything was at the beginning.
“Jing Zhen.” Emperor Yong Le opened his mouth to speak.
Empress Xian De recovered to her senses and looked at him, “The Emperor has woken. Does one feel uncomfortable anywhere?”
“No.” Emperor Yong Le shook his head.
Both of them were silent for a while before Emperor Yong Le spoke, “Jing Zhen, Zhen do not have much time left.”
Empress Xian De looked at him without speaking.
“Zhen…” He paused before continuing, “It seems that one cannot accompany you to bury snow wine this winter.”
“Even though one had smashed a jug, there is another jug. If Your Majesty does not despise, one can find a cool day to go to Cui Hu Pavilion. ChenQie is wiling to drink with Your Majesty. It is just that there is no share with WangFei and the rest. The scenary at Cui Hu Pavilion is very good as the lotus flowers that bloom this year is…” It was like Empress Xian De did not hear Emperor Yong Le’s words at all and continued speaking by herself.
“Jing Zhen.” Emperor Yong Le interrupted her words, “Zhen cannot accompany you anymore.”
His face was pale but it was as beautiful and flawless as before. However there was none of the domineering and coldness of an Emperor but instead was like some noble gentleman. However he was very thin, very weak and looked very sad.
Empress Xian De turned her head and Emperor Yong Le was unable to see her expression and only hear her voice like it was a mist. However it made one’s heart sour as she said, “Your Majesty is always so heartless and unwilling to deceive ChenQie for even one sentence. This is also true. This is a beautiful dream and now one should wake up.”
Emperor Yong Le hesitated before speaking, “Sorry.”
“Your Majesty need not apologise to ChenQie as there is nothing to be sorry about. ChenQie will live one’s own life and it would not have anything to do with His Majesty.” Empress Xian De said, “Just now Gentleman Gao had came over and told ChenQie that His Majesty had been struggling for this one year. ChenQie want to ask why did Your Majesty do so? Why endure the pain with such difficulty?”
“For Great Liang.” Emperor Yong Le said, “Zhen want to see XIe Yuan conquer the Emire and protect Great Liang. Zhen want to see the day where everything under Heavens would be peaceful. With regards to Imperial Mother’s wish, Zhen hope that one would be able to finish it in one’s lifetime. It just that… Zhen do not have much time life and feared that one cannot wait till that day.”
Empress Xian De was silent for a long time before replying, “As such ChenQie understands.”
“Jing Zhen.” Emperor Yong Le said, “You… You should plan for yourself.”
“What does Your Majesty want ChenQie to plan?” Empress Xian De suddenly turned around and there were tears in her eyes as she spoke, “Wwant to let ChenQie wildfully hide one’s name and live on ordinarily? Or simple stay in this Palace for the rest of one’s life? Or find another husband to remarry?”
Every sentence she spoke, the pain in Emperor Yong Le’s eyes got deeper. He grasped the blanket in his hands quietly but said faintly, “As long as you are happy.”
Empress Xian De turned her head suddenly but Emperor Yong Le could see a large drop of tear falling onto the back of her hand. When she spoke again, her voice was however calm and waveless, “ChenQie understands. Many thanks to Your Majesty for thinking so considerately for ChenQie. ChenQie will definitely do it. Your Majesty better think of how the Imperial Edict should be written. Some things have to be arranged earlier.”
She then stood up, “ChenQie still have other matters and will leave first. May Your Majesty take care of one’s body. When one’s health improves, remember to have a drink at Cui Hu Pavilion with ChenQie.”
She then withdraw.
Empress Xian De rarely got angry. It was especially these days where she got along well with Emperor Yong Le and would smile softly every day. However no matter how soft and gentle water was, once it got angry, it would be like a piece of ice and be stubbornly angry.
However one could not bear to be really angry.
After Empress Xian De left, Emperor Yong Le coughed violently. He used the handkerchief under the pillow to wipe his mouth. Deng GongGong who was standing at the side quickly served the hot water up, “May Your Majesty be careful.”
“Deng GongGong.” Emperor Yong Le frowned, “Is Zhen wrong?” An unusual teen like confusion appeared on his face, making Deng GongGong’s nose sour.
Deng GongGong had served Emperor Yong Le for many years as he watched Emperor Yong Le grew up. Emperor Yong Le current appearance made him think of the time long ago where Emperor Yong Le was poisoned by the favoured consort of Emperor Xiao Wu and Empress Xiao learned from the Gao family’s head that he would not live pass thirty five before hugging Emperor Yong Le and crying painfully. At that time it was the young Emperor Yong Le who comforted Empress Xiao and asked Deng GongGong in confusion, “Deng GongGong, is BenGong’s poison very serious?”
The youth grew up from a gentle and elegant Crown Prince to an unfathomable Emperor. But was still a day where he would still ask the people beside him in confusion if what he did was wrong.
Deng GongGong did not speak so Emperor Yong Le sighed again, “Zhen is envious of Xie Yuan.”
“Even though Zhen and Xie Yuan had it difficult, that kid has a little better luck than Zhen. If Zhen can live…” He did not continue it.
There were many things in this world that only ends with the word ‘if’.
It was because there was no ‘if’.
In a period of ten days, Xie Jing Xing seized Ding capital.
Ming Qi Emperor, Fu Xiu Yi, was shot date on the city tower in the chaos.
Speaking of which, it was funny that Fu Xiu Yi became a Monarch of a collapsed nation. He initially said ambitiously that he would exist and perished with Ming Qi and would definitely fight to the last moment with the troops. As long as the fire of Ming Qi was not extinguished, he was still the Emperor of Ming Qi and would not surrender.
However at the last moment, somehow one had changed the mind and wanted to sneak away, perhaps having the idea to stage a comeback in the future.
However, even though Fu Xiu Yi had planned everything, he did not add the people’s heart into the calculation.
Those aides of his had long seen clearly Ming Qi’s situation before him. Those aides knew that Fu Xiu Yi had created an illusion that he would perish with the enemies but escape instead and they became furious.
Speaking of Fu Xiu Yi, he was enmeshed in a trap of one’s own devise. These group of aides were the ones that he had spend gold or use beauties to win over. Those so called heroes would not question one’s origin and Fu Xiu Yi was self declared one who cherished talents and would not look at one’s identity, thus there were people from all trades among his aides. There were robbers, mountain thieves and even people kill others without blinking. There were no distinction between good and evil with these people and they followed Fu Xiu Yi because Fu Xiu Yi could provide them with the wealth and women they wanted and even contribute to a great cause.
Now that the great cause had been destroyed and Fu Xiu Yi wanted to flee, how could one let this be?
The most courageous and ferocious character in those aides thought of tying Fu Xiu Yi onto the city tower and personally took the bow and arrow to shoot Fu Xiu Yi. At the end, he cut Fu Xiu Yi’s head off and presented it to Xie Jing Xing for credit, hoping that one could defect.
One feared that in Fu Xiu Yi’s entire lifetime of scheming, he had not thought that he would end up like this. It was not like how a Monarch would be like. Perishing with the country would at least retain one’s integrity. He did not save his life and could not stage a comeback in the future. Instead he was like a prisoner, shot to death by the people he spend a lot of money on, in front of Ding capital’s commoners and became a token for the enemies.
The last thing he saw was the youth in front of thousands of troops under the the city towers, on a tall horse. His hands was holding the reins as he looked lazily over, as always a frivolous manners but the disregard was clear in his eyes.
However before he could think of anything, he could not see anything else.
His great Empire and his ambitious plans had all stopped at this moment. Till the end he still did not understand. He was obviously the Emperor and this was what he planned long ago but why was it that he lost to an opponent that he had wanted to eradicate?
Most likely this was due to the Heaven’s unfairness. Most likely it was his bad luck that he would lose.
Down below, Xie Jing Xing clicked his tongue in dissatisfaction, “To scatter hearts till like this. Fu Xiu Yi really had such an ability.”
“People’s hearts that are tempted by gold and silver are naturally not long lastly.” Gao Yang laughed, “Lets go! Enter the city!”
“Right.” Ji Yu Shu said, “Princess Rong Xin and the few of the Su family had been rescued. Now…”
Xie Jing Xing’s expression did not change, “Protect them. As for the rest, let them be.”
When Shen Miao gotten the news, she was in a daze for a long time.
She had not thought that the enemies of her previously were all been cleaned up that tidy. However she also felt that all these were ought to be as such.
Fu Xiu Yi had planted the evil seed very early on which there would be a day that it would be harvested. Mei Furen as a tiger for it’s skin and definitely would be devoured by the tiger. They were always making use of others, using gold and beauties to exchange for things that they wanted and these kind of people’s heart looked like everything was possible, but it would not last long.
Therefore Fu Xiu Yi would be betrayed by his own aides at the end and Mei Furen would die in the hands of the man that used to pamper in her previous lifetime.
Shen Miao thought that upon learning of these two people ending, she would be inevitable shout out of joy but at this moment, there was not much emotions in her heart. It was as if she had done the things that she should do but no longer need to take revenge for the next half of her life.
She looked down at her abdomen. It was because she had more important possessions.
In the hatred and sorrow, it was oneself who could not walk out of it. However Xie Jing Xing and this child had led her out of that long nightmare. The longer one lived, the calmer one’s heart would be. She always felt that she could do it and did the final thing for Fu Ming and Wan Yu. As for this lifetime, she must live well.
Luo Tan looked at the flowers outside and said, “The lotus flowers are really good. Youngest Biao Sister, lets’ go for a walk later.”
Shen Miao nodded her head.
Lotus flowers were very good. Empress Xian De liked to look at lotuses the most.
Emperor Yong Le’s health was not as good as the days passed.
The Imperial Edict on succession had been disccessed private with Emperor Yong Le’s confidants. Emperor Yong Le did not hid his condition and the few high ranking ministers had arranged everything secretly. If there was really such a day that Emperor Yong Le no longer wake up, everything would go smoothly and the Imperial Edict would be announced to the world. When Xie Jing Xing returned from the expedition, what would be waiting for him would be the responsibility of the entire Great Liang.
Naturally Emperor Yong Le’s condition was hidden from Xie Jing Xing.
At such a time, Empress Xian De seemed to be the calmest one. She still read books, brewed tea, played chess and wrote like usual. The things that were spoken to Emperor Yong Le were those common and occasionally poke fun at Shen Miao. If one ignore the paler Emperor Yong Le, on the surface, there was no difference than normal.
In Wei Yang Palace, Empress Xian De looked outside, “It had rain a little just now so it would definitely be very cooling at night. ChenQie is reluctant to drink that jar of Snow wine, why not His Majesty accompany ChenQie to drink it today?”
Emperor Yong Le sat on the chair and glanced at Empress Xian De before laughing, “One jar. Could it be that you want to get drunk?” His words were however very gentle.
“Who doesn’t want to get drunk and not wake up?” Empress Xian De muttered to herself before saying, “One jar of wine would not get one drunk. ChenQie has a good tolerance of alcohol. When one was young, one would often steal wine to drink with one’s Older Brother.”
When Emperor Yong Le heard it, he showed a rare interest and said, “That is not like what you would do.”
“What can this be considered?” Empress Xian De was somewhat proud when she spoke, “When drinking with Older Brothers, ChenQie had never lost before. At that time Father even boasted that he would find an alcohol that ChenQie would get drunk with just one sip but after finding for some time, he could not find it. Afterwards, ChenQie entered the Palace and feared of losing one bearings after drinking and thus no longer drinks.”
“First it is tea. Then it is wine.” Emperor Yong Le signed, “Your interests are so far apart.”
“Drinking tea keeps one awake, drinking alcohol is an indulgence.” Empress Xian De smiled, “So tonight, Your Majesty must not put up airs anymore and indulge once. The Snow Wine is personally brewed by ChenQie. Even though it is not comparable to bejeweled nectar, it could still fit to the atmosphere.”
“Alright.” Emperor Yong Le said, “Zhen will accompany you to indulge once.”
In the late summer, the winds at night were bowling gently and the lake appeared green. Long Ye had long summers that even till on the eighth month, there was no signs of cooling down.
In the small pavilion on the lake, there was a small pot of wine on the table with a few snacks and two wine bowls.
Emperor Yong Le looked at the round wind bowls in front of him and his brows raised, “Use these?” He had used an expression that Xie Jing Xing loved to do, making him look very similar to Xie Jing Xing.
“By sipping with small mouthfuls, one would not be able to taste the Snow Wine.” Empress Xian De smiled, “By using this kind of wine bowl to drink, it would then taste sweet.”
“You used to drink like this in the past?” Emperor Yong Le frowned, “Nonsense.”
“Afterall it is ChenQie drinking alone and no one sees it, so why care so much?” Empress Xian De did care about it and poured for Emperor Yong Le as she held the small jar in one hand.
Emperor Yong Le wanted to say something but stopped and glanced at Empress Xian De in silence.
Empress Xian De had been brewing Snow Wine every year but it was the first time Emperor Yong Le was accompanying her to drink. For so many years she had been brewing tea alone and making wine alone. As flower blossomed and wiltered, she just lived like that deep in the Palace. She did a good job as an Empress but one had almost forgotten that she was just a female who could feel lonely. Most of the time, she would only taste the loneliness as if one was tasting the wine.
Tao GuGu and Deng GongGong was standing far away, seemingly leaving this rare moment to the Emperor and Empress. Empress Xian De handed a wine bowl to Emperor Yong Le and said, “Everytime when Jing Xing come over for a Palace banquet, he would like to use wine bowls to drink. ChenQie saw that Your Majesty seemed to be envious so one do not need to worry tonight. There is only ChenQie here and ChenQie would not laugh at Your Majesty.”
“What a joke. What can Zhen be envious about?” When Emperor Yong Le finished, he picked up the wine bowl and looked at it with some discerning eyes but still took a sip from the bowl.
When Empress Xian De saw it, she could not help but laughed, “What is Your Majesty doing? One should learn from ChenQie.” She picked up the wine bowl and lean her head back to drink. Even such an action from her made it looked very elegant and pleasing to the eyes.
Emperor Yong Le lightly coughed, “Nonsense.” His gaze however, followed Empress Xian De and it was very soft.
Empress Xian De poured another bowl for herself and smiled, “When ChenQie was young, one followed Father to read the history books and envied those great heroes in the books. They stood up in the chaos and were heroic as they eat meat and drank in big mouthfuls as they faced the world. One had felt that those types of lives would then be considered as living in the world. ChenQie had thought that in the future, one must marry to such a hero and brew tea for him during the daytime and drink with him at night.” As she spoke, her eyes was glittering, as if she had returned to her youth, bugging her Older Brothers to drink.
“And afterwards?” Emperor Yong Le asked.
“Afterwards, ChenQie married to Your Majesty and Your Majesty refused to eat meat or drink wine in big mouthfuls. Even though it was not rough, it was very cold instead. ChenQie is very regretful.”
Emperor Yong Le looked at her. Her cheeks gradually became faintly stained in red, making one unable to know if she was drunk or not. Emperor Yong Le thought that she was definitely drunk as an awake Empress Xian De would not be so childish and criticise him.
He said, “Didn’t you said that you have a good tolerance of alcohol? How could one be crazy drunk in front of Zhen?”
“ChenQie is not drunk.” Empress Xian De said, “ChenQie wants to be drunk but for so many years ChenQie had to be awake.”
Emperor Yong Le could no longer smile.
“It is ChenQie’s bad luck to marry to Your Majesty. It is all perfectly fine but one had to share one’s husband with countless of women. Even though there are concubines in those high ranking families, the official wife would have children. But ChenQie do not even have one’s own children. This marriage is really not considered good.” Empress Xian De smiled, “So ChenQie is very envious of WangFei of First Rank. It is not easy for WangFei to live and she have so many things to worry about but she is more fortunate than Chen Qie as she has choices. Jing Xin also treats her well. Jing Xin is not as heartless like Your Majesty.”
Emperor Yong Le was silent for a long time, so long that one could hear the frogs in the pond croaking and the crickets on the tree chirping. He said, “You also have choices. Jing Zhen…”
“From the start, ChenQie had no choice at all.” Empress Xian De interrupted his words, “ChenQie’s entire heart is all on Your Majesty, so how could one have the heart to make other choices?”
Emperor Yong Le was startled. Empress Xian De raised her own bowl of wine and drank the entire second bowl of wine.
“Is there any difference from how Your Majesty look at Chen Qie?” Empress Xian De looked at him, “Don’t one think that this choice of ChenQie’s life is inevitable?”
“Yes.” Emperor Yong Le paused before speaking, “You are very good. You are the best Empress in Great Liang and no one can do it better than you. At the beginning Imperial Mother liked you a lot, Zhen also like you. You are smart, generous and steady. The entire Inner Palace was managed by you very well. It is correct for Zhen to choose you.”
Empress Xian De laughed and as she laughed, it seemed that tears also camed out. She said, “It is indeed so. Your Majesty’s inevitable choice is actually ‘Empress Xian De’ and not ‘Qing Zhen’. ChenQie understands.” She looked at the moonnight up in the skies and the corner of her eyes were glittering but upon turning her head back, she was her normal gentle and calm self. She said, “The matters that Your Majesty had mentioned, ChenQie has taken into consideration. One felt that Your Majesty words are not bad. Since it is one’s life, one has to go on.”
Emperor Yong Le stared at her and felt his throat was somewhat hoarse. After a while he take said it with great difficulty, “The other person… Have you found it?”
“For the time being, no.” Empress Xian De smiled gently, “But these things are not urgent. In the future if there is such a day, it would naturally be done smoothly.”
Emperor Yong Le seemed not to have any words.
Empress Xian De picked up her wine bowl and said, “This bowl of Snow Wine, ChenQie would toast to Your Majesty. After so many years of husband and wife, it is the fate that was accumulated in one’s past life. No matter if it was destiny or ill will, even though ChenQie did not live particularly well these years, it was absolutely not bad. Many thanks to Your Majesty.”
Emperor Yong Le also raised his wine bowl but upon looking carefully, one could discover that his fingers were slightly trembling, as if it was unstable. However he concealed it well and immediately used his sleeves to cover it as he drank from the wine bowl.
To drink an entire big bowl like this, one would not be tempted by the light fragrance. From one’s eyes, throat and all the way to one’s internal organs were hot and the pain of his burning heart made him feel exceptionally bitter.
He saw Empress Xian De stood up and smiled towards him, “Actually this jar of wine looks a lot but it became empty after a few bowls with Your Majesty. It is a pity for such a good scenery tonight. But it does not matter since the days are long. ChenQie is happy to drink with Your Majesty today and will now go out for a walk. May Your Majesty take a rest but do be careful and be careful of not catching a cold.” She then left.
Her departure was so brisk and thinking of those words that she said before, it was clearly saying one’s goodbye. Now that the words of farewell are spoken, the farewell wine was gone, what remained was like now, leaving from his world step by step, never to return.
Emperor Yong Le turned his head to watch Empress Xian De’s retreating back.
Her back view disappeared in the long corridors and she did not even turn her head around, each step of hers were especially firm.
Suddenly his heart felt a pain, an unspeakable pain that slowly spread from his heart to his limbs. His heart thumped very fast that it was practically twitching. He could not breath and could not say a sentence.
He fell down his seat!
Deng GongGong was at the side waiting and when he saw this scene, he jumped in shock as he rushed over. He supported Emperor Yong Le and saw that the other party had a scarily pale face and his lips coule not help but tremble. He held his heart and immediately called for the Imperial Physician and instructed the guards to send Emperor Yong Le back to Yang Xin Hall.
Empress Xian De was walking in the night. As the wind blew, the wine that had been drunk seemed to be overflowing and the dizziness that she felt for a short time disappeared, making one distressingly awake.
She held onto the railing by the pond and sighed with some exhaustion.
She knew that what the words she said today were all in pique. But just how long could Emperor Yong Le live on? She was also extremely fearful and wanted to avoid that ending, unwilling to see or hear, blocking her ears but everytime Emperor Yong Le would take the initiative to bring it up to make her face the things she did not want to face.
There were not only three inches of soil on the ground, much less a person.
Tao GuGu said, “Your Ladyship, it is cold outside. It is better to return.”
Empress Xian De shook her head. There was a string of Buddhist bead on her wrist and it was requested for Emperor Yong Le from the temple. Everyday she would chant Buddhist scriptures, praying to the Heavens to pity the world and let miracles happen.
Every Buddhist beans were smoothen till it is bright, it was obvious that Empress Xian De had been wearing it for many years. She looked at the moon in the skies. The moon was very round and this war would almost reached to a year not long later. After a year of full and new moons, this was a good result. Seeing that the results were near, it was her that could not keep a lid on and made rash moves.
She was a bit disgusted of herself in her heart. After turning around, she wanted to walk forward but heard the sound of pitter-pattering. Upon lowering her head, she did not know when did the string of Buddhist beads broke and all of it fell onto the ground, making such crisp sounds.
It was perfectly fine so how could the Buddhist beads break?
“Tao GuGu…” Empress Xian De muttered and an uneasiness feeling appeared in her heart. It was as if one heart had tightened and in a flash one was unable to breathe.
“Your Ladyship!” Tao GuGu jumped in shock and quickly went over to support her but Empress Xian De waved her hands and squatted down in panic, “Quick. Quicly help me to pick up…”
Tao GuGu just squatted down when she saw Deng GongGong rushing over with a young enunch and said in a shocked expression, “Your Ladyship, His Majesty is somewhat not good. Quickly go and take a look!”
Empress Xian De had only picked up one bead when she heard it and her hand wavered and that Buddhist bead slid down to the ground and onto the pond. There was not even a splash heard and it was no longer seen.
In Yang Xin Hall, all the eunuchs and palace maids were all kneeling.
Deng GongGong stood at the corner with his head hung down with a sad expression.
When Empress Xian De entered, Gao Zhang just came out and shook his head when he saw her.
Empress Xian De stumbled and if it was not Tao GuGu’s supporting her, she would have fallen down.
After a while she said, “All of you withdraw.”
Emperor Yong Le also waved his hand from the bed.
Everyone in the room withdrew.
Empress Xian De stepped forward.
She walked very slowly and seemed to resisting an ending that she did not believe in. But she had to go forward. As she reached the bed, she half knelt down as she looked at the person on the bed.
Emperor Yong Le also looked at her and after a moment, he smiled instead, “It is alright. At least before leaving, one can drink the Snow Wine that you brewed.”
“Xing Zhi…” Empress Xian De looked at him in tears.
She called out ‘Xing Zhi’ and it was Emperor Yong Le’s styled name, not ‘Your Majesty’. When she was still a young girl, Empress Xiao liked her and told her Xie Chi’s styled name. Empress Xian De like Xie Chi’s styled name and felt that this person was very upright.
Even though in the long years, he had given her unerasable injuries but there was no way for Empress Xian De to watch the other party leave.
Wasn’t life destined to have such a fate? This fate was not perfect and was considered a doomed fate but when this doomed fate was about to end, she was stubborn and unwilling to let it go. It was like moths attracted to fire and would not let go till the last moment.
“Qing Zhen, I cannot accompany you.” Emperor Yong Le apologised, “When you married me, one had thought that you will be protected but in fact for so many years, you had not gained anything.” He spoke very slowly and had to rest a while after a sentence, seemingly very difficult for him.
Empress Xian De said, “Don’t speak anymore.”
For the both of them, when they had became the Emperor and Empress, one had called himself ‘Zhen’ and the other called herself ‘ChenQie’ and only when life was about to come to an end and there would never be a reunion anymore, then they used ‘you’ and ‘me’, like a pair of ordinary couple.
He said, “Go and live your life. You are so good so in the future you will be fortunate. Marry to another and don’t choose such a selfish husband like me. Find one who would love you, dote you…”
Empress Xiand De was crying silently.
She suddenly felt her hand was being grabbed and saw Emperor Yong Le staring straight at her. He gritted his teeth and said, “But I cannot be resigned. I do not wish… I am very selfish. You are my woman. I am not willing for you to follow someone else.”
Empress Xian De was startled.
“This year I had been working hard to stay alive, hopping to last a few more days. It was not because to see Xie Yuan ruling everything under Heavens. The empire has been settled and there is nothing that I cannot let go. It’s just that I… Cannot bear…” He used his energy to breath, “I cannot bear to part with you… To be able to be husband and wife with you for half a day more or even a moment more is good.”
“At the beginning when I first saw you and afterwards you were called to enter the Palace, it was actually not Imperial Mother’s intention. From the beginning it was me. It was me who told Imperial Mother that one felt that you are good. For so many years you had thougt that I was satisfied with ‘Empress Xian De’ but it was not true. I said that anyone could be this Empress as long as it was done well but it is not true. From the beginning it was always you. Those words… Are all to deceive you…”
Empress Xian De covered her mouth and said, “Why did you not say it earlier?”
Emperor Yong Le’s face became paler and his voice was almost inaudible. He said, “It is a pity that my life is not good and it had implicated your entire life…” He reached his hand out, seemingly wanting to wipe the tears on Empress Xian De’s face but the action was only done halfway through when it suddenly hang down.
His eyes were closed.
Empress Xian De covered her mouth and buried into the blanket to cry painfully. She cried with all her heart but no one outside could hear it. She buried her voice into the thick bedding and hated that she could not bury her entire self inside and from then onwards she did not need to listen, see, blame or think.
The incense in the copper furnace raised and spread out in the air. There was only restrain in the room and repressing cries as the moon out the window was so bright and gentle, like it was so perfect that it was unreal.
After a long while, Empress Xian De stood up. She gently tided up Emperor Yong Le’s blanket and stablised her lips. She tidied up her hair in front of the mirror and wiped away the tears before opening the door slowly.
The entire roomful of eunuch and palace maids were kneeing outside as Deng GongGong went up and Empress Xian De said calmly, “His Majesty is gone.”
Deng GongGong was stunned before he immediately fell onto his knees. He place his horsetail whisk aside and knowtow onto the floor loudly.
When the eunuchs and palace maids saw it, they all knelt down to kowtow and their cries resounded throughout the Heavens.
“His Majesty —— Has left ——“
Shen Miao looked towards Empress Xian De. Empress Xian De was wearing a plain white mourning dress and her expression was as usual gentle and calm, as if there was no matter that could shake her heart.
After a brief chaos in court, everything calmed down.
Emperor Yong Le had arranged everything before his head, including the passing of the Imperial Edict and also including the possible turmoil within the court. Even though there were some people that were eager to move, but the people that Emperor Yong Le arranged were not furnishings. Moreover Xie Jing Xing frequently sent good news back and everyone knew that Emperor Yong Le had no sons so the fact that the position would be passed down to this only brother of his had been long known.
It was not that there were no voices of doubt but these voices of doubt would eventually fade away. Xie Jing Xing had shown courage and with Emperor Yong Le’s complete arrangement, the Imperial court was actually rather solid and there was not much chaos. Perhaps they knew that once that Prince Rui returned, it would not only victory that he would bring back but the lands of Ming Qi and Qin country. This chaotic situation would be completely be unified and the throne position was not as important as it.
It would be better to be obedient and stay in one’s position and wait for this new Emperor to return to the throne and perhaps they would be able to share some credit.
There were only benefits and interests in the courts. So what about the Inner Palace?
When the women of the Inner Palace lost the Monarch they depended on, naturally they were at a loss too. Some were looking for death but there were more who were looking out for the rest of ther lives. Among the consorts of Emperor Yong Le’s Inner Palace, most of them were daughters of officials and there were none that he took the initiative to bring in. Moreover Emperor Yong Le naturally had a cold personality and other that the previous favoured Lu Jing, he did not lust for females and thus there were no shackles or love and entanglement with those consorts. After Emperor Yong Le’s death, these females took the initiative by requesting help from their family clans, hoping to find a better way out in the later part of their lives.
Empress Xian De calmly handled everything, be it the nation mourning to entering of the Imperial Tombs. There was no request for anyone to be buried together and Emperor Yong Le had already gave instructions to Deng GongGong of the arrangements after death and everything followed his plans.
Shen Miao came to visit Empress Xian De at night. Ever since Emperor Yong Le entered the Imperial Tombs, Empress Xian De was particularly calm. It was also the Mid-Autumn Festival today but she was listening to the Qin being played in Wei Yang Palace.
Shen Miao instructed the palace maid that was playing the Qin to leave and Empress Xian De then saw her and she seemed tired as she smiled and said, “You are here.”
“The day is colder. Your Ladyship has to wear more clothes. If one wants to listen to Qin, it is good to warm up the little furnace, else one might catch a cold.” Shen Miao said.
Empress Xian De smiled without objecting and pointed at the mooncake on the table, “It is made by the Imperial Kitchens. BenGong wanted to instruct people to send it over to you but afterwards thought that it had already been send and thus no longer thought about it.”
Shen Miao smiled, “Your Ladyship should also eat some.”
Empress Xian De waved her hands, “BenGong can’t eat.”
The succession Imperial Edict was issued and after Xie Jing Xing returned to Long Ye, he would be enthroned. At that time Shen Miao would be the Empress. Speaking of which, it was not appropriate for Empress Xian De to use this statuation. However both of them took it to mind.
“These days BenGong kept on thinking about the past. BenGong feels that His Majesty leaving should e a fact that BenGong had long knew and BenGong would definitely be used to it. However as the days passed, one felt even more unaccustomed. One would feel one’s heart empty all day, as if something is missing. WangFei, when Jing Xin left, were you the same?”
Shen Miao was startled.
Was it missing? Naturally there was. It was nothing remarkable when one was in front of one’s eyes but after truly leaving, she then discovered what one had lost. During separation, most likely one would understand the different emotions of oneself. But… Shen Miao unconsciously rubbed her abdomen. Most likely because there was a little one in her abdomen, it would not be so borning during these long and tomerted days.
“You are most likely not the same as BenGong.” Empress Xian De did not wait for Shen Miao’s answer and instead said to herself, “Previously His Majesty do not know what kind of person you are and thus investigate all your matters. As BenGong listen, one knew that you are a person who had a mind of her own. You faced the Imperial family of Ming Qi and protected the Shen family so from the start you have your own thoughts of doing things. As for Jing Xin, marrying him was it was something accidential and naturally fell into place. If you did not encounter Jing Xin, you will still be able live your life because your initial goal was not to be someone’s wife.”
“It is not the same for BenGong.” She looked at the ruby on her fingernail protector and spoke, “BenGong’s family is wealthy and stable without aby dispute in the Imperial court thus one is born without worries. When BenGong encountered His Majesty, one felt that the most important thing in life was being his wife and live with him for a lifetime.” She held her head and slowly spoke, as if she would fall asleep the next moment but she was still speaking.
“Perhaps it is because the first half of BenGong’s life was overly worry-free, so one did not know that being a person’s wife was such a difficult thing.”
Shen Miao did not speak.
It was too difficult for Empress Xian De. These days she did not even speak much but Shen Miao understood that kind of experience. It was because talking about it would not change anything but sometimes, speaking about it was good. For Empress Xian De to speak about it, it was better than hiding it in her heart.
“The Emperor had left and BenGong do not know what to do anymore. The women of the Inner Palace had been dismissed and the Palace that was originally bustling with noise is now so cold and quiet that it made one feel lonely. BenGong was thinking if one had not encounter His Majesty in the beginning, it would be good. Just like you, one would rather fight the Imperial family and protect the Shen family carefully than experiencing such a painful and sad ending.”
She spoke too sadly, too desolute that Shen Miao comforted her, “This official wife is also the same. In fact no one would have a safe and smooth life. Ever since this official wife is born, other than one’s parents’ and Eldest Brother’s concern, Heavens did not give one any blessing at all. This official wife does not dare to expect anything, thus one only believed in oneself for everything. Encountering His Highness is this official wife’s fortune but if there was no His Highness, this official wife would still walk on no matter how difficult the road is.” She paused and continued, “Your Ladyship the Empress is also the same. Even if His Majesty left first, Your Ladyship has to think about oneself and live for oneself. No matter how difficult the road it, one have to walk on and take a look. This is what His Majesty wants to see.”
Empress Xian De was silent for a long time, it was so long that Shen Miao thought that she did not hear what she said when she replied, “WangFei, thank you.”
“BenGong understand all the logic you mentioned.”
“It is just that it is too difficult. Just too difficult.”
That night Shen Miao sat with Empress Xian De for a long time. They spoke very little but it seemed that they had spoken a lot.
After Shen Miao left, Empress Xian De sat alone for a long time.
It was until Tao GuGu came over to urge her to rest when Empress Xian De got up. Tao GuGu personally saw her wash up and got to bed before leaving.
After the doors were closed, the person on the bed sat up again.
She lit the lamp and rummaged through the cupboard and clothes. It was not for the Empress’s attire but a plain moon white dress. She liked to wear such simple and refreshing colour but after becoming the Empress, she no longer could wear this kind of style because if she do not wear grandly or exquisitely, she would not be able to ‘suppress’ other consorts.
She looked magnanimous and calm but actually she was just a introverted young lady who did not like to talk.
She wore a simple dress and sat in front of the mirror with lightly swept eyebrows and after putting on some rouge, she looked extremely pretty.
She then took out a brush and paper from the drawer and started to write letters and afterwards place them into the envelope.
Finally Empress Xian De took out a small jade box from the bottom of the cabinet. There was a touch of dust covering the small box.
From the moment she was married to Emperor Yong Le, she knew about Emperor Yong Le’s medical condition. To marry a man who did not know when he would die requires a lot of courage.
But she was the bravest Young Lady in Historian residence and look up towards heros. Even though Emperor Yong Le was not considered a hero as he plays with power, tugged people’s interest and was not upright, Empress Xian De still find that he was still her hero.
From the beginning to the end.
There was a slender vial in that jade box and she took it out before placing it on her palm.
On the day of marriage to Emperor Yong Le, Empress Xian De had prepared the bottle of medicine for herself. She had told to the Phoenix crown wearing self in the mirror, “Qing Zhen, the people of the pugilist world does things clean and tidily with the word righteously in the first priority and dared to love and hate. Even though you are born in an official’s family, you lean towards the pugilist world.”
“If there was a day that he unfortunately leaves to the other world, you have to follow. This is your decision.”
For so many years, Empress Xian De would take out that bottle every year to look at it and felt fortunate that one did not use it at the end. Each year was stolen from Heavens by her and she was extraordinarly happy about it.
Now, it seemed that it was finally time for it to be used.
She was very timid. So timid that after Xie Chi left, she did not have enough courage to go through the rest of her life.
She was also very daring, so daring that she knew from the beginning that there would be such an ending but still decided to go ahead.
“Xing Zhi, I will go and see you.” She whispered and drunk the contents of the bottle of medicine.
The moon gradually appeared from the clouds and hung high up on the willow branches, as if it was watching the world’s joys and sorrows with a smile.
It was so round that it made one want to cry.
Shen Miao felt very uncomfortable for this entire night of rest and her dreams was especially complicated. She wanted to see clearly among the chaos but did not understand.
It was until Jing Zhe woke her up and Shen Miao saw the bright skies outside and when she discovered that her forehead was filled with cold sweat and there was unease in her heart.
Luo Tan ran in from outside and her eyes were red. She looked at Shen Miao and spoke softly, “Her Majesty the Empress had left!”
The handkerchief that Shen Miao took from Jing Zhe’s hands fell onto the floor.
In less than a month, Emperor Yong Le and Empress Xian De passed away one after another, making everyone under Heavens shocked.
Emperor Yong Le left the living and Empress Xian De followed after, making one feel touched. Those consorts that had been figting till death in the Palace all the time, all rushed over after hearing it. When Empress Xian De was the Empress, she was generous and with addition that Emperor Yong Le did not give her too intimate treatment, thus the consorts did not have any intentions towards the Empress. Thus upon knowing it, they even sighed.
Empress Xian De’s father seemed to be very calm from the beginning to end, seemingly long expected that Empress Xian De would make this decision. Even though he was painfully said, it was not unacceptable to him.
Shen Miao followed the procedure of an Empress burial and buried Empress Xian De with Emperor Yong Le in the Imperial tombs. Thus a wise Monarch and virturous Empress could only remain in the history books of Great Liang.
What followed after were a lot of matters.
When Emperor Yong Le left, there was still Empress Xian De but with Empress Xian De passing on, who could make decisions in court? Even though Emperor Yong Le had left behind a succession Imperial Edict, but Xie Jing Xing had yet to be enthroned thus it was not possible to call Shen Miao an Empress. However Emperor Yong Le did not have any other sibilings and Xie Jing Xing was the only one that has a blood relationship with him.
There was no one Imperial court that was completely stable, especially during an absence of a dragon.
The originally calmed Imperial Court started to move again. There were always some restless officials that would try to create something. They had ambitions but no guts and yet unwilling to let this opportunity go.
Shen Miao asked Deng GongGong, “Currently the Imperial courts are quarrelling very badly?”
Deng GongGong said, “Exactly so. Now the Imperial courts want to recommend someone to temporarily supervise the Empire and plans can been made again upon His Highness Prince Rui’s return.”
“Impudent.” Shen Miao’s lips pursed, “Really think of stealing the Empire and make one a duke!”
Deng GongGong went mute.
One did not know why but he had always felt that this young WangFei had an indescribable temperament. This temperament was very similar to the previous Empress Xian De but was much sharper than Empress Xian De. Normally she looked warm and easy to talk with but if there were any matters that she did not like, once her expression became cold, it would make one feel daunted.
This feeling was very similar to that of Prince Rui, Xie Yuan.
However Emperor Yong Le did instructed Deng GongGong several times before he left that when Xie Jing Xing is back, he would assist Xie Jing Xing.Deng GongGong had grew up in the Palace of Long Ye since young and thus would be able to help in many matters. Now that Xie Jing Xing had yet to return, naturally Deng GongGong dare not be sloppy on matters instructed by Shen Miao.
“Deng GongGong. Tidy things up. I will go to the Imperial court.” She said.
Deng GongGong was startled and said, “Furen…”
“For chaos to begin in court, this is the critical point. If it is spread out, it would be a bad message and inevitably the people in Long Ye would be upset and create problems. It is better for me to be the wicked person. It does not matter what others would think, first thing to do is to comfort the restless hearts of the people.”
“But.” Deng GongGong looked at Shen Miao’s lower abdomen and said, “You are still pregnant.”
“It is because of this child that one can control the Imperial Court.” Shen Miao smiled slightly, “With the Imperial bloodline, they have to worry about their reputation if they want to take any actions. Since I am a person from Ming Qi, they would definitely use this to kick up a fuss but the child in my abdomen is of the Imperial bloodline so no matter what, they would not dare to disrespect me.”
Deng GongGong thought for a while and said, “This can indeed temporarily calm things down but like this WangFei would not be able to conceal your pregnancy.”
“I initially hide it because one did not want to let His Highness be distracted on the battlefield. Now that the war is coming to an end, the dust is settling and victory is in one’s hands, there was no more need to conceal it.” She then looked that the still frowning Deng GongGong and smiled, “You fear that this Palace would not be peaceful and someone wants to harm me.”
Deng GongGong quickly lifted his sleeves, “This servant would certainly protect the safety of WangFei and the little heir!”
Shen Miao bowed, “It is tough for you.”
After Deng GongGong withdrew, Shen Miao than gave a sigh of relief before sitting down on the chair to look at the falling leaves outside.
Empress Xian De had left too hasty and there were many problems that were revealed. In this bustling Palace in spring, at the moment it was cold and desolute that it made one feel a sense of chilliness. However she knew that matters were far from over. Before Xie Jing Xing return, it was she that had to settle this somewhat chaotic court.
“Ever since you are in my tummy, there is really no good moments.” Shen Miao said to her abdomen softly, “But everything would get better.”
Five days later, the Imperial Court publicly released the succession Imperial Edict. There were doubters but the high ranking officials were witnesses. Before Emperor Yong Le left, he had arranged everything wellm making the hundreds of official speechless.
With there were no leader in the group of officials, there were requests for a few ministers to be regents and supervise the court. However it was being rejected as Rui WangFei, Shen Miao,will be handling the court affairs.
In a moment, memorandums were send everywhere and rumours flew everywhere. It was all about Shen Miao being a person from Ming Qi and it was odvious that she was a spy sent from Ming Qi. Now she even wanted to take advantage when there was no one in court. One really had an ambition of a wolf.
This rumour spread very quickly but it was also settled quickly because Shen Miao’s pregnant self appeared in front of the Imperial Courts. Moreover Deng GongGong, Tao GuGu and a bunch of people was able to prove that Empress Xian De brought Shen Miao into the Palace so as to protect this only Imperial bloodline well.
With this child, on paper and namesake, there were no issues. In addition on the day that Shen Miao appeared, her methods were lightly and she blances everything exquisitely, making it a slap to the faces of the troublemakers. She punished and rewarded accordingly, making people have the feeling that if one create any problems at this moment, when Xie Jing Xing return, one feared that one would have bitter fruits to eat.
Half were jealous of Shen Miao and the other half feared Xie Jing Xing, thus the storm was quickly subsided.
However Shen Miao was not living leisurely.
When it comes to doing what was spoken, since she was responsible for this burden, it was not just talk. During these days she had been reading memorandums. After Emperor Yong Le died, there were many memorandums accumulated and in addition to Empress Xian De ‘s death, the memorandums pilled up very high. She would read everyone and sometimes late into the night.
It pained Jing Zhe and the few of them to see her like this but no matter how much they persuaded, she did not move and they could only accompany her.
As Luo Tan yawned, she asked, “Youngest Biao Sister, why is there a need to read it yourself? If you do not trust those people, you should be able to trust the late Emperor’s confidants. Isn’t it good to pass all these memorandums to them and let them read? Why the need to do it personally? You are carrying a child in your abdomen.”
Shen Miao shook her head, “Hearts can change easily and power cannot be anyhow placed. I am not a person of Long Ye thus in such a short time, one would not be able to see another’s heart. And since one is unable to predict if there are any varables in the future, it is better for one to read this myself. It is not easy to rectify mistakes.”
Perhaps Emperor Yong Le did have confidants but after Emperor Yong Le’s and Empress Xian De’s death, no one could predict if these people would have other thoughts.If this was Ming Qi, Shen Miao would have an understanding of these people and it would not be any issues but this was Long Ye. The time she was in Long Ye was not long so how could she be able to understand people’s character in such a short period of time?
At the end, there was no one that was trustworthy.
Deng GongGong was at the side serving and nodded his head with approval. At that time Shen Miao said it so easily that Deng GongGong was inevitably filled with doubt. If one just talked about it, then wouldn’t it be slapping the face of the Imperial family if it was spoken in front of so many officials? Females would always be delicate and what Empress Xian De could do previously, it was because she was Empress Xian De. However Shen Miao had never done these before but still read those memorandums till late at night like men and worry about plans for the Empire. To her, this was somewhat overly difficult.
The fortunate thing was that Shen Miao did a good job.Her handling of a new matters were considered satisfactory. Although Deng GongGong did not understand the affairs of court, he was most proficient in observing expressions and mood. Those officials that objected or suspicious at the beginning had became warmer and that mean that Shen Miao was doing well else it would be impossible for these people, who were picking bones from eggs, not to find any fault till now.
Deng GongGong was somewhat gratified. If Shen Miao was such a person then she was comparable to Empress Xian De and perhaps the Great Liang’s empire would be like what Empress Dowager Jing Xian had hoped to be and it would last for tens of thousands of years.
“This is just too exhausting.” Luo Tan said, “But one heard them discussing after court, saying that you are lucky and made a few decision that has satisfactory results.” Luo Tan then said disdainly, “How could it be luck? It is odviously genuine ability. Youngest Biao Sister, how do you know everything? You can even read all these messy memorandums, what can you not do?”
Shen Miao rolled her eyes, “There is a lot that one does not know.”
“For example…” Luo Tan rush up in interest.
“For example, not like you, curious of everything.”
Luo Tan sulked and then continued, “In any cause… The hardship is about to end and it is almost time for you to give birth. MeiFu is about to win the war. At that time GuFu and my Father would also come over and our family would be reunited. Thinking about it, all these hardships is nothing.”
Shen Miao smiled gently, “Yes.”
The hardship now was always worth it.
Xie Jing Xing’s information came over continuously. Ming Qi was exterminated and the Qin country saw that seeking peace was hopeless, thus the Qin Emperor fled to the North. Now Great Liang troops were rushing over to occupy the Qin country. After occupying the city, Xie Jing Xing could then return to Great Liang.
In some sense, the war was already over and now one was waiting for the hero to return in triumph.
This was the best news that came recently.
It was just… Shen Miao sighed. Xie Jing Xing most likely had known about Emperor Yong Le’s and Empress Xian De’s news. After he returned to Great Liang and went to the Imperial Tombs, one did not know how he would feel. In this world, the last person who had blood relations with him had left. From that onwards, he was truly a lonely person.
However… He was not considered lonely as there was still Shen Miao and the child.
Tao GuGu smiled, “WangFei’s day of delivery is estimated to be the first day of next month. There are still ten more days and everyone have to pay more attention.”
Luo Tan rubbed her hands together, “I am so happy. One do not know if it is a little niece or a little nephew. This really makes one curious to death. I guessed that it would be a little niece as she is so obedient and don’t make a fuss.”
“That might not be necessarily so.” Tao GuGu said, “WangFei’s abdomen is pointed and looked like it could be a little heir.”
Shen Miao smiled as she listened to their conjectures but her heart felt a calm that she had never felt before.
After giving birth and upon Xie Jing Xing’s return, perhaps the hardship of the past year and the chaos of the war would finally end. The future would be welcome good times.
However in this world, there would not be such a perfect thing. Even at a good result, there would be eighteen twists and danger would spring up continuously and troubles would add into the chaos. It was like this could then show the previousness of the result and it was difficult to gain happiness.
And for Shen Miao, just when she thought that she was approaching fortune and happiness, a big issue was ushered in.
In the authum, the skies were clear and the wind was blowing smoothly. It was a rare good weather.
Shen Miao sat on the side of the courtyard as she had, on a rare occation, finish reading all the memorandums early. Luo Tan had found a kite from who knew where. Her childlike heart did not decrease as she played with the female officials heartily. Shen Miao was infected by her laughter and could not help but smiled.
However one saw Deng GongGong walking in quickly with a seriousness not seen before. Upon seeing Shen Miao, he signaled her to go into the hall.
Shen Miao saw that he had important things to say and let Jing Zhe support her to the inner hall. Upon reaching the inner hall, Deng GongGong said, “WangFei, it is not good. The remaining forces of the Lu family are attacking the city!”
“The remaining forces of the Lu family?” Shen Miao frowned, “Didn’t everyone of the Lu family been completely eradicated in Fu Yang?”
“Among the Lu family, the Second Lu Young Lady’s husband is a military officier and had raise a group of private soldiers. At that time they were not in Long Ye but outside Long Ye, posing as ordinarly folks. These people had contact with the Ye family. At that time when the Ye family got into trouble, Ye Mao Cai gave these people a huge fortune. Now these people had prepared resources and planned to attack the city and are currently exchanging moves with the guards at the ciy.” Deng GongGong said.
Shen Miao’s eyes congealed and she spoke coldly in half a moment, “A centipede dies but never falls down. The Lu and Ye familys had really racked their brains in dealing with the Imperial family.” She looked towards Deng GongGong, “They are coming for me.”
Deng GongGong wiped the sweat on his forehead, “WangFei…”
Even with both the Lu and Ye families’ ‘residual power’, it was not possible for them to complete wth Xie Jing Xing’s army. The reason why they choise this time to attack the city was all to fulfill Ye Mao Cai’s and Lu Zheng Xuan’s last wishes and make the situation into either the fish died or the net split. Now that there was only Shen Miao, the only person who chould make decision in the Palace and Shen Miao was even carrying Xie Jing Xing’s child. Perhaps from their viewpoint, upon killing Shen Miao and losing the child, Xie Jing Xing would feel so much pain that he did not want to live.
For Xie Jing Xing, this was the best revenge.
Was this Ye Mao Cai’s and Lu Zheng Xuan’s method? They were already dead but they still had to make another feel disgusted at the end.
“How amny troops are there in the city and how many guards are there in the Palace?” Shen Miao asked.
“The guards in the Palace are enough to protect WangFei but those people had started to slaughter the people outside Long Ye. Once they enter the city, they would definitely kill everyone. These people are cruel and are mixed in the crowds. If one wants to deal with them, lots of people are required. Like that, then the people in the Palace are not enough and it would be easy to be exploited.”
Shen Miao frowned, “That is to say that one has to choose between the Palace and the commoners?”
Deng GongGong was silent. He did not know how to answer such a direct question like that.
“Understood.” Shen Miao nodded her head, “Take the guards out. Protect the people first.”
“WangFei!” Deng GongGong was startled, “You cannot discount your life and death. If you encounter any dangers, how could I tell His Highness the Prince!”
“It is not that I have discounted my life and death.” Shen Miao said, “It is just that do you think those people are only outside the city? One feared that there are also people mixed in the city. What they are doing is nothing more than arising fear from the commoners. If at this time the guards only guard the Palace, they would say some words and the commoners would be moved easily. When the people’s heart are not stabled, this Imperial Palace is just a bowl of soup that can be scattered quickly. It is especially so that His Highness is about to return, there must not be any chaos.” Seeing that Deng GongGong disagreement, Shen Miao said, “Besides I would not take my life as a joke. Before His Highness left, he had left some peoplefor me. They will protect me.”
Those few Mo Yun army who was left behind had later following Shen Miao into the Palace. She knew in her heart that there was no room for any choice at this moment. Lu Zheng Xuan’s and Ye Mao Cai’s last move was to deliberately make the others disgusted. If Shen Miao only care about herself and not the commoner’s life and death, once this matter had passed, even if Xie Jing Xing was enthroned, there would only be a cold and selfish reputation. During an Emperor’s initial period of their rule, the most important was the commoner’s hearts of support. If one lost the hearts of the people, then the foundation would not be stable from the beginning.
For Xie Jing Xing’s sake, one could not let the guards guard only the Palace.
When Deng GongGong saw that she had a decision made, he no longer insisted and arranged according to her instructions.
Shen Miao did not seem as tranquil as she looked. She frowned tightly. If it was in the past, it would not be a problem but at such a juncture, it was time for her to give birth. It might be that these remaining forces had picked this time for this opportunity.
In any case, she must protect the child in her abdomen.
Luo Tan rushed over after knowing of the news and she was filled with worry as she persuaded her, “Youngest Biao Sister, it is better to find a place to hide. Let’s hide first, until the child is born. Currently this Palace is no longer save as everyone knows that you are in the Palace and naturally those rebels also know. Once the guards in the Palace reduce, they would definitely attack.”
Shen Miao shook her head, “If I were to leave, one fear that on the second day, these people would have said that I fleed. This Palace is like a battleground. If I were to withdraw first, once the rebels come forward, the Imperial family could no longer stand up.”
“But…” Luo Tan still wanted to speak.
“There are no buts. Just wait for a few more days and Xie Jing Xing will return.” Shen Miao said, “As long as one survives this period.”
Just as Shen Miao expected, just barely the second day, rumours began to spread on the streets saying that Rui WangFei had fleed with her people and did not care about the life and death of the people. Now there is not a single person that could make decision in Great Liang’s court and the rebels were fighting with the city guards at the city gates. It was unknown when they would enter the city and at that time blood would flow like the river.
The commoners were kind and kind people were most easily made used by others. No matter if it was a rumour or something of substance, what they could rely on was nothing more than the protection of the son of Heavens. However upon hearing this rumour that the person who made decisions had fleed and left them to the knives like fish meat, it made one feel hurt.
For a period of time, they scolded the Imperial family for being ruthless and curses of Shen Miao’s coldness were endless. Xie Jing Xing was scolded for only caring about his merits and not taking the lives of Long Ye’s commoners in regard. They also scolded Shen Miao for being without virtue and heart by fleeing from the city.
Shen Miao sat at the side of Jin Yu Hall. She was dressed in a purple shimmering robe wth a Palace styled hair. She was obviously young but managed to hold the colour down. She said, “Head towards the top of the Palace city.”
The officials looked at each other and one of them came forward, “WangFei of First Rank, is this move too risky?” This person had opposed to Shen Miao overseeing the court initially and he opposed to it the most. However in recent days, he had been much more obiedent.
“One has to take risk then the commoners would believe that one would not give them up in times of danger.” She stood up as Jing Zhe and Gu Yu quickly supported her. She was currently at full term and thus it was inconvenient to walk around.
Even though it was called the Palace city, it was better to call it a Palace tower. When Shen Miao and the hundreds of officials were up on the tower, there were some commoners gathered below and more and more gathered. Mo Qing brought the Mo Yun army over and the guards in the Palace were also activated to prevent assassins from attacking.
Some of the commoners recognized Shen Miao and someone immediately called out, “It is the WangFei of First Rank!”
In a short period of time the space below the tower were filled with so much people that water could not pass. One feared that half of Long Ye’s commoners had come over. Shen Miao looked down and slowly spoke.
“To every ordinary folks, lately there are many rumours. The dregs of the Lu people and the Ye rebels are entagled, intending to confuse the people’s heart.”
In the wind, her voice was neither high or low but seemed to have the power to appease others yet able to be firm, making others feel the decisiveness in her tone of voice.
“Everyone must not be in a rush to be convinced by it. I swear on the name of Rui WangFei of First Rank that if the city stands, I stand, if the city falls, I will fall. I will exist with you and fight together with you!”
There was a blanket of awe at the bottom of the city but there were doubters and believers.
“The troops of Great Liang are currently in an expedition outside and I am in Long Ye, part of the Xie family of Long Ye. The Xie people’s glory is not extinguished and I would not flee. Being in a family of military lineage, there are no cowards. One can be deafeated but cannot flee. Not to mention that this is just some dregs, how could they make a mess in court? What a joke!”
She spoke loudly but not flowery. Everyone looked up that that female wearing a golden purple long robe. Her chin was slightly lifted up and for a short moment, made one saw a glimpse of the young Prince of First Rank that was in a war expedition. It was arrogant yet was qualified to do so.
“So don’t believe, don’t speak, don’t fear and don’t cower.”
“I am here in this Imperial Palace, let’s see who dare to come.”
The purple cloak fluttered with the wind as the flag behind her flew up high.
The commoners below were silent for a moment before cheering together with voices so loud that it seemed to have broken through the clouds!
There was no one did not like victory. The commoners need to be appeased and they especially need a domineering promise. The Monarch was not present but this female could pick up this great cause with such courage and bravery. It made one admire and felt reassured.
It was a very protective appearance.
The civil and military officials that were standing behind her were moved upon seeing the scene.
This was the power of speech. This female could move people’s heart. She had picked on the most enthusiastic part of one’s heart and made the people’s blood boil. As such, the city gates of Long Ye were firmly strengthened.
Shen Miao turned and left.
In the next few days, the rumours in Long Ye had calmed down. Even when those people tried to provoke dissent, the commoners would immediately refute it. After all that day Shen Miao had personally went up to the Palace tower even in such a dangerous situation and spoke those inspiring words. As long as the commoners were settled, the human heart could be revealed.
However the Lu and Ye forces outside the city had intensified its offensive attacks, as if they had gone crazy.
As Shen Miao read the memorandums normally, she had made arrangements for the guards to reinforce the forces at the city, making herself very busy. She was pregnant and felt a little less capable than she desired to be.
On this day, she just woke up early in the morning when she saw Luo Tan running in. Upon seeing her, she said, “Youngest Biao Sister, someone is here to see you.”
Shen Miao frowned, “Who?” She was in the Palace and now other than speaking to those court officials during court, no one would specifically come to to see her. She had no good friends in Long Ye and those with the best relations were all in the Palace.
“I will help you out to take a look.” Luo Tan said.
Luo Tan supported Shen Miao out and upon arriving at the main hall, she saw a person sitting in front of the table as Jing Zhe poured tea for the person. The person was wearing a green simple robe, just as pure and unyielding as her memories.
Shen Miao called out, “Gentleman Pei?”
Pei Lang turned his head.
There were just too many things that happened in the past year. At the beginning Pei Lang chose to leave and from some ways, it was considered the best choice. Afterall the memories of one’s past life still exsist and no one knew what kind of emtions they should use when facing one another.
When he saw Shen Miao, he smiled gently, “One heard that Long Ye is facing some difficulties and the Palace is in a dangerous situation. Even though I do not have any special skills, at ,ease I can share some burden.”
Shen Miao frowned and did not speak for some time.
Pei Lang smiled, “No need to think too much. I am from Ming Qi and in Great Liang can be considered as a fellow countryman. Moreover at the beginning there was a teacher and student relationship thus it is not that there is completely no relations. This time just treat me like I am helping a friend from hometown.”
He smiled gently, as if everything had not happened. Shen Miao looked at him carefully and saw his calm expression, as if he had let go of the past and her heart relaxed.
For Shen Miao, the past seemed to be something very long ago. She was more concern of the future and Pei Lang’s appearance could indeed help her offload many problems.
She said, “I have to owe you a favour again.” The last time it was Pei Lang that took a knife for her.
Pei Lang said softly, “Owe?” Then he smiled again, “It is good to think it like this.” After looking up at Shen Miao, he continued, “There is no time to waste. Now let’s deal with the most pressing matter in Long Ye.”
What was the most pressing matter in Long Ye at this moment? It was naturally cleaning up the rebels and ensuring the safety of the people in the city. Because of the war and many other court affairs, there were numerous memorandums. They all depended on pregnant Shen Miao to settle and this was just too much. Moreover her delivery date was around the corner and she could not afford to make big movements.
After Pei Lang arrived, the burden on Shen Miao’s shoulder was a little lighter.
Pei Lang was originally Fu Xiu Yi’s aide and naturally had an understanding of these court matters. Moreover he had a natural born talent in this area that even if entering Great Liang’s court first time, he was able to handle it well.
However there was a problem, which was the manpower in Long Ye. It was possible to protect the people in Long Ye but one would not be able to cover one’s tail if some resources were moved to clean up the rebels. No one dared to take this risk and it was not a good thing to stay on such a stalemate.
“Just delay it by a month. When Xie Jing Xing returns, these rebels would be cleared.” Shen Miao said to Pei Lang, “As long as one persist for these days.”
Pei Lang was helping on the memorandums. They did not mention any related matters of the past lifetime, as if boh of them had an unspoken past. There was no advantage of bringing it up and sometimes, being stupid was the best way of getting along.
Pei Lang was also stunned for a long time upon seeing the foolish Ye Hong Guang. Most likely because Ye Hong Guang and Fu Ming were just too similar in appearance. Thus he treated Ye Hong Guang particularly warm and Ye Hong Guang liked to play with Pei Lang.
“Even so,” Pei Lang was somewhat worried, “But the Lu family rebels also know of this logic. In previous days, the soldiers guarding the city had reported that the Lu family rebels had not move till now. When things are not moving as expected, it is not normal. One felt that they are preparing for something.”
“No matter what they are preparing, there would be no change in our current situation.” Shen Miao sighed, “At the beginning one had thought about the strong Great Liang border. Long Ye is the golden throne and thought that even if there were movements it would all be due to the mutal suspicions in the Imperial courts. Who knew that the Lu family had retained this method.”
“The Lu family hates the Imperial family to the bones and knkowing that there was no more opportunities of winning, they actually hid this move at such a critical time.”
“It is not enough for the old thief to die like that.” Shen Miao had a memorandum in her hands but her gaze was outside the windows, “Long Ye cannot be lost. Not even one step can be given in.”
Luo Tan walked over with a food basket and smiled, “Both of you had read the memorandums for so long and need to eat. This is especially so for Youngest Biao Sister. You are no longer one person and you have a child. You being hungry means my unknown little niece or little nephew have to be hungry too. What kind of mother is this?” She took out the snacks and soup from the basket and said, “Gentleman Pei should also eat a little. I watched as the kitchens prepare these things. It is guaranteed very safe!”
Luo Tan was in the Palace all day and seemed to be somewhat doing nothing. Shen Miao and Pei Lang read memorandums and she could not help, thus all her efforts and thoughts were placed on Shen Miao’s child. There are many people in the Palace and more hands equates to more complication thus meals would require a lot of attention as lots of childen were lost just because of food. Luo Tan would move a small tool everyday to the Imperial Kitchens to guard that even Tao GuGu, Jing Zhe, Gu Yu would not pass, watching all the food prepared personally.
Shen Miao smiled gently, “Have troubled you.”
Pei Lang’s gaze fell onto Shen Miao protruding abdomen and hesitated for a bit before asking, “It is estimated… To be in these few days?”
“It is not easy to predict.” Shen Miao said, “But I felt that it should be soon.” She caressed her lower abdomen and there was a flash of gentleness in her eyes, “To be born in such a chaotic time, it is tough for him.”
“What chaos?” Luo Tan said, “Youngest Biao Sister words are wrong. One had to know that the land under Heavens are not peaceful today and when the chaos are settled and world is stablised, it would be a time of prosperity. When MeiFu returns, then that little fellow would have a victorious Father and everyone under Heavens would cheer of his birth. Such a fortunate thing is not something that anyone could encounter. Why does such a good thing become a bad thing from your lips?”
Shen Miao laughed, “You are so good with your words so why don’t you go be a storyteller?”
Luo Tan said proudly, “If I am a storyteller, then one would be able to be the best in the world.”
Pei Lang saw both of them speaking with excitement and shook his head with a smile, “It is good after these days past. One only hope that the rebels would not create any issues at this time.”
Heavens did not go according to human’s wishes. Pei Lang’s words accidentally came true after two days.
The more critical tme was, the more one could not make a mistake, as long as one pass these days, Xie Jing Xing returned and resolved the dangers in Long Ye, no matter if there were rebels of thieves, they would disappear without any traces in this Great Liang Empire. From then onwards, there would not be Ming Qi or Qin country. There would only be one Great Liang under Heavens and all these mountains and lands would end up in Xie Jing Xing’s hands.
Even if one escaped to the ends of the Heavens and corner of the seas, these people would be like ants, like dogs of departed family, never able to have peace.
From the start they had never intended to leave alive, otherwise they would not have attacked Long Ye. However if one was able to kill Shen Miao or the child in Shen Miao’s abdomen, then this suicide battle would be worth it. Now seeing that each day passed with the commoners were not incited successfully and the Imperial family was still stable, the rebels were anxious. They were anxious to make the entire Long Ye in chaos so that when Xie Jing Xing returned, he would face a mess as well as the tragc death of this wife and child.
Thus they launched a frenzied attack on Long Ye two days later.
Just like Pei Lang had predicted, things that were not moving as expected, it is not normal. They had originally made an arrangement and this arrangement was made by Lu Mao Cai to force the Imperial family. One had not expected that it would be used to deal with this Imperial city.
But just like Shen Miao had said, no matter what happened, their situation would not change a little bit.
In Lu Mao Cai’s plans, it was the Lu family troops dealing with the Imperial guards. Now these forces are not as fierce as the Lu family’s troops and the Imperial guards were not as many as during Emperor Yone Le’s period, coincidentally, both made up to a tie.
By setting aside guards to protect the commoners, naturally there were much lesser people in the Imperial Palace. Shen Miao’s situation became very dangerous.
“WangFei, how about recalling some people back to the Palace?” Deng GongGong said, “One fear that it is more critical in the Palace.”
“It is useless for one or two people and if there are more people, there would be none outside. Let it be.” Shen Miao said, “Just leave it like this. It would be alright after tonight. Those rebels also need to recuperate. If tonight’s attack n the city is not successful, then their troops’ morale would dropped by half. Tonight is the most stressful time, after tonight, everything would become much easier.”
Tao GuGu was somewhat restless, “One could not help but worry upon listening. WangFei, is the child in one’s abdomen really alright?”
Shen Miao unconsciously stroke her abdomen the next moment. Most likely because mother and child were of one heart, these days, she was able to clearly feel the child moving and kicking in her womb but tonight it was very calm. She then smiled, “Most likely it is asleep and know that it should not create a mess at this moment. It is very obedient.”
Pei Lang said, “Since one has made up one’s mind, then just guard here. However one have to be prepared. Once something goes wrong, then let everyone in Mo Yun Army come here to protect you and escort you to a safe place. Even though this Imperial Palace have to be guarded, one’s life is still the most important. Even though the commoners know that you flee at the end, it would only be that you fled at the last moment and would not blame you since you are protecting the Imperial family’s blood.”
Shen Miao nodded her head, “This is also what I thought.”
“Then everyone should raise their spirits.” Luo Tan said, “It is currently the most crucial night. We are all in the Imperial Palace and at such a time must be unite. There is nothing that one cannot get through. This year is almost over and all these are nothing more than some nameless rats. Would one even fear those?”
Luo Tan grew up in the Luo family and had a type of pride and courage in her bones. The more dangerous it was, the more unafraid she became. Her words made those in the palace feel hot blooded. Even those eunuchs and palace maids in Wei Yang Palace all knelt down and said that they would live and die in this Imperial Palace.
The situation was not that desperate yet.
Shen Miao sat in the middle of the hall. The big hall was very spacious that it was somewhat deserted. Pei Lang sat at the side flipping through memorandums while Shen Miao waslked at the officials brought some document at ShangWu (aka noon). As for Luo Tan, one did not know where she found a nine ring puzzle to play with. Tao GuGu and Deng GongGong was at the side, continuously pouring warm tea. It looked like everyone had their things to do and seemed to be busy.
This lightened the tense atmosphere a little.
But it was only a little. This was because the guards would report from time to time about the current situation of the city. Those rebels were really ferocious as they were killing commoners everywhere. Thus whoever that stood with the Imperial family would panic. Fortunately Shen Miao had reallocated most of the guards and city garrison to fight with these Lu family people endlessly. At this time, one could not see who would prevail.
These thieves were very sly. A part of them would confuse the hearts of the commoners and a part of them would be secretly hide and attack the Imperial Palace. Hearing the noises of some soldiers fighting outside, there seem to be some shouts occasionally. No one could really calm down.
It was as if a bow was fully pulled. Every lsight move would affect one’s heart, making one unable to be settled down.
This night was particularly long. It was so long that the green smoke from the incense burner was also particularly slow as it scattered in the air, producing a light fragrance. However one was able to smell it.
When the dawn broke, the noises outside gradually got softer.
Deng GongGong and Tao GuGu showed expressions of relief.
The head of the guards came in from outside and said to SHen Miao, “Reporting to WangFei, the Lu family rebels had already withdrawn to the outskirts of the city and the thieves in the city were cleared. The city garrison is currently claming the commoners down.”
This meant that the crisis had passed.
Luo Tan stretched out. The nine ring puzzled that she had been playing with the entire night was not undone. It was not because she was stupid but because the entire night, her mind was not on the nine ring puzzle, thus it would be a wonder if one managed to solve it. She yawned. Even though she was excited, she was unable to hid her fatigue, “Youngest Biao Sister, since the crisis is resolved and I have accompanied you an entire night, this is considered a little merit right?”
Shen Miao lifted her head up. She was comparably better than Luo Tan. Even though she looked somewhat tired, she was not that sleepy. She said with a smile, “Everyone has suffered. When His Highness returned, those who have merits would be rewarded.”
The head of the guards also smiled, “WangFei has also suffered.”
To be able to calm down in such a critical juncture like this and even staying in the Palace all night, in some ways, it was almost as good as fighting with them. For a female to be able to do these, this was very admirable. Moreover what kind of person Shen Miao was during these days, everyone could see it clearly. Without her leading Long Ye, one feared that Long Ye would still be in a mess now.
Pei Lang looked up from the memorandums and smiled gentlyat ShenMiao with some expression of ease.
Tao GuGu was the most concerned about Shen Miao’s health, “Since it is alright, it is better for WangFei to rest first. Even normal people would not be able to handle an entire night of not closing one’s eyes, much less someone pregnant.” She went over to support Shen Miao.
Shen Miao was supported by Tao GuGu and as she took a step out, she felt her abdomen fell and she suddenly stopped.
When Luo Tan saw it, she said, “One’s body stiffens after sitting for too long right? I will come and massage for you. When one’s legs become numb, it is difficult to take a single step.”
“It is not that.” Shen Miao forced herself to come down before saying, “Go and invite a midwife over first.”
Tao GuGu and Luo Tan was first startled. Tao GuGu however immediately reacted but she was unable to say she was more excited or horrified as she said, “Quick! Bring the two midwives from the Palace over!”
The midwives were the best of all midwives. All the famous midwives were call upon before shortlisting to those who went through difficult births like small matters. In order to be safe, Tao GuGu found two of them.
The one in front, Li Po-zi said, “WangFei don’t be nervous. A female would always find the first birth difficult but as the saying goes, first is strange, second will be familiar. After giving birth the first time, one would not be scared later and it would be very smooth.”
Liu Po-zi was older than Li Po-zi, scolded, “What nonsense are you spouting in front of these nobles?” She then looked towards Shen Miao and said in wonder, “But WangFei is indeed very calm. This Po-zi had seen many young ladies given birth but it is the first time one see one that is this calm.”
Shen Miao was already supported to the bed to lie down. She looked calm, as if she did not put this matter to heart. From the beginning to the end, she did not display a panicked look at all, almost making others think that it was not her first time giving borth. Even it was the second time giving birth, those women would not be as relax as this.”
Shen Miao knew in her heart clearly that she was not as calm as she appeared to be. The memory of childbirth was so long ago and at that time Fu Xiu Yi did not care about her. The birth of the child was very difficult and she gave birth with great unease.
Now this child came to the world with everyone’s expectation. No matter if it is Xie Jing Xing and herself or Empress Xian De and Emperor Yong Le, when the Shen family knew of her being pregnant, they would definitely be very hopeful for the child. The more something is precious, the more one fear of it being broken.
Too much concern would become chaotic. She forced herself to breath in and exhale deeply, abandoning all the mess to the back of her head.
“May WangFei get up to eat something first.” Li Po-zi picked up a brown sugar soaked egg at the side to Shen Miao, “Only upon eating would one have energy. It takes some time to deliver thus one have to wait for a while.”
“WangFei is not at all delicate.” Liu Po-zi praise, “In the past those little daughter-in-laws would have tempers. Even those Furen of noble families would be exceptionally picky. They would not be willing to eat anything, saying that it is not comfortable but afterwards do not have strength to give birth. At the end the person suffering is oneself. WangFei is however is very sensible. Like that, the delivery would be smooth.”
She saw Shen Miao’s gentleness and was not picky of their countryside background. When she spoke she felt closeness and thus felt good.
Shen Miao knew that both of them were talking to help distract her, so that time could move faster. Afterall the delivery have yet to start.
Outside, Tao GuGu and the rest were waiting. Luo Tan said, “My heart is beatin very fast. One do not know if Youngest Biao Sister will give birth to a boy or a girl. After being curious for so long, one can finally have an answer.”
“No matter if it is a little heir or little princess, when His Highness the Prince returns, he would be very happy and dotes a lot.” Tao GuGu, “It is just that one do not know how long one would need to wait.”
Deng GongGong was somewhat nervous, “This is afterall the first younger generation of the Imperial family. The Emperor, Her Ladyship the Empress and Her Ladyship the Empress Dowager would be very happy in Heavens.”
It was so at this side, much less the people of Prince Rui residence.
Even Mo Qing, one who did not show much different between happiness and anger, seemed to be flushed red. Cong Yang kept jumping around and said, “Before the departure, Tie Yi had made a bet with me. I bet that it would be a little princess and had bet my entire fortune. If one lost this time, one’s funds for marrying a wife cannot be saved.”
Jing Zhe happened to hear it and became scornful, “I see that it is a little heir.”
“Hey. Why should it be a little heir?” Cong Yang asked, “I see that it is a little princess.”
“A little heir is a little heir!” Jing Zhe could not be outdone.
“Don’t be noisy.” Gu Yu defused the situation, “Still quarrel at this moment. Where is Tang Shu?”
Tang Shu was at the corner, repeatingly chanting Amitabha and whispering softly, “Seeing the Xiao family ancestors to bless WangFei and son safe and sound, WangFei and daughter safe and sound, everyone is safe and sound…”
From the early afternoon to late afternoon and only when evening came, Shen Miao finally began her delivery.
The Po-zi instructed the palace maids to prepare clean water, towels, clean scissors and a variety of nessassary things. Luo Tan wanted to enter but Tao GuGu stopped her. Tao GuGu and a few palace maids enter and so did Jing Zhe and Gu Yu, to ensure that nothing happened.
Shen Miao moaned lowly.
She had tired to endure it but the pain came in waves. Afterwards, it was almost constant severe pain. This pain was even more painful than any physicial pain she felt after her rebirth. It almost seemed that someone was stabing her abdomen with a pair of scissors.
“WangFei, keep it up and use more strength!” Li Po-zi said, “One can see the child already!”
Outside there was a line of people with Pei Lang, who was waiting anxiously, like a day was a year.
From time to time, there were palace maids that carried silver basins in and out and the blood in the basin was shocking. Luo Tan anxiously grabbed onto the MoMo beside her and asked, “What is going on? Why is there so much blood?”
Pe Lang’s heart was transported far away.
In the previous lifetime, Fu Xiu Yi did not care about the birth of Fu Ming and Wan Yu at all. At that time, he coincidently passed by so Fu Xiu Yi let him represent him to take a look.
When Shen Miao gave birth in the previous lifetime, in some ways, it was Pei Lang that accompanied her. He did not expect that in this lifetime, Xie Jing Xing was not by her side and it was him who accompanied her.
This was also very good. At least in such a time, she was not alone. At lease he accompanied her at such a time.
Each moment was particulary long and he did not know how long had passed when he heard the Po-zi from the room exclaiming, “It’s coming out. It’s a little heir! Oh, there is another one!”
“It’s twins! Twins! WangFei has a good blessing!”
Not after a moment later, one heard another cry from inside and the baby’s cry was very resounding.
Everyone was so happy and Luo Tan almost faint in happiness! But before they could take a breath, they heard Li Po-zi exclaiming, “WangFei, you must hold on and don’t sleep! Don’t sleep!”
Pei Lang’s heart tighten and before he could respond to it, one heard Tao GuGu’s sad voice, “WangFei, hold it in!”
Luo Tan had a anxious temprement and did not care about being afraid and just went into the room. Pei Lang hesitated and heard Tao GuGu speaking, “Gentleman Pei! Come in Gentleman Pei!”
Pei Lang rushed into the room. Shen Miao was covered with a blanket and her face was exceptionally pale. She said to Liu Po-zi and Li Po-zi beside, “It is alright. It is good that the children are saved.”
“WangFei…” Liu Po-ze and Li Po-zi wanted to say something but they were unable to speak.
“What is going on exactly?” Luo Tan was so anxious that she was about to cry, “Youngest Biao Sister, what is wrong? Why say such words?”
“WangFei’s health was weak before and she was pregnant with twins. Before delivery, she was distracted and had used lots of energy and the fetus became unstable. Now the body is exhausted and bleed too much…” Liu Po-zi could not carry on speaking.
“This delivery is indeed difficult. I… I feel that I cannot go on. Older Biao Suster, upon seeing my Father, Mother and Eldest Brother, tell them that I am not filial for me and could not serve them in their old age.”
Luo Tan shook her head desperately, “Youngest Biao Sister, these kind of words cannot be said by me. Stop talking nonsense. You will be well and lively to see GuFu and GuMu. Those words you said are not filial at all. Stop talking. Stop talking!” When she spoke till the end, she was already bawling and could hardly control herself.
Shen Miao smiled helplessly before looking at Pei Lang.
Pei Lang had a stunned expression and his lips were trembling slightly. There was not even the usual calm look.
“No you can carry on.” He said, “I have not paid off your debts yet. You have to live a hundred years, healthily and worry-free.” It was as if he was forcing himself to believe in it.
“Gentleman Pei no longer owe me anything. If one really want to pay back then… Then promise me to protect my children. One hope they can grow up healthily.” She pasped with all her strength, as if she had ran out of it. “Upon seeing Xie Jing Xing, tell him that I am sorry and could not wait. Thank him for protecting me willingly all this time and tolerate me. To be husband and wife with him, I… I am very happy…”
“WangFei!” Tao GuGu called out.
“Let me see my children…” She said.
The two children were wiped cleanly and were wrapped in blanket before bringing over to Shen Miao’s side. Tao GuGu said in tears, “It is two heirs. They are very healthy.”
Shen Miao tearful gaze landed on both children. She struggled to reach out and traced both children’s brows as she said lightly, “When these two children grow up, their brows must be very good looking. No matter if they take after the father or mother… Xie Jing Xing and me had suffered lots of hardship and if Heavens is a good person, they would not let them suffer any.”
Tao GuGu had begun to wipe her tears.
Luo Tan turned her head away and used the back of her hands to wipe her tears.
“I really want to watch you both grow up…” Her eyes landed on both children and it had a deep attachment to it, as if looking past both babies’ appearance, seeing the person behind.
“Really miss you…”
Her voice gradually weakened.
In a big tent thousands of Li (1 Li = 1 mile), the young Generald suddenly felt a pain in his heart. That kind of pain spread from his chest to every corner of his body, making the person bend down uncontrolly due to the pain. He use the table to support himself as he gasped for air.
Gao Yang was walking into the tent and was shocked upon seeing this scene. He quickly reached out to take his pulsed but said curiously after feeling it, “There is so issues. What happened to you?”
Xie Jing Xing frowned and suddenly said, “Attack Xun Yang tomorrow.”
“Why the sudden decision?” Gao Yang jumped in shock.
“Quickly start and finish the battle.” Xie Jing Xing turned around and headed out.
Great Liang had occupied the Qin country’s Xun Yang and from that point onwards, the situation of three divided nations had finally been broken by the young Prince Rui of First Rank. The chaos had came to an end and the grand plan was accomplish as the flowers land on Great Liang.
The losers were defeated and the winners were kings. The Qin Emperor were defeated and eliminated by the enemy. There was only the Great Liang Emperor and there would no longer be any Emperor of Ming Qi or Qin country.
History would only remember the winners. The defeated country would be sad but if the previous Monarch was tyrannical and the new Monarch was wise and generous to the commoners, then the commoners’ heart would naturally fall towared the generous side.
Commoners were not fools and would always show gratitude since ancient times. Whereever the wise Monarch went, there would always be support by the people.
Great Liang’s troops was about to return home.
It was always a glorious thing to return back upon a victory. Those families, who had members that joined the army and were still alive, were naturally proud. Even those who died on horseback would also feel proud despite some pain and sadness.
The commoners in Long Ye were all rushing all over the place, wating for the victorious troops to return.
As compared to the hustle and bustle among the commoners, the Palace was cold and desolute.
Luo Tan sat at the courtyard. During autumn, it was rare to have such a warm and radiant sun that make people feel warm. There were piles of books in the courtyard that Jing Zhe and Gu Yu was sunning.
Luo Tan was watching on and smiled, “When one was in Xiao Chun City, she always bring out these books to sun. I always felt that the books would not spoil so why the need to sun them and be that detailed. One did not think that now it is me who took the initiative to help her to do these things.”
The green clad male by her side did not speak.
Pei Lang seemed to be much older overnight. He did things silently but because without Shen Miao’s instructions, he was unable to read memorandums. Everyday he would read books and could not do anything else. These kind of futile days seemed to be very painful for him.
There was not a single happy atmosphere in the Palace.
Tao GuGu carried both children over. Luo Tan quickly stood up and took one over.
“The Young Masters are very healthy.” Tao GuGu smiled, “The nanny mention that they are very obedient at night and would not make a fuss.”
There were also some smiles on Luo Tan’s face, “So obiedent, it is similar to their Mother’s temprement.” Then her voice stopped.
Pei Lang’s gaze landed on both children and his eyes dimed a little.
“Which one is the Older Brother? Which one is the Younger Brother? I really cannot tell at all.” Luo Tan diverted the topic, “Both of them have identical appearance. It is like this now, how would it be in the future?”
Tao GuGu smiled, “It is nothing. In the future one can use clothes to differenciate them. Moreover when children grows up, their character would be different and naturally one can tell them apart.”
“But what to call them?” Luo Tan was annoyed, “Which one is the Older Brother? Which one is the Younger Brother? Youngest Biao Sister did not have time to give them a…” She immediately paused and afterwards smiled in annoyance, “I kept on saying not to mention it but always mention it. Never mind.”
When Tao GuGu saw it, she wanted to say some words of consolation but saw Gu Yu and Jing Zhe rushing in from outside. Gu Yu said, “The Prince of First Rank has returned!”
“What?” Pei Lang and Luo Tan were in shocked. Based on Great Liang’s troops’ speed, it would take about a month before their return to the capital.
“The Prince brought his own people back first.” Gu Yu said softly, “But Furen…”
After a pause, Pei Lang then said, “Let’s go over to take a look.”
Xie Jing Xing strode towards the Palace. In a short timespan of a year, too many things had changed. Emperor Yong Le and Empress Xian De had passed away and the Palace seemed to be much colder.
Deng GongGong smiled, “May Your Highness go and take a look at the two little Young Masters first. Tao GuGu and Young Lady Luo are currently playing with them.”
Xie Jing Xing frowned, “Where is Shen Miao?”
As the voice fell, he then saw Luo Tan and Tao GuGu walking over from behind the folding screen carrying the children and Pei Lang following behind.
Xie Jing Xing paused in his steps.
“Shen Miao?” He said slowly.
Pei Lang stepped forward and said softly, “Go and take a look at her.”
Gao Zhan stroke his white beard and shook his head, “This old physician had done one’s best to save her life. The body was already dried up but she has a strong will to live and perhaps would not take one’s last breath. With one last breathe, this old physician had sealed her acupuncture points and saved her life but it just merely her life.”
“Zu Fu, what does that means?” Gao Yang asked. He had left the family for many years and from the start when he began his official career, he had went against the Gao family’s family rules and was kicked out of the family and thus did not keep contact with the Gao family for many years. This ‘Zu Fu’ term made Gao Zhan tremble slightly.
“The meaning is that she might sleep forever. Although there is breathing and pulse, she would never wake up and never ope her eyes. Even if she were to wake up,” He looked at Gao Yang, “Just like how you treated the Young Master of the Ye family, no one would know how would she be after she wakes up.”
In other words, after Shen Miao wakes up, perhaps she would become as silly as Ye Hong Guang. But it was more likely that she would be like this and sleep year upon year and not even open her eyes to see Xie Jing Xing even upon becoming old.
“Isn’t that being a…” Ji Yu Shu swallowed the words ‘living dead’. But even if he did not say it, everyone around understood Gao Zhan’s meaning.
“In such a case.” Gao Zhang asked Xie Jing Xing, “Is Your Highness willing to wait?”
“It does not matter how long it takes.” Xie Jing Xing said, “She had fulfilled her promise and waited till I have returned so what matters if I wait for her for the entire lifetime? Her life is mine. Without my permission, even the King of Hell cannot take her away.” When he was speaking, his eyes were cold, like the coldness of Emperor Yong Le but he still had his own arrogance, like nothing entered his eyes.
Everyone was silent.
Shen Miao’s eyes were closed and did not hear those words. It was as if she was sleeping very well. Luo Tan said, “Let’s go out and let her rest for some period of time. In the past year, she had not had a good rest at all.”
Xie Jing Xing treated the pair of babies very well.
Those subordinates and good friends that followed him for so many years were so shocked that their chins almost fell off when they saw him like this. It was said that even though young fathers would feel happy when they become fathers, but due to their clumsy and rough nature, they would always resist in raising them.
Moreover with Xie Jing Xing’s personality, there was no way that it would be even near the words ‘patient and gentle’.
But he did indeed surprised everyone and spend time with the two children. He would not disdain their urine or stool and was even picky of their nanny and managed things that a male would not do. The two children to not have official names yet and only nicknames that Xie Jing Xing gave. One was called ‘Chu Yi’ and the other was called ‘Shi Wu’.
Everyone felt that the names were just too casual but Xie Jing spoke convincingly, “The moon is the rounded on the first and fifteen day of the month. Moreover these are my sons, what does their names matters to you? Get lost.”
Chu Yi (初一) means the first day of the month and Shi Wu (十五) means fifteen, or in this case, the fifteen of the month. The moon is the roundest at the night of the first and fifteen night of the lunar calendar. The round moon also represents family reunion and in this case XJX hopes of a family reunion…
Everyone could only get lost.
No matter what, even though one do not care about anything like naming of the children or him taking care of the babies, things that should be done had to be done.
Emperor Yong Le’s Imperial Edict for succession was known to the courts and now that the world was peaceful, Xie Jing Xing would be enthroned. It was naturally that it would be done smoothly but what about the establishment of the Empress?
Who should be established?
Shen Miao was still currently lying down and perhaps would not wake up in this life time or perhaps upon waking up, she would become crazy. There was no such precendents in history of Monarchs to have such an Empress.
It would seem unlikely. The future was just too long and one’s heart was easily swayed. Xie Jing Xing could say now that he was loyal to Shen Miao but how could one be clear of the future?
When Luo Tan learned of this news, she was not reconciled to it. The Shen family army had returned with the Great Liang troops and had not reached Long Ye yet. At this moment they had no knowledge of Shen Miao’s matter yet. Luo Tan, as Shen Miao’s only family, was unwilling to see Shen Miao being wronged and could not reconcile if Shen Miao was unable to gain anything after sacrificing everything.
It was not ideal to scold or blame Xie Jing Xing because Xie Jing Xing himself did not do anything wrong, thus she poured out all the hard work that Shen Miao did in the past year. She said that Shen Miao guarded Long Ye with a pregnant abdomen for him, guarded the Imperial Palace and protected the dignity of Great Liang’s Imperial family. Even in a critical and dangerous time, Shen Miao was able to hold it up and she need not have to do so.
Xie Jing Xing listened to Luo Tan words in silence and looked at her for a while with a smile but not a smile before saying, “So?”
Luo Tan was somewhat at a loss of what to say, “So, you should know about it in your heart.” She was unable to tell what kind of feeling she was feeling but just that it was like something was block but she did not know how to unblock it. She ran away and knocked onto someone. When she looked up, she saw that it was Gao Yang.
Gao Yang was curious and asked her what was wrong. Luo Tan glared at him fiercely before leaving.
Xie Jing Xing walked to the side of the pond and initially wanted to drink tea but at the end called Deng GongGong to clear the tea away and bring a pot of wine.
By the side of the pond, under the cooling pavilion and moonlight, it was the place that Empress Xian De and Emperor Yong Le drank the last snow wine. The world had lement that the Heavens was unfair to the deep love of the Emperor and Empress and on the surface, he was indeed more fortunate than Emperor Yong Le. At least he was alive and because he was alive, anything was possible.
But what if Shen Miao did not wake up in this lifetime? To live like this, wouldn’t one lose a lot of things in life? Xie Jing Xing did not have too much enthusiasm to be the Emperor of this empire and if the person beside was lost, it was actually a very sad thing to live a life that boringly.
Someone footsteps were heard and as he looked towards it, he saw Pei Lang.
The moonlight shone on Pei Lang and he looked like a modest gentleman. He seemed not to have drunk any wine for a lifetime, and upon seeing such a person, one would feel that this would be a proud literary person who would drink tea and play Qin but he sat in front of Xie Jing Xing and found a wine cup before pouring a cup of wine for himself.
As the jade wine cups shimmered under the moonlight, it made one drunk before drinking.
Pei Lang said, “Tomorrow you will be enthroned. Congratulations.”
Xie Jing Xing’s lips hooked up but he did not seem to be happy.
“How about her?” Pei Lang was straightforward and asked, “What do you plan to do?”
Xie Jing Xing turned his head slowly and stared at Pei lang for a while before speaking, “Gentleman Pei is so concern?”
“Previously one had a teacher and student relation with WangFei.” Pei Lang was unmoved and continued speaking, “Afterwards the Imperial city is in danger thus one can be friends in troubled times. I do not plan to place blame or change anything. Just being curious.”
“Oh?” Xie Jing Xing’s head lowered and he said faintly, “What do you think it should be?”
“WangFei had once mentioned that she had no greed for the position of the Empress or any position of power. However if this was her responsibility, she will take it on. She was not a person that could worry for everyone under Heavens but willing take the responsibility for the important people in her heart.”
“That important people includesthe Shen family, the children in her abdomen and you.”
Peo Lang said, “WangFei had said that her life is especially rough and Heavens had been very strict with her. Sometimes thinking from the beginning, it seemed that one did not encounter anything good at all. Thus one had never dare of expect anything from Heavens. The only wish that one have was that all her loved ones were safe and happy.”
Xie Jing Xing’s gaze slightly moved.
Pei Lang turned around and looked at him and smiled, “She had not experience anything good. The things that others could gain easily, she had to work very hard to obtain it. Even her tiny wishes were harder than others. Now that the hardships are over, before she could taste the nector, she fell into a deep sleep. The Heavens is really unfair to her. However it is because so she had never asked for anything, making one feel respectful and pitiful.”
“Your Highness,” Pei Lang held the wine cup and said with a gentle smile, “Now that your great carrer is completed and you will be enthroned and sit on top of the Empire, perhaps there would even be beauties in the future but I still want to remind you not to let yourself regret.” His voice was very soft, “If one regret, there is no chance of a redo and it is a torture to suffer pain everyday.”
Xie Jing Xing looked at him thoughtfully and asked, “Have you regretted before?”
“Used to and had spent one’s entire life to redo it. Even though some was recovered, things that were lost cannot be returned.” Pei Lang sighed.
Both of them were silent and just at this time Tao GuGu rushed over. Upon seeing that Xie Jing Xing and Pei Lang was discussion in discretion, she awkwardly spoke, “Your Highness, both Young Masters are crying nonstop and the nannies have no way to deal with it. It is better for you to take a look.”
Chu Yi and Shi Wu had been coax by Xie Jing Xing everyday that even their temperament became prideful. No matter how other people coaxed them, they would not respond until Xie Jing Xing coaxed. It was also strange as Shen Miao’s had a quiet temperament and would not give others trouble but these two children that she bore seemed to be collecting debts. It was still alright before but once Xie Jing Xing returned, their temperament started showing up. It was fortunate that Xie Jing Xing had patience with the children. If it was other young fathers, one feared that they would have longed shook their sleeves and left.
Xie Jing Xing got up, “I will take a look.” He then seemed to have thought of something and turned to look at Pei Lang, “You are indeed an interesting person. But thanks for your reminder.” He drank the remaining wine in the cup and said, “I have never done anything regretful and would not do anything that would make another regret. You have worried too much.”
Xie Jing Xing and Tao GuGu left and Pei Lang shook his head as he watched both of their retreating back. He laugh in a self-depreciating manner, “Think of what?” His expression gradually became bitter, “Really don’t even give one a chance at all. It is truly evil…”
On the day that Xie Jing Xing was enthroned, the skies were bright and the weather was warm.
He was named as Xiao Jing.
The Palace stood hall as the golden dragon danced around the golden hall. Hundreds of officials were in front with ministers surrounding as the young Emperor changed into a golden robe that is embroidered with golden threads with dragon patterns. The corners of the robes were exquisite and prestiagous that it made other unable to see it.
And he had a beautiful appearance with the crown but he had a pair of cynical peach blossoms eyes. Even so, everywhere that his eyes had passed, it seemed that there a light breeze of killing intent.
No one dared to underestimate this young Emperor. Even though he was the youngest Emperor in Great Liang’s history, but he had genuinely carried the battle flag and went into the battlefield and wiped out Qin country and Ming Qi. He was even better in using plots in court, making others be in a poor state.
The Imperial Edict for succession was fized and with the transferring of the Imperial seal, from then onwards, Great Liang and everything under Heavens ushered in a new master.
After his enthronement ceremony, he unexpected walk to the side. The officials dared not look up until they heard the Emperor’s voice, “Establishing the Empress.”
Everyone new that Rui WangFei was currently in a coma so establish what Empress? Everyone did not understand and upon looking up, they saw that young Emperor carrying a female and placed her on the Empress’s seat and his actions are so cautious, as if it was a valuable treasure.
Other than Gao Yang, Ji Yu Shu and a few of them, the rest of the officials were all full of shock. Someone stood forward, “Your Majesty cannot do it!”
“Oh?” Emperor Xiao Jing turned his head and looked at him. His gaze changed and he smiled, “Why not?”
“Wang… Furen has not wakened up now so how could be a Mother of a nation be unconscious?”
It was unheard that an Empress of a nation was someone that had not woken up.
“Why not?” Emperor Xiao Jing seemed to be deliberately teasing him, “Zhen want it so, so what can be done?”
That official was an old official and when Emperor Yong Le was alive, he would be very respectful to him. He had some weight and thus said, “Could it be that Your Majesty want to keep the Inner Palace empty for her?”
All the officials were stunned.
To establish a person who would not wake up as the Empress, one fear that even just for namesake, there was a wide variety of representation. In the future even if there were new beauties that entered this palace, as long as this Empress position was occupied, then all these female’s children would never be able to exceed Chu Yi’s and Shi Wu’s.
Empress Xiao Jing smiled softly and continuously that the officials were somewhat in a daze. The officials that spoken previously somewhat panicked at the smile..
One only heard the Emperor speaking, “The Inner Palace is empty? Zhen’s Inner Palace only have a woman so why is there a saying that it is empty?”
Everyone was shocked!
“Your Majesty…” That old official still wanted to speak.
“Beloved Xu Official, Zhen remember than there are two young granddaughters in your house and they are of age.” Emperor Xiao Jing said.
That person was stunned and his heart became nervous but there was a little joy that peeked out. It was just that in the next moment the joy flew away as he heard the Emperor saying, “How about Zhen bestow them to the Young General Song at the Wu border?”
That young General Song was young and promising but unfortunately he was blinded in one eye on the battlefield and it was impossible for him to have any future.
‘Beloved Xu Official’ expression became like the soil.
“Zhen is not here to listen to your view or here to listen to your criticizing. Zhen is informing you of the result.” He sat on the throne and looked down at all the officials, “Zhen is the son of Heavens and the Master. If everyone have any opinion about court matters, just speak about it but if there is any words on managing Zhen’s Inner Palace or Zhen’s personal affairs, then Zhen will definitely,” He thought for a moment before continuing, “Pay it back with interest.”
“At that time, do not blame Zhen for disorderly creating married couples.” He said in a smiling yet not smiling manner.
He indeed was not like an Emperor as he was not serious or solemn enough but was even more dangerous than the Emperors of the past. He was not inferior in any respect to Emperor Yong Le. The more he appeared to be this indifferent, the more it made another’s heart thump. Everyone knew how black bellied this Prince Rui of First Rank was and once he targeted one, one would not even know how they died. The most important thing was that he completely disregards traditions and reputation, unfearing anything. Everyone believe that this Emperor Xiao Jing would definitely marry this high ranking official’s granddaughter to another official’s younger brother or making some other high ranking official’s grandson marry a daughter of their sworn enemy.
It was alright if the couple was mismatched. One feared that this was a method of control. If this was a way to contain them then, they would not even know how the family clan would weaken and die off.
No one would dare to gamble with the entire family clan as stakes.
Everyone was thinking to give it up. Currently it was a time of sweetness so just let Emperor Xiao Jing do whatever he wants. Maybe in some days’ time he would be tired of it or perhaps be fascinated by some new beauties. Men would be in true love at times of love and when they did not love, they would really have no love. Why do they need to do such thankless things here?
With such thoughts, all the officials seemed to have understood. They no longer said anything and some even started flattering, saying Emperor Xiao Jing and Furen’s deep love was like a legent.
Xie Jing Xing looked on coldly at the officials’ faces, as if looking at colourful masks that covered the world. He felt ridiculous but also somewhat in pity.
He half knelt down in front of Shen Miao.
The male that was kneeing down had gold under his feet and even if it was an ordinary male, it would be surprising to make such a move. Thus everyone was shocked as he was not an ordinary person but Great Liang’s Emperor, the master of the lands under Havens. But he was kneeling down in front of a female that devoutedly.
Shen Miao was supported by him well and seating at the highest position. She was changed into a gorgeous noble Palace robes by Tao GuGu and there were fine gold powder that was sprinkled at the end of her eyes, making her look full of arrogance. She wore the brightly golden robes of an Empress with eyes closed and long lashes hanging down, seemingly deep in sleep.
She was really very beautiful and tough female. Gao Zhang said that Shen Miao had an unfulfilled wish so she had the will to survive to her last breath and Gao Zhang was able to save her life.
And what was her last wish?
It was to see Xie Jing Xing one last time, to see Chu Yi and Shi Wu grow up or to say goodbye to Shen Xin and the rest?
Xie Jing Xing leaned over to her ears and joked, “Brought you to be an Empress, why not open one’s eyes to take a look?”
Shen Miao did not listen to his words. She was sleeping in her own world, as if she would be sleeping for a long time or her entire life.
Xie Jing Xing stared at her, “One know that you are tired. Wake up when you have enough sleep. Chu Yi and Shi Wu is looking for their mother.” He reached out and held onto Shen Miao’s cold hands, “I also miss you.”
The officials watched quietly as the young Emperor did everything. They had been swimming in this Imperial Court for so many years and the political seas were deep. Real and fake, genuine and pretense. Some times one was unable to differentiate one’s heart, much less being moved by others. Moreover Prince Rui had never been a good person previously and many of the officials here were almost ruined by him that they would gash their teeth with hate.
But at this moment they were somewhat reluctant to disturb this scene. As if through this scene of the Monarch and female, one saw some shadows of their youth.
Everyone had loved before. It was just whether the love would be able to last a lifetime or not. Beause it was too difficult thus many people given it up halfway. It was rare to be able to go all the way to the end.
Could Emperor Xiao Jing do it?
Xie Jing Xing placed the heavy Empress crown properly and stably on Shen Miao’s head. His movemnts were gentle and solemn, as if was like other actions.
He leaned over slightly and kissed the female’s eyes.
Time was blurred and went backwards very quickly, like it had returned back to a certain day before. He was riding a horse and still the arrongant youth and she was planning each stept against the Ming Qi’s Imperial family and protecting the Shen family. He asked, “Shen Miao, you want to be an Empress?”
No one had thought that he would become an Emperor at the end and she indeed became an Empress.
There were many twists and turns in the world but everything returned to the beginning.
Behind the golden hall, Luo Tan who was watching sneakingly covered her mouth, seeming to be crying and laughing as she whispered, “He really established Youngest Biao Sister as the Empress… Youngest Biao Sister did not see wrongly…”
Behind, Pei Lang was also smiled gently. That smile was filled with relief and some sorrow but it had more gratitude, “It is good.”
During spring the apricot blossoms were in full bloom that when the breeze blew by, the petals would flutter down, spreading the flower scent around. The birds were perched on the branches chirping with eyes full of bustle.
Half a year was fleeting, so fast that almost no one could catch it.
For Long Ye’s commoners, the past half a year was pleasantly passed. Perhaps because Qin country and Ming Qi was wiped out, or perhaps because the new Emperor’s thoughts was just not the same. All in all, Emperor Xiao Jing was very competent.
He was very generous to the commoners and some of the new Imperial orders made everyone under Heavens clap their hands in joy. There was a rumour in the marketplace that because Emperor Xiao Jing like to travel around the country when he was young, he understood the hardships of the people and thus always put himself in the shoes of the commoners.
In any cause, Emperor Xiao Jing’s reputation among the commoners was one of protectiveness.
However in the Imperial court, it was not the case.
Ever since Emperor Yong Le was in power, he would take into consideration their face no matter what he did. However this Emperor Xiao Jing was a lawless master. He was generous to the commoners but harsh towards the court officials, much less talk about any feelings. Even those veteran officials would not be able to gain any benefit with him.
What was more frightening was how he balanced the powers everywhere and his scense of smell was more power than a mouse. Not to mention about any movement, even if there was any subtle thoughts, it would be discovered by him. The officials kept on being suspious if there were any traitors in their residence and would often clean up their residences.
The most dissatisfied thing that the officials had with him was that in this half a year, Emperor Xiao Jing really did not accept any beauty. There was only a sleeping Empress Shen in the entire Inner Palace.
This was indeed puzzling. At the beginning there were people that thought that he felt guilty towards Empress Shen and thus made that promise, moreover even if the position of the Empress was unshakable, there would not be any problem in accepting other females. However as the days went by, this Empress Xiao Jing’s Inner Palace was so clean that birds could be breed. Everyone then knew that he was not putting up an act.
Some people were suspicious that he was full of talk before and now was unable to pull himself down as it meant slapping himself. Thus they ‘considerately’ gifted the daughters in their residence but on the next day Emperor Xiao Jing bestow marriages to their sworn enemy’s sons. With that, the officials blew up.
Emperor Xiao Jing’s means was really toxic when he would bestow marriage to one’s sworn enemy. No only he would kick away all the females he did not want, he had smoonthly controlled the situation and warn all those officials that were itching to move… It was an arrow that pierced three eagles. He was just so evil.
Over time the officials dared not send beauties to Emperor Xiao Jing.
However rumours were not lessened. A hot blooded young man who did not have any female than a wife who is in a coma, it made others wonder if he was a broken sleeve.
But when the rumours were out, it did not seem to affect anything. The Emperor was a broken sleeve? He had two sons and one did not worry about who would be inheriting the Empire. Moreover this person was evil and the saying goes that evil ones would live for thousands of years, so one fear that he would live long.
All in all, the commoners took it as nothing and the officials became obedient.
The morning sun was shining particularly brightly as Tao GuGu carried two children to Xie Jing Xing and said worriedly, “Your Majesty is really bringing the two Princes out… For a trip?”
Xie Jing Xing had a baby in each hands and walk onto the carriage saying, “En.”
In the carriage, Shen Miao was sleeping. Xie Jing Xing looked at her with a headached and said, “Already slept for half a year, are you a pig?”
Chu Yi and Shi Wu waved their little hands and looked at Xie Jing Xing curiously. Xie Jing Xing said towards the people outside, “Depart!”
Tie Yi picked up the horse whip. After Master became the Emperor, he, the leader of Mo Yun Army, had become a horse keeper.
Xie Jing Xing was very fond of bring the children for trips outside. Even though Deng GongGong and Tang Shu did their best to stop it, they was unable as his martial arts skill were higher than them and was simply unstoppable. He had always said that by letting the children look at all the landscapes when they were young, then in the future they would not be blinded easily by the flashy world and thus able to know what they truly want in life.
This was in fact just an excuse. He just wanted to take Shen Miao out to play.
The horse carriage stopped at the shady part of the mountain. The scenery at the foot of the mountain was good.
Xie Jing Xing carried the children out and Mo Qing considerately brought out small plates of rice paste. Lately Chu Yi and Shi Wu was learning to eat rice paste and both children were so picky that getting them to eat it was harder than getting to Heavens.
Tie Yi carried Chu Yi and Mo Qing carried Shi Wu as Xie Jing Xing fed both of them the rice paste. Both of the children were not happy with it and it made one’s heart hurt.
Xie Jing Xing became angry and said, “Pass the children to me.”
He causually found a red strip of cloth that Jing Zhe used to tie the food basket and put Chu Yi in the basket to carry on his back and carried Shi Wu in front, ‘forcing’ Shi Wu to eat the rice paste.
Shi Wu kicked up a fuss and Xie Jing Xing pushed the Mo Yun Army people away and did not allow them to intervene. He really started fighting with the two kids.
A Monarch of a country had a baby tied to his back and carrying another in his arms. There was also a red flower strip of cloth that was tied as he fed the baby as if with great enimity.
Everyone in Mo Yun Army could not continue watching.
Shi Qu burst into tears and Chu Yi who was at the back seemed to have sense it and also started bawling. It was not only that as Xie Jing Xing felt a stream of warm on his body.
That was just great. It was pee.
He was so angry and was just about to tech those two stinky fellow when he suddenly heard Jing Zhe explaimed in shock, “Someone laughed!”
Everyone was startled.
Jing Zhe’s voice was somewhat trembling with excitement as she pointed to the horse carriage, “I just heard it!”
Shen Miao was sleeping in the carriage.
In a moment, the surrounding became quiet.
The breeze at the mountains seemed to touched everyone’s face and it was warm, yet brought a slight itch along, as if the sunlight was too handsome.
In the silence, one had heard clearly this time that there was indeed someone laughing. It was a gentle and familiar laughter with some closeness to it.
After a long time later, Xie Jing Xing strode over.
His hands was somewhat trembling but at the end, he made up his mind and pull open the carriage’s curtain.
The female’s brows were mild, as if it was the first bloom of the begonia and her voice was still lazy but the faint brightness in her eyes gave away her excitement.
She turned her head and smiled gently, “Long time no see, Young Marquis Xie.”
Translator: AND THAT’S THE END!!! I just love love love this CNovel so much and I am sure that lots of you would agree with me.