Concealed by Brocaded Clouds, Frost on the Roads: Volume 01 Chapter 07

3:41 PM Oyen 0 Comments

Daily chapter of the month~

Chapter 7: Love-Hate Entanglement Couldn’t be Avoid
translator: Oyen

Shi Quanyi waited for the Emperor to enter the main hall and hurriedly ordered. “Quick, take the dry scarf... Xiao Dezi, prepare hot water quickly and serve the Emperor to bathe and change clothes.” The Chamberlain's voice was already very sharp, and it was inexplicably shrill in the dead of night.

Baili Haozhe, who was already irritated, was even more impatient and waved slightly. “Withdraw.” The yellow sleeves of the apricot were drenched and swoon several times, and the hem of his robe was dripping with rain. Shi Quanyi knew that the Emperor had never shown his expression, and had been waiting tremblingly. Now the Emperor was extremely impatient. Although he was very worried about the Emperor's dragon body, he bowed down and retreated. The rest of the people followed him and withdrew from the hall.

The candlelight in the hall was bright, and he stood in front of the window with his hands down, watching the lightning gliding through the air. The wind was strong, and the open windows kept bumping together with the wind, monotonously repeating the same rhythmic sound. The wind was mixed with dampness, and there was a faint smell of flowers. He distinguished it carefully, and he couldn't smell it for a long time. It seemed that only the scent of jasmine was on the tip of his nose, which was quiet and ethereal.

Still in a trance, a voice rang faintly. “Zhe’er, what's wrong? Is your heart softened?” Chengqian Hall had always been the Emperor's bedroom of Baili Dynasty, and it was the most heavily guarded place in the palace. Five steps and one whistle, ten steps and one post, even a bird could not fly in unless someone ordered it.

Baili Haozhe didn't react to this voice at all, nor looked back, as if he was still thinking. The voice rang softly again. “In the past twenty years, we have walked step by step to this day, your heart is softened…”

Baili Haozhe turned his head back and looked at him calmly without saying a word. The hall was as bright as day, and because he had stared at the night outside the window for too long, now when he looked back, he only felt the light piercing and shook his eyes. He narrowed his eyes slightly, but the palms of his hands were clenched.

The man wore an ordinary servant uniform, his whole body was hidden in a corner out of light, staring at Baili Haozhe, and after a long while he said softly. “Zhe'er, this world belongs to you now. There is a saying, ‘Why is a man without a wife?’ What's more, you are an Emperor over ten thousand people. After a year and a half, when you have plenty of concubines, how many beauties and talented women are there for you to choose from. The world is vast, what do you like? Ruan Wushuang is good-looking, but she is neither the most beautiful nor the most talented. You don't lose heart because you are facing her day by day…”

Baili Haozhe still did not answer, but looked at him with no expression on his face. The man's tone grew higher and harsher. “You can forget that you didn't see your mother's pain before she died. But I can't forget it, and I won't forget it for the rest of my life. I will never spare the person who killed your mother. I have been hiding for so many years for this day.”

“I grew up with your mother since childhood. She was bought into the crown prince's mansion by Ruan Yujin, and she worked in front of Ruan Yujin. Who knew that the vicious woman had already figured it out because your mother looked like the crown prince’s sweetheart—— Ou Jingzhi. The crown prince was devastated by Ou Jingzhi's death at that time. Seeing such a similar living person, he naturally wanted to do everything he could to get it. Your mother had become a living Ruan Yujin's chess piece. When the crown prince snatched Ruan Yujin's maid, he naturally felt guilty about Ruan Yujin and was modest in everything. And your mother. Your mother had no choice, so she became the concubine of the crown prince... This is not enough, Ruan Yujin, a wicked woman, poisoned your mother alive just a few days after you were born. She thought she was flawless, but she didn't think that I was a slave in the crown prince's house in order to see your mother.”

“I hid outside the window that night, and it was the same as tonight. It was raining, and the rain fell on my clothes and penetrated into my skin. It was so cold that it could cool into my heart all the time. I saw Mu Qing bring a bowl of medicine to your mother and force her to drink it. In less than an hour, your mother vomited blood and died. I'm useless, watching your mother die... At that time... You were less than ten days old...”

He walked into Baili Haozhe step by step, his eyes widened, and bloodshot. “You can forget, but in my life I will never forget your mother's dying pain, absolutely not!”

“I already told you, you only need to coax Ruan Wushuang. Now that you have ascended the throne, as long as you don't accept the imperial concubine and appease the Ruan family, you don't have to go to the Zhaoyang Hall every day. Look at yourself. What day you don't sleep in Zhaoyang Hall! Can't I see your mind? If you want to see your son, just let someone take him to Chengqian Hall.”

    Spring often came later. But every time in this season, the flowers in the imperial garden compete with each other and the breeze was blowing. Emperor Jingren liked to take the eldest prince Baili Haoting to play under the willow tree by the Taiye pond in this season.

    A large group of maids and servants waited from a distance. Baili Haozhe hid behind the apricot tree not far away. The trees in the imperial garden had been around for no less than hundreds of years. The trunks were thick and the branches and leaves were prosperous and verdant. Two adults couldn't hold them together. He hid behind, and even the servant didn't notice it. From a distance, he watched his father and eldest brother play. Baili Haoting's eyes were covered with bright yellow silk kerchiefs, and he fumbled with both hands to find out where his father was hiding.

    The pampered expression of Emperor Jingren, as if the spring light was soft, he smiled and waved to Baili Haoting not far away. “Ting'er, here...Father Emperor is here.” Baili Haoting stumbled over. Unsteady footsteps, he kept yelling: “Father Emperor, where are you…” Emperor Jingren waved his wide sleeves, making the golden dragon on that sleeve seem to be roaming in the clouds. It was hard to imagine that the Emperor who usually sits in the court had such a gentle and kind side.

    Baili Haozhe had unspeakable envy in his heart, and he envied his Father Emperor's kindness to his eldest brother. In his mind, his Father Emperor was always high above, and he never had a chance to get close except for a fixed time of greeting. When most of them saluted, they knelt far away in the hall and answered their Father Emperor's questions about their lesson. It was unprecedented in his childhood memory to play with his Father Emperor like the eldest brother. Even in his memory, his Father Emperor never even hugged him.

    The Chamberlain looked around and finally found him behind the tree. “Second prince, this slave finally found you. How can you hide behind this tree?” The Chamberlain took his little hand and went away step by step. He left reluctantly and occasionally looked back. He saw his eldest brother held in Father Emperor’s arms and giggling. Although he couldn't hear anything, the laughter came bit by bit…

Baili Haozhe suddenly woke up, the things of so many years ago were still vivid in his mind, as if it happened yesterday. In the past, he did not understand why Father Emperor loved his eldest brother so much, but he always turned a blind eye to him.

In order to get a little praise from Father Emperor, he devoted himself to his lesson, learned how to govern the country, learned riding and archery in his spare time. In the summer, the weather was hot, and the cicada hid under the shady leaves without a trace. When they were studying, they weren’t allowed to hold or shake the fan, they  should sit upright. At this time, they should write every word a hundred times to practice calligraphy.

But no matter how good his performance was, Father Emperor just nodded his head and would never give him a hug. Father Emperor never knew that what he wanted was not a wide range of rewards, but a small act of his, even if it was just a tap of approval on his shoulder, then he would be happy. But he never got it, even a small intimate word, a small warm gesture, nothing, for a long time, as if everything was just extravagant hope.

The night had gradually turned green and gray, and the layout of the hall could be seen in the haze, as if it was different from the usual. He blinked slightly and suddenly came over. He was in Chengqian Hall, not Zhaoyang Hall.

There was no her around, naturally there was no faint fragrance. Maybe it was just a habit. For so many years, he was used to being alone. But later he had her, because that period of time he had her, her taste, and it also became a kind of habit. But what uncle Shen didn’t know was that if a person had a habit, that person would become addicted, and it was not easy to give up a habit. But he couldn't help quitting!

The sound of coughing kept coming from Cining Hall, and it still kept coming out through the thick carved chinese cedar screen. Ruan Wushuang had not stepped into the inner bed, she had already heard very clearly. The original worry was even heavier. The imperial physician had also reported that it was very detailed, and the heart disease needed heart medicine to heal. But her aunt had no desire to live, even if Hua Tuo(T/N: Chinese physician) reincarnated, he would still be unable to turn around a hopeless situation.

Lifting the pearl curtain and going in, she saw Aunt Mu waiting by the side with a medicine bowl. Seeing Ruan Wushuang coming in, she knelt down and bowed. Empress Dowager Ruan closed her eyes deeply and her face was as pale as paper, but she looked very peaceful in her sleep. Ruan Wushuang looked up at Aunt Mu, Aunt Mu shook her head, looking like weeping. She moved her eyes to the sapphire bowl next to her, and the medicinal juice was like ink, a bowl was full without half a drop.

Empress Dowager Ruan seemed to be awake, opening her eyes slightly. Seeing Wushuang, she suddenly remembered something and said slowly, “Mu Qing… Go and get the things in the jade box.” Struggling to get up, she helped her sit up slowly.

Empress Dowager Ruan looked at Wushuang for a long time, her eyes were mild and weak, she no longer had the momentum of the Empress, and her voice was very soft, as if with infinite tenderness. “Have you been tired for this old woman recently? Why are you getting thinner and thinner?”

Ruan Wushuang shook her head slightly. “I’m not tired. Wushuang’s aunt had loved me since childhood. And aunt's illness is a minor illness. As long as aunt takes medicine on time, aunt can get rid of it immediately.” 

Empress Dowager Ruan shook her head slightly and slowly and said softly, “I know my own disease.”

While talking, Aunt Mu had already taken the jade box and came over. Empress Dowager Ruan gestured with her eyes, and Mu Qing handed the box to Ruan Wushuang. The box was carved with white jade peony in full bloom, with layers of petals, lifelike, gentle jade color. She reached out and took it, looking at her aunt in confusion. Empress Dowager Ruan said, “You open it and have a look.”

There was nothing strange about the objects inside, it was just a folded ordinary rice paper. She suddenly thought of this and looked up at Empress Dowager Ruan and said, “Aunt…” 

Empress Dowager Ruan nodded gently and coughed a few times before saying, “Correct, it’s that paper.”

Ruan Wushuang slowly unfolded the paper, and the ink on the rice paper was as new as if it had just been written. The handwriting was vigorous, and she was naturally familiar with it. It was Baili Haozhe’s handwriting.

She was able to give a general idea without reading the words on the rice paper. In the agreement he reached with his aunt that day, no matter whether he would give birth to the Emperor's son in the future, he must appoint the heir to the throne. Also, he couldn't abolish it for the rest of his life.

Empress Dowager Ruan said hoarsely, “keep it well, maybe it will be useful in the future.” As if the last words, Ruan Wushuang unexpectedly felt ominous in her heart, shook her head in a panic and replied, “No, it is still my aunt who keeps it for Wushuang…” 

Empress Dowager Ruan smiled, like a fine wind into the curtain, calmly and gently. “Silly child, how can aunt keep it for you for a lifetime? Perhaps…”

Empress Dowager Ruan's expression slowly faded. “Perhaps one day, you will blame your aunt for bringing you into this cage. Even if the daughter of our Ruan family doesn't enter this palace, she can live a lifetime in peace among the people…” It was just how long a lifetime was, and whether it was happy or not was another matter.

The most important thing in the world was to be happy with each other. If a pair of men and women couldn't meet at the right time, the right season and the right place, everything was just at a loss. For men, fame and power, wealth and glory, could be above love, not to mention the power of the world. But for women in the universal world, especially those in the deep palace, it was easy to get priceless treasures and a lover was hard to come by. That's what he and she were. Because of mistakes, everything could only be passed by.

Empress Dowager Ruan sighed and slowly stretched out her hand to help her shake the ornament in her head. The fine pieces of gold shone with colorful light, how noble and graceful they were. Only she understood the bitterness. “Once you enter the palace gate, it is as deep as the sea! It's not that you say you don’t fight, you don’t fight, If you quit and you quit. You have to understand that fighting is also a lifetime, and not fighting is a lifetime... Maybe you don’t understand what this aunt said now. By the way, in the future... it may not be a bad thing to understand it in the future.”

Aunt's tone was sad and bitter. Ruan Wushuang lowered her head, understood what aunt said, and looked confused. When she looked up again, she was calm. Bowing her head and looking up, perhaps only for a short moment, she had already turned many thoughts in her heart. She looked up at Empress Dowager Ruan, her eyes clear as water, calm without waves, and childish stubbornness. “If it's not mine, I don't want to fight. I'd rather live like this for the rest of my life.”

Chengqian Hall. The face of Baili Haozhe loomed in the shadow of the palace lantern. Shen Nuochou stood beside him, neither of them said a word. Shen Nuochou occasionally looked up at Baili Haozhe's face, faint and heavy, unable to distinguish between joy and anger.

After a long time, Baili Haozhe spoke, and said very slowly. “Today, someone from the Imperial Physician courtyard came to report that Ruan Yujin may not be able to survive this winter.” He turned his head and looked sharply at Shen Nuochou and said, “Prescribe medicine. From now on.”

Shen Nuochou bowed his head and didn’t answer. Baili Haozhe sighed. “Uncle Shen, she only has a month or two to live at most. Even if you and I didn't poison her, she already had no idea of living. She refused to take medicine in the past few months, and all she asked for was to go early to accompany Father Emperor. We continued to use the medicine, only to make her wish come true as soon as possible. You and I really don't have to help her!”

He vaguely remembered that when he was a child, every few days, she still ordered someone to take him and his eldest brother to the Zhaoyang Hall. Although the time was not long, the delicious cakes and flower dew in the Zhaoyang Hall were unexpectedly clear at this moment! Finally he knew that she would soon die, but somehow, so many years of wishes finally came true, his heart did not have the slightest joy, but a desolation, as if there was nothing after the flood.

Shen Nuochou said fiercely. “It's cheap for this wicked woman! I have spent so many years waiting for you to ascend the throne to torture this wicked woman. Unexpectedly...unexpectedly, she wanted to die by herself. It's really cheap for her!”

The air was quiet. Shen Nuochou paused for a long time and said casually. “Next, it should be Ruan Wushuang's turn.” he said, glancing at Bai Li Haozhe's look. “What's your next step?”

Baili Haozhe was shocked and suddenly turned around and said, “no!”

Shen Nuochou looked at Baili Haozhe deeply, and a cold passed in his eyes. “Are you reluctant?” Baili Haozhe didn't know why, but he was in unspeakable panic. In front of Uncle Shen, who had watched him grow up since childhood, everything had nothing to hide, so he had to brush his sleeve and say angrily, “I said no!”

Shen Nuochou calmed down and lifted up a pair of deep black eyes, as if looking at him, but also as if he didn’t look at him, and said nothing more.

The smell of medicine filled Cining Hall, and the maids bowed their heads and made a silent sound. The whole hall was so quiet that it almost had the illusion of being lifeless and dead.

Mu Qing came out of the inner hall and shook her head to the maids. “You all can withdraw, you don't have to wait here.”

The maids answered, “Yes.” Bowed neatly and retreated.

In the inner hall, sandalwood incense was burned, which smelled faint and fragrant, slightly covering the strong smell of medicine. Empress Dowager Ruan turned her head slightly and said low voice, “Shuang’er, help me up.” She hurriedly took the apricot yellow soft pillow handed over by Mu Qing, leaned against her aunt and helped her slowly hold the quilt and sit on the bed.

After taking a few breaths, Empress Dowager Ruan said, “Mu Qing, you can withdraw, too.” Mu Qing came out and closed the door.

It took a while for Empress Dowager Ruan to say, “Shuang’er, this aunt, I'm afraid I won't be able to survive this illness…”

Wushuang’s eyes were already red, interrupting her, “Aunt…”

Empress Dowager Ruan smiled dazely. “What a silly child. The so-called life and death have fate, misfortune and fortune in heaven. Aunt hasn’t lived in vain in my life. I have tasted all the splendor. What else is there to miss?”

Wushuang's heart was sour, and the dampness in her eyes was almost uncontrollable. What was wrong with her aunt today? She chose something unlucky to say, it was as if the person was going to the funeral.

“You are the one who worries me the most. Ming Ying, Ming Yan, no matter how to say, they have the Emperor’s blood, even if we Ruan family down in the future, they will not be affected much, and are still richer than ordinary people. But you can only rely on yourself in this deep palace...” After a long speech, Empress Dowager Ruan's spirit improved.

Ruan Wushuang stretched out her hand and gently held her aunt's hand. It was only a few months ago, and only bones were left in his plump hand. “Aunt, you don't have to worry about me. Didn't you just say that misfortune and fortune in heaven?”

Empress Dowager Ruan pulled a pity smile slightly. “Aunt just hopes you can know how to protect yourself in the future. Now you may not feel it yet. When the Emperor fills the harem another day, these three palaces and six courtyards are full of beautiful women. What about you, you may not see the Emperor in a month... This kind of suffering is beyond others' experience.”

She smiled bitterly and showed a little helplessness. “I have already prepared myself for this marriage. Aunt, please take good care of yourself and don't worry about me. A blessing is not a curse, but a curse cannot be avoided…” Some day, even if it was more bitter than this, she would live well. That was the way it was. The more she cared, the less she could get it, and the same for the other people. What's more, he was the person above and the Emperor of ten thousand people.

In the winter of the first year of Xining, Baili Haozhe issued an imperial edict, canonized Baili Chengxuan—— the prince who had been born less than half a year, as the crown prince, and granted amnesty in the name of the crown prince.

Half a month later, Empress Dowager Ruan and Emperor Jingren were buried together in the imperial cemetery.

The heavy snow fluttered down like flying flocks. Branches, leaves, the ground, a vast expanse. Ruan Wushuang took over the heater handed over by Mu Ran, and a little bit of heat was slowly passed on from her fingertips, and the whole person seemed to have a sense of it.

“Is Chengxuan awake?” She didn't turn her head. Mo Ran replied, “Still sleeping. When he wakes up, Mo Zhu will report it.” Ruan Wushuang didn't speak again, and the hall was very quiet. Sometimes, even the ‘ka-cha’ sound of snow pressing dead branches in the yard could be heard clearly.

She stood for a long time, watching the snow fall, falling into the world of mortals. A long time ago, she heard a long time ago that there was a bird in the world that was very affectionate. If the partner died, the other bird would often live less than half a year. It was a pity that it was just a legend, no one had seen it.

But she reckoned that the successive deaths of her aunt and the former Emperor were only half a year. Her aunt finally fulfilled her wish and went to the mausoleum with the former Emperor. After that, there was really no one else between her and the former Emperor.

Before she left, her aunt helped her finish the last thing, she asked Baili Haozhe to canonize Chengxuan as crown prince. A child who was only five months old was already a crown prince, which had never been seen before in the history of the Baili dynasty.

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