Concealed by Brocaded Clouds, Frost on the Roads: Volume 01 Chapter 12

10:55 PM Oyen 0 Comments

Last chapter for book 1, let's continue to book two~
Chapter 12: Ten Thousand Leaf Thousand Voice, All Regret
translator: Oyen

Although Zhaoyang Hall didn’t care about the affairs of the other ladies in the palace, the change reached a shift and spread to everyone's ears. While waiting for Ruan Wushuang to change clothes, Mo Zhu chattering around, “Finally understand why it doesn’t get reported, waiting but the time has yet to come. How dare you slap a young miss in the face? Who is our young miss? Since childhood, we have never suffered this before. I wish I could tear her to pieces...”

Ruan Wushuang couldn’t help but chuckle. “I really can't see that our Mo Zhu’s heart is really made of ink, that is, black.” 
(T/N: Mo in Mo Zhu name means ink.)

Mo Zhu said angrily, “Young Miss, you can still laugh at this time and help the bad person speak…” Silence for a moment, Ruang Wushuang slowly said, “She shouldn't know it's me. For her, it's just a slave.”

Yin Shuiya was favoured in the harem for a time, and the Emperor treated her even more differently from others. Thinking of concubine Yin's arrogant heart, she set her sights on the lost power of Zhaoyang Hall. In ancient times, the dispute over the harem wasn’t all about the Empress’ seat. What happened today didn’t happen today, but it will happen in the future.

While she was talking, a maid came in to report. “Report to the Empress, Aunt Mu Qing wants to see you.” Ruan Wushuang looked up at Mo Zhu, somewhat surprised. Aunt Mu Qing's body had been very poor recently, and she was lingering on her bed. How could she arrive at Zhaoyang Hall so late? Mo Zhu put down her clothes and went out to greet her.

Mu Qing's body used to be quite plump, but after more than a year of illness, she had now become so thin and only bones were left. A maid helped her to come in, and when she saw Ruan Wushuang, she would kneel down and salute while holding on Mo Zhu. Ruan Wushuang said, “Aunt Mu, don't be polite. Have a seat.” 

Mu Qing bowed and said, “This slave thanks the Empress for her kindness.”

Ruan Wushuang looked at her face as yellow as wax and skinny. It seemed that her condition was still not getting better, but there were signs of aggravation. She said with concern, “Some time ago, an imperial physician prescribed a medicine, but did you take it according to it?” 

Mu Qing leaned over and said, “This slave has been eating. Thank you for your concern.”

After speaking for a while, Ruan Wushuang looked at her expression that seemed to have something to say, and she understood a little bit in her heart. There were some things Aunt Mu didn't want to say in front of Mo Zhu, so she ordered. “You retreat first, there is no need to wait here.” Seeing her retreat, Ruan Wushuang said, “Aunt Mu, just tell me if you have anything.”

Mu Qing looked at her, Ruan Wushuang dangled her long hair casually, and her elegant face became thinner and thinner. She suddenly sighed and said, “Empress, although Mu Qing is a servant, this slave has been watching you since childhood. Growing up, this slave always wanted to talk about some things. This slave is afraid that if this slave doesn't say it, this slave will have no chance to talk about it in the future…”

Ruan Wushuang said warmly, “Aunt Mu must have made up her mind to tell me today, so you came here, didn't you?”

Mu Qing nodded, turned her head to look at the candlelight on the gilded platform, clear and distant. “Back when the Empress Dowager married the former Emperor, outsiders only knew that the marriage was referred to by Emperor Gaozong, but they didn’t know that the Empress Dowager really loved the former Emperor. But as soon as this slave entered the mansion, this slave realized that the former Emperor had concubines. In fact, this is also extremely normal among princes. Which prince is not like this?”

Ruan Wushuang smiled bitterly. He might be an exception, or he may have sent the concubines out of the mansion before she entered... But she didn't explore it carefully. It was not that she didn't want to. Many things were just afraid to know deeply. The person who hurt first would be herself.

“But the Empress Dowager was always proud and arrogant. She didn't know how to bear it at the beginning. Occasionally, when the former Emperor favoured the concubines, she would be jealous and quarrel with the former Emperor. But the more they quarreled, the more he ignored her. It was not until later that the Empress Dowager realized that the former Emperor didn't love her before he asked Emperor Gaozong to marry him, but he wanted Ruan family’s help. The former emperor loved a concubine surnamed Ou. From then on, the Empress Dowager's temperament began to change and became intolerant of the concubines and attendants in the mansion…”

Just as she was talking, Mo Zhu lifted the curtain and interrupted Aunt Mu's words.

Mo Zhu, “Young Miss, there is a chamberlain who wants to see you.” 

Ruan Wushuang raised her head in surprise. “Who is it?”

Mo Zhu replied, “This slave didn't know him and was going to send him away. But he said he came by the Emperor's order.”

The maids were all outside, and the palace lanterns made the hall wide and lonely. A chamberlain was standing in the hall. His face was hidden in the corner of the gauze curtain. When he saw Ruan Wushuang, he moved his whole body out of the shadows.

The bright light and shadow of the eight treasures glass lantern reflected his face—— Ruan Wushuang was shocked, and she would never forget this face again.

She stood there coldly, and said to Mo Zhu. “You retire and rest first, you don't need to wait tonight.” She had been trying to figure out who instructed him back then?

He came up to her, walked around her, looked disdainful, and his eyes were full of incomprehension. “Ruan Wushuang, I have never understood, what is there in you that can confuse Haozhe so much?”

She was surprised that he was bold enough to call out Baili Haozhe’s name. But her mind seemed to catch something, quivering. It seemed that the lid was about to be lifted and something was about to be released.

The man looked at her with a faint smile and said, “I think you have always wanted to know who was that night, right?” She stood there, unable to move.

Something was coming out of nowhere! But she had an impulse to escape. She shook her head. No, it can't be like that... She would be happy even if he grounded her in the hall for the rest of her life. In that case, everything in the past was at least partly true to her... He just can't accept her not being chaste anymore!

That person stared at her motionless, as if the hungry jackal, tiger and panther were leisurely looking at the prey they had, enjoying the pleasure of conquest. “I'll tell you today that the man in the Liuxia building by Taiye Lake is now the Emperor and your husband.” His voice was neither light nor heavy, but it rang in her ears like thunder.

Obviously, she had already guessed it somewhat, but she really confirmed it from his mouth. She only felt the cold from the inside out, the pain from the inside out, and she could hardly stand. The things she had always thought were always fake and empty.

The man laughed. She saw his mouth rising, very excited, and the flesh on his face kept shaking. His laughter should be loud, but why can't she hear anything? She pinched her palm desperately, but didn’t feel anything. It turned out that the pain was so extreme that there would be no feeling, just numbness. She retreated slowly, until there was something against her back and she couldn't retreat any further.

She couldn’t do anything but shake her head and breathe heavily. If not, she would suffocate. It was a long time before she found her voice and asked, “Why me?” The voice was vague and strange, resembling the end of the earth of heaven. How could it be hers?

The man came over, pinched her chin, his eyes were icy, like sharp blades. “Why you? Of course it must be you, only you! Because you are the daughter of the Ruan family!” His voice was getting colder and colder. She wanted to look at him, but her eyes were so erratic that she couldn't see it at all.

He let go of her, turned his head and looked at the peony lattice window. It was dark outside, seemingly to hide countless human-eating beasts. The night before he escaped, it was so dark that he couldn’t see his fingers. He was cold and hungry, curled up in a pile of shattered flocks. Both his parents had died since he was a child, and he had been relying on Ying's grandmother for relief ever since. Now, now... In today's world, there was no other way to survive apart from seeking refuge.

He stared blankly, as if falling into endless memories. “Let me tell you a story. A long time ago, there was a girl named Liu Ying, who was born in a small village with beautiful scenery. When she was fifteen years old, there was a severe drought in her hometown, and no grain was received. Many people in the village have fled, and I came out with her. Two small children, begging all the way, went through all kinds of hardships and finally arrived in the capital.”

“When she arrived in the capital, she found a job first, and was lucky enough to enter the Prince's Mansion at that time as a maid. She is very happy. The salary of the Prince's Mansion is very high. She can send it back to help the only grandmother in her family and treat her seriously ill grandmother. Grandmother's illness is getting better every day, and she is so happy... But then I don't know why, the crown princess took a fancy to her and transferred her to her side. Naturally, she was very happy, telling me that she would have the honor to serve the future Empress, saying that this was a blessing from her past life. But...... But we didn't think at that time, this is the beginning of her nightmare…”

He turned his head and said viciously, “It was designed by your aunt Ruan Yujin. Because Lian Ying looks like the former Emperor's dead concubine. If she had been the lowest maid, the former Emperor would never have seen her. She was received by Ruan Yujin, and the former Emperor saw her and it was impossible to let go. Lian Ying had no choice but to be the concubine for the former Emperor. Ruan Yujin saw that she was very favoured by the former Emperor and gave birth to a son, fearing that the limelight would overshadow her in the future. So she refused to let her go. A few days after she gave birth to Haozhe, she let Mu Qing poison her soup and poisoned her alive... I was hiding out of the window, watching Lian Ying writhing painfully on the bed and watching her leave…”

She leaned there and slowly closed her eyes, so it’s like this… it’s like this. With so much hatred, he wanted not only rivers and mountains, but also the life of their Ruan family. So it's her, so it can only be her!

The truth is so hurtful! She would rather not know. But she found out today, and it should be time for him to end it.

The man smiled and looked at her, as if admiring her pain, “Ruan Wushuang, it's painful to be used. From the very beginning, Haozhe designed it. If he doesn't take your body first, how can you agree to this marriage? But what makes me strange is that Haozhe hasn't made it clear that he took your body, so how come you have agreed? However, this does not hinder our plan.”

“Marrying you is equivalent to getting the help of Ruan Yujin. Although I hate her deeply, there is no other way. At that time, I had to use her power. As expected, with the help of Ruan Yujin, Haozhe soon got what he wanted. Then, Ruan Yujin will no longer need to exist…”

She suddenly opened her eyes, which were full of horror and pain. “Aunt ... aunt was also killed by him!” Actually Ruan Yujin didn't want to live, Haozhe didn't kill him. But he didn't deny that what made her more miserable also made him happier.

He laughed, stared at her, and said one by one. “Now, you don't have to exist anymore” She didn't seem to be surprised, but looked at him quietly. There was no trace of fear in Ruan Wushuang's eyes, but there was just a deadly calmness.

Somewhat disappointed, he took out a porcelain bottle from his sleeve and shook it in front of her eyes, “This is what Haozhe ordered me to send to you. You can rest assured that it is colorless and tasteless, as long as you take a sip, you can be free forever.” Then, he pulled her hand and put it in the palm of her hand.

She lowered her eyes and stared at the small and exquisite porcelain bottle. It was warm, soft and greasy, and there was no hue of miscellaneous colors after the rain had cleared up. Imperial objects were all wonderful workmanship. Even such small things were no exception.

“You let go of the Empress, and I, Mu Qing, will bear all this.” They didn’t know when Mu Qing held the pillar and stood behind them. She obviously heard their conversation.

The man glanced at her sideways, as if he had heard one of the biggest jokes in the world, and laughed wildly ‘hahahaha’, “You are something. But you don't have to be so anxious to die. You have nothing more than just a few months away. Then you can go underground to reunite with Ruan Yujin.” Ruan Wushuang closed her eyes, it turned out that he also poisoned Aunt Mu.

Mu Qing knelt down toward him with a ‘flop’, kowtowing and saying, “Everything is this slave's fault, not the Empress's business. The poison of that year was put down by this slave and fed to her by this slave.”

The man gritted his teeth and said, “Death, you think it is so easy. You are just a dog of the Ruan family. It's easier for me to kill you than to step on an ant. What I want is to make the whole Ruan family disappear from this world forever. Let each and every one of you in the Ruan family cannot survive or die. Haha… Haha…” He kept laughing wildly, almost mad.

After laughing enough, he turned his head again and looked at the porcelain bottle in Ruan Wushuang's hands, with a sneer at the corner of his mouth. “Empress, in this palace, the Emperor wants someone to die at midnight, and that person will definitely not live until dawn. This slave respectfully sent the Empress.” He flicked his sleeve, turned and left.

The grievance in her heart was greater than death, she knew all the truth, and had drawn an end between her and Haozhe. There was no longer a chance for the two of them.

The night in the imperial garden was like lacquer, and the wind was like a horn. Standing in the deep shade, he looked at the purple pavilion not far away and said silently, “Zhe'er, it's not that Uncle Shen's heart is cruel, it's all you forced Uncle Shen. Since you don't make a decision, then Uncle Shen will do it, helping you make a decision!”

If Zhe’er hadn't cared so much about her, he wouldn't have done anything to Ruan Wushaung. Zhe’er wasn’t even willing to touch her, how could he be ruthless and touch her family? Now as long as this Ruan Wushuang was gone, there would be no reason for Zhe’er to be soft-hearted.

Mu Qing held Ruan Wushuang, who sat down on the ground, and said, “Empress, it was this slave who harmed you. It was this slave who harmed you!” Ruan Wushuang shook her head blankly and said in a low voice, “Everything is fate.” Harem had always been so, was also a battlefield, ‘either you die or I die’, she couldn’t blame Mu Qing, what she had done was to serve her aunt's orders, but also to save her aunt. Presumably, his mother wasn’t the first person, and she wouldn’t be the last person in this palace.

She staggered to her feet and went back to her inner chamber step by step. She sat softly on the brocade couch, with no strength in her whole body, and she seemed unable to move her fingers even if she wanted to move her fingers. She could only sit, sit blankly. The moonlight came in through the mottled window, clear and beautiful, but not suitable for her.

She heard that life was like a play. If there was a dream in the middle of the night, she really hoped it was just a play, just a nightmare for her. Ironically, the play had a beginning, a climax, an ending, connections, ups and downs, and life also had its first appearance, like the sun in the sky, twilight in late autumn, dawn and dusk disaster and happiness, and had a way out of a predicament.

But she had nothing left! Once she thought she had a lot, but she didn't know it was really one of his plays.

The play was a fake. Loving married couple had different beds, siblings with different mothers,  and traveled thousands of miles a day without leaving their houses. Today they were farmers' houses and poor scholars, and tomorrow they would be high officials and imperial relatives. But it was true what happened to her. Everything in the past was just a play for him, just a play for him. It turned out that all the affection and tenderness were just a play!

It was just that she didn't know, and she indulged with it…

He hated her so much, hated her family. From the beginning when both of them met, he had already calculated and started to make arrangements. So step by step, scheming, waiting was nothing more than to get rid of them.

Curling up in the corner, it was so cold. The cold didn't come from the outside, but from the bottom of her heart, as if it had penetrated from the bones, and even every meridian was filled with cold chill. She thought she would cry, but she didn't, and she didn't shed a single tear. It just felt cold, so cold, it made her tremble uncontrollably.

Everything between him and her needed death to stop abruptly. Never see you again in this life!

Shi Quanyi served the Emperor to sleep and was just about to retire when he heard a noise in the imperial garden outside. Just as he was about to withdraw to ask, a chamberlain came hurriedly at the door and said in a shrill and anxious voice, “Emperor, Emperor…”

Shi Quanyi hurriedly reprimanded, “Keep your voice down, you don't want your head! The Emperor just went to sleep…” Chamberlain's forehead was stained with sweat and panicked and said, “Eunuch Shi, it's not good… Zhaoyang Hall, Zhaoyang Hall was on fire…”

Seeing that the curtain on the bed had been torn apart by the Emperor, he snapped and asked, “What?” 

The chamberlain repeated again, “Emperor, Zhaoyang Hall was on fire.”

Baili Haozhe felt an indescribable panic in his heart. He only felt cold sweat dripping from his back, and suddenly got up. Without wearing shoes, he went straight down from the bed and strode toward the window seriously.

With a ‘bang’, the west window was opened, and a gust of wind blew. Seeing a fierce fire in Zhaoyang Hall not far away, with the wind, the fire suddenly turned red all over the sky.

No! He turned to pick up the chamberlain’s outer and stared at him coldly, but his eyes were flustered, “Where’s the Empress? Where’s the Empress?” 

The chamberlain had never seen the Emperor so lost control. He was so frightened that he almost fainted and said in a trembling voice, “The Empress is still in there…”

Baili Haozhe suddenly let him go and said coldly to a group of waiters kneeling around. “Pass on my order. If you can't save the Empress, they will all be buried with me.” The cold chill on the ground seeped under his feet, and he only felt flustered, as if he was going to lose her forever.

He strode out abruptly, Shi Quanyi chased after him. “Emperor, Emperor, the shoes, the shoes——” The guards and attendants in the attic saw the Emperor wearing close-fitting clothes and walking barefoot, running wildly on the stone bricks.

Baili Haozhe only felt scared. The fear that he had never had before was like a vine, bounding his heart endlessly. Seeing him, everyone kowtowed and saluted.

Zhaoyang Hall was blazing with fire, and there was a red sea…

There seemed to be a dead silence in the world. A bunch of useless losers, running back and forth. Baili Haozhe stared blankly at that fiery blaze. Wushuang, don’t you want me and Chengxuan anymore? Then alright, I'm coming for you!

He rushed into the hall. Shi Quanyi stood aside and had already seen something wrong with the Emperor. At this time, he knelt down with a ‘plop’, clasped his arms firmly around the Emperor's leg, and cried, “Emperor, Emperor... Take care of the dragon body! Emperor!”

He said coldly, “Shi Quanyi, you are so brave that you dare to stop me!”

Shi Quanyi bursted into tears. “Emperor, forgive me for being bold. Even if you kill this slave tonight, this slave will still say it…”

“So many servants can't save the Empress from the temple… Emperor… Emperor... I’m afraid… I’m afraid the Empress is…”

Baili Haozhe seemed crazy and roared, “Shut up ... Shut up ... Don't you dare say another word, I'll kill you... I'll kill you …”

The sky began to light up minute by minute, and gradually became bright. Countless scorched smells were floating in the air, and there was a dead silence. The crowd knelt on the ground, but there was no sound. It was so quiet that the sound of cracking from the unburned post came to their ears from time to time.

The Emperor, wearing only close-fitting clothes and a mink cloak, stood stiff, standing stiff in one position, like a stone statue with a ferocious expression.

A group of useless people reported to the ground, with a quivering voice. “Emperor, this fire was caused from the back hall of Zhaoyang Hall. Coupled with the late autumn, the climate was dry and the wind was fierce tonight.... This slave and others deserve to die!”

The Emperor seemed to hear nothing and asked, “Where are the guards of Zhaoyang Hall?” The voice was cold to the bone.

Shi Quanyi busily ordered several guards on duty tonight to come over, only to see a few people kneeling down, kowtowing like pounding garlic, a voice quivering like a silk, “Emperor, spare our life. Emperor, spare our life.”

“Spare your life?” Baili Haozhe's eyes showed a murderous intention.

One of the servants cried out, “Emperor, give us favours and spare our life. This slave and others will leave only after receiving the Emperor’s order…”

Baili Haozhe's eyes sank. “This Emperor’s order?” The men kowtowed desperately and answered, “An eunuch comes at night to give The Emperor’s message, saying that the children should step down and rest, so this slave and others don't have to watch vigil at Zhaoyang Hall tonight. Beg the Emperor for mercy! Spare our life!”
“An eunuch?” Baili Haozhe wondered.

“Right, right…” The servants described the general appearance of the man.

After hearing this, Baili Haozhe said nothing. His eyes were colder and his fists were clenched.

The locked door was kicked open with a loud bang. The two doors ‘clatter’ slammed into the wall, so strong that people could immediately feel the anger of those who kicked the door.

Shen Nuochou wasn’t surprised at all. He sat down idly and poured two cups of tea in no hurry. “Zhe’er, it's rare for you to think about Uncle Shen, come and see my specialty.”

Baili Haozhe rushed to him, grabbed him and his eyes were red. “It's you, what did you do? What did you do to her? What did you do to her?”

Shen Nuochou stared at him without fear and said, “I didn't do anything, just told her that the crown prince is your own flesh and blood.” 

Baili Haozhe quivered when he heard the words, his eyes seemed to burst fire. “How dare you violate my words! I want to kill you, I want to kill you!”

Shen Nuochou suddenly laughed. “Lian Ying, your Zhe’er has grown up.” He looked at Baili Haozhe and said calmly, “Kill me. If you can kill me with a ruthless heart, I will feel happy. Because if you can do something to me, you will certainly be able to get rid of the rest of the Ruan family. Then I have been avenged, and I have nothing to feel attached to.”

Baili Haozhe was holding his chest clothes and shook him resentfully. “Why, why won't you let her go? I told you not to touch her!”

Shen Nuochou stared at him and laughed. “Why, why should I get rid of her? Ask yourself!”

“She was just slapped by Yin Shuiya's handmaid, and you can't stand it, so hurry to demote Yin Shuiya to Shangshui Hall. The people didn’t know her identity before they moved their hands. If they know her identity and slap her, do you think it's still hard to form a death sentence!”

“Zhe'er, I know you too well, you have been bewitched by her—— you are in love with her. You can't tolerate the slightest harm to her. But have you forgotten? Who killed your mother? Who made you lonely and helpless since childhood. Who is it? It's Ruan Yujin! It's their Ruan family!”

Baili Haozhe let go of him sadly, and said, “I always remembered my mother, so I endured it all the time. I tried to restrain her in Zhaoyang Hall, trying not to hurt her, loving her, and letting myself hate them... But what did I get? Can my mother come back to life? But I still endure, always reminding myself that I can't love her, can't pamper her... Because Ruan Yujin killed my mother. Because she is the enemy's niece!”

But she left. She left and disappeared in his life forever. His heart was like a deep hole, and he had never felt such pain before, as if he knew clearly that from then on the warmest and brightest colors of his life had gone with her.

He stumbled back a few steps and tears flowed slowly from his eyes. Shen Nuochou felt pain in his heart for some reason. “Zhe’er, you are the Emperor, the great Emperor in the world. What kind of woman do you want? Why are you crying?” Zhe’er seemed to be the child crying in the corner, lonely and helpless, so eager to love and be loved.

Baili Haozhe shook his head helplessly, and tears rolled down one by one from his eyes. “I don't want anyone! I want no one! I just want her... I just want her…”

It was only after she appeared that he knew what warmth was.

When he first got married, he didn't care much. But slowly, she was in his heart... As long as he returned to the mansion, he could feel her breath and her existence... She would dress him, watch for him and worry about him... That was the first time he felt what a home was, and such a large mansion was no longer many rooms.

But all this is lost forever!

Baili Haozhe left the room in despair, slowly closed his eyes, turned his head and said, “Come in, tie him up and send him to Qingzhou.” Uncle Shen had been like his half-father since he was a child, and accompanied him all the way. He couldn't kill him, but he couldn't let him go. Keep him in confinement for life in Qingzhou—— his hometown.

And what about himself? Will forever be imprisoned in this cage that everyone admires. Can't come out again. Living without being able to fill out the emptiness, sometimes it’s just a wrong hand and nothing more!

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