Concealed by Brocaded Clouds, Frost on the Roads: Volume 02 Chapter 02

December 25, 2021 Oyen 1 Comments

Daily chapter, sorry for the delay~
Merry Christmas for everyone who celebrates it!
Chapter 2: The East Wind Gradually Smoke Faintly
translator: Oyen

Because of the afternoon shower, the Lanlin Hall was fresh and misty.

A delicate and elegant face was printed in the large copper mirror on the dresser, with eyebrows like distant mountains, the skin was like a smiling peach blossom, it was the best years, the most beautiful appearance. Liu Lan took the ivory comb, combed her long black hair and sighed.

The voice of her handmaid Ru Yi came softly from outside the curtain, “Mistress?” Liu Lan replied indifferently, “What is it?” Only then did Ru Yi lift the curtain and tend to step in, “Mistress, Concubine Tang is coming.”

Liu Lan lazily replied, “En, I’ll go after I’ll change my clothes.” The words had not yet fallen, Tang Qiaoyan had already lifted the curtain and came straight in, “I said, sister ah, something big has happened in this palace, you still have the mind to change what clothes ah?”

Liu Lan glanced sideways at her, and saw that Tang Qiaoyan’s hem of skirt was stained, obviously because she was in too much of a hurry when she came over, but a beauty lover like her could actually tolerate it, which meant that something big she was talking about about was indeed something big, which made Liu Lan slightly more interested, so she said, “Sister, what ‘something big’ can make you so nervous in this palace?” and then suddenly thought of something and said, “Could it be that something happened to the Crown Prince again?”

Some time ago, someone actually poisoned the Crown Prince in Changxin Hall. Fortunately, it was discovered early, and the Crown Prince was fine. But, the Emperor was furious and many people were implicated.

So far, the Crown Prince was the Emperor’s only heir; any slight whiff of trouble could more or less restrict the harem.

Tang Qiaoyan shook her head, sat down on the brocade couch beside her and said, “The Emperor has just made an edict in Chengqian Hall, making one of the late Empress Ruan’s cousin as a concubine, the first-ranked one.”

Liu Lan raised her head in astonishment. “What? Are you serious about this?”

Tang Qiaoyan sighed. “It’s not a fake. At this moment, the Imperial edict is already on the way. In three days, she will enter the palace.”

Liu Lan bowed her head and pondered for a moment. “Didn’t the Emperor repeatedly reject the minister’s offer? How could he have taken a concubine for no reason?”

Tang Qiaoyan leaned over and whispered. “That’s why I’m in such a hurry. According to Xiao Lin-zi, one of Shi Quanyi’s subordinates, that person looks like the late Empress Ruan. Today, the Emperor ordered someone to draft the Imperial edict as soon as he saw her in Ruan’s residence. You said… How can it be so coincidental ah? And still get the first rank. I’m afraid that in the future, even if she isn't titled as Empress, she will still be in charge of the harem.”

Liu Lan couldn’t help feeling a chill in her heart, and didn’t really listen to Tang Qiaoyan’s words. The Empress had been dead for several years, but the Emperor still hadn’t forget his love ah.

In the past, she didn’t know why concubine Yin was suddenly demoted to Shangshui Hall. At that time, because of the Emperor’s deep love, even if the Empress was grounded and concubine Yin was favoured. Concubine Yin couldn’t touch even a single hair of the Empress’ maid.

Later, when Zhaoyang Hall was caught on fire, many people lost their heads. The Emperor was depressed for half a year because of the Empress’ death.

Afterward, concubine Yin suddenly regained the Emperor’s favour and moved back to Chengbi Hall. Even more favoured than in the past, the Emperor came day after day and stayed for several hours. But no matter how he spoiled her, he never stayed in Chengbi Hall.

It was only at that time she realized that concubine Yin was only favoured in the harem because her appearance resembled the deceased Empress Ruan.

He was the supreme Emperor, with an empty Empress’ seat, and he wasn’t close to his concubine. Just because no one in this world could enter his eyes? What kind of love is this!

Less than an hour after the Emperor returned to the palace, the imperial edict had already arrived at Ruan’s residence. An incense table was set up in the hall of the residence, and the people knelt down to receive the edict. “By the Emperor’s edict, the father-in-law, Ruan Chongji's sister's daughter, Mu Ningyan, is gifted and intelligent, and her beauty is outstanding. She was specially awarded the title of concubine Ning, and will enter the palace in three days.”

Ruan Chongji’s heart trembled and his face was as gray as death. He had never imagined that the worst would happen, and it was so fast that people were caught off guard. Before he could turn his head, the crowd had already exclaimed, “Madam, madam…” It turned out that Madam Ruan had fainted.

The servants and maids helped Madam Ruan into the inner room. Ruan Chongji accepted the Imperial edict and asked the eunuch to take the seat and drink tea, but he just smiled and congratulated him, “Congratulations to Emperor’s father-in-law, congratulations to Emperor’s father-in-law. Concubine Ning comes out of the Ruan family. There’s no need for the tea, the Emperor is still waiting for this slave to report.”

Ruang Chongji hurriedly ordered someone to send the silver reward and politely said, “Please accept it!” The eunuch excused himself a hundred times before accepting it, and after respectfully thanking him again, he left with the other eunuchs and attendants accompanying him.

Ruan Chongji watched them leave in the hall. He went through the back garden hurriedly and entered the inner room. Only when he reached the door, he heard Madam Ruan’s mournful voice come over, “Yan’er, how can this be good? It’s as deep as the sea when you enter the palace. It’s very difficult for aunt to see you. It doesn’t matter, but the harem is a place where people eat other people. Look at your cousin Wushuang… your cousin Wushuang is just gone…” As she said this, Madam Ruan had burst into tears.

Mu Ningyan’s voice also sounded low and soft, with a faint choking voice, “Auntie, I also don’t want to enter the palace… but the Imperial edict has been issued…” 

Madam Ruan sobbed. “If I had known this, we would have agreed to the Meng family’s marriage earlier, and it would have been better to pass the engagement…”

When Ruan Chongji heard that, he suddenly had a plan in mind. He quickly waved to a servant and said, “Quickly go and invite the eldest son and the second son over.”

The servant received the order and hurried away. Only then did he push open the door of the room and entered.

Seeing him coming in, Madam Ruan wiped her tears slightly with her sleeve and said in a trembling voice, “Lord, how what should we do? You must think of a plan, you must not let Yan’er go to the palace!” 

Ruan Chongji sighed and said gloomily, “The whole world under the sky is nothing but the Emperor’s land. And us in the land are nothing but the Emperor’s subjects ah!” 

When Madam Ruan heard what he said, tears welled up again. “So, you let me just stand there and watch Yan’er go into that cage? Isn’t it enough for us to lose Wushuang? We don’t want any other family’s wealth and glory. I’m already at this age, I just want to see Yan’er get married and have children, and be happy…”

Although Ruan Chongji was a great minister, and had been very fond of his wife for decades. Now, seeing that she was crying like a tearful child, he also felt sorry for her. He quickly comforted her and said, “It’s not that I won’t think of a way…”

When Madam Ruan heard the word, she smiled and stopped crying, “What way?” 

Ruang Chongji said slowly, “For today’s sake, I only hope that the Emperor will still remember some of his old feelings and take back the Imperial edict for Wushuang’s sake.”

At dinner time, Chengqian Hall.

Baili Haozhe said, “I wonder why both Emperor’s son-in-law are here?” His voice was like a jade stone timbre. It was very pleasant, showing that the Emperor should be in a good mood.

Ruan Wutao and his younger brother Ruang Wulang looked at each other, before Ruan Wutao hesitantly said, “Emperor, this two officials have come to beg the Emperor to withdraw the Imperial edict to take cousin as Concubine Ning,” with these words, the air was condensed for a moment, as if a thin layer of ice had formed.

For a long time, Ruan Wutao was filled with fear. The Emperor’s voice sounded calm. “Oh, it’s for this. Doesn’t the Emperor’s son-in-law know what you’re saying?”

Hearing this, both of them were shocked and knelt down. Ruan Wulang kowtowed and said, “Emperor, we know that our sins are unforgivable, but we still dare to beg the Emperor to withdraw the Imperial edict, because our cousin is already engaged to someone else, how can one woman be married to two husbands? Ask the Emperor to accomplish, ask the Emperor to withdraw the title.”

The Emperor seemed a little interested, “Oh, that’s what happened in the middle. I wonder. Then, which gentleman has the honor?” He was so understanding that he seemed to agree to the request at any time. However, for some reason, Ruan Wutao and Ruan Wulang’s anxiety grew even more intense. Although the Emperor was several years younger than them, he was always a man with a great temperament and a strict ruler. Although he had only been on the throne for a few years, he was already very powerful.

At this moment, his tone was as if he was asking about the weather, but it made the two feel cold sweat dripping down their backs. Ruan Wutao hardened his head and replied, “In reply to the Emperor, it is Meng Lengqian, the son of Minister Meng.”

The Emperor chuckled and said, “Oh, so it’s top scholar Meng. Not bad, not bad, a pair of a talented man and a beautiful woman, a good match ah. Both Emperor’s sons-in-law may rise.” There was no sign of anger in the Emperor’s mouth, but both of them felt that he seemed to be irritated to the extreme.

The two men stood with their hands down for a while, but the Emperor stopped talking. As they looked at each other, their hearts were in turmoil, unable to figure out what the Emperor really meant, and they both knelt down again and bowed their heads, saying, “Asking the Emperor’s blessing, long live the Emperor, long live the Emperor!”

Baili Haozhe slowly stood up with his hand down. Long live, long live, long live, can he live so long? Even if he could, he didn’t want to live so long, if he was still alive, it was more painful than death that he lived and missed her for thousands of years and never saw her again. If it wasn’t for Chengxuan, he’d rather go with her.

Over the years, he had a vague feeling that she was still alive. Even though he had seen the servants carry the bodies out of Zhaoyang Hall with his own eyes. He had been reluctant to believe that she had left…

So, he would go to Ruan’s residence from time to time every year to look for some clues. After these years, he was almost desperate, thinking that he was wrong. But he found it, didn’t he?

How could there be two people in the world that were so similar? Even the feeling he embraced in his hands was so fitting, like peas in the pod… That person was named Mu Ningyan. The curves of her body were exactly the same as she was in his memory. Although the fragrance on her body was different. It was a faint jasmine smell before, but now it is a warm and moist ethereal fragrance…

His intuition told him that she was Wushuang, but she didn’t recognize herself—— that was the only thing that made him wonder. Her expression was so real that it was as if she had seen him, the Emperor for the first time. It was so natural that it didn’t look like any disguise at all.

His Imperial edict was only a test. If the Ruan family hadn’t moved, he would have been rather worried about making a mistake. But the eunuch who sent the edict came back and reported that Madam Ruan fainted on the spot. He had a fifty or sixty percent confidence in his heart. By this time the Ruan brothers’ joint request strengthened his conjecture. He was 70% sure that she was Wushuang!

“Both Emperor-in-law who kneel down, just be calm. I have my own opinion,” said him to the two men kneeling. Ruan Wutao and Ruan Wulang looked at each other, they quickly kowtowed, “Thank you for the Emperor’s grace.”

The Ruan brothers lowered their heads and went out of the hall. They felt a little relieved. But the Emperor answered so calmly that he didn’t say yes or no. Nor did they have the opportunity to deliver what they had prepared. They looked back at the brightly lit Chengqian Hall, turned their heads and faced each other. Their hearts were filled with anxiety.

Beneath the breezy trees, a gentle man looked affectionately at the elegant woman before him. “Ningyan, do you want to enter the palace?” The woman slowly raised her eyes, her brows knitted, her cherry blossom-like red lips slightly parted, “Brother Meng, do you think I’m this kind of woman who covets wealth and prestige?”

Meng Lengqian replied anxiously, “Of course I know you’re not such a woman. So, as long as you aren’t willing to enter the palace, I will go and beg the Emperor. Even if I have to kneel long before him, I will ask him to bless us.”

Mu Ningyan smiled bitterly. “If this method works, Ningyan doesn’t have to enter the palace…” The eldest and second cousin had already entered the palace and begged the Emperor. But up to now, the Emperor hadn’t taken back the edict. It seemed that her entry into the palace could no longer be changed.

Meng Lengqian remained silent for a moment, but this was the case. On that day, after the Emperor’s edict, the Ruan brothers went to the Meng’s residence and talked to him. Ruan brothers said that their parents had long been willing to betroth Ningyan to him, but Ningyang wanted to accompany the two old couple in the mansion for a long time. When the Emperor decided to give her a concubine title, they wanted to ask Meng’s father and son for help and explained to the Emperor that although there was not a formal ceremony, both sides had already made a verbal promise. Meng Lengqian naturally agreed. Although Minister Meng thought for a long time, he finally nodded his head and expressed his willingness to help.

The Emperor had not made a single move in the past few days after the Ruan brothers went to  the palace to beg the Emperor. However, early this morning, he summoned Minister Meng into the Chengqian Hall alone. When he returned to his residence, he told his beloved son Meng Lengqian despondently, “I think you’ve to give up your mind. Although the Emperor didn’t say a word to me today, this father had not been an official for nothing. The matter of the Mu family’s girl entering the palace as a concubine is already non-negotiable.”

He then stroked his beard again and sighed lightly. “That Mu family’s girl is already the Emperor’s woman. You must know the degree of seriousness! Don’t be muddled!”

Unexpectedly, before Meng’s father’s voice fell, the Emperor’s edict of marriage came. The Emperor betrothed Lord Anding’s county daughter to him. It might be a marriage that many people envied, but it was not for him.

He received the Imperial edict and stood frozen in the hall. It had never occurred to him that he and Ningyan would miss each other in this lifetime like this.

Mu Ningyan raised her eyes to look at his clear appearance and whispered, “Brother Meng, maybe this is what the Buddhists call fate?” Meng Lengqian said bitterly, “Ningyan, you know, since I first met you, I…” If there was really a will of Heaven, why did Heaven arrange for them to meet, but didn’t give them more time?

Mu Ningyan interrupted him, shook her head and said, “Brother Meng, don’t say anymore…” What’s the point of talking too much now!

Meng Lengqian suddenly grabbed her arm, and said painfully, “Ningyan, Ningyan…” She slowly broke away from his hand, “Brother Meng, don’t do this…”

Suddenly, a chilly, golden voice came over, “What a love affair!” Meng Lengqian’s whole body shook violently, his face as white as paper. His hand let go of her, and he knelt down in shock and kowtowed, “Long live the Emperor.”

Because Ningyan would enter the Palace tomorrow, and he was accused of marriage. He knew that he couldn’t see Ningyan again in the future. He also knew that even if Ningyan hadn’t entered the Palace yet, she was already the Emperor’s woman in name. He shouldn’t and couldn’t see.

Still, he couldn’t control himself and came to the Ruan's residence. But, he never expected that the Emperor would be here. He felt cold and sweaty, frightened and scared. He couldn’t help it.If he died at most, he was afraid it would involve his parents and family. At this time, he had to kowtow desperately.

Mu Ningyan’s heart shook, slowly turned around, only to see him standing under the leafy osmanthus tree. He was wearing a white embroidered dragon plain clothes, with a bright yellow gem belt around his waist. He looked at them coldly, and there was a faint anger in his expression.

She was about to kneel down and salute. Just as she was about to bend down, she saw a white slender hand stretched out. His fingertips were warm as he held her wrist and gently pulled her up. The Emperor’s voice was slightly cold. “You don’t have to salute.” She didn’t need to look at the pebbles on the ground. Although they were round and even, it must be extremely painful to kneel and kowtow.

She had to bend her knees according to Heaven's will. “Thank the Emperor.” The Emperor had a cold face and didn’t speak again. But Meng Lengqian, who was kneeling, still kowtowed. Mu Ningyan knew that they had touched Heaven’s face, but somehow she wasn’t afraid.

She stepped forward and bowed to him again, softly begging, “This woman begs the Emperor to spare Brother Meng. He just came to say good-bye to this woman. Please forgive him for this woman’s sake.”

He had just seen them whispering under a tree, like a picture of a pair of ideal couples, and his heart was already filled with anger. Later, he saw that Meng Lengqian dared to hold her hand, but she let him hold it and didn’t move. Thinking about that day when he hugged her and was actually slapped by her. It was obvious which of the two was more important in her heart, and his heart was even more furious.

At this time, she begged softly for him. He was so angry that he couldn’t see them. He gave them a grim look and turned away, leaving her and Meng Lengqian there.

She froze in place, looking at the Emperor’s direction in a daze. After a moment, she turned around and helped Meng Lengqian up. She apologized and said, “Brother Meng, go back to the residence first.” Meng Lengqian nodded. There seemed to be thousands of words in his eyes, but he also knew that he couldn’t say another word in this life, so he had to whisper, “Ningyan… You… Take care.”

The departing back was sorrowful and sad, and Ningyan silently said in her heart, “Brother Meng, you take care too. See you again some other day!”

She turned slowly, only to see that the Emperor was no longer there. Everything that just happened was like a dream. She bit her lip lightly, followed the cobblestone path, and meandered back to her room.

As she pushed open the door, a white figure appeared in front of her, and the Emperor was surprisingly in her room. This was her bedchamber and never had a third person set foot in it, except for her aunt and Liu Li.

She felt a slight heat on her face and didn’t know how to react. But when she saw that he had turned around and looked at her coldly and slowly asked, “You don’t want to enter the Palace?”

Lifting up her eyes, she saw that he had a deep gaze, as if it was a wave of water from a deep well, and she couldn’t see it clearly. Mu Ningyan took a deep breath, bit her silver teeth and knelt down. “Does the Emperor want to listen to the truth?”

He gazed at her motionlessly and said, “Speak,” She said quietly, “Throughout the ages, how many women have entered the palace of their own free will? Even if the Emperor is wise and young, how many women, how many pairs of eyes, how many hearts are waiting to be shared in the harem? How many can the Emperor share with each one?”

He didn’t answer. Looking at her still maintaining a humble kneeling position. He frowned slightly and said, “Get up and answer.”

“Thank the Emperor,” Then, she rose gracefully.

He raised his eyebrows slightly and said with great interest, “Go on,”
She lowered her eyes and said, “So like other ordinary women in the world, Ningyan only wants to have a lover and live together until death separates us.”

His heart involuntarily slightly pumped, even the body also trembled a little. She wished to have a lover and live together until death separates them. His hands tightened and blurted out. “Is Meng Lengqian the lover you want?” There was an imperceptible coldness in his tone.

Mu Ningyan also looked up at him, her eyes were like a wave. As if a star was falling in the sky, but there was no fear in it, “Brother Meng can be or not be, it’s another matter. As for whether the Emperor is Ningyan’s lover or not, Ningyan knows. The Emperor will never be Ningyan’s lover in this life.” Although the words were soft and gentle, her tone was firm.

He gazed at her and examined her for a long time. The expression on his face was dark and unknown, slowly saying a few words, “Why?”

Mu Ningyan smiled lightly, sighed helplessly in a million ways, and said, “The Emperor gave an edict for Ningyan to enter the palace, only… only because of this face of Ningyan.”

Her voice slowly lightened as she said quietly, “Emperor, cousin Wushuang has already gone. Why don’t you let her go and make yourself happier?”

Hearing this, his face changed. He reached out and squeezed her shoulder, looking deeply into her. As if he wanted to look into the very bottom of her heart. “Do you know if I'm happy or not?”

His hand was so strong that his fingertips almost pinched her flesh. She frowned as the pain came to her shoulder. She looked at him, sighed softly, and whispered, “Then, is the Emperor happy?”

He was not happy, he was not happy, he was not happy in this life without her. His hand loosened slightly and stared at her in daze. Only after a long time, he whispered, “Do you really no longer remember me?”

His breath was warm and moist, with his unique ambergris lingering on the tip of her nose. His eyes were as deep as water, with hope, pain, anxiety and hidden expectation. So many things were coming at her that she felt that she was almost swallowed up.

She lowered her head and said faintly, with a hint of hopelessness, “Emperor, why do you need to try again and again? This woman is really not cousin Wushuang.”

Her eyes were black and white without any impurities. Baili Haozhe looked at her, his deep gaze of expectation was still limitless. A smile came out of the corner of his mouth, dangerous but as if with a few hints of deadly temptation. “If there is a way for you to prove whether you are Wushuang or not, are you willing?”

The air in the room seemed to freeze as he watched her reaction without moving. She looked at him in bewilderment and stood still for a long time.

He felt his heart beat fast and his palms were damp. Suddenly she smiled, as if peonies were in full bloom on a spring day.

Her eyes moved slightly and seemed to say casually. “Will the Emperor withdraw the edict that allowed Ningyan to enter the palace if it is proven that I am not cousin Wushuang?”

He took a deep breath and said, “This will only be known after it is proven. But only if you are willing or unwilling?” 

Mu Ningyan smiled lightly, “Naturally Ningyan is willing. But before that, can the Emperor promise Ningyan one thing?” 

He raised his eyebrows and asked, “What is it?”

She bent her body and bowed, saying, “Asking the Emperor to forgive brother Meng’s sin.”

His face darkened. “What is his sin?” She bit her lip, but said nothing. He looked at her, his brow furrowed tighter and tighter. For a while, she still refused to speak.

He was a little annoyed and nodded reluctantly. “Forget it, I’ll take your word for it.” Suddenly, he reached out and seized her slender waist, clasped her in his arms and whispered in her ear. “I’ll prove that you are Wushuang.”

She was surprised and struggling to say, “Emperor…” He smiled slightly at her. His look had always been dignified. At this time, his smile was melting, and his handsome facial features became more and more outstanding. She only felt that her breath was tight, and her heart thumped, so she struggled harder.

“Don’t move,” Baili Haozhe whispered. There was a light cloud-like fragrance in her sleeves, which smelled good. He carried her through the curtain and lifted a step into her bedchamber and placed her on the brocade couch. She was still as light as a feather.

Her hands unconsciously clenched into fists under her sleeves, and her voice trembled, “Emperor, this woman is really not cousin Wushuang. Emperor, please spare this woman…”

He stared at her, sighed and said softly, “Why don’t you use jasmine incense?”

She didn’t understand why he asked, but she still replied, “Tell the Emperor, this woman hasn't liked the jasmine scent since childhood.” He paused for a while, probably lost in thought. Only after a long time did he look at her and said warmly, “Then you certainly can’t play chess, right?”

She looked at him with some surprise. His eyes were so clear. She nodded slightly. “Yes, this woman can’t play chess.”

Hearing this, he actually smiled leisurely and leaned down his body. He enlarged and closer in front of her. His gaze shining like starlight but with a few dangerous breaths, as if he was in the pavilion that day.

She was flustered to the point of panic, stopped looking, and quivered. “Emperor…” He paused for a moment, looking at her slightly as if admiring her. She had no time to care, as her heart had been so chaotic and was out of rhythm.

It wasn’t until her feet were cold that she reacted that he had taken off her shoes. She felt her whole body burning, her face and neck burning like in the stove. She just wanted to tuck her feet back into her skirt. He had mastered the delicate and greasy touch with one hand, just like in those days. It was slender and small, smooth and fair skin, soft as if there were no bones. It seemed that it was finely carved from the Hetian white jade, making people love it.

He didn’t seem to move anymore. Although she couldn’t see it, she knew that his gaze was burning on her feet. There was even a warm breath wrapped around it. Her breath seemed to be choked. She only felt the sweet and ambiguous breath in the room.

Suddenly, he let her go and got up. She didn’t seem to react yet. She laid in her bed blankly and listened to his footsteps slowly go away. After a while, she sat up in a daze, staring at the curtains and quietly distracted.

She had no red mole on the soles of her feet, Was she really not Wushuang? No, it couldn’t be. If she wasn’t Wushuang, how could she give him the illusion that she was Wushuang? Even if the fragrance on her body changed and her performance naturally reached the extreme, he just thought she was Wushuang. His body would remember her, and only Wushuang had the ability to do it. During her absence, he didn’t even visit anyone in the harem. Because they weren’t her, so he wouldn’t have the desire to become one and love dearly to the bone marrow with the other.

He sat down slowly in the dragon chair. While tapping his both hands, someone leaped in from the window. “Emperor, what’s your command?” He asked. 

“How’s the investigation going in Xinzhou?” The man kneeled and reported, “According to the report from Xinzhou, Young Miss Mu family was indeed picked up by Ruan family more than a year ago and returned to the capital. This slave also secretly took a portrait and checked several servants of Mu family, but there’s no clue yet.”

He knew that if there was something fishy in the middle, it would have been covered up all these years. He gently waved his hand. “Look again!” 

The man answered, “Yes.” He leaped into the darkness again.

When Shi Quanyi saw the Emperor returning from Ruan’s residence. He looked very cautious. He had followed the Emperor for many years, so he knew that the Emperor was in a bad mood and didn’t dare to disturb. He followed the Emperor through half of the imperial garden and stopped in front of the Crown Prince’s study.

It was the Crown Prince’s reading time. The voice of Crown Prince’s tutor Sun and the Crown Prince came from time to time. The Emperor stopped under the window and listened. The corners of his lips rose slightly. It was obvious that his mood had improved.

“How is Fengyi Hall?”

Shi Quanyi hurriedly said, “Emperor, everything has been arranged according to the Emperor’s order. It had been arranged according to the original furnishings of the Prince’s Mansion.”

The Emperor gave a soft ‘En’ and stood in a daze for a long time without moving.

After a long time, he asked casually, “Are there really such similar people in the world?” Shi Quanyi naturally knew that the Emperor was referring to the resemblance of the late Empress Ruan and Concubine Ning’s appearance. But, judging from the Emperor’s intentions, he himself was almost certain.

The Emperor’s voice drifted in, almost inaudible, “No, it’s impossible. There would neve be two people under Heaven that resemble each other like this.”

After a while of idling around, the Emperor waved his hand and said, “Let’s go to Zhaoyang Hall.” That year, after Zhaoyang Hall was burned, the main hall was razed by fire. The Emperor stood inside the imperial garden and watched the fire fade away until it was put out. However, the Empress… who was known for her virtuousness, died in that fire…

The Emperor was so sad that he didn’t go to court for half a year. It was only then that even Shi Quanyi learned that the Emperor had a deep affection for the Empress. During that time, the Emperor was as possessed as a devil. He didn’t eat, drink or sleep. If the little prince hadn’t been seriously ill at that time and pulled the Emperor’s mind out of his sorrow, the consequences would be unimaginable…

On that day, Shi Quanyi was shocked when he saw concubine Ning in Ruan’s residence. There were many wonders in the world. But it was rare for two people to resemble each other, even if they were born from one mother. The Emperor refused to believe it. Even him thought there might be something fishy in it.

But sometimes when he thought about it, it was impossible. Even if the Empress had not died in the fire, how could she have escaped from the palace? This was simply impossible.

Countless thoughts came and went. In a flash, the towering and solemn Zhaoyang Hall appeared before them. The Emperor waved his hand to stop the imperial carriage. Paced slowly into the courtyard, sometimes stopping and sometimes looking up.

Zhaoyang Hall had always been the sleeping chamber of the Empress of the Baili Dynasty. After the fire burned down the hall, this place couldn’t be left in ruins forever. The following year, several ministers in the court wrote a memorial and asked the Emperor to rebuild. The Emperor had given his permission. It had been basically completed recently.


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1 comment:

  1. Oh my, can't wait to see her meeting with the little crown prince and how they gonna proceed from here!


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