Because Qi Jin Yu’s injuries were too heavy, Zhou Yun Sheng sent him directly to the palace’s medical courtyard for treatment after he returned to the capital. When the Empress Dowager heard of her son’s imminent return, she quickly told all the imperial physicians in the medical courtyard to call her. Seeing her son’s horrific condition, she almost fainted to death. This, this was her matchlessly handsome, graceful son? How did he become an evil spirit? Is this a mistake?
“Mother Empress, it’s me ah Mother Empress!” Qi Jin Yu struggled off the bed and clung to the Empress Dowager’s legs, crying bitterly. They said real men don’t cry easily, only because they’ve never been deeply hurt. Currently, his looks were ruined, his fingers were hacked, and he even had a reputation of being incompetent. With the equivalent of having nothing, what could he use to fight Qi Yi Ning? On the journey back, his servants constantly gushed about Qi Yi Ning ordering the Heavens to send down rain, simply worshiping him like a god. Even worse, Luo Zhen and the other officials’ reverence for Qi Yi Ning had already become bone marrow deep. Forget about lobbying to bring them into his camp, even if he held a knife to their necks, they wouldn’t dare switch over.
The story of the rain miracle quickly spread from the Southwest to across the nation, in this world where imperial power reigned supreme, if the monarch was enveloped by a “Ordained from Heaven” halo, the people’s devotion to the monarch would reach a height modern man couldn’t even imagine. Currently, many temples dedicated to the Emperor were popping up in one place after another, and the people burning incense in front of the temples were multiplying. There were even different versions of the story, the legend of how the Emperor descended to the world to experience mortal life spread like wildfire, describing him as a wonder.
In these kinds of circumstances, forget about the handicapped Qi Jin Yu, even if he was still physically whole, he wouldn’t stand a chance at threatening Zhou Yun Sheng’s throne. Thinking of this, deep sorrow boiled up from within, and he couldn’t stop himself from weeping.
The Empress Dowager didn’t recognize this twisted face, but could recognize her son’s voice, after her shocked collapse to the ground, she hugged him and wept. After crying until her tear ducts dried up, she began asking about how his injuries were made. After listening to her son’s re-telling, she noticed the inconsistencies, and wisely asserted, “What kind of bandits are these? They were definitely assassins sent by Qi Yi Ning, otherwise, how could even the Zhenbei General’s shadow guards be unable to stop them? His mind is so vicious, even after snatching away your throne, he still wants your life. If I’d known this would happen, I would’ve sent him and that slut to hell a long time ago.”
“Mother Empress, what’s the use of saying these things now? Think about this another time.” Qi Jin Yu wiped his tears and moved to sit on the couch with the Empress Dowager’s support, then he leaned close to her ear and whispered, “Mother Empress, think of a way to have him set up Cheng-er as Crown Prince, once Cheng-er is slightly older, your son will still have a chance … …”
After listening to her son explain the details of the plan, the Empress Dowager sighed, “At first, I was annoyed that you refused to give up on that slut Zhao Bi Xuan, but looking at our current circumstances, we actually have no choice but to rely on her to stand back up….Never mind, I’ll properly advise her, if she doesn’t agree, I have ways to make her regret it.”
Qi Jin Yu thanked her, then went back to the bed to rest in peace of mind.
When Zhou Yun Sheng returned to the palace, he immediately had the fostered outside Second Prince brought back. During this three month long journey, the Empress Dowager repeatedly sent people to pick up the Second Prince, but he’d already arranged servants to obstruct her, only saying that the Second Prince had chicken pox, and was not fit to be brought out, for fear of infecting the Empress Dowager. Empress Dowager saw many imperial physicians walking in and out of Feng Yi Palace every day, and after inquiring a little, she believed it. Seeing several imperial physicians walking into the side chamber, sitting for a short time, then leaving, Zhao Bi Xuan actually didn’t find this odd, she was too distracted worrying about Qi Jin Yu’s safety, and occasionally pausing to wonder where her son was taken.
The more her head maid thought, the more convinced she was that the Emperor already knew the truth, and her heart started trembling in apprehension. She knew that Zhao Bi Xuan was beyond hope. The reason she was able to regain favor the first time, was not by using her wit, but by using her devastating beauty. The Emperor protected her very well, so she never got to experience the harem conflicts, to the point that she had nothing in her brain except for lover affairs and bedroom bitterness, she couldn’t calculate in the slightest.
The Emperor’s performance was so obvious, but she still returned to her old ways, sooner or later, she would drag the hundreds of servants in Feng Yi Palace to their deaths. The head maid repeatedly, overtly and covertly, hinted these things to her many times, but Zhao Bi Xuan only nodded absent-mindedly, then asked, red eyed, “When will Jin Yu come back?”
Over time, the head maid became desperate. She had a widowed elderly mother and a younger brother living outside the palace, they relied on her monthly salary to survive, what would happen to her family if she died? At this thought, she went through all her connections, and finally left Feng Yi Palace before the Emperor returned. Being a clothes washer was much lower ranked than a palace maid, and the aches were hard to bear, but at least she’d survive. Other maids and attendants were of the same mind, using their connections to seek asylum with new masters. The Feng Yi Palace guards just needed to detain Hui Yi Imperial Consort, if others wanted to leave, they wouldn’t question it.
Therefore, by the time the Second Prince was returned, only twenty palace maids and chamberlains remained in the huge Feng Yi Palace. Zhao Bi Xuan, accustomed to having more than 100 people at her beck and call if she went out for a causal stroll, could no longer afford to keep up her Imperial Consort airs. She gradually started panicking, waking up from nightmares almost every night, dreaming about Qi Jin Yu dying, or her son vanishing, but also dreaming about receiving three feet of white silk and poisoned wine.
“My son, you finally came back! Mama missed you!” She hugged the returned Second Prince, tears overflowing, then she looked to the distant palace door, thinking that the Emperor was following behind the chamberlain that delivered the child. However, the palace door remained undisturbed, and when the chamberlain departed, the guards once again locked the palace door.
Even though Zhao Bi Xuan was stupid, she could also faintly sense that disaster was approaching. She was raised in her boudoir, was short-sighted, and as a concubine’s child, she never received the education given to true daughters. Except for her face, she really had nothing worth seeing. She wanted to understand why the Emperor took the Second Prince away, but she didn’t dare think too deeply, wholeheartedly believing that as long as she apologized to the Emperor, and thoroughly served him in the future, he would once again pamper her.
She was never this anxious to see the Emperor like this before, as if he was her last hope to prevent her from drowning in the palace. However, she also couldn’t fit in Qi Jin Yu, and could only hope that he understood her difficulties.
Hoping fervently for a few days, Zhao Bi Xuan was finally summoned by the Emperor. She hurriedly put on her most beautiful set of palace garments, and sat in front of the bronze mirror to polish her makeup, carefully tracing. Slicking up her fluffy hair, she inserted the hair ornaments, after she was very satisfied with her unparalleled looks, she straightened her back and stepped across the previously blocked off palace gateway.
“Imperial Consort here to pay respects to the Emperor, Your Majesty … …”
She gracefully kneeled to proclaim her greeting, but before she could finish, the Emperor just walked straight passed her. Forget about conveying how much he missed her after a long separation, he didn’t even look at her. She quickly recovered from her daze and rushed to keep pace with him, staring at his back, tears blurring her eyes. If it was the past, how could this man walk ahead by himself, abandoning her? He used to hold her hand and lead her, flattering her lovingly while paying attention to every place she stepped. He always wanted to walk shoulder to shoulder with her, putting her in an equal position, rather than now, having her humbly watch his back.
Zhao Bi Xuan brooded for a moment before she noticed that the path they were walking was very familiar, and her heart suddenly sped up.
“Your Majesty, where are we going?” She bit the bullet and asked.
“Ci Ning Palace, to pay respects to the Empress Dowager, and to take a look at Younger Imperial Brother’s condition while we’re there. Imperial Brother’s injury has healed quite a bit, he’ll be able to leave the palace today, so you and I will go see him off.”
Zhao Bi Xuan softly acknowledged him, barely suppressing her excitement. Because she was under house arrest in Feng Yi Palace, and all her keen confidants had disappeared, she was now practically blind. She only knew that the Gong Prince was recovering from injury in the Empress Dowager’s palace, but didn’t know how much he was hurt.
Zhou Yun Sheng glanced back at her, his mouth hooking into a slight sneer.
The person Qi Jin Yu most didn’t want to see now was Zhao Bi Xuan. When he heard that the Second Prince had chicken pox, and she was currently locked up in Feng Yi Palace caring for him, his heart was relieved, and he asked the Empress Dowager to only tell her his plan after he left. But unfortunately, Zhao Bi Xuan came on the day he happened to be leaving, and she even ran into him as soon as she opened the door. Zhao Bi Xuan was not prepared in the least, suddenly, a distorted and revolting face appeared in front of her, she screamed in fright, “Aaaahhh, there’s a ghost!”
Dust rained down from the roof beam, disturbed by her voice.
After her scream, Ci Ning palace remained in complete silence. The Empress Dowager was resenting that she couldn’t tear this slut’s cheap mouth out, and Qi Jin Yu’s already extremely fragile heart began hemorrhaging blood.
“Why are you shouting, this is my Imperial Brother.” Zhou Yun Sheng impatiently pushed Zhao Bi Xuan away, who was hiding behind him.
“Impossible!” Zhao Bi Xuan sharply refuted. Where was this evil apparition her matchlessly handsome sweetheart, how were they similar? But before her voice faded, she finally noticed that this person was wearing the prince’s court dress, and half his face was slightly normal. Her cheeks flushed, her breath shortened, and she began to faintly feel that something extremely terrible must’ve happened these past three months, and those things would subvert her whole life.
“Imperial Brother was wounded this way by bandits, but a few scars on a man’s face doesn’t matter, don’t be so frightened in the future.” Zhou Yun Sheng flicked his sleeve and coldly reproved.
Zhao Bi Xuan nodded stiffly, her line of sight barely touching her sweetheart’s ghost-like, unpleasant face, before darting away in a panic. She couldn’t accept her sweetheart’s new face, it was dreadful.
How could Qi Jin Yu not perceive her conflict? His heart filling with extremely repressed pain, he smiled calmly at them, cupped his hands, and took his leave. Zhou Yun Sheng intended to walk him to the palace gate before returning to deal with governmental affairs. The Empress Dowager took this opportunity to ask for Zhao Bi Xuan to stay behind, saying she felt dejected, and wanted Hui Yi Imperial Consort to accompany her.
Zhou Yun Sheng just smiled, pretending not to notice. This mother and son’s little plan, he didn’t even need to use his brain to guess it, it was nothing more than a last resort honey trap. Have Zhao Bi Xuan bewitch him to establish the Second Prince as Crown Prince, then slowly poison him, so he’ll die after the Second Prince grew up a bit, and Qi Jin Yu could act as regent. This way, he could indirectly achieve his dream of ruling over millions of people. These “lovers” were really very interesting, the man orders the woman to sleep with other men, and the woman doesn’t dare glance at the man after seeing his ruined face. If this was the world consciousness’ idea of a soul-stirring love, then he could only snicker.
As long as Zhao Bi Xuan closed her eyes, her mind would conjure up the image of Qi Jin Yu’s twisted face, frightening her. She unconsciously used the Emperor’s peerless face to push out Qi Jin Yu’s, her fear quickly becoming admiration. As if a blindfold was suddenly dropped from her eyes, she felt shaken, realizing that the Emperor she has been resenting for so long was the world’s most excellent man. The love she scoffed at and threw away like an old shoe, was probably what most women in the world yearned for in their dreams.
She sat beside the Empress Dowager, the hand gripping her embroidered handkerchief constantly trembling, afraid that she had come to her senses too late, that she might no longer be able to regain the Emperor’s love. But the Empress Dowager’s next words shattered her wild ideas of starting over again.
“Take this, pour some into the Emperor’s meal every day.” Like Zhao Bi Xuan, the Empress Dowager was also blindfolded, and actually didn’t notice the signs that Hui Yi Imperial Consort had fallen out of favor.
“What is this?” Zhao Bi Xuan’s eyes were filling with fear.
“This is ‘Deng Xian‘.” The Empress Dowager didn’t explain more, but Zhao Bi Xuan understood that this was poison. What kind of poison was Deng Xian, it could only mean going to the Yellow Springs.
“No, I can’t…” She shook her hands in refusal. After her sweetheart’s face was destroyed, her head instantly cleared up, she realized that he never had a chance of taking the throne, and all her glory and wealth, was now all tied to the Emperor. If the Emperor was in good health, she could have a good life.
“You don’t want to? Have you forgotten how you knelt at my feet, crying and shouting that in this life, you’ll only ever love Jin Yu? You sure changed your mind quickly, as expected of a heartless whore…..” The Empress Dowager leaned back into the couch and sighed, then gave a neurotic smile after a moment, “But you’re not allowed to forget this, whose blood is running through the Second Prince’s veins. Tell me, if Qi Yi Ning found out, would he spare you? Anyway, your body is so filthy it can never be cleansed, why not add a bit more dirt?”
Her biggest weakness pinched in the other person’s hand, Zhao Bi Xuan had no room for resistance, she pushed down her tears and agreed to the Empress Dowager’s request, her heart filling with extreme remorse. If she’d endured the loneliness of the Cold Palace at that time, if she’d realized who was really worthy of her love sooner, how would she be reduced to such a hopeless situation? The Emperor was always good to her, and now that she thought about it, his love had surpassed Qi Jin Yu’s hundreds of thousands of times.
Qi Jin Yu received a great blow from Zhao Bi Xuan, after returning home, he didn’t want to meet with the princess. But the princess had outstanding martial arts, and a domineering character, even though five guards came out to intercept her, they were unable to get up after receiving her kick. She pushed open the door and saw Qi Jin Yu’s face, her pupils flashed for a moment before returning to normal, then she unexpectedly smiled.
“Were you injured over here?” She pulled Qi Jin Yu’s hand away from covering his face and asked, grinning.
Qi Jin Yu saw where she was pointing and immediately understood her meaning, he shook his head, utterly discomforted, “Of course not!”
“Good, excellent.” Qian Fangfei patted him and smiled.
She grew up in the barracks and saw numerous disabled soldiers, she naturally wouldn’t be scared of Qi Jin Yu’s face. And her life experience was very special, as a result, her character was very eccentric.
When Qian Tong’s Qiu Ming Mountain camp was besieged by the northern tribe’s army, their rations and fodder were cut off. Seeing the soldiers rapidly starving to death, and completely losing their fighting spirit, Qian Tong chopped up all his concubines and their children to feed the hungry soldiers, but afraid that it wouldn’t be enough, he also wanted to slaughter a few of the first wife’s children. At that time, Lady Qian knelt on the ground and begged, but only managed to protect the two older sons, Qian Fangfei was abandoned. She was locked inside a sheep’s pen, a soldier slowly sharpening a cleaver beside her, grinding away while staring at her with a starved look.
She was so frightened, she let out a piercing cry, and kept shouting for her father and mother, but her family didn’t come, instead, a military adviser came forward. He told her that since she was the first wife’s daughter, if she was also killed to feed the soldiers, the people would denounce the General as cold-blooded and ruthless, lacking humanity. So she was taken out, and her mother hugged her, incessantly calling out ‘my poor child’. Within her mother’s warm embrace, Qian Fangfei’s heart gradually grew colder than iron. She wasn’t grateful to the military adviser, because he’d only saved her to protect Qian Tong’s reputation, if she didn’t have her status as the first wife’s daughter, she would now be a pile of ground meat in the pot.
When Qian Tong decided to send the first wife’s sons and daughters off to the capital, her two older brothers were anxious, but she was ecstatic. She believed that she had to live her life well, and never marry a man that would only treat her as a tool or a decoration. Her husband must treat her well, otherwise, she would pull him with her into hell. When she received the marriage imperial edict, she was actually very dissatisfied, but Qi Jin Yu lived cleanly and honestly, and was very affectionate, so she saw hope. Her only worry was, with his noble identity and handsomeness, what would she do if he someday wanted to take a concubine? If it was an ordinary person, she could crush them, but the imperial household was not so easy to take care of.
But Qi Jin Yu was now disfigured, apart from her, who else in the world could accept him? Because of this, when she saw the hideous, evil spirit-like Qi Jin Yu, she not only didn’t feel nauseated, she cherished him more than ever.
“Jin Yu, men balance the forces between heaven and earth, relying on true talent and hard work, rather than an attractive face. Don’t be discouraged, we’ll still get along like before.” She hugged her husband, kissing his grim scar, her eyes twinkling happily.
Before, she was worried he’d take in a concubine, so she didn’t want to get pregnant, just waiting to see if she could train him, or determine that he couldn’t be changed. In short, she doesn’t want to have children too quickly. But now was different, Qi Jin Yu was now hers alone, she would love being gifted with a child.
The princess’s attitude made Qi Jin Yu feel much better, and he hugged her back tenderly. Currently, he desperately needed the Zhenbei General’s support, so he naturally treated Qian Fangfei better than before. Both husband and wife were thinking about each other, very harmonious.
Contrary to the calm Gong Qin Mansion, the imperial palace was not so cal. The Empress Dowager had united several courtiers and proposed that it was time to set up an heir to the throne. Although Qi Yi Ning was still very young, he himself had previously suggested such a thing, so putting it forward now was perhaps playing into his own heart’s desires.
“Ok, I’ll immediately send down an imperial decree to have the First Prince canonized as Crown Prince.”
The Emperor’s reply almost made the Empress Dowager faint, her lips trembling, she asked, “Didn’t you always have your heart set on the Second Prince?” How could you suddenly change it!
“Since ancient times, the Crown Prince has always been chosen this way, it’s always the first wife’s child and the eldest. I only have two sons, and the Second Prince is not the first wife’s child or the eldest, how can I make him heir?”
The Empress Dowager had nothing to say. She really regretted stopping him from canonizing Zhao Bi Xuan so long ago, if she hadn’t, the Second Prince would now be a legitimate son of the first wife. But she constantly exposed how much she disliked Zhao Bi Xuan, she couldn’t suddenly advise the Emperor to change his mind. The matter had reached a dead end, in order to stop the First Prince from winning so easily, she could only have the courtiers propose a temporary hold, then try every means possible to kill the First Prince.
But Zhou Yun Sheng was one step ahead, and had already sent the First Prince to Qian Qing Palace to be trained. Although he didn’t have the Crown Prince title, he was already a true Crown Prince. Currently, in the imperial court, except for the officials whose lifelines were seized by the Empress Dowager, the other officials only followed the Emperor. Even more, Luo Zhen and the others regarded him as a god, they revered him, whichever heir he selected would be seen as the best.
The First Prince’s imperial concubine mother, Su Jie Yu’s, status in the palace instantly transcended. She granted interviews to many palace concubines every day, her future scenery infinite.
Zhao Bi Xuan never knew that the taste of jealousy was so unbearable. She thought that the Emperor was merely vexed with her, and after she apologized, he would return to normal, but reality and her imagination were completely different. She personally prepared three dishes and one soup, sprinkled a little poison powder, and once again sent her chamberlain to Qian Qing Palace to invite the man over.
The chamberlain didn’t even get to touch the palace’s door before being driven away, while kneeling down to report what happened, he really wanted to plainly tell Hui Yi Imperial Consort: Lady, you’ve already fallen out of favor, better forget it, don’t cause trouble.
Zhao Bi Xuan was silent for a moment, then she stood up and put the dishes into a food box, stroking her perfectly styled hair as she said, “The Emperor must be very busy with governmental affairs, I better personally deliver this to the palace.” But when she reached Qian Qing Palace’s gate, she was also stopped by the guards.
“Go deliver a word to the palace, His Majesty will certainly met with me.” Zhao Bi Xuan barely maintained her beloved Imperial Consort pride.
The guards were indifferent, standing in place like statues, but they also extended out their spares to block the road. Zhao Bi Xuan clenched her teeth and tried to bypass them, but was again pushed back by the spares. She heard a soft crackling sound, the food box’s handle had inexplicably broke, and the soup had poured out.
Zhao Bi Xuan exclaimed and shuffled away, not noticing the large soybean sized stone slowly rolling to her feet.
“Greetings Duke Yu Guo.” The guards saw a man walk up and promptly half kneeled, then they moved aside to let him enter.
Zhao Xuan nodded slightly, and didn’t even glance at Zhao Bi Xuan, walking straight ahead. When he reached the spilled soup, his expression suddenly darkened, cold killing intent emerging from the depths of his pupils.
“Big Brother, help me pass a word … …” Zhao Bi Xuan tried to tug his sleeve, but was jolted by the internal force he was expanding, he coldly ordered, “Drag her away!” While she was being driven away, bawling, he pointed to the dirtied ground and ordered, “Here where it spilled, no one is allowed to clean it up, wait until I return from meeting the Emperor to take care of it.”
To be able to become imperial front guards- one, you have to be able to speak with your eyes; two, you must have an acute sense of urgency, the guards immediately sensed the mystery behind Duke Yu Gou’s words and solemnly promised.
Zhao Xuan had eyes and ears everywhere, he naturally knew that Zhao Bi Xuan had already fallen out of favor. The Emperor really had kept himself chaste for him, so he was very satisfied. Feeling contented, he’d planned to leave Zhao Bi Xuan her life, but he didn’t expect her to insist on slamming herself into the knife’s edge. He could secretly kill her, but he wanted to completely remove her from the Emperor’s heart even more.
It was time for that man to know just how vicious and loose his former beloved woman really was.
Deng Xian – Become Immortal