In order to ensure Qi Jin Yu’s safety, Zhao Bi Xuan not only tried to persuade Zhou Yun Sheng to send him a few capable ministers and guards, she also secretly sent a messenger to deliver a letter to Yu Guo Duchy, entreating Zhao Xuan for help, saying that for the sake of their childhood friendship, he should lend a few of the elite troops he brought back from the Northwest to Qi Jin Yu.
When they’d opened the city gates for them, the Northwest Army, covered in blood and surrounded by a dangerous atmosphere, had almost scared the common people who’d come out to welcome them to death. In the past, it’s not that the Da Qi army has never had a victory, it’s just that after victory, the capital would often be very lively, anticipating the troops’ triumphant return the imperial court, the people would cheer and applause, wishing they could push the people in front of them aside to get a better view of the soldiers. The girls would hide in the restaurants along the streets, tossing flowers, fruits, and other objects to the troops, a few bold ones would even throw their brocade purses and embroidered handkerchiefs at the Generals ridding upfront, hoping they would glance over at them. However, the return of Zhao Xuan’s army was a special case, as soon as the city gates opened, the officers in charge of defending the walls almost stumbled at the strong smell of blood. It was not just their bodies that were stained, it was as if the bloody smell was attached to their souls, only soldiers experienced in numerous massacres and soaked in the blood of countless people could have such a bitingly cold aura.
The citizens’ anticipatory cheers gradually faded, the girls hiding in the restaurants hurriedly pulled closed the bamboo curtains, scared white. After that day, Zhao Xuan’s army gained a nickname – Tiger Wolf Army, because whether it was him, or the soldiers under his command, they gave off the genuine feeling of fierce tigers and hungry wolves. Don’t say the Northwest’s barbarian tribes were not his opponents, even if the three other major armies worked together, they couldn’t even pose a small threat to the Northwest Army.
The Emperor didn’t dare move against Zhao Xuan, because he was afraid of the Northwest Army’s power. Zhao Bi Xuan was well aware of her older brother’s ability, before, she relied on the favor he owed her to use him without worry, until she needed to beseech him, and became aware that she was over stepping her boundaries. She was an inner palace woman, and the Emperor’s beloved woman, she naturally shouldn’t have access to Zhao Xuan, but her sweetheart still needed his help.
Zhao Bi Xuan’s heart was filling with regret when she realized, she was the Emperor’s most beloved woman, whether it was the Wen Yuan March or the Yu Gou Duchy, their futures were in the palm of her hand. So, she was Zhao Xuan’s biggest benefactor, she shouldn’t be afraid of offending Zhao Xuan, Zhao Xuan should fear offending her. Zhao Bi Xuan’s increasing arrogance spread from the depths of her heart to her beautiful face, picking out the most beautiful camellia from the bouquet arranged on the table with her long nail guards, she gave a self-satisfied smile.
“Consider my childhood friendship with Qi Jin Yu? Qi Jin Yu’s a prince, he grew up in the palace, what kind of friendship do we have? What does it matter to me if he lives or dies? Did your Lady take leave of her senses? What I want to ask her is- she’s just an inner palace woman, why does she care so much about Qi Jin Yu? Could this be a case of adultery? Being a promiscuous palace woman is a major crime, go back and report to your Lady, if she continues to behave so frivolously, be careful of being granted poisoned wine or three feet of white silk, her death will not be an easy one.” Zhao Xuan lift up a brush and wrote down his response on paper, his expression was extremely gentle, but his words were knife sharp.
The chamberlain Zhao Bi Xuan sent nodded, deeply terrified. In fact, he had always been very confused by Hui Yi Imperial Consort’s actions, she was clearly already the Emperor’s most beloved woman, in all of Da Qi, only the Empress Dowager could suppress her, and as soon as the Empress Dowager passes on, she would become the country’s highest ranked woman in name and in reality. After she gave birth, the Emperor suggested setting the child up as heir to the throne when he was barely two months old, this kind of pampering to a favored concubine was unprecedented. Hui Yi Imperial Consort just has to casually mention it, and the Emperor will give her all the treasures in the world, how can she be dissatisfied? Why is she involving herself with the Gong Prince?
The Emperor was so wise, if he one day found out about the two’s adultery, Feng Yi Palace would flow with a river of blood. The chamberlain was alarmed by his own imagination, faced with Duke Yu Gou’s powerful momentum, he quickly left with his tail tucked in between his legs. When he returned to the palace, he relayed the Grand General’s words to the imperial consort.
Zhao Bi Xuan never imagined that Zhao Xuan would refute her in such a way, her internal organs filled with anger, there was no place that didn’t burn.
“Fine, if he doesn’t want to help, the palace will have nothing to do with Yu Guo Duchy from now on.” Zhao Bi Xuan lifted the hair off her temples with her pure gold nail guards, her tone lofty. So what if they didn’t have Zhao Xuan’s help, it’s enough that the Emperor received her orders, he’ll be sure to send a few effective assistants to her sweetheart, and with Luo Zhen requesting to follow, the Southwest’s situation was already stabilized by half.
The next day, after the Emperor attended imperial court, Zhao Bi Xuan sent her servant to the throne room to inquire about the results. Fully convinced that Qi Jin Yu got the help he needed, she didn’t expect reality to be contrary to her estimations.
“What did you say? He only sent Wu Yong, Liu Ping, and Qi Fan? No other people?” She repeatedly questioned the chamberlain.
The chamberlain shook his head, his face red and white. Those three masters could be considered quite famous in the imperial court, they took office in his ancestor’s generation, experienced the previous Emperor’s four king riot, and also experienced the current Emperor’s battle to hold the throne, surviving intact through every change in regime. However, the reason they survived was not because of outstanding talent, but because they were too mediocre, whenever they met an inconvenient problem, they did their best to shirk it off, over time, they received the nickname “the three don’t do’s”. They’ve been serving in the imperial court for a few decades, but have only climbed up two ranks. In the imperial court, they had the highest seniority, but they never did any work.
What’s the use of letting these three follow Qi Jin Yu? Why didn’t the Emperor listen to me? Zhao Bi Xuan felt very wronged, and immediately sent her servant to intercept the Emperor.
“You called for me?” Zhou Yun Sheng no longer needed to feign infatuation. When he entered Feng Yi Palace, he didn’t even glance at Zhao Bi Xuan, who was kneeling at the doorway, he walked straight into the inner hall and bluntly sat on the couch, waving to the palace maids to bring out tea.
Zhao Bi Xuan was still kneeling at the palace doorway, remaining in that position for a while before standing up in a daze. She thought the Emperor would rush over to help her up, as he usually did in the past, she hadn’t expected him to not even give her a corner of his eye. She composed herself, then walked over to sit down on the edge of the couch, fighting back nausea and resentment, she threw herself into the Emperor’s arms.
“Ugh, stay away from me, I can’t stand that smell.” Zhou Yun Sheng shook his sleeves, disgusted. This woman was very fond of incense, inner garments to outer garments, brocade purse to embroidered handkerchief, gauze stockings to embroidered shoes, every article of clothing must be fumigated in perfume before worn. She probably thought a subtle fragrant breeze would blow every time she walked by, capturing the hearts of men, but in reality, those men were only swooning because her strong perfume made them dizzy. Zhou Yun Sheng worked hard to endure it throughout the last life, in this life, he endured it for a year, everyday wishing he could strip off her clothes and peel off her skin, then throw them into a pool of sulfuric acid for cleansing.
Zhao Bi Xuan was brushed away by his flick and tumbled off the couch, her knee hit the footrest and immediately started bleeding. The blood penetrated her light dress fabric and stained it, quite shocking. If it was the past, not to mention a bleeding injury, if a hair on her head was out of place, the Emperor would feel extremely distressed, how could he personally hurt her? Zhao Bi Xuan looked up, but the Emperor’s expression didn’t reveal the slightest concern, she couldn’t help but feel stunned.
Some maids quickly ran over to help her, nervously asking about her condition, covertly glancing at the Emperor’s expression from time to time, hoping he would show concern too.
Zhou Yun Sheng lifted his tea cup and took a small sip, then leisurely asked, “Today you sent a chamberlain to the throne room to block my path, who was it?”
Zhao Bi Xuan struggled to stand up, then dazedly replied, “Replying to the Emperor, it was Fang Fu.”
The named chamberlain promptly kneeled and kowtowed, his cold sweat dripping to the ground. He was not like the imperial consort, thinking she could dazzle the Emperor to pamper her alone, always thinking the Emperor should be obedient to herself and at her beck and call. He understood more than anyone else, the Emperor was so smart, unwavering, and wise, he was by no means an Incapable Emperor, a King You of Zhou controlled by feminine charms. When he favored you, he could hold you up to the heavens, when he detested you, he could bury you in the mud. What’s more, the imperial consort comes up with every excuse possible to avoid serving him in the bedchamber, and never dedicatedly waits upon him, how could she possibly maintain pet status forever?
If the imperial consort was counting on the Emperor frequently taking the initiative to visit her in the Feng Yi Palace, he feared she would be heartbroken.
The more the chamberlain thought, the more fearful he felt, already understanding that his carefree days were coming to an end. Sure enough, the Emperor, sitting languidly on the couch, lazily opened, “Lying in wait to ambush the Emperor, and making inquiries about imperial court politics, take him out and flog him to death.”
Promptly, several imperial guards marched in, dragging away the repeatedly kowtowing and begging for mercy chamberlain.
Zhao Bi Xuan was stupefied, looking around the empty palace hall, then looking at the leisurely Emperor, she took a few deep breaths before choking out, her eyes flushed, “Your Majesty, what’s wrong with you? Why did you treat my servant this way? I was just too worried about you, so I made him … …”
“Shut up, just say what you want to say. Stop whining all the time, it’s very annoying.” Zhou Yun Sheng slammed down his tea cup.
Zhao Bi Xuan was speechless, she unexpectedly didn’t know how to ask him to exchange the imperial envoys, but thinking of the long journey facing her sweetheart, she had to bite the bullet, “Your Majesty, I fear that Master Liu and company won’t be able to handle such a big disaster relief mission, for the benefit of the citizens, don’t you think you should select alternative candidates?”
Zhou Yun Sheng’s eyebrows raised slightly, then he slowly smiled, “Zhao Bi Xuan, do you remember what the first rule of the palace is?”
Zhao Bi Xuan was struck dumb, hesitating for a long while before unsteadily replying, “Imperial harem concubines must not interfere in imperial court politics.”
“What are the consequences of interfering?”
“In less serious cases, they will be demoted to the Cold Palace, in extreme cases, they will be executed, death of a thousand cuts.” Not only was Zhao Bi Xuan’s voice quivering, even her body was now trembling, standing unsteadily. Although the man in front of her was wearing a light smile, his ice cold eyes were revealing killing intent, she’d never seen such a cold expression on him.
“So you do know the rules. Since this is your first offense, I will spare your life. Go to the Empress Dowager’s palace to receive punishment.” Zhou Yun Sheng stood up, intending to leave, but he suddenly stopped when he reached the door, and said without looking back, “While Qi Jin Yu is over there, I don’t want him to die… I want him to hate life so much he begs for death.” Finally, he flicked his sleeves and walked away.
The last sentence hit Zhao Bi Xuan like a lightning bolt streaking across a clear sky, making her completely go limp. Her most trusted head palace maid quickly sent the other attendants away, then helped her up, urgently whispering, “Lady, did the Emperor discover something? If not, how could he treat you this way?”
Zhao Bi Xuan’s hands and feet were ice-cold, a layer of immense fear seemed to be clouding her mouth and nose, making her eyes water and her breath shorten, suffocating. She desperately pounded her chest and pushed out air, downing a few bottles of Qiong Ye to relax before muttering, “No, no, the Emperor can’t know.”
“Nowadays, the inside and outside of the palace is closely monitored by the Emperor, it’s extremely possible that he knows. Lady, the Emperor has always treated you sincerely, he’s gifted every good thing to you, even for ordinary couples, it’s rare to find such a loving husband. That’s why my Lady, please, you must serve him sincerely from now on, forget about His Highness the Gong Prince. With the Emperor at you side, you’ll have everything you ever want, your future will be limitless, but if you fall out of favor, you’ll be beyond recovery!” The head maid earnestly persuaded.
Zhao Bi Xuan froze, neither nodding nor shaking her head, she reclined on the couch, but just a quarter of an hour later, a chamberlain form Qian Qing Palace delivered a decree, proclaiming that Hui Yi Imperial Consort had violated a palace rule, and turned her back on the Emperor’s grace, in order for her Phoenix Seal to be returned, she must quickly go to the Ci Ning Palace to receive punishment. The series of misfortunes happened too quickly, giving Zhao Bi Xuan no time to take it all in. When she finally broke out from her immense fear, she was already kneeling in the temple inside Ci Ning Palace. She must abstain from cold food and winter clothing, devoting herself to studying Buddha, and must not leave for at least three months. Now was early autumn, the days were warm but the nights were gradually getting colder, Zhao Bi Xuan had to exchange her dress for crude and thin Buddhist clothes, and was pressed onto the cold floor by two palace maids, her knee injury opening up again.
She was in endless pain, but nobody paid attention to her, she kneeled in front of the shrine for a while before suddenly breaking out into sobs. It was like she’d traveled back to her years in the Cold Palace, facing bullying, scorn, and being stepped on, they were definitely the darkest days of her life. At this moment, she suddenly realized that the supreme glory and power she now had were all gifts from the Emperor. When the Emperor cared about her, she was the untouchable Hui Yi Imperial Consort, once the Emperor rejected her, she was back to living in the Cold Palace, in the precarious state of an insignificant noble.
Her pride was propped up by the Emperor’s affection, as long as she was the Emperor’s imperial concubine, she had to obey him, otherwise, her body’s prideful bones would be broken one by one. Thinking of this, Zhao Bi Xuan finally woke up from her beautiful dream of constant pampering, on one side, she decided to face the Emperor with a bit more reverence, on the other side, she was even more desperate for Qi Jin Yu to successfully steal the throne. Qi Jin Yu would never treat her like this.
Discovering the first signs of Zhao Bi Xuan losing pet status, the other imperial concubines decided to wait and see, but the Empress Dowager couldn’t suppress her hate, coming up with various ways to torment her every day. From the moment she’d learned about Zhao Bi Xuan seducing her son, the Empress Dowager had always wanted to swallow her heart whole. Zhao Bi Xuan’s days were now miserable, she tried having a maid deliver a letter to the Emperor, but didn’t get a response, and slowly started losing hope.
Zhou Yun Sheng left Feng Yi Palace and hurriedly replaced his court dress, dressing up in a scholar’s style before secretly sneaking out of the palace, determined to go to a secluded area. Seven left turns, eight right turns, he finally stopped walking when he reached an abandoned courtyard.
“Show yourself!” He commanded the empty space.
No sign of movement. About a quarter of an hour later, Zhou Yun Sheng sneered and turned to leave. Suddenly, a black-dressed man dropped out of nowhere, dashing towards the Emperor at high-speed.
“Finally out!” Zhou Yun Sheng shouted triumphantly and executed a fan attack. The two figures exchanged blows, the wind from their fists cracking open the roof of the abandoned building and blowing the walking path’s stones away. The small dilapidated courtyard started tottering, on the verge of collapse.
“You keep going out on patrol in plain clothes very often lately, are you looking for me?” Zhao Xuan was often brushing past the Emperor, he had to throw out his voice to ask this sentence.
“Did you miss me?”
“You can’t forget about that day?”
“I missed you so much, being away from you was unbearable.”
“I love you so much it hurts!”
Fuck, can’t you just shut up! Zhou Yun Sheng scowled at him, his eyes throwing daggers. This person suddenly appears and makes a fool out of him, blindfolding and slipping him drugs him every time, never straightforward with him. Whatever the circumstances, he was still the Emperor, making love this way was simply disgraceful! This time, Zhou Yun Sheng used himself as bait, he was definitely going to make the other man suffer. Gradually leading him to a clear space, Zhou Yun Sheng suddenly kicked him away and shouted, “Release the arrows!”
The shadow guards he’d stationed there a long time ago launched an attack at the black-dressed man.
Zhao Xuan skillfully dodged the wave of arrows and quickly escaped, but the shadow guards didn’t give up, tossing away the bows, they grabbed their swords and gave chase. Zhou Yun Sheng loudly commanded, “Capture and bring him to me alive! Whoever catches this bandit, I’ll grant him 20,000 gold, and promotion to a rank two official!”
The shadow guards felt a rush of excitement and pursued more relentlessly. But the black dressed man wasn’t the slightest bit panicked, he whistled, then numerous black-dressed men leapt out, in a few rounds, they slashed through all the imperial shadow guards, then sped away with the leader black-dressed man.
The shadow guards helped each other up and went up to the Emperor, begging for forgiveness.
Zhou Yun Sheng stared in the direction of Zhao Xuan’s escape, his expression livid. He thought he could finally catch this man today, tie him to the imperial bed, and wantonly have his way with him, he hadn’t expected him to be daring enough to use shadow guards while in the capital. Apparently, his reach was longer than he’d predicted, forget the Northwest, he could probably even run around as he pleased in the capital.
“Let’s go.” Zhou Yun Sheng flicked his sleeves and furiously turned away, while walking, he stroke 008 on his ear. Even though his lover has amnesia, he was not completely mindless, each time he kidnapped him, he gave him a bunch of source code afterwards. He especially loves sucking on his ear to transfer code into 008’s database, he seems to find it pleasurable.
Damned pervert, even reincarnation couldn’t fix his endless horniness. Thinking of this, Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t know whether to be angry or laugh, cursing him out inwardly.
Zhao Xuan stripped out of his disguise and went back to Yu Guo Duchy, beckoning over several confidants to discuss business.
“General, what are you planning?” A Deputy General asked with a tangled expression. He really couldn’t read the General’s intention, he always said he wasn’t interested in the throne, but he was obviously fond of ambushing the Emperor, however, if he’d changed his mind and was now interested in the throne, he wouldn’t bring the Emperor back unscathed every time. He provoked the Emperor’s ire over and over again, what was his goal?
If Zhao Xuan could hear the Deputy General’s inner monologue, he would certainly tell him that the Emperor was his other half. But he couldn’t hear, so he simply chuckled and waved his hand, his eyes full of happiness and excitement. The man said that he wanted him captured live, could it be, he couldn’t bear to injure him? Must be, otherwise, if he played with somebody else that way, any normal person would eagerly hack him into pieces, and grind his bones into dust, who would care to capture him alive? What did the Emperor plan to do after he captured him?
Zhao Xuan imagined himself being tied to a torture frame and whipped by the Emperor, every cell in his body began trembling in excitement.
“General, what are your orders? Give us the word so we can start making plans.” The Deputy General saw him not answering and asked again.
“I’m not interested in the throne.” I’m only interested in the person on the throne. Hiding the second sentence, Zhao Xuan asked in a heavy voice, “How is Qi Jin Yu over there?”
“Replying to the General, Ji Feng just sent word, he said that they were unable to kill Qi Jin Yu, because he has Zhenbei General’s shadow guards around him for protection at all times.” The Deputy General said, embarrassed, but he was also trying to guess why the General was trying to take out the Gong Prince. The General was clearly quite friendly with the Gong Prince before, why did he become hostile? Recently, he felt more and more perplexed by the General’s moods.
“How lucky, Qi Jin Yu! Have Ji Feng continue shadowing, be sure to bring his head back to me.” Then he he’d wrap it up, put it into a small wooden box, and present it to that man, he hopes he’ll like it.
The Deputy General nodded, seeing the General once again spacing out after he finished speaking, he couldn’t help but sigh gloomily in his heart. In the end, he just cupped his hands and departed.
That night, Zhou Yun Sheng was sitting down to read after a bath when he suddenly noticed a subtle fragrance filling his nose. Just as he was about to investigate the fragrance, his vision started blacking, and his body started feeling weak, leaning sideways- he’d been drugged once again. Zhao Xuan, you even dare break into the imperial palace at night, are you tired of fucking living?! He rained curses in his heart, but didn’t say them out loud.
Zhao Xuan slowly walked into the inner hall dressed in black, he turned the Emperor over and sat beside him on the couch, then he patted his back and softly asked, “If you catch me, what do you plan to do with me?”
“Do what? Obviously it’s hang you up and whip you to death!” Zhou Yun Sheng humphed.
He really does want to whip me. Zhao Xuan chuckled, then said, “If you want to whip me, there’s no need to bring out an army. I won’t only stand still and let you, I’ll even prepare a whip for you. You look very beautiful when you swing a whip, incredibly arousing.”
Dammed pervert, no matter how many reincarnations you’ve gone through, your true character hasn’t changed at all! Zhou Yun Sheng ranted in his heart.
When Zhao Xuan had enough teasing, he suddenly bent over and sucked on his ear lode, pushing a string of source code into 008’s database. Zhou Yun Sheng’s anger faded away, replaced by a secret sigh of pleasure. Even though his lover has lost his memory, he always knew what to do to please him. His actions were unconscious, like instincts engraved in his soul, which proved how much he sincerely loved him.
Zhao Xuan couldn’t see from his point of view, Zhou Yun Sheng’s eyes were moist with emotions.
Qi Jin Yu’s connections in the imperial court were eliminated by the Emperor, he now had nothing to rely on. This time, he was forced to travel with a band of three idiots, and suffered greatly at the hands of the violent citizens at the Southwest’s border. The disaster relief silver the court disbursed every year was never touched by the common people, all the big and small officials always cleaned out the treasure box. Over time, a complete system of corruption was formed, you cover for me, I cover for you, forming a close community of profiteering, the clean and honest officials simply had no way to survive in the Southwest.
Qi Jin Yu still had his title as a prince, but lacked men with power to assist him, so the officials simply didn’t attach any importance to him. They led him around prearranged villages a few times, trying to fool him. Qi Jin Yu was not a fool, he naturally wouldn’t take them at face value, he pretended to accept the officials’ bribes and said he would vacation for a few days, taking advantage of the time he was supposed to be relaxing to investigate in secret with Zhao Ji Dong. But he never imagined that he’d be ambushed by bandits on the road, were it not for the dozens of shadow guards Qian Fangfei sent to protect him, his life would’ve been taken. However, the shadow guards were only responsible for protecting him, they were not in charge of others, so while they were fleeing, Zhao Ji Dong was thrown into the bandits’ midst and hacked to death.
A prince and the brother of Hui Yi Imperial Consort died in the Southwest’s border, the Emperor was sure to send people to thoroughly investigate, the Southwest Governor was shaken, that night, he sent people out to search, and finally found Qi Jin Yu unconscious in a remote valley. But when they found him, his face was cut with a deep, bone exposing wound, starting from the corner of his eye and straight down. His skin was already festering, so it’ll definitely leave ferocious looking scars after healing. His right index finger and middle finger were also half chopped off, constantly oozing blood. Even if he was lucky to be alive, he was now crippled.
The Southwest Governor howled in grief, knowing that the fallouts of this incident would not be pretty. The current Emperor was not the same from three years ago, when his anger was roused, the whole of Da Qi’s capital was shaken up, not to mention the small Southwest. Everything was ruined, the day they were dreading had finally arrived.
Poisoned wine or three feet of white silk- I think the Emperor gift these to subjects that are found guilty of a crime, as a subtle way of saying “Kill yourself”.
Brocade purses and nail guards: