Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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Ban Xiang pretends to be frightened, “Your Majesty, this servant dares not slander Her Ladyship. She is the one who is in a bad mood and keeps venting on this servant.”
Seeing the familiar and intimate way the two ladies interact made Jun Qian Che a little jealous. At the same time, he really admires Mo Qi Qi’s generosity towards her servants. If this was in the past, never mind joking around like this, she would have punished them if they as much as spoke to her in the wrong tone.
Mo Qi Qi turns to him, complaining, “Your Majesty, just look at how glib her tongue is. Would chenqie even have the chance to vent my anger at her?”
Jun Qian Che shakes his head while smiling. He walks towards the table and stares at the untouched dishes and cutleries. “It is so late, Empress. Haven’t you eaten your dinner?”
Ban Xiang immediately seized the chance to speak, “Your Majesty, Her Ladyship had been waiting for you.”
Mo Qi Qi immediately denies it, “Says who? Bengong simply had no appetite!”
“See, Your Majesty? Without you around, the Empress didn’t even have the appetite to eat,” Ban Xiang laughs.
Mo Qi Qi looks at her, pissed off, “You are getting bolder and bolder each day. Will you believe it if bengong tells you bengong would punish you heavily?”
Ban Xiang immediately acquiesced, “This servant will shut up now.”
Seeing this, Jun Qian Che immediately say, “All of you may go.”
“Yes,” all the servants immediately retreat.
Mo Qi Qi begins pouring her grievances at him, “Did you see that, Your Majesty? Being an Empress is really not good. Chenqie gets teased by them everyday, life is just so hard.”
He smiles, “That’s because you spoiled them too much.”
She becomes even more aggrieved, “Even you are helping them bully chenqie.”
Jun Qian Che does not continue the conversation. He looks at the dishes, “It is so late, why haven’t you eaten dinner yet? A pregnant woman cannot be left hungry.”
“Chenqie really wasn’t hungry, just now. But now, chenqie is a little bit hungry, “she picks up her chopsticks and begins eating.
Jun Qian Che shakes his head, though deep inside, he feels touched and warm. It doesn’t matter if what Ban Xiang said had been true; it feels really heart-warming knowing that someone is waiting up just to have dinner with you.
He helps her pick up some dishes, “Eat more.”
She looks at him before teasing him, “Your Majesty, aren’t you afraid that your Empress would gain weight?”
He remains earnest as he replies, “No problem, zhen can afford to raise you.”
Although her heart is leaping with joy, Mo Qi Qi maintains an unhappy outward appearance, “Chenqie knows Your Majesty can afford it; it’s just that it ruins my image. It will embarrass you and you will have to end up deposing this Empress.”
Jun Qian Che’s hand stops midair as he looks at her sincerely, “As long as you don’t leave this position by your own will, zhen will never depose you.”
Mo Qi Qi’s heart swells as she smiles faintly. She does not prolong the topic, “Hurry and eat, Your Majesty.” Even if you don’t depose me, I may not necessarily want to stay here.
The two of them continue eating dinner quietly.
After dinner, Mo Qi Qi reapplies medicine on Jun Qian Che’s wound before wrapping it with a bandage.
After she finishes her task, she smiles, “Your wound might need a little more time to heal. The wound is very deep. Since you don’t want other people to know and you are too stubborn to wear a cast, it might take even longer to heal than usual.”
“It’s alright. It’s zhen’s left arm anyway. Zhen hardly uses it,” replies Jun Qian Che.
Mo Qi Qi sits in front of him.
He looks at her, “Is there anything you would like to say to zhen?”
She smiles sheepishly, “There is nothing that we can hide from you. Your Majesty is indeed perceptive and brilliant.”
“Just say it, don’t waste zhen’s time with empty words,” Jun Qian Che’s tone is mild.
“If chenqie ends up saying something wrong, please don’t put it to heart,” says Mo Qi Qi as she looks at him.
“Just say it, zhen will not blame you,” he nods.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” She begins to calm down before going straight to the point, “Your Majesty, chenqie would like to speak about Chun Fei. Her death is too sudden. It makes one think that life is too fleeting and that nothing is permanent.”
“Her death is not sudden at all. The Empress should have seen it coming,” replies Jun Qian Che meaningfully.
Since Jun Qian Che has spoken so directly, Mo Qi Qi does not wish to beat around the bush. “Your Majesty, chenqie knew that Chun Fei added musk to my food from the very beginning. Chenqie purposely let you know so that you would warn Chun Fei, chenqie did not really want her dead.”
“Then, how do you think zhen should have handled her?” questions Jun Qian Che.
Mo Qi Qi replies him honestly, “Warn her a little. Ground her. Demote her. Or if you want to be a little harsher, banish her to the Cold Palace. What is the point of saying all these now? She is dead.”
“Chun Fei deserves to die for what she did. Zhen is already being generous by sparing her maiden family. She tried to poison zhen’s child. She deserves to die a thousand deaths,” replies Jun Qian Che coldly.
“Although what Chun Fei did was despicable, nothing really happened to the baby. Chenqie discovered everything in advance. Your Majesty shouldn’t have been so heavy-handed,” Mo Qi Qi has got to admit that ancient people can be very cruel. Do a mistake and off with your head! Never mind dying itself, the fact that you could drag your entire family with you to the grave is even scarier! Lucky Jun Qian Che did not drag He Clan into the mess; otherwise, she would have felt even guiltier. If she had known that this would have resulted in Chun Fei’s death, she would have handled everything herself. She actually ended up causing Chun Fei’s death, just because she wanted to test Jun Qian Che’s innocence. She feels so guilty towards Chun Fei.
“And what if you didn’t find out in advance?” retorts Jun Qian Che.
She does not know how to answer him.
His tone is cold as he says, “We have to rid ourselves of potential trouble. Zhen’s heart feels at ease at Chun Fei’s death.”
“You were her husband; don’t you feel a shred of affection for your own consort? A day together as a husband and wife is worth 100 days of grace! After all, Chun Fei had been in the palace for years now. Don’t you feel anything for her?” probes Mo Qi Qi.
Jun Qian Che looks at her. “If there is something you want to say, say it directly.”
Mo Qi Qi stares at him, a little taken aback at being caught despite having been so tactful. Since it has come to this point, she will not hold back anymore. “Your Majesty, chenqie does not think that Chun Fei could have been so bold as to make an enemy out of Mo Clan and chenqie. Even if she did not care for herself, she would’ve cared for her family and for Your Majesty. That’s why chenqie think there is someone who had been instigating Chun Fei from behind. The way Your Majesty immediately killed Chun Fei made me feel like you killed her to shut her up.”’
Displeasure immediately grows inside Jun Qian Che, “Are you implying that zhen is the real perpetrator?”
Although Mo Qi Qi is secretly terrified, she put on a courageous front, “Who else would have that much power? Chun Fei would never have dared to do all that without your permission! Now that things have reached this stage, you decided not to publicize this matter because you feel like you owe her something. That’s why you are being generous towards He Clan as well.”
Jun Qian Che sneers, “So that’s why you gave me those pastries. In your eyes, there is no way for zhen to come out of this innocently! If zhen did not punish Chun Fei, it would be because zhen was the instigator; but now that Chun Fei is dead, it is because zhen wanted to kill her to get rid of a witness.” Jun Qian Che gets up to leave.
Seeing that, Mo Qi Qi immediately stands up as well,”You can always explain everything, if it’s not you!”
Jun Qian Che stops in his steps. His voice is cold as he says, “Seems like the Empress is determined to blame it all on zhen, regardless. What is the point of saying anything? What difference does it make?”
“Chenqie would like to hear an explanation from you,” replies Mo Qi Qi anxiously.
Jun Qian Che is taken aback upon hearing that.
She runs up to him and glares at him, “Why is it that everytime something happens, you wouldn’t say a single thing and would always leave me guessing? How am I supposed to know it has nothing to do with you if you don’t tell me anything? I am not a worm living inside your stomach; I cannot read your thoughts. I’d rather not try to guess your thoughts anyway.”
“Will you even believe what zhen says?” he stares at her as he asks that.
Mo Qi Qi chokes up a little at that question before looking away from him, “At least I’d be able to make my own judgement. If you don’t say anything, I’d automatically suspect you. I’d go around making the most presumptuous guesses. Does Chun Fei’s death really has nothing to do with you?”
Jun Qian Che grabs her by the shoulder and forces her to look at him, “Then listen to me, Mo Qi Qi. Zhen has never asked Chun Fei to harm you and the child that you’re carrying. From the moment zhen decided to keep this child, zhen has never even thought of getting rid of it. Zhen will do my best to ensure your safety. And zhen did not kill Chun Fei. The perpetrator fed her with a poison called ‘Wei Xin’. The poison will be activated the moment she tried to reveal the identity of the perpetrator. She almost confessed everything to zhen, but the poison acted fast. Her death had nothing to do with zhen. The only reason zhen did not publicize the matter is because zhen did not want the news of this incident to spread. And zhen only spared the He Clan because they were innocent. Chun Fei was forced by someone else to be a chesspiece; if zhen killed He Clan because of that, zhen would only be helping the perpetrator get rid of more enemies. Do you understand what zhen is trying to say?”
Mo Qi Qi nods, “Chenqie understands the general gists of it. Chenqie does not really want to understand the motive of the perpetrator or how this matter impacts the court. Chenqie also cannot bring myself to ask about the animosity between Your Majesty and the Mo Clan. In fact, as a mother, the only thing that chenqie can do right now is to make sure that chenqie will give birth smoothly. Chenqie really does not wish for this child to be entangled with matters at court. Chenqie knows that Your Majesty is a bit threatened by this child. After all, Mo Clan is already so powerful at court. However, chenqie would like to beg for your leniency. Please spare the child, your blood is flowing inside the child’s vein.”
“Qi Qi, the child is mine. It has nothing to do with what is going on with Mo Clan. Zhen wish you will not be so suspicious towards zhen,” says Jun Qian Che earnestly.
She looks back at him and can see sincerity in his eyes, “Your Majesty—“
“Qi Qi, do you believe that zhen will protect both of you?” asks Jun Qian Che sincerely.
She stares at him for a moment, the corner of her lips curling. She nods, “Chenqie believe in Your Majesty.”
Jun Qian Che is elated to hear that. It no longer mattered that she misunderstood him and wrongfully accused him; he is fine now that she trusts him.
He stares at her, unable to look away, completely taken in by her beauty.
She is beautiful. He never got the chance to fully appreciate her beauty back then; and now, he couldn’t either. She’d always try her best to evade him whenever he tries to approach her.
Mo Qi Qi blushes under his gaze, her heart skipping a beat.
Jun Qian Che stares at her, slowly leaning in. Her features are slowly magnified in his eyes as he closes the distance. Even at such a close distance, he cannot find any imperfection in her face.
He closes in on her, intending to kiss her. This time, she does not avoid him, and instead closes her eyes in anticipation.
His heart jumps in glee as his lips touch hers. Emotion overwhelms him.
“Your Majesty-,” Qian Er suddenly rushes in.
They immediately pull away. Mo Qi Qi turns around, not knowing how to face him.
Jun Qian Che clears his throat in displeasure, “What is it?”
Ban Xiang who rushes in after Qian Er feels like choking the other girl out of anger. She initially wanted to drag Qian Er out, but the girl is too quick and managed to evade her.
Qian Er is also shocked upon seeing the scene before her. She did not expect to see the Emperor so intimate with the Empress. She is stunned for a long time before being brought back to earth by Jun Qian Che’s stern voice, “Your Majesty, Her Ladyship the Guifei complained of feeling ill. She invited Your Majesty to visit her in her palace.”
“What does Her Ladyship being ill has got to do with His Majesty? Shouldn’t you be seeking an imperial physician instead?” Ban Xiang voices her displeasure.
Qian Er arrogantly rolls her eyes at Ban Xiang, “Her Ladyship wishes to see His Majesty. If he doesn’t come, she refuse to see a physician.”
Just as Ban Xiang is about to give her a piece of her mind, Mo Qi Qi turns around and smiles, having gotten herself together. “Your Majesty, you better go to see Yang Meimei. She must be missing you. Besides, chenqie is sleepy and wishes to rest early.”
Mo Qi Qi’s generosity does not sit well with Jun Qian Che. Had this been the previous her, never mind letting him go, she would have stomped over to Shi Han to give her a good scolding. He used to be irritated by her, he felt that she was too jealous and narrow-minded. He didn’t expect to actually be missing that side of her right now. This is too weird.
Jun Qian Che stares at Mo Qi Qi and leaves without saying a word.
What he did not understand is he used to hate her jealousy and possessiveness because he loathed her. Now that he has come to love her, her generosity and virtue when it comes to sharing his love only serves to anger him.
Qian Er gives Ban Xiang a gloating look before leaving.
Ban Xiang stomps her feet angrily before sneering, “What are you so proud of? If your Yang Guifei is that capable, why isn’t she pregnant like Our Ladyship yet?”
Mo Qi Qi smiles before helplessly shaking her head. Deep down inside though, a huge question mark is rearing its ugly end on her heart. Why didn’t she reject Jun Qian Che’s advances, earlier? She could no longer feel those feeling of loathing and hatred that she used to feel for him. What on earth is wrong with her? Did her taste change after getting pregnant?
What a cursed night!
Ban Xiang turns to Mo Qi Qi in exasperation, “Your Ladyship, why did you let His Majesty go? Yang Guifei really is too much! She actually sent someone here to fetch the Emperor just to take him away from you!”
“That’s enough! Bengong is with child and cannot serve His Majesty for the night, it is good that he went to Yang Guifei.” Mo Qi Qi turns around and returns to her inner chamber, her heart slowly sinking.
On another hand, Jun Qian Che walks into Gui Ning Palace. There is a physician there, checking Yang Shi Han’s pulse.
He steps into the room, asking, “What is wrong with Yang Guifei?”
Yang Shi Han immediately puts on a coquettish appearance, “Your Majesty, chenqie has been feeling so lethargic lately. Chenqie has no appetite during meals and only craves sour things.” Her pitiful appearance is so effective that it would melt anyone’s heart.
Jun Qian Che turns to the physician, “Is there anything wrong with Yang Guifei?”
The imperial physician gets up and smiles at the brilliantly, “Congratulation, Your Majesty and Your Ladyship! Yang Guifei is with child!”
Jun Qian Che freezes momentarily before looking at Yang Shi Han.
She lowers her head in embarrassment and pats her stomach softly, “Your Majesty, chenqie is honored to be carrying your child.”
All the palace maids inside the chamber curtsy, “Congratulation, Your Majesty and Your Ladyship.”
Without a trace of elation in his face, Jun Qian Che waves them off, “That’s enough. All of you may leave. Zhen would like to speak to Yang Guifei.”
“Yes,” the maids retreat with a large smile on their faces, thinking that their mistress’ time has come.
Yang Shi Han looks at Jun Qian Che before happily saying, “Congratulation, Your Majesty! You are going to be the father of two children!”
He glares at her, “Explain.”
She purposely gives him a confused look, “What are you saying, Your Majesty? Chenqie don’t understand you. Aren’t you happy that chenqie is carrying your child?”
“Enough, Shi Han. Stop fooling around. Zhen is not in the mood for any of your jokes,” states Jun Qian Che, angry.
Yang Shi Han raises her eyebrows, “Chenqie is not joking, either. Chenqie is pregnant with your child, and the baby is going to be a boy.”
“Speak the truth,” says Jun Qian Che icily as he seats himself in front of a table.
Yang Shi Han clambers off her bed and sits opposite him, pouring herself a cup of tea, “This is Aunt’s order.”