Princess Ming Zhu looks at Duke Rong who is currently tied up and then, at the 3rd madam who is looking crazed. She does not care if the 3rd madam can understand her or not when she speaks, “So what if the person he cares about is you? If you are alive, he cannot give you any position. Both of you cannot be together out in the open. If you are dead, I will still not allow you two to be together. You have been known as the 3rd madam all along, let you be buried as her, next to the 3rd Young Master whom you have been cheating on.”
Duke Rong is furious when he hears that, “You poisonous, snake-like woman! Even if I become a ghost, I will not let you off!”
Princess Ming Zhu slowly walks towards him while looking at him icily, “This is considered poisonous? What I did is nothing compared to what you lot have done for so many years. It is alright if you don’t like me, it is alright if you don’t want to marry me, but you shouldn’t have tried to harm my child just because your father’s greed! If I had not been careful back then, what happened to Yun Xi would be Man Xi’s outcome. Please do tell, which one of us is the real snake?” Princess Ming Zhu’s eyes are full of fury.
“Once I found out about the real you, the most I did was to change my son back. Did I ever do anything to you for the past 18 years? What about you? Can you even count the amount of things you did to me?” Princess Ming Zhu’s voice trembles a little.
“What happened to you right now is due to your own greed, you cannot blame other people. You should have rejected my imperial father’s decree of marriage back then. You should have marry your sweetheart. If you did, your Yun Xi wouldn’t have end up the way he did. Everything is your own doing, this is the gods’ punishment towards all of you! What will you say to your 3rd brother and Yun Xi once you meet them again?” After saying that, Princess Ming Zhu closes her eyes and breathes heavily.
Hua Man Xi steps towards her in worry, “Mother….”
“I am alright, don’t worry, Man Xi,” Princess Ming Zhu smiles as she looks at the concerned Hua Man Xi.
Duke Rong seems stunned. Princess Ming Zhu’s smile has always been beautiful. He met her before they were married, and she has always been beautiful. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been called the most beautiful woman in Nan Lou Kingdom. He knew she was beautiful, yet her beauty had no effect on him. He already loved someone else. Besides, he loathed her. He never saw the fact that she was innocent. He only wanted to protect the woman that he love and their child and ended up hurting another woman and another child.
Princess Ming Zhu pulls Man Xi away and walks back into the palace without looking back, “Xi Er, from now on, no one could harm us anymore.”
Duke Rong watches their retreated backs and slumps down on the ground in defeat.
His life is an utter failure. He could not protect the woman that he loves and had hurt another woman who has been innocent all along. The son that he loved and had doted on for 18 years is not the son of the woman he loves. No wonder Xi Er had always been dismissive towards his affection. It is because he knew that the love was not meant for him.
Yun Qian Yu smiles; this is what people calls ‘cause and effect’. The manner of your cause will determine the nature of the outcome. She holds Gong Sang Mo’s hand and drags him back to the palace.
Such a simple move has brought a huge effect on Gong Sang Mo as he smiles excitedly.
When Hua Tian Fan sees Yun Qian Yu returning, he knows that his son has lost. He knows how strong his son is. No one is worthy enough to be his rival in the capital, yet who would have thought that someone as young as Yun Qian Yu could be so strong? Although he is unwilling, he knows he cannot blame other people.
He turns his gaze towards Murong Cang, “So what if I lost? Your only living heir is still from my Hua clan.”
Murong Cang looks at the vengeful Hua Tian Fan before shaking his head while sighing.
Yun Qian Yu walks towards the dragon bed and pats Yu Jian a couple of times, “Time to get up, Yu Jian. Grandfather, Sang Mo and I had to sit all day long, it is very tiring. You are very lucky, you get to lie down. What? Is it too comfortable that you aren’t willing to wake up?”
Yu Jian who has been lying motionlessly suddenly sits up.
He looks at Yun Qian Yu with his pale purplish face, his eyes full of light.
He appears aggrieved, “Do you think I want to do this, imperial sister? Why don’t you try it yourself? I could not even move, my entire body is stiff right now.”
Yun Qian Yu smiles when she sees Yu Jian’s stiff arm, “Feng Ran!”
“Yu Jian said his body is stiff.”
“I understand,” Feng Ran steps forward and turns Yu Jian’s body around. Yu Jian yelps in shock as Feng Ran starts massaging his arm all the way to the wrist. The sound of his hand making comtact with Yu Jian’s joints can be heard with loud pops, causing Yu Jian to cry out in pain with every contact he made. Feng Ran is very heartless. He continues massaging Yu Jian’s other arm, as well as his spines and waist. His legs are left for last.
Yu Jian cries for mercy, “Please spare me, imperial sister!”
“Just accept it. Do you think just about anyone is privileged enough to be personally massaged by Feng Ran?” Yun Qian Yu’s heart is very hard.
When Gong Sang Mo hears that, he frowns. Don’t tell him that Feng Ran has also massaged Yun Qian Yu before? The Gong fox is going to get jealous again!
Once Feng Ran is done, Yu Jian pitifully gets up before looking at Yun Qian Yu in grievance, “Do you not like Yu Jian anymore, imperial sister?”
Yun Qian Yu looks at him fondly, “Are your body still numb?”
When Yu Jian hears that, he tries moving his limbs, before looking at Yun Qian Yu in delight, “They are not numb anymore! How comfortable!”
“That is Yun Guards’ special method of alleviating pain. They usually use it after practice.”
Yu Jian smiles, “Imperial sister treats me the best.”
When Gong Sang Mo hears that this is only the Yun Guards’ special method, the sourness in his heart gradually ebbs away.
“Hurry and clean your face,” Yun Qian Yu gives Yu Jian the handkerchief that Gong Sang Mo gave her. Although a long time has passed since he gave her that, the day is cold, so the handkerchief remains cool.
Yu Jian cleans up the purple layer of powder on his face.
By then, it is impossible for Hua Tian Fan and Rui Qinwang to not know that they have been trapped.
Hua Tian Fan’s straight body immediately sags down. Rui Qinwang does not appear enraged at all. He has now come to terms that he was merely a piece of chess in the hands of Hua Tian Fan against Murong Cang, and a very useful chesspiece he had been. His family will not be able to continue their bloodline. Merely hours ago, he had been telling Murong Cang that he was the only imperial blood left. What a slap to the face. Even if his imperial uncle does not kill him, how will his family live on, after this episode?
Murong Cang looks at Hua Tian Fan’s defeated face and sighs, “Tian Fan, let’s talk about what happened that year.”
“What is the point of talking about that? I lost! But it doesn’t matter, you are not very well off yourself. I can finally meet Shui Er again!” Hua Tian Fan’s eyes seem far off and distant, as though he is in a place far away from them.
“You will not get to see her,” Murong Cang sighs.
Hua Tian Fan turns to him in surprise, “What do you mean?”
“Only her clothes and ornaments are buried in the imperial tomb.”
“What? How dare you! Why wouldn’t you let her die in peace? Where is her body?” Hua Tian Fan’s voice is full of emotion.
When they reach that point in the conversation, Hua Man Xi immediately instructs his people to take Rui Qinwang and the rest away. This is clearly a matter between the elders, the lesser people know, the better.
He also ordered people to safeguard Rui Qinwang’s manor, as well as Duke Rong’s manor.
Murong Cang looks at the people left inside the palace before saying, “There is no point in hiding things anymore. The rest of you can stay. What happened to us, might happen to you as well.”
“Let this old head listen as well,” the old Gong Wangye walks in from outside.
Gong Sang Mo does not seem surprised to see his grandfather here. The old wangye would usually only leave the manor when he wanted to find Gong Sang Mo a wife, but this is a different matter altogether. He is entangled in this. Without him here, the picture will never be complete.
Murong Cang nods at the old wangye, “That is fine. The three of us has never gathered again, after I ascended the throne.”
“Right. If we don’t do this now, we will not get to do this again, not with all of us here.”
Murong Cang is sitting on the dragon throne while the old Gong Wangye is sitting between him and Hua Tian Fan.
Hua Tian Fan looks at the old wangye, “You came at the right time, old Three. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to gather here as a whole, again.”
The old Wangye laughs bitterly, “Feel free to go first, older brothers. As the youngest one, I will only watch and send you off. If you think about it, none of us ever really has a good life.”
The other two become quiet when they hear the old wangye’s words.
After a moment, Murong Cang turns to Hua Tian Fan, saying, “Back then, all three of us knew Shui Er. Shui Er was smart and beautiful, she was the most talented maiden in the capital back then. I would be lying if I tell you I didn’t harbour feelings for her, but at the same time, I knew that Shui Er liked someone else, you, Tian Fan. But back then, you never showed any interest in her, am I right?”
The old Wangye and the old Duke nods.
“After that, we left the capital to gain experience, traversing the jianghu, that was the happiest time of my life. Then, I received an urgent edict from my imperial father. He was very ill. He wanted to see me getting married so he decreed me to marry Shui Er. Back then, I thought that the one Shui Er liked was not me, forcing her would not result in happiness, so I returned to the capital and talked it out with her. If Tian Fan also liked Shui Er, I would ask my imperial father to rescind his decree. After we talked, we decided to meet Tian Fan to see how he felt for Shui Er. But that day, Tian Fan said that he did not like Shui Er, and that he already had a marriage prospect. He said that he would get married soon.”
Hua Tian Fan is stunned, “I thought you were testing me. I was afraid that you would make things hard for Shui Er if you know, so I lied. In order to cover up for my lies, I got married soon after.”
Murong Cang sighs again, “The universe conspired against us. Did you know that Shui Er was just next door, that day? Listening to us. I originally thought that I could unite you lovebirds, but who would have thought….”
“Shui Er was there?” Hua Tian Fan’s voice trembles from the pain.
“Yes. After you left, Shui Er cried for the first time right in front of me. I tried to comfort her, I wanted to chase after you, so that both of you could speak face-to-face, but Shui Er stopped me. She said that you were already getting married, she did not wish to ruin someone else’s marriage. She agreed to be my empress, to marry me, but, she would only be my wife in front of others. She could only give her innocence to the one that she loved. We got married, then, I ascended the throne. You got married right after that, yourself. On the day of your wedding, she locked herself up inside her Feng Luan Palace, refusing to come out. She got sick for half a month afterwards. She never really smile after that.”
Hua Tian Fan bursts up in tears.
“After that, she would only attend the banquets that you attended. Other than that, all she ever did was to listen to news about you from me. She would listen about your accomplishments, about how many concubines you took, about how many children you had, which concubines you liked better. She would be happy for your joy, and wept at your misfortunes. Later on, she suddenly stopped caring about you. She stopped listening to your your news. She would lie on a rocking chair in the courtyard of her Feng Luan Palace, staring at the sky. Her health gradually became worse. The imperial physicians tried their best, but they could not save her. I don’t think I will be able to forget that day. She asked her maids to burn everything she owned and then, to carry her outside so that she could look at the sky. She asked only one thing of me; to not to bury her in the imperial tomb. She wanted me to burn her corpse and to spread her ashes in the mountains and rivers. She said, her life was too tiring and she was determined to forget all of us when she dies. She wanted to be free, to go with the winds to the places she wanted to go to.”
Hua Tian Fan’s sobs becomes even more pained.
The old Gong Wangye sighs; if only Tian Fan trusted Murong Cang a little bit more… If only Shui Er tried a little harder…
“I regret not bringing you back that day. I regret not making you two talk it our yourselves. I thought you were telling the truth, so did Shui Er. The gods toyed with us,” Murong Cang’s tears fall down.
The old Gong Wangye looks at the sobbing Hua Tian Fan and then, at the guilt-stricken Murong Cang. Sorrow rises in his heart. Tears fall from his eyes as memories of the three of them in the past surfaces in his mind.
As Yun Qian Yu, Gong Sang Mo, Hua Man Xi, Princess Ming Zhu and Yu Jian looks at the sobbing three men who used to have the world at their feet, their hearts unconsciously twists in pity.
Life is too short and fleeting, that is why one must cherish every second they have.
Yun Qian Yu gently puts her head on Gong Sang Mo’s shoulder. He lowers his head to look at her, before holding her arm tight. Nothing could make him let go of her hand.
Murong Cang is the first one to compose himself, followed by the old Gong Wangye.
Hua Tian Fan is still burying his face in his palms, his sobs gradually turning softer.
Yun Qian Yu is the first to notice that something is off. She rushes to his side and presses a couple of points on his body before turning to Hua Man Xi, “What are you waiting for? Come and help! He needs to be placed on a flat surface.”
Hua Man Xi moves towards his grandfather as fast as an arrow and lifts up Hua Tian Fan. He does not know where he should put his grandfather. They are at the emperor’s resting palace, the only place he can lie on is the dragon bed.
When Murong Cang sees the hesitation in Hua Man Xi’s face, he says, “We are old, we can die anytime soon. No need to think too much, just put him there!”
Hua Man Xi hesitates a moment more before putting his grandfather on the dragon bed, the closest to the edge as he possibly can.
Yun Qian Yu takes out her silver needles and begins putting them on his head and chest. A second later, more needles have been placed on various parts of his body.
This is the first time the rest of the people are seeing Yun Qian Yu at work, including Gong Sang Mo. When he sees how fast the needles are being placed, he finally understands why the Yun Valley is so famous for their medicinal art. No one in this world could rival her speed. Even the method of administering needles is different from the rest.
After Yun Qian Yu takes off the needles, she turns to the crowd, “He is still alive, but only for three more days.”
Everyone understands that those three days are the three days that Yun Qian Yu stole for Hua Tian Fan.
Hua Tian Fan grunts before slowly opening his eyes.
When he sees that he is lying on the dragon bed, he laughs mockingly. He has turned his own life into a joke! He ruined the life of his brother!
He looks at the people by the bedside; these are the very people that he had tried so hard to kill, and yet here they are, worried about him.
serene: I was so so sure I posted this back then. But turns out I forgot to ==’ Sorry guys.
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