Wei Qiqi was almost finish with her food. Why haven’t that palace maid look for her? It can’t be that she lost a person and didn’t discover it right? What a careless little fellow. Qiqi stood up and was just about turn around when she saw a tall man standing in front of her. His eyes were focused on her, which scared her till she took a few steps back.
“Who are you? What is your name?” The Emperor grabbed Qiqi’s wrist and pulled her towards his front. He looked at Qiqi in close proximity, which made him even more shocked. This woman’s skin was too supple, like a baby’s skin. Especially that pair of eyes, nearly causing him to be immerse within and was instantly attracted to it. His breathing also stopped.
“I, I…” Qiqi frantically blocked her own face. Oh no, I was discovered. What should I do? No matter what, she couldn’t reveal her own identity, “I am…”
“Are you this Emperor’s concubine? Why haven’t I seen you before?” The Emperor lightly embraced Wei Qiqi’s thin waist. He uncontrollably hugged this blue-clothed lady, “Tell this Emperor and he shall shower his favor upon you. You are an absolute beauty, these eyes…”
“Wait, you are…” Wei Qiqi opened her eyes wide. This man claimed that he was the Emperor. And… his clothes? It’s royal robes. Oh my god. Qiqi was scared till the color on her face was drained. He was the Emperor, Liu Zhongtian’s brother. This time she was in deep trouble. He was that fellow who arranged her marriage to his third brother and mocked him. All the more she couldn’t reveal herself.
“No matter who you are, this Emperor has already fallen for you…”
Wei Qiqi tried to forcefully push away the Emperor, however he didn’t give up and continued hugging her, with his hands touching her face uncontrollably. His eyes never left her once. This kind of beauty was different from the women in the harem. There had never been a woman that made the Emperor desire so greatly.
Damned Emperor. Qiqi was now furious. She squatted and used her hand to heavily land a fist on the Emperor’s abdomen.
The Great Han Emperor treated her as a weak lady. He didn’t expect for this woman to be so nimble, thus he suffered this one punch. He was instantly left groaning in pain and squatted. Wei Qiqi took the chance and hurriedly ran out of the pavilion. She looked left and right and didn’t discern the direction before running towards a moon gate. She wore the face cloth while running.
She was running when the palace maid appeared, full of sweat. She saw Wei Qiqi and she seemed to relax a lot, “Third Royal Concubine, where did you run off to? I was looking all around for you. You can’t run amok here in this place. Quickly follow me!”
“Okay!” Qiqi was extremely happy. The Great Han palace was extremely big. If she continued running about, she might be discovered by the Emperor. If she was caught again, then she would be in big trouble.
The two eunuchs didn’t know what happened. They hurriedly ran to the pavilion and saw the Emperor squatting down on the floor in misery. They quickly helped him up.
“Aiya, Your Majesty, where are you feeling uncomfortable!”
“Dog servant, did you see that woman… why didn’t you block her!” The Emperor sat down, his eyes scanning the vicinity. Where did Wei Qiqi disappear to? What a mysterious woman. As long as she was in the palace, he would still be able to find her.
“Your Majesty, just now this servant thought that… he shouldn’t disturb your pleasure-making moments!” The eunuch spoke in a low voice.
“What pleasure? I was….” The Emperor didn’t wish to say that he was sneaked upon by a woman. Hence he said furiously, “Quickly get me all the names and portraits of the concubines to me!”
“All of them?”
“Yes, including all the women that just entered the palace. Bring it all to this Emperor. I don’t believe that I can’t find you!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
Wei Qiqi was brought into the Emperor concubine’s residence. Qiqi didn’t dare to take down the face cloth this time. She stood obediently on one side. This damned palace. There was danger everywhere. It was much more comfortable in the Duke’s manor.
There was a well-dressed woman walking out from behind the screen cover which was decorated with flowers and birds. She was in purple clothing. Her head had a golden pin stuck on it. Wei Qiqi felt somewhat strange. This woman didn’t look as beautiful as she thought. She was instead a bit sad and the weak disposition was extremely like someone. Yes, Lin Daiyu, a classic sick beauty. [TL: Lin Daiyu is a character from one of the four classic novels in China]
This was a woman that Liu Zhongtian liked. No wonder he was always going on about three rules and four virtues. So it was this kind of sickly and pale woman. Liu Zhongtian was most probably going to be disappointed. Wei Qiqi could never learn those stuff in this life. In Qiqi’s dictionary, there was no such thing as being weak, only being strong. She wanted to be a strong woman.
“Why are you wearing a face cloth, take it down!” Han Yu spoke softly.
“Qiqi is scared that she’ll scare Royal Concubine, hence she should wear it!” Wei Qiqi imitated her and spoke softly. Han Yu’s voice was exceptionally pleasing to the ear.
“Really! If you insist then let it be. Do you know why I brought you here?” Han Yu’s voice grew cold. She walked towards Qiqi and sized her up.
“Qiqi doesn’t know, may Royal Concubine indicate!”
“Does Zhongtian treat you well?”
Wei Qiqi suddenly felt that her heart was sour. Since Han Yu had already married the Emperor, why would she still mention Liu Zhongtian in this manner? She was not placing this Third Royal Concubine in her eyes. The Duke was already Wei Qiqi’s, not Concubine Han Yu. Qiqi was the legitimate Third Royal Concubine!
“Royal Concubine, Qiqi doesn’t quite understand, what can be considered as treating me well?”
“You are asking the obvious. Has he touched your body?”
This Concubine Han Yu, why would she want to ask about such a private matter. Was something wrong with her mind? What business does she have with whether Liu Zhongtian had touched Qiqi? Furthermore she asked so directly, she was not placing Qiqi in her eyes, as if she was just a woman accompanying Liu Zhongtian to sleep.
“Qiqi doesn’t wish to answer that. If Royal Concubine doesn’t have any other matters, then Qiqi is going to leave now!”
“He definitely hasn’t touched you, hence you don’t wish to reply. That is as well. How can a woman like you be compatible with Zhongtian? Why will he want to touch you!” Han Yu seemed to have descended into her own woven fantasy. How could Liu Zhongtian like such an ugly woman? He would love Han Yu his whole life.
“You can think whatever you want, that’s your matter. I’m going back!”
“You’re not allowed to leave. Tell me, is he well nowadays?” Han Yu sat sadly on the chair. Her face was obvious; all the pining thoughts were written all over it.
Wei Qiqi suddenly felt somewhat uneasy. Looks like this woman really liked Third Duke Liu Zhongtian. It’s a pity her wish couldn’t be fulfilled, being stuck deep in the palace. That kind of feeling of being in love yet couldn’t see the opposite party was a sad thing. Her hateful feeling instantly turned into pity.
“He is well. He won a war and is now staying in the backyard of the Duke’s manor. Occasionally he will go out and meet friends, ride horse, practise his sword. He will often read books alone!”
Han Yu seemed to long for the scene Qiqi described. She muttered, “The first time I met him was during father’s birthday celebration. He was the tallest amongst all the men. He was handsome and had a dignified air around him. I kept hiding behind the screen cover looking at him, infatuated with him. I pestered father to propose marriage to him and I didn’t expect that the Third Duke will agree. At that time, I was so happy that I couldn’t sleep. We almost got married, but now…”
Han Yu gave Qiqi a cold look, “Now, I’m alone in the palace, thinking of him endlessly. As for you this ugly woman, you destroyed my dream and married my dream. Based on what? You are not fit for him!”
Qiqi originally pitied her, but hearing her justification, Qiqi realised how selfish her love was. Today, no matter who married Liu Zhongtian, she would not be at peace. She only wanted to possess Liu Zhongtian for herself, in person and in heart. That was why she kept pestering Liu Zhongtian, causing the brothers to be at odds. In the end Liu Zhongtian had to request to exterminate the Xiongnu. She really was someone who refused to give up.
“Exactly how ugly you are…” Han Yu suddenly stood up and slowly walked towards Wei Qiqi, “Let me see, what kind of ugly woman did the Emperor give to Liu Zhongtian…”
Qiqi didn’t want to use force on her, hence she kept retreating. However Han Yu kept pressing forward.
If this face cloth got taken down, the palace would have a huge wave of commotion. Liu Zhongtian’s good days would also be numbered. Wei Qiqi clenched her fist, silently warning. Please don’t come forward, if not you would suffer a disadvantage. Qiqi wouldn’t spare Han Yu just because she was Liu Zhongtian’s old flame.
Outside the door, there was a ruckus and an eunuch walked in.
“Reporting to Royal Concubine, the Emperor has orders for all the concubines and new women to send a copy of their names and portraits over. Those who have portraits should send them, while those who don’t have must have a new one drawn. I beseech Royal Concubine to accept the artist’s drawing!”
“What? How can the Emperor not recognize me?” Han Yu retreated, not understanding what was with the Emperor. He actually wanted the portrait and not her, could he have lost his memory?
The eunuch smiled and said, “All the palaces and courts are informed of this!”
“Okay, draw then!” Han Yu looked at Wei Qiqi with dissatisfaction. She ordered the palace maid beside her, “Send the Third Royal Concubine back. I don’t have the time to deal with her now!”
“Yes, My Lady!” The palace maid walked to Qiqi’s front and led the way. Wei Qiqi heaved a sigh of relief and followed closely behind. She did better hurry, else there would be a big trouble.
Wei Qiqi hurriedly left the palace. She was only relieved when she exited the palace gates. Next time around she wouldn’t come no matter what. She touched her head. It was more important to retain her life.
In the palace, the eunuchs were busy for the whole afternoon, before they gathered all the names and portraits of the concubines and new women and sent it into the hands of the Emperor.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, the harem’s 48 concubines’ portraits and the new women’s 15 portraits are here for your perusal!”
The Emperor was full of hope as he received the portraits and looked through each one carefully. When he saw one he would throw one. In the end he looked through all the portraits and the floor was in a mess. He furiously stood up.
“Just these? No others?”
The old eunuch was scared till his face paled. None of them was what the Emperor wanted? He trembled repeatedly as he picked up those thrown portraits. He replied in fear.
“Just these, Your Majesty!”
“Who is that woman, she is not my concubine? She’s not in the portraits!” The Emperor furiously slapped the table. His eyes were looking sharply at the old eunuch, hoping that he could give the Emperor a reasonable explanation.