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Liu Zhongtian gazed at the clouds in the east and knew that dawn was already here. The matter that couldn’t be blocked was arriving. He walked briskly towards his own room and anxiously pushed open the door. The person on the bed seemed to be sleeping soundly, worrying about nothing unlike Liu Zhongtian. She really was a woman who loved to sleep. Liu Zhongtian hung the sword on the wall and walked softly to Qiqi’s side.
Even though Wei Qiqi was a beauty, her sleeping posture was very ungraceful. One of her legs was pressing on the mattress, the other on the side of the bed. Her lips were pouting. Who knew whether she was still angry even while dreaming.
Liu Zhongtian sat on the bed. A wave of sleepiness hit him. He laid down on the bedside and tiredly closed his eyes. Not waiting for him to enter dreamland, knocking sounds could be heard from outside the door.
“Duke, people from the palace are here!”
People from the palace? Liu Zhongtian sat up in a jerk. Wei Qiqi at the side hugged his waist, her mouth mumbling something.
Liu Zhongtian pulled Qiqi’s hands away. He looked at her with irritation. As the Great Han’s Duke, he was unable to stop other men from lusting after his woman. Must he really see Wei Qiqi get ‘kidnapped’ by other people with Wife eyes?
Liu Zhongtian pushed open the door. There were four plain-clothed palace maids standing in the main hall. They really were from the Dowager’s palace. Looks like the Dowager had stood on the side of the Emperor. The palace maids were all drooping their heads. One of them spoke softly, “Duke, the Dowager has called us to bring the Royal Concubine into the palace. She may be required to stay a few days.”
Liu Zhongtian understood immediately. What must come will come. He didn’t speak a single word, silently walked into the room and furiously closed the door. The Emperor had begun this tug-of-war. He wanted to bring Qiqi out of Liu Zhongtian’s area of influence. As long as she entered the palace, it would be easier for the Emperor to obtain Wei Qiqi.
Liu Zhongtian walked to the front of the bed. Qiqi seemed to have woken up. She gave Liu Zhongtian a cold stare. When she saw the Duke’s look of reluctance and pity, she immediately turned her face away. He really was an unpredictable Duke. Yesterday night he wanted to kill her with a sword, yet today he was so gentle. Which one was the real Liu Zhongtian?
“Get up, the Dowager is summoning you into the palace!”
“Dowager?” Qiqi quickly sat up. Why could she not remember this issue? Yesterday, she was drunk, then she went to the imperial garden. What did she do? Sing… Qiqi covered her mouth and looked at Liu Zhongtian in shock, “Why is the Dowager summoning me into the palace?”
“Yesterday you sang and played the pipa, mesmerizing the Emperor even more. He probably made use of the Dowager’s name to summon you into the palace!”
“The Emperor!” Qiqi bit her fingers and jumped down the bed. She frantically pulled her clothes, “I’m not going!”
“Now then you say that you aren’t going. You shouldn’t have made such a commotion in the imperial garden yesterday. There were countless men that fell for you and lost their souls. If I didn’t insist last night, you would’ve been trapped in the palace.”
“I don’t remember.” Qiqi really forgot.
“The Great Han Emperor is now drumming the banner of the Dowager. Even if this Duke wants to help you, he’s helpless. You can go and search for your fortune. However don’t let this Duke see you flirting with the Emperor in the palace, else I might not be able to control myself and really kill you with one sword!”
“Duke!” Wei Qiqi looked at Liu Zhongtian furiously. Flirting with the Emperor? How could he look down on Wei Qiqi? His Hanyu could be humiliated and become the Emperor’s, however Wei Qiqi couldn’t. Liu Zhongtian was such a tyrannical Duke. Apart from knowing his own pride, did he have Wei Qiqi in his heart?
“Qiqi…” Even though Liu Zhongtian spoke in that manner, he still couldn’t control it and hugged Qiqi, kissing her cheeks gently, “The Emperor is forcing me, who knows how long can I endure this? Remember my words, you are my woman. If you really follow the Emperor, you are forcing me to act.”
“You still have Ning Yun-er, why hang on to the old when you have a new one? You aren’t a man who will be lonely. You can hug women on your left and right and have three to four wives. I’m considered nothing, just a woman whom you’ve slept with!” Qiqi pushed Liu Zhongtian aside, her face was pale white. She walked to the door and pushed it open.
Liu Zhongtian was speechless. Qiqi’s words were so melancholic that they pieced his heart. Maybe if Liu Zhongtian could really find someone new and forget the old, he could find release. However with his current state, he was extremely reluctant. Hence no matter what, Liu Zhongtian must enter the palace and see the Dowager. If the Emperor wanted to occupy Wei Qiqi by force, he must pay the price with blood.
For the sake of the Great Han empire and the common people, Liu Zhongtian could give up the throne. Could he also give up a beauty for the sake of the Emperor’s desires? However, Wei Qiqi was more than just a beauty to Liu Zhongtian…
Wei Qiqi walked out of the room. The palace maids were all looking in shock at her. They faced each other. How could this Royal Concubine dress up like this? A weird ponytail, a short top, a pair of pants that only men would wear. Her waist hung a silk belt and her face didn’t have makeup. However she still looked cute.
“Let’s go!” Qiqi pulled over the bicycle and happily whistled. The palace maids were scared till they didn’t dare to make a sound. They followed behind Qiqi while keeping to themselves.
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Liu Zhongtian walked out in irritation. When he saw Qiqi’s dress-up he was shocked. He originally thought that she would dress up nicely and become even more tempting. However Qiqi dressed up just like a man. Who knew what kind of expression the Emperor and Dowager would make upon seeing Wei Qiqi’s manner? He was bothered, but at the same time he couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Duke!” Qiqi rode the bicycle and rushed to Liu Zhongtian’s front. She bent her body forward and planted a kiss on Liu Zhongtian’s cheeks. At that moment, Liu Zhongtian saw the sadness in Qiqi’s eyes. However that grief only lasted for a while before disappearing. When she turned around towards the palace maid, her face was full of a comical smile.
“Let us set off!” Qiqi pressed her leg down and the bicycle rushed towards the front yard.
“Royal Concubine, wait!” The palace maids all started running in order to catch up.
Liu Zhongtian looked thoughtfully at Qiqi’s back. Who knew what kind of scene Wei Qiqi would make upon entering the palace? She could do whatever she wanted in the Duke’s manor, however could she do that in the palace? What would the Dowager think?
He subconsciously touched his face. That kiss just now was not in the presence of anybody. Qiqi only followed her own thoughts to do every single thing. And that expression before leaving… she was actually not happy. Liu Zhongtian’s heart tightened. He was feeling even more reluctant for Qiqi to leave his side.
Liu Zhongtian returned to his room and changed up. Today he must enter the palace and look for the Dowager to hear hints about her stance. If the Dowager really allows the Emperor to do whatever he pleases, then Liu Zhongtian would forsake brotherly ties. However if Qiqi was the one who took the initiative to throw herself into the Emperor’s embrace and follow him, then Liu Zhongtian would have nothing to say.
The people in the palace all knew that Wei Qiqi was under the orders of the Emperor to enter the palace. Nobody was willing to offend her. Wei Qiqi rode the bicycle all the way without restrictions. She shot towards the palace, quickly went through the passageways and barged into the palace’s imperial garden.
At this moment, there was a woman dressed in purple silk robe, with golden hairpins and jade accessories. Under the accompaniment of the consorts, she was admiring the blooming flowers in the imperial garden. That woman was well-dressed in lavish items. One look and people would know that she was someone important.
Suddenly there was a commotion, causing that woman to frown. She set her sights far and saw Wei Qiqi rushing in. Her face lost colour instantly. Why was there a crazy and weird woman coming into the palace?
Wei Qiqi glanced at that woman and the corner of her lips curled. She didn’t bother about that woman at all. The bicycle kept going forward, crushing many chrysanthemum flowers in the process. There were wind sounds roaring wherever the bicycle went through. Qiqi laughed without restraints, having a look of an evildoer. Asking her to enter the palace? That was akin to asking the Lord of Hell to come!
“Who… who is that?” That silk-robed woman pointed at Qiqi and hollered in anger. All the consorts lost the colour in their faces. Who knew when such a lass entered? This was the palace, and she’s simply not holding anybody in regard, preposterous!
A palace maid who was chasing after Qiqi from behind heard that woman’s shout. Drenched in sweat, she immediately ran out and knelt on the floor, “Reporting to Your Highness, that is Third Duke’s Royal Concubine, Wei Qiqi. The Dowager has sent for her.”
“What? Third Duke’s Royal Concubine, that is… a woman? How can she be like this, quickly bring her over!”
So this lavishly-dressed woman was the Great Han Emperor’s official wife. She was the head of the harem. Everyday, consorts would heap praises on her. Occasionally she would bring them to admire the flowers to pass the time. However, today she unexpectedly met Wei Qiqi who barged in.
“Yes, Your Highness!” The palace maid responded and quickly turned around to chase after Wei Qiqi.
The palace maid caught up with Wei Qiqi with much difficulty. She was so tired till she nearly collapsed. She said breathlessly, “Royal Concubine, the Empress wants to see you!”
“The Empress?” Qiqi touched her ponytail. The Great Han Emperor’s official wife. Heh, she must go take a look. Who knew whether she was living a good life, sharing a husband with so many women.
Qiqi turned the bicycle around and rushed to the Empress’ front. The bicycle creaked as it stopped in front of the Empress. The Empress was shocked till she nearly screamed. She retreated repeatedly.
“You are the Empress?” Qiqi’s big eyes surveyed the Empress from head to toe. The Emperor’s official wife, apart from being well-dressed, her looks were passable. Her face didn’t have a trace of anger, one look and she knew that the Empress was a woman who went by the book inflexibly.
The Empress and fellow consorts were stunned by the shocking beauty and spirituality she possessed. How could this weird Royal Concubine have such stunning looks. A consort behind the Empress suddenly shouted in a loud voice.
“How dare you Third Royal Concubine, not paying respects after you’ve seen Her Highness!”
“Pay my respects?” Wei Qiqi flashed a smile while on the bicycle. She quickly came down and comically gave a bow, “Third Royal Concubine Wei Qiqi pays her respects to Your Highness!”