Blanket disclaimer: This novel don’t belong to me. All characters and plots belong to the author. I just translate during my leisure time.
Edited by Kiskaiya
Updated on 8 Aug 2019
Chapter 1: Disposing the Empress
During the early summer when evening falls, there will always be sudden, torrential rains.
The skies were overcast and the dark clouds were suppressing the dignified atmosphere of the Palace. The formerly magnificent palace hall was shrouded by the clouds, as if it was a huge cage, trapping the people inside firmly.
In the large chambers, the curtains seemed old as they were covered with a thick layer of dust. The weather originally was hot, but one actually felt a little cold inside. Clothes and jewellery were scattered all over the floor, as if some calamity had just occurred.
A female was half kneeling on the ground, looking at the person in front.
This female was only in her thirties, but her face was already like that of an old woman. There was deep hostility between her brows and her eyes were as dead as stagnant water, seemingly unable to tear like a long dried well but filled with a bottomless hatred.
“Your Ladyship, please.” The eunuch beside her had a bolt of white silk in his hands and his tone could not hide his impatience, “ZaJia still needs to report back to his Majesty upon completion.”
Shen Miao’s eyes landed on the eunuch. She remained silent for a long time before slowly speaking with a hoarse voice, “Xiao Li-zi, when Bengong promoted you at that time, you were still a dog beside Gao GongGong.”
The eunuch slightly raised his head arrogantly, “Your Ladyship, the present is different from the past.”
“The present is different from the past…” Shen Miao muttered before suddenly raising her head for a laugh, “What a good ‘the present is different from the past’!”
Because of one sentence, ‘the present is different from the past’, all the servants and courtiers who had previously seen her would be respectful and let her order them around. Because of this ‘the present is different from the past’, she ended up with three Chi (1 chi = 1/3 meter) of white silk to end her life. What kind of past is the past and when did the present became the present? Was it starting from when Mei Furen entered the Palace, from when the Crown Prince was deposed, or when Princess Wan Yu died tragically on her long journey for an alliance marriage? Or was it when she came back to the Palace after being a Qin hostage five years ago?
From the ‘past’ to the ‘present’, from an Empress to a deposed Empress, it was all because of Fu Xiu Yi’s one word! This entire court of officials changed their positions and this Ming Qi reversed black and white! What a good ‘the present is different from the past’!
The doors of the hall creaked open and a pair of dragon embroidered boots stopped in front of Shen Miao. Looking up, her eyes were met with a bright yellow robe.
“Seeing that you have followed Zhen for twenty years, Zhen will grant you an intact corpse. Thank this kindness.” The Emperor said.
Shen Miao slowly raised her head and look at the man that was standing tall above . Time did not leave any imprint on his face as he was as handsome as he was in the beginning. He was the wise sovereign and justifiably the Son of Heaven. He was the man that she had foolishly loved for twenty years and the husband that she helped in humble circumstances over the years. Now he said to her, “Zhen will grant you an intact corpse. Thank this kindness.”
“Why?” Shen Miao asked with difficulty.
He did not reply.
“Why the need to eliminate the entire Shen family?” She asked
Prince Ding, Fu Xiu Yi, was one of the nine sons of the Late Emperor. Each of the nine sons had their own merits but the Crown Prince was sickly and the Emperor was not willing to alter the title of the Crown Prince, thus the Princes took the turmoil as an opportunity. She had long fallen for Prince Ding’s peerless talent and regardless of her family’s persuasion, she finally got want she wanted, but also firmly tied the entire Shen family together with Prince Ding.
Because of that, she dedicated herself to assisting Prince Ding, changing from a pampered daughter who did not know anything to a Prince Consort who could participate in court, come up with plans, give advice and also stabilise the country. On the day that Fu Xiu Yi ascended the throne, he established her as the Empress, the mother to the world.
She thought that she was the grandest Empress. When the Princes’ rebellion was quelled, the Xiao Nu attacked, putting the neighbouring countries at risk. In order to borrow troops, Shen Miao voluntarily went to the Qin country as a hostage; when she left, her children were not even a full month. But Fu Xiu Yi had said, “Zhen will personally bring you back.”
Five years later, she finally could return back to Ming Qi, but there was an additional beautiful and talented Mei Furen in the Inner Palace.
Mei Furen was an official’s daughter that Fu Xiu Yi had met during his expedition to the East. He liked her intelligence and sensibility and thus brought her back to the Palace. Mei Furen gave birth to Prince Fu Chen who was much favoured. Conversely, Shen Miao’s son, the Crown Prince Fu Ming, was not favoured at all.
Fu Xiu Yi once said, in the presence of the entire court, “Fu Ming’s character is too soft, Fu Cheng is still the one who resembles me the most.” His words clearly indicated his intention to change the title of the Crown Prince.
As Mei Furen made Shen Miao feel a sense of crisis, they fought in the palace for ten years . Mei Furen had repeatedly gotten the upper hand to the point that she even urged Fu Xiu Yi to marry her daughter, Princess Wan Yu, to the Xiong Nu as a marriage alliance. The Xiong Nu were very aggressive and Princess Wan Yu was immediately cremated after dying from an illness on the marriage journey. Everyone knew the matter was strange, but as a mother, Shen Miao had no alternatives.
At the end, she had walked to where she was.
Fu Xiu Yi’s one decree of “The Shen family revolted, the Crown Prince was deposed and he had commit suicide to atone for his offences.” She as an Empress would also be deposed and three Chi (1 chi = 1/3 meter) of white silk bestowed.
She only wanted to ask one question, “Why?”
Shen Miao reasoned, “Fu Xiu Yi, do you have no conscience? You and I have been husband and wife for more than twenty years and I had not done anything to let you down. When you first ascended to the throne, it was my Shen family that helped you. When you went into battle and the Xiong Nu came to invade, I was the one to help you write the letter of surrender. When you wanted to draw the high ranking officials to your side, it was me who got on my knees to beg them to assist. I went to Qin country as a hostage and suffered torture and pain and how did you reciprocate? When Mei Furen suggested a marriage for Wan Yu, you drafted the Imperial decree. Wan Yu was only sixteen when she died. The entire court was aware that you favoured Fu Cheng while neglecting Fu Ming and now you exterminate my entire clan. Now that death is near at hand, I will ask you one question. Why?”
“Shen Miao.” Fu Xiu Yi frowned, but there was not the slightest change in expression, as if he was a cold statue, “When Imperial Father was around, he had already wanted to deal with several big families. Shen family had accomplishments that could cover the masters, so they could not remain for long. It was Zhen who persuaded Imperial Father. Zhen let the Shen family survive for twenty years, this is already the biggest bestowment to the Shen family!”
Already the biggest bestowment to the Shen family! Shen Miao’s entire body shook. These days she had cried so much that her tears no longer flowed. She faced Fu Xiu Yi and said slowly, “Why keep the Shen family? It was not because of your kindness and not because of your bestowment. You only wanted to make use of the Shen family military power to fight with your Di brothers. After the cunning hare dies, the hounds are boiled. Now that the country is settled, you destroy the bridge after crossing the river. Fu Xiu Yi, you are so heartless!”
“Shen Miao!” Fu Xiu Yi shouted angrily as if he was stabbed in his sore spot. He then coldly scoffed, “Make the best of it then.” Finished speaking, he walked out.
Shen Miao crouched on the floor as she clenched her fists. This was the man that she had loved her entire life. She fought for his favour with Mei Furen and only found out at the end that it was not fighting for favour. This man’s heart was never been with her at all! All the words of love were simply an amusing play, a big joke!
She spat out a mouthful of fresh blood.
“Older sister, what is this? You look awful,” a sweet voice sounded.
The female wore a light yellow robe with a hibiscus sown in front over a willow waist, like a fairy from Heavens. Her actions were very graceful and moving as she approached.
This was Mei Furen, who had the winning hand and fought with Shen Miao for her entire life in the Palace.
Behind Mei Furen there stood two women dressed in the palace’s robes. Shen Miao was surprised for a moment, “Shen Qing, Shen Yue!”
This was the second and third household, Second Uncle’s and Third Uncle’s daughters, her two Older Tang Sisters. Why were they in the Palace?
“His Majesty summoned us sisters into the Palace.” Shen Yue covered her lips as she smiled, “Fifth Younger Sister need not be shocked. Previously, Fifth Younger Sister loved to help us sisters to match make, now it will no longer be needed. His Majesty treats us sisters very well.”
“You…” Shen Miao’s heart was like overturning seas and rivers as, with lightning speed, she seemed to have understood something that she had never considered before. Her voice sounded incredulous as she said, “You. You both have been delaying your marriage all for this day?”
“That is exactly the way it is.” Shen Qing took a step forward, “At the beginning, His Majesty had reached an agreement with my father and Third Uncle. As long as they are able to make you marry His Majesty, in time, us sisters would have the same place to go to.”
In the beginning, when Shen Miao was able to marry Fu Xiu Yi, the second and third households also put in a lot of effort. Thinking back now, when she first fell in love with Fu Xiu Yi, it was Second and Third Aunt who kept mentioning that Prince Ding was a talented youth which made her feelings sprout. So it was actually an agreement that was set up much earlier? So it was actually the second and third households that had hidden their evil hearts and waited for everything to occur today?
Shen Qing was afraid that Shen Miao did not understand and continued, “His Majesty is so capable and handsome and we sisters have long admired him. Unfortunately, only First Uncle had power in his hands and could force Fifth Younger Sister to climb up first. Fifth Younger Sister has lived a fortunate life for many years before, now our hour has come.”
“Shen Qing!” Shen Miao suddenly straightened up and voiced out, “His Majesty seized the entire Shen family but let both of you enter the Palace. How are the second and third households safe and sound?”
“Of course the second and third household would be safe and sound.” Shen Yue covered her mouth as she laughed, “Because we have done a great service. The evidence of Eldest Uncle’s rebellion was presented by our household so as to place righteousness before family. Fifth Younger Sister, in return, His Majesty bestowed high ranking titles to our two households.”
Shen Miao looked at her own two TangJies (female cousins) in shock and said, “Are all of you crazy?When the nest overturns, will any eggs remain intact? The Shen family is one big family, Fu Xiu Yi wants to deal with the Shen family but you all actually frame your own family members…”
“Family members. Fifth Younger Sister, we do not acknowledge the First household as our own family.” Shen Qing laughed coldly, “Moreover, you have enjoyed too much already. Now that the Crown Prince has died, the Princess is no longer here and the Shen family is destroyed, you should leave earlier for the underworld and reunite with them.”
Mei Furen leisurely came forward and smiled brightly, “Older Sister, the country is stabilized, you should retire.”
In the end, after fighting for ten years, Shen Miao lost too tragically, and her life was now in shambles. Lost till her clan had perished and she needed to mourn for her children. Lost till she became a laughing stock to the world!
Her daughter who had met with a violent death, the Crown Prince who was deposed, the Shen family who had sacrificed themselves for the country, not one of them was lucky enough to escape. In one dynasty, everything was overturned!
She bitterly stated ,“BenGong will not die as, after all, one is still a Consort!”
“Chen GongGong, start now.” Mei Furen gave a look to the eunuch.
The plump eunuch immediately took a few steps forward and used one hand to tightly grasp Shen Miao’s neck while he used the other hand to wrap the white silk around it. With a forceful pull, the white silk made a crisp sound against bone as it tore through the flesh.
The female struggling on the floor stared up with large eyes, laying a poisonous vow in her heart.
Her son, her daughter, her parents, brothers, sisters, servants. Everyone in her Shen family was harmed.
Fu Xiu Yi, Mei Furen, Shen Qing, Shen Yue, all the people who harmed her and harmed her loved ones, if there was an afterlife, a debt of blood must be paid in blood!
It’s the time to mourn as everything between you and me is dead!