Alright!!! I am translating the last part now… There will be a total of 13 parts (!) for Chapter 231.
Chapter 231: Return Of An Old Friend (Part 7)
Empress Xian De was walking in the night. As the wind blew, the wine that had been drunk seemed to be overflowing and the dizziness that she felt for a short time disappeared, making one distressingly awake.
She held onto the railing by the pond and sighed with some exhaustion.
She knew that what the words she said today were all in pique. But just how long could Emperor Yong Le live on? She was also extremely fearful and wanted to avoid that ending, unwilling to see or hear, blocking her ears but everytime Emperor Yong Le would take the initiative to bring it up to make her face the things she did not want to face.
There were not only three inches of soil on the ground, much less a person.
Tao GuGu said, “Your Ladyship, it is cold outside. It is better to return.”
Empress Xian De shook her head. There was a string of Buddhist bead on her wrist and it was requested for Emperor Yong Le from the temple. Everyday she would chant Buddhist scriptures, praying to the Heavens to pity the world and let miracles happen.
Every Buddhist beans were smoothen till it is bright, it was obvious that Empress Xian De had been wearing it for many years. She looked at the moon in the skies. The moon was very round and this war would almost reached to a year not long later. After a year of full and new moons, this was a good result. Seeing that the results were near, it was her that could not keep a lid on and made rash moves.
She was a bit disgusted of herself in her heart. After turning around, she wanted to walk forward but heard the sound of pitter-pattering. Upon lowering her head, she did not know when did the string of Buddhist beads broke and all of it fell onto the ground, making such crisp sounds.
It was perfectly fine so how could the Buddhist beads break?
“Tao GuGu…” Empress Xian De muttered and an uneasiness feeling appeared in her heart. It was as if one heart had tightened and in a flash one was unable to breathe.
“Your Ladyship!” Tao GuGu jumped in shock and quickly went over to support her but Empress Xian De waved her hands and squatted down in panic, “Quick. Quicly help me to pick up…”
Tao GuGu just squatted down when she saw Deng GongGong rushing over with a young enunch and said in a shocked expression, “Your Ladyship, His Majesty is somewhat not good. Quickly go and take a look!”
Empress Xian De had only picked up one bead when she heard it and her hand wavered and that Buddhist bead slid down to the ground and onto the pond. There was not even a splash heard and it was no longer seen.
In Yang Xin Hall, all the eunuchs and palace maids were all kneeling.
Deng GongGong stood at the corner with his head hung down with a sad expression.
When Empress Xian De entered, Gao Zhang just came out and shook his head when he saw her.
Empress Xian De stumbled and if it was not Tao GuGu’s supporting her, she would have fallen down.
After a while she said, “All of you withdraw.”
Emperor Yong Le also waved his hand from the bed.
Everyone in the room withdrew.
Empress Xian De stepped forward.
She walked very slowly and seemed to resisting an ending that she did not believe in. But she had to go forward. As she reached the bed, she half knelt down as she looked at the person on the bed.
Emperor Yong Le also looked at her and after a moment, he smiled instead, “It is alright. At least before leaving, one can drink the Snow Wine that you brewed.”
“Xing Zhi…” Empress Xian De looked at him in tears.
She called out ‘Xing Zhi’ and it was Emperor Yong Le’s styled name, not ‘Your Majesty’. When she was still a young girl, Empress Xiao liked her and told her Xie Chi’s styled name. Empress Xian De like Xie Chi’s styled name and felt that this person was very upright.
Even though in the long years, he had given her unerasable injuries but there was no way for Empress Xian De to watch the other party leave.
Wasn’t life destined to have such a fate? This fate was not perfect and was considered a doomed fate but when this doomed fate was about to end, she was stubborn and unwilling to let it go. It was like moths attracted to fire and would not let go till the last moment.
“Qing Zhen, I cannot accompany you.” Emperor Yong Le apologised, “When you married me, one had thought that you will be protected but in fact for so many years, you had not gained anything.” He spoke very slowly and had to rest a while after a sentence, seemingly very difficult for him.
Empress Xian De said, “Don’t speak anymore.”
For the both of them, when they had became the Emperor and Empress, one had called himself ‘Zhen’ and the other called herself ‘ChenQie’ and only when life was about to come to an end and there would never be a reunion anymore, then they used ‘you’ and ‘me’, like a pair of ordinary couple.
He said, “Go and live your life. You are so good so in the future you will be fortunate. Marry to another and don’t choose such a selfish husband like me. Find one who would love you, dote you…”
Empress Xiand De was crying silently.
She suddenly felt her hand was being grabbed and saw Emperor Yong Le staring straight at her. He gritted his teeth and said, “But I cannot be resigned. I do not wish… I am very selfish. You are my woman. I am not willing for you to follow someone else.”
Empress Xian De was startled.
“This year I had been working hard to stay alive, hopping to last a few more days. It was not because to see Xie Yuan ruling everything under Heavens. The empire has been settled and there is nothing that I cannot let go. It’s just that I… Cannot bear…” He used his energy to breath, “I cannot bear to part with you… To be able to be husband and wife with you for half a day more or even a moment more is good.”
“At the beginning when I first saw you and afterwards you were called to enter the Palace, it was actually not Imperial Mother’s intention. From the beginning it was me. It was me who told Imperial Mother that one felt that you are good. For so many years you had thougt that I was satisfied with ‘Empress Xian De’ but it was not true. I said that anyone could be this Empress as long as it was done well but it is not true. From the beginning it was always you. Those words… Are all to deceive you…”
Empress Xian De covered her mouth and said, “Why did you not say it earlier?”
Emperor Yong Le’s face became paler and his voice was almost inaudible. He said, “It is a pity that my life is not good and it had implicated your entire life…” He reached his hand out, seemingly wanting to wipe the tears on Empress Xian De’s face but the action was only done halfway through when it suddenly hang down.
His eyes were closed.
Empress Xian De covered her mouth and buried into the blanket to cry painfully. She cried with all her heart but no one outside could hear it. She buried her voice into the thick bedding and hated that she could not bury her entire self inside and from then onwards she did not need to listen, see, blame or think.
The incense in the copper furnace raised and spread out in the air. There was only restrain in the room and repressing cries as the moon out the window was so bright and gentle, like it was so perfect that it was unreal.
After a long while, Empress Xian De stood up. She gently tided up Emperor Yong Le’s blanket and stablised her lips. She tidied up her hair in front of the mirror and wiped away the tears before opening the door slowly.
The entire roomful of eunuch and palace maids were kneeing outside as Deng GongGong went up and Empress Xian De said calmly, “His Majesty is gone.”
Deng GongGong was stunned before he immediately fell onto his knees. He place his horsetail whisk aside and knowtow onto the floor loudly.
When the eunuchs and palace maids saw it, they all knelt down to kowtow and their cries resounded throughout the Heavens.
“His Majesty —— Has left ——“
Shen Miao looked towards Empress Xian De. Empress Xian De was wearing a plain white mourning dress and her expression was as usual gentle and calm, as if there was no matter that could shake her heart.
After a brief chaos in court, everything calmed down.
Emperor Yong Le had arranged everything before his head, including the passing of the Imperial Edict and also including the possible turmoil within the court. Even though there were some people that were eager to move, but the people that Emperor Yong Le arranged were not furnishings. Moreover Xie Jing Xing frequently sent good news back and everyone knew that Emperor Yong Le had no sons so the fact that the position would be passed down to this only brother of his had been long known.
It was not that there were no voices of doubt but these voices of doubt would eventually fade away. Xie Jing Xing had shown courage and with Emperor Yong Le’s complete arrangement, the Imperial court was actually rather solid and there was not much chaos. Perhaps they knew that once that Prince Rui returned, it would not only victory that he would bring back but the lands of Ming Qi and Qin country. This chaotic situation would be completely be unified and the throne position was not as important as it.
It would be better to be obedient and stay in one’s position and wait for this new Emperor to return to the throne and perhaps they would be able to share some credit.
There were only benefits and interests in the courts. So what about the Inner Palace?
When the women of the Inner Palace lost the Monarch they depended on, naturally they were at a loss too. Some were looking for death but there were more who were looking out for the rest of ther lives. Among the consorts of Emperor Yong Le’s Inner Palace, most of them were daughters of officials and there were none that he took the initiative to bring in. Moreover Emperor Yong Le naturally had a cold personality and other that the previous favoured Lu Jing, he did not lust for females and thus there were no shackles or love and entanglement with those consorts. After Emperor Yong Le’s death, these females took the initiative by requesting help from their family clans, hoping to find a better way out in the later part of their lives.
Empress Xian De calmly handled everything, be it the nation mourning to entering of the Imperial Tombs. There was no request for anyone to be buried together and Emperor Yong Le had already gave instructions to Deng GongGong of the arrangements after death and everything followed his plans.
Shen Miao came to visit Empress Xian De at night. Ever since Emperor Yong Le entered the Imperial Tombs, Empress Xian De was particularly calm. It was also the Mid-Autumn Festival today but she was listening to the Qin being played in Wei Yang Palace.
Shen Miao instructed the palace maid that was playing the Qin to leave and Empress Xian De then saw her and she seemed tired as she smiled and said, “You are here.”
“The day is colder. Your Ladyship has to wear more clothes. If one wants to listen to Qin, it is good to warm up the little furnace, else one might catch a cold.” Shen Miao said.
Empress Xian De smiled without objecting and pointed at the mooncake on the table, “It is made by the Imperial Kitchens. BenGong wanted to instruct people to send it over to you but afterwards thought that it had already been send and thus no longer thought about it.”
Shen Miao smiled, “Your Ladyship should also eat some.”
Empress Xian De waved her hands, “BenGong can’t eat.”
The succession Imperial Edict was issued and after Xie Jing Xing returned to Long Ye, he would be enthroned. At that time Shen Miao would be the Empress. Speaking of which, it was not appropriate for Empress Xian De to use this statuation. However both of them took it to mind.
“These days BenGong kept on thinking about the past. BenGong feels that His Majesty leaving should e a fact that BenGong had long knew and BenGong would definitely be used to it. However as the days passed, one felt even more unaccustomed. One would feel one’s heart empty all day, as if something is missing. WangFei, when Jing Xin left, were you the same?”
Shen Miao was startled.
Was it missing? Naturally there was. It was nothing remarkable when one was in front of one’s eyes but after truly leaving, she then discovered what one had lost. During separation, most likely one would understand the different emotions of oneself. But… Shen Miao unconsciously rubbed her abdomen. Most likely because there was a little one in her abdomen, it would not be so borning during these long and tomerted days.
“You are most likely not the same as BenGong.” Empress Xian De did not wait for Shen Miao’s answer and instead said to herself, “Previously His Majesty do not know what kind of person you are and thus investigate all your matters. As BenGong listen, one knew that you are a person who had a mind of her own. You faced the Imperial family of Ming Qi and protected the Shen family so from the start you have your own thoughts of doing things. As for Jing Xin, marrying him was it was something accidential and naturally fell into place. If you did not encounter Jing Xin, you will still be able live your life because your initial goal was not to be someone’s wife.”
“It is not the same for BenGong.” She looked at the ruby on her fingernail protector and spoke, “BenGong’s family is wealthy and stable without aby dispute in the Imperial court thus one is born without worries. When BenGong encountered His Majesty, one felt that the most important thing in life was being his wife and live with him for a lifetime.” She held her head and slowly spoke, as if she would fall asleep the next moment but she was still speaking.
“Perhaps it is because the first half of BenGong’s life was overly worry-free, so one did not know that being a person’s wife was such a difficult thing.”
Shen Miao did not speak.
It was too difficult for Empress Xian De. These days she did not even speak much but Shen Miao understood that kind of experience. It was because talking about it would not change anything but sometimes, speaking about it was good. For Empress Xian De to speak about it, it was better than hiding it in her heart.