Please update your browser: Your browser is obsolete, you need to update or switch! Missing var() support! Missing grid support! Missing (flex-) gap support! Missing aspect-ratio support! Missing container query support! Missing clamp() support! Missing -webkit-line-clamp support!
    Header Background Image


    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    "Does Your Majesty truly wish to know what your brother-in-law and I discussed?" Xiao Yu tugged at the corners of his lips and said, "When I was young, Your Majesty always disliked my visits to the Qi family. I originally thought it was because you were afraid Father Emperor would be displeased, but it seems that wasn't the case."

    Qi Zhen remained expressionless, saying nothing.

    Xiao Yu looked at Qi Zhen and continued, "Your Majesty is of the Qi family. Should the Qi family fall, the Xing family and those in the Changxin Palace would tear us apart in an instant. Our lives are intertwined with the Qi family's, so even if you're angry with your brother, you shouldn't disregard the bigger picture."

    "What bigger picture? What does that mean? Is ensuring the Qi family's prosperity the bigger picture?" Disappointment flickered in Qi Zhen's eyes as she shook her head. "Yu'er, that isn't the bigger picture."

    Once, she had made the same mistake, believing that prioritizing the Qi family and herself was the greater good.

    "What then would constitute the bigger picture?" Xiao Yu sneered. "Like Father Emperor, who spares every family, showing mercy and creating a potential threat, sacrificing himself to maintain a semblance of control?"

    Upon finishing his words, Qi Zhen raised her hand and slapped him hard across the face.

    Xiao Yu's head jerked to the side in surprise, and he instinctively covered his face, staring blankly at Empress Qi.

    This was the first time Empress Qi had struck him.

    He gritted his teeth, realizing that his uncle was right—his mother only cared about personal emotions, having long forgotten about the Qi family's well-being.

    Xiao Yu licked his cracked lips, lowering his voice as he whispered into Qi Zhen's ear, "Mother, ever since you made your choice at Daci'en Temple nineteen years ago, you should have seen it through to the end. Only with the Qi family in power can you rest assured! Do you truly not see the current state of the court? More and more officials are supporting the Xing family. Since Duke of Britain allied with them, even some of the Qi family's former allies are wavering! Is it your wish for the Qi family to be destroyed under your watch?"

    Nineteen years ago, at Daci'en Temple.

    Qi Zhen's eyelashes fluttered, as if she was reliving that thunderous spring rain.

    Xiao Yu took a gentle step back. "Your son has spoken out of turn. I hope Mother will forgive me! Tomorrow, I'll let Xiao Wu come to the palace to accompany you. Xiao Wu is also from the Qi family. Even if you don't consider me, you should think of Xiao Wu."

    Upon hearing "Xiao Wu," Qi Empress slowly lifted her gaze and said to Xiao Yu, "Get out!"

    The attendants in the corridor stood motionless outside the hall. With a creak, the door opened.

    "Second Prince." The servant bowed respectfully.

    Xiao Yu ignored them, striding through the corridor and descending the jade steps.

    Granny Zhu watched Xiao Yu's retreating figure with a darkened expression. "Stay here and keep watch. Send someone to the Music Bureau to invite Historian Xu. Her little songs are what the Empress likes to hear." With that, she pushed open the inner chamber's door.

    Inside the hall, a faint smoke rose gently from the golden incense burner on the high altar, tendrils of scent winding through the air.

    Empress Qi sat on her luxurious imperial couch, massaging her temples.

    Nanny Zhu hurried forward and gently pressed her temples, asking, "Has Her Majesty's headache returned?"

    Empress Qi softly acknowledged with an "Mm," then asked, "Why isn't Nanny Gui here today?"

    Nanny Gui was Empress Qi's wet nurse and the person she trusted most in the harem.

    Nanny Zhu's eyes flickered as she replied, "Nanny Gui caught a cold today. She's afraid of passing it on to Your Majesty, so she asked this servant to take her place. Should this servant send someone to summon her?"

    "Never mind, let Nanny Gui focus on recovering from her illness."

    Nanny Zhu responded with an "Eh" and added, "This servant took the liberty of sending for Historian Xu to come and sing some soothing melodies for Her Majesty. Listening to a little music might help Her Majesty rest."

    "Tell that girl Li'er to return home. This palace won't be listening to music today," Empress Qi said. "Is the Emperor currently in the Palace of Heavenly Purity?"

    "The Emperor went to the Hall of Mental Cultivation after the court session."

    Empress Qi pondered for a moment before saying, "Send someone to fetch a ginseng soup from the small kitchen, and have them accompany me to the Hall of Mental Cultivation."

    The Empress's litter is on its way to the Hall of Mental Cultivation.

    Wang Dehai was slightly startled upon hearing the report from his subordinate.

    The Emperor usually came to the Hall of Mental Cultivation to attend to state affairs. The concubines in the harem were all astute and would never vie for favor within these sacred halls. Especially Empress Qi, who set an example for all, seldom visited even the Qianqing Palace, let alone the Hall of Mental Cultivation.

    Could something have happened?

    Wang Dehai quickly instructed a young eunuch, "Find out if there has been any significant event at the Kunning Palace today."

    The little eunuch darted out of the corridor, and Wang Dehai turned to enter the Yanging Hall, addressing Emperor Jia You, "Your Majesty, Her Majesty the Empress's palanquin is on its way. What would you like to do?"

    Emperor Jia You set aside the urgent military report he had just received from Yangzhou by horseback and said, "Ask the Empress to come in."

    Wang Dehai bowed and left to carry out the order.

    In no time, he escorted Empress Qi into the hall.

    Emperor Jia You lifted his gaze to meet Empress Qi's.

    She wore a snowy celadon-colored Phoenix Tail skirt today, her steps as graceful as lotus blossoms in motion, maintaining her serene elegance that had remained unchanged for a decade. Time had been lenient with her; despite being well past the age of forty, she still appeared to be a woman in her twenties. Her delicate eyebrows and alluring eyes, coupled with her ethereal beauty, made her seem like a peerless beauty who had stepped out of an ancient painting.

    Once, Qi Family's young miss was the most dazzling beauty in the capital, the object of affection for countless young men in the city.

    All said, "Many suitors seek Qi's daughter," but few dared to actually propose. Everyone knew that the esteemed Miss Qi had long caught the eye of the Empress, destined to become the future Crown Princess.

    It wasn't until his father, the Emperor, issued a royal edict for their marriage that their paths intertwined. Two people who should have never crossed paths were now bound together.

    Emperor Jiayou's lips curved into a subtle smile as he asked, "Why has the Empress come?"

    Empress Qi took a soup bowl from a carved huanghuali wood tray and replied, "Your Majesty has been attending to state affairs in the Palace of Nurturing Heart these past two days, likely neglecting sleep and meals in your diligence. This is a ginseng soup prepared by this concubine; please have a few sips, Your Majesty."

    As she spoke, she personally served the soup, her blue-bottomed lotus flower jade bowl highlighting her delicate hands' fairness, as pure and flawless as frost and snow.

    "Thoughtful of you, Empress," Emperor Jiayou acknowledged, taking the jade bowl without hesitation and finishing the soup spoon by spoon.


    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.