Love in Another Life: My Gentle Tyrant Chapter 16

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Chapter Sixteen
The Young Emperor.

'This humble servant…'

'Oh, a servant? In such a hurry that even your shoes have fallen?' The man's gaze swept across her slender ankles, derision clear in his eyes. 'Such good satin. Even within the imperial harems, few consorts have the privilege in wearing them.'

A bitter smile stretched across Xuanji's lips. She had known that her attire would lead to trouble. Earlier, when she had knocked that servant girl into unconsciousness, she had briefly considered switching their attires, but the sight of the imperial palanquin crossing the archway of the entrance terrified her and she did not dare linger a moment longer.

At the sight of the man's keen stare, Xuanji understood immediately that she was akin to a helpless prey in the hands of its natural enemy. There was no use in being frightened.

'Forgive me, Your Excellency, but do you know who those guards are pursuing?'

'I have heard that the Consort of Fengjiu Palace has disappeared.'

The moment those words left the man's mouth, realisation dawned on his face. 'Clever.'

It had only been minutes since her escape, yet the news had already spread through the entire palace? She had only asked that question to test if the man had known of her identity. As expected, he had indeed known! It was probable that he had met Consort Nian before and knew what she looked like.

'What do you want?'

Earlier, he had not surrendered her to those guards - but why? She stared at him.

Before he entered the palace, he had heard numerous rumours surrounding this woman standing before him: of her temper, arrogant and wilful; of her character, domineering and bossy. From his interactions with her today, there appeared to be a silver of a truth in those rumours, but… not entirely.

Those bright eyes staring at him were neither docile nor respectful. Lips stretching into a smile, he said, 'If you agree to become my woman, I will help you.'

Stunned by those words, casually uttered, Xuanji stared at the man for a second, as though doubting her ears. Cold anger rose within her and she said, 'I am the Emperor's consort.'

'Ignoring the fact that he is currently away, even if he were here today, are you certain that he would be able to save you?'

Xuanji did not say a word. The man's words were an open challenge of the Emperor's authority. Who was he?

Did that mean that the Emperor… she recalled what the blue-eyed man had said: that the young Emperor was simple and unsophisticated, and that the Empress Dowager had governed the country in his stead.

Was the Emperor a useless puppet?

She could not help the sadness welling in her heart. She had originally thought that if today, she was to be lucky enough to escape, she would head for the Autumn Mountains in search of him.

But now…

At the sight of her face, an open book, the flicker of emotions clearly displayed, a tremor rose in the man's heart. He clutched at her shoulder, his gaze landing on the exposed silver of her chest beneath her robes.

In a mild voice, Xuanji finally said, 'You really want me?'

She lowered her head, exposing the curve of her neck, slender and porcelain.

As an obvious aristocrat, the man had seen all sorts of beautiful women in the past. He was capricious and cruel, intending only to toy with her before tossing her aside, but now, a flutter of excitement blossomed in his heart.

Droplets of water, flowing from the waterfall behind the rock gardens, splashed across the both of them.

He had heard that on the day of the Emperor's wedding to the Empress and the other three consorts, this woman standing before him was the one the Emperor had chosen to spend the night with.

Desire clouded his eyes; Xuanji's hands encircled around his neck.

He lowered his head, his lips reaching to brush against hers, yet a swift force abruptly swept from behind the nape of his neck.

Alarmed, he raised his head, and Xuanji's hands missed their mark on his neck. A cold laugh escaped him, but in the next instant, he saw the smile on Xuanji's lips widen, preceding the sharp pain which speared through his lower body.

Xuanji, whose feint attack had succeeded in rendering that man paralysed with pain for a few moments, immediately turned to run.

Yet she had only managed to run a few steps before her waist was once again encircled within the man's strong grip. Her entire body was carelessly flung atop a large rock, a blinding pain emanating from her lower back. Wiping the smear of blood on her lips, she glared coldly at the man before her.

His fingers tightened around her jaw, a cruel gleam in his eyes.

'Such ruthlessness.'

His hands fastened upon hers; the shattering of her joints reverberated in the silence of the courtyard.

Pain, sharp and blinding, fractured her vision with darkness as tears stung her eyes. Yet she knew that any display of weakness would only provoke greater viciousness.

Clenching her jaw, Xuanji forced herself to smile lightly, 'Some people just like to think themselves clever, don't they? No matter how simple the Emperor is, he is still the ruler of this country. No matter how useless he is, he is still my husband. Whether he has the ability to save my life remains a question beyond your concern! Who are you to judge?'

As the words left her, Xuanji was jolted back to her senses.

How could she have defended the Emperor who had left her as a sitting duck in this vast palace? She was insane! Wasn't she just hastening her own death?

As expected, the man's gaze darkened. 'What a beautiful display of faithfulness! Since you are so desperate to die, allow me to fulfil your wish!'

You never intended to let me off, Xuanji thought, but did not vocalise these words. Her heroic acts had already resulted in the agonising pain warping through her body, and she decided to keep silent from now on.

In a low, mocking voice, the man said, 'Consort Nian is here. Aren't you going to greet her?'

The imperial guards, who had already withdrawn, were alarmed by this sudden proclamation, and quickly hastened back.

Xuanji, who had been captured not even thirty minutes after her attempt to escape, also wanted to die.

All right. She was going to die soon.

The courtyard of Fengjiu Palace was astir with commotion and transformed with new additions: an imperial palanquin; a flogging rod; a large crowd.

Xuanji was tossed to the ground, landing in front of a luxuriously dressed woman. The woman's gaze sharpened at the sight of her, a cold sneer stretching across her lips.

'So, you've managed to survive earlier. This time, let us witness how you can escape.'

Xuanji understood at once that this woman was the Empress Dowager.

The man’s voice rang loudly from behind, 'Greetings to the Queen Mother, the Empress, and the other Consorts.'

A smile transformed the Empress Dowager's face into a picture of benign amiability as she nodded at the young man.

'We're one family. Prince Zining, you are too courteous.' Another voice said mildly from the corner.

This insane man was the Emperor's brother? Wait, the Empress and the other consorts were all here?

It was only at this moment that Xuanji finally noticed the dozen elaborately dressed women standing by the Empress Dowager's side. Of them, three women in particular piqued her interest.

The woman standing to the left of the Empress Dowager was a stunning beauty, her expression charming, the pale-yellow robes she wore fluttering gently in the wind.

The woman standing at the right was the one who had greeted Prince Zining earlier. Though she did not possess a striking countenance, she held herself with a regal air. Her robes were stitched with hundreds of phoenixes, and Xuanji had an indistinct feeling that this was the Empress.

Standing by the Empress was another attractive woman, her exquisite features not the least lacklustre compared to the woman who stood by the left of the Empress Dowager.

Each of these women had their own charms. Did that mean that this Nian Xuanji was too, a striking beauty? If it were not so, why had the Emperor chosen to visit her rooms on the night of his wedding? Zhu Qi was suddenly curious as to the features of this body her soul was currently residing in.

Women were such strange creatures. Even in the face of death, she was still preoccupied with this.

Her smile faltered and she could not help the slight tremble of her body.

An intense gaze fixed upon Xuanji - it was Prince Zining. Xuanji smiled coldly and glared back at him, not wanting to be outdone.

'Your Majesty, now that this criminal has been captured, how should she be dealt with?' The woman to the left of the Empress Dowager spoke, her elegant brows raised.

The Empress Dowager's hard gaze swept across Xuanji. Coldly, she said, 'Not only did Consort Nian attempt to poison me, she also tried to abscond from her punishment. Her crimes are unforgivable. Guards! Have her flogged to her death!'

Every moment delayed was another second of life. Urgently, Xuanji said, 'Your Majesty, you've claimed that I attempted to poison you. Dare I ask, where is the evidence? I refuse to surrender without even knowing the facts.'

'Xuanji, your personal servant has already admitted to the charges. Are you still denying your crimes?' The woman to the right of the Empress Dowager said, her lips curling into an angelic smile.

'Very well. Bring that wretched servant over,’ said the Empress Dowager.

At this moment, two eunuchs dragged a small servant over. The young servant was covered in fresh blood from head to toe, open wounds crisscrossing both her hands which hung limply by her sides.

At the sight of Xuanji, those hazy, befuddled eyes seemed to spark with life once more. The girl broke free of the eunuchs and rushed to Xuanji's side, crying, 'Consort Nian, Consort Nian, they lied to me, they said that they will let you off if I admitted to the charges. I will never betray you even if I die… they lied to me…'

How old was this child? At the most, she could only be thirteen or fourteen years of age, yet she had already suffered through such torture. Eyes prickling with tears, Xuanji stumbled up from the ground to tightly embrace the girl.

Her eyes landed on each individual within the courtyard as she spoke. 'What you want is my life. Let her free and I will admit my crimes. Otherwise, even if I am dead, I will never plead guilty.'

The woman to the left of the Empress Dowager sneered coldly, 'Ridiculous! Who do you think you are to talk terms with the Queen Mother!'

'Yu Kouzi.' The Empress Dowager's brows drew together, her stare sharpening.

The eunuch called Yu Kouzi was youthful, a picture of attractive intelligence. He had been serving the Empress Dowager for many years and could easily fathom her wishes. At once, he turned to the guards and said, 'Begin the sentence!'

A few guards swarmed forward, pressing Xuanji and her young servant to the floor.

Fury rising, Xuanji said coldly, 'Your Majesty, no matter what, I am still the Emperor's consort. The Emperor is currently away. Aren't you afraid of the consequences when he returns?'

'Xuanji, did you forget that the Emperor only left for the Autumn Mountains to pay his respects to his ancestors? The Emperor is filial. You attempted to poison the Queen Mother - do you think he would let you off?' That angelic woman said, contempt clear in her voice.

Xuanji did not say anything else.

What else could she say, when everyone here was determined to have her dead?

If it were true that one night's worth of the Emperor’s affection to Nian Xuanji was sufficient to kindle the murderous intents of everyone within the imperial harems, then the original Xuanji did not live her life in vain. But what about Zhu Qi?

In her moment of distraction, she was only brought back to her senses when she heard the swift wind of the flogging rod being brought down. Yet pain did not assail her senses. Alarmed, she turned, only to see that the young servant had curled herself protectively over her.

The rod landed heavily on the young girl's body, and she spat out a mouthful of blood. Her face, which had already been mottled with dried blood, whitened even further.

The girl’s fingers wound tightly around Xuanji's wrists as she murmured deliriously, 'Consort Nian, Consort Nian…'

Xuanji's heart twisted with desperation as she tried to break free from the girl's protective hold, but the girl, with a sudden strength, did not release her grip.

How long had it been since she last cried like this?

This was a servant who had accompanied the original Xuanji when she had married the Emperor, wasn't it? Even if the girl was sacrificing her life only for the original Xuanji, Zhu Qi could not help the rush of her tears.

She had never experienced such warmth and affection borne out of simple loyalty. In the 21st century where she had lived to the age of twenty-three before meeting her violent end at the streets of Xining, not one person had ever treated her in such a manner.

Like a castle of sand crumbling into dusts, all of Xuanji's resistance collapsed. 'I beg you, please, let her go, she is only a child. I will admit it, I will admit it all, please, just let her free…'

Yet the only response which greeted her pleas was the disdainful laughter of those extravagantly attired women.

Just for the sake of one man’s affection - was all of these worth it?

She laughed.

What was this world that she had come to?

'Queen Mother, I have a bold request. Regarding Consort Nian, we should wait for the Emperor's return before deciding on her punishment. I am afraid that this will cause your relationship with the Emperor to deteriorate…' The Empress, who had been remaining silent, suddenly said as she knelt on the grounds.

'My heart is firm,' the Empress Dowager said coldly.

The hand which had been curled around Xuanji's body slowly loosened. The child’s eyes had already closed. Xuanji's heart seized with helplessness even as she took the opportunity to hide the girl's small body under hers, shielding her from the unsparing rod.

No matter if the child was already dead.

The rod landed heavily on her, its dull thump an empty echo in the courtyard. The pain which warped through her was all-encompassing, its sharp burn penetrating her very bones, forcing all other thoughts out of her mind, leaving her senses conscious of only the blinding agony.

It turns out, such a flogging was actually so difficult to endure.

Xuanji bit down on her lips, refusing to let the silver of weakness escape her voice.

It was that expression again: a clear pair of eyes, liquid and expressive, shining with obstinacy. Prince Zining's brows drew together as he stared at her.

Bile rose from Xuanji’s throat as her vision blurred, her grip on reality slipping away. She tightened her hold on the child.

Even if she died, she could not loosen her hold…

Beyond the indistinct haze of her consciousness, threatening to fade, the echo of light footsteps drew near.

A voice rang clearly from above her.

'Stop this instant!'

Many years later, Xuanji still remembered the very first time she heard his voice, mild and refined, the faint hint of an unfathomable emotion clouding its clarity.

The flogging rod, suspended in the air, did not land on her. There was a flurry of movements and the courtyard transformed in an instant, everyone falling to their knees on the ground, a sudden anxiousness palpable in the air.

Through her blurred vision, she saw the faint outline of the newcomer’s imposing stature. Apart from the Empress Dowager, this was the only person who remained standing.

This was… the Emperor?

Xuanji clenched her teeth and crawled over to those pair of majestic boots, fighting against the oppressive heaviness of exhaustion to grasp at his shoes, her knuckles whitening, grip unyielding.

He bent down, fingers curling around her shoulder.

The smell of ambergis lingered in the air.

In a low voice, the Emperor finally spoke. 'You have suffered.'

'Save…' Her voice choked.

'I will return you justice.'

'Please, I beg you… save her, she is still just a… child.' Trembling, she raised a finger and pointed in the direction of the mess of blood and bones, before her hand fell to the floor in her fatigue.

As darkness enveloped her vision, her last memory was of his fingers, stilling around her shoulders.

I just discovered another fanmade MV: / starring Liu Shishi and Wallace Huo! I’m just in awe at how people manage to produce them so wonderfully like it’s an original drama ❤ (But be warned that it contains some spoilers, though not as much as compared to the other MVs as this MV is relatively short)

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Love in Another Life: My Gentle Tyrant Chapter 16 summary

You're reading Love in Another Life: My Gentle Tyrant. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Mo Wu Bi Ge, 墨舞碧歌. Already has 857 views.

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