Love in Another Life: My Gentle Tyrant - lightnovelgate.com
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Hope you guys enjoyed the sweetness of the last two chapters! The flashback from Chapters 2 to 5 have ended, and we’re back to the beginning where Xuanji has been sentenced to execution. So… well…Chapter Six
Back then, Xu Xi had reported to the Emperor that the sun had arisen, following which, Long Fei-li departed from the Internal Affairs prisons, his face a picture of calm and serenity.
In the days following, many things occurred in quick succession. Every single one of these events swept through the country in a whirlwind of shock and terror, implicating the lives of many, changing their eternal fates.
Xu Xi's train of thoughts was suddenly broken off by a hoarse cry.
The iron sword which burrowed itself into Mou Quan's body caused his neck to fracture in an instant. Pain morphed his face as he took a few quick gasps of air before his eyes rolled up to reveal the whites of his sockets.
Except, within this prison, not one person cared about his life.
In the dust that settled, Xuanji walked forward, her steps extremely slow and difficult. As she stumbled, a hollow sound echoed dully in the four walls of the cells. Her ankles had been chained with a shackle which dragged across the floor. Numerous spikes were embedded onto the manacles, piercing through her flesh, and staining her robes with the dark red of coagulating blood. With each step, more blood spilled from her wounds.
Xu Xi's heart rose to his throat at the sight of her, swaying unsteadily as she moved forward, one step a time. Quietly, he turned to glance at Long Fei-li. As expected, everyone within the cells were looking at the Emperor, even the prison guard, Zhang Jin.
Zhang Jin's heart was long in a disarray. His hands clenched tightly in a fist.
As Xuanji stopped in front of Long Fei-li, slowly, she raised her head.***
In the past, Zhang Jin had seen the beauties of the Imperial Palace.
Nian Xuanji could not be considered an absolute beauty - that was his first impression. Yet she exuded a clear and untouchable air, elegant and restrained, as though she did not belong to this world. Her skin was pale as snow, her eyes clear and spirited.
Only, her face was wan, the corner of her lips mottled with specks of white - dead skin.
And, what shocked him was the sight of her abdomen, gently protruding - she was with child!
As the Emperor's woman, her child was royalty.
Did the Emperor not even care about his flesh and blood?
Zhang Jin was still recoiling from the horror, but from a corner, Xuanji had already said in a quiet voice, 'Why have you come?'
'To visit you.' As Long Fei-li said these words, he extended one hand, enveloping Xuanji into his embrace.
The two of them were separated by the mere distance of a footstep, the barest gap. This sudden movement caused the spikes on the manacles to pierce further into Xuanji's ankles, carving out a large chunk of flesh.
She bit her lips, her forehead drenched with cold sweat.
'What are you wearing within your cloak?' Long Fei-li said with a smile that did not reach his eyes.
Xuanji cast a guarded glance at him, her hands clenching into a fist on her robes.
Zhang Jin saw the smile on Long Fei-li's lips widen. He watched fearfully as an abrupt sound of silk tearing rang through the air.
In the next moment, his vision was enveloped with darkness, his face having been covered with a large piece of cloth.
Yet the thought that flew through his mind was the last vision he had of the room - torn silk scattering in the air, a blur of white and red.
And, Consort Nian's snow-white enticing body.
The instant the Emperor had torn her robes, Xu Xi had thrown a white cloth over his face, shrouding his vision in a cloud of darkness.
Before he could even come to his senses, his body had already been unceremoniously lifted. He was thrown out of the prison cells, landing heavily on the snow-covered grounds.
Standing before him were three men and four horses.
The Emperor did not exit.
Snowflakes fluttered in the skies, blanketing the entire capital into an endless white. From afar, there appeared the muted glows of a few lamps but even this amber warmth could not penetrate the bitter cold of the night. A fearful chill gripped at his heart.
Abruptly, the air reverberated with sudden cries of agony.
That voice - it belonged to Nian Xuanji!
What had the Emperor done to her!!
In his agitation, Zhang Jin made to rush into the cells once more, but he saw that Long Zijin had already hurried forward in the direction of the prisons.
A chilling breeze swept through the grounds, bringing with it a jolt of coldness.
In the next moment, a long sword was pointed at Long Zijin.
'Prince Lingrui - only if you manage to kill me,' Qingfeng said coldly.
'In this world, how many people can gain the upper hand against you in a fight?' Long Zijin sneered, his hands clasped behind his back. Yet he suddenly reached forward, fingers clenching around the sharp blade of Qingfeng's sword. Blood flowing, he said bitterly, 'Even if I am not your match, I have to fight.'
Twin figures danced in the snows, their swords clashing.
Zhang Jin clenched his fists. As a scholar unschooled in martial arts, he could not tell who had gained the upper hand, only, he heard Long Zijin's sharp voice suddenly exclaim, 'Xu Xi, Ninth Brother has steeled his heart and made up his mind to kill Xuanji this time! Are you not going to say something?'
The Head Eunuch, Xu Xi, who had, until then, remained silent, said in a hoarse voice, 'She should have died a long time ago.'
In an instant, the snowstorm increased in its intensity, a cloud of white snow fluttering madly across the night skies. Long Zijin's low roar of desperation preceded the spew of blood which splattered across the unmarred grounds outside the prison, as, in the next moment, the hoarse cries of a woman pierced through the night.***
Within the prison cells, Long Fei-li stared coldly at Xuanji, his face a blank mask, revealing nothing.
Her body was only covered with a pale blue inner robe. At some point in time, Long Fei-li had grasped the long chains connected to the manacles restraining her ankles, winding the coils of the chains around his elegant fingers. With a tug, blood spilled forth from her ankles, bleaching the mottled floor a fresh red.
Long Fei-li narrowed his eyes, a half-smile tracing his lips.
The manacles on her ankle were embedded with sharp spikes. Xuanji's face turned ashen but her only response was to fix her unwavering gaze on him, lips still curved in a faint smile. Only when she could not suppress the sharp pain which speared through her did her cries escape her.
'I was under the impression that you could be more stubborn,' Long Fei-li said, raising a brow.
'If Your Majesty would deign to try these shackles for yourself, perhaps you would understand my pain,' Xuanji smiled.
'Oh? So you do know what it feels like to be in pain?' Long Fei-li's fingers tightened around the chains, coiling the chains another notch.
In a flash was the spill of more blood, pooling gently on the floor. Xuanji bit her lips until blood welled from her cut lips. Only by doing so could she manage to suppress the blinding pain which warped through her body.
The air was a frigid coolness and her clothes did not cover fully cover her body. In the wintry cold, her lips were a purplish hue, her body swaying with faint tremors that wracked her small frame.
Long Fei-li reached out and clasped her jaw within his fingers, knuckles whitening. He said, 'Tell me, for whom have you worn the red dress within your cloak? Hm?'
'I'll wear the dress for whoever awaits me in the afterlife,' Xuanji replied, the corners of her lips lifting in a radiant smile.
The fingers clasping her jaw suddenly tightened their grip and a loud echo reverberated in the air.
Her jaw had been dislocated.
The man's broad palm stroked her abdomen. Eyes burning with cold disgust, he said, 'Such a beautiful wedding dress! Tomorrow, with this bastard child of yours, you are going to marry Bai Zhanfeng in the afterworld, am I right?'
Xuanji smiled faintly, a glimmer of wetness in her eyes.
'Mm. Bearing that man's child, wearing a wedding dress for him… Xuanji, you've done well.' Long Fei-li's voice was soft and gentle, a contradiction to his fingers which clutched at her neck in a stronghold.
The corners of Xuanji's lips were smeared with blood, yet her smile did not falter. 'Not as well done as you, My Majesty. That year, Bai Zhanfeng secured the Sundial Mountains, after which, you deployed him to the Xuelan Mountains.
'With thirty thousand troops battling against a force of a hundred and fifty thousand, he spent night after night devising innumerable strategies in his camp. Even when his supplies routes were destroyed and his troops driven to a desperate corner, he still fought to his death to resist the enemy! But what did he get in exchange for all those months spent fighting for the country? The court refusing to deploy any reinforcements!'
An indescribable emotion flashed across Long Fei-li's cool eyes, but that sudden flare of emotion quickly vanished. What remained was the grip of his fingers tightening another notch.
Ignoring the sharp burn in her throat, Xuanji continued hoarsely, 'You don't like listening to these? Yet, I have more to say. In the end, from the very beginning, you have never trusted me. This child's father is whoever you think he is. Tomorrow, when day breaks, I will marry Zhanfeng.
'In his very last moments, with his body pierced with over thirty stab wounds and broken arrows, Bai Zhanfeng still managed to kill the foreign Commander, preventing the enemy troops from engaging in battle for the next seven days. He fought to gain this precious time for you, but what about himself? His dead body was mutilated by the enemy - nothing was left of him!'
The tears, when they flowed, were unstoppable, sliding down her curve of her face, melding with the blood which welled on her lips.
Through the tears, Xuanji smiled, 'Since he did not abandon me, I will marry him. There is no grief for me to marry this kind of man!'
'You are aggrieved to be my consort?' Long Fei-li said, voice low and mocking.
A jerk of his hands, and Xuanji's inner garment was torn to pieces. Her body was laid bare before him, without any inch of cloth as a cover.
His eyes were dark, burning with cold anger.
Xuanji's eyes widened with fear as she attempted to take a half-step backwards. Yet his hand had already grasped at her waist in a tight grip, preventing her struggles.
From the floor, a low gasp of breath sounded - it was a prison guard, heaving his last breaths of life.
His forehead creased. His hand, which had been clenched around the curl of her chains, jerked in an abrupt movement. An indistinct sound rustled in the air, and the prisons once again descended into an eerie silence.
On the floor lay the bodies of several guards, each pierced with a silver needle which gleamed under the moonlight.
'Apart from me, no one else can lay their eyes on your body. Why have you not understood this simple matter?' he murmured, lips caressing her earlobes.
The numbness of her limbs clashed with the icy burn of her ankles.
His eyes burned with callousness.
She trembled. In her panic, unthinkingly, she reached over and covered his eyes with both her hands.
When her hands, cool and devoid of warmth, brushed across his eyes, his fingers on her restrains twitched - a small, minute movement.
Perhaps, when she entrusted the fate of her life to Bai Zhanfeng, she had chosen to forget everything which had transpired between them.
In Fengjiu Palace, cool wind swept through the grounds, the darkness of the night lit by the soft glow of the moon.
In a giddy happiness, she reached over to remove his crown and untie his hair, which was bound into a knot. Her hands were neither dexterous nor nimble. Oftentimes, she tugged at his hair with excessive strength. Yet she appeared to enjoy doing this simple action, never seeming to be bored by it.
Each time Xu Xi withdrew from their quarters to provide them with privacy, his brows were always raised.
With his hair let loose from his crown, he propped himself up on one elbow on their bed, lazily watching her tie and untie his hair.
To bind one's hair into a knot - a rite of passage, a marriage custom, where the lives of two lovers will forever be intertwined, never to doubt nor part.
'Ah Li, did you know, a woman's hair can only be unpinned by her husband? A man's hair is the same, so your hair should only be tied by me, unpinned by me.'
'Forget it. You have so many women by your side. Why did I even tell you these?'
Brows raising, his mouth quirked in a smile. Reaching over, he pulled open her robes, revealing her body, uncovered and bare, before his eyes.
She flushed, and he watched her with eyes that sparkled with exuberance. He thought that she would reach over to hide herself, but she moved closer, lips stopping a mere inch away from his. From this distance, he could see the vibrant red of her lips. A wave of contented happiness washed over him. As he made to press his lips against hers, her hands suddenly covered both his eyes.
'As if I'll let you see!' From beside his ears, her mischievous voice said happily.
Immediately, his hands enveloped hers, and with quick flip of his body, he swiftly reversed the situation, trapping her body securely under his, lips moving against hers.