After the last visit to the Beast Garden, Emperor Chu declared that Shen Fengyue would receive a great gift on the Qixi Festival.
At that time, Emperor Chu’s hands were stained with fresh red from the raw meat, but he didn’t wipe them off and just let them sway in front of him. He smiled like a bright chrysanthemum. Shen Fengyue was resistant in his heart and refused.
However, despite dragging it out, the Qixi Festival still arrived in despair.
On that day, the palace held a grand banquet, and the concubines wrapped food in flour and fried them into auspicious fruits. Under the moon, they used silver needles to pray to the Weaver Girl for skillful hands.
After finishing these things, everyone dispersed to play some small games with their friends. Shen Fengyue didn’t want to stay in the group of women for too long, so he perfunctorily dealt with the flattering women who came to him and sat in front of the corridor to admire the moon.
Tonight’s moon was unusually bright, hanging far above the sky. It shone alone, making it even more eye-catching.
Shen Fengyue looked up at the moon. Its color was white and bright. He had seen blue moons, white moons, and red… wait, no red moons.
After looking at it for a while, he felt bored just staring at it and always felt restless. Upon further thought, he became a little frightened, as if the moon represented something uncertain.
He moved his gaze away to look at the palace maids around him.
“Imperial Concubine.” Shen Fengyue turned his head in response and saw Emperor Chu walking towards him with the support of Eunuch Shen.
Emperor Chu didn’t look very good, as if his soul and body had already separated. He was extremely excited mentally, but his body was extremely weak. He was impatient with Eunuch Shen’s support, shook off his hand, and insisted on walking alone, tremblingly walking to Shen Fengyue.
He held a small black box in his hand, only the size of a palm, and decorated with gold powder depicting a beautiful blooming peony. Emperor Chu opened the lid and revealed what was inside.
It’s a jade comb, mainly made of white jade with a hollowed-out piece in the middle, inlaid with a bright red chicken-blood stone.
“Yan Yan…” he called.
Shen Fengyue responded with a sound.
Emperor Chu trembled, but still stubbornly picked up the jade comb. Shen Fengyue knew his intentions and obediently lowered his head slightly.
The exquisite jade comb was inserted into his hair, and Emperor Chu looked at him for a while with his eyes on his head before suddenly laughing and saying affectionately, “Yan Yan, I wish to win your heart and never be apart, even if we are separated by the Yellow Springs and blue skies, we will still be together.”
His health was not good, so he couldn’t stay long and only spoke a few words with Shen Fengyue before he had to leave.
Shen Fengyue’s originally good mood was ruined by him. Emperor Chu’s gaze was inexplicably strange, like… looking at a burial object.
Yes, a burial object. The old man was really bad.
He returned to the bedroom angrily, closed the door to make sure no one was there, and immediately pulled the comb off his head and threw it to the ground. The jade comb shattered immediately, and Shen Fengyue stomped on it a few times in anger.
“Shameless old man, he won’t even let me go when he’s dead!”
A chuckle spread in the room, it was the voice of an adult male, deep and hoarse with a hint of magnetism. Shen Fengyue couldn’t recognize it for a moment.
“Who?! Get out!”
There was the sound of fabric rubbing, and someone walked out from behind the screen, with a leisurely and unhurried pace, as if strolling in their own courtyard.
“If the slave doesn’t change his voice, the mistress won’t recognize me. Does it have to be like this, Your Majesty?” He said, “Must I use the sharp voice of an ordinary eunuch, Your Majesty?” He used the usual sharp tone of a eunuch for the last words “Your Majesty.”
As soon as he saw the person clearly, Shen Fengyue breathed a sigh of relief and kicked the debris under his feet toward the person’s feet. He then stepped onto the bed and said in a displeased tone, “Eunuch Shen, trespassing into the concubine’s palace is a serious crime.”
“Oh?” Eunuch Shen picked up a piece of debris from the ground and carefully examined it. He didn’t even give him a glance. “But Your Majesty, destroying the imperial gift is also a serious crime, especially when it’s such a precious token of expression.” He then seemed to remember something and looked at the pale wrist exposed by Shen Fengyue, noticing that there was nothing on it.
Shen Fengyue followed his gaze to his wrist and understood what he meant. He lowered his sleeve to cover his wrist.
When there’s nothing going on, Eunuch Shen must have some tricks up his sleeve.
“Eunuch Shen came to see this palace, just like a weasel paying New Year’s respects to a chicken – up to no good.”
Eunuch Shen shook his head. “No, no. This slave has important matters to report to Your Majesty.”
Shen Fengyue was taken aback and probed, “Is it about Emperor Chu?”
Eunuch Shen nodded slightly in response.
“The North Star is fading.”
The medicine had a huge effect and Emperor Chu gradually became weak and bedridden. No matter how much medicine he took, it had no effect. It wasn’t long before news of his critical illness spread, and the courtiers and concubines stayed in the royal audience chamber waiting for the result.
Emperor Chu lay on the dragon bed, weak and feeble. He felt the passing of life so clearly.
He summoned Shen Fengyue to his sickbed, trembling as he tried to lift his hand. Shen Fengyue took his hand and sat at his bedside.
The hand in his was thin, withered, and had rough wrinkled skin. The veins stood out and climbed up the back of the hand. It had lost the warmth that a normal person should have.
“Yan Yan…” Emperor Chu opened his mouth, his lips dry and peeling, even his voice was dry and fragmented as he spoke, “You’ve come.”
Shen Fengyue responded with a sound of acknowledgment.
Emperor Chu tilted his head slightly to the right, trying to get a clearer look at Shen Fengyue.
Concubine Yan was dressed in a gorgeous and dazzling manner as usual, with a towering Feitian bun1Feitian bun is a traditional Chinese hairstyle that features a high, towering bun on top of the head, often decorated with ornaments such as pearls or flowers. and adorned with pearls and emeralds. There was a red dot in the center of her forehead, and her face was rosy, matching the color of her imperial attire. The beauty was still as charming as ever, but her expression was mournful.
“Really beautiful,” he praised her, and then tried to console her, “don’t be sad anymore.”
Shen Fengyue’s eyes turned slightly red. He nodded with his face turned away, pretending to wipe his eyes with his hand.
“I just wanted to see you,” Emperor Chu said.
This statement caught Shen Fengyue off guard. He had never expected that the dying Emperor would want to see him before he passed away. He suddenly couldn’t bear to look at him, knowing full well the cause of the condition he was in. So he deliberately turned his head slightly.
Emperor Chu seemed to have a lot to say:
“When I was 18 years old, I ascended to the throne as emperor, and worked diligently throughout my life, selecting the virtuous and talented, emphasizing honesty and harmony. This has led to the prosperous and flourishing era of Chu today. I should be praised for my achievements and be worthy of the gods and ancestors. I hope to serve as a role model for future generations.”
The first paragraph was a boast about his accomplishments, followed by:
“I married the young empress when she was deposed, and we enjoyed many years of love. However, I never expected her to do something so foolish in the end. Although the branches and leaves were lush, I had an early heir to the throne, yet the brothers were at odds with each other, and father and son were in discord, leading to the inevitable fate. It really hurts my heart, but since the matter has come to this point, I am powerless to change it and can only submit to the will of heaven.”
“I have written a secret decree and established the ninth prince, Chu Xi, as the Crown Prince, hidden in the secret compartment behind the dragon bed.”
As the emperor was on his deathbed, Shen Fengyue listened intently to his words, but was caught off guard by his sudden change of topic:
“I am so lucky to have met Yan Yan in my old age, to be accompanied by you, I am fortunate and blessed by heaven. I have established Chu Xi as the Crown Prince, and you will be posthumously honored as the Empress Dowager.”
His voice grew quieter and weaker, and Shen Fengyue heard the words “posthumously honored” and felt uneasy, so he immediately leaned down to listen closely to what he had to say next.
Emperor Chu was on the brink of death, with a muddled consciousness, and spoke in fragments, “You are the woman I love the most, I…I can’t bear to be without you. After I am gone, you…you should come with me…”
After speaking these words, he fell silent and closed his mouth to rest.
Shen Fengyue was greatly shaken by what he had heard and stood up, staring at him in disbelief for a long while before bursting into laughter.
Emperor Chu lifted his eyelids with difficulty, looking at him with his hazy and yellowed eyes, filled with confusion.
Shen Fengyue gave a malicious smile and suddenly said, “You’re dreaming.” This time he spoke in a male voice, with a cold and icy tone.
Emperor Chu was astonished to hear his male voice for the first time and was so frightened that he couldn’t speak for a while, only emitting intermittent low groans from his throat while staring at Shen Fengyue with a fixed gaze. He struggled to lift his hand that was lying beside him on the bed but was powerless to do so.
“The woman you love the most? Me?” Shen Fengyue let himself go, stepped onto his bed with one foot, assuming an extremely wild and masculine posture, holding Emperor Chu’s hand in one hand and pointing at himself with the other, his eyes filled with infinite tenderness while continuing to mock in a male voice, “Sorry, dude, I’m a man.”
Emperor Chu, “!!!”
The system burst out laughing, feeling vindicated, “Hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha!
“Revenge is sweet! Hahahaha! His ‘most beloved woman’ turns out to be even bigger than him in pants! Hahahaha!”
He wanted to shake off Shen Fengyue’s hand but was firmly held, unable to move.
Shen Fengyue seemed to be addicted to playing and continued to provoke Emperor Chu. He first used a woman’s voice to shout “Sanlang” with a sweet and seductive voice.
Then he used a male voice to say word by word, “Oh, Your Majesty, this Concubine, has, always, been, a man.”
Has, always, been, a man.
Your favorite woman actually has a bigger one than yours.
After speaking, he finally let go of Emperor Chu’s hand, wiped his hands on his bed sheet with disgust, and then straightened his hairpin, saying, “Old thing, do you want me to accompany you to the grave? Go dream on!”
Emperor Chu was so angry that he couldn’t speak. If his gaze could turn into a blade, and if he had the strength, he would have jumped up and personally chopped Shen Fengyue into pieces.
“Oh, it’s a pity. You want to kill me but can’t.” Shen Fengyue sighed, shook his head, and sat down by Emperor Chu’s window, very close to him. “Looking at your angry and foolish appearance, I can’t help but want to laugh out loud.” As he spoke, he actually laughed and personally demonstrated what a male version of a silver bell-like laugh sounded like to Emperor Chu.
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- 1Feitian bun is a traditional Chinese hairstyle that features a high, towering bun on top of the head, often decorated with ornaments such as pearls or flowers.