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Chapter Eighty-Eight: Death of a Phoenix
"Do you not have any blood on your hands?" The Empress smiled unconcernedly. "Now that your wings are fully grown, you bribed one of my people to poison the Empress Dowager and caused me to be imprisoned. I will admit that I am not as skilled as you, but you do not need to act so tragic. We are all on the same path, and you are not much cleaner than I am."
Lin shi's smile froze slightly and then she said, "You can only win verbally now. I will let you see how the entire Fang Family falls!"
The lack of concern on the Empress' face finally disappeared. "What do you mean?"
"Nothing." Lin shi listened to the sound of thunder outside and giggled. "The thunder is really pleasing to the ear. Empress, enjoy the last days of being the empress in jail. Maybe not long in the future, you will not be the empress but a criminal consort."
The Empress reached out through the bars of the prison and grabbed the corner of Lin shi's clothes. "What do you want to do to the Fang Family?!"
Lin shi pulled the corner of her dress and then pressed the Empress's hand hard under her foot. "When you were bullying me, you should have thought of the day when retribution would come!"
"Ah!" The bone-crushing pain caused the Empress to cry out. "Lin shi, you will not die a good death!"
"A person who is already living in hell will not fear death." Lin shi laughed until she almost cried. "It is only my pitiful child. His reputation was ruined from when he was born. He became the inauspicious star that would bring calamity to the world. The child is innocent. When you had people spread rumors about my child, you never thought of leaving some way for us to survive."
The Empress stilled. She looked in shock at Lin shi. "You think that I did that?"
"You do not have to act so well." Lin shi smiled coldly. "You ruined my son's life, and I will take your entire Fang Clan in exchange!"
Lin shi moved her foot away. She touched the silver hairpins in her hair. While she did not have any makeup on her face, her tender skin was enough to make up for countless flaws.
She walked out of the prison. Looking at the pouring rain, she unhesitatingly stepped into the storm.
"Mistress, it has not been a month since you gave birth. It was not good for you to leave the rooms. You cannot get rained on, or you will become ill in the future." The servant behind her put up an umbrella to shield her from the rain. However, the rain was too heavy. Even though there was an umbrella, many drops of rain still reached Lin shi's face.
Lin shi smiled unconcernedly and continued to stride forward.
She was standing in this shaking core of power—what future was there?
A crowd of imperial doctors and grand doctors were squeezed in the side hall of the Empress Dowager's palace. There were many of the Yan Clan standing outside. As the Empress Dowager remained unconscious, the faces of the Imperial House members outside got uglier.
When had their Imperial Yan Clan ever had an empress who poisoned the empress dowager? This ugly matter could not be concealed and was definitely going to enter the history books.
When they thought of this, their expressions became even uglier. It was likely that thousands of years later, when people mentioned the Yan Clan's imperial dynasty, they would not forget this ugly matter.
Daughter-in-law poisoning Mother-in-law, that was unfilial. Empress poisoning Empress Dowager, that was treasonous. Yet, this person who was unfilial and treasonous was the very empress whom the Emperor had insisted on investing with the empress title in the past.
Of those present, Qilong Emperor's expression was the ugliest. He had acted the filial son for so many years, but now, his empress had poisoned the Empress Dowager. Not only did this cause all of his previous efforts to go to waste, but it also created a stain on his life that would be difficult to erase.
Everyone knew that the Empress Dowager was not his birth mother. No matter all the excuses he could use, these people would not believe his words. He didn't know how those scholars would judge this matter, and him.
There were not many emperors who did not care about how the history books would record them. Qilong Emperor was the same. When he thought about how the people in the future would misunderstand him because of this matter, Qilong Emperor felt a fire burning inside that could not be extinguished.
"Emperor, Xian Wang and Xian Wang Fei have arrived."
Qilong Emperor looked towards the doorway. Yan Jin Qiu and Hua shi were hurrying over. The lower half of Yan Jin Qiu's robes was soaked in water, and his clothing was wrinkled. Hua shi was wearing simple clothing, and her hair was in a simple bun. Her beautiful embroidered slippers had become grey due to having touched dirty water.
If these two met with the Emperor looking like this at a normal time, people would definitely feel that they were breaking etiquette. However, the Empress Dowager was in such a dangerous state right now. Xian Wang had been raised by the Empress Dowager, so the two of them had came to the palace without even changing. Even the sternest person would think that these two had pure hearts.
Who in Jing did not know of the handsome Xian Wang and the stunning beauty of Xian Wang Fei? Who had seen them so disheveled? It could be seen just how panicked the two had felt on their way here.
Yan Jin Qiu and Hua Xi Wan came in front of Qilong Emperor and knelt down. Yan Jin Qiu did not make excuses and said directly, "This subject and wife have broken etiquette. Emperor, please give your punishment."
"Virtuous Nephew, Virtuous Niece-in-law, please rise. Zhen understands what you two feel. The Empress Dowager would also be moved by your filialness." Qilong Emperor's eyes became rimmed in red as he personally reached out to help Yan Jin Qiu up. He said in a choked voice, "Zhen right now… zhen feels guilty." Finishing, he covered his face with his sleeve and started to cry without any sign of composure.
Hua Xi Wan silently lowered her head. This Qilong Emperor was really working hard at washing himself clean. He was using this move of crying and sobbing in front of so many people. She just didn't know if other people thought that he was truly feeling it or was just acting.
"Please, Emperor, do not be like this. Imperial Grandmother frequently talks to this subject about your filialness and consideration to her. No one could have predicted what happened today." Yan Jin Qiu's eyes also turned red and he started to sob. "This subject… this subject only hopes that Imperial Grandmother can be healthy and unharmed."
Seeing Yan Jin Qiu also take out his Oscar-winning skills, Hua Xi Wan sighed. She hadn't thought that after being reborn, she still had to continue her old line of work. This was a tragic story.
"Wang Ye, do not be like this." Hua Xi Wan pinched a corner of her handkerchief and wiped at her eyes without any elegance. She quickly started to cry to the point she couldn't breathe. She acted out a woman who was afraid and shocked and worried about her husband. "If Imperial Grandmother knows that you have neglected your body so, when Imperial Grandmother recovers, won't she feel pain for your health? You… do not be too sad." While she urged Yan Jin Qiu to not be sad, she was crying sorrowfully.
Yan Jin Qiu put an arm around Hua Xi Wan. Disregarding the other Imperial Family members in the room, he sobbed. "Today, I am willing to kneel here to pray for Imperial Grandmother, and only wish for her to be safe, and in good health."
"Wang Ye, qie will accompany you."
"Your body is not strong. Do not…"
"Husband and wife should be one. You are worried and sad for Imperial Grandmother—how can qie bear to just watch you?"
Many of the womenfolk were moved by this scene and their eyes also turned red.
Xian Wang was really a filial child, and Xian Wang Fei was a virtuous, filial and good wife. Why had they thought that Xian Wang Fei was a person who only had beauty and wasn't worthy of Xian Wang's favor? That had been very biased. Look how good a woman Xian Wang Fei was.
Ning Wang looked with admiration at the Emperor and the Xian couple crying one sadder than the other. He silently wiped his face. He turned his head to look at the lightning and thunder that was causing the world to shake and felt great respect for the acting skills of these three people.
No, it should only be two people. Of the three, only Xian Wang Fei was sincerely crying. Females always followed their men. This Xian Wang was sad, so she naturally felt sad. It was a pity that she didn't know that the man next to her wasn't truly feeling sad but acting.
"Emperor, the Empress Dowager has woken up!"
Everyone looked with shocked expressions as the Xian husband and wife. Had these two's filialness moved the heavens and caused the Empress Dowager who had been unconscious for so many hours to wake up?
Even Ning Wang was slightly shocked. So there were really such coincidences in this world?
The Empress Dowager woke up, but that didn't mean that she was fine. When everyone walked into the room, they saw the Empress Dowager leaning back against the pillows. Her eyes were bright with alertness. Their hearts jumped. This was… the last gasp before death?
But no one dared to say this. They only knelt docilely and waited for the Empress Dowager to speak.
"You have all come?" Empress Dowager's gaze swept across the people and then landed on Yan Jin Qiu at the end. She smiled as she beckoned towards Yan Jin Qiu. "Zi Ling, came to Imperial Grandmother."
"Imperial Grandmother." Yan Jin Qiu hurriedly used his sleeve to wipe his eyes and tried to make his tone seem more natural. "Are you feeling better?"
"It will not get better." The Empress Dowager looked at the doorway to the hall and sighed. "Aijia has stayed for over two decades in this palace. It is time to rest."
Yan Jin Qiu gripped her warm hand and didn't speak.
"You are a good child. Out of all of aijia's imperial grandchildren, you are the most filial. Now that aijia has seen you before leaving, aijia's worries have eased." The Empress Dowager looked at the Emperor. "Your birth mother was of low birth. The previous emperor had me raise you. Aijia never thought that you have been mistreated. But aijia never thought that this life would be lost by the hand of your empress."
Qilong Emperor's body swayed where he was kneeling on the ground. He had not expected that the Empress Dowager would say in front of so many people that his mother was of low birth. He raised his head and looked at the court recorder who was furiously writing in the corner. His face darkened but he managed to bear it.
"All right, all right, aijia is old, and cannot manage you." The Empress Dowager suddenly looked behind the Emperor and said, "The previous emperor is here?"
Qilong Emperor felt a cold sweat on his back. He couldn't help but look back. It was empty behind him.
The Empress Dowager suddenly shouted harshly, "Emperor!"
She had given her entire life to the Yan Imperial Clan. Just before death, she suddenly found that she hated the previous emperor.
Her gaze swept Yan Jin Qiu for the last time. She had caused the death of this child's mother and separated the child from his father. Before death, she would help him once.
"Emperor, treat aijia's Zi Ling well. He is a filial child."
She had said this in front of so many people. Even if the Emperor wanted to do something in the future, he could not take this child's life.
She only hoped…
The magnificence of when she had ascended the phoenix throne in the past flashed through her mind. A smile floated at the corner of her mouth and she breathed her last.
Yan Jin Qiu felt the hand in his palm suddenly tremble and then become motionless.
He stilled and his index finger trembled as he moved it to her nose. His gaze gradually became sorrowful. "Imperial Grandmother!"
Hua Xi Wan looked dazedly at the woman on the phoenix bed. The most noble and powerful woman in the Yan Imperial Dynasty had died like this?
Translator Ramblings: The empress dowager wanted to help Yan Jin Qiu in the end.