During the early summer when evening falls, there will always be sudden torrential rains.
The skies were overcast and the dark clouds was suppressing over the dignified atmosphere of the Palace. The formally magnificent palace hall was shrouded by the dark clouds as if it was a huge cage, trapping the people inside firmly.
In the large chambers, the curtains seemed old as it was covered with a thick layer of dust. It was originally a hot weather but one actually felt a little cold. Clothes and jewellery were scattered all over the floor as if a calamity had just went by.
The female was half kneeling on the ground, looking at the person in front.
This female was only in her thirties but her face was like an old women. There was deep hostility between her brows, her eyes were as dead as stagnant water and they have seemingly unable to tear like a long dried well but filled with a bottomless hatred.
“Your Ladyship, please.” The eunuch beside had a bolt of white silk in his hands and his tone could not hide his impatience, “Zajia still needs to report back to his Majesty on the completion.”
Shen Miao’s eyes landed on the eunuch and she remain silent for a long time before slowly speaking with a hoarse voice, “Xiao Li-zi, when Bengong promoted you at that time, you were still a dog beside Gao Gonggong.”
The eunuch slightly raised his head arrogantly, “Your Ladyship, the present is different from the past.”
“The present is different from the past…” Shen Miao muttered before suddenly raising her head for a laugh, “What a good ‘the present is different from the past’!”
Because of a sentence ‘the present is different from the past’, all the servants and courtiers who previously see her would be respectful and let her order them around. Because of ‘the present is different from the past’, she ended up with three Chi (1 chi = 1/3 meter) of white silk to end her life. The past was what kind of past and when did the present became the present? Was it starting from when Mei Furen entered the Palace, from when the Crown Prince was dispose or when Princess Chang died tragically on her way to a long distance marriage? Or was it when she came back to the Palace from being a Qin hostage five years ago?
From the ‘past’ to the ‘present’, from an Empress to a disposed Empress, it was all because of Fu Xiu Yi’s one word! This entire court of officials would then change their looks, this Ming Qi country would reverse black and white! What a good ‘the present is different from the past’!
The doors of the hall squeaked open and a pair of dragon embroidered boots stopped in front of Shen Miao. Looking up, it was a bright yellow robe.
“Seeing that you have followed Zhen for twenty years, will grant you with an intact corpse. Thank this kindness.” The Emperor said.
Shen Miao slowly raise her head and look at the man that was high up above. Time did not leave any imprint on his face as he was as handsome as he was in the beginning. He was the wise sovereign and justifiably Son of Heaven. He was the man that she had foolishly love for twenty years and the husband that she helped in humble circumstances over the years. Now he said to her, “Zhen will grant you with an intact corpse. Thank this kindness.”
“Why?” Shen Miao asked difficultly.
He did not reply.
“Why the need to seize the entire Shen family?” She asked
Prince Ding, Fu Xiu Yi was one of the nine sons of the Late Emperor. Each of the nine sons had their own merits but the Crown Prince was sickly and the Emperor was not willing to alter the title of the Crown Prince thus the Princes took the turmoil as an opportunity. She had long fell for Prince Ding’s peerless talent and regardless of her family’s persuasion, she finally got want she wanted but also firmly tied the entire Shen family to Prince Ding together.
Because of that, she dedicated herself to assist to Prince Ding changing from a pampered daughter who did not know anything to a Prince Consort who can participate in court, to come out with plans and give advice and also stabilising the country. On the day that Fu Xiu Yi ascended the throne, he established her as the Empress, the mother to the world which was the grandest.
She thought that she was the grandest Empress. When the Princes rebellion was quelled, the Xiao Nu attacked putting the neighbouring countries at risk, in order to borrow troops, Shen Miao voluntarily when to the Qin country as a hostage and when she left, her children was not even a full month when Fu Xiu Yi said, “Zhen will personally bring you back.”
Five years later, she finally could return back to Ming Qi but there was an additional beautiful and talented Mei Furen in the Inner Palace.
Mei Furen was an official’s daughter that Fu Xiu Yi met during his expedition to the East. He like her intelligence and sensibility and brought her back to the Palace. Mei Furen gave birth to Prince Fu Chen which was much favoured. In contrary, Shen Miao’s son, the Crown Prince Fu Ming was not favoured at all.
Fu Xiu Yi once said in the presence of the entire court, “Fu Ming’s character is too soft, Fu Cheng is still the one who resembles me the most.” His words clearly indicated his intentions to change the title of the Crown Prince.
Mei Furen made Shen Miao felt a sense of crisis and thus in the Palace, Shen Miao and Mei Furen had fought for ten years. Mei Furen repeatedly gotten the upper hand that she even urged Fu Xiu Yi to marry her daughter, Princess Wan Yu, to the Xiong Nu as marriage alliance. The Xiong Nu were very aggressive and Princess Wan Yu died from an illness on the way to the marriage and was immediately cremated. Everyone knew the matter was strange but as a mother, Shen Miao had no alternatives.
At the end she walked to where she was today.
Fu Xiu Yi’s one decree of Shen family revolted, the Crown Prince will be dispose and he had commit suicide to atone for his offences. She as a Empress would also be disposed and three Chi (1 chi = 1/3 meter) of white silk was bestowed.
She only wanted to ask one question, “Why?”
Shen Miao reasoned, “Fu Xiu Yi, have you got no conscience? You and I have been husband and wife for more than twenty years and I did not do anything to let you down. When you first ascended to the throne, it was my Shen family that helped you. When you go into battle and the Xiong Nu came to invade, it was me who help you to write the letter of surrender. When you wanted to draw the high ranking officials to your side, it was me who go on my knees to beg them to assist. I went to Qin country as a hostage and suffered torture and pain and what did you reciprocate in return? Mei Furen let Wan Yu get married, you draft the Imperial decree and Wan Yu was only sixteen when she died. You favoured Fu Cheng and neglected Fu Ming and the entire court was aware of it. Now you exterminate my entire clan and now that death is near at hand, I will ask you one question. Why?”
“Shen Miao,” Fu Xiu Yi frowned but there was not the slightest change in expression as if he was a cold statue, “When Imperial Father was around, he had already wanted to deal with several big families. Shen family had accomplishments that could cover the masters so they cannot stay for long. It was Zhen who persuaded Imperial Father. Zhen let the Shen family survive for twenty years and it is already the biggest bestowment to the Shen family!”
Already the biggest bestowment to the Shen family! The entire body of Shen Miao shook. These days she had cried so much that her tears no longer flow out. She faced Fu Xiu Yi and said word for word, “Why keep the Shen family? It was not because of your kindness and not because of your bestowment. You only wanted to make use of the Shen family military power to fight with your Di brothers. After the cunning hare dies, the hounds are boiled. Now that the country is settled, you destroy the bridge after crossing the river. Fu Xiu Yi, you are so heartless!”
“Shen Miao!” Fu Xiu Yi shouted angrily as if he was stabbed at his sore spot. He then coldly scoffed, “Make the best of it then.” Finishing his words, he walked out.
Shen Miao crouched on the floor as she clenched her fists. This was the man that she loved for her entire life. She fought for his favour with Mei Furen and only found out at the end that it was not fighting for favour. This man’s heart was never been with her at all! All the words of love were all an amusing play of a big joke!
She spit out a mouthful of fresh blood out.
“Older sister, what is this? It looks awful.” A sweet voice sounded.
The female wore a light yellow robe with a hibiscus sown in front and a willow waist like a fairy from Heavens. Her actions were also very graceful and moving as she approached.
This was Mei Furen, who had the winning hand and fought with Shen Miao in her entire life.
Behind Mei Furen, there stood two female dressed in the palace’s robes, Shen Miao was surprised for a moment, “Shen Qing, Shen Yue!”
This was the second and third household, Second Uncle’s and Third Uncle’s daughters, her two older (female) cousins. Why are they in the Palace?
“His Majesty summoned us sisters into the Palace.” Shen Yue covered her lips as she smiled, “Fifth Younger Sister need not be shocked, in the previous years, Fifth Younger Sister love to help us sister to match make, now it would no longer be needed. His Majesty treats us sisters really well.”
“You…” Shen Miao’s heart was like overturning seas and rivers as in a lightning speed she seemed to have understood something that she had never thought clearly about. Her voice sounded incredible as she said, “You. You all have been delaying your marriage all for this day?”
“That is exactly the way it is.” Shen Qing took a step forward, “At the beginning, His Majesty had reached an agreement with my father and Third Uncle, as long as they are able to make you marry His Majesty, in time to come, we both sisters would also have the same place to go to.”
In the beginning when Shen Miao was able to marry Fu Xiu Yi, the second and third households also put in a lot of effort. Now thinking back, initially when she fell in love with Fu Xiu Yi, it was Second and Third Aunts who kept mentioning that Prince Ding was a talented youth which made her feelings sprouted. So actually it was an agreement that was set up way earlier? So it was actually second and third households that hidden their evil hearts and waited for everything to occur today?
Shen Qing was afraid that Shen Miao did not understand and continued, “His Majesty is so capable and handsome and we sisters have long admired him. Unfortunately only First Uncle had power his in hands and could force Fifth Younger Sister to climb up first. Fifth Younger Sister had lived the fortunate life for many years before, now our hour has come.”
“Shen Qing!” Shen Miao suddenly straighten herself up and voiced out, “His Majesty seize the entire Shen family but let both of you enter the Palace. How is the second and third household safe and sound?”
“Of course the second and third household would be safe and sound.” Shen Yue covered her mouth as she laughed, “Because we have done a great service. The evidences of Eldest Uncle’s rebellion were presented by our household as to place righteousness before family. Fifth Younger Sister, His Majesty bestowed high ranking titles to our two households.”
Shen Miao looked at her own two (female) cousin in shock and said, “Are you all crazy? When the nest overturn will any eggs remain intact? The Shen family is one big family, Fu Xiu Yi wants to deal with the Shen family but you all actually frame our own family members…”
“Family members. Fifth Younger Sister, we did not acknowledge what the first household is our own family member.” Shen Qing laughed coldly, “Moreover you have enjoyed to much already. Now that the Crown Prince has died, the Princess is no longer here and the Shen family is destroyed, you should go earlier to the underworld and reunite with them.”
Mei Furen leisurely came forward and smiled brightly, “Older sister, the country is stabilized and you should retire.”
After fighting for ten year, Shen Miao at the end lost till a complete shambles, lost too tragically. Lost till her clan had perished and she needs to mourn for her children. Lost till she become a laughing stock to the world!
Daughter had met with a violent death and the Crown Prince was disposed. Shen family who had sacrificed themselves for the country, not one of them was lucky to escape. In one dynasty everything was overturn,!
She bitterly said, “Bengong will not die as after all one is still a Consort!”
“Chen Gonggong, start now.” Mei Furen gave a look to the eunuch.
The plump eunuch immediately took a few steps forward and used one hand to grasp tightly Shen Miao’s neck while he use the while using the other hand to wring the white silk around Shen Miao’s neck. When a forceful pull, the white silk tore into the flesh and bone, making a crisp sound from the bones.
The female struggling on the floor stared with her large eyes, laying a poisonous vow in her heart.
Her son, her daughter, her parents, brothers, sisters, servants. Everyone in the Shen family were all harmed.
Zhu Xiu Yi, Mei Furen, Shen Qing, Shen Yue, all the people to harmed her and harmed her loved ones. If there is an afterlife, a debt of blood must be paid in blood!
It’s the time to mourn as everything between you and me are dead!