Love? The thing that turns a person into such a thing is love?
Xia Hou Shang Yue feels a chill running through her heart. If a person did this to her in the name of love one day, she will denounce that love. She does not want to end up like this.
“This… There is no love in this, just torture.” Xia Hou Shang Yue’s voice is weak as she says that. Things already happened, and the person already becomes what she became, anything she says will bring no difference.
“But he treated me so well in the past. I thought I was the happiest woman in the entire Yue Kingdom.” Even though she has been tortured to that extent, faint happiness drip from her voice. Xia Hou Shang Yue cannot see her face, but she is sure her face too looks happy.
She don’t know why, but at that moment, Xia Hou Shang Yue thinks of Gong Sun Jin, that man who is as gentle as a jade. The man who once promised her to be together for eternity, but is now worlds apart from her. The moment she knew she was to be betrothed to another, she knew she must end them.
“Who exactly are you?” Xia Hou Shang Yue collects herself and look over at the woman who became what she is because of love.
“Me? I am the current emperor’s Consort Yu. I was once the woman he loved the most, but now is the woman he wants to kill the most.
She never knew there was a Consort Yu in the back palace! Just how many secrets Bai Yu Chen has that she didn’t know. She couldn’t even imagine there is a Consort Yu in the harem.
“You’re Bai Yu Chen’s concubine?”
“How can you call out the emperor’s name?”
She does not know why, but knowing the woman in front was Bai Yu Chen’s concubine makes her a little sad. She does not know if she feels sorry for the other woman, or feels sorry for herself.
“I am his empress. One is the empress and another is a concubine, I can’t believe we meet at this place under this circumstances.” Xia Hou Shang Yue manage to find a clean spot to sit on. Even though she calls it clean, but in reality, it is only not as dirty as the rest of the place.
“You are the empress? He appointed an empress? He finally appointed his empress, ha ha.” As Consort Yu said that, tears fell from her eyes. Xia Hou Shang Yue frowns, not understanding what the tears are for.
The sound of Consort Yu’s laughter echoes inside the dungeon for a very long time. Xia Hou Shang Yue calmly look at her. After a while, once Consort Yu finished laughing and crying, she looks over at Xia Hou Shang Yue. “You are pretty. No wonder he made you his empress.”
Pretty? Xia Hou Shang Yue laughs bitterly. From the other half of Consort Yu’s face, she knows if her face hasn’t been maimed she would be even prettier than her.
“I am a princess sent to marry him. He did not make me the empress on his own accord.”
Consort Yu’s pair of eyes has a flash of doubt. She smiled a smile that is more terrifying than a ghost’s. Right, he is such an arrogant person, how could he readily accept this political marriage.
“Would you like to hear my story?”
Before Xia Hou Shang Yue even gets the chance to answer, Consort Yu close her eyes and begins telling.
“My name is Lin Ziyu. I have known the emperor since childhood (TN: 青梅竹马 (jing mei zu ma; green plum bamboo horse) – a way of saying affections cultured from being childhood playmates.) Half a year ago, I entered the back palace. He loved me a lot, really loved me a lot. Everytime the palace has something new to offer, he would always send them to me first. No matter how busy he was, he would always make time to visit me a couple of times a day. But 3 months ago, the grand empress dowager was suddenly poisoned. Poisoned using the cake that I sent. The emperor originally didn’t believe it was me who did it, but they somehow found the very poison that poisoned her under my pillow. At that time, my father was involved in a coup. The emperor thought I was sent to the palace to assassinate him. In the end, the grand empress dowager interfered and I end up like this.” Consort Yu was calm as she said that. Xia Hou Shang Yue carefully look at her. Her body is bound to the wall by an iron chain. Three months, she has been living like this for three months!
If Xia Hou Shang Yue were to be in her place, she wouldn’t even persevere past 3 days. Living like that would be an unending torture!
“You… Do you hate him?”
“Hate? Why should I hate him? If you truly love somebody, you would never be able to hate him. There is so much love, there is no more spot left for hatred.” Consort Yu says calmly before she turns her head to look at Xia Hou Shang Yue. “What about you? Why are you sent here?”
Xia Hou Shang Yue laughs bitterly. Even now she has no idea why there are You Xiang in her cakes and porridge. She didn’t do it, but Bai Yu Chen will never believe her.
“I sent the grand empress dowager sour plum cakes and chicken porridge in the morning. Both the grand empress dowager and the princess ate them and passed out. They were poisoned. I made those meals myself and after investigation, they found You Xiang inside. You Xiang is a kind of poison that can only be found in our Mu Kingdom, so I was sent here.”
The grand empress dowager and the princess poisoned! Something suddenly flash in Xia Hou Shang Yue’s mind. Is all these a coincidence? Or is this a plot against her!
Why does both times involves poisoning and the same victim? Don’t tell her it’s the grand empress dowager’s doing?
That is not possible. The sour plum cake was taken from the container and given over by her own hands. Even if the grand empress dowager was trying to implicate her, the poison won’t be on every single sour plum cakes.
Then, is it Xun Er?
That is also impossible. Xun Er is still so small, from one glance you can tell that she is not a scheming person. She would never use You Xiang to poison herself. As Xia Hou Shang Yue lost herself in her thoughts, Consort Yu merely watch her.
After thinking for so long, Xia Hou Shang Yue still couldn’t conjure up any plausible suspect. But one thing for sure, she and Consort Yu was framed. This incident is not as simple as it seems.
“Consort Yu, have you considered you were being framed by someone else?”
“Framed? Who would frame me? When I entered the back palace, the emperor’s harem has no other concubines. There are only the grand empress dowager and the princess, but they both have no reason to harm me. I don’t know who framed me, all I know is I really didn’t poison anyone!” Consort Yu frowns as she recalls the incidents 3 months ago. After doing some heavy thinking, she can only shake her head at Xia Hou Shang Yue.
There is a hair-raising silence inside the dungeon. Those two women, because of their similar situations are linked to each other.
“Right, how did you live your life here?”
Consort Yu laugh bitterly and look at a dirty, moldy bowl by her side.
“He won’t let me die, but won’t let me live properly either. They will send me food every three days. I have to endure through the days like that.”