His thoughts part 2
I went home and saw the lifeless body of my father. The only person who’ve ever cared about me is dead. Sadness doesn’t describe what I’m feeling now. I sat by his side the whole night, while all my brothers went home. I wanted to see Meng You, the light in all this darkness. I could only look at the ring. I didn’t want to give her the ring like that. I was going to propose to her after I’ve settled all my problems. When Ming Kuang said my father is dead, something in my heart said that I’ll never see her again. So I gave her the ring. She will be better outside the palace. My father, my mother and maybe even I will die in this battlefield. I didn’t even see him one last time. Something that I’ll regret for the rest of my life.
Tomorrow I’ll be the emperor. My brothers are now probably plotting how to get rid of me. I’ll need to marry the prime minister’s daughter as fast as possible to secure my position, since I’ve no real power yet to fight my brothers.
My father’s eunuch came and gave me a letter.
“Before your father died, he gave me this letter. He said to hand it over to Your Highness after he’s dead. Amongst his sons, he loved you the best. Don’t be like him in the future.”
“Take care of yourself when you retire.”
You must’ve been surprised to see me go. The truth is I’ve been sick for a very long time. I hided it from everyone including you. I wanted more time till you’ve enough power to be the emperor. But these days I dreamed everyday about your mother. She must be calling me. I miss her so much. You must miss her too. You’ve grown up to be so much like her. You look almost nothing like me. When I see you is like I see her. You must resent me for not looking into her death. Forgive your foolish father for being powerless. Even though I know who killed her but they’re too powerful. If I went against them, you’ll be in danger. I wanted to protect what she left for me. When we were us three together we were so happy. I was not the emperor but just a father and a husband. You probably don’t remember. After she died, you’ve changed so much. I see you suffer but couldn’t do anything about it. I could only watch you from afar. The only way I could help you was by making you stronger. I slipped some poison in your food and drinks. You’ll think that it was done by the other consorts. As I expected you began guarding yourself against them. By doting on you they’ll be jealous of you and you’ll think of ways to fight them. I just wanted to make you stronger; it was not my intention to make you the emperor. Being the emperor is a lonely and tired path. I didn’t want that for you. But then the prime minister wanted a marriage alliance between us. You were on top of his list. I was against it. Then I saw the way your eyes changed while looking at the enemy and while looking at me. In just a flash of seconds you can hide what you’re thinking and feeling. I know then that you’re born to be the emperor. My other sons can’t go against the prime minister, only you can do it. For this empire I sacrificed your freedom. Guard it well. Don’t trust anybody. Even your loyal servants can turn and bite you.
I was lucky to have met your mother. I hope that you’re lucky too to find somebody you love. If you can’t win against the prime minister, just flee with her. I bought a home far away from the city. Nobody knows about it. The keys are in the place where you used to hide your toys.
Your foolish father is going to meet your mom now. Take care of yourself. Don’t ever be born in royal family in your next life. Let our fate end in this life time.
I burned the letter. I found a pair of keys with the address. The tears are finally coming. He’s wrong. In my next life I still want to be his son. Our fate didn’t end.
The next day was my coronation day. Everyone pledged their loyalty to me. I looked them in the eyes. How many are plotting against me? The only known ones are my brothers. How many of these officials sided with them or with the prime ministers? The scariest thing is fighting a tiger in the darkness. The biggest tiger is the prime minister. If I can win him, I’ll win those little tigers.
The wedding took place three days after my coronation. The moment I touched Li An Ning’s hand, while helping her out of the carriage, a shock went through me. It feels so familiar to hold her hands, almost like Meng You’s. I must be missing her so much that I’m not thinking straight. I humiliated the prime minster by not spending the wedding night with his daughter. It was a small price to pay for forcing this marriage. He dare come demanding an excuse. I asked him why I the emperor needed to explain to him. The look in his face was worth all trouble. Now he knows that I’m not a puppet. I need to act fast. General Wei agreed to help me, but our power is still not strong enough. He gave me a list of the prime minister’s enemies. I plan to call on them in private.
It bothers me that the prime minister has the military power. He must hand over that seal. My father in law will die by my hands. After being done with him, I’ll depose the empress. She’ll be powerless by the time her father falls. I asked the empress dowager to keep the power of the Inner Court in her hands. No power should fall into the empress hands. Should I kill her too to prevent further complications?
While I was thinking there was some commotion outside. It turned out to be the empress. I ordered Ming Kuang to send her away. She must’ve come to ask why I didn’t spend the night with her. That fool, like she can barge in here. Looks like I need to personally go and send her away. Let her look at the face of the husband who’ll probably kill her. What I saw wasn’t what I expected. How can this be? Is the heaven joking with me? I feel anger, betrayal and hurt. I put on my poker face and mocked her.
Why has it to be her? Of all people why her? Even knowing that she love me she planned on marrying the emperor? How dare she cheat on me? Jealousy isn’t something that I used to feel. I laughed. I’m jealous of myself. I need to distance myself from her. She has too much power on me. I even considered abandoning my life long purpose just for her. I purposely acted cold towards her. It hurt seeing her hurt. She didn’t show it but I can see it in her eyes. When she’s playing the Pipa or Guqing, I always watch her from afar. I wanted to go there and embrace her. But if I did that they’ll kill her. I must never show anybody that she’s my only weakness.
Months went by. I successfully won over my urge to see her, by occupying myself with overthrowing her father. Then she fell sick. I was by her bedside before I know what I was doing.
“Xuan Chen I hate you but why do I miss you?”
There were tears falling. I kissed them away.
“Xuan Chen I want to go home.”
“Don’t go Zhen will miss you.”
She fell asleep. I watched her sleep. My father did wish me to find someone I love. But he didn’t say anything about what if that person’s your enemy’s daughter?
Can I kill her father without her hating me? I brushed away the hair from her face. Can I abandon everything for her? I kissed her.
“I love you.”