It’s not that I don’t know what happens in the palace. I just want to run away from it. Since knowing that Xuan Chen is the emperor, I’ve been really afraid. My father wants a puppet king but I saw Xuan Chen’s look. He’s not someone to be a puppet. My father miscalculated his step this time. What do I do to prevent them from killing each other? The best way will be not to get pregnant. Xuan Chen’s life will be in danger if I get a boy. Aside from that should I tell Xuan Chen about Yun Wen? But Hei Tou will be in danger. I feel a headache forming in my head.
I dreamed about Xuan Chen soaked in blood and my father smiling at the sight. When I went closer my father’s face changed to Yun Wen’s face. He looked at me while he slit Xuan Chen’s throat. I woke up with a scream. The maids came running into my room.
“I need to go to see the emperor.”
Xuan Chen was still unconscious. He looked so frail, nothing like the Xuan Chen I know.
I fell asleep at his bedside. When I woke up he was staring tenderly at me.
“I’ll go call the physicians.”
“Don’t go,” he called weakly after me. He fell off the bed.
I ran back to him.
“Don’t call anyone.”
He pressed his finger against my lips.
“Sshhh…Zhen don’t need any physicians. You’re the best medicine for me.”
He caressed my cheeks.
“Forgive me, An Ning. I was really angry at you. My anger clouded my mind. Deep in my heart I know that you’re nothing like your father, but when you turned out to be his daughter I was angry. Will you forgive me for being such a fool?”
I nodded while tears kept falling.
“Don’t cry. I hate seeing you cry.”
He took my chin in his hands and kissed my tears. Then he moved to the other cheek and lastly he was on my mouth. I don’t know when we got on the bed. I couldn’t even think. My mind was completely blank. We made love.
While lying in his embrace after we made love, the worries came back.
“Don’t think about anything,” he said while playing with my hair.
“I’ve been wondering for a while. Why do you like me to call your name?”
“Because the way you say it, is music to my ears.”
I poke him in the belly.
“It’s because nobody dare to call me by my name. I don’t want to forget who I am. When you call me by my name, I’ll remember that aside from being the emperor I’m a normal man with dreams.”
“皇上 ( huang shang, emperor), 万岁爷 (wan sui ye, the lord of ten thousand years), 圣上 (sheng shang, the holy and exalted one), 天子 (tian zi, son of heaven), 陛下 (bi xia, your majesty), 圣驾 (sheng jia, his majesty). All are your names. Even the Empress dowager doesn’t call you by your name.”
“Say my name.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I don’t want to.”
I tried to run away. I found myself beneath him. He kissed my nose and then my mouth. We made love again.
I woke up first the next morning. I smiled while seeing Xuan Chen sleeping next to me. I gave him a kiss and got out of bed. I put some night clothes on and went to brush my hair. Then Consort De walked in and saw my state of undress. A flash of anger flashed in her eyes.
“Canjian, 皇后 ( huanghou, empress).”
“What brings you here?”
“I brought the emperor’s medicine.”
“You may put them here. I’ll see to the emperor.”
She forced a smile.
“Since Huanghou must be tired from last night, I’ll see to the emperor. Huanghou can get some rest.”
“I’m in perfect condition today. I can’t be better. You may take your leave now.”
“You think that the emperor favors you? He must not have been in his right mind. It’s a matter of time before he goes back to me. After all you spent your wedding night alone, while he was with me.”
The empress dowager also arrived.
“What’s going on here? Don’t you know that the emperor is sick? How dare you two argue here?”
“太后 ( taihou, empress dowager), huanghou seduced the emperor, while he’s sick. She wanted to get pregnant by taking advantage of the situation.”
“Did you seduce the emperor while he’s sick?”
“Bring her out and give her twenty lashes.”
“Stop! Canjian, 母后(muhou, mother).”
“Huang Er, what are you doing out of bed? Mother will punish her for you.”
“It’s not her fault. Your son wanted it to happen and it happened. What’s wrong with doting on one’s wife?”
She seems to be contemplating something but when she saw Xuan Chen holding my hand, she gave Xuan Chen a meaningful look. I don’t understand what that look meant. Obviously Xuan Chen did, cause his hands tightened against mine.
“Since this is the case, 哀家 (aijia, I) will let it go. But you must take care of your 龙体 (longti, body).”
After they left Xuan Chen embraced me.
“There will be many battles to fight. An Ning are you willing to fight them with me?”
“I’m married to you now. Even if you go to hell, I’ll follow you.”
“I will let nobody hurt you, even if it’s in hell. “
He didn’t use Zhen when addressing himself but just I. How I wished that he was a normal man. Will we have met then? Probably not. Now that he’s the emperor, I’m afraid that someday he’ll get tired of me and fall in love with somebody else. He’ll have many wives in the future. Am I too selfish to wish for his love forever?
“Xuan Chen, don’t you ever let my hand go.”
He took a ring from his pocket. It’s identical to the one he gave me, only his is bigger.
He took off me necklace with the ring on it.
“I want to be a simple man for you. A man who can love you wholeheartedly without worries. In the future there might be times when you get hurt because I’m the emperor. Do you still want to be my wife even if I’m not the normal man that you wished for and even might be a tyrant?”
He slid the ring onto my finger. I slid his ring into his.
“You’re mine now An Ning. Don’t ever think of running away.”
哀家 (ai jia): a form of saying I only used by the empress dowager
龙体 (long ti): dragon’s body. The dragon is symbol of the emperor