It’s been nearly two weeks since the last chapter. I’ve caught a bad cold. The weather here is sometimes cold and sometimes warm. Unpredicable.

It’s been for months since my departure from the palace. I’ve been doing a lot of things, like embroidery and painting, to keep my mind from wandering to a certain person. When I think about him, I can only be sad. He can sentence my family to death to keep his power. That must mean that in his heart, I’m not as important as his place as the emperor.
This day, two years ago, I met him. The he then will put me above all. The he then was just a simple person. We were happy then. In a blink of eye, two years have passed. In these two years I’ve been more sad than happy. Is this what it meant to be the emperor’s wife? Although I don’t want to admit it but I’ve changed. He has changed too. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or he doesn’t want to admit it. When I heard the rumors about him being a cold and ruthless person, I didn’t believe it. He was always warm and kindhearted towards me. But when I refuse to go his way, I saw a glimpse change in his eye. It was the same look he gave his enemies, before killing them. He masked it pretty fast, but I still saw it.
Life was peaceful at the temple. I like it here more than in the palace. No stress just peaceful days. My belly is growing healthily too. I think that the nuns must’ve noticed. Thinking about my child, I’ll think back about its father. That hateful person.

I really want a daughter. This child kicks has been strong, he must be a son. I really hope it’s not.

Sweet corn, you must come safely to this world.

Sweet corn is the nickname I gave it because it was the only thing I could eat at the beginning. Still in my belly yet so picky. Who does it resemble? Must be its father. I’m not a picky person.
Lately Lian Er has been nagging about when I’ll tell Xuan Chen and about when I’ll go back to the palace. I know that I must go back one day, but thinking about facing Xuan Chen, I’ll want to stay one more day. I don’t know how to face him. He’s been sending me letters every week. Most of them are about how he missed me and asking me how I was doing. I never replied to one of them and I never personally went to meet the messenger. I’m afraid he’ll see my big belly. There aren’t many servants that came with me. Only Lian Er and a handful other maids.

Xuan Chen didn’t make it known that the empress is staying at a temple. I think that it’s because he want to protect me. But it can be that he wants to save the imperial family’s face. Who can know what he’s thinking?

Staying here does feel a little like a criminal. Hiding from the one I want to see the most yet am afraid to see. I do miss him a lot. That doesn’t mean I don’t blame him. These conflicting feelings that I’ve about him.

Beside him I miss my family too. How happy will my mom be to see me finally wanting to do some embroidery. Ming Long would’ve been ecstatic knowing he’ll be uncle. How I miss them. How can I forget what Xuan Chen has done, when I miss my family so much? When the image of their bodies was hanging in front of the gate, is imprinted in my mind?

Lian Er brought some dumplings for me.

“Don’t you really plan on going back? Are you not afraid that he’ll love somebody else?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how to face him. Beside I want to wait till Sweet Corn is born before returning.”

“You don’t have your family now. What will you do if the emperor doesn’t protect you anymore? You’ll gain nothing by being mad at him.”

“Do you mean that I need to lower myself in front of him? I don’t want to do that.”
“You’re stubborn. What will you lose by lowering yourself? I didn’t say that you need to forgive him. You can pretend in front of him.”

“Lian Er, love needs trust. If I’m pretending, then our love has no point.”

“You still love him? I thought you claimed that you don’t love him anymore.”

“I still love him. That’s why I can’t forgive him. You’ll understand when you find somebody you love. Speaking of that, Lian Er you’re the same age as me. Don’t you want to marry? I’ll give you back the contract of selling yourself to me.”

“I don’t want to get married. I want to stay with you forever.”

I smiled.

“Forever is a very long time.”

Lian Er has been with me since I was four. She came from a poor family with many siblings. Her father sold her to us to pay for their debt. She must’ve been sad that her father sold her instead of the many sons. To me she’s more like my sister than my maid. We understand each other the most. We’ve done so many mischievous things. Speaking frankly, I was the one doing the mischievous things, while she was the one trying to minimize damage. It was fun seeing her worry about my father finding out. Without her I’ll be so lonely. She’s the only family I’ve left. Being a kid is really fun. No worries, no burden, no hurt and no betrayal. Why did I want to grow up? When I was a kid I want to grow up faster. Now I’m an adult I want to be a child again.

I felt a sharp pain in my belly. It kept getting stronger.

“What’s the matter?”

I couldn’t even answer. The pain is unbearable. I felt a warm liquid sliding down against my leg.

“You’re bleeding! Wait for me, I’ll go call the physician.”

I saw her run away. I grasped my belly.

Sweet corn, please don’t leave me. Please stay with me. Don’t leave me like all of them.