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“What are you thinking? You can’t kill her.”

“Why not? Didn’t she kill my Sweet Corn?”

“But you were never able to kill anything let alone a person.”

“Lian Er, people change. I need to change. I’ve been a good person my whole life. But what did I gain from being good? They took everything from me in the end. I’ll never again let anyone hurt me. I’ll fight whoever who dare to hurt me or hurt someone close to me. Killing her will set an example for all the other maids. It’ll also tell the empress dowager that I know what she did. Killing two birds with one stone. I don’t really see something wrong about killing her.”

“What will Sweet Corn think, if he knew his mother is someone who can kill anyone.”

After a long pause I answered her.
“He isn’t going to know because he isn’t here anymore.”

I’ve been focusing on the wrong enemy this whole time. Consort De is an easy enemy compared to the empress dowager. Consort De is so obvious with her tricks.

Meanwhile the empress dowager hided every emotion. She prepared her moves carefully. I was completely fooled. She pretended to be nice in front of everyone. I knew she didn’t like me, but to this extent. Who was the one who wanted grandchildren? So it was all acts. Why would she do this? What will she gain from this? Even if she is the empress dowager, she dared to harm my Sweet Corn, I’ll never forgive her. Killing the maid will be the beginning of my revenge. Even with the maid’s confession, she could easily deny being involved. I don’t have real proof. Beside she’s the empress dowager. If I act rashly, the one suffering will be me.

That cunning fox striking when I’m with no power now. The more I think about it, the angrier I got.

When I moved to the temple, I even handed my seal to her. How many spies did she put here? Seems like I can’t trust anyone here. I need to find someone who I can trust. Beside Lian Er, is there still somebody in this world who I can trust? Somebody’s image appeared before me.

“Lian Er, let some people spread the word that the empress is staying at this temple.”

She looked quizzically at me, but asked nothing.
Two days after I spread the words of me being here, the person I wanted to see came.

“Can’t believe that our beautiful empress is staying at such a humble place.”

“Yun Wen, long time no see. You’re here sooner than expected.”

“Didn’t you spread the news about you being here, to lure me? So what do you want from me?”

I smiled and poured him some tea.

He looked intensely at me. I met his gaze.

“You’ve changed. Being an empress must’ve made you more confident.”

“Yun Wen, I need your help. Please make me stronger.”

“You’re an empress now. How much power do you still want?”

“I need to become stronger physically and emotionally to defeat my enemies.”

He didn’t say anything. He only kept looking at me. It’s making me uncomfortable. But I met his gaze without wavering. If I back down from him, who isn’t my enemy yet, how will I face my other enemies?

“What have happened to you? Where is the happy miss that I know? You were happy in the palace the last time I saw you.”

“Li An Ning died together with her child. In her place is now only a revengeful empress. My fate was to be an empress. Seems like I can’t change my fate.”

“Your child died? When did you’ve a child? Why wasn’t I notified of this? How could they miss the empress pregnancy? Those stupid bastards.”

“Don’t blame them. I kept it secret. Even the emperor doesn’t know. Somehow the empress dowager got to know it and she cause my miscarriage. I need revenge. I can’t let the murderer of my child live happily. I’ll make her life a hell even if it means my life will be hell.”

“Why don’t you ask your emperor to help you? After all it’s his child too. Even though I hate to say it but he has more power than I do now. ”

“I don’t want him to know.”

He dared to smirk.

“Ah… I see. So I’m your most trusted person now? This does feel nice. The emperor’s wife doesn’t trust the emperor anymore and is asking an enemy to help her. I didn’t know this day will come. But can you really take revenge? You love the emperor. Love and hate don’t go well together.”

“I don’t love him anymore. The moment I stepped foot here, I was planning of severing my ties with him.”

Although I said those words with confidence in front of Yun Wen. My heart ached at my words.

“I did warn you.”

“So do you want to help me or not?”

“Even though you said you’re severing your ties with him, but you’re still his wife. That means that we’re enemies.”

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

“What will I gain from helping you?”

“What do you want?”

“Let’s see. There’s so many things that I want. Like a kiss from you will be a nice beginning.”

“Can you be more serious?”

“I’m really serious. But it seems that you don’t like it. Did I kiss that bad the first time we met? I thought the ladies always threw themselves at me. Maybe I’m losing my charm.”

He looked in the mirror, admiring his face from all sides. My blood is boiling. I took a deep breath.

Calm yourself, An Ning. Don’t let him get to you.

“I’ll think about what I want from you and if I want to help you. After all I’ve gotten so much to do. I don’t really have time to play your little game.”

He was about to leave.

“What if I help you overthrow the empire?”

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