"The Emperor was also impatient." The Empress was glad when a pot of freshly brewed tea was brought to the table. She waved the maidservants away and poured a cup of tea herself.
With a beckoning smile, the Empress offered the first cup of tea to Li Xueyue, surprising the latter
"You know, I went through great complications to birth the First Prince," the Empress murmured. She poured herself a cup of tea before placing the porcelain pot down.
"But the Emperor did not seem to care. Shortly after the First Prince was born, he wanted more."
The Empress lifted the boiling liquid to her mouth. From the corner of her eyes, she saw the Crown Princess protest, but it was too late, the Empress drank a sip without flinching. The pain didn't bother her, she was used to it by now.
"But for some reason, my body could not give him any. After my first childbirth, my body became weak and frail."
The Empress settled the teacup down. "It's normal. Every woman would be tired after going through pregnancy for the first time."
Li Xueyue felt like there was more to the story. She patiently sat there and listened, though it felt strange that the Empress was suddenly revealing so many secrets.
Was it because they were similar to each other? They both married into a foreign land and suffered a miscarriage before?
"After my firstborn, I went through one miscarriage after another. I'm sure you can understand my suffering. It felt like I failed my duty as a woman."
The Empress let out a small sigh. "I was the most unhappy woman you'd ever meet, but my only child at that time brought light into my gloomy world. I treasured him with my entire being. I thought…he would be the only child I would ever have."
Li Xueyue was empathetic of the Empress. To be alone in this enormous palace, large as a city…it must've been lonely. The Empress's only companion must've only been her son, the only person on her side regardless of the troubles that she went through.
"But did you know how cruel my husband was?" The Empress darkly chuckled, her eyes flashing with pure hatred.
"After my second miscarriage, he had impregnated another woman. A lowly servant who dreamed of obtaining power through her child."
Li Xueyue's breath hitched. If she remembered correctly, one of the candidates sent to Wuyi was Yu Zhen's half-sister. What was her name again?
Princess Yu Xiyan, the runaway candidate who fled from Wuyi with her maidservant. There hadn't been a word of her even till now… Without a doubt, the Princess had either perished, or, she was simply living a secluded life far from the judging eyes of the palace.
"And do you want to know who that maid was?" the Empress murmured.
Li Xueyue rapidly nodded her head.
"My personal maid. The one that has always served by my side, caring and comforting me through my melancholy. That whore. While I slept, she slept with my husband."
Li Xueyue's eyes bulged. She couldn't help her reaction.
"It was only after she gave birth to a daughter that my miscarriages stopped, for she was whisked away to a different part of the palace."
Li Xueyue's heart fell to her stomach. She knew where this story was going.
"Could you believe it, Li Xueyue?" The Empress tightly gripped her porcelain teacup. She ground her teeth and glared into the tea.
"The coincidences were too difficult to ignore, don't you think so?"
Li Xueyue nodded her head. She was grappled by this story, listening with open ears. Surely, there must be a resolution?
"Funny enough, she died under mysterious circumstances a few weeks before Hanjian's selected candidates would be sent to Wuyi."
Li Xueyue gulped. Mysterious circumstances? She didn't need to predict what had happened. As a revenge, the Empress had poisoned the maidservant.
"But I was kind-hearted enough to inform her of the fate of her lovely daughter," the Empress mused. A sinister smile rested upon her face, her eyes glistening with amusement.
"She was so horrified that her only child, beautiful and charismatic, would become the second-wife of a mediocre General from a foreign land. Her daughter, a Princess of Hanjian…reduced to the rank of a second-wife. You should've seen her horrified face."
The Empress cackled so loudly, the maidservants flinched. It had been a while since they'd heard such a crazy laugh from her.
The Empress expected the Crown Princess to be mortified, with pale skin and widened eyes, as if the Crown Princess wanted to be anywhere but here.
To the Empress's pleasant surprise, the Crown Princess was engrossed in the story, listening with rapt attention. This was strange. Why wasn't the Crown Princess terrified?
"It must've been satisfying."
The Empress's face went blank out of bewilderment. Not a second later, she grinned.
"Indeed it was! That whore finally received a punishment worthy of her crimes. She died all alone in her palace, without the company of her daughter. She died knowing everything that she had worked for, to ensure her daughter's perfect future, would be useless!"
Li Xueyue wondered if the Emperor had a say. Surely, the only concubine of Hanjian would've pleaded her case with him?
"And did you know how stupid she was? That woman begged my husband for mercy, declaring that she only has one child, and I had many more! She said that it was only fair that Princess Yu Xiyan stayed in Hanjian."
The Empress sneered at the repulsive memory. That whore wanted her youngest daughter, Princess Yu Xiyan to be pardoned from the candidacy selection.
'Hah! If my youngest daughter had to leave, then that illegitimate Xiyan MUST also go!' she thought to herself.
"My dear husband was furious at her outrageous request. It only made this revenge much more sweeter. That damned concubine was so heartbroken, and dismayed, she cried in her palace day and night."
Li Xueyue was beginning to think this entire family was insane. At first, she thought the Empress was normal, but it seemed not. Speaking of the concubine's death, there was a joyous gleam in the Empress's enlarged eyes and a gleeful smile on her face.
"Then, strangely enough, she passed away…" The Empress let out a sigh as she frowned into her cup of tea. "What a poor thing, don't you think so?"
"Indeed." Li Xueyue had nothing else to say, except such a bland response.
At a time like this, how was she supposed to react? Be happy for the Empress that her only foe was eliminated in the palace? Or, pity the concubine who clamoured for an impossible dream, only for her hard work to come tumbling down?
"Do you understand what I am trying to tell you, Crown Princess?" the Empress asked.
Li Xueyue had a small guess but wasn't too certain of her answer. Regardless, she responded.
"Your Grace, do you mean all of my foes should die under mysterious circumstances?"
The Empress loudly laughed at the Crown Princess's words. For everyone's sake, she would treat it as a joke.
"Something along those lines," the Empress mused. She lifted her teacup and drank from it, concealing an amused smile.
Li Xueyue laughed in response, pretending it was a joke. She too brought the teacup to her lips and took a sip, hiding a sinister smirk. If only, the Empress knew… All of those who have wronged her, they would pay with their lives.
Please go to https://www.qzxyzy.com/The-Rise-of-Xueyue/
to read the latest chapters for free