Chapter 19 – The Empress (6)
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Su Xin wore a pale pink silky dress with a sheer thin sheet on the outside bearing the same charming color. The woman with her was Qing Lian, who was also dressed to perfection. With their team up, the two managed to secure their places as performers in the banquet, leaving the three women disqualified.
A zither was positioned at the stage, of which Su Xin took ahold of and placed on her lap in a graceful manner. The moment Su Xin’s delicate fingers plucked the bronze strings of the instrument, He Yunshu released a deep sigh unconsciously. She was so immersed with the sight of Su Xin that she didn’t notice that she was holding her breath from the very moment Su Xin appeared on the stage.
As if the music she produced was not enough to astonish everyone, Su Xin began to sing a heart-wrenching, passionate ballad. Her voice, although cool, was extremely penetrating. People were in awe; it looked like Su Xin wasn’t only plucking the strings of the zither but she was also plucking the stoned hearts of the audience, beckoning for them to shatter the barred walls they had built around their hearts. The song stirred something in them, making them feel emotional.
While Su Xin pierced everyone with her voice, Qing Lian delivered a captivating dance portraying a wholesome story.
He Yunshu was sitting underneath, her gaze trained on Su Xin alone. Although Su Xin didn’t move from her spot to dance, and only played the zither and sang, He Yunshu felt that she must be very good at dancing.
He Yunshu was suddenly brought back to the time when she first met Su Xin. She was just a tiny bud by then, tucked away at a dark corner of a room with meager sunlight. But now, He Yunshu was proud to see her flourish into a flower at full bloom.
With drooping eyes, Su Xin casually gave a fluid glance to the crowd, stirring up their fascination of her. The outer corner of her eyes were painted with ink in the shape of petals, which made her appearance even more alluring.
Su Xin was the sole subject of He Yunshu’s attention but Su Xin’s eyes were trained on someone else than He Yunshu. She would occasionally look up at one person.
The only woman on the throne of the four emperors, Qu Feiqing.
Qu Feiqing’s hair was bunched up highly, adorned with several hairpins showing her regal status. It was easy to say that she was the most elegant looking woman in the event. It was a shame to not look at her.
However, she was extremely young compared to the other three emperors, all men who were in their prime age.
With a face that could topple countries, Qu Feiqing was indeed worthy of being called the most beautiful woman in the four countries.
She was the true definition of sophistication. Her beauty was unlike any other, it was exceedingly luxurious; not a soul in the room could even hold a candle to her. She was that beautiful, truly incomparable. Even so, her formidable aura made people pay less attention to her physical appearance.
In fear of their life, people would usually shrink in her presence and bow at the lowest angle possible to kiss the ground she was walking on. It was intimidation at first glance.
Like a sword out of its sheath, Qu Feiqing would not think twice to kill anyone who displeased her. Even when at rest and curbing her strength, she was a lion that could get up anytime upon sensing a nearby threat, slit their throats and call it a day.
Such a person, others dare not come close. To get close, you have to be fearless of death. Heck, even court it.
Su Xin and Qing Lian finished their melodramatic performance which received a round of subdued applause from the audience.
To show their utmost respect, they approached the seats of the four emperor.
Su Xin’s heart missed a beat, cold anxiety crept up to the back of her neck—it all just dawned on her that she would finally face the focus of her mission. She kept her eyes trained on the floor as they made their way closer to the emperors.
They stopped just at a respectable distance and Su Xin, with her eyes drooped, caught sight of the trains of Qu Feiqing’s deep ruby gown that was artistically arranged on the floor beneath her.
Then, she and Qing Lian bowed in their earnest.
Upon rising from the traditional bow, Su Xin dauntlessly looked straight at Qu Feiqing who met her gaze in mid-air. The stare-off happened for a fleeting moment, a game instigated with only the two of them aware of it.
Qu Feiqing’s eyes swept over her and there it was—the familiar feeling that Su Xin knew all too well.
Su Xin could practically smell it from the woman, she reeked of it. No matter what Qu Feiqing wore, it could never conceal the underlying monstrousness that was running in her veins. The same monstrousness running inside Su Xin.
For a brief moment, Su Xin’s blood boiled and her hands vaguely shook. She wasn’t sure if it was from the perverse excitement at having found another one like her, or the feeling of desolation; this was the ghost that had haunted her at every moment ever since her parents’ death. The game changer of her life.
The way Su Xin sees it, they were both slaves of the same darkness. Two unfortunate souls left scrambling in a cruel world to survive. Alone.
It was pitiful.