Chapter 20 – The Empress (7)
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Qu Feiqing was holding her cup of wine and was absentmindedly drinking from it, savoring its unique, sweet taste. She began to grow bored of the event and out of the blue, felt the crushing, indescribable loneliness that filled her for years among the noisy clamor of the room.
At the ripe age of 23, she brought with her the burden of ruling a whole country.
A country so vast, that one couldn’t possibly fathom how a young woman like her could have conquered it. Well, being in prime power wasn’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows. Qu Feiqing had to sacrifice the innocence of her youth and her future of living a tranquil life. She would forever be living in the chaos she herself had made.
The show continued its course but it didn’t captivate her anymore. Qu Feiqing covered her mouth to yawn when she suddenly felt a burning gaze.
It was the beautiful woman from Yu country who had just performed. Qu Feiqing was ready to move her eyes. For her, she was nothing out of the ordinary. But the next moment her eyes fixed on this courtesan, the woman’s expression had suddenly changed.
As if all pretenses had been torn apart, a coldness that did not match the pretty face was revealed. She smiled like black ink being drip on a pure, white paper—exceedingly dark. This kind of smile, Qu Feiqing was all too familiar with. All of the sudden, she became much more pleasing to the eyes than before.
Perhaps this is how it feels when you meet your kindred soul.
Qu Feiqing wanted to see it again, but Su Xin had already returned to her usual gentle appearance, refusing to look at her again.
This feeling of excitement was a new thing to Qu Feiqing. She had been uninterested for a long time, her heart devoid of any emotion. Nothing had piqued her attention until now.
As Qu Feiqing observed Su Xin who was slipping through the crowd, she absentmindedly shook her wine glass and took another sip from it. She glanced at the Emperor Yu who was seated beside her.
“Is something the matter, Emperor Qu?” The Emperor Yu was a scholarly man in his forties. He too, was just observing the crowd, when he noticed the young Emperor Qu look at him. He saw this as a chance to strike up a conversation with this infamous Emperor and subtly inquire about the relationship between the two countries.
Emperor Yu was a wise man and he could naturally see that the young woman before him was not a person he should underestimate. He had heard of her bloody conquest on her rise to become an Emperor—things that a grown, hardened man would do, but not a young maiden. Thus, he couldn’t hold contempt for this person becoming emperor despite her young age.
What lies beyond the youthful exterior was a ferocious ruler.
Unlike them old men, her mind is still in her prime and would surely progress more in the future. The Emperor Yu was anxious of his later generations not being able to hold a candle to Qu Feiqing’s craftiness and ruthlessness. There was a risk of his own country being seized by this person. Thus, the only preemptive solution he had at hand was to establish a peaceful relationship between the Qu and Yu country.
“What’s the name of that woman?” Qu Feiqing was oblivious to Emperor Yu’s reservations and signaled to Su Xin’s direction.
Emperor Yu glanced back at the crowd, looking for the woman that had caught Qu Feiqing’s attention. “Well.. this emperor[note]lit. Zhen – How emperors address themselves. Literally means “we” which is used to represent him and his country.[/note] believes she is one of the courtesans called Xue Yao. From my own country, if this emperor might add.” Emperor Yu had been informed beforehand that one of the performers accepted into the banquet came from his country. At first he had paid no mind to it, but in this moment, he wanted nothing more than to grovel on the ground and thank the heavens.
His eyes flashed as he glanced meaningfully at the young emperor beside him, “Is Emperor Qu interested in her?”
Perhaps sensing this old man’s calculating scheme of making the courtesan as a bargaining chip, Qu Feiqing merely lowered her eyes to quietly sip on her goblet. Leaving the Emperor Yu clueless to the female’s true motives.
The lively, exuberant feast had lasted until late at night. As the evening progressed and the people became more loose and rowdy, Qu Feiqing found the festivities becoming boring and bland by the minute. Yet she couldn’t leave early when the three other emperors still remained. If she acted superior, there was no telling if these men would form an alliance to squish her. The only thing keeping them at bay from engaging into conflict with her, were the stories of her merciless personality and bloody rise to power.
If she had found a way to antagonize all three at once, despite everything cruel she had done to become emperor, she would still be no match to three countries closing in from every side. It would be a massacre.
When the Emperors finally had their fill of the night, Qu Feiqing retreated together with them. She went on a separate road, towards her resting place, and unexpectedly saw Su Xin standing in the corner, waiting for her in sheer clothing that accentuated her curves and made her incredibly seductive.
Qu Feiqing motioned for the carriage to stop. She stepped down and walked towards the woman in a slow pace.
She wasn’t expecting she’d boldly show her face again so soon, after she refused meeting her eyes in the banquet.
A feet apart, two beautiful women were basked in the soft haze of the moonlight. One had the appearance of a seductress in her nightgown, while the other, donned in gold and silver, had an imposing beauty.
It was quite a sight.
Su Xin pursed her lips and silently steeled herself. It was now or never!
“Emperor, there’s one thing I’d like to ask.”
Qu Feiqing raised her eyebrows and looked at Su Xin deeply before speaking. “What is it?”
“.. Am I beautiful?”
There was a pause before Qu Feiqing slowly answered, “Are you mentally ill?”
Huh, what?! What do you mean I’m a retard!
Well, this is embarrassing.