Chapter 74: Falling into the Abyss (1)
The emperor looked at the pale-faced Gong Che. “It is the same for you. If you desire the throne, prove your ability!”
After stating his mind, Emperor Gong Sheng left angrily with a wave of his sleeve. He took no consideration of the carnage his words would cause in the harem.
Who knew how long Gong Che knelt before he finally left Zhaoyang Palace to head towards Fengqi Palace where his mother stayed.
The prince was in a daze as he trudged back, and the corners of his lips were curved downwards; he looked as if he had just lost his soul. There was no semblance to the gentle-looking prince he once was. All of the servants he encountered kept a good distance, not daring to appear in his field of view.
But before he could even enter the Fengqi Palace, a forlorn cry reached his ears. After running into the palace, he finally saw two maids holding onto the messily dressed Empress. It was obvious that the eunuch had already informed her of the emperor’s will, so she was grieved to the point of wanting to die.
“Mother! What are you doing?!”
One of the palace maidens hastily approached Gong Che in tears and said, “Your Highness the Crown Prince, you came! Come quickly and persuade the Empress. Her Highness, she… she wants to knock herself against the wall to end her life!”
When the Empress said the words ‘Crown Prince’, her lifeless eyes suddenly flickered brightly with a piercing chill! She laughed and said, “What Crown Prince? What’s a Crown Prince even for? You’ve heard the emperor’s intentions. He said that anyone can become emperor! In that case, what’s the use of a Crown Prince?”
What was the point of her years of hardships and currying for favor? What use was her scheming? She could scheme her heart out and it would have no use! With only a few words from the emperor, their family was driven into the abyss, leaving no room for redemption! Everything she had so painstakingly worked for had become a joke!
Her deranged appearance frightened Gong Che. He quickly knelt before the Empress and exclaimed, “Queen Mother! Since the one to succeed the throne has to be a capable prince, why do you think I can’t succeed? Empress, please trust in my talent. I believe that I can succeed!”
“Trust in you?” The Empress’ eyes narrowed as she spoke with sad and hopeless emotion,
“My son… do you still not recognize our reality? On one hand, we can’t compare to Liu Xian Fei’s favor from the emperor. On the other hand, our financial ability is even less than Long Gui Fei’s. The Liu family is weak, so they continue to humiliate us as they please!”
“My dear son… although the situation has fallen to this, Queen Mother is not afraid that you have no talent. No, I am afraid that you have talent but cannot protect yourself, making you a stumbling block to the eyes of the enemies all around us!”
She cried desperately as she spoke. So what about her being the empress? In the end, she was just a woman, and the status of the woman of the harem was determined by the prosperity or demise of her own family. Who could understand her grief?
The empress’ words deeply struck Gong Che’s understanding! Reality was so cruel and cold-blooded.
Couldn’t he rely on his own abilities? Couldn’t he achieve that?
His mother’s distrust and fear caused him to doubt and hate himself. He wanted to become the emperor only because of the people he wanted to protect and because there were responsibilities he had to bear with his title. But in the end, he could not protect those same people. If he instead caused them to feel panic and fear day by day, until they eventually lost their trust in him, what use was there for him?
No, not only was he useless. He also lacked power and had no potential. He wasn’t worthy.
Gong Che’s heart continued to sink deeper…Finally, he gave a cold smile.
When he knelt before his father in the Zhaoyang Palace, his face never showed a hint of despair in front of his father’s humiliation and cursing. But now, he expression revealed true desperation; Gong Che felt as if he had been sentenced to death and was exiled to hell.
When the Empress saw her son’s pale face and his despondent smile, an unspeakable grief overcame her and she fell down to her knees. She took Gong Che in her arms and cried in a hoarse and exhausted voice, “My son! It’s mother’s fault, mother has been useless. Blame mother!”