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Dark Empress - Chapter 3

Published at 4th of September 2018 08:25:05 AM

Chapter 3
My Empress…
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It was [My] not Zhen! What does that mean?Jiang Chuwei shuddered; don’t think about it anymore. Just looking at the man’s smile, one could tell that he was up to no good: He had an expression like he had just found a new toy.The idea of being seen as a toy made Chuwei unhappy, but she was under his roof and she clearly understood that she was in a weak position in the Palace. Her opponent was the Emperor accompanied by the tiger, since hearing him utter that phrase, she could not fathom what he was up to, so, she could only wait and see.She sneaked a look at him. He was sitting beside her, wearing purple robes that had been embroidered with the customary dragon on his sleeves and the skirt of his robes, at the end of his belt hung a jadeite pendant. Upon his head was a Zijin crown[1]. He looked like a refined and erudite Confucian scholar, but his forehead was aggressive and fearsome, not letting anyone dare look down upon him. All in vain - wolf in sheep’s clothing.‘Beast in human clothing,’ she muttered disdainfully under her breath.Xiahou Yin’s hand holding ivory chopsticks stilled, although she had only muttered, as someone who practiced martial arts, his heading was exceptional. (Zuben: Martial arts trains the ear ‘muscles’ eh?). Her words were very repugnant, heh!He smiled and turned to her, ‘Empress, what did you say?’Chuwei went stiff and stared at him. She was whispered yet he heard her?‘Hmm? Did you want to say something?’ The Dowager asked looking at Chuwei.It was the Dowager Empress’ birthday, but she had not wanted anything extravagant. She just wanted a small intimate dinner with the Emperor and the Empress to celebrate with her. They sat in the seats of honour; the Dowager in the middle and Xiahou Yin at her right side. The imperial concubines sat at the tables below.Chuwei smiled demurely, gripping her knee tightly she lowered her head shyly and said, ‘Rong Er thinks the crystal dumplings are delicious.’‘Oh is that what you said?’ Xiahou replied with a faint mocking smile, he fished the crystal dumplings into her bowl, ‘Then, here, eat some more, you’re so thin, I feel so bad when I look at you.’He placed his hand over her hand that was held on her knee and used his thumb to gently caress the back of her hand.What are you touching, you perverted bastard?Chuwei wanted to shake his hand off, but she had to remain docile, ‘Yes, thank you for your concern, Emperor. She wanted to work her hands loose to pick up her chopsticks but the pervert won’t let her go.She gritted her teeth and looking at him with feigned bashfulness, ‘Emperor, your hand…’ pervert! Haven’t you done enough? Let go!Xiahou Yin ignored the hateful look in her eyes, instead he smiled and picked up a crystal dumpling with his chopsticks and brought it to her mouth, ‘Here eat…’This scene shocked everyone. The Dowager gaped at her son, he was usually cold to the Empress, but now he was holding her intimately and feeding her.Chuwei took a deep breath; she knew this guy was goading her. He was playing with her for his own entertainment.Chuwei hung her head; this kind of sheepishness went against every fibre of her being. She was a very temperamental individual, and her anger was very fierce. She raised a foot under the table and stomped on him, maliciously grinding her heel into his foot. Unfortunately, these shoes were not seven inch heels she favoured otherwise he would be wailing most painfully. She pinched his offending hand with her free one while keeping a meek appearance on her face.With her docile visage, she took a bite of the crystal dumpling, and thanked him shyly as she twisted the skin on his hand. But he did not let her go!The pain on the foot was negligible, but the pinch was excruciation. It seemed the nails of a lady had benefits. But this little hand felt good to the touch, like a piece of tender tofu, so he was reluctant to let her hand go. And there was the added benefit of her obvious detestation but she could not dare openly show it, it made him even more reluctant.Chuwei glared at him, she was pinching him so hard but he still didn’t let go?Xiahou Yin ignored the glare and ate the rest of the dumpling she had taken a bite from. This move caused a raise of eyebrows in the banquet hall, and lots of envy.The Emperor fed the Empress in public and even ate the dumpling she had taken a bite from?! This honour, (Zuben: However dubious) even the most favoured Qing Fei has experienced.‘It looks like sentiment between the Emperor and the Empress has become very good?’ The Dowager was also surprised. It had been so difficult to enlighten her son. Had he discovered the hidden gem that was Rong Er? With the Dowager’s gaze on them, Chuwei raised her foot and stopped pinching him. Hateful!Xiahou Yin raised gave a sly smile when she gave up her attack. He looked at her gently and playfully and said, ‘Er Chen had recently found that Rong Er has become more beautiful.’(Zuben: OTT bruv)
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‘Oh?’ The Dowager turned her gaze to Chuwei and raised a hand to feel her skin, ‘Rong Er, you seem to have gotten plumper, the feeling is not the same.’ She was still an ordinary looking girl, but her cheeks were fuller. Her long black hair was braided and tied with a blue silk ribbon. The blue dress she wore was elegant with minimal decoration. Compared to the ladies present, the queen was dressed really plainly, but she gave off an aura of gentility and serenity, completely different from before.The Dowager could not help but be surprised; she hadn’t seen her for a few days and now, Rong Er had undergone a big change, the Emperor had also changed his attitude towards her.‘Does it?’ she asked shyly. She really wanted to kill the pervert beside her. He was looking for her trouble? She wanted to be a low-key invisible person, was that too hard for him to get?The anger burned in her chest but she had to hold it in. She felt like she was going to vomit blood. The anger made her cheeks red, so she looked like she was shy from being praised. She forced out a smile, ‘Maybe because Xia Xi and Chun Xi often feed me tonic, so I have begun to look better.’‘That’s good.’ The Dowager nodded in satisfaction, ‘You should eat more, you’re too thin.’If only the shy retiring personality could be changed as well. But that may be impossible.The more she thought of it, the more worried the Dowager got. While she was alive, Rong Er lived peacefully in the harem. But when she was gone, how could she win the hearts and minds with her personality? And she was not favoured, so the Dowager was more worried but seeing the Emperor’s change in attitude made her hopeful. (Zuben: y’all shouldn’t have married her to him:/)‘Emperor you have to spend more time with Rong Er,’ The Dowager said to her son.‘Yes Mother, Er Chen will stay at Feng Yi Palace tonight.’ he said with a smile holding onto Chuwei’s little hand.Chuwei wanted to tear him apart.‘That’s very good.’ The Dowager said with a very happy smile. She patted Chuwei’s hand and said, ‘Rong Er, give Mother a grandson okay?’The Emperor had no children; this worried not only the ministers but the Dowager as well.What?! Chuwei’s eyes nearly popped out.‘Mother don’t worry, Er Chen and Rong Er will work hard.’ he said looking at Chuwei with soft expression on his face, he stroked her palm back and forth, ‘Is’t that right, Rong Er?’Though his expression was gentle, there was a flash of mischief in his eyes. Before Xiahou’s charming smile, Chuwei’s heart was unmoved; she was so angry she wanted to vomit blood.♛At this moment, she had only one thought - kill him!The feeling Luo Pingyang had when he/she was being bullied by a dog[2] - it was the first time Jiang Chuwei had ever experienced it.In her past life, whenever she was bullied, she could sneakily get her revenge. But now, her opponent was an Emperor. If she did anything to him; her head remaining on top of her shoulders was not guaranteed, and that was if she was lucky. It was more possible that she would be tortured between life and death. Even if the Queen Mother and the Imperial Uncle were behind her, and this body was Su Xiurong, Chuwei was not an idiot. She could not assume she was safe just because she had backing.If Xiahou wanted a person to disappear, it would not be impossible with his power, even if she was the Empress. If she was not well behaved, she could be poisoned or assassinated! He could also deal with her privately and set someone up to look like Xiurong. (Zuben :O!)She had seen these kind of methods used on TV dramas before. At the time, she had laughed at such dog blood plots; she did not expect to be living it one day!If she was going to transmigrate, why did she have to get an Empress?! Why not a civilian? (Zuben: you have queenly bearing?)‘What sins have I committed?’ Why was the universe doing this to her?! Chuwei bit into the quilt, and punched the cloth with her hand.She wanted to scream but she suffocated it under the quilt. In the end she could not stand it, she picked up her pillow and shook it violently.‘Xiahou, I’m going to kill you!’ she shouted as she imagined the pillow was Xiahou Yin’s head and twisted it. She could not wait to twist his head off. ‘Bastard! Pervert! This old lady will take you down one day!’Xia Xi and Chun Xi looked at each other in fear, especially hearing their mistress curse the name of the Emperor! They were very scared.‘Niangniang, please lower your voice; you can’t be heard wanting to take down the Emperor!’ they said trying to stop her, and glancing at the open doors with anxiety. Although, it was only the three of them in FengYi Palace, if someone heard them and went to report the mistress; it was over for her!Chun Xi quickly rushed out and closed the doors, before she did, she cast looks about the courtyard to make sure she could not see anyone about. She sighed in relief and shut the doors. She returned to the inner room and poured a cup of tea and hurriedly held it before her mistress, ‘Niangniang, don’t be angry. Please drink the tea and let it quench the fire!’Chuwei paused for breath, her eyes were red. She also realised she was agitated. She saw that her two maids were afraid, their faces were pale. The cup of tea in Chun Xi’s hand was shaking as the maid was trembling.
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Chuwei took the cup and sipped the tea, she realised she was really thirsty, she drank the tea and held the cup out to Chun Xi, ‘Water,’Chun Xi did her bidding immediately, and quickly poured a cup of water for her.Chuwei drank slowly, since she was able to vent, she began to calm down.Seeing that their mistress was relaxing, Xia Xi carefully asked, ‘Niangniang, are you feeling better?’She didn’t understand why their mistress was like this; everything had been good at the banquet. The Emperor held the Empress’ hand all evening, their mistress had been blushing. She had Chun Xi had thought that their mistress was finally being valued by the Emperor, she would be very happy. But when they left Cining Palace, the mistress’ face was cold. After they returned to Feng Yi, her face turned even uglier. After rushing into the rooms, she had burst out in anger.Chuwei did not answer, she finished her water and handed ChunXi the empty cup. She dropped the pillow and left her bed. She went to the dressing table and picked up a pair of scissors, she had a dark smile on her face.When the maids saw this, they they could not help but think of the recent tirade. They both began to tremble in trepidation.Just then, Yongfu’s voice called from the courtyard, ‘The Emperor is arriving…’Oh no! Did the Empress really want to…!‘Niangniang! No!’ Chun Xi cried out fearfully.‘Why no?’ Xiahou Yin asked as he entered without waiting to be received. He glanced at Chuwei and saw the scissors in her hands; she didn’t want to stab him with that, did she? (Zuben: Maybe - maybe not)‘Your servant greets the Emperor.’ Xia Xi andChun Xi hurriedly said as the prostrated.But Xiahou was fixed on Chuwei wondering what her plan was. He absently waved the servants away, but the girls hesitated. They looked at their mistress’ hard expression and the scissors in her hands and the sisters were scared.Chuwei paid them no mind; she sat comfortably in her bed twiddling with the scissors in her hand.Seeing that the maids had not left, Xiahou glared at them. The maids gasped and quickly retreated, ‘Yes, nubi will retire.’ They were just as afraid of angering the emperor; they did not dare stay but leave the palace uneasily.Watching the two ladies leave with worry in their expression, Xiahou could not help but smile. He turned to Chuwei and saw she still sat in bed ignoring his presence. He raised his eyebrows and stepped forward.‘So, do you plan to use scissors to assassinate me?’ he asked.To her, he did not garner any respect. From his observations; to Chuwei, he was no better than a roadside beggar. Even if he used his title, she would still be disdainful of him.It was the first time he’d been loathed by a woman. He had to admit that he had been spoiled by the women of the harem. Which woman, in this palace, did not look at him in admiration? Even though, Xiurong had been shy when she looked at him, she could not help her admiration of him. This was one of the reasons why he believed that this woman was not Su Xiurong. There was no infatuation in her eyes, she was contemptuous.But her attitude towards him made him feel like she was interesting. A magical soul - very interesting. Chuwei looked up at him and held the scissors out to him silently. He did not take it, but looked at the scissors and then back at her; he did not understand her meaning. Was she surrendering so soon?Chuwei gave a broad smile, ‘Did you really think I wanted to kill you with a pair of scissors?’Did they think she was an idiot? Assassinating the Emperor; she would not live. Neither could she win by her fists. This body was too weak; the thought that she could not even do a shoulder throw made Chuwei want to cry. (Zuben: Practice?)Xiahou Yin took the scissors; he knew she wasn’t such a good person. ‘So?’ what did she want him to do with the scissors?‘Here.’ she said holding out her right hand.‘Yes…?’ he looked at her hand, still not understanding her.She looked at him like she was looking at an idiot, ‘Can’t you see? My nails are broken.’ The pillow was too hard, the nails she had carefully maintained had broken.Xiahou Yin looked closely and saw that the nail on the index finger was indeed cracked. He looked at the scissors and at the hand again.‘Help me trim it.’ She said naturally.Xiahou Yin thought he hadn’t heard right, he just stared at her.
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Her lifted arm beginning to ache, ‘Quickly,’ she said impatiently.Xiahou Yin smiled. It was the first time he had been asked to cut someone’s nails with such so naturally, as though it was nothing. She really was a bold one, wasn’t she?It could only be her, but he wasn’t surprised. If she was not special, how could she evoke his interest?Xiahou hooked a chair with his foot and dragged it close so he could sit. He took her hand and helped a person cut their nails for the first time in his life. He was afraid of hurting her, so he carefully cut around the broken nail. He cut it into a short arc.‘Done.’ he said.She took her hand back and looked at the newly trimmed nail. She nodded in satisfaction, ‘You’ll need to do the others,’ she said, else the nails will be uneven, ‘Quickly…’she said as she held her hand out to him again.Xiahou did not get angry, he took her hand and helped her trim the nails.So obedient! While he was bent over her hand, Chuwei took the chance to study his appearance up close. His lashes were long and full. (Zuben: How does he see through them?) He had good skin. She looked down at the hands that held hers; they were large, his knuckles were distinct, (Zuben: Is that a thing?), he had calluses. This discovery made her raise an eyebrow, and... Was her skin darker than his?!She really wanted to cry, she sighed inwardly.‘Would you like me to do your left hand?’ he asked her after finishing with her right.‘Alright.’ She wouldn’t refuse being served.Her answer did not surprise Xiahou, as he cut her left hand, he said, ‘You seem to dislike me.’She could not deny that.‘Never been disliked by a woman?’ she asked. She snorted as she noted his reaction, ‘The Emperor is always admired, all the women want to win his affection, even Su Xiurong who you did not even care for. And now, for the first time, a woman is not infatuated with you, does not try to hug your thigh and you’re not accustomed to it.’Did he think that everyone loved a peacock that showed off his tail feathers? Those who did had not met many men.‘So...are you behaving like this to attract my attention?’ Deliberately pretending to hate him?Chuwei laughed and patted his face and said, ‘You’re really good looking, and I have yet to see a man more handsome than you are,’ he was a lot more handsome that any of her boyfriends in her previous life.‘Oh?’ he didn’t care about her disrespectful behaviour. He watched her with great interest. Although the shell was Xiurong, but the self confidence was completely different. The ordinary face had become bright and interesting.Chuwei ran her finger down his face and hooked his chin as she drew her face closer to his, ‘I hate your expression.’Xiahou Yin did not avoid it, he let her continue to be disrespectful.‘You think I am interesting, so you let me be, want to see how different I am as though you just acquired a novelty toy. Because no one treats you like this, so you want to see how much fun I can bring you? Or is it that you want to conquer me and tame me, so you can satisfy your male self-esteem, then get bored and throw me aside; a new notch in your bedpost, right?’Xiahou could not deny that this was his thought, but he did not expect her to see through him, ‘It seems that you know a lot about men.’ How else would she understand the psychology of a man?‘Of course,’ she replied proudly, ‘but of all the men that had pursued this lady, you’re the most self righteous one.’Those rich young masters who had wanted to conquer her and add her to their little black book? they all ended up holding her thigh, begging her not to leave.Pursuit? He raised an eyebrow.She understood his expression, ‘Me, not Su Xiurong.’ she replied impatiently.She placed her hands on her hips and raised her chest, with a proud expression she said, ‘Jiang Chuwei is a beautiful woman who reverses all beings.’The incomprehensible self-confidence amused Xiahou. It was the first time, (Zuben: if I have to to type ‘first time’ one more time…)he had heard someone praise themselves so much without any trace of humility. But he was not annoyed by it.Seeing his amused expression, Chuwei asked, ‘What are you laughing at?He must not believe her.‘Do I believe?’ he asked as he pulled the braid resting on her chest.‘Ouch!’ she cried in pain as his pull forced her closer to him, ‘What are you doing?’She really wanted to hit him.‘I believe that you are beautiful,’ he said. Her self confidence brightened her ordinary face, made her look like a glowing star; beautiful and dazzling.Chuwei wanted to pull his hand away.‘So…’ he continued as his touched her face. Xiahou discovered that her face was so small, he could wrap his palm around her.He had never truly looked at Xiurong before, but now he saw her - Jiang Chuwei.‘Continue to make me interested,’ he said as he ran his thumb over her lip. Her lips had a touch of pink, ‘As long as I don’t get bored, you can stay here and continue living as Su Xiurong.’Chuwei blinked, she really wanted to smack that hand but her body would not respond. Her heart was in tumult and her mind was clouded.Xiahou kissed her slightly opened lips which he had never done before, but the flavour of her kiss was different. He drew back with a happy twinkle in his eye. He nipped at her soft lips lightly. He gave her sly look as he said, ‘Jiang Chuwei, I’m really looking forward to the days ahead.’Was she stupid? What was she going to do? She had a sense that she had dug a big pit to jump into.
 [1] The Lu Bu headdress for those who played Dynasty Warriors on PS2. The one that struck fear in my heart when I saw it rendered in the distance. Lu Bu is coming; about-face![2] I am assuming this sentence is wrong.
[3] Crystal Dumplings: the look dee-fuckling-licious.
Steamed Crystal Dumplings
 
Truffle Essense Crystal dumplings

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