When Lin Haihai returned to the hospital, both Li Junyue and Yu Qing were waiting anxiously for her. Immediately, they asked, “What did you find out?”
Lin Haihai told them about what happened. Li Junyue said after a bemused pause, “The living corpses are the daoist nun’s doing, while Suxin from the Carefree Tavern is responsible for the poison. Both are somewhat of a mystery to us. Perhaps there are secrets we’ve yet to find out about. It’s going to be a difficult battle, Xiao’hai!”
“But we must win,” Yu Qing said encouragingly. She didn’t want Lin Haihai to lose her will to fight. “We’ll always support you, Xiao’hai!”
“Thank you, Yu Qing! I’m glad you’re here!” LIn Haihai was moved. Yu Qing had always stood by her side without hesitation when she felt most alone.
“What are you gonna do now?” Li Junyue asked. There were too many sides for them to tackle. It was difficult to know where they should start.
“I’ll talk to Chen Luoqing. Back in Quxuan, Passerby gave me a Forgetness Pill. I want to give it to Brother Yang. He has been unable to do what he needed to do with Prince Pingnan because of his concern for me. That puts him at a disadvantage, and he’s thus been passively reacting to his uncle. Only by forgetting about me would he be able to focus on the problems before him.”
Ever since Yang Shaolun knew that Prince Pingnan had approached Lin Haihai, he had been worried that his uncle would set her up with insidious scenes. As a result, he had been watching his steps too much and overthinking his every move.
“Well, I do agree that His Majesty has been too concerned about you!” Li Junyue looked at those manning the stands outside the hospital. They were all Yang Shaolun’s shadow guards.
“Would you really be able to take it if he forgets about you, Xiao’hai?” Yu Qing said, her eyes stung and misty.
Lin Haihai took a deep breath and managed a smile. “What if I can’t? There’s no alternative. It’s better he forgets about me than for him to endure the pain of losing me!”
She couldn’t imagine how excruciating that would be, and she didn’t dare imagine it.
“You’ve given up too much for him!” Yu Qing threw her arms around her.
“He’s given up even more for me. He can let go of his power and title for me. What I’m doing for him pales in comparison. I’ll know that he loves me. I’ll know that he’s only forgotten about me because of the pill, or he would always love me!”
Lin Haihai feigned nonchalance as she said so, but it would be cruel for the person she loved the most to forget about her.
“Alright. It’s not the time to agonize over that. You’ve said it yourself, Xiao’hai. Love isn’t the only thing that matters in life. I’ll support you!”
They should support her. What was done was done. There was no changing the situation no matter how much they struggled and complained. Their heartbreak wouldn’t help her. They all had to face the upcoming battle head on and decisively resolved the matter at hand. Then they would think about everything else.
Lin Haihai nodded seriously, feeling like a martyr facing her fate. That’s right. There are other things to care about in life other than love. At least I haven’t lost Brother Yang completely. At least I’ll still get to see him. That’s bound to be enough!
Since the empress dowager hadn’t recovered fully, the empress had been staying with her to stabilize her mood. Lin Haihai returned early to the palace and went straight to the empress dowager’s bedchamber. The empress was there as well.
Lin Haihai sat down by the empress dowager’s bed and nuzzled the old woman’s hand with her face. She yearned for this warmth. It was the warmth of a mother.
“Leave us, Lihua,” Lin Haihai ordered. “Don’t let anyone in!”
“Understood!” Lihua bowed calmly and turned to leave.
The empress dowager’s heart sank when she saw the grave expression on Lin Haihai’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“I have a favor to ask both of you, Imperial Mother, Empress!” Lin Haihai looked up at them, doing her best to keep her tears in check.
“What is it, silly girl? You’re being so serious. It’s scaring this Imperial Mother!” The empress dowager looked at Lin Haihai nervously. The empress shifted her gaze to Lin Haihai as well. She had an idea what this was about.
“I have to leave once the child is born, Imperial Mother, and I’ll never be able to return!” Lin Haihai’s nose prickled, and her tears dropped as soon as she opened her mouth.
“What?” The empress dowager grabbed Lin Haihai’s hand, visibly panicked. “Where are you going? Why aren’t you returning?”
“Please be patient, Imperial Mother. I’ll explain to you!” The empress noted the grief on Lin Haihai’s face. Putting aside her own pain, she explained the situation for Lin Haihai, “She’s not someone of this world...”
The empress went on to tell the great secret Lin Haihai had been keeping. When the empress was finished with her story, the empress dowager’s face was covered in tears. She tightened her grip around Lin Haihai’s hand with unusually great force. She hadn’t been able to muster such strength since her stroke. Lin Haihai was both happy and sad for her. The empress dowager’s lips twitched, unable to utter another word.
“Please calm down, Imperial Mother,” Lin Haihai wiped the empress dowager’s tears away and said softly. “I need your help!”
“What, what can this Empress Dowager do to help?” the empress dowager struggled to say. She had to be strong in order to prevent Shao’er from getting hurt.
“I have a Forgetness Pill. I’ll ask the empress to give it to Yang Shaolun with Lady Wen’s blood. Then his love for me will be transferred to Lady Wen. From now on, I’ll be nothing but the head of the Imperial Physician Branch to him. Please keep up the act for me!” Lin Haihai sobbed as she said. “Please don’t tell him the truth. Given the kind of person he is, he’ll never let me give birth to the child if he knows what I’m going through!”
The empress dowager and the empress exchanged a silent glance. That would be too cruel for Lin Haihai!
Outside the door, Yang Shaolun stumbled away. Before he left, he ordered Lihua not to tell anyone that he’d been here.
That night, Yang Shaolun locked himself in the Qiankun Palace. Even breathing was painful. His heart refused to settle. All he could think about was Lin Haihai’s words. She would be tortured by great pain for two hours every day until she gave birth to their child, and after that, she would be leaving! She wanted to make him fall in love with another woman. Then she would have nothing to do with him. They would be strangers in different worlds!
He emerged from the Qiankun Palace in the small hours, his face pale and his brows furrowed, but his eyes determined. No one knew what war had been waged in his heart that night. No one knew he had lost his heart.
“Your Majesty!” Xiao Yuan had been waiting outside, daring not to sleep.
“Look for the Companion Couple for this Emperor. You must find them!” Yang Shaolun wouldn’t accept being abandoned by her. She must not return to her world on her own. They would both be in great pain should they lose each other.
“Understood!” Xiao Yuan’s heart sank, stunned by the grief in Yang Shaolun’s eyes. He didn’t dare to even speculate what had happened.
Chen Luoqing answered an emergency summon to the palace. After the morning meeting, he had a meeting with Yang Shaolun in the Imperial Study. Both of them emerged with a heavy heart.
“Are you sure you’re going to do that?” Chen Luoqing asked again.
“This Emperor has made up my mind!”
She did what she did for his sake. He wanted to reassure her. Since she had made the necessary arrangement, he would follow her plan. However, it was his choice whether he was going to consume the pill. Things would be bad for Lady Wen, though. If he showed her any favor, Prince Pingnan would shift his attention to her, and he might make moves against her.
“Would she be able to take it?” Chen Luoqing asked sadly.
Yang Shaolun pushed aside the pain in his heart, his gaze lost. “This Emperor cannot imagine it!”
“We can discern from reliable sources that Prince Pingnan is going to use her against you. Although she’s powerful, she’s pregnant. A wrong step may result in something truly regrettable. You have to be decisive. Her heartbreak will be temporary. You’ll be able to explain the whole story to her once the truth is out!”
Chen Luoqing had to admit that he had other motives. He didn’t want Prince Pingnan to hurt Lin Haihai at all.
“This Emperor knows. The only thing this Emperor fears is that not even the Companion Couple will be able to keep her in this world!” He couldn’t be certain of that. Would he really be able to live a life without her if the Companion Couple couldn’t help them?
“We may trouble ourselves with that later. If she was able to enter this world, there must be a way for her to come back again!” The world was vast, and there was no shortage of talented people.
“Return to the border at once and have them stand guard at the southern border with half of our army. Then they’ll be ready for both offense and defense depending on the circumstances. Sixth Brother’s army will keep the capital protected along with this Emperor’s personal army of a hundred thousand soldiers. We’ve made what preparation we are able to make. Now we’ll see if he’ll be able to execute his plan to that point.”
Yang Shaolun’s face shone with determination. He would protect his nation, his people, and the woman he loved!
“Understood,” said Chen Luoqing. “I’ll set out at once and arrange the army before returning as quickly as I can. You must be patient. Don’t do anything reckless!”
“I know.” Yang Shaolun patted Chen Luoqing on the shoulder to reassure him. He had never treated his childhood friend as a subordinate.
The empress dowager summoned Lady Wen to Ci’an Palace for a meal. Lady Wen remained dignified and unfazed. She dressed for the occasion and left to visit the empress dowager calmly.
“Why would Her Majesty the Empress Dowager invite you to share a meal, Young Mistress?” Dingya asked bemusedly.
“I don’t know, and you shouldn’t speculate! We’re in no place to comment on matters of the palace!” Lady Wen reprimanded seriously. They must watch what they say in the imperial harem.
“Understood!” Dingya knew the imperial harem could be perilous and kept her mouth shut.Previous Chapter Next Chapter