Chapter 221: Forsook
How could the emperor have fathomed that the normally submissive Prince of Ning would suddenly erupt in all-out rebellion, right after gaining control of the armies? He really wanted to wring the prince’s neck!
Sadly, there were limited numbers of royal guards and imperial bodyguards around. Most of them were various noble descendants to boot, serving just for the title. They were no match for properly trained troops. The prince may not be terribly accomplished at anything else, but he was a dab hand at fighting wars.
That he would one day be in such bedraggled straits had never occurred to the imperial majesty. He shot angrily to his feet and pressed the empress back down onto the round chair.
“You just sit right here today,” he commanded sternly. “I will protect you. I am the son of heaven, can I not protect a little girl like you? I’d like to see who dares harm you while I’m here!”
The empress’ makeup was in streaks down her face. Her hands were shaking from terror. She too knew that the emperor was the only person she could rely on now. If the Prince of Ning still had any respect for his imperial brother, she might have a chance to live. Otherwise, given her history of conflict with the prince, there was no reason whatsoever for him to let her off the hook.
“Your Majesty, I’m not afraid. As long as you still want me, I’m willing to stay forever by your side.” She looked piteous at the emperor, her tear-filled eyes and gentle tone bestirring in him a protective urge that he’d never felt before.
The doors to the hall were flung open at this time.
The prince entered slowly, treasured sword in hand. Soldiers from the army outside the capital followed behind. Each of them bore vicious looks and were stained with blood. Every single one of them looked like they wanted to rip the empress apart where she stood.
A regal look spread across the emperor’s face. He stretched his arms out and stood protectively in front of the empress. “Prince of Ning, what do you want?!”
“Royal brother.” The prince made a cupped fist salute with sword in hand. Fresh blood dripped down the tip of his sword, leaving brown spots on the crimson red carpet beneath.
The emperor had enjoyed the lap of luxury for quite a few years, when had he ever been faced with a situation like this? Blood and violence wafted off of the prince and soldiers behind him. Every single one of them looked savage enough to eat people. When he met the prince’s stern look, the emperor’s heart skipped a beat and he almost wet his pants!
“Royal brother used to be diligent and earnest. You loved the people like your own and the entire world remembers your might of yesteryear. I looked to you as a most respected ruler. You used to keep wise subjects close at heart and kept a distance from petty social-climbers. You could’ve founded an era of peace and prosperity, but you changed after meeting that slut!”
“Is it me who’s changed or that you want to sit on this throne?!” Though the emperor was frightened, he was angrier even more. How could his authority be trampled on like this?! “I say your ambitions have grown increasingly greater over the years!”
The prince arched an eyebrow, hurt flashing through his eyes.
“I handed over military control when you grew wary of my power. I’m a good-for-nothing imperial prince because you don’t like me participating in politics. The earth and heavens can bear witness to my loyalty! Royal brother, you know full well the depths of my allegiance to you. How else would you have tolerated me to this day otherwise?”
“What I regret most of all right now is precisely that I’ve tolerated you to this day!” The emperor angrily upended a square table and dashed all of the cups and plates on it to the ground.
“Forget it!” The prince heaved a long sigh and gave up on talking reason into the emperor. His gaze turned resolute and he pronounced coldly, “I have no other choice since you insist on thinking of me this way! I bear no regrets for my actions. To tell you the truth, royal brother, do you know how the guards and your bodyguards reacted after I surrounded the palace and made my way in? When I told them I’m here to kill that slut?”
The prince slowly approached the empress. She scampered behind the emperor and the couple backed up continuously.
The Prince of Ning sneered derisively. “They applauded and cheered! Most of them let me through easily. How else could I have gotten here so quickly? Hahaha!”
Hearty laughter from the prince made the empress shake all over. She shrilled, “You villainous traitor! A painful death waits for you!”
“So be it.” The prince laughed uproariously. “From the day I was born into an imperial family, I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy a long life ending with a peaceful death. It doesn’t matter whether I die from attempting a coup or schemes from others. But you, bitch, won’t have an easy death because I won’t allow you to!”
“Your Majesty! Look at him! He wants to take your throne!” The empress had her arms around the emperor’s waist and her face in his chest. She trembled from tears, but it was unknown whether she was crying out of anger or fear.
The prince was wholly indifferent. He smiled. “Royal brother, the throne or this woman, make your choice!”
Askance, the empress stared at the prince. Was he really here to kill just her?
The emperor was equally surprised. The imperial couple had been married for a long time, so they shared the same thoughts. When he’d seen how ferociously the prince had charged in just now, he’d lost hope for the future. Though he’d presented a tough front, he was calculating furiously on how to keep his life.
Who would’ve thought that he would have to decide between his throne and the empress?
He lowered his head, looking soulfully at the empress. She shook even harder and wrapped her am firmly around the emperor’s waist. “Your Majesty, I don’t want to leave you! I don’t want to leave you!”
The prince chuckled mockingly to see the empress try her wiles at such a time. “It’s not up to you anymore. What do you say, royal brother?”
The emperor swallowed hard. “And what if I don’t choose?”
“Don’t choose? It looks like you still don’t understand the situation, royal brother.” The prince paced in front of the couple. “Let me put it another way. Either hand over that wench and continue being the emperor, or I can send both of you to the afterlife together. I would be very willing to send such star-crossed lovers off on a journey together.”
“You!” The emperor pointed a shaking finger at the prince. “Don’t you try to scare me! You’ll let me stay as the emperor? Aren’t you afraid that I’ll take you to task for all of this?”
The prince arched a provocative and confident eyebrow. “If you’re willing to give her up, you’ll naturally have the chance to decree punishment for me. Well? Do you want that chance, royal brother?”
The empress shook her head rapidly, sending tears flying off into the air. “Your Majesty, I don’t, I don’t want to die! I want to stay by your side! My family has achieved great things for the government, Your Majesty! You can’t…”
“Yurou.” The emperor stroked her head lovingly, but his other arm forced away the woman’s arms around his waist. “Yurou, I know you love me truly. Because of that, you don’t want to see the nation fall into chaos and someone else occupy our country, right?”
Flabbergasted, a chill stole through the empress’ heart. Tears streaked soundlessly down her face. “Your Majesty, don’t you want me anymore?”
“I’ll remember you fondly.” Reddened eyes spoke of the emperor’s pained heart. “But as a ruler, I must protect the nation even though I love you. I have to do this.”
“No, no, no! Your Majesty, you love me dearly! You say I’m your goddess, you show me favor that you don’t show anyone else! You can fight for me! Why don’t you?”
The emperor flicked a glance at the prince. He’s clearly watching a good show. He smiled wryly. “Yurou, that’s enough.”
Alright, anyone feel pity for the trampress? This is probs the only point in the novel that I feel an inkling of sympathy for her. Once the emperor realizes he can live and remain emperor, he wastes no time at all giving up the supposed love of his life. If you'd like to read on, support etvolare on Patreon~