The clouds rumbled as thunder and lightning criss-crossed, sawtooth strokes of lightning collided in the skies without pause and burst forth into glaring white. The ice-cold, desolate Cold Palace, in the contrast by flashes of light, was several times more prominently eerie.
“Let me out! Zhong er! My Zhong er1!” Yao Mo Xin crazily pounded on the vermilion painted wooden doors of the Cold Palace, postnatal blood dying her unadorned garment. After an entire night, her delicate body, unable to support itself any longer, fell in a pile onto the floor, her ten fingers streaked down the wooden door as she slumped, leaving ten long bloody lines.
(1) 儿 – “er” means boy but can when added on to a name is a way of endearment and is gender neutral
“What crime have I committed? What crime! Ye Hong Yi, for you to treat me this way!” Yao Mo Xin cried out with grief, tears flooded their way out of her eyes, wetting her lapel, as the cold penetrated her heart.
Just last night, she was still the high and mighty Empress of the great Chu nation, the labor pains were still vivid in her mind and that pleasant infant boy was still in her arms. She was happy to the point she didn’t know what worry was. But happiness is so brief, she didn’t even have time to react before being dragged off the phoenix couch by a group of imperial bodyguards that didn’t distinguish between right and wrong, and thrown into this dark, damp Cold Palace. Up to this moment, Yao Mo Xin still felt like this was a dream.
Iron chains clanked as the Palace doors opened, a gale violently swept up dead leaves and carried them in. Yao Mo Xin’s body abruptly trembled as she subconsciously curled up her body and closed her eyes.
“Jie jie2!” An anxious voice unexpectedly cried. When Yao Mo Xin opened her eyes, she saw Li gui fei appear in front of her, hugging an infant to her chest.
(2) 姐姐 – “jie jie” Older sister, can be used to address people not blood related
“Su Luan…… Zhong er! Hurry and hand Zhong er to me!” Yao Mo Xin ecstatically stretched her hands towards the child in Li gui fei’s3 bosom, but a piece of paper separated the two.
(3) 贵妃 – “gui fei” noble consort, 2 ranks down from empress, refer to wikipage
“Sign it!” A voice so cold it induced shivers reverberated loudly in the quiet Cold Palace. Yao Mo Xin hastily looked up, gazing at a face with a pair of strict flickering black eyes. At this moment, Yao Su Luan had already retreated to the side while hugging the infant, there was a strange spark in her eyes which flashed, then immediately disappeared.
“Hong Yi…… this…… what is this?” Yao Mo Xin looked vacantly at the man wearing the dragon robe embroidered with golden thread patterns before her, her heart suddenly turning cold. They had been husband and wife seven years and had always treated each other as honored guests, lifting the tray to eyebrow level4. She had never seen this dark and cold gaze before.
(4) Two sayings mean pretty much the same thing, they treated each other with mutual respect in the marriage.
“See for yourself!” Ye Hong Yi didn’t try to conceal the disgust in his eyes as he coldly scoffed. Yao Mo Xin held back the tears in her eyes, her ten fingers trembled as she picked up the paper.
“This qie,5 Yao Mo Xin’s private morals are harmful, they will cause disturbances to the family. To Prince Su she harbored improper intentions and the pearl fetus……” This was clearly a testimony, slandering her of having an affair, how could she sign it. One by one, teardrops sorrowfully descended, and intensified, until the tears fell like rain.
(5) 妾 – “qie” way for concubines and consorts to refer to themselves, concubine; this consort
“Everything is pure and white between this qie and Prince Su , why is Your Majesty wrongly accusing this qie?” Yao Mo Xin’s hand that was holding the paper shook uncontrollably. She looked disbelievingly at the man in front of her eye whom she had loved for seven years. With traces of tears on her face, the expression was lovely*.
*The expression was truly lovely was probably Ye Hong Yi enjoying her despair.
“As if you can even match up to the words pure and white! That night at the Water Ripple Pavilion, what great deed you two committed!” Ye Hong Yi towered above. His voice was like a cold blade, falling from above Yao Mo Xin’s head.
“Your Majesty minds that incident? But that night, Mo Xin only went to beg Prince Su to send troops after receiving Your Majesty’s secret orders, in order to save your majesty from calamity. Prince Su’s condition was to have Mo Xin accompany him and have a long talk with him, seated side by side. We did not do anything sinful……’Pah—’ Not waiting for Yao Mo Xin to finish speaking, the sound of the wind suddenly screamed next to her ear, the corner of Yao Mo Xin’s mouth dripped blood as five impressive blood-colored finger marks emerged on her face.
“Shut up! You’re saying that zhen6 is a useless thing, who sent his own woman submissively onto another man’s bed for the sake of begging for his life?” This was the thorn in Ye Hong Yi’s heart, every time it was mentioned, it caused him to lose face. At present, Ye Hong Yi gave a low growl and violently dragged Yao Mo Xin’s wrist with such ferocious strength that Yao Mo Xin felt as if she could hear her own bone dislocating. Pain, bore into her heart and pierced her bones, like an insane wave of onslaught.
(6) 朕 – “zhen” way for the king to refer to himself
“Ah—” Yao Mo Xin was in extreme pain, her lips and teeth were chattering, from her forehead immediately seeped meticulous beads of sweat.
“I’ll say it once more, sign it!” Ye Hong Yi violently flung her hand and Yao Mo Xin’s body, like a wing-torned butterfly, fell heavily down in front of that piece of paper.
“This qie never did so, and will not drag Prince Su into this false accusation……” Yao Mo Xin’s face was deathly pale, her willow eyebrows were tightly creased, every word, every sentence, resounded with strength.
“If you didn’t have any improper relationships, why would he, based on these few words from you, choose to willingly send troops to save zhen? Could it be that it didn’t occur to him, that once zhen died, he would naturally ascend to the title of Emperor!!” Ye Hong Yi spat out these words while gritting his teeth.
“Seven years as husband and wife, how many storms have we struggled through together? The battlefield campaigns, the five dragons struggle7, the chaos of Yi Xi, could it be that you don’t have any trust in Mo Xin at all?” Yao Mo Xin looked up in distress, hoping to catch tender sentiments in Ye Hong Yi’s eyes, but what entered her sight was ice-cold, sinister black eyes.
(7) 五龙夺嫡 – “five dragons struggle” refers to a story, from my skimming, basically five people wanted the throne so the royal family had a large battle in Jiang Hu, yet all the sources of dispute resulted from a girl’s odd experiences.
义熙之乱 – “Yi Xi” I might be wrong but after searching it up, it seems to be a time period from 405-418
“Seven years as husband and wife, zhen has tolerated you enough! Sign it, and zhen will leave you an intact corpse!” Ye Hong Yi’s voice seemed like that of the underworld’s devil, resounding in Yao Mo Xin’s ears. Her heart shattered. So the man whom she had staked her life to protect had felt this wronged?
“Mo Xin’s death is not worthy of pity, but Su wang8 had overcome numerous obstacles to assist you in becoming emperor. For your sake he went into bloody battles and killing fields, how can you bear to use such despicable methods to frame him……” Before Yao Mo Xin could finish her words, she saw Ye Hong Yi lift his leg violently to give her a fierce kick towards her stomach.
(8) “wang” is a suffix for a male member of the imperial family. “wang ye” is an informal way of addressing a prince or a vassal king
“Pu—” The back of Yao Mo Xin’s head fiercely struck the ground, her stomach boiled and a stinging sensation bubbled up, her throat burned as blood violently spurted out.
“Wretch! Zhen is the monarch; he is a subject, if zhen wished to kill him, why would zhen need a method!” Ye Hong Yi agitatedly thundered. But the more emotional he was, the more Yao Mo Xin knew that he had a guilty conscience.
“Your Majesty please quell your anger; why not let this qie try and convince jie jie……” At this moment, Li gui fei who had not made a sound for quite some time walked quickly to the front of Ye Hong Yi and opened her mouth, seeming heartbroken.
Silent, Ye Hong Yi’s malicious eyes spurned as he swept past Yao Mo Xin and stroded to the side.
“Jie jie, now that things have reached this stage, even if you don’t worry for yourself, shouldn’t you still think for Zhong er?” Yao Su Luan slowly crouched next to Yao Mo Xin’s body; her gentle voice, contrary to expectations, produced a cold tone.
“Let me hold Zhong er! My Zhong er!” Looking at the infant in Yao Su Luan’s bosom that was currently muttering in his sleep, Yao Mo Xin’s tears overflowed, both her hands impatiently extended towards Yao Su Luan.
“Jie jie has been clever her whole life, why did you become muddleheaded now. Think, why would His Majesty have ben gong9 carry Zhong er here? If you don’t want to sign, no one will force you. You’re willing to die to protect Su wang‘s reputation, but what will happen to Zhong er? If you don’t do as His Majesty wishes, will His Majesty treat Zhong er well?” Yao Su Luan’s cherry lips glanced pass Yao Mo Xin’s ear, as she spoke in a low voice. As she spoke, her fingers secretly gave the infant in her bosom a ruthless pinch.
(9) 本宫 – “ben gong” = Ben Gong is a way of referring to oneself, employed by an empress or a high-ranking consort when speaking to a person or an audience of lower rank or status
“Waah…… Waaah……” Suddenly, the infant started bawling loudly. To Yao Mo Xin, that sound was like having ten thousand sharp blades ruthlessly stabbing her heart, it pained her to the point she could barely breathe.
“Don’t cry! Zhong er, don’t cry!” Yao Mo Xin’s tears seemed like pearls that broke off their chain and in a turbulent rush, fell. Both hands desperately wanted to snatch back the infant, but Yao Su Luan unexpectedly stood back up.
“Jie jie, do you still not understand? Sign it!” Yao Su Luan hugged the infant, increasing the pressure in her hand. The infant, suffering pain, cried even more hysterically.
“Zhong er——I’ll sign! I’ll sign——” As a mother, Yao Mo Xin could not bear the sound of the infant’s weeping any longer, her shaking blood-stained fingers reached out to pick up the paper.
“Ye Hong Yi, Mo Xin begs you, in light of the fact that we had been husband and wife for seven years, please treat Zhong er well! As for Su wang, though his achievements top everyone, he has never harbored any disloyalty. Even if Your Majesty does not care about brotherly affection, but please take into consideration, Ming Jun, these two words and spare his life……” Yao Mo Xin lifted her eyes in the direction of Ye Hong Yi, every word, every sentence, was like a sparrow crying blood, crying sorrow to the skies and grieving the earth10.
(10) 功高盖主 – “achievements top everyone” I tried my best to convey this proverb, but I think an explanation is still necessary. Basically means that his contributions are too great and causes the monarch to feel threatened by his reputation.
明君 – “Ming Jun” is referring to a wise/brilliant monarch/sovereign, basically implying that he should act as befitting of this title.
“sparrow crying blood” is actually cuckoo crying blood but I couldn’t convince myself that it didn’t totally destroy the current tone of that passage so I replaced the bird. It basically means to plaintively lament, speaking with so much sorrow that it feels as if one is dying.
His back facing Yao Mo Xin, Ye Hong Yi’s sharp eyebrows tightly wrinkled. This was what he hated most about Yao Mo Xin, in front of this woman, he seemed unable to harbor any secrets, Yao Mo Xin would always be able to clearly see through his thoughts.
“Jie jie……” Yao Su Luan deliberately glanced at the infant in her bosom as she urged.
Silently, Yao Mo Xin spread the paper onto the ground, her bloody finger furiously streaked across it and left Yao Mo Xin, these three large characters. Jun Qing11, what Mo Xin owes you in this lifetime, Mo Xin can only repay in the next lifetime.
(11) At this point I was trying to make sure this was a name and ended up spoiling the story for myself… why do I have to read so fast?? Why didn’t I just stop when I confirmed the name?? Time to forget, forget…
“Your Majesty, jie jie has signed it.” Yao Su Luan impatiently spoke, her voice betrayed an unconcealable excitement. Hearing that, Ye Hong Yi turned around and slowly walked to Yao Su Luan’s side. Yao Su Luan understood tacitly and passed the infant in her bosom to Ye Hong Yi before bending over to carefully pick up the paper and stow it away into her chest.
“Mo Xin has already done as Your Majesty wished, I beg Your Majesty to please let me hold Zhong er……” Nothing was sadder than a withered heart. Yao Mo Xin didn’t want to look at Ye Hong Yi any longer, but she could not bear parting with the child.
Just as Yao Mo Xin greedily lifted her eyes to look towards the infant, a cold light suddenly appeared in the depths of Ye Hong Yi’s eyes and he ferociously raised his hand, then heavily threw the infant onto the ground.
“Don’t——” Yao Mo Xin’s eyes widened, in a shocking speed she rushed over but was still a step too late. The infant’s face in his swaddling clothes was deathly white and colorless before her eyes. Dark red blood slowly flowed out from his mouth, below the back of his head, blood pooled into a river. Yao Mo Xin fiercely took the infant into her arms with both hands and mournfully wailed.
“Zhong er…… Zhong er ah——”
At the side, Yao Su Luan was unexpectedly shocked, but in the next second, the corner of her mouth curved into a slightly hidden arc. Yao Mo Xin, this is your retribution.
“Ye Hong Yi! You beast! He’s your son, your own blood and flesh, how could you bear to do this! How could you!” Yao Mo Xin’s tears wildly fell, both eyes, scarlet red as venus thistle, hatefully glared at Ye Hong Yi.
“You leave first.” Ye Hong Yi coldly spoke as he shot a glance at Yao Su Luan. Yao Su Luan obeyed the order and withdrew from the Cold Palace, then closed the palace doors, through the door crack, the corner of Yao Su Luan’s mouth wantonly curled into a wild smile. Yao Mo Xin, this time, you seriously are at the end of your road!
“Zhen‘s son? You’ve already signed the testimony, this child is vile spawn! It’s you and Ye Jun Qing’s vile spawn!” Dark hollowed darkness lurched in his pitch-black pupils as Ye Hong Yi stomped ruthlessly, and step by step, approached Yao Mo Xin, his body emitting a terrifying aura.
“You’re just haunted by envy! You just can’t tolerate Jun Qing, but this child is your blood! You should understand this better than anyone! How could you bear to do this! He is our child!” ‘Pah—’, just as Ye Hong Yi came near, Yao Mo Xin abruptly raised her palm, concentrating all her unwillingness and resentment and ferociously slapped Ye Hong Yi.
Ye Hong Yi was stunned for a moment. Now he licked the bloodstain at the corner of his mouth, blood-thirsty eyes like that of a wrathful beast murderously fixated on Yao Mo Xin.
“Zhen does not feel as if this slap was unexpected. From the start you were always this way, considering everyone else beneath you! No matter if it were the battlefield campaigns, the five dragons struggle, the chaos of Yi Xi! You were always able to think one step ahead of zhen! In your presence, zhen was just like a puppet! Like a useless person! As if zhen only acquired this throne because of your help, the help of a woman! Zhen hates you, from the moment you revealed the cutting edge12, zhen already hated you to death!” Ye Hong Yi’s fingers, like claws, grasped Yao Mo Xin’s snow white neck, in his pitch-black eyes was not even the slightest trace of light.
(12) Not sure what it is, it’ll probably be revealed later, but the possible alternatives are: tip(of pencil, spear etc); sharp point; spearhead; vanguard
“Those are just rumors!” Yao Mo Xin felt as if the pit of her stomach was being submerged in seawater, she felt ill to the point she was almost suffocating, but both her hands still tightly hugged the infant although he was already no longer breathing.
“Everything they said was true! If there wasn’t you! Zhen could not have possibly obtained the throne! If it weren’t for you curbing Ye Jun Qing, would he willingly acknowledge allegiance to zhen? The five dragons struggle, the chaos of Yi Xi, everytime zhen despaired and gave up hope, you were always able to think of a good plan to counterattack! This is fact!” The strength in Ye Hong Yi’s hands became increasingly greater, in his eyes ignited raging flames as if he desired to burn Yao Mo Xin alive.
“So…… great grace became grudge13! After all is said and done you just can’t tolerate Mo Xin? But everything Mo Xin did was for your sake! If there wasn’t Mo Xin, would you have today!” Yao Mo Xin’s tears bursted like a dam, her crushed throat forced out hoarse shouts of questions.
(13) I was unsure which translation to settle with and decided to search it up, chancing upon the fact that it was actually a variation of a different saying: 大恩即大仇 which means that basically, one person did a large act of grace which was so great that the second person could never repay it, so over time, such an act of grace became a sensitive topic and eventually the uncomfortableness turns to hatred and manifests into a grudge.
‘Pah—’ Both of Ye Hong Yi’s eyes abruptly turned red. He angrily lifted his hand and brutally slapped Yao Mo Xin with even greater force, causing Yao Mo Xin’s body slide back several meters. The infant in her bosom fell out of her embrace and rolled to the side.
“Zhong er!” Enduring the pain that attacked her whole body, Yao Mo Xin frenziedly rushed towards the infant, but Ye Hong Yi got there first.
“Not just cannot tolerate you! Zhen cannot tolerate this child either! Whether he is a vile spawn or not isn’t important, the important point is that his birth mother is you!” Ye Hong Yi bellowed in rage as he savagely threw the infant on the wall causing his head to crack and brains to spill out.
“Ah——Zhong er! Ye Hong Yi, you monster! Monster! In the next life Mo Xin will definitely make your corpse be torn into ten thousand pieces14! Ten thousand pieces!!” Yao Mo Xin maniacally threw herself towards the infant, making this firm resolution.
(14) It’s not just a curse, it was apparent at one time a punishment for people guilty of truly terrible crimes.
“Good! Zhen awaits your next lifetime! But in this lifetime, zhen will definitely not let you die in peace! Zhen will have you face this vile spawn’s corpse and perish slowly in the Cold Palace!” Seeing Yao Mo Xin’s insane appearance as she hugged the badly mutilated infant, a thread of pleasure flashed across the depths of Ye Hong Yi’s eyes.