So it’s the end of the novel! Last chapter and it’s He Heng’s POV.
This translation (and me) owes a lot to ororomunroe90 (who is really super good at deciphering my mangled sentences and making them more readable), vivie (who is a second opinion on all the edits), and leecherleechleech (the person who picks up the typos and went through all the chapters from the beginning to typo-pick.)
Round of applause for them!!!
Pretty pictures for you!
I had a hard time finding pictures of women dancing while dressed in red. This is probably the only one I liked.
I just really like the art style on this one, and the red dress… …
Family portrait, though I don’t like the faces of the people in the picture, but there is a rattledrum!
I’m going to work on my next tentative project and hopefully have something in a few months. So hopefully you guys will come back and read it then.
Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Three Epilogue That Is Love
He Heng had never thought he would encounter a woman who would move his heart, but the reality was that he really did meet a woman like that.
He disliked women who thought themselves smart, and disliked women who thought themselves kind. In a place like the Imperial Family, people that were too kind never lived well. He also disliked people that were too weak. Weakness usually made people compromise, lose their dignity, and, in order to live, they had the ability to do evil deeds. If a person was forced into such circumstances, what could they be afraid of?
He liked seeing Qu Qing Ju dress herself beautifully, liked seeing her proud attitude, liked how she never back down when it came to her own interests. For some reason, even though she was his wang fei, he felt she lived a freer life than he did.
When he finally stood on the nine levels of jade stairs, he found that this dragon chair was abnormally big and abnormally hard, as though it was exaggerating the elevated status of the Emperor. It had an attractive appearance, so lao da and lao san fought for this position for many years.
Those with kind and soft hearts, even if they managed to survive in the Imperial Family, wouldn't have good lives. He was not an ignorant person, so he had been tricked by people, and tricked others. In the Imperial Family, no one owed another person, there was only those who won.
Qing Ju's hobbies always changed constantly. He felt that none of those hobbies were as amazing as her dancing, but to his regret, Qing Ju didn't frequently dance for him. However, every time she danced, he would see her attractiveness.
How could the world have a woman like this? One who could be dignified, lazy, generous, cruel, and seductive. This kind of woman, any man couldn't help but look twice, not to mention she was his Empress. Even if he only favored her, where did other people have the grounds to object?
He wasn't a useless ruler who had to sacrifice his woman to achieve peace in the Court so on the matter of favoring one person, he wouldn't compromise to anyone..
If he easily compromised, where would he have the qualification to talk about love?
The reason that the love of an Emperor would be doubted was usually due to the excuse of "forced with no other way." They would satisfy themselves with other women but act deeply in love. In other words, it was just pretense and not having loved deeply enough.
"Emperor, are these the paintings you wanted to see?" Qian Chang Xin put a sandalwood box in front of the Emperor, bending at the waist to open the box before retreating to one side, not looking at the paintings. A few days ago, the Empress suddenly became interested in viewing paintings so many people had sent paintings into the palace. Even Rui Wang Fei had personally sent a few paintings over. But who knew that after two or so months, the Empress didn't like it anymore. These valuable paintings had been placed into the East Hall of Kui Yuan Palace. If the Emperor wanted to see a painting, he only needed to send someone to take it out of the East Hall. The Empress really didn't care.
Rolling open [Winter Snow Red Plums Drawing], He Heng expressionlessly looked at the painting. A beat later, he gave a cold smile: "Zhen's sandi has become idle and emotive now that he doesn't attend court." He had heard that lao san was very good at drawing landscapes. But this painting of his that had people, it was also this touching.
Xian Chang Xin saw the expression of the Emperor was not well. He remembered that Rui Wang Fei had sent in this painting, and guessed that the Emperor still had bad feelings towards Rui Wang so he didn't dare to speak. He obediently stood to one side and waited for the Emperor's orders.
"Put the painting back." He Heng curled his lips, a hint of disdain revealed. "Even though the Empress doesn't like to look at paintings and has forgotten all of these things, the servants should still store these away well."
"Nucai will remember," Qian Chang Xin didn't understand what the Emperor intended but still packed away the painting to take back to Kui Yuan Palace. When he step inside the main gate of Kui Yuan Palace, he encountered the Empress holding the little princess as she came out to soak in the sun. He instantly knelt down in front of the Empress.
"The Emperor got you to take some paintings out again?" The Empress gave the little princess to the nursemaid behind her, and bent down to randomly pick up one of the boxes. After she opened the scroll, she smiled slightly: "How can I split into several thousand bodies, in order to compliment each plum flower on each tree? This person must love plums. Who is the artist?"
Qian Chang Xin didn't know what to say. Rui Wang Fei had sent someone with this painting. Even the Emperor had gotten him to take it out for him to have a look. But the true recipient didn't even know who sent it.
"Empress, nucai is also unclear." Qian Chang Xin forced out a smile, "The Emperor wanted to see some paintings so nucai took a few over, and didn't look at them. Nucai doesn't dare to look at the paintings."
"En, there's no signature on the painting." Qu Qing Ju carelessly shoved the painting into Qian Chang Xin's hands and waved her hand, saying, "Since that's the case, you can put them back."
After Qian Chang Xin left, Qu Qing Ju looked at her daughter who was deeply asleep in the arms of her nursemaid. Her willow eyebrows were slightly curved as though she was smiling, but there wasn't much mirth in her eyes.
After Qian Chang Xin returned, he told the Emperor all about his encounter with the Empress. Then he found the Emperor's temper continued to be good for the next few days. Even the fact the female candidates had entered the palace didn't affect the good mood of the Emperor.
Those female candidates were generously allowed to go back home to marry freely. Only five were left and were bestowed by the Emperor to other people to be concubines. Due to this, the Crown Prince and the Second Imperial Son had been close with the Emperor for quite a few days. Especially the Second Imperial Son. He kept on saying the Emperor was a good father.
He was a taijian and didn't understand the feeling between men and women, but he knew very well an average person could not separate the Emperor and Empress. Since the two Empress Dowagers had no objections to the Emperor and Empress, then who would be so stupid?
So like this, one year repeated each other. He saw His Highness the Crown Prince turn from a child to a youth, saw the Empress become an elegant and dignified young woman, and add another imperial son for the Emperor. He saw the Emperor spend every day in Kui Yan Palace as though Kui Yuan Palace was their home.
There was no one who doubted the feelings between the Emperor and Empress. No one picked up the topic of the candidates again. It was like a person who had eaten the same thing for a decade. If his tastes suddenly changed, it was a scary matter. The scholars of Da Long were used to the monogamy of the Emperor. If the Emperor really had broken the feelings one day, how many palace anger poems and calls on behalf of the Empress would there be?
Even until his middle age, He Heng was always doubtful of one thing. That was, what was the feelings that Qing Ju really had for him. Even though the two of them spent every day together, he always suspected that the Empress did not have feelings as deep for him as he did for her.
But usually, the Empress was always concerned about him in every way and never disregarded him. Over time, he felt that he was thinking too much. He was demanding too much and that was why he was disgruntled.
He had never asked the question of love and she had never responded. It was only once when he had been seriously ill, and when he woke up, and found Qing Ju, who was usually so attentive to her appearance, was guarding his side without beautiful makeup, and heavy shadows as though she had cried, that he didn't have the question anymore.
Some feelings in this word did not have to be spoken, but if it existed, time would prove it. He seemed to understand what Qing Ju had said. Love was not spoken, but proven through actions.
What he had been discontent with was demanding an empty phrase, and what Qing Ju could give him was true concern.
"In this life, with Qing Ju's companionship, I feel that I didn't waste it." He held her hand as they walked in the deep purples and reds of the Imperial Gardens. "I finally understand why some Emperors seek immortality. If possible, I would also want immortality medicine, to be with you forever."
"Emperor believes this?" She smiled as she looked at him, "A hundred years is just perfect. If it really is thousands of years, who knows if there is a day that dislike occurs? If that happened, it would be better to have a beautiful beginning and a fulfilled ending."
He could not object. Maybe the two of them did not believe in love that did not change even as the rocks changed, but they believed they could live for a lifetime together.
"This is good. Even into death, we will still think of each other." He smiled, but the hand that was holding hers tightened. "Our tomb has started construction. A few decades later when we lie in there, we won't be lonely."
"Birth not of the same blanket but death in the same cave. Separated this life, but the love is everlasting." Qu Qing Ju smiled. Who could think that she would walk to this step with a man, and this man was also an Emperor. But now, she has come to believe this phrase.
"It's good as long as Qing Ju understands me." He Heng raised his head and pointed at the sunset. "This sun looks like a poached egg."
"En," Qu Qing Ju nodded and said: "It's pretty similar."
The two held hands and stood together. The sunset drew their shadows out, merging into one, inseparable.
Not far away, Heng fei and Luo guipin were looking at their backs. The two left silently. When they walked to the Drooping Flower Door, Luo guipin suddenly sighed: "Maybe the Emperor just wanted a woman who could see the sunset as a poached egg with him. What picturesque sunset? What glow-like fire? It isn't what the Emperor wants."
Heng fei had a light smile as she said: "What the Emperor wants is a real woman. The four arts are just embellishment, and not needed." Her voice was extremely calm as though the man she was discussing had nothing to do with her, "The Empress, she's the right person that he met at the right time. This is probably what is called fate."
If they had met later, like if the Emperor had already ascended the throne, then the Empress would, at maximum, become the Emperor's most favored woman but not his only one. She, herself, would not become Heng fei, but one of the many feipin the Emperor would have forgotten. She may not have even gotten the rank of a guipin.
"This is our fate. All things in the world have a destiny. You and I are just people that have touched a little bit of good fortune due to destiny." Heng fei looked away from the sunset, "Let's return."
"I'm just slightly despairing, but I also find it rational that the Emperor only favors the Empress." Luo guipin smiled, "Ever since the Empress allowed me to mourn for my jiujiu, I had gratitude towards the Empress."
"So, when Han Qing He wanted you to help her get favor in the beginning, you didn't agree." Heng fei slightly tilted her face down, her voice very small but enough for the two of them to hear, "So, after you knew of Feng Zi Jin's plan, you allowed her to kill Han Qing He. You even meddled in the affair, but you pushed the suspicions of the affair towards Feng Zi Jin and Shu gui taifei, and not the Empress."
Luo guipin heard her words, and slightly paused before smiling: "Heng fei niangniang is a smart person." She wasn't afraid that Heng fei knew this and smiled even more freely, "Heng fei niangniang might not know my personality. If I remember someone's generosity, I will remember for a lifetime."
Heng fei looked at her smile. A long time later, she sighed: "This is good." It was due to the Empress that the two of them live comfortably without favor.
The Imperial Couple, as smart as they were, they might not necessarily be ignorant of some things, it was just that they didn't say it.
She turned, her eyes passing through the Drooping Flower Door. The Emperor and Empress were standing there side by side, the pair of shadows even more elongated as though it was one person.
Several thousand years later, archaeologists found the combined burial tomb of the Emperor and Empress of Da Lon. To their shock, they found the Imperial Couple had used one coffin. Two sets of skeletons laid together. It was like the legendary love story of the Emperor and Empress had passed on for thousands of years, gentle and touching.
They found many burial items within the tomb. Countless exquisite hairpins, glass lanterns worth cities, jade instruments and porcelain. Someone even found a stele in the tomb. There was a pair of extremely attractive man and woman carved on the surface. Under their feet were lucky clouds, as though they were ascending into immortality.
All of the archaeologists thought that the man and woman were Da Long's Jia You Emperor and Hua Ren Empress. This discovery also made others speculate about the love legend between them. Many people felt that those love story movies and productions about the love between this Imperial Couple did not even reach the feelings that the Emperor and Empress had.
Not long after, people also found that the woman carved on the stele of the Da Long tomb looked extremely similar to the one in the Lantern Festival painting found in the coffin of Da Long's Zhong Rui Wang. Archaeologists quickly proved that Hua Ren Empress and Zhong Rui Wang didn't have any romantic relationship. Zhong Rui Wang was not importantly regarded by Jia You Emperor, and the person in the painting was most likely Hua Ren Empress' sister because history had recorded that Hua Ren Empress' half-sister had been a concubine of Zhong Rui Wang.
Even though the archaeologists said so, there were still many who looked towards the unofficial histories. They said that Jia You Emperor's father, Qing De Emperor, originally intended to pair Hua Ren Empress and Zhong Rui Wang together. Due to many reasons, in the end, Hua Ren Empress married Jia You Emperor.
As a result, people made a movie about the love triangle between the three and earned a lot of hot tears from people. But even so, everyone believed that Jia You Emperor and Hua Ren Empress had deep feelings between them. Even if something did happen with Zhong Rui Wang as the unofficial histories said, that was just a detour in their romance.
How history was, it was long buried in the long river of time. No one knows the truth, but people would believe the existence of one thing.
That was love!
Author's note: I always wanted to write a pure time-travel love story and finally did it. This is a fulfilled historical romantic fairy tale, the Emperor and Empress will live happily together.
I hope that the readers will encounter the person right for them and live their own happy lives.
Every time I finish, I want to say many things, but at the end, I don't know what to say. After thinking it over, it's still the old words. That is, I hope all the readers have a happy life and your families are healthy.
If lucky, see you in my next novel (╯3╰).