Emblem of the Phoenix

Emblem of the Phoenix

Chapter 10 - Taking and Demanding at Will

When the Qianwan Emperor arrived at the bedchamber, Mingde was already locked up.

The young man's slender body was wrapped in a silk quilt made from ice silkworm, pulled up to his neck, vaguely revealing the bite marks and kiss marks left on his skin that night. The Qianwan Emperor knew he couldn't move now, his wrists were locked in the handcuffs hidden under the quilt, let alone any rebellious actions, he couldn't even turn over.

The Qianwan Emperor sat on the edge of the bed, gently rubbing the blue-black marks on Mingde's neck with his palm: "...Still hurts?"

Old Junmei knelt outside the bed curtain: "This humble one is incompetent, this humble one does not know what illness the young master Mingde suffers from, only knowing that the young master's heart pulse is damaged..."

"It's alright," the Qianwan Emperor said lightly, "As long as I know. He wanted to sever his own heart pulse, but with his current internal strength, it's good enough if he can shock and injure it, it's still too early to sever it."

Mingde turned his head silently, then the Qianwan Emperor grabbed his chin and turned his head back.

"You don't like the look of Zhang Kuo?"


"You even want to kill Zhang Kuo?"


The Qianwan Emperor smiled: "He's just a servant, if you want to beat or kill him, just tell me, why bother tormenting yourself?"

Mingde lowered his long eyelashes, the thin fan-shaped shadows resembling the meaning of a butterfly's tattered wings. The Qianwan Emperor turned his head casually: "Someone, drag Zhang Kuo out and give him thirty strokes."

Zhang Kuo was dragged out without a word.

"You see, all land under heaven belongs to the emperor, all people within the four seas are subjects of the emperor, whoever I want to kill, whoever I want to beat, it's just a matter of one sentence."

The sound of beating with a wooden board rang out in the courtyard again, dull and monotonous, one after another.

Mingde did not look at him, lowering his brows and eyes, saying lightly: "Thank you for your teachings, Your Majesty."

"I'm very happy to know that you understand this. I heard you haven't been eating recently?"

Mingde did not speak.

The Qianwan Emperor was very patient: "Is it because the cook's food is not to your taste?"


"Or do you want to die yourself?"


"Since you won't admit to either, then there must be no problem at all." the Qianwan Emperor lifted the bed curtain and ordered the little eunuch: "Bring the meal."

The little eunuch hurriedly went with a humble bow, and after a while a group of palace servants came with more than a dozen large and small boxes, although they were adorned with jade pendants all over their bodies, not a single jingle was heard, they just quietly came and lined up in a row.

The leading little eunuch bowed and presented a bowl of lily porridge, the Qianwan Emperor took it, scooped a spoonful, and commanded Mingde from above: "Open your mouth."

Mingde turned his head silently.

The Qianwan Emperor suddenly pulled half of his body off the bed, one hand forcibly prying open his lower jaw, the other hand holding the spoon and pouring the porridge in.

His movements were too big, Mingde moaned in pain, half of the mouthful of porridge was forced down and the other half spilled out, the Qianwan Emperor didn't care at all, reaching out to scoop another spoonful and poured it in again.

Mingde struggled desperately with his upper body, trying to break free from the Qianwan Emperor's iron-like fingers gripping his chin. The Qianwan Emperor suddenly stood up, half of his knee pressing hard on his waist, shouting: "Eat it for me!"

Mingde shouted hoarsely: "Get out! You get out!"

The Qianwan Emperor suddenly snatched the porridge bowl from the little eunuch's hand and poured it directly into his mouth. This child had not eaten or drank for a day, and was already too weak, he had no strength at all to resist when he was tied up tightly. The Qianwan Emperor held his lower jaw and poured half a bowl in, the remaining half spilled all over the bright yellow dragon robe.

With a bang, the emperor smashed the bowl to the ground, and everyone around knelt down.

"You're going to be stubborn with me, aren't you? Not eating, are you? Fine, I'll find someone who can make you eat!" the Qianwan Emperor turned his head and shouted angrily: "Someone, summon the crown prince!"

The crown prince was sitting in the Eastern Palace studying political affairs, when he heard the summons he was so scared his soul flew away, he hurriedly followed the imperial carriage and came to the temporary palace, as soon as he entered the door he knelt on the ground with a thud: "Son... son pays respects to Imperial Father!"

The Qianwan Emperor said sternly: "You came just in time, your younger brother is not eating or drinking and wants to torment himself to death, as his elder brother what should you do?"

The crown prince raised his eyes and saw the mess on the bed, and immediately started wailing, crying and staggering over, hugging his younger brother, wiping his tears and crying: "Mingde! Mingde don't die! What are you doing? Don't scare me..."

Although Mingde sometimes got angry at the crown prince for being incompetent, after all, they had deep brotherly affection, and the person closest to him in this world was this elder brother of the same mother but different father. With the crown prince crying like this, he couldn't bear it either, a tear flowed down his jaw as he blinked: "Crown Prince... you... you..."

The little eunuch hurriedly passed over a bowl of medicine, the crown prince took it with trembling hands and knelt on the ground to feed it to him. Seeing him like this, Mingde gritted his teeth and said to the Qianwan Emperor: "Let the crown prince go back, I'll do it myself."

The Qianwan Emperor unlocked the golden lock on his hand, Mingde took the spoon with shaking hands and slowly drank the medicine mouthful by mouthful. Although the crown prince was terrified of his emperor father and wished he could leave here as soon as possible, he couldn't let go of his younger brother and watched in trepidation from the side.

All land under heaven belongs to the emperor, all people within the four seas are subjects of the emperor, even if he is the crown prince, so what? Isn't he also at the mercy of being deposed or killed at will by this supreme emperor? Living in this imperial palace, whose life is not in the hands of this supreme emperor?

Mingde was so angry that even his fingertips were trembling, after swallowing the last mouthful of medicine, he felt hatred, anger, sadness and humiliation all at once, and without thinking it through, his qi and blood surged up to his throat, even his face changed color.

The Qianwan Emperor saw that his face didn't look right and went up to touch him, only to see the bowl in Mingde's hand fall straight down, and then he spat out a mouthful of blood mixed with medicine like this.

The crown prince was so scared that his whole body went limp, and he fell to his knees with a thud: "Younger brother!"

The Qianwan Emperor hugged Mingde tightly in his arms, pressing one hand on his chest acupoint. Not caring whether he could handle it, he hurriedly poured internal energy into him.

Mingde's Qihai acupoint in his chest was extremely chaotic. It took about the time to drink a cup of tea before it slowly calmed down. The Qianwan Emperor looked down at him and saw that he had already lost consciousness.

Whenever he was awake, he never had a good complexion, but when he fell unconscious, he was particularly well-behaved. After all, he was a child of this age, with beautiful eyebrows and eyes, and his bones had not yet fully developed. He was soft and gentle in his arms, looking so delicate, as if he would break with the slightest force.

The Qianwan Emperor slowly put him down, then stood up and strode out.

The crown prince originally did not want to leave his younger brother. After being poked hard a few times, he hurriedly stood up and followed out of the bedchamber door. The little eunuch followed tremblingly and asked, "Your Majesty, the palace sent a message earlier that the Empress is waiting for you in Zhengtai Palace. Do you want to..."

The Qianwan Emperor said without looking back, "Return to the palace."


The Empress knelt silently in Zhengtai Palace, the bright yellow hundred-bird worshipping phoenix pattern on her skirt shimmering. The nine gold phoenix hairpins on her cloud-like hair were hanging with East China Sea pearls, glittering with a dignified light in the brightly lit hall.

The Empress's expression also carried a sense of solemnity. The Qianwan Emperor walked casually to the first seat and sat down, smiling and asking, "What's wrong with the Empress?"

The Empress bowed deeply, "I come to beg Your Majesty to release someone."

"You are quite direct..."

The Qianwan Emperor wanted to say something, but was interrupted by the Empress, "This morning, Assistant Minister Shangguan reported to Prince Dongyang Jinyuan that his youngest son has been missing for more than half a month. Prince Dongyang did not know how to handle the disappearance of an official's son, so he just reported it to me."


"Shangguan Mingde is not a woman. Your Majesty cannot possibly keep him by your side for a lifetime. I beg Your Majesty to release him!"

The Qianwan Emperor raised his eyebrows. This Empress had always been a bit timid. Although she had done a lot for the crown prince in private, she was not the so-called "virtuous empress" who dared to openly defy the emperor in the hall. Such behavior was really too novel for her.

"...Empress," The Qianwan Emperor asked, "what are you talking about? I don't understand."

The Empress suddenly raised her head and looked straight at the Qianwan Emperor, "Then let me be clear. Please return the young man in the suburban palace to his parents!"

The Qianwan Emperor casually retorted, "His parents? He is an orphaned child. His parents died long ago. Who do you want me to return him to?"

The Empress stood up regardless, "Your Majesty!"

"Shh," The Qianwan Emperor gestured for her to kneel down, "Empress, calm down."

The Empress's breathing was heavy and rapid. Everyone lowered their heads, and the palace maids shrank back behind the magnificent nine dragon pillars.

"For such a long time, there is one thing that I have been particularly puzzled about. Two years ago, when I wanted to depose the Empress, Zhang Kuo told me, 'Empress Mingrui's son Mingde is currently living in the Shangguan residence. He has an unusual appearance and can accompany you.' Empress, Zhang Kuo has served in the palace for thirty-five years and has never left. How did he know that Empress Mingrui's son from back then had an 'unusual appearance'?"

Zhang Kuo, who was attending on the side, knelt down silently.

The palace lamps were lit one by one, with fragrant silk and satin, magnificent and splendid. The fist-sized night luminous pearls shone brilliantly, making the Empress's face pale, drained of the last bit of color.

The Qianwan Emperor stood up, walked down the nine jade steps with a smile, and helped her up with a smile, "Empress, there is no need to panic. I am very grateful that you sent that child to my side."

The Empress's lips trembled slightly, almost unable to speak.

Two years ago, the crown prince was impeached by the ministers of Noble Consort Ding's family for making a mistake. The Emperor was furious and decided to depose the Empress and the crown prince.

The Empress Dowager had always been fond of the crown prince, the eldest grandson of the main house. Therefore, she dragged her ailing body to Zhengtai Palace and asked the Emperor, "Emperor, what exactly is wrong with the Empress that you must depose her?"

The Empress Dowager was not the Qianwan Emperor's biological mother, so he did not have to take her too seriously. However, the Emperor really could not find a reason to depose the Empress. Therefore, he just smiled and said, "The Empress is not a peerless beauty in the world."

If an emperor has made up his mind to have a peerless beauty in the world as his empress, then others actually have no room for doubt. That night, after the Qianwan Emperor finished reviewing the memorials, Zhang Kuo suddenly knelt down and said, "Your servant has a matter to report to Your Majesty. I don't know if I should speak or not."


"Your Majesty, back then, Empress Mingrui's son was sent out of the palace and switched with the newborn son of Shangguan Shangshu's family. He is now fifteen years old. It is said that he has an unusual appearance and can accompany you."

The Qianwan Emperor was not actually a very lustful person. He said that the Empress was not a peerless beauty just casually. But since Zhang Kuo said so, the Emperor became curious about the young man who was said to have an "unusual appearance".

"Since that's the case, bring him into the palace for me to see. Remember not to alarm anyone."

The Qianwan Emperor was just curious at first, intending to take a look and send him back. But that night, the young Shangguan Mingde, wrapped in a large red palace brocade, was sent into the palace unconscious.

That night, there were no stars or moon, and the night sky was dark. The palace lamps were majestic one by one, blurring the mermaid gauze, ice silkworm, and vermilion couch, the heart of the emperor who had reigned supreme since ancient times.

The emperor was just like that. He was equally cruel when he should be cruel, equally despicable when he should be despicable. When he took off his clothes and got into bed, he was just an ordinary man who could not control his desires.

"Empress," The Qianwan Emperor stood at the bottom of the magnificent golden steps and said lightly, "Whether to release him or not is my business. I am not an unreasonable person. If you miss your nephew, go and see him. There is nothing wrong with that. But as for other favors, if I give them, I give them. If I don't, you can't do anything about it."

The Empress spasmodically grabbed the Qianwan Emperor's arm, "Where is that child? Where is my sister's son?"

Zhang Kuo knelt down and crawled over, kowtowing before the Empress. He said in a low voice, "Your Majesty, please come with your servant."

Mingde was already asleep, but not deeply. At one moment, he seemed to see the Noble Consort wailing and kneeling on the ground. At another, he saw the Qianwan Emperor Li Ji using a white silk cord to strangle a woman wearing the Empress's bright yellow court robe embroidered with a hundred birds paying homage to the phoenix, desperately reaching out to him.

A moment later, he saw the Crown Prince, trying his best to stand in front of him to protect his only younger brother. But he was too weak, and even with all his strength, he could not withstand the onslaught of the storm.

Mingde suddenly shivered and woke up. A young palace maid was holding a cup of tea beside him and said softly, "Young master, the Empress is here."

The Qianwan Emperor stood at the door, watching coldly as the Empress knelt down to embrace Mingde, asking with a choked voice, "Child, how do you feel?"

Mingde tried to reach out his hand, but could not move. To prevent him from harming himself, his hands had been locked up, with the chains padded with fine lamb's wool to avoid chafing his hands.

The Empress felt the golden lock as soon as she touched it, and immediately turned her head to glare at the Emperor. "Release him!"

The Qianwan Emperor said calmly, "Ask him yourself why I had him locked up."

Mingde tried his best to pull at the Empress's robe, but failed. The Empress abruptly stood up and ordered, "Come and unlock the chains!"

The palace maids on the side all knelt down trembling on the ground, not daring to speak or move.

The Empress rarely looked directly at the Qianwan Emperor, her voice shrill, "Your Majesty, do you really intend to confine this child for life?"

The Qianwan Emperor nodded, "Yes."

"Very well," the Empress said, "my sister gave birth to this child so that he could live freely and richly, not to suffer for life for your momentary pleasure! Since you insist on making him suffer for life, I might as well end his life now and let him go with Empress Mingrui!"

The Qianwan Emperor's face changed. He saw the flash of a dagger from the Empress's sleeve. Before he could stop her, he saw her kneeling beside the couch, pressing the dagger tightly against Mingde's neck.

The Qianwan Emperor roared, "Empress! What are you doing?!"

The Empress tightened her grip, the blade sinking into the skin in an instant. "Your Majesty, either you release him, or I will let him die before you today!" 


Heya! I'm Leafy. My passion for stories is matched only by my love for the outdoors. As I translate, I draw inspiration from the tranquility of nature. Whether I'm translating or tending to my garden, I'm always finding new stories to share with you.

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