With a crash, a scoop of iced water splashed on his face. It was bitterly cold.
Li Yuanmin had a splitting headache. Absent-mindedly, he opened his eyes.
He was being escorted by two personal servants. Standing before his eyes were two noble youths dressed in magnificent attire and a bound crown. The corner of the mouth of the slightly taller youth raised up viciously like a cold sneer, while the other was full of anger:
“It’s all because of this bad seed that made me lose to Elder Imperial Brother!”
Li Yuanmin shook his head. Since he became the Emperor, this kind of humiliation had stopped for many years already. He spat out a mouthful of cold water, confusion rose in his heart.
The person who was speaking was the Fourth Prince, Li Yuanxu. The other person…was the Second Prince, Li Yuanlang.
But, didn’t the two of them die during the rebellion already? How can they be in front of me, and how can they be this young?
And I…came back to life?
Seeing the familiar and unfamiliar surroundings around him, Li Yuanmin’s head throbbed in pain. A terrible idea arose, which directly made him cold to the bone.
Li Yuanxu saw him stiff and dull, not speaking any words. This made him even angrier and he repeatedly splashed water all over him until the other party was completely drenched.
Today, he was originally participating in an archery competition with his Eldest Imperial Brother, Li Yuanqian. In order to please the princes, the inner servants especially sent for lowly slaves from Yeyou Court to come. A live target is a lot more interesting than a lifeless one. The two of them were in high spirits and the competition was fierce without anyone falling behind. The slaves who died were shared half-half equally.
In the end, there was only one agile slave left running on the hunting ground, but no matter what, he couldn’t hit the target. That guy, Li Yuanqian, always boasted about himself. So, he ordered his servant to put away his bow so he could rest in his fur coated tent. During that time if he (Li Yuanxu) could kill him (the slave) in three incenses time, then he would treat it as Li Yuanxu’s win and the Red Coral Jade gifted by the governor of Western Yunnan will belong to him (Li Yuanxu).
A Red Coral Jade is something difficult to come by in hundreds of years, a rare treasure. Imperial Father’s birthday was just around the corner, so no matter what, he had to win this competition. Taking advantage of this snack time, Li Yuanxu secretly incited Li Yuanmin to go and give the slave soft muscle powder.
But unexpectedly, this usually quiet b*stard actually set him up and just threw the soft muscle powder directly. This made him start to gasp for breath after aiming his bow for more than one hour. Yet, that slave wasn’t even a bit tired, on the contrary, he became even more energetic. Not to mention hitting the target, the arrow’s edge didn’t even touch him.
This time, the deal with the Red Coral Jade was completely hopeless, not to mention, he had to be at the receiving end of Li Yuanqian’s various ridicules. This made him choke angrily. When he returned to the palace, he immediately dispatched servants to tie Li Yuanmin up and bring him back.
His face was calm and steady, signaling the palace servants with his eyes.
Li Yuanmin was dragged over and his chin was pinched by Li Yuanxu. He was slapped ferociously from left to right. When the two muffled noises were heard, his moist pale cheeks were instantly red and swollen.
And yet, Li Yuanmin not only did not have an anguished look, but he actually laughed. He laughed until he was out of breath, like he was crazy.
“You… What are you laughing for?”
Li Yuanxu lost his temper from his laugh. Li Yuanlang in the back also stared at him suspiciously.
But he still continued to laugh. Again and again until tears came out of his eyes. His expression was distorted.
Li Yuanxu was shocked. Could it be that this guy went insane?
If something really happened to the other party, he was not worried that his Imperial Father would get angry. The degree of hatred his Imperial Father had for this b*stard would be no less than him. But, he was afraid of those civil officials from the previous dynasty that would frequently present petitions like snowflakes. When that time came, his Imperial Father would more or less punish him a little to show those officials some faces.
The Imperial Father had to lose face for a son of a bi*ch…
Seeing that guy laugh more and more crazily, Li Yuanxu finally spat and pushed him hard:
“Drag this guy back to the Western Palace, remember to not let anyone notice you.”
The sun appeared to be half-covered by dark clouds.
Kaiyuan’s Temple and the Western Palace were adjacent to each other. A dense forest and a huge sitting Buddha statue more than 33 meters high soaring up towards the sky, it was truly a magnificent sight.
(Ciacia/N: 1 Zhang = 10 Chinese feet = 3.3m)
Li Yuanmin’s face was red, swollen and purple. He was half laying down at the feet of the Buddha statue. The Buddha statue’s feet were huge and made him look like a lone person on a boat. His robe’s were wet and filthy, but he didn’t notice it. He only lifted his pale and skinny hand, and looked at the shards of sunlight that seeped through his fingers.
He didn’t sleep all night, and now after being bathed under the sun, his frail body became weaker. He slowly sat up. Reflected through the puddle on the ground was a pale and skinny face from lack of nutrition. This body was only 13 years old, and hadn’t grown to its previous appearance yet.
Returning to his lonely 13 years old self, there was no difference.
Li Yuanmin’s throat let out a sorrowful noise similar to weeping.
The dignified image of the huge Buddha statue had his half drooping eyes look down compassionately at all living things. Li Yuanmin blankly stared at it for quite a while, finally, he shut his eyes and walked back to the Western Palace.
For several days in a row, he stayed in his palace without going anywhere.
His Western Cold Palace usually didn’t have many people. Besides him, there was only two palace maids. Of these two palace maids, one was slow and dull, getting no work done; while the other maid took advantage of Li Yuanmin’s youth and powerlessness and did not care about him at all. She didn’t even care about the untouched food tray. Thus, seeing him curled up in his room all day made her happy. Early on, she had went off to do her own thing.
Li Yuanmin was weak originally, and he had lost more weight these past few days. Becoming so thin, he was just a handful of bones.
These past few days, he was hanging on the thin line between life and death for a long time. In the end, he didn’t want to die.
Li Yuanmin never thought that God would treat him kindly, but this rebirth was so ridiculous that out of it, he started to have some hopes.
This time, he wanted to live differently. He wanted to live another life.
He won’t fall in love. Maybe when he is 14 years old, he could obtain a small piece of land. Although Imperial Father loathed him, but he cannot violate his ancestors traditions. When a prince of Bei An State reaches 14 years of age, he could leave the palace and live outside independently. He could take this opportunity to escape this cage. He had never seen the outside world his whole life. He really wanted to see another kind of world.
If it’s not possible…
Li Yuanmin showed a trace of emptiness and self mockery at the corner of his mouth.
Then he can just die again.
In any case, in his short, ridiculous and insignificant life, death was the most effortless thing.
Li Yuanmin made up his mind, and sighed. He closed his eyes, staggered to the food tray, and began to swallow the food that had gone cold for a while with difficulty.
As the sun set, a lonely figure’s shadow was stretched long and blended together with the blue bricks on the ground.
When the blood-red setting sun was about to completely disappear, there was a burst of footsteps outside. It appeared that someone was coming. The quick footsteps inside the quiet palace seemed somewhat abrupt. Li Yuanmin breathed a faint sigh, and opened his eyes.
The person outside the door was a rather elegant palace maid. She suddenly came face to face with Li Yuanmin, her face sluggish. Shortly after that, she showed a rather impatient gaze:
“Third Royal Highness, why are you still lying down? Today is the fifteen. It is routine for you to go to the front palace hall and kowtow to the Emperor.
This palace maid’s name is Qiu Chan. She was originally the palace maid in charge of Rong Hua Palace, but was sent to the Western Cold Palace to serve this auspicious person because the Head Maid in Empress Sima’s presence was jealous of her. Early on, there was unwillingness in her heart and now upon seeing the Western Palace’s master, thin and weak, without the least bit of mannerism, she thought of the future with no hope. The contempt in her heart carried some self-pity. She coldly urged:
“Hurry up, we will be blamed if we’re late.”
Li Yuanmin didn’t mind her way of speaking. His expression was extremely serene, and he shook his clothes slightly.
“Alright, I’ll go when I’m done changing my clothes.”
Qiu Chan stopped. Although the person in front of her had an indifferent tone, he still looked half-dead. But, for some reason, she felt that this person was somewhat different from the past.
In the end, still entertaining their ill relationship of master and servant, her tone loosened:
“I’ll bring the palace outfit for you.”
Dust arrived, and the sky also became dimmer.
Li Yuanmin went to the Daoqian Palace alone. Just as expected, it’s still the same as it was in his previous life. He didn’t have the chance to enter the Palace to kowtow. Instead, he just knelt by himself outside the Palace Hall.
The inner Imperial Court Palace was filled with music, and the joyous cheers and laughter occasionally floated out. In his previous life he would feel deeply hurt by this, but presently, only his sneer remained.
Holding on to hope can hurt, but the him now, what is there worthy of looking forward to.
Although he was a prince, his status was not high. His biological mother was just a female entertainer of the Empress Palace.
A female entertainer is different from a palace maid, since she doesn’t need to take care of the Palace’s affairs. She only needed to replace the Imperial Concubine’s place when the Imperial Concubine’s health was not convenient to serve the Emperor in bed.
If the female entertainer had the Emperor’s seed as a result, it would also be recorded under the Imperial Empress’s name.
Therefore, most of the palaces in the Harem did not have female entertainer to pamper. Empress Sima’s Rong Hua Palace was no exception.
However, due to Empress Sima’s miscarriage, the root of disease had lingered for two years already. In order to obtain the Emperor’s favor, she then made Zhenbei King, her elder brother, Sima Ji, to bring a beauty to enter the palace. Since ancient times, the noble families were prosperous. So as the leader of the Sima Clan, Zhenbei King, was very meticulous. After a lot of trouble, he finally found a beautiful female entertainer. This beautiful female entertainer was also very diligent. In a couple of years, Emperor Mingde spent nearly half of his time in Rong Hua Palace at night. It didn’t take long for the female entertainer to get pregnant, and end up giving birth to a monster who wasn’t a man nor a woman.
When giving birth to him, his biological mother exhausted herself and died tragically. The Empress lost the Emperor’s favor as he was an ominous monster. Fortunately, Master Kong Yuan entered the Palace to spread Dharma and took the opportunity to save him. He brought him to Emperor Kaiyuan’s Buddhist Temple. Otherwise, he would not be able to live as he is now.
However, what’s the use of surviving when he was merely a chess piece used to pave the road to power for others.
After kneeling for more than an hour, Li Yuanmin’s knees were no longer his. Fortunately, Emperor Mingde, finally through the inner servant’s reminder, remembered that his son was still kneeling outside the Palace. Only then did he solemnly order someone to pass the word that he didn’t need to enter the Palace. He could leave by himself after the kowtow.
Li Yuanmin stood up slowly, the corner of his mouth still had the faint bruise left from that humiliating day. He slightly pursed his lip. He stared at the distant deep and quiet gates for a while, before moving his gaze away and left.
On the way back, the sky started to rain. The rain pattered effortlessly, gradually becoming heavy. Instantly, it made Li Yuanmin drenched like a drowned rat. Nevertheless, he seemed to be completely clueless. He only walked onward cautiously. Unknowingly, his footsteps halted at Yeyou Court’s doorway.
He once again saw that child.
No, he wasn’t an ordinary child.
Li Yuanmin’s heart throbbed violently.
That child was no more than 10 years old. Curled up in a locked up, narrow and dirty iron cage, his whole body was dirty. His hair was disheveled and he seemed to be extremely starved of food and water for several days. Grasping the iron cage, the hungry dog stretched out his tongue to drink the rain water. (Ciacia/N: Can I cry? Nah, let me cry. No wonder all those terrible authors never dreamed of reincarnating into their own novel, lol).
A few days ago, that child was used as a live target to be shot dead, and he saved him . In his previous life, he thought of every possible way to rescue this child out of the Palace. But, unexpectedly, such a move freed a terrible beast that overturned the entire Bei An State.
Li Yuanmin suddenly remembered the day when the city was captured.
That day, evil was overturned and cries of murder shook the heaven. The city wall was stained with dark blood over and over. Together with rain water, it became a river of blood.
He stood on the platform in Xuanwumen Palace, and saw the rebel army break through the city gate. The brave and fierce rebel army’s leader in black armor, with blood dripping all over his body, was like a Rakshasa stepping forward. His eyes were blood-red and his aura shook the heaven. He aroused great fear in both men and gods. Recalling this moment, his heart was still in shock.
A flash of thunder came, illuminating the earth. The youth in the iron cage also saw him. Because of the distance and the rainwater that poured on him, he was unable him to see his face clearly. Thinking it was those Imperial descendants who humiliated him, he immediately shrank back defensively to the corner of the iron cage.
Li Yuanmin blankly looked at him through the pouring rain.
It was also on the same day that his talented lover personally cut off the heads of the soldiers defending the city gate and kneeled to welcome the traitors to enter the city.
And as the surrendering official’s lover, the first thing that needed to be done was to kill the colleagues who didn’t surrender. The second thing was to go beg him.
“That traitor had settled in the outskirts for the time being. We still have the chance to overturn this situation!”
“You are His Majesty of Bei An State, the most important thing is your body. When you were young, Father asked the Imperial Physician to give you a checkup and your body can get pregnant. If you conceive his child, we don’t need to worry about the throne.”
“When the time comes, we will…”
“Don’t worry, the child is to just hold him down. Once we wait for him to lower his guard, that will be the end of this traitor’s life.”
“When things are done, that traitor’s vile spawn will not be kept. In the future, we will have our own children, and our child will be the real master of Bei An State.”
“…Why are you looking at me like that? We’ve got no choice!” (Ciacia/N: No choice my foot, go die u sicko!!! Angry, Angry, Angry!!)
Li Yuanmin looked at the pair of burning eyes full of fierce longing. He suddenly laughed, hearing his own voice muttering in a daze:
Sima Yu happily went away. (Ciacia/N: f, so the rumor that LYM was SMY’s pampered wife is true? d*mn)
It’s just that he was wrong, he didn’t have a choice.
That night, he quietly chose to die, leaving Sima Yu with a dead end.
A loud bang pulled Li Yuanmin back from his nightmare-like memories. He dazedly shook his body, not looking at the child inside the iron cage anymore. He stumbled and turned away to leave.
The first thing to do after rebirth is to get rid of his cheap and useless sympathetic heart.