Ninth Imperial Glorious Phoenix Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Poison

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“Fu Mingzhu, you are truly shameless, utterly without shame…” Yuwen You’s breath, tainted with the smell of alcohol, blew onto her face, causing every hair on Mingzhu’s body to stand on end. She couldn’t escape or scream; she could only tightly shut her eyes, trembling in desperate plea, “Today is the seventh day after my father’s and brother’s passing, could you not…”

Before she could finish her plea, Yuwen You kissed her as if possessed, pressing her onto the bed, tearing her clothes apart… Mingzhu felt her entire body burning, yet she also felt a bone-chilling coldness as if falling into an ice cellar.

She never imagined she would end up like this. In the past, Fu Mingzhu was the only daughter of the prime minister, grand tutor, the niece of the empress dowager, and the cousin of the young emperor. She was a dazzling figure, enjoying unparalleled favor, living indulgently and satisfied. But in Yuwen You’s eyes, she was shameless, simply because she loved him and insisted on marrying him.

During Fu’s heyday, she never knew how much he hated her. She thought he was just too proud and stubborn, believing that as long as she treated him sincerely, he would eventually be moved by her warmth. But now, with Fu family’s downfall and the deaths of her father and brother, she had no one left to rely on and finally realized that he hated her to the point that he thought death was too good for her. He had to keep her alive to endure endless humiliation to soothe his resentment.

So what if she understood now? It was all too late. Mingzhu looked at Yuwen You, who had already fallen asleep, with countless hatred in her eyes. Not loving her was one thing, but taking advantage of her affection to escape death, only to turn around and conspire with others to harm her father and brother, humiliating her day and night—did he really think of her as expendable?

Outside the window, the whispers of the night watchmaids could be heard, “What do you think Wangye is planning? It’s gotten to this point; it would be better to just give the princess a cup of poison and a white silk, let them both find happiness. What’s the point of tormenting her day and night?”

“Of course, he’s feeling aggrieved. Who doesn’t know that the late Imperial Consort died at the hands of the Fu family? Today is the seventh day after the Fu family’s betrayal. The Wangye’s timing is deliberate; it’s certainly not because he loves and respects the Wangfei.”

“Poor Wangfei, such a noble lady…”

“Noble? She’s just an arrogant and ignorant daughter of a corrupt official. Although the Fu family was treacherous, they had integrity. They refused to surrender to the end. But who would have thought they would raise such a daughter who still has the face to live on? If I were her, I would have hanged myself long ago, earning a reputation for filial piety, rather than lingering like this. What’s the point?”

Lingering… Mingzhu looked at the dim palace lamp. She was never afraid of death. She only wanted to arrange the funerals for her father, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, and find a peaceful place for her elderly mother and young nephew. Now that her mother and nephew had found suitable arrangements, what was she lingering for? Since it started with her, let it end with her.

With determination, Mingzhu reached under the mattress and pulled out a dagger she had prepared long ago. Without hesitation, she aimed at Yuwen You’s left chest. She knew exactly where to strike—between the fourth and fifth ribs on the left side—a fatal blow. But as the blade was about to pierce, Yuwen You, who had been deeply asleep, suddenly grabbed her wrist, flipped her over, his eyes bloodshot, staring at her as if wanting to devour her, angrily shouting, “Fu Mingzhu, you’re seeking death!”

It was a pretense. What a pity. Missing this opportunity, she might never have another chance. Despite the failed assassination, Mingzhu felt no fear. Lifting herself up, she glared at Yuwen You fiercely, “Since the day you conspired with others against my father and brother, humiliating me day and night, you should have known this day would come.”

Yuwen You twisted her hand forcefully, sneering, “I didn’t want to marry you, but you insisted on forcing me. If I didn’t conspire against your father and brother, did my mother not die in vain? You should thank me. I could have sent you off with a white silk and a cup of poison, yet I kept you alive, letting you enjoy your status as the Linan Wangfei. But you want my life?”

A sharp pain pierced Mingzhu’s heart, spreading throughout her body. Even her breath felt agonizing. From the beginning, they were doomed. Her aunt and her father and brother were his enemies, yet she foolishly wanted to marry him, unwilling for him to marry another, unwilling for him to die. She was the one who made the first mistake, deluding herself, overestimating her worth. Every step was a mistake. Was there anyone more foolish than her in this world?

Seeing her trembling, Yuwen You became even more arrogant and pleased with himself. Leaning closer, he gritted his teeth and whispered, “Don’t think I don’t know where you’ve hidden your mother and nephew. Do you think you can avenge your father and brother after sending them away? I know exactly where they are! The Fu family disrupted the court, full of treachery. Everyone in the Yuwen family wishes to exterminate them completely! Why do you only hate me? If you have the guts, go kill them all! If it weren’t for me protecting you, would you still be alive? Your conscience has been eaten by dogs!”

“It’s my fault. Please spare my mother and nephew. They have never harmed anyone. The only mistake they made was having me as their useless daughter and aunt.” Mingzhu’s face turned pale as she bowed deeply, pleading softly, “I know you hate me. Let me die. Death will bring relief to us all.” She had never been so submissive to anyone in her life. Even with a blade at her throat, she never begged for mercy. But now, she had to bow her head. She couldn’t let her family suffer anymore.

Yuwen You looked at her in silence for a while before calmly saying, “It’s truly rare to have you so devoted, but why should I let you off so easily and let you free yourself? If you are freed, how can I free myself?” 

Mingzhu looked up at him, not understanding what he meant.

Yuwen You let out a contemptuous sneer, turning to leave. But Mingzhu refused to let him go like that, rushing over to grab him and asking, “Are you going to cause trouble for my mother?”

Impatiently, Yuwen You replied with a sinister tone, “Yes, I am going to kill them. What will you do about it?”

Then let’s die together! Mingzhu reached behind her and pulled out the hairpin from her hair, sharpened to a point. With all her strength, she aimed it at Yuwen You’s neck. The hairpin was coated with poison, designed to seal off blood flow once it pierced the skin. Even if she couldn’t achieve her initial assassination plan, she wouldn’t let her preparations go to waste… But how could she be a match for Yuwen You? With a swift motion, Yuwen You slapped her hand, knocking her to the ground. Caught off guard, the hairpin stabbed into her chest, cold and icy. Her blood seemed to freeze in her veins, and she shivered uncontrollably, curled up on the ground.

Yuwen You stood by, arms crossed, looking down at her disdainfully. “What are you pretending to be dead for? Fu Mingzhu, you’re getting more and more pathetic.”

She burst into laughter. It seemed that fate wanted to mock her. She had intended to assassinate someone else, but ended up killing herself. This pitiful death would probably become a joke even in the afterlife. Laughing hysterically, blood seeped from her lips, staining the pristine white sheets.

Yuwen You knelt down, furrowing his brow as he looked at her. His expression gradually changed, a layer of panic surfacing in his eyes, his voice dry and tense, “Fu Mingzhu, what are you up to now?”

Mingzhu glanced at him sideways, smiling, “I want to be free.” She knew she was about to die, and no divine intervention could save her now. Trembling, she pulled out the hairpin, and blood gushed joyfully from her chest. The once pristine white sheets were now adorned with crimson.

“Quick, someone come!” Finally, fear crept onto Yuwen You’s face. He carefully grabbed her shoulders, attempting to turn her over. Mingzhu looked at him pleadingly, “So cold… could you hold me one last time?” Without pretense, she was shivering so violently, her teeth chattered. After eight years of marriage, they had their good times too. If she couldn’t soften his heart, she truly had no other recourse.

Without hesitation, Yuwen You embraced her, roaring, “Get a doctor!”

This was exactly what Mingzhu had been waiting for. As soon as she had the chance, she clutched the hairpin in her hand and thrust it at him with all her might. He left himself open, and his abdomen was the most vulnerable spot. Even if she couldn’t kill him, she wanted him to feel the pain. Otherwise, she couldn’t rest in peace even in death.

“Murder!” Someone shouted, their voice loud and filled with panic. Yuwen You lowered his head to look at the hairpin deeply embedded in his abdomen, then at her, his eyes filled with complex emotions. After a long while, he wiped away the blood from the corner of her lips and whispered softly, “So be it. Let’s call it even.”

A gust of wind blew open the window with a loud noise, startling Mingzhu awake from her nightmare. She clutched her throbbing heart, urgently checked the furnishings in the room and her own appearance, making sure she was still living in the year she turned sixteen, not back in the nightmarish past. Satisfied, she relaxed and stared blankly at the small lamp in the corner.

Accidentally dreaming of the painful events from her past life made her heartache even more. Unable to lie down any longer, she turned over and sat up, slipping on her soft satin shoes adorned with pearls. Rising to her feet, she walked out.

“Where are you going, Miss? It’s still dark out,” the head maid Su Lan tried to stop her, but Mingzhu didn’t listen. Su Lan hurriedly grabbed a cloak and lantern, chasing after her.

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