Yun Qingci’s eyes lit up.
He personally took the cloak and put it on Li Ying’s body. Just like before, he tightened the ties carefully.
Then he raised his face and looked at the Son of Heaven in front of him: “Let’s go, I will take you for revenge.”
He grabbed Li Ying’s cuffs and walked out of Chaoyang Palace on foot.
If he hadn’t been reborn, he wouldn’t have known that the Empress Dowager had also set up Li Ying. No wonder when he used to chase Li Ying around the palace, Li Ying would immediately stop when meeting the Empress Dowager occasionally.
He thought it was because Li Ying respected the Empress Dowager, but it turned out to be because he was afraid of her.
Li Ying just told him not to associate with the Empress Dowager. He kept saying, don’t believe her, but in Yun Qingci’s eyes, Empress Dowager Zhang always seemed to be on his side.
She encouraged him to argue with Li Ying, encouraged him to break into the palaces of other concubines, encouraged him to punish palace slaves and even taught Yun Qingci how to establish authority in the palace.
Yun Qingci had no reason to distrust Empress Dowager Zhang and to trust Li Ying who kept accepting concubines into the palace.
The thin white hand pulled quietly on his cuffs, only a few inches away from his fingers. Li Ying could hold it as long as he opened his fingers.
But he didn’t dare to touch it.
When everything was revealed, the piece of memory that he had never wanted to touch seemed to disperse with the wind and become insignificant.
He thought that if he had been willing to put aside that little bit of his pride and confess everything to Yun Qingci after realizing that so-called initiation was actually full of malice, perhaps his lover would not have been led to such extremes step by step.
With their own thoughts in mind, they walked all the way to Taici Palace.
The guard saluted Li Ying and then continued to stand upright, allowing the two of them to step into Taici Palace.
Liu Ziru, Yinxi and the others followed behind and, after receiving Li Ying’s look, they all stayed outside the palace.
The palace gate was closed, and in the courtyard, Empress Dowager Zhang was leaning in the recliner lazily, basking in the sun.
At the sound of the guard’s voice, she did not even open her eyes: “After a year of imprisonment, is the Lord Empress’s anger relieved?”
Yun Qingci stood still and his hand let go of Li Ying’s cuff.
Qin Yan’s gaze fell on the long sword in Li Ying’s left hand. His right hand reached for the hilt silently and gently clenched it.
Under the warm sun, the Empress Dowager did not hear Yun Qingci’s voice, nor did she hear Li Ying’s voice.
A subtle sound of the sharp blade gradually unsheathing reached her ears.
The rocking recliner stopped slowly.
The Empress Dowager opened her eyes and looked at Li Ying.
With a ’bang’, the sharp blade was suddenly pulled out, and Qin Yan said hastily, “Your Majesty!”
He stepped forward to stop him. Li Ying kicked him in the chest, and Qin Yan flew upside down. After landing, he vomited a mouthful of blood.
He raised his face and saw that the Empress Dowager had tumbled out of her recliner in embarrassment. Her face turned pale: “Li Ying, are you crazy? Do you dare to kill your mother?!”
Yun Qingci picked a chair, sat down, straight and graceful,, and looked at everything in front of him motionlessly.
The Empress Dowager glanced at him quickly and then looked at Li Ying again: “Ah Ying, what kind of person Yun Qingci is – you know better than your mother! Have you been bewitched by him?! You killed your uncle for him, saying that he deceived and oppressed the commoners, but what about your mother, what did she do wrong that you’ve come to kill her for him?!”
The Empress Dowager was breathing heavily hiding behind her recliner, her fingers white, as she said, “Li Ying, think carefully, this is treacherous and unfilial! You will be struck by lightning!”
There was a flash of cold light in front of her, and her hand clutching the recliner suddenly ached and lost its strength, hanging down limply.
Li Ying broke her tendon.
She let out a cry of pain and scrambled back holding her wrist. Li Ying was dressed in a dignified manner, but there was no respect in his eyes, and his expression was as ruthless as the sword in his hand.
“Don’t kill it,” Yun Qingci said meaningfully: “I want to see what she will do when her life is worse than death.”
Empress Dowager Zhang was furious, “You demon! If I had known you were so good at compelling people, I would have killed…”
A fierce kick on her mouth twisted her head aside and made her fly a few meters.
Her mouth and nose were bleeding, and she felt dizzy. She coughed heavily and looked at the devil she had raised with her own hands.
His black eyes were as bottomless as two black holes, and it was almost impossible to see whether there was hatred or resentment hidden in them.
How could he do it and show no mercy to his mother?
Even if, even if he knew something… she still nurtured him, didn’t she?
“Ah Ying, Ah Ying, tell your mother. What did mother do wrong?” Her voice was muffled, tears and blood staining her face.
Li Ying would not tell her what she had done wrong.
What should be said had been said in their previous lives. Yun Qingci hoped to see her die with his own eyes, so he would send her to death again.
In his previous life, he hated her so much that he just skinned her, and she died too quickly. So, he could only chop her up and feed her to dogs. But in this life, he had enough time to play with her.
Little by little, to make Yun Qingci happy.
He was no longer the Li Ying who was at the mercy of others.
“Ah Ying, Ah Ying, why are you doing this to your mother, why are you…”
“Ah Ying.” A voice of a crane and a phoenix came, as Yun Qingci said, “She is too noisy.”
Li Ying’s gaze fell on the Empress Dowager’s opening and closing mouth, and she felt a great fear enveloping her whole body.
Liu Ziru felt that two madmen had been let in through this door.
Before coming, Li Ying told him that after he and the Lord Empress entered the Taici Palace, he had to order the guards outside to retreat a hundred steps away.
But now, he didn’t know if he had auditory hallucinations, as if some sound was coming from inside.
He asked Yinxi, “Did you hear anything?”
Yinxi and Jin Huan glanced at each other and shook their heads cautiously.
There was no sound in Taici Palace. The glamorous Empress Dowager was curled up on her side, her hands and feet chopped off and her tongue cut off. She could barely writhe.
After being kicked, Qin Yan lay on the ground playing dead.
He had realized that the generous Son of Heaven had disappeared. He was no longer the child who tried hard to do everything well that he was tied up at every move. He had grown up and turned into a ferocious, violent tiger.
He knew what he wanted and when to use his moves.
This tiger was now raised by the Lord Empress, and the Lord Empress was the only one he obeyed.
Empress Dowager Zhang watched silver boots stop in front of her and shrank involuntarily.
Yun Qingci’s dominance and paranoia were instigated by her. She told him how to punish the palace people and forced him to become the Lord Empress who was feared by everyone.
But now, he used all these methods on her.
She raised her eyes begging. She had already realized it was useless to beg Li Ying. Li Ying was now a knife in Yun Qingci’s hand and was more willing than anyone else to be a knife in Yun Qingci’s hand.
She began to regret it.
She shouldn’t have enjoyed the sight of these two bugs biting each other for her pleasure. She never thought that they would gradually grow stronger in their biting and would suddenly join forces to attack her.
If only she had known, she’d have killed them both.
Just how much Yun Qingci hated her, and when did he suddenly wake up to the fact that it was she who was stirring up trouble.
Of course, Li Ying had lost his temper with her more than once before and warned her, but he was a person who had been taught to respect teachers since he was a child. Why did he suddenly fight back mercilessly?
Yun Qingci stared at the woman in front of him with a smile.
He felt very happy, and it was more enjoyable to watch Li Ying punish her than to do it himself.
How many times did this woman laugh at him behind his back? How many jokes did she play on him, and how many jokes did she play on Li Ying?
He didn’t get close to the other party and the Empress Dowager could no longer be arrogant.
“Today, in the beginning of the new year, mother was attacked by an assassin, so we have to summon the chief doctor to come and see her as soon as possible.”
He looked at Li Ying and said, “Mother has suffered such a serious injury, we have to protect her and do our filial piety.”
“The Lord Empress has a point.”
Yun Qingci walked out without looking back.
Li Ying took out a silk cloth, wiped the blood from the sword and turned to follow Yun Qingci.
When they left Taici Palace, Liu Ziru and the others hurriedly greeted them. Li Ying said, “The Empress Dowager has been injured. You should ask a trusted doctor to take a look.”
Liu Ziru glanced at the sword in his hand, took a deep breath, and said, “Yes.”
Yun Qingci walked a few steps, suddenly bent over and picked up a small pile of snow from the ground, then compressed it in his hands.
Yinxi and Jin Huan followed from a distance.
Li Ying told him, “Be careful not to freeze.”
Yun Qingci glanced at him and snorted softly: “You don’t think that if you kill an uncle and hurt a mother, you can go back to the past, right?”
Li Ying’s lips were still bloodless. He shook his head and said, “I’m just worried that you will catch a cold.”
“Catch a cold.” Yun Qingci looked at the snow in his hand and said, “During the days when I was starving and freezing in the Cold Palace, why were you not afraid that I would catch a cold?”
“Don’t you want to explain?“ Yun Qingci deliberately hit him with the snowball in his hand and said, “You can continue to explain.”
The snowball bloomed into a white flower on Li Ying’s chest, as he said, “No matter what, a big mistake has been made and it is indeed I who have wronged you.”
“Don’t think that you can justify it with two or three apologies.” Yun Qingci grabbed the snow again and said slowly: “Your mother did scheme against me. She schemed to take advantage of my love for you. She did scheme against you, too, but she used your love for yourself…”
He asked Li Ying, “Don’t you think I’m right?”
Li Ying’s eyelashes fluttered; he said, “You are right.”
“Then tell me how I am right?”
Li Ying followed him quietly, and Yun Qingci smashed another snowball at him. “Say it.”
“I… for my self-esteem and for my throne, I ignored you, neglected you, coaxed you and tried to erase everything. You are right.”
Yun Qingci smiled with satisfaction and said, “Actually, you are not bad, Ah Ying, you are a good emperor. You know when to abandon things, and you also know how to pretend that nothing happened. You are good at whitewashing everything, exempting yourself, using others like a parasite, and letting others kill themselves.”
He said it as a compliment: “Maybe it’s because we have been together for twelve years, maybe it’s because I loved you so much, but I swear, you are definitely the best emperor I have ever seen. You are very good. You were thirteen years old but you survived for so many years under so many ministers, not to mention the ignorant Lord Empress and your Royal Mother who was good at getting things done. You are amazing.”
Li Ying pursed his pale lips and did not answer.
“We both are marionettes in the hands of the Empress Dowager. We both are victims and have the same enemy.” Yun Qingci looked at the snow. His fingers were white and delicate, almost melting with the snow. He said, “But you are smarter than me. You knew that at that time, as long as you abandoned me and left me behind, you could live.”
“You have always been very clear-headed. If you couldn’t control it, then you left it alone.” Yun Qingci’s words were like iced knives, cutting one slash after another: “But I’m not smart enough. I’m just a victim. I simply wanted to exchange love for love. I was full of plans with you. I never thought about leaving. I just thought, even if I died, I would die with you. I’m such a fool. I never thought that you didn’t want to die at all.”
He asked Li Ying again: “Am I right?”
Li Ying: “…you are right.”
Yun Qingci’s eyelashes trembled, and the snowball in his hand slammed mercilessly, exploding into a snow-white patch on Li Ying’s chest again. He said, “Do you think I’m stupid? I’m stupid, I deserved it, didn’t I?”
“I didn’t mean that,” Li Ying said: “I mean… You said, I’m bad, you’re right, you, you’re not stupid, it’s me, I failed you.”
He looked at Yun Qingci, and after a while, as if letting go of his anger, Yun Qingci bent over to gather a handful of snow. “Li Ying, do you know, I admire you very much. When I jumped off the tower, I thought that maybe my life should’ve been used to strengthen your throne. And I deserved to end up like that for my stupidity and paranoia.”
“And you, Li Ying, should have left cleanly without turning your head. Even if you are a good emperor, it’s not like there are no other emperors like you in history.”
“You shouldn’t have come back to me. This is your mistake.”
“What do you regret, what do you feel guilty about? You are so amazing, you should not hesitate to abandon your stepping stone. You have already made a clear choice between your country and me, haven’t you?”
Li Ying sucked in a breath of cold air and his lungs burned with pain: “I’m not, I’m not as good as you said… I can’t ever let you go.”
Yun Qingci stopped, lowered his eyes to look at the compressed snow in his hand and said, “How about a snowball fight?”
He looked at Li Ying again, tilted his head and said, “Because no matter what you say, I can’t empathize with you.”
“You can’t do anything with women, and you can’t prove your faithfulness. You could only say that you were forced to fulfill your responsibilities under the influence of external forces.”
“Ah Ying, let’s have a snowball fight,” Yun Qingci said, “I never show mercy to my subordinates when playing it.”