The Regent’s Secret Chapter 60

Chapter 60

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

*Note author changed back between Qi Yuan and Zhao Yuan a lot in this chapter

In the second year of Da Cheng Qi Yuan, which was also the second year after Zhao Heng’s ascension to the throne, although a few remaining forces were still lurking in the world, it was already difficult to shake the overall situation.

After spending a long time in Pan Palace classes, Zhao Heng had become Li Yi’s most familiar student. Apart from rarely missing the “Rites” classes, he even pestered Li Yi to teach him how to paint.

Li Yi had a soft heart and always thought that Bai Xian might die young, so he let him bring his paintings every time and taught him whenever he was free.

At first, Zhao Heng just wanted to get closer to Li Yi and, by doing so, manage to get him to reveal many secrets of the previous dynasty. However, as he continued to paint, he unexpectedly fell in love with painting and began to take his studies more seriously.

When Wei Che accompanied the emperor to paint landscapes in the mountains, he became bored at times. Zhao Heng criticized him for not being able to carve wooden stakes properly and said, “How come I didn’t realize before that you’re a monkey butt?”

“Your Majesty…” Wei Che didn’t expect the emperor to expose him like that, without any face.

Zhao Heng could paint for several hours at a time, but he couldn’t meditate or practice cultivation. He had to keep watch all the time and had already eliminated all the dangers in the forest several times. He couldn’t do anything and found it difficult.

He couldn’t express his dissatisfaction with Zhao Heng, so Wei Che muttered, “It’s all because Li Yi got Your Majesty hooked on painting.”

Upon hearing this, Zhao Heng laughed and almost drew a crooked line. “You know what, I really like Li Yi.”

Wei Che remembered his initial impression of Li Yi when he was in prison. “I always thought he was a clever person, and the rare thing is that clever people have integrity.”

Zhao Heng’s train of thought was interrupted, so he stopped painting and asked while washing his brush, “Zitong, how do you think it would be if Li Yi became emperor?”

Wei Che was stunned.

The emperor said, “It’s alright, speak freely.”

Wei Che pondered for a moment and said, “Putting aside everything else, Li Yi is too soft-hearted. Because of this, even if he became emperor, who would be willing to serve as his ceremonial guards? Even if they were all bristling with spines, it still wouldn’t be enough to block arrows.”

Zhao Heng laughed heartily. “As expected, only you could come up with such a phrase. Royal Uncle also said that Li Yi is not suitable to be a monarch, but I like his soft-heartedness.”

Zhao Heng looked outside the mountains and sighed softly. “From childhood to adulthood, in the mansion and in the palace… I have never seen anyone who was soft-hearted.”

Wei Che followed the emperor’s words and couldn’t help but think of the late emperor, the old Consort, the current empress dowager, the regent prince, and not to mention the people serving below them, including himself, there really wasn’t a soft-hearted person among them.

He heard Zhao Heng sigh, “It’s not easy to be soft-hearted and still be alive until now.”

Wei Che replied, “Li Yi is lucky, for example, he met Your Majesty.”

Zhao Heng didn’t take it seriously, “There is rarely such a thing as good luck for no reason in this world, let alone repeated good luck. I always felt that he was different from others, but I can’t say what it is for a while. Anyways, I’m willing to accept him as my teacher, which is rare.”

“Let’s go back to the palace now. The autumn hunting will begin tomorrow. I rode to attend Li Yi’s rite before, and now I’m looking forward to seeing his grand ceremony during the hunt.”

On the day of the autumn hunt, the waning moon was still hanging in the sky, and everyone had gathered in the Imperial Forest Park. The cold dew rose from the ground, and the chilly dawn woke people up, with the sound of barking dogs and horses’ breath around.

Li Yi wore a Baohe crown and served as the master of the rite.

The darkness of heaven and earth converged in the distance, and white light penetrated the cracks, piercing through the chaos.

Everyone seemed to return to the scene when they first saw him in Pan Palace. His beauty and magnificence made many people stunned again.

Li Yi followed the ritual and took out his bow, arrows, and arrowheads from the west side of the ceremonial platform, then walked gracefully to the center to show his respect to the guests.

The current Minister of War, who served as the guest, was there. When Li Yi walked towards him with a bow, the sound of galloping horses came from afar.

Everyone was surprised. Who would dare to be so reckless at such a grand ceremony?

Looking in the direction of the sound, they saw a blue and white dragon beast galloping towards them in the dawn light.

Li Yi and Zhao Heng almost simultaneously recognized the person who came.

Since the regent prince had arrived in person, the position of the guest naturally had to be given to Zhao Yuan. Li Yi once again took his bow and walked gracefully to Zhao Yuan.

The man in front of him was dressed in armor, wearing a phoenix-winged helmet, and covered in gold armor with densely packed dragon scales, which made Li Yi dazzled.

The memory he least wanted to recall suddenly surfaced.

It was the autumn of the second year of Chengqian when Li Yi participated in the autumn hunt for the last time. Guo Jijiu was serving as the master of the rite, and Li Yi himself was wearing gold armor and a phoenix-winged helmet, dragged there by Guo Shen.

In previous years, Li Yi served as the guest, which was a glory for Pan Palace. Although he had become the Hidden Prince now, he still had a royal title, so Guo Shen had to insist on this matter, which was also in accordance with etiquette. No one could find any fault.

However, it was inevitable that people were dissatisfied, so after the grand ceremony, when the autumn hunt officially began, Zhao Yuan led Li Yi and quickly disappeared from the sight of the crowd, heading deep into the Imperial Forest Park.

In the autumn Imperial Forest Park, there were only a few scattered clouds in the sky.

Two horses, one chestnut and one white as jade, carried the young men across a vast field. As the temperature rose, Qi Yuan turned around and pointed towards the foot of Wuliang Mountain, indicating that they would take a rest there at noon.

Li Yi was about to urge his horse forward, but suddenly he lost his footing and sprained his ankle.

Qi Yuan had already ridden some distance ahead and only noticed something was wrong when he turned back. He quickly reined in his horse and asked with concern, “What happened?”

Li Yi pointed to the saddle and showed him the broken strap on his stirrup.

Qi Yuan dismounted and examined the damage. After seeing the clean break, he told Li Yi, “Someone is trying to harm you.”

As he helped Li Yi up onto his own horse, Bai Yucong, Qi Yuan wondered if it was the work of Emperor Chengqian or Zheng San. At such a crucial moment, anyone could lend a “helping” hand.

Bai Yucong galloped quickly through the fields, but Li Yi’s sitting position was unstable and he almost fell off. Qi Yuan quickly held him and said sternly, “Hold onto me tightly.”

Li Yi clung to Qi Yuan nervously, unaware that the other man’s eyes were growing darker and darker.

The hills in the imperial hunting grounds stretched on endlessly, covered in lush grass. Soon, the two riders found a dry cave at the foot of the mountain.

Qi Yuan removed his outer garment and prepared a spot before laying Li Yi down on his side.

He knelt down on one knee and checked Li Yi’s ankle under the light. After feeling around for a while, he carefully took out some powder from his bag and mixed it with water before applying it to the wound.

“On the first day of the autumn hunt, I got injured. You can just send me back tomorrow,” Li Yi said casually, having encountered such situations many times before.

Zhao Yuan made a muted sound of agreement, unlike his usual teasing response.

“Qi Yuan?” Li Yi felt something was off and asked gently.

Zhao Yuan looked up, and on his face was a look that Li Yi had not seen in a long time, the same gaze he had when he first met Zhao Yuan.

In an instant, Li Yi felt like he was standing on the edge of a cliff, with a bottomless abyss below him and fierce winds pushing him from all sides.

Instinctively, he leaned back a little, just a tiny bit away from the person in front of him.

But Zhao Yuan’s entire expression changed when he saw this, and he leaned down to grab Li Yi, exerting too much force, causing Li Yi to fall into his arms.

“Qi Yuan?!” Li Yi sensed that something was wrong and tried to sit up and ask.

Before he could struggle, Zhao Yuan forcefully pressed him down and, holding the back of Li Yi’s neck, pried open his lips.

Li Yi’s mind went blank.

It was a kiss that was full of lust and desire, as if it wanted to open up all of Li Yi’s shyness, ravage him, and make him surrender.

It was a kiss that declared ownership, promising to explore every soft spot on Li Yi’s body, conquer him, and make him completely subservient.

Zhao Yuan didn’t leave Li Yi any chance to resist. He burst through the city gates and took the city like a forceful conqueror.

Li Yi felt like he was drowning, struggling to catch a breath, but soon another suffocating and lingering kiss came towards him.

In the midst of it all, he was held captive in Qi Yuan’s arms, unable to escape even a tiny bit.

When the countless kisses finally ended, Li Yi had no idea where he was. He was panting, trying to bring his soul back to his body.

After Li Yi had recovered, Qi Yuan touched his cheek and even wanted to kiss him again.

Li Yi was really scared now. “Qi Yuan, what’s wrong with you?”

After hearing this startled question, Qi Yuan finally let go of Li Yi and focused on fixing Li Yi’s clothing and hair.

When he looked at Li Yi again, there was only a gentle smile on his face.

Qi Yuan’s voice was soft. “Huan An, do you trust me?”

Li Yi’s alarm bells went off, and he looked at Qi Yuan with closed lips, their eyes meeting.

After a moment, Li Yi knew that Qi Yuan wasn’t willing to explain, so he reluctantly nodded.

“Yes, I trust you.”

Qi Yuan asked again, “If in the future, you couldn’t draw anymore, would you mind?”

Li Yi’s answer was quick, but his tone was resolute. “Qi Yuan, drawing is my destiny. Even if I lose my hands, I will draw with my mouth.”

Qi Yuan didn’t say anything else. He went out of the cave to find water and food, leaving Li Yi waiting for him.

At dusk, Zhao Yuan had already cleaned the rabbit and returned to the cave with wild fruit and water. Li Yi watched as Qi Yuan started a fire with dry branches, which crackled loudly, and everything was quiet and peaceful.

At night, Li Yi laid in Zhao Yuan’s arms, with Zhao’s back against the cave wall, and his chin lightly resting on Li Yi’s hair, his hand repeatedly stroking Li Yi’s forehead and hair.

Zhao Yuan’s movements were focused and gentle, but Li Yi could sense his unusual silence.

He tried in vain to break the silence and speak the words he had been hiding in his heart. “Qi Yuan, if you can return to Dian Nan, you should go back as soon as possible, don’t worry about anything else.”

Zhao Yuan’s hand paused, and his voice was slightly hoarse when he spoke. “Why do you say that?”

“According to the decree given to you by the emperor, there has never been such a harmonious relationship between Dian Nan and the palace. If Dian Nan Wang requests it, perhaps they will release you earlier, who knows.”

Zhao Yuan smiled silently, but his sadness was hidden from Li Yi’s sight.

“Do you want me to go back?” Zhao Yuan asked.

“If you don’t go back, how will you lead the Dian Nan army? I remember you promised that if the emperor ever bullied me, you would stand up for me. Without an army, what will you use to protect me?” Li Yi joked, but his solemn expression turned serious. “Qi Yuan, we are stuck here, with no way out.”

Zhao Yuan’s heart ached at his words. After his blood awakened, he thought he would never feel this way again.

He made a noncommittal sound, and Li Yi wanted to say more, but soon felt his eyelids heavy and fell asleep.

In the middle of the night, Li Yi was awakened by the fire, his mouth dry and his whole body feeling like it was on fire.

The pain all over his body was so intense that he couldn’t tell if it was because his body was on fire or his organs had shifted. He soon became so pained that he couldn’t speak.

He looked helplessly at Zhao Yuan, who was close by, with cold eyes fixed on him.

He saw Zhao Yuan pull out his dagger, bend down towards him with the blade flashing with a cold light. In one or two swift strokes, Li Yi felt a chilling sensation in his wrist and soon his blood flowed out, draining the last of his strength.

Zhao Yuan waited patiently as the dark poison flowed out of his body, estimating the speed of the blood flow. After half an hour, Li Yi had fallen into a semi-conscious state. Zhao Yuan quickly stripped off his clothes and sat naked in front of him, pointing the blade at his chest. He pierced the entire phoenix bird emblem with the tip of the knife, and drops of his own blood flowed into Li Yi’s mouth.

The cool liquid was like nectar from heaven in hell. Li Yi swallowed it unconsciously as it flowed down his throat. The phoenix bird on Zhao Yuan’s chest gradually lost its vibrant red color and turned into a dull purple.

Zhao Yuan had relied solely on willpower to hold on until this moment for his heart’s blood to drain. He collapsed beside Li Yi, having completed everything according to the ancestors’ notes, even remembering the smallest details. He was confident that he had not made any mistakes after reading it once.

He began to wait for a miracle, for the poison to subside in Li Yi’s body. After a while, Li Yi’s breathing gradually stabilized and he stopped gasping for air.

After some time, Zhao Yuan heard Li Yi softly moaning beside him. He struggled to get up, knowing that the time had come. He tidied himself up and slowly walked towards the cave entrance. At this moment, there was not even a trace of light in the sky, and the coldness was at its peak.

Zhao Yuan looked back one last time at Li Yi lying in the pool of dark blood. Anyone who saw this scene, even Emperor Chengqian, could testify to his mercilessness. The use of poison and wrist-cutting showed that he was afraid Li Yi would not die easily.

He wanted to keep this scene in his heart, along with all the precious moments he had spent with Huan An. Even if they never saw each other again, he would have no regrets.

Can’t wait until next week to see more? Want to show your support? Come to my Patreon where you can get up to 5 more chapters of The Regent’s Secret right away or get access to early chapters of all the available BL novels! Or go donate at Paypal or Ko-fi to show your appreciation! :)

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Leave a comment