ARC 1 – The Way to become an Empress Part 40

“Your Majesty, I’m sorry. I’m very sorry!” I said as I kowtowed.

“What are you doing again?!” Ji Zhen Tian became frazzled and he hurriedly got out of his chair to make me sit up.

“Why are you doing this?” Ji Zhen Tian looked a little… hurt. Though, I have no idea why.

“Your Majesty…” Tears fell down my eyes.

Ji Zhen Tian had his eyebrows knitted, but he didn’t say anything. No, it looked like he didn’t know what to say in this situation.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I said between sobs.

“Why are you being sorry?” Ji Zhen Tian wiped my tears with his finger.

I placed my hands on his chest and pushed myself away from him, looking away, avoiding eye contact.

“I- this consort… has betrayed Your Majesty.” I felt Ji Zhen Tian stiffen. But I continued, saying “This body had already been sullied by another.” I sobbed. “I… don’t expect Zhen Tian to forgive me. You can punish me as you see fit. I-I’ll even be okay with you… putting me to death, or sending me away as punishment.” I looked at him and smiled amidst my tears. “But I just hope you won’t involve my family. I know you won’t, because Zhen Tian is a great person.”

When I opened my eyes clearly, I could see that Ji Zhen Tian went in a daze. But when he saw me looking directly at him, he seemed to have snapped back to reality.

“What happened?” He said in a whisper, but he didn’t look or sound angry. Just… concerned.

I bawled once more. “My body has been taken by another. He-” I paused at that and cried more, as if I couldn’t bring myself to say what happened.

“Who’s he?” Now Ji Zhen Tian sounded seething. He probably, no, most definitely, already knows who I’m referring to, but it seems he wants me to say it. Or perhaps he’s pretending he doesn’t know anything, and that’s why.

“The Great General Li Ming” I whispered back.

“How?” He sounded like he’s at the limit of holding back his anger.

“He- he came again two nights ago. It was not the first time he snuck into my palace.” I said in a low voice with my head down. “I-I wasn’t able to tell Your Majesty… because I was afraid of what might happen. I-I didn’t want you to hate me.” Tears fell down in drops to my lap.

Ji Zhen Tian then held my chin up, looking at my face. He looked angry, very angry, but his actions remained gentle, and he once again wiped away my tears.

“Zhen Tian, be careful.” I said as I looked him in the eyes. His eyebrows jumped at that statement.

I continued to report to him what I learned from Li Ming last night.

“The Great General said he’s heading to the town of Qing to fetch the secret troops he raised. He said there’s something like a war, but I think I might know what he’s… no, they’re… really up to. He said that when he’s coming back, he’ll come to get me and take me as his.”

With those words, Ji Zhen Tian’s fingers on my chin tightened, and it hurt a little. Still, I continued looking him in the eyes,

“Zhen Tian… Don’t worry. That will never happen. Wherever you go, I’ll follow… as long as you want me to. If- if you get overthrown in this battle, I’ll follow you. If- if you die…” Tears fell down again. “I’ll follow you too.”

I removed his hand on my chin and placed it on my cheek, rubbing my cheek against it.

I can see Ji Zhen Tian looking like there’s a lump in his throat that’s hard to swallow.

After a moment of silence,

“That won’t happen!” Ji Zhen Tian suddenly pulled me to him and hugged me tightly. “I won’t let that happen. Ling-er… Ling-er shouldn’t worry about anything. I’ll take care of it. Of everything. It’ll be all over soon. Don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything. I’ll protect you.” He said as he squeezed me so tightly, I almost couldn’t breathe.

Still, I only cried in his arms and didn’t do anything to move away.

After a while, Ji Zhen Tian let go of me. He held my face with both his hands, and looked like he was about to kiss me.

But instead, I turned away.

“I-I have already been sullied by another man. I-I can’t bring myself to dirty Your Majesty.”

Ji Zhen Tian then slowly made me look back at him through his hands.

“Ling-er… I- Though I’m not happy with another man having touched you, I don’t find you dirty. I’m not dissatisfied with you, but I am solely angry at that man.” He looked sincere. “It- Rather, if I am being dissatisfied with you having been touched by another man, then you must probably feel the same about me, huh.” Ji Zhen Tian had wry smile on his face. “I think it’s me who dirtied you instead.”

I… did feel that way. But,

“No, Your Majesty. It is your duty to sleep with the women in your harem to produce heirs. I understand that much.” I rebutted.

But after a pause, he continued, “When this is all over, that won’t happen anymore.”

“What do you mean, Your Majesty-“

“Zhen Tian. Call me Zhen Tian again. We’re alone right now, and this conversation is not one with Emperor and his subject, but of husband and wife.” He stroked my cheek with his thumb.

“Zhen Tian.” I whispered his name again.

“I don’t need anyone else as long as I have you, Ling-er.” He said as sincerely as he could, and he then bent down and kissed me gently. This time, I didn’t avoid it.

After our long kiss, Ji Zhen Tian looked sullen again as he remembered something.

“Ling-er. I’m sorry… I’m sorry.” This time, it was Ji Zhen Tian who’s apologizing to me.

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