Fire was what consumed her. Now, fire was to be given back. However, beyond this fire, pain stood alongside.
She lost her son. She has no power or favour. She chose death.
...Empress Feng ah, even until now your hurtful feelings still lingers in this body.
Hui Lan slowly took her midnight eyes from the full moon.
One day, one day I'll let you rest in peace.
Justice? Well, she would be the very being of justice in this palace.
Having set her mind, Hui Lan gradually turned her starry eyes to the people that stood in wonder beneath her.
Her cold black eyes looked around the area. There were some that were simply staring at her like they saw a ghost while others were cowardly trying to save themselves.
She watched as some court maids were running frightfully for their lives.
Tut tut, it was not wrong for them to save their own life, of course, they would fear death. But at least, at the very least they could lend a helping hand. Well, then the next day, they should not beg to stay here or expect a helping from her…
What a joke.
If they did not want to serve her, then they should just leave. She will not cry for them to be with her.
This kind of place, must she really have to come here and do what? Her family and everyone she knew, gone...just like that?
Hui Lan's longing eyes gazed back at the beaming full moon. However, her eyes seemed to be looking beyond the skies and the heavens.
Meanwhile, those that had witnessed the Empress walking out from the burning Kunning palace, all halted what they were doing. Some even gasped when they saw her figure emerge from the fire.
This...what were they seeing…?
The Empress who stood in front of those red flames looked like a bewitching ethereal immortal sent from the netherworld. However, what made her even more frightening was the fire reflected in the Empress' cold eyes when she gazed upon them like inferior beings.
The superior person who stood before them was the Empress, but at the same time, it was as if a different person was before them. The Empress was wearing her red phoenix' dress, but her hair that should have been set in place was now loose behind her back and flowing freely.
Was this a ghost of the Empress that was looking for vengeance? Or were they seeing things?
On the other hand, Su Rong who had been running towards Hui Lan finally reached her friend.
"Hui Lan! Are you alright? Did you get hurt anywhere?" Su Rong asked worryingly.
To that, Hui Lan slowly turned to look at the person before her. A look filled with dishearted feelings was shown on her face.
This person...Hui Lan began searching for who the person standing in front of her was. Soon, a series of memories began tuning in.
As memories began flowing in, along with it, her head began spinning. Hui Lan quickly grasped her forehead out of pain.
This person...was this owner's friend...and personal court lady. Her name…ah… "Su Rong?" Hui Lan's soft voice seeped through her pale lips in the end.
Su Rong, on the other hand, was too happy to realize any difference in her friend and her watery eyes began crying tears, "Yes!" She sniffed a few more times before she could properly speak, "I thought...I thought I lost you in there!" Su Rong did not even care to address Hui Lan as Niang Niang and simply called her as they used to before all the suffocating rules.
A thought came to Su Rong's mind and she quickly asked, "Did you see who dared to do all of this, hm!?" Almost immediately, Su Rong's teary face became full-on guard. If she knew who was behind this, she would hunt them down until they apologise for their despicable actions.
However, Hui Lan merely looked down and let her long lashes cover her thoughts and the lingering pain of the original owner.
Seeing her friend turned quiet, Su Rong pursed her lips before releasing a small sigh in the end.
"Fine. If you don't want to speak, I won't force you." Su Rong gently grabbed Hui Lan's arm, "Let's go and sit down shall we?"
To that Hui Lan simply replied with a soft, "Hm." Su Rong then carefully led her to the small pavilion that was slightly further away from the fire.
When Hui Lan finally sat down, Su Rong began looking for any injuries, but in the end, was glad she did not find any.
Hui Lan observed the careful gestures from the slender figure in front of her and could not help but feel slightly relieved. At least, there was a person that she could trust in this kind of place.
As Hui Lan thought of Su Rong, another person came across her mind, "Su Rong, what about Su Jou?" Usually, they would both be with the Empress.
Su Rong softly reported back, "Ah, he went to bring our people that were left to you by Uncle Feng. They're just outside of the palace, so they should be back soon. I know you don't like it, but they would help to stop the fire better than those sloppy servants." After finish saying it, she quickly looked down as if she had done something wrong.
However, unexpectedly, Hui Lan simply nodded and did not say anything.
Su Rong took a quick peek at Hui Lan before looking back down. Eh? This...
On the other hand, Hui Lan was thinking to herself. Uncle Feng...he must be this owner's father. Hui Lan began recalling the memories back to the day that this original owner of this body entered the palace. Her father, Feng Hong Yi, had left some men to protect her, but this young lady disliked the idea and told them to leave the palace.
Tut tut...what a naive girl.
However, those people, they were shadow guards, so their cover would be exposed if they appeared as they were.
Hui Lan then opened her mouth and instructed, "Su Rong go and meet up with Su Jou first. Get everyone dressed up as guards and court maids before they arrive here."
Su Rong thought of it briefly before quickly nodding, "Alright. But, will you be alright?"
Hui Lan's left brow was slightly raised up before her face returned to normal, "Hm, don't worry, I'll be fine."
"En, I'll be right back."
However, just before Su Rong left, Hui Lan called her once again, "Su Rong, do you perhaps have a napkin?"
"Hm? A napkin? Oh, yes." Although Su Rong was slightly puzzled by the sudden request, she quickly took out a napkin from her sleaves and gave it to Hui Lan, "Here."
"Thanks." When Hui Lan saw the pattern that was knitted on the silky napkin, she could not help but compliment faintly, "Pretty indeed."
"Hui Lan ah, you sewed this for me ah, don't you remember?" Su Rong slightly pouted when her friend acted this way. Did she forget everything?
On the other hand, Hui Lan merely smiled.
"Fine, I'll go now." Su Rong then dashed off to the same direction where Su Jou had left.
As Hui Lan watched Su Rong's slim figure make her way around quietly, her heart could not help but feel heavy. Though she could trust this person, if she told where she came from...would she be called an evil spirit?
However, to fool those closest to the owner of this body...well, there was only one way to find out…
Hui Lan took her eyes from Su Rong and to the napkin that was in her hand. A purple butterfly pattern was sewed gracefully onto it. Well, there goes one thing that she could not do...sewing.
Nevertheless, Hui Lan unfolded the napkin and placed it onto her face to cover half of her face having only her catlike eyes revealed. Then, swiftly, she tied the napkin behind her head tightly.
She could make use of concealing her face for a while...
As she waited for Su Rong to return, Hui Lan silently leaned her back to rest on the bench and with one arm resting on the bench, she placed her face onto the back of her hand and closed her eyes.
Though there were some memories left in her brain, she could feel some of them gradually fading away as the original owner's consciousness faded away.
While she began looking through the past memories, she slowly drifted into a light slumber. Meanwhile, the rest of the guards that held a water bucket in their hands returned to their work and there were hardly any signs of court maids left.
It had only been a few minutes when a loud announcement was heard from the entrance of Kunning Palace.
"Bixie arrives! Queen Dowager arrives! Li Cai Ren arrives!" Eunuch Wu's slightly high pitched voice announced in the entire palace to be heard.
The guards dropped what they were doing and fell to their knees in greetings to the Royalties.
The loud announcement gave Hui Lan an itch in her ear and interrupted her rest. Like a graceful flap of a butterfly's wings, Hui Lan slowly opened her eyes. After heaving a soft sigh, she turned to look at the source of the voice.
Seeing three figures dressed in bright silky robes, Hui Lan squinted her eyes to see the three figures better in the dark.
Only when she could see their faces properly did she softly rise from her seat and took a few steps forward.
On the other hand, it was the Emperor who had been observing his Empress of his with his cunning eyes.
That still eyes and demeanor of hers were very unlike her. How could she be so calm?
Nevertheless, it was Queen Dowager Xin who had walked beyond everyone to her daughter in law, "Don't, don't." The Queen Dowager quickly held onto Hui Lan's hands that were about to greet her, "How are you? You must have been frightened."
Without lifting up her eyes, Hui Lan simply replied gently, "Chenqie was lucky to find my way out from the fire. Chenqie thanks Taihou for worrying over Chenqie."
"Aiyoo, this girl, stop with the courtesy. Let me see." Gently, the Queen Dowager lifted Hui Lan's face up to see her clearer, but all she could see was Hui Lan looking away with a light veil cover the lower half of her face, "Empress, what happened to you?"
It was only then that Emperor Yang Long alongside a lovely looking lady arrived where Hui Lan and the Queen Dowager were.
Hui Lan slowly lifted her eyes to look at the familiar yet unfamiliar elder who stood in front of her. This elder truly looked worried for her, but in the past, their relationship has always been neutral between them. Though the Queen Dowager was worried for her, beneath that worry, it was merely because she did not like the other daughter in law she had…
Nevertheless, Hui Lan slowly explained, "Although Chenqie was able to safely get out from the fire, Chenqie's face…"
"Poor jie jie, bixie, jie jie must be very startled. One's face brought one's beauty, if jie jie's face is ruined..." A heartwarming voice sounded from behind the Queen Dowager.
Only then did Hui Lan turn to look at the people standing beyond the Queen Dowager. Her eyes swept to the lovely looking lady who stood beside…
Shen. Yang. Long.
Hui Lan's eyes turned instantly hostile before she had to quickly look away to cover it. Though there was hatred to the man that stood before her, her heart was beating frantically.
She had no special feelings towards this man, but why was her heart beating like a mad lady?
Emperor Yang Long, on the other hand, had felt that small look she gave to him, but only lifted his brows slightly. This subtle temper of hers was rare...
Seeing Hui Lan become quiet after the comment was given out, the Queen Dowager became angry, "Li Cai Ren, apologise right now."
Li Cai Ren's face became fearful once the elder of the palace gave out her order. With a shaky body, she slowly lowered her body to kneel down.
Hui Lan lifted her cold eyes to look at the weak figure. No wonder he would want to protect her. Looking at those big teary eyes and delicate figure, she would make every man in the country want to protect her.
However, when Hui Lan saw another hand reaching out to Li Cai Ren, she could not help but smirk behind her mask. Well, how expected of you.
Sigh, would she have to see these two be in love for the rest of her time here? Having seen the adoration in Li Cai Ren's eyes towards the Emperor, Hui Lan felt all nauseous and could not help but look away queasily.
"Taihou, Li Cai Ren's intentions were good. Why punish a good-hearted person?" Emperor Yang Long's deep voice spoke up in the end.
To that, the Queen Dowager turned around to reprimand her son, only to be interrupted when he threw out a question to the Empress, "Empress, what happened here?"
Hui Lan, who had already looked away from the couple, slowly turned to look back. Looking at the Emperor straight in the eye, she replied calmly, "Chenqie does not know."
Emperor Yang Long's eyebrows became creased, "You do not know?" His warrior-like eyes grew fierce upon hearing her disinterest answer.
Once again, Hui Lan replied in the same indifferent manner, "Chenqie, truly does not know." There were no changes in her gaze, thus no one could find fault in her reply.
"Very well, this matter, Zhen will find out for myself."
With her lashes covering her eyes, Hui Lan gave a small curtsy in response, "Chenqie is more than grateful."
"Since there is nothing left, Zhen will take my leave." Right after he spoke of leaving, he reached for Li Cai Ren's hand and the two left together.
As Hui Lan watched the two leave, she truly wanted to roll her eyes. Why bother even coming in the first place?
On the other hand, the Queen Dowager who remained behind came up to her daughter in law and took Hui lan's hands into hers, "You must be very frightened, Aijie will let Ah-San look at you."
However, Hui Lan quickly pulled the Queen Dowager's hand back, "Taihou, Chenqie is alright. Chenqie just needs some rest and I will be fine."
Seeing Hui Lan's weariness through the pair of dark eyes, Queen Dowager Xin could not help but slightly feel pity for the other. Some part of this young lady reminded her of herself when she was the same age and first entering this palace; neither favoured nor powerful. However, look at where she was now...
As the Queen Dowager did not want to push Hui Lan anymore, she could heave a long sigh. "Very well, Aijie will also look for the one behind this accident. Tomorrow, Aijie will also let Ah-San come and check up on you."
"Chenqie thanks Taihou."
"Hm, rest well now, no need to send me off." To that the Queen Dowager too took her leave and did not want to pressure the other person with her presence.
"Chenqie bits goodbye." Hui Lan gracefully gave the Queen Dowager a polite curtsy.
After all had left Kunning Palace, only Hui Lan remained behind in the small pavilion.
Having no one around her, her upright back became slightly crouched up and her body slightly stumbled back. She quickly found her way back to the seats and weakly sat down.
She could feel a verge of vomiting a liquid and could smell a bloody scent. However, she quickly pushed it back down before being able to breathe properly.
Though time flew speedily, the night was yet to end.
She should settle her score with the casualties that she had received.
Back with a chapter, sorry for the disappearance. I've been finishing up my finals and also packing up for moving. Now, my hands are more loosened and I could make time to write. Hope you enjoyed the chapter! Also, I have a discord if you want to connect: https://discord.gg/aT5FqUC
All the best for today! Take care! <3<3<3<3<3
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