Nightfall Chapter 823
Every death in the world is a reunion after a long separation.
This statement was somewhat obscure and very artistic. Unlike the spring breeze at this time, it was more like the spring breeze with sand and loess that would stir in Chang’an for a few days in the deep spring.
Ning Que thought about it for a long while, but did not understand what it meant. He did not even have a single idea what it might mean, and as such, felt even more woeful.
What he was more aniouxs about was that he could not leave Chang’an, and this city was his city of woe. He was trapped in the city of woe, which was why he sat high up on the city wall every day in a daze.
There was a soft clanging of jade accessories. The Empress had arrived and walked up to him. She rubbed his head softly and said with pity, “Have you not figured out what that statement meant?”
According to the hierarchy in the Academy, the Empress should call Ning Que Youngest Uncle. However, she was still older than Ning Que and the Emperor was Ning Que’s senior. Moreso, since last autumn, she and Ning Que had returned to Chang’an from the Wilderness together and they had shared hardships. They trusted each other and were close. As such, she acted naturally.
Ning Que nodded softly.
He did not understand that statement. The Empress and his Senior Brothers and Sisters at the back of the Academy’s mountain knew of this statement, but they did not understand this message that the Drunkard had passed on.
They analyzed it for a long time and discovered that if they only inferred it literally, there was a similar statement in the West-Hill Scripture. Death in the mortal world was not the end. The end was when one returned to the divine light in the Kingdom of Haotian. The problem was that only Haotian was qualified to make a statement like that.
The Empress looked at him and asked, “Do you still think it’s not her?”
Ning Que said, “Sangsang is dead.”
The Empress replied, “Why are you still so certain?”
Ning Que looked at the streets below that looked like thin lines and searched for where the Old Brush Pen Shop was. He said, “She is my natal item. If she were still alive, I’d know.”
The Empress walked to the side of the city wall and said softly, “Many people have died, but the problem has yet to be solved.”
While Ning Que was not concerned with the dark undercurrents of the court, he knew what she meant.
“Even though no one dared to say it openly, many still cannot accept that I, the Saintess of Diabolism, am in charge of the Tang Empire. They cannot accept it in their hearts, and that is not a good thing.”
“The agreement with the West-Hill Divine Palace is also a sore spot with the Tangs. Li Peiyan’s death might be able to soften the blow, but it cannot solve the problem completely. I’m the one who has a say in the Imperial Palace.”
“The Li family have ruled the Tang Empire for thousands of years and have accepted offerings from the people for thousands of years. As descendants of the royal family, we should die before our people. I am a daughter-in-law of the Li family and am willing to do something about it. You said in the palace a few days ago, now that Li Huiyuan is dead, Li Yu only has a brother left. I trust that she will know what to do.”
The Empress looked at the city she had lived in for many years and said with a sight smile.
Ning Que’s heart felt heavier with every sentence she spoke. He did not wait for her to finish her statement and he said, “Your Highness, please keep a clear head and not think of unreasonable things.”
The Empress gradually stopped smiling and gazed at the clouds passing by the city wall. She looked at the vaguely present Imperial Palace in the distance and said calmly, “I have never intended to be reasonable with you, Mr. Thirteen.”
Ning Que stared at her hands which were placed on the city wall and asked, “Why?”
“Because I’m very tired. I’m really very tired now.”
The Empress frowned slightly, looking extremely gentle and weak. She looked beautiful when her expression changed slightly even though she was not a great beauty. It was only at this moment, that people would remember that she was the legendary Saintess of Diabolism who could control the wills of people.
“Many years ago, I was just an ordinary girl by the Daming Lake. I did not know why my elders in Haotian Taoism picked me to be the saintess and ordered me to seduce the Crown Prince of Tang to bring an age of chaos.”
She said, “I thought then, that he was a corrupt pervert, and was unwilling. Furthermore, I did not think that I was skilled in seducing men. And so, I decided to trick and kill him.”
Ning Que asked, “Was that when His Majesty sustained his hidden injury?”
The Empress answered, “That’s right, but I did not kill him straight then, so I thought that I had failed. I did not expect that he did not blame me, and even helped me to hide many truths.”
Ning Que did not speak. Even though he knew that His Majesty was someone who cared about relationships, he could not understand why he would make a choice like that back then.
“It was only then when I realized that he had truly fallen for me. Though I was unwilling, I pretended to accept him and used all the skills I learned in the Enlightenment Doctrine, or perhaps, I used all the skills that I was born with. I used these skills on him until he could never leave me again and even decided to bring me into the palace.”
The Empress smiled slightly and said, “Back then, I thought I had won, but I did not expect to have lost. Because I had expended so much thought on him, I fell in love with him without me discovering it. And just like how he could not leave me, I couldn’t leave him either.”
“His Majesty was one of the two men in the world who hurt me the most.”
“I helped him manage the nation’s affairs for a period of time. The rumors say that it was because of certain talks out there that he did not allow me to continue. Only I know that it was because he was worried that I’d be too tired.”
“I have the ability to handle the nation’s affairs, but I truly do not like it. I enjoyed talking and laughing and having fun with him. I like throwing little tantrums, making some food, and that’s it.”
“He left because of the injuries I planted on him many years ago. That is why I had to hold on and keep calm through our journey from the Wilderness back to Chang’an until I settled his inheritance.”
“I think I have done well and I believe that he will be pleased when I see him again. Then why should I still stay here? I don’t want him to wait for me for too long.”
Silence reigned on the wall.
Ning Que’s gaze landed on the hand the Empress placed on the wall. He had many conflicting emotions right now. He was shocked and lost, and he could not find an appropriate word to describe it.
He said in a hoarse voice, “Don’t you think that’s very selfish?”
The Empress smiled slightly and said, “To the world, I am the saintess of the Devil’s Doctrine. It is natural that I am selfish.”
Ning Que said, “The Prince is still young and needs you as a mother to raise him.”
“My son already has Mr. First as his teacher. Do I still need to worry? I have already made plans. There are letters that I have left with Xu Chi and Zeng Jing. The situation right now might be difficult but is stable, and the matters of the court have its orders. There is no difference whether I’m here or not. It is beneficial to the Tang Empire if I’m not around. At least those wacks from Haotian Taoism cannot use my existence to create trouble anymore.”
Her smile seemed to be radiating light and seemed extremely proud.
Ning Que said, “I will not allow this to happen.”
The Empress smiled lightly and said, “I remember someone once said that there are two things in the world that cannot be controlled by anyone. Not even Haotian can do that. That is life and death.”
Ning Que intended to say something else.
The Empress looked at him and said calmly, “I said earlier that there were two men in the world who loved me the most. Other than His Majesty, the other man was my brother Xia Hou, and he died in your hands.”
Ning Que kept quiet.
“Whatever you felt when Sangsang died was the same feeling I felt when His Majesty closed his eyes. Back then, I jumped from Helan City because I was forced by the situation. Now that I think about it, perhaps I had already wanted to die then, but Helan City was a little short.”
The Empress looked at the clouds under the city wall and said with a smile, “I think Chang’an should be tall enough.”
Though she was smiling, her eyes were as vacant as clouds and smoke. It was as if she was no longer in the mortal world.
Then, she left the city wall and fell into the clouds and mist.
Ning Que had many ways of catching her or even pulling her back. But he did not do anything because his body was very stiff since he saw her face when she left.
Her skirts fluttered like flowers. Her expression was serene when she closed her eyes as if she were about to enter the most glorious world. It made one feel comforted and reassured.
It was a calm that not many could bear to disrupt.
Ning Que stood on the city wall and watched the moving clouds silently for a long time before leaving.
There were many who came and went in his life. They left and never came back, and they left suddenly and absolutely, making him lost and sad.
His family and friends in the General’s Mansion, the Headmaster and Sangsang, His and Her Majesty. They had all left like that.
There is great fear between life and death. Ning Que had lived two lives and was used to seeing life and death in the Wilderness and the Min Mountain. However, this fear was difficult for even eminent monks and Bhadanta to accept, and he himself had never understood it.
On the night Hua Shanyue wanted to save Li Yu and take her out of Chang’an, Ning Que had told Chao Xiaoshu that such an idiotic behavior was hard to understand. It was because he had never understood love.
‘What is love? Such that man would live and die for it.’ Ning Que had always remembered this statement. He used to think that it was too artistic and trite, disliking it a lot.
Just like that statement, ‘Every death in the world is a reunion after a long separation.’
It wasn’t until this moment when he understood a little.
Ning Que walked down the city wall and went to the Princess’ residence.
He lifted the heavy voiles on the balcony and looked at Li Yu. He said, “The Empress has passed away.”
Li Yu was telling little Wild a story. Ning Que was observant and noted that she was telling stories that he told in the past.
She did not react when she heard Ning Que’s statement. She only raised her head slowly after a long time, a lost expression on her pale face. She asked, “Why?”
“I don’t know if you’d believe it if I said that it was for love.”
Ning Que looked at her and said, “Prepare to enter the palace. I will send little Wild to study in the Academy.”
In the blink of an eye, it was late spring in Chang’an. However, it was still gloomy and rained incessantly.
The people had yet to emerge from the sadness that came from the Empress’ death. The soldiers on the Vermilion Bird Avenue who were waiting to collect their reward still had white cloths tied around their arms.
The Yulin Royal Guards lined up before the Imperial Palace solemnly. Solemn and elegant music resounded through the palace and officials of the court dressed in royal robes lined in under the guidance of eunuchs. The bell rang gradually.
On this day, the new Emperor of the Tang Empire officially ascended the throne. A new era had begun.