T/N: Posting Thursday's chapter part earlier today. Drank too much coffee ^^;; and couldn't fall asleep.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 149.1 out of 171
Noble Consort Ning’s face paled. Her knees felt weak and there was a buzzing sound in her mind. Panic-stricken, she only continued to look at Emperor Chong Zhen.
The emperor walked into the hall. Two red-robed palace servants were following him.
Noble Consort Ning just remembered that the emperor had said he would be coming here today. But, why was it so early? It was an hour earlier than the usual time. She opened and closed her mouth and finally stammered, “Your Majesty…”
However, Emperor Chong Zhen didn’t look at her. He lowered his gaze to looked at Qing Fei, who was kneeling on the ground. He icily asked, “Were you speaking the truth?”
Qing Fei’s head was lowered. In reverence before the emperor, she kowtowed once before she said, “To respond to Your Majesty, this servant spoke truthfully. If there’s even a single false word, may this servant die a horrible death…”
Flustered and exasperated, Noble Consort Ning reprimanded, “Quiet!”
Then, she turned her head toward the emperor and said, “Your Majesty, don’t listen to these crazy words. This woman is a total stranger. I don’t know why she appeared here today. Someone must be trying to frame me…”
Emperor Chong Zhen indifferently looked at her. Not allowing her to have a say in the matter, he said, “This emperor didn’t ask you.”
Noble Consort Ning felt pained from the way he was looking at her. Her eyes immediately became red.
Emperor Chong Zhen put his arms behind his back and closed his eyes. “Tell this emperor what happened back then.” His voice seemed slightly stifled as he said, “How did Liuli get poisoned?”
Qing Fei complied with recounting what had happened back then, “It happened on Princess Tianji’s birthday banquet. Under Her Highness’s orders, this servant…”
On Zhao Liuli’s first birthday, after she had been brought to a heated room by a wet nurse to drink milk, she slowly fell asleep. Consort Shu was very curious and wanted to go see the young princess in the heated room. So, Empress Chen allowed her to go inside to look while accompany by a mama. After Consort Shu left the room, two servant girls distracted the servants in the heated room and Qing Fei entered the heated room. Qing Fei poured the poison onto Zhao Liuli’s mouth. Zhao Liuli was only a child that had just turned one year old. Her pitiful cries were quiet and soft. Qing Fei hardened her heart. After accomplishing her task, she sneakily left the heated room.
Afterwards, when they discovered that Zhao Liuli have been poisoned, the crime naturally landed on Consort Shu’s head. After all, she had been the only person that entered the heated room. Consort Shu pleaded that she was innocent and that she was wrongly accused, but no one believed her. They thought she was lying. Emperor Chong Zhen bestowed a cup of poisoned wine to her and she died in the palace.
Qing Fei’s voice became quieter and quieter, “… This servant has been living in remorse during the past years. This servant feels so guilty towards sixth princess.”
The hands that Emperor Chong Zhen had put behind his back clenched tighter and tighter. The vertical and horizontal blue veins on the back of his hands looked quite terrible. He closed his eyes and his face seemed like it was covered in a layer of frost. Word by word, he asked, “Consort Ning, is there anything else that you want to say?”
Noble Consort Ning kneeled down in front of the emperor. With a face full of tears, she said, “Your Majesty, you can’t listen to this woman’s lies. This consort really doesn’t recognize her or know why she’s repeatedly slandering me…”
Emperor Chong Zhen opened his eyes and looked at her as he asked, “You don’t recognize her?”
Noble Consort Ning shook her head, “This consort doesn’t recognize her.”
Emperor Chong Zhen sneered. He waved his wide-sleeve and said, “Then call over the female official from Shang Bureau. This emperor wants to know whether or not this person exists in the records!”
Shortly after, the female official from Shang Bureau hurriedly rushed over. She was holding the books with the names of all of the palace servants. After the female official learned of the emperor’s intention, she hastily flipped through the books. A short time later, she stopped on a page. “To respond to Your Majesty, over a decade ago, Noble Consort Ning did release three palace servants. Qing Fei was one of them. Qing Fei’s palm has a mole. Your Majesty, you can check for yourself.”
Emperor Chong Zhen lowered his eyes and looked at at Qing Fei, “Turn over both of your hands.”
Qing Fei spread out her hands. On her left hand’s palm, there was an obvious mole. It was especially prominent underneath the candlelight.
Noble Consort Ning collapsed onto the ground as if her entire body’s strength had been sucked away.
Emperor Chong Zhen looked away from Qing Fei and looked at Noble Consort Ning again. There was only coldness and disappointment left in his eyes. He suddenly thought of the words that Empress Chen had once said to him. At the time, they were lying on the same bed and their relationship wasn’t as stiff as it is now. Empress Chen had pleaded with him to reinvestigate Liuli’s poisoning. She had suspected that matter wasn’t as simple as it seemed since Noble Consort Ning’s palace servants had also been seen near the heated room. This was the first and only time she showed weakness in front of him.
When he thought about it now, her expression had been so helpless and she had entrusted all of her hopes on him. However, not only did he not reinvestigate, he blamed her for being unnecessarily suspicious. At the time, Empress Chen’s maiden family’s strength and influence was becoming stronger and stronger. He had been afraid of the consequences. It wouldn’t be good for him to favor Empress Chen too much. He also had the intentions of promoting Noble Consort Ning’s maiden family, so he frequently went over to Noble Consort Ning’s hall. On the surface, it seemed that he had really favored Noble Consort Ning.
Much later on, Empress Chen never mentioned this issue again.
Emperor Chong Zhen opened and closed his mouth for a moment before hoarsely saying, “Guards!”
Two palace servants came into the room, “Greetings Your Majesty.”
The emperor said, “Starting from today, Noble Consort Ning is stripped of her title and she’ll only be a common person. For now, she’ll be temporarily detained in the Golden Hall.”
Ning-shi cried out, “Your Majesty!”
Although the Golden Hall had a nice name, it wasn’t any different from a cold palace. The palace didn’t have a specific place for the cold palace in the current dynasty, but no one had lived in this cold and desolate hall for a long time. It had been earmarked to be used a cold palace. In the past dynasties, concubines that had lost favor had all been sent here without exception.
Emperor Chong Zhen wasn’t moved by her actions. Ning-shi moved forward to grab his sleeve, but he heartlessly brushed her away. Ning-shi struggled as if her life depended on it, “This consort had only done this for His Majesty. Your Majesty, you once said that you would forgive this consort no matter what…”
Emperor Chong Zhen furrowed his eyebrows. He had probably forgotten that he had once said these words. He expressionlessly looked at her and said, “This emperor can choose to forgive you and can also choose to strip you of your title. You dared to even poison this emperor’s daughter. Do you think this emperor will let you off?”
The palace servants grabbed Ning-shi by her shoulders and forced her to walk outside.
She probably had never thought she would have a day like this. She had changed from the lofty Noble Consort Ning to a common person.
Original translation is from fuyuneko dot org. If you’re reading this elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Emperor Chong Zhen darkly looked at Qing Fei and dealt with the offender by ordering, “Bring the person away and have her killed by cutting away the flesh from her bones!”
Qing Fei trembled and her face turned deathly pale.
After everyone else left, the room was utterly empty except for the emperor. The servants that had served Noble Consort Ning were kneeling outside. They were scared that they would also be implicated. Fortunately, the emperor still had his rationality. After standing in the room for a while, he slowly walked out.
Eunuch Chu came forward and asked, “Your Majesty, where are you going?”
Emperor Chong Zhen stopped walking. A long time later, he finally said, “To Zhao Yang Hall.”