The Deposed Empress

Da Li.

Under the roof of the Cold Palace, Li Wei Yang counted six fleas in her long hair.
It’s been years since she last bathed, causing her to feel as if there was a thick armor on her body.
Catching fleas has become the only method to kill time.

12 years. She has been imprisoned inside the Cold Palace for 12 years.
Wei Yang lifted her head up into the sky.
Every time it rains, her legs would ache, becoming so painful that it made her want to go crazy.

She was Prime Minister Li Xiao Ran’s biological daughter.
Unfortunately, she was not born from the first wife but a mistress.
Her mother was merely a maid of lowly class.
Not to mention, she was born in February, coinciding with the saying that any female born in the month of February was a misfortune to the family.
As a result, her father sent her to a distant relative to be raised in foster care.
However, even the distant relative didn’t want to raise a mere stepchild born from a lowly maid.
They sent her off to a rural area for her to survive on her own.
Her father was the Prime Minister and her family background was one of the most powerful and influential in Da Li yet she had to depend on herself to do house chores and even farm work.

She was abandoned and forgotten.
If it wasn’t for the fact her older stepsister, Li Zhang Le, refusing to marry that person then her father and Da Furen (first wife) would probably never spare her a second look .

Zhang Le, Wei Yang, their mere names set them worlds apart.

When she first returned to the Li’s estate, she was filled with joy and happiness.
She had naively believed her father had finally remembered her, only to have overheard her father say to her beautiful and elegant stepsister, Li Zhang Le: “Xian Hui, you can be at ease now.
Wei Yang will take your place and marry Tuo Ba Zhen instead.”

Older sister Li Zhang Le was also given the name Xian Hui.
Her name was truly beautiful, at least that was what Wei Yang thought at the time.
Soon, this particular name would become her worst nightmare.

Eventually, she listened to her father’s decision and married the Third Prince, Tuo Ba Zhen, instead of Zhang Le.
She willingly and wholeheartedly helped Tuo Ba Zhen realize his ambitions, slowly watching as he went from Third Prince to become the Emperor.
She had even given birth to his son, Yu Li.
Once Tuo Ba Zhen became Emperor, he also made her Empress.
All of this happened within 8 years.

Tuo Ba Zhen once said she had soft skin and was a first class beauty.
But a first class beauty still could not be compared to a fairy with ethereal beauty.
Just a glance and anyone could see the difference between them was wide and embarrassing.

What happened after? After.

Every time Li Wei Yang remembers that particular day, she would burst out laughing.
Laughing at her young and naive self, laughing at the present her and the past her, at how different the two have become.

She could still remember that night clearly.
The palace maids and everyone in Kun Ning Palace was punished immediately on scene, as if they were impatient to bring it all to a conclusion or to keep everything a hidden secret.
The maids weren’t even brought to the torture chamber but were punished right outside of her bedchamber.

The entrance to Kun Ning Palace was locked.
All the ones to be punished had their mouths stuffed and muted.
In a blink of an eye, Kun Ning Palace had turned into a bloody mess.
Li Wei Yang was dragged in front of Emperor Tuo Ba Zhen.

In Tuo Ba Zhen’s usual astute gaze, there was now a sharp, cold and ruthless look.
“You bitch! She is your blood-related sister and yet you so cruelly tried to harm her.”

Li Wei Yang was filled with anguish but still said, “Harm her? I have never harmed her!”

Mercilessly Tuo Ba Zhen hit her in the chest causing blood to spill out of Li Wei Yang’s mouth.
He looked at her with disdain.
“Wretch! Zhang Le was suffering in labor but I wasn’t there.
A maid went to look for you, pleading for your help, but why did you closed your doors and turned your head the other away? It’s obvious you were trying to harm her! If I didn’t come back in time, both mother and child would’ve died!”

Lifting her head, her eyes fell on Tuo Ba Zhen.
He was just as handsome now as then, like he didn’t belong in this world.
The truth is, she has never understood this man in front of her.
She herself didn’t know who the man she loved was, what kind of person he was.
One minute he could be gentle and sweet, but he could also be cold and ruthless.
She felt like a laughingstock for being deluded in her one-sided affections for him, not realizing that he had never needed her.

Li Wei Yang laughed coldly.
“Your Majesty is thinking of jiejie, but have you ever thought of Yu Li – our son? On the same day yours and jiejie’s child is to be born, my Yu Li was severely ill and suffering on his deathbed! Is it wrong of me to call upon the Imperial Doctor? Zhang Le is human, but so am I! She has successfully given birth.
Even the child is given the title of Crown Prince upon birth, but my Yu Li has died! You once promised me you would let Yu Li become the Crown Prince.
Aren’t you already the Emperor? Why are you changing your mind? Why!?”

His face was cold, looking at her with indifference.
“I already gave you the title of Empress, but you still don’t think that’s enough! You’re greedily eyeing the title of Crown Prince too!”

Li Wei Yang could only taste blood in her mouth.
Her voice was cold and frosty like glaciers.
“Empress? That’s right, I am the Empress, but the royal decree to depose me is already sitting in front of you.
You were merely waiting for Zhang Le to finish giving birth so that you could stamp your seal! Tuo Ba Zhen, what have I done wrong? I’ve been married to you for eight years.
How have I treated you?” she asked as she pulled open her outer shirt to reveal a scary scar on her chest.

“In the 38th year of Xiandi, I shielded you from an assassination attempt and left a scar right here in the middle of my chest.
In the 40th year of Xiandi, knowing that the Crown Prince had poisoned the wine, I drank it in your stead.
In the 41st year of Xiandi, knowing Seventh Prince wanted to kill you, I traveled day and night by horse for thousands of miles just so I could inform you! In the 42nd year of Xiandi, when you were aiding in the disaster relief and got infected, I alone took care of you for 48 days straight! When you became the Emperor, what did you promise me, do you even remember? You said as long as you are the Emperor, I will always be the Empress.
But then right after, you became infatuated with Li Zhang Le.
Not only did you let her son become the Crown Prince, but you also wanted to depose me! Tuo Ba Zhen, you truly did not disappoint me!”

Tuo Ba Zhen stared at her with an indifferent and apathetic expression.
His apathy was so natural, as if he was born with that countenance.
His expression made her heart feel as if it was being squeezed tightly, feeling as if a very small but very sharp needle had suddenly stabbed deep into her heart at the moment she least expected it.
She took in a sharp breath of air.
However, on her face remained a stubborn look but deep in her gaze was grief and loss.

“Zhang Le is the person I love.
Even though my original intention was to depose you, I was still going to let you reside in the palace so that you don’t have to worry about food and shelter and live comfortably for the rest of your life.”

“Live comfortably for the rest of my life?” Something sharp poked a hole inside her chest.
First the hole was small but slowly, little by little, the hole became bigger, until it felt like her heart had been completely crushed.
Li Wei Yang was like an iceberg about to crumble and shatter into pieces.
They were a married couple for eight yea

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