That day, the emperor went to Yilan Hall as usual. After having dinner, someone suddenly reported that Zhen-guifei’s children felt unwell and requested the emperor to have a look at them.
According to the routine, there were two options at this time. First, the emperor would say why not see the imperial physician? The emperor was not learned in medical arts. Second, after the emperor went there, Zhen-guifei would put on a pitiful act, which would remind him of their old love and awaken him from the ‘vixen’s charms’.
As it turned out, Zhen-guifei did want to follow the routine, but the emperor didn’t give her a chance. He immediately flew into a temper and said, “How do you take care of the children? If you can't raise them well, don't raise them. I'll bring them to Yilan Hall. Yan-xiuyi likes children the most.”
Guo Huizhu was dumbfounded. She thought she had executed the killing move and could finally rob the emperor from the vixen, but the emperor was so heartless and accused her in return, rendering her speechless for a long while.
Then, she said sadly, “Your Majesty, you were not like this before…”
The emperor acted more distressed than her, “You were also not like this before. When the little princess was born weak, you were afraid that she would fall sick and took care of her endlessly. For almost half a year, you slept less than six hours a day. But now that she is well, you have made her sick instead.”
Guo Huizhu choked. She didn’t know what happened in the past. Had her persona collapsed? She quickly defended, “I thought the little princess is already well and may have been a little negligent...”
Before she finished speaking, she paused abruptly.
The emperor and the only maid in waiting were looking at her strangely, making her more uneasy. Did she say something wrong again?
Guo Huizhu was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. If she explained, she might let the cat out of the bag. If she didn’t, the emperor might have more opinions about her. She really hated herself for not asking Guo Huizhen more about her time with the emperor, causing her to be in such a passive situation.
The emperor glanced at her coldly before he turned around and left.
"Your Majesty!" Guo Huizhu shouted in desperation.
The emperor suddenly paused in his tracks, turned around, and said to her, “I remember that you have a younger sister at home who was betrothed to the abolished prince?”
Guo Huizhu’s expression changed rapidly.
“I heard that she’s not married yet. Should I appoint a marriage for her?”
A bunch of messy thoughts flashed in Guo Huizhu's mind. Finally, she pretended to be sad. “Thank you for your concern, but my sister… has contracted an incurable disease. A few days ago, a letter from home said that she was gone.”
Emperor, “Oh? Although the prince was abolished, she almost became a royal daughter-in-law after all. Why didn't Marquis Luo report such a thing?”
“Because, because…” Guo Huizhu really couldn't find a reason, so she could only kneel in a hurry to admit her mistake, but the emperor didn't bother about her anymore, leaving her with a cold back.
Guo Huizhu knelt alone for a while. When the palace maid came forward to help her, she still stared in the direction the emperor left and coldly asked, “Why did you look at me like that just now?”
The palace maid was taken aback, her expression a little nervous. In fact, she had always felt that Zhen-guifei had changed a lot, but it was impossible to think that someone could change her appearance and directly take the place of the country’s noble consort, and only thought that she was suffering from a strange disease. After all, some people had suddenly forgotten many things in the past and even their temperament changed.
She didn't dare to speak too bluntly, and said, “Did you forget? The princess has always been in good health. It was the prince…”
Guo Huizhu sat down abruptly. Thinking about the emperor's attitude towards her in recent days, and what he just said, she had reason to suspect that the emperor knew something. That's why he was suddenly heartless towards her and deliberately tested her. Otherwise, why would he muddle up the princess and the prince?
But how could the emperor know? Where did it go wrong? The emperor didn't directly question her about this matter. Why?
Guo Huizhu was full of misgivings and also due to the shock, so she didn't sleep well that night.
She had a dream that Guo Huizhen had her under control and was about to disfigure her with a knife. When the shiny blade was about to scratch her skin, Guo Huizhu woke up with a start and shouted frantically, “Someone! Come here!”
A figure pushed the door open, lightly walked to her bed, and lifted the curtain. Guo Huizhu was about to order the other party to light the lamp. When she turned her head, she saw the person with a bloody face, smiling at her sinisterly.
Guo Huizhu fainted immediately.
Meanwhile, Yilan Hall.
Yan-xiuyi inelegantly reached into the collar of her clothes and pulled out two apple-sized water balls. The emperor snapped his fingers, and the water balls gradually dissipated. If there were outsiders here, they would be shocked beyond words—the emperor could use magic! Yan-xiuyi was actually a man!
Of course, these two were none other than Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi, who came to end the karma. The latter said, “Ge, why don't you push Guo Huizhu a little more? In this way, we can end it sooner. I really don't want to pretend to be a woman anymore.”
Jing Yue coughed dryly. “Don't worry, I'm already pushing her. I even let Guo Huizhen scare her this evening.”
Qin Yanzhi glanced at him gloomily. Jing Yue turned his head away with a guilty conscience, and the atmosphere froze for a while.
In the big world, the ‘original self’ Qin Yanzhi was not so polite. He said bluntly, “Do you want to see me make a joke out of myself?”
Jing Yue froze and immediately retaliated, “In Haotian Realm, you are a joke everywhere. Do I need to see it on purpose?”
Blue phoenix looked left, glanced right, jumped to Jing Yue’s side, and nodded in support.
Qin Yanzhi glanced at Jing Yue meaningfully. “It's fine as long as you are happy.”
Jing Yue instantly went on guard and couldn’t help feeling that there was something strange with Qin Yanzhi.
It was difficult to guess what Qin Yanzhi was thinking in the big world, but in the small world, the Qin Yanzhi was more transparent. He said bluntly, “Ge, you should be the one to dress up as a woman. You…”
He stopped talking abruptly because he imagined the other party’s appearance in women’s clothing and suddenly felt that he didn't want outsiders to see it.
Jing Yue tried to end this topic. He glanced at Ji-ji on the table and said in a harsh tone, “Ji-ji, why do you keep holding the jade pendant? There is no spiritual spring inside.”
Blue phoenix raised its head and flew over with the jade pendant. Then, it spat out the jade pendant and put it back into Jing Yue's hand. “But there is an emperor inside. I won't allow him to stick to Jing-jing. I’ll help you keep an eye on him!”
Jing Yue, “…”
It turned out that he had replaced himself with the emperor by using a camouflage that day, hiding the emperor's physical body and sealing his soul in a jade pendant to carry with him, just to let the emperor follow him around and feel the pain of being mistakenly identified even by his closest acquaintances.
Be it the emperor or concubines in this illusory realm, from the beginning to the end, they seemed to recognize only the face.
The next day, a palace servant reported that Zhen-guifei had suffered from shock and was very ill. Of course, Jing Yue knew the reason for the so-called shock, but he still pretended to visit her and asked after her wellbeing. Guo Huizhu only said that she had a nightmare. How could she dare to tell him the truth?
When the night came, Guo Huizhu didn’t dare to sleep at all. She ordered all the maids not to sleep and to stay on watch all night.
However, when she was in a daze, she heard a noise vaguely. Guo Huizhu immediately woke up and called for someone, but there was no response. She was the only one left in the room.
Guo Huizhu was terrified. She hugged the quilt and looked around, and found a gap in the window. In the gap, a black shadow flashed past. She screamed, grabbed the quilt, and covered her head, but with a creak, the window was opened!
For some reason, her five senses became unusually keen. She could even feel someone climbing in through the window, gently walking to her bedside, lifting the bed curtain, and sitting on the bed.
Guo Huizhu shook like a leaf under the covers, only to hear a hoarse voice, “Sister, why did you harm me?”
A strong force pulled Guo Huizhu's quilt away and a cold hand touched her cheek.
Guo Huizhu burst into tears with fright and struggled frantically. “It's not me! Don't come to me! It's my mother! She taught me everything! She wants me to harm you!”
“Who do you want to harm?”
Guo Huizhu shuddered all over and woke up with a start. The warm yellow candlelight greeted her eyes and seeped into her heart. Her cold body gradually warmed up. Fortunately, it was a dream.
But the next moment, her pupils suddenly dilated. There was indeed a person sitting on the bedside, but it was the emperor she was constantly thinking of!
And a roomful of palace maids was still in the room obediently, all of them with pale faces and kneeling on the ground.
Guo Huizhu finally remembered the last question in her dream. It was clearly a male voice! The question didn’t come from Guo Huizhen but the emperor!
What did she say at that time?!
“I’m asking you, who came to find you? And who did your mother teach you to harm?”
The emperor's cold eyes made Guo Huizhu's body hurt like she was cut by a knife. The words he asked also scared her so much that she almost fainted. She already thought that the emperor was suspicious of her, but now that she accidentally let a few words slip, would the emperor confirm certain conjectures?
Guo Huizhu didn't dare to think any further and could only shed tears helplessly. “No one. I had a nightmare and dreamed that a ghost was coming to harm me.”
“Is that so?”
It was an ordinary response but Guo Huizhu heard the irony.
Her feeling proved to be correct. The emperor stood up and said, “Since Zhen-guifei is in poor spirits, the prince and princess will be taken to Yilan Hall and be raised by Yan-xiuyi.”
“No! Your Majesty, you can't do this!” Guo Huizhu was emotional, not because she had deep feelings for Guo Huizhen’s children, but once the news spread, everyone would know that she had fallen out of favor, and in the fight with Yan-xiuyi, she had lost everything.
The emperor's cold expression made Guo Huizhu's fear grew. She was almost certain that the emperor knew. Even if he didn’t know the specific reason, he must know that she was not really Zhen-guifei!
That night, the emperor still took the children away. Guo Huizhu numbly looked at the dark sky outside the door as if it wanted to devour her.
She suddenly laughed and the sound was piercing. A palace maid came forward to comfort her but Guo Huizhu shoved her to the ground. “Get lost! Even lowly people like you dare to laugh at me!”
“I dare not! Your Highness, please spare me!”
Guo Huizhu gazed at a roomful of people begging for mercy and said wickedly, “Tramp, don’t even think of gloating. Someone, go to Marquis Luo Manor and ask my mother to enter the palace!”