Longwei observed his expression, amusement danced in his dark eyes as his lips quirked up. Who knew that he had a surprisingly adorable side?
As the new imperial concubine, Ming-hua had been served many different drinks, which he had to drink otherwise it would have been a form of disrespect.
‘Ace’ Ming-hua took another sip of wine
Is Yu Yan temporarily staying in one of the palaces?
[Yes, she is]
Good, that means the will get to experience the poison aswell.
“What are you thinking?” Longwei’s deep endless eyes narrowed on him before he playfully reached over and pinched his cheek.
Ming-hua smirked, “nothing”
After a few hours, The festive mood faded as the sky became dark and Longwei and Ming-hua were walking through the garden hand in hand.
The moon shined down on them as the cold breeze brushed passed them
Ming-hua Gazed up into his dark eyes
“If you truly wish for me to love you and stay with you, you will get rid of your concubines” his voice was laced with vunerability, as he intensely focused on Longwei’s reaction.
Longwei’s eyes dimmed and his jaw clenched.
“...I am the Emperor... having concubines and bearing children is my duty” he solely voiced out
Ming-hua felt the newfound happiness in his heart extinguish as he tore away his hand and laughed, a sad and tragic laugh.
What was he expecting? Honestly?
A emperor who bedded concubines everyday to suddenly choose him?
Choose him over having his own harem?
He clutched his stomach as he continued to laugh sadly.
His eyes watered under the moonlight, yet he willed his tears to go away, as he gazed at the man he wished loved him. The man he wished would choose him over the world. The man he wished would give up anything for him. As he knew he would gladly do the same.
Taking in a deep shaky breath, he whispered “I will give you one more chance, me, or them”
Longwei stood, form rigid as he kept his narrowed gaze on the ground, jaw clenched, and hands fisted. He was scared of loving someone, of committing himself to someone, as in the past, whenever he had come to love someone they were torn away from his life. Yet it was also his arrogance, his pride as an emperor.
The wind blew and trees ruffled, yet the deep voice that vowed he would choose him never came. His silence was his answer.
Ming-hua was unable to suppress the sad sobs that escaped his lips as tears trailed down his cheeks.
He turned and walked away. His heart, felt torn, empty, a void, where something used to be. Every step felt heavier than the last, as the tears trailed endlessly down his face. How much he wished that he would feel those pair of strong arms wrap around him, how he would hear him taking back his words, how he would say he was enough for him. He wished that he would come after him, yet when he looked behind him, there was no one there.
He laughed, a sad and tragic laugh. The tears falling off his cheeks.
He staggard into his palace, his eyes empty and tired, his hair disceheleved as he cradled himself in bed, remembering his original life and how he had to give himself warmth that he wished for
[Master... I know that now isn’t a good time...]
What is it Ace?
[It seems you ingested poison...]
[The poison is very fast acting, it will... you have a day left, unless you wish to purchase an antidote]
A smile broke out on his face
No... there is no need.
I will use this chance to decide my fate. When Longwei discovers that his concubines have been poisoned, if he comes to me first, I will take the antidote, however... if... he chooses to go to someone else, I will let the poison end my suffering.
His lips lifted into a sad, broken smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
[Master... I’m sorry...]
Ace, you have nothing to apologize for. It was I, who made the mistake of expecting anything from him in this life. A life where one is consumed by power, by status, that they lose sight of what truly matters. Longwei values his pride as emperor more than his feelings for me. That is why he will never choose me.
He chuckled sadly.
The night passed, and Ming-hua spent the next day planting the poison in the water supply. Although his body became increasingly sluggish and unstable, he carried out his work. It had taken an entire day to ensure the poison would successfully travel through the water supply to every concubine.
The sky had grown dark, the trees shadows cask darkness on the land.
After he had finished poisoning the water supply, he spent his time deep in thought, until night came and he slowly, walked back to the garden where he and Longwei basked in the melody of his flute every night.
His steps heavy, unstable, as he staggered to the cherry blossom tree and slid down, sitting on the grass.
His breath grew shallow, his eyes unsteady, as the poison slowly spread through his system. Yet no matter how painful, he kept his eyes in front of him, waiting, for the man he loved to come for him. Begging and hoping inside his heart that when he heard of the poison he would immediately think of him, and come to find him.
Now he will wait, wait and see who he chooses. His grip on his flute in his hand tightened.
An hour ticked by.
His breath slowly grew shallower, as his eyes grew misty.
The light in his silver eyes slowly faded, as he wished and wished that the man he loved would appear before him and take him into his embrace, and tell him he loved him. That those deep dark purple eyes he had come to love would be there. Yet, as he slowly breathed his last, he realized, that was his answer.
His eyes glided shut, and his hand holding the flute tightly fell limp.
The tears glided down his cheeks. As the light left his heart.
Longwei was immediately alerted that all his concubines were dying from a fast-acting poison.
Steward Wei “the imperial concubine is still in the cold palace and has no access to doctors!”
Longwei immediately headed towards the cold palace, he had almost arrived when he suddenly stopped in his tracks,
His heart felt like it stopped, as those enchanting silver eyes flashed in his mind. His eyes widened, and he abruptly turned back, ignoring the shouts of Steward Wei, and ran towards Ming-hua’s palace.
Sweat dripped down his head and his palms had grown sweaty.
Why had he felt such dread and pain in his chest?
He searched the entire palace yet was unable to find him.
Where could he be?
The garden! Yes the garden
He ran towards the garden,
His eyes widened and he froze.
Under the cherry blossom tree, there he sat, as if he was sleeping. His body, cold and lifeless.
He couldn’t believe his eyes. This couldn’t be happening.
He fell to his knees, as he felt his heart being torn. The man he came to love, the man he had chosen concubines over, was sitting, lifeless in front of him.
He shakily brought his hand up, and stroked his cold, once warm cheek.
Those once bright silver eyes were now dim and lifeless.
His lips trembled as he gathered the lifeless body into his arms
“No. No No Please,” he begged his voice cracking as tears streamed out of his dark eyes. “Please, I beg you.” He embraced the cold body in his arms. “Please, forgive me, please don’t leave me.”
“I love you” he choked out. Yet no matter how much he begged and cried, the cold body didn’t respond.
Longwei had cradled the dead body for hours, no matter who tried to get him to leave it, he never left.
“Your majesty... he’s gone... he’s already gone.”
The emperor remained on his knees, before the cold corpse and the cherry blossom tree, his eyes lifeless and empty.
Seasons passed by, yet no matter how much time passed, his eyes remained empty.
He dreamt endlessly, every night, of those enchanting silver eyes, and how they shone under the moon.
He dreamt that he had embraced him, comforted him and told him he loved him. He dreamt that he had wiped his tears, that he had protected him from ridicule, that he had told him how he was worth so much more than a few concubines. That he had introduce him to the palace not as a servant, but the man he loved.
The night he had chosen concubines over him played on repeat in his dreams, as he watched the sad and broken figure walk away in the garden. Yet no matter how much he had shouted and begged in his dreams, no matter how much he had wished he embraced him and told him he loved him, when he woke, he was already gone.
Every night for years until he died, he would stand before the cherry tree, talking to it, as if the man he loved was still sat there, before him.
His royal dragon robes fluttered in the wind, as his silky black hair caressed his face.
He smiled, the first real smile he had ever shown, one full of happiness as his eyes shone with love.
Standing before the cherry blossom tree, he imagined Ming-hua sitting under it, gazing into his silver eyes.
“if I promised to love only you, to give you the world, to protect you, to shield you from harm, for you to marry me, would you agree?”
The trees fluttered in the wind, as silence engulfed his solitary and lonely form.
Yet instead of growing dejected, he simply brought out a beautiful silver hair pin,
“I brought you this hairpin, it reminded me of your beautiful eyes” he chuckled sadly, yet again, he was met with no reply.
He closed his eyes, and imagined Ming-hua in his arms, those silver eyes gazing up at him, smiling. When he opened his eyes, he realized he was not there.
His eye grew red and misty and he silently sobbed. How he wished he could go back in time, take him into his arms. Give him the world. He raised his hand and clutched his chest. His heart bleeding in agony, as he laughed, a sad and tragic laugh, as tears fell from his cheeks.
Emperor Longwei Jun had lived a short life. At the age of 30, he died. He had no concubines, and no children. He had remained loyal to the man he loved until his last breath. The regret, carved into his soul.
The people who had seen him throughout the years saw how his eyes became empty, how he gradually lost weight and he was unable to sleep. He lost interest in everything, as if it didn’t matter to him anymore. He grew thinner and thinner with each year that passed, as if he was trying to end his life.
Many tried to convince him to take care of himself, yet he never listened.
In his last moments, he sat against the cherry blossom tree, his eyes empty, his form thin. He had lost his strong and flawless form. His fragile form leaned against the tree, as he closed his eyes, and imagined those silver eyes that captivated him, and the man he had eternally loved, in his embrace.
As he took his final breath, he smiled.
He had realized throughout his agonizing years, that no money and status could have compared to the man he loved.
His only wish was that he had realized sooner, that he was his world.
The trees blew in the wind, as if mourning, the roses and cherry blossom petals scattered around his cold body.
The moon, the only witness of their tragic love.