“Greetings to the Qin Emperor from the Hostage Prince, Wei Lian.”

Wei Lian had enough of his bitter-hard days.

Just because he could bear hardships didn’t mean he preferred living like this. 

When he was in the Chu Empire’s palace, he was a little pitiful child who was left unattended before the age of six. His life was no different from that of the young eunuch in the palace. 

During that time, there was an Imperial Consort in the palace. She failed to conceive in the two years since she had entered the palace, and was unable to gain a firm foothold in the harem. Wei Lian saw the opportunity and deliberately bumped into the Consort’s arms at the back imperial garden. The palace official immediately scolded him for not watching where he was going and pulled him out for punishment. 

“I don’t know where this uneducated young eunuch came from. He dared to offend the Imperial Consort.”

Little Wei Lian raised his head to reveal his adorable face, that was as smooth as jade and white as snow. He complained stubbornly, “I’m not some young eunuch. I’m Lian Gongzi.”

This little one was a Prince.

The Imperial Consort quickly ordered the man to let him go and sent another to make inquiries. Only then did she learn that the child was the Chu Empire’s Emperor’s seventh son, whose biological mother had passed away early, leaving him alone and without help. 

With a situation that was similar to herself, the Imperial Consort had a moment of self-pity. Her mother’s background wasn’t high. She experienced the lack of support and helpless life in the palace, having only the favour of His Majesty. But for how long? The Imperial Doctor informed her that her frail body would make it difficult for her to get pregnant. To have no heir in the palace was not a feasible long-term plan. 

Seeing this seventh Gongzi, an idea birthed in her head. 

Since then, the favoured Imperial Consort looked after Wei Lian’s well-being and cared for him from time to time. Wei Lian played ignorant and showed a childlike adoration towards her. The palace maids acted pragmatically, and his life soon turned for the better.

A month later, the beloved Imperial Consort was still not pregnant. Finally, on the pretext of ‘feeling lonely in the palace and wanting a child for company’, she kneeled and begged in front of the Chu Emperor with Wei Lian. The Emperor naturally agreed to the Imperial Consort’s request. 

Wei Lian got rid of his ridiculed, hungry, and cold life. 

The beloved Imperial Consort had no maternal love for Wei Lian, seeing him only for her beneficial needs. She thought the child knew nothing of this, but what she didn’t know was that Wei Lian knew everything. 

That year, the six-year-old child was already insightful as a mirror. Everything since their deliberate encounter at the imperial garden, were all within his plans.

Wei Lian didn’t need a meaningful mother-child relationship. The favoured Imperial Consort needed a son to establish herself in palace life, while he needed a backer to improve his circumstances. It was a mutual exchange of interests, each seized what they each needed, nothing more, and nothing less.

He didn’t mind having another mother. 

Never did he expect that, a half a month later, the Imperial Consort would be diagnosed with happy news during her pulse checkup. She was going to have her own child, and after that, her treatment towards him became more indifferent. Wei Lian didn’t fuss or cause trouble, but asked the Imperial Consort to have some pity. She regarded the child as her lucky star, and since she had adopted him, she couldn’t just kick him out, that would mark her as cruel.

So Wei Lian continued to live well. 

But when the Qin Empire army pressed against the border, the Chu Empire needed to hand over a prince as hostage, Wei Lian was still the least important one. 

The choice was easy. 

* * *

He had fended for himself at a young age, so it continued even at the present time. 

No one knew better than Wei Lian how snobbish the people in the palace could be, and how manipulative and selective he also needed to be. That he could be bullied now was because the Qin Emperor dismissed him. Supposing that if he caught the eye of the Emperor, then there would be exotic delicacies for him to select on the table tomorrow, and even lycheesLychee/Litchi: A small, round fruit covered in a reddish-brown shell. The flesh of the fruit is translucent white with one large seed in the centre. It has a sweet taste.  could be brought to him quicklyReferring to a poem by 杜牧 called 一騎紅塵妃子笑, 無人知是荔枝來. ‘A steed that raised red dust won the fair mistress' smiles; how many steeds that brought lychees died on the run’. The story is about Yang Yuhuan, a famous Tang beauty, who loved litchi. So the fruit was brought in under the order of the Emperor at a very fast speed. So fast that one could only see the dust disturbed by horses and not the horses themselves..

But therein lay the problem.

He had to meet the Qin Emperor first. 

According to the relationship between the two empires, the Qin Emperor was kind for not killing him, let alone summoning him. 

There was no way to expect the other party to take the initiative.

If the mountain will not come to me, then I must go to the mountain.If one cannot get one's own way, one must bow to the inevitable.

Wei Lian grew up in the palace and saw the many tricks concubines used to compete for favour. He didn’t need to be dead set on getting the Emperor’s full attention, just enough to arouse the other party’s interest. To have life less difficult in the palace would suffice. 

He had never seen the Qin Emperor, but had heard the rumours. 

Ji Yue was cold-blooded, belligerent, and brutally heartless. His brothers were all casualties of the fight for the throne. The last one standing was the nine year old Ji Yue, ascending the throne with the Empress Dowager’s support. Her relatives held the power in the back and regarded the young Emperor only as a puppet. 

But at the age of fourteen, the Qin Emperor removed the relatives like a weed, beheaded the most senior minister personally, uprooted all of the opposing party, and wiped out the nine family branchesSaying for killing the family branches from all directions. Four branches related to the father, three branches related to the mother, and two branches related to your wife. . During that period, the river crossing through Yongping City was dyed blood-red, and even the sky looked as if it was bleeding. 

Later, he imprisoned the Empress Dowager for several months in defiance of world opinion, and presented her with a metre length of white silkNot necessarily exactly one metre in length, it is a message of ‘go die’ from the Emperor to whomever it was bestowed upon—a death by hanging. .

He calmed the civil strife with lightning speed and then set targets on the other six empires.

Exterminated the Xia Empire at the age of fifteen. 

Chopped down the Chen Empire at the age of sixteen. 

Fought the Liang Empire at the age of seventeen. 

Annexed the Yan Empire and Lu Empire in succession at the age of eighteen. 

Attacked Chu Empire at the age of twenty-one. 

Triumphed in every battle.

People esteemed and praised him for his innate talent as a God of War, fated as monarch. Those who feared him denounced him as a King of the Underworld in the realm of the living, a tyrant of this dynasty. 

...This has nothing to do with Wei Lian. 

All he knew was that this man was hard to deal with. To arouse the Qin Emperor’s interest could backfire. 

But Wei Lian wouldn’t know until he tried. 

The Qin Emperor didn’t establish his harem and never showed favour to anyone. Even when love between two men was prevalent, no one knew whether the Qin Emperor was interested in men or women, let alone what type. 

Wei Lian was pondering what persona he should create for himself in order to attract the Emperor’s attention. 

For a monarch who had eyes for conquest, he shouldn’t have protective feelings for the fairer sex. 

Flattery and subservience would not work. The Qin Emperor surely caught enough glimpses of this type of tactic, even Wei Lian himself disliked such behaviour. 

Noble and unsullied nature, maybe narcissism?

Those also won’t work. Why would an aloof person annoyingly exploit an opportunity. This kind of trick would be met with rejection. He couldn't bring it to the face of the Qin Emperor. 

Then...display his ability—to show they were equally matched?

A strong personality could arouse the desire to conquer. It was just the predecessors who had the same idea might have already been sentenced to death. The Emperor would definitely not leave a threat close by. In fact, no monarch would. 

He vetoed several proposals one after another, as he felt this whole thing was a headache. 

How could he strategise if he knew nothing about the Emperor? 

Opening a small crack in the window again, he welcomed the cold wind blowing on his face in order to clear his mind.

A somewhat cloudy day shrouded the sky. The palace workers were still sweeping the snow accumulated on the road, and a eunuch who seemed to be the one in charge urged them to work faster.

He realised something. 

The Qingzhu Pavilion was located remotely and rarely had visitors. This palace road was the only way to the cold palaceA place to which a monarch banished a wife or concubine who fell from favour; (fig.) the doghouse; a state of disfavour.. The path was even more eerie and gave a sense of chill at night, hardly anyone used it without the sun. 

It had been snowing for several days and no one came to sweep it until now, indicating an important person would pass by later.

There was no Imperial Consort in the palace, making it impossible for a favoured Imperial Consort to aloofly visit the cold palace to ridicule a poor Imperial Consort. Then the only person who would walk upon this road would be...

The Qin Emperor. 

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

It was hard to keep track of the whereabouts of the Qin Emperor. Wei Lian was even pondering over how to have an accidental meeting. This was great, it would surely save him some effort. 

He once inquired about the Emperor from the palace maids. Although he was unpopular with the people of the Qin Empire, he was born with good appearance and knew how to be gentle and elegant. He could make a group of young maids blush and their hearts race. His questions would always yield an answer. 

For example, he learned one thing. 

The status the Qin Emperor was born with wasn’t high. His birth mother was Concubine Yun, who lost the former Emperor’s favour. When he was a child, he and his mother grew up in the cold palace.

Concubine Yun went insane in the cold palace. One snowy night, she threw herself into a well and died, leaving only a pair of footprints in the snow. 

Later, when the Qin Emperor succeeded to the throne and was coerced by the Empress Dowager in his earlier years, he never saw the dried well where his mother’s body rested. 

It wasn’t until the Empress Dowager was dead, he gave the order to remove his birth mother’s bones from the bottom of the well for a proper burial. 

On nights with heavy snow, the young Emperor would sometimes visit the cold palace and sit on the decayed and dusty small bed for a while. 

Sometimes, he would stay the entire night.

* * *

Wei Lian felt that he could empathise with the Emperor from the mutual sufferings they experienced. 

The difference was that his childhood was without a mother, so there wasn’t any warmth for him to pursue.

The Qin Emperor was originally the Empress Dowager’s chess piece. But at the end of the match, the chess piece overturned the chessboard and changed the overall situation. 

While Wei Lian was an abandoned royal son of the Chu Empire. It was uncertain whether this neglected son could be shaped into a valuable piece. 

At present, Wei Lian closed the window, and drew the fox fur closer to his body, as he was about to get up. 

Chang Shou couldn’t hold back, asking, “Lian Gongzi, where are you heading?”

Wei Lian pushed open the door. “To guard a tree-stump, waiting for rabbits守株待兔 The full story is ‘wait every day under the tree, in the hope that a hare would kill itself by crashing into a tree trunk', or to trust to chance rather than show initiative..” 

...In the whole world, perhaps only his Lian Gongzi dared to describe the tyrannical Emperor as a rabbit. 

Chang Shou hurriedly said, “Please add another layer before you leave!”

“No need, neither of you two are allowed to follow.” How could he display his miserable situation at its fullest without showing his frail figure and his solitariness?

“Ah, Gongzi! This—” Chang Shou turned to Chang Sheng helplessly. “It’s cold outside!”

Chang Sheng stopped him. “Trust in the Young Master.”

* * *

The piled up snow was deep.

Even after the road was cleaned, the path was still very slippery. One could fall with a careless step. 

Those palace workers tasked with sweeping the snow left once their task was completed. The vast world was still a layer of white. 

Wei Lian, dressed in a plain white brocade changshanMale version of qipao. Long robe, as in the image below., wrapped in a snow-white fox fur, stood in the wind and snow. The thick, yet silk-thread-like inky hair was draped behind him. Red lips framed white-pearl teeth, and picturesque brown eyes gazed ahead.  

He brought this outfit from the Chu Empire. As a tribute, he couldn’t dress too shabbily. The Chu Empire favoured the colour white and wide, floating sleeves. Dressing fully in white made Wei Lian appear more elegant and untainted. 

Wei Lian didn’t have to wait long, as in the distance, he could see the Imperial Emperor’s litterA class of wheelless vehicle, a type of human-powered transport, for the transport of persons. Will interchange between litter and sedan—an enclosed chair for conveying one person, carried between horizontal poles by two or more porters. coming, followed by twelve palace men, a head eunuch and several bodyguards. A very majestic scene. 

Even a deaf person could sense the spectacle even if they couldn’t hear it. 

The tip of Wei Lian’s ears twitched slightly, pretending he just noticed the sound, he turned around. The fox fur swept the ground and made a striking spin. 

When he saw the sedan chair, he showed a startled expression before lowering his eyes and quietly kneeling to the ground. 

In contrast to the Chu Empire, the Qin Empire favoured the colour black. The black dragon pattern on the litter with the twelve honourable guard specifications made it easy to identify who the newcomer was. 

As the sedan approached, Ji Yue noticed the young man kneeling by the side of the road. 

Countless palace members knelt down throughout the way, yet none of them caught his eye—this one was hard to ignore. 

The young man knelt in the snow and wasn't blocking the way. His head was lowered, revealing a pale, slender neck and a flawless side profile. 

And a pair of bright-red lips, like red plum blossom, unafraid of the biting cold snow. 

It carried a sense of utterly delicate charm. 

When the litter was about to pass along the way, Ji Yue ordered, “Halt.”

The head eunuch, Li Fuquan, immediately echoed loudly, “Halt!”

The litter was steadily lowered. 

“Who is that?” Ji Yue sat on his seat with a hand supporting his lower cheek. 

Li Fuquan repeated the question loudly, “Who is ahead?”

Wei Lian flattened his lips, bowed low enough for his forehead to touch the ground and then raised to answer, “Wei Lian, the hostage Prince, greeting the Qin Emperor.”

Wei Lian. 

The name was very unfamiliar. 

But Wei was a surname from the Chu Empire. 

Ji Yue tried to recall, and finally remembered that the Chu Empire came to negotiate peace half a month ago with treasures and a hostage prince. To him, a hostage prince was no different from dead things, merely a spoil of war. 

A close attendant asked him what to do with the hostage prince. At first Ji Yue wanted to order death, but he changed his mind and said, “Place him in the back palace.” 

The original intention was indeed humiliation. But as he became busy, he immediately tossed the hostage to the back of his mind. 

It turned out the prince was a rare beauty. 

However, Ji Yue was not interested in beauty. His mood had always been unpredictable. He could have a pleasant conversation with Wei Lian one moment, and suddenly have the urge to end the other man the next. 

He got up from his seat. “Why are you here in the cold?”

Wei Lian stayed kneeling and dared not lift his eyes. 

The Qin Emperor’s voice carried a young and pleasant tone. 

It was completely different from the malicious shadow he had imagined.

Translator's Corner

Hello, Luckykoi asked to be on this project and I said yes (Yesss I need help QwQ). I’ll be working on the odd chapters and Luckykoi will work on the even chapters. Due to the other’s busy schedule, I’ll be translating chapter two. The release schedule will be every Wednesday and Sunday unless something comes up. Happy reading!



  1. Muggelschmuggel

    JY: “Why are you here in the cold?”
    WL: “Just searching for smth to eat.”
    JY: “Tf?”

    Thx for the ch ٩( >ヮ<)۶

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