Haohao momentarily froze in surprise, then he quickly wiped away his tears, grabbed his father's clothing, and pointed towards the inside. "Her Majesty is calling me."
Haohao, who had been living in the palace for almost a year, always called Pengyue, "Her Majesty" in a milky-sweet voice that gave off a pleasant, warm feeling.
While Ning Yuxuan was briefly startled, the nearby palace servants had already put down the gauzy curtain to block the view.
Putting down Haohao, Ning Yuxuan went over to salute. "This official, Ning Yuxuan, greets Your Majesty."
The person on the bed seemed to relax. "Oh, it's you..." After thinking it over, she smiled and said, "You still regard me as the empress? Right now, the turmoil and chaos of war is running rampant, and there aren't even many people left in the palace. It's alright, you don't need to keep saluting."
After these words were said, the sound of gasping for breath was heard from the bed.
Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and said, "Your Majesty, you took such good care of my heir. It's only right that this official salutes you."
Pengyue somewhat absent-mindedly asked, "Is the capital going to be taken over soon?"
Marquis Moyu didn't answer her. Instead, he said, "Your Majesty, you need to take care of your health."
"What's there left of this body to care for?" Pengyue softly coughed a few times, then she sighed. "I told him a long time ago to not be so outrageously obstinate. Conquering a country and being able to holding onto it afterwards are two different things. But, he wouldn't listen to me. He's such an arrogant person. Once he falls, he won't have another chance to climb back up again."
At the end, she actually smiled as she said, "He's probably throwing a self-righteous tantrum right now. That person..."
Ning Yuxuan stayed silent.
"Marquis, take Chen-er with you." Pengyue said, “Although he was forcibly brought into the palace by the emperor, this empress is grateful for his company. He helped this empress endure many especially painful days. Having him, it felt as if I had been able to give birth to my own child. Because of him, I wasn't doomed to a lifetime of being unable to walk out of that dark place."
Pengyue had once been pregnant. After the execution of Nie Clan ended, she had felt unusually tired. It was only after she had returned to the palace, and the imperial physician checked her pulse that she found out that she was pregnant.
Back then, she had been overjoyed. They were going to have a baby! Zhao Li had also seemed very happy too.
However, she inexplicably suffered a miscarriage. Every night, she would have a nightmare that her baby had come back to blame her for failing to protect him.
Protect him? She didn't even know how she had lost her baby. How could she have protected him?
She blamed herself for being too stupid and couldn't forgive herself. Even after Zhao Li had built Wangyue Building for her, she couldn't come out of her depression.
Later on, she had Chen-er to keep her company. The child was lively, clever, and exceptionally considerate for someone of his young age. As soon as he saw that she was feeling sad, he would put on a show to cheer her up. As time passed, she slowly walked out from that dark cloud.
He had originally come here as a little hostage, but she had unwittingly come to deeply care for him.
Ning Yuxuan deeply bowed at her. "Thank you, Your Majesty."
"Hurry, leave." With difficulty, Pengyue turned her body over to face the wall.
Haohao thought it was only an ordinary parting. He very properly knelt down and kowtowed with his small hands out for support just like how an older palace servant had taught him. "Goodbye, Your Majesty."
Pengyue bit her lips as her tears flowed down. Hearing the sound of departing footsteps, she finally couldn't resist parting the privacy curtain to look outside.
Chen-er's small figure had already disappeared behind the partition, but she could hear his lively voice asking, "Dad, have you seen teacher? Is he waiting outside for Chen-er?"
"En, you'll be able to see him in a few days."
Pengyue slowly closed her eyes.
After retrieving Haohao, Ning Yuxuan secretly left the palace.
By now, the capital's gate had already been open by the commoners. Countless officers, who had wanted to suppress these people, were instead beaten to death by these enraged commoners. Several thousands of people rushed out of the capital's gate and proceed in force to Ji Store's granary.
Ji Man sighed in relief. The deadline of one hour had been enough. She saluted with her hands and said to Zhao Zhe , “Your Highness, Sangyu has fulfilled my promise."
Zhao Zhe loudly laughed. He triumphantly glanced at Ji Man, then he waved his hand and shouted, "Attack!"
The responding rallying cries shook the heavens. With the capital's gate wide open, Prince Zhangjun's army poured into the capital and started to battle with the remaining defenders.
Although the capital was currently an abyss of suffering, the palace's gate was left wide open.
Fan Tianxing was overcome with panic as he reported, "Your Majesty, this official had said a long time ago that Marquis Moyu couldn't be allowed to stay! The army has already broken through the capital's gate, and Marquis Moyu opened the palace's gate. He's clearly welcoming the first prince into the palace! Your Majesty, we should hurry and leave!"
Zhao Li's expression showed his utter incredulity. Grabbing Fan Tianxing's sleeve, he said, "How could that be possible? Impossible! This emperor has his heir. How could he possibly dare?!"
The virtuous consort half-stumbled and half-ran inside. Extremely angry, she said, "Your Majesty, the empress secretly return Marquis Moyu's heir! By the time this servant received the news and went over there, it was already too late!"
"What?!" Furious, Zhao Li turned his wheelchair and headed towards Wangyu Building.
"Your Majesty, as long as you live, there will still be hope! The most important thing is for you to quickly leave the palace!" Fan Tianxing took a few steps forward to stop Zhao Li. "Don't mind the empress. You should leave here first!"
The group of imperial guards came forward, and Zhao Li's wheelchair was pushed towards exiting the palace.
"Let go of this emperor!" Zhao Li angrily shouted, "How dare you be so insolent! Bring this emperor to Wangyue Building! This emperor refuses to go anywhere else!"