Title: Infinite Power Over The World
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 叶默凉(Ye Moliang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
“Cough, cough…” After several coughs, Emperor Chongde sat up from the divan. First, he drank a few sips of water served by the palace attendant, then he patted his chest.
“Your Majesty, would you allow the imperial doctor to come and have another look at you?” Wen Lin, who was tending to him at his bedside, asked in a soft voice. He received the glass of water handed over by the person on the bed before pouring another hot cup and handing it back.
Emperor Chongde shook his head. Once his breathing normalised, he let out a sigh and said, “Alas, I’m old after all, and my body is worn out.” As he spoke, he glanced up to the sky outside the window as if he could permeate through and view his younger self there—seizing the throne in one fell swoop with a mighty army.
“Your Majesty jests. You’re in your prime, and your body is in good shape. The cold will pass soon, and you’ll make a full recovery.” Wen Lin smiled as he fawned.
“Only you will say that.” When Emperor Chongde lifted his head and shot him a look, there was a lukewarm smile in its depths. He turned sideways to lean on the edge of the bed and remained silent for a while. After contemplating something, he spoke in a low voice: “Wen Lin aaa, supposing one day I’d have to relinquish the throne, who do you think is most suited?”
As soon as these words were uttered, Wen Lin instantly knelt down in alarm, “Your Majesty, this subordinate does not dare speak carelessly!”
“Just speak; I absolve you of any blame.” Emperor Chongde cast him an amused look. He established a comfortable position for himself, reclined there, and didn’t shift around anymore.
“This…” The corners of Wen Lin’s mouth tweaked awkwardly several times, but he still didn’t dare say anything.
“Fine, fine, it’s as though I’m going to cut off your head.” Having waited for a long time without getting a response, Emperor Chongde thus lost his patience and shook his head. He eventually spoke softly after a prolonged silence: “I believe that only the crown prince can be entrusted with heavy responsibilities.” The other princes were not as well-endorsed as the crown prince.
Wen Lin didn’t reply upon hearing the words. As the proverb goes, being close to the king is like being with a tiger. Even if he was a favoured person by the emperor’s side, he wouldn’t dare speak carelessly at will either. It would bring about his demise lest his words not sit well with the emperor’s sentiments. One ought to be aware that, back then, the emperor had killed off his brothers and father to get to where he is now. Although the present moment is far from what it was before, his life could still be forsaken with only a single word. It was still better for him to keep his mouth shut.
During the time when both were taciturn, a palace attendant’s voice called from outside the door. When he noticed Murong Heng push open the door and walk in, Emperor Chongde immediately frowned until his brows furrowed.
“Er Chen* heard that Imperial Father has not recovered from his cough, so I purposely came to pay a visit.” A superficial smile surfaced from Murong Heng’s mouth. He half-knelt and fished out a delicate porcelain bottle from his lapels before continuing: “Er Chen instructed people to obtain this good medicine from elsewhere. It has great healing efficacy on Imperial Father’s cough.”
(*TN : Er Chen = how the children of the emperor refer to themselves when speaking with him.)
Emperor Chongde eyed him and kept silent for a long time. After a while, he raised his hand and released a cold snort: “That’s enough. As long as you obediently remain at your residence, I shall be perfectly content.” These words were spoken to signify his dismissal.
Naturally, Murong Heng grasped it, and the corners of his lips curled up discreetly. He pretended that he hadn’t heard his words and insisted on leaving the medicine bottle behind. Only then did he stand up and leave. When he was outside the door, he heard Emperor Chongde emit a series of coughing sounds. It was followed by his hoarse and apathetic voice.
“Hmph, showing excessive kindness all of a sudden*, either not being upright or stealing**. Here, Wen Lin. Take it and throw it away.” Emperor Chongde didn’t even glance at the bottle, “In this life, what I regret most is the birth of this son. Utterly useless as expected; just like that mother of his.”
(*TN : A Chinese phrase implying that the person offering help is doing so out of self-interest or insincerity, rather than genuine concern or kindness.)
(**TN : A Chinese idiom, suggesting that someone is engaging in immoral behaviour or committing a crime—there’s no middle ground. Often used to describe someone whose motives are questionable or is untrustworthy.)
What followed was Wen Lin’s respectful voice, and Murong Heng didn’t listen any further. If it was him in his previous life, he would’ve barged in to quarrel with Emperor Chongde after hearing that. However, the “him” in this life would merely allow himself to be treated with indifference. There would inevitably be a day where the emperor would see him in a new light and regret his prior treatment of him!
After strolling some ways, Murong Heng came upon the imperial gardens. He paid no heed to the strange glances from some imperial concubines and continued to walk forward without even batting an eyelid. All of a sudden, a figure emerged not too far away, causing him to stop in his tracks.
When Murong Heng noticed that it was Crown Prince Murong Cheng, he hastily displayed an obsequious appearance. “Eldest Imperial Brother, it’s you.” His face bore a false smile, giving the impression of a flatterer.
Murong Cheng shot him a cold glance, and a mocking smile rose from the corners of his mouth. Seeing this person* in a hopelessly stupid state was precisely what he enjoyed. When he thought of this, he let out a sneer and said, “I wonder what matter has Third Imperial Brother entered the palace for? Didn’t our Imperial Father say that he was unwilling to see you? You actually entered the palace to infuriate him. How downright unfilial!”
(*TN : he means Murong Heng)
With a handful of words, Murong Heng had been conferred the “unfilial” label. He didn’t respond. Just as Murong Cheng was still blathering non-stop cutting remarks at him, he quietly retrieved the pebble from his cuff that he’d picked up just now. With a snap of his fingers, he shot it out towards Murong Cheng’s knee.
“Ah!” Murong Cheng felt a sharp pain and subconsciously collapsed to the ground on his knees.
“Eldest Imperial Brother! Why are you kneeling?” Upon seeing this, Murong Heng feigned shock and took a step backwards, “This is utterly impermissible! Eldest Imperial Brother, please get up quickly!” He said as much but did not move to assist him.
Murong Cheng was supported to stand by the palace attendant beside him. His face was sullen with rage as he glared at the person in front of him. His chest exploding with anger, Murong Cheng forcefully kicked over a flowerpot at the side and took off; hands swinging.
After he’d left, Murong Heng straightened to stand up, his mouth curling into repeated smiles. Whoever allowed Murong Cheng to have such a potty mouth—this punishment is definitely for him!
Murong Heng’s mood was exuberant, and he let out a light laugh.
He arrived outside the palace. Just as he was considering what to do next while he was walking on the road, all of a sudden, he noticed there were people running up ahead. What ensued were panicked cries, “Fire! Fire!”
Murong Heng’s nose detected an acrid, burning smell, and his eyes instinctively followed to look in the direction of the people. Sure enough, he spotted black smoke emanating from a building. Flames burst forth. This was particularly obvious in daylight.
He narrowed his eyes to see, and after a moment, he abruptly sensed that the building appeared rather familiar. His heart hammered like crazy, and he reacted. Isn’t that Shen Ci’s residence?
Murong Heng swiftly took to his heels. Even the few bodyguards accompanying him ran closely behind him. The moment he reached the entrance of the mansion, he observed that the fire within had intensified into a scorching blaze. A good number of people had come rushing over with their own buckets to help put out the fire.
When he considered that that person was probably still inside, Murong Heng quickly instructed a guard to go investigate while he waited outside. Despite waiting for a long time, the guard did not come back out. All of a sudden, a streak of white flashed past the window. Murong Heng’s eyes froze, and he dashed in.
By the time he reached inside the house, the flames were already roaring. Murong Heng covered his mouth and nose with his sleeve while his eyes continued to scan for that person. Once he got to the window, he noticed a figure sprawled on the ground. He went over to take a look—it was truly him.
There wasn’t time to think further, so Murong Heng picked up the unconscious Shen Ci and rushed out the door. A few of his guards had just exited at the same time. He then made his way to his official residence with Shen Ci in his arms.
Upon arriving at the mansion, he informed the guards to invite a doctor over while he carefully set the man he’d been carrying down onto the bed. Shen Ci’s face had been smudged a greyish black from the dense smoke, and his white clothes were also filthy. He appeared to be in such a sorry state. When his sleeves were rolled up, a number of burn wounds were discovered on his arms.
The blood that had seeped out had now dried and stuck to the clothes. Murong Heng ordered the maid, Lian Jin, to fetch a basin of hot water. He gently soaked the clothes with hot water before separating the material from the wounds. The wounds were was ripped open and the blood oozed out again. The person on the bed trembled subconsciously, then fell into a stupor once more.
It was a momentary wait before the doctor managed to rush to the mansion. He meticulously examined Shen Ci’s body and carefully applied medicine to the wounds. He then withdrew to one side and spoke softly: “Replying Your Highness, the injury on this gentleman is not severe and he’ll make a full recovery after a few days of recuperation. However, he has inhaled too much smoke, which may have an impact on his throat. He will suffer terrible coughing once he regains consciousness, so this elder will go decoct medicine for him.” The doctor wanted to depart after he was done speaking. Having noticed the appearance of the gentleman lying on the bed, he recalled the rumours that Prince Heng had no desire for advancement. Was it possible that he was now into homosexuality?
“Wait.” Murong Heng immediately remembered something: “There appears to be some problem with his eyes; he’s unable to see. Would you be able to take a look at it for him?”
Having heard that, the doctor walked back to the bedside and leaned down to assess the eyes of the person on the bed. He took some time to conduct a comprehensive check-up, then shook his head and released a soft sigh: “Pardon this elder for being incapable of assisting. This gentleman’s eye condition was not inherited at birth. From the looks of it, he seems to have been rendered blind due to an accident.”
“Due to an accident?” Murong Heng didn’t comprehend what he meant. Once the doctor left, he sat down at the bedside. By now, Shen Ci’s face had been wiped clean, so he reached out to touch his forehead. The temperature there was a little on the high side; perhaps it was attributed to the wounds.
Lian Jin, who was standing at the side, carried over another basin of cold water upon seeing this. She moistened the dry towel, wrung the water from it, and placed it on the forehead of the person on the bed. When she saw her master’s anxiety-filled gaze, Lian Jin couldn’t resist asking: “Your Highness, this gentleman…… you seem to treat him with much consideration.” Ever since His Highness had awoken from his sleep several days ago, she’d gathered that her master had shown signs of being a little different. However, she couldn’t say for sure where the differences were specifically.
Murong Heng heard the words, but he didn’t give an immediate reply. He recalled the obscured side profile and gentle words from his previous life before answering in a low voice: “He is This Prince’s benefactor.”
“Benefactor?” Lian Jin inadvertently glanced at the person on the bed. She couldn’t deny that the features of the man on the bed were truly stunning. Though his eyes were closed, it couldn’t conceal his body’s fine, jade-like radiance.
Lian Jin quietly retreated outside, and closed the door, then stood there to keep watch.
Murong Heng sat by himself inside the room and replaced the towel with another once its temperature had diffused onto the surface. He unintentionally caught sight of the bruise on Shen Ci’s forehead, which was an extremely apparent mark atop his fair skin. Thoughtlessly, he stretched out his hand to stroke the bruise. He managed to locate a salve within the house, and after slowly warming it between his palms, he brushed some of it onto Shen Ci’s forehead.
Murong Heng put down the salve. Right now, he wholly regrets having deliberately placed a chair in front of Shen Ci to test if he was truly blind and subsequently causing him to fall. If he had recognised him as his benefactor from his previous life right from the start, he would never have acted in such a way. Luckily, it wasn’t too late, having recognised him now.
Meanwhile, Shen Ci was in a stupor. He dreamed of the scene when he was still at his residence. Given that Feng Nan had gone out to buy things for him, he’d remained alone in the house. All of a sudden, he detected pungent smoke fumes. He instantly realised that there was a fire and inwardly, he knew it wasn’t good. He wanted to rush outside, but he kept knocking into tables and chairs.
For the first time, he thoroughly hated himself for being blind. He didn’t even possess the ability to save himself at the crucial moment…
The fire was raging all around him. He floundered and staggered about in his attempts to get out. His body suffered burns from the fire at some point; the pain became more pronounced in the darkness. He coughed strenuously and gradually lost sense of his own existence before abruptly blacking out. His whole body collapsed to the ground.
“Cough, cough…” Shen Ci suddenly woke up from his dream in the wake of his coughing. He was still muddle-headed when he heard a familiar voice call out beside him, which elicited a pleasant surprise.