Title: Infinite Power Over The World
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 叶默凉(Ye Moliang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
WARNING: Descriptions of torture, blood and gore ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
While Murong Heng and Shen Ci were taking a stroll in the imperial gardens, Fan Hu came running over from nearby. The soldiers behind him had captured someone. This person’s delicate makeup was a bit messed up, her hair was dishevelled, and her clothes were slightly dirty. Was this the Empress Xu who’d fled?
“Your Majesty, we caught her hiding in the flower shrubs.” Fan Hu glanced at the woman behind him, and the woman glared back directly. Her usually elegant and graceful face appeared somewhat distorted at the moment.
Murong Heng gave Fan Hu a look, and Empress Xu was flung to the ground. He let go of Shen Ci’s hand, walked to stand before Empress Xu, and looked down disdainfully at her with a chilly gaze.
“Murong Heng, I truly didn’t expect that.” Empress Xu raised her head and looked directly into the eyes of the person in front of her. Based on her impression, this person had always been utterly good for nothing, but she hadn’t anticipated falling into his hands this time. Sure enough, you can’t judge a book by its cover, right? When she thought back that her son Murong Cheng might have died here, Empress Xu eyed him with resentment.
“Don’t look at me like that. There’s so much satisfaction.” Murong Heng said as he raised his eyebrows and forced a smile. Shen Ci, who was behind him, heard this, and he subconsciously trembled. He seldom heard Murong Heng mock others. Was it really because of hatred?
“It’s Ben Gong who has underestimated you.” Empress Xu sneered. However, when Murong Heng spoke the following words, her eyes abruptly widened, and her face was filled with disbelief.
“After enduring for so many years, I’m finally able to avenge my mother. Empress Xu, you ought to still remember what happened back then as clear as day. If you hadn’t caused my mother’s death, how would you have attained such wonderful times all these years?” Murong Heng’s stare was filled with hatred. He seemed to be grinding each word out.
“You…” Empress Xu was stumped when she heard the words. All the while, she assumed that the matter back then had been carried out very flawlessly. However, she never guessed that Murong Heng would know about it. After waiting for so many years, he’d buried his sentiments deep down just to wait for this very moment. It was downright terrifying how intricate the planning was and how terribly profound this scheme was.
“How do you think I should execute you?” Murong Heng said indifferently as he leisurely fiddled with the jade ring on his finger. The more insouciant and aloof he appeared, the more unpredictable he seemed. After a while, he said in a deep voice, “Guards, take her back to the prison.” He didn’t want to deal with her in broad daylight like this. He didn’t even have any torture devices with him. It hadn’t been easy to capture her to be able to take his revenge. How could he let her go so easily?
Once Empress Xu had been dragged away by the soldiers, Murong Heng took Shen Ci’s hand and headed over to the imperial study room. He supported Shen Ci to lie down on the soft couch in the room. Murong Heng ordered someone to fetch a very soft silk quilt and said softly, “You rest here for a while; I’ll be back soon.”
It would be a bloody mess when he killed Empress Xu, and he didn’t want the filth to stain Ah Ci’s clothes. Emperor Chongde was extremely extravagant during his lifetime, and after the throne was inherited by Murong Yu, he’d added a great number of exquisite items. Take this couch, for example. He couldn’t even begin to fathom how much grander it was than the one in Prince Heng’s mansion. Let Shen Ci remain here for a while. Let him deal with that bitch first.
After leaving Shen Ci in the imperial study, Murong Heng got up and walked towards the prison. Fan Hu had already tied Empress Xu to the wooden frame and carefully placed a gag in her mouth so that she would not kill herself midway by biting her tongue.
“You all withdraw first, and I’ll call you back in later.” Murong Heng wanted to be alone with Empress Xu for a while, so he asked the rest of them to leave. Once they had gone out, he met Empress Xu’s resentful stare. With a sneer, he retrieved a gleaming dagger and said, “Back then, you used this facade to seduce Murong De and make him want to kill my concubine mother, right?”
Intentional or otherwise, Murong Heng held the dagger and slashed a few cuts across Empress Xu’s face. He said with a half-smile, “If I carve up your face, let’s see what else you would use to harm others!” As soon as he finished speaking, Murong Heng sliced a few more cuts on Empress Xu’s face with the dagger. Each bloody gash ran across Empress Xu’s entire face, from the forehead to the chin, disfiguring her visage.
Screeching and screaming, Empress Xu desperately thrashed and twisted about. She couldn’t utter a word because of the gag in her mouth. The pain was outlined on her face, and it caused her eyes to abruptly bulge, as if they would pop out.
“This is only the beginning.” Putting away the dagger he was holding, Murong Heng raised his hand and called in a dozen burly soldiers. He pointed to Empress Xu on the wooden frame and said unhurriedly, “This person is rewarded to you all.”
“Oh!” Empress Xu struggled madly when she heard the words. She tried her best to yank the iron chains attached to her hands and feet, but she couldn’t move in the slightest. She watched helplessly as the group of soldiers looked at each other and moved towards her.
Murong Heng concealed himself in the darkness. He looked on as those low-ranking soldiers surrounded Empress Xu and did unspeakable things to her. He felt extremely invigorated hearing Empress Xu’s blood-curdling screams. He said it before: He would enact double the revenge on his enemies from the past, only more and no less!
Unconsciously, an hour passed. The soldiers put on their clothes and left the prison. Murong Heng looked coldly at Empress Xu, who was on the ground. Her clothes were dishevelled, her body was unbearably dirty, her hair was messy, and she didn’t have the bearing of an empress at all. She was nothing but a filthy woman.
However, this wasn’t enough.
Murong Heng ordered someone to bring in an aphrodisiac and had them feed it into Empress Xu’s mouth. Soon she became stimulated and began writhing on the ground. Earlier, he’d allowed a group of men to satisfy her, but this time it won’t happen. He stood at the side and witnessed Empress Xu being tortured by lust. A hoarse roar escaped her throat, but he ignored it.
At this moment, Empress Xu’s body was extremely sensitive, so Murong Heng took a sword and walked over to tally Empress Xu’s evil deeds in detail. For each misdeed, he pierced a hole in her body. At last, he instructed someone to come and continue the torture. Her hands and feet were torn off, and blood gushed all over the floor.
Empress Xu struggled with all her might. The pain in her body was shrouded by the torment from the aphrodisiac. She stared wide-eyed, wishing she could die immediately. But her hands and feet had all been severed, and she had a gag in her mouth. She couldn’t die, even if she wanted to. She unwittingly whimpered. This was truly retribution, wasn’t it? Back then, she’d brought about Murong Heng’s concubine mother’s death, and now she was being barbarically abused. Just as she was thinking about it, she suffered another stab. However, Empress Xu could no longer struggle. She lay on the spot with a slackened gaze.
Before he knew it, an hour had passed. Murong Heng tortured Empress Xu until she resembled neither a human nor a ghost, but he hadn’t worked off his anger yet. He wanted her to suffer the pain equivalent to her tendons and skin being ripped out and be in severe torment before dying!
Therefore, he instructed several soldiers to fetch daggers and mercury. First, Empress Xu’s tendons were sliced off using the daggers, and then her skin would be carved off inch by inch, exposing flesh and blood. Some of the soldiers couldn’t stomach such horrific procedures and rushed out and retched.
Murong Heng released a chilly laugh. He didn’t allow Ah Ci to be there because it was too grisly. The Ah Ci in his heart should be absolutely clean. That one time with Emperor Chongde was enough. As for Empress Xu, he wanted to kill her himself!
After some time, all the skin on Empress Xu’s body except her head had been cut off. She now resembles a bloody person. Save for her head, an inch of decent skin couldn’t be found. If it wasn’t for her head, one couldn’t tell if she was human or not.
Considering that it was almost the time when Ah Ci should be waking up, Murong Heng decided to let Empress Xu go to meet the king of hell once and for all. But his way for her to meet the king of hell wasn’t so easy.
He had the soldiers cut a cross sign atop Empress Xu’s head and pour mercury into it. After a while, the skin on Empress Xu’s head began to deform. This was the method used to flay the skin. Pretty soon, Empress Xu looked on helplessly as her remaining skin disintegrated, her blood dried up, and she died.
With a long sigh of relief, Murong Heng had finally assuaged his vehemence. The boulder that had been weighing down his heart for so many years had sunk into the sea at last, never to be seen again, and his worries had elevated immensely. He closed his eyes so that he wouldn’t have to look at Empress Xu’s miserable aftermath, and he said silently to himself, “Concubine Mother, Er Chen has finally avenged you!”
With large strides, Murong Heng walked out of the prison. He initially wanted to go to the imperial study and bring Shen Ci out, but after thinking about it halfway, he then turned and headed to the place where Murong Yu was imprisoned. Right now, Murong Yu had already regained consciousness and was enduring the torment of the poison.
After eyeing him coldly for a while, Murong Heng didn’t wish to say too much to him. He believed that the people in the capital had a lot of ways to deal with a tyrant like him. As such, he came up with the idea to let the soldiers tie Murong Yu up and parade him in the streets every day. The public would be allowed to come forward and beat him, as long as they didn’t beat him to death. After three days, he would be beheaded at the Meridian Gate*.
(*TN: This is the southern and largest gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.)
After relaying the order, Murong Heng went to look for Shen Ci and told him how he’d dealt with Murong Yu. Shen Ci listened and nodded repeatedly. Three days later, an injury-laden Murong Yu was dragged to kneel on the execution ground. The execution official dextrously hacked off his head, and Murong Yu was declared dead.
During the same time when Murong Yu was beheaded, his biological mother, Concubine Jing, who’d been imprisoned and not yet been dealt with, also hanged herself to death. When Murong Heng heard the news, he didn’t say anything. He then ordered the group of concubines to be handled. Those who were virtuous would be sent out of the palace, and those with malicious intentions would be killed immediately.
The interiors of the imperial palace underwent a bout of remodelling by Murong Heng. All the flashy items were exchanged for money and given to impoverished citizens in other areas. This action won the applause of all the residents in the capital.
The enthronement ceremony was scheduled for three days later. On this day, a relaxed Murong Heng meandered around the imperial palace with Shen Ci. At the same time, Feng Nan appeared behind a tree not far from them, with sadness in his eyes.
Now that everything has been resolved and Murong Heng’s promise of revenge has been fulfilled, does that mean that he should also leave? He gazed at the harmonious figures of his young master and Murong Heng from behind. Although he was reluctant, he had to leave.
Therefore, he asked someone to hand over the letter he’d earlier written to Shen Ci and walked to the palace gate with his packed things. Young Master, forgive Feng Nan for not being able to accompany you for the rest of your life. I’m entrusting you to his highness. Feng Nan is very relieved and wishes you happiness.
An hour later, the letter was handed to Shen Ci. Shen Ci listened as Murong Heng helped him read the words on the letter. He was stunned for a moment, then he sighed softly and said, “It is I who have let him down.”
“How have you let him down?” Murong Heng embraced him and walked out together. He extremely disapproved of Shen Ci’s words: “Just because Feng Nan left you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will have a bad life. Don’t you want him to find a woman from a good family and have a peaceful, healthy life forever?”
“That’s the hope, naturally.” Shen Ci nodded, suddenly realising that what Murong Heng said was right.
“If not, then that’s good.” After keeping the letter he was holding, Murong Heng held Shen Ci’s hand and led him back. As he gazed out beyond the imperial palace, he inwardly let out a small sigh. He feels somewhat indebted to Feng Nan now. He is grateful that he’s taken care of Ah Ci for so many years. Since he has retired, as long as Murong Heng is around, he will permit no one to bully him, no matter where he is.
This is his promise to him.
Three days later, at the enthronement ceremony, Murong Heng wore the dragon robe that Shen Ci personally dressed him in. Murong Heng sat on the dragon chair and listened to the voices below the platform hailing his longevity. He was filled with a multitude of emotions.
Time passed quickly, and before he knew it, it had been almost three years since he was reborn. Countless things had happened during these three years, but what he didn’t regret was that he had found a life partner. Aside from being together with that person, he wouldn’t ever marry anyone else.
Once the enthronement ceremony had ended, Murong Heng accompanied Shen Ci to a place. It was the tomb of Prime Minister Shen and his wife. He originally wanted to bury the two of them in a better place, but Shen Ci said, “This place is very good. It’s peaceful and quiet, without any noise from people. Father and mother can be together forever and never be separated again.”
Having fulfilled his wish, Murong Heng did not allow anyone to disturb the tomb of Prime Minister Shen and his wife. He even sent someone to guard this tomb and clean the tombstone for the long term. Right now, Shen Ci kneeled in front of the tombstone and kowtowed* several times; the knocks were loud and distinct.
(*TN: An act of reverence by bowing low until the head touches the ground.)
“Father and mother, this child has avenged you!” After Shen Ci finished speaking, he kowtowed a few more times. His vacant eyes gradually became moist. Having waited for so many years, he ultimately managed to wait until today.
Murong Heng noticed this. He stepped forward to hug him and kiss his forehead. In his heart, he said, “Prime Minister Shen, please rest assured and hand Ah Ci over to me. I’ll definitely take care of him for the rest of his life and never leave him.”
The two cleaned the dust off the tombstone together. A quarter of an hour later, Murong Heng took Shen Ci’s hand and walked ahead together to sit in the carriage that would return them to the palace. He held Shen Ci in his arms, and the corners of his lips subconsciously lifted into a smile.
Holding his hand, growing old together with him, spending a lifetime together—what more can a husband ask for?