My Daughter's Crown

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Coronation (2)

We walk into the garden where everyone is having a lunch. I found out by Xian Le that I’ve been out for three days… how pathetic.

Sweeping my gaze over the stunned faces; my face holds a smile that I’m sure makes shivers run down their spine.

I’m immediately attacked by two gentle hugs. Raising a brow I look down and see it’s the twins. A boy and a girl, I’m guessing river is the girl and rain is the boy.

Letting go of Xian Le, I crouch down and glare playfully at the twins, “Who are the two of you?”

Simultaneously they answer, “Cheng-ah, we’re your siblings Rain and River,” they laughed as I tickled their stomachs.

“I don’t have siblings with such strange names!” I say while pouting.

“Well nice to finally meet our runaway sister, I’m Rain and this is my twin sister River, we’re eleven years old, as long as you’ve been gone!” He says with a playful frown.

Nodding my head I say, “Oh yes, you’re the little buggers that came after me, many, many, many years later… the children of what’s his name again, you know the crazy man that stalked my mamma.”

The twins gasp and start giggling; a deep throat is cleared and I hear heavy footsteps track towards me. Standing up I come face to face with a huge man.

He looks down at me and I smile sheepishly, hugging myself I take a few steps back. “Yue Mian,” his voice trails sending shivers down my spine.

“Present!” I salute. My mother breaks out in a fit of laughter and cuddles her husband’s side. Rolling my eyes, walking forward I stretch out my arms and hug him. He leans forward and hugs me back.

Picking me up, he spins me in a circle while squeezing the life out of me. “I’m dying AAAAAAH!” I screech.

He huffs and puts me down without letting me go, patting my head he glares down at me, “Little girl, you have some explaining to do!”

I wince hearing those words but slowly nod my head. He lets me go and almost immediately I’m spun around and kisses rain down on me like it’s the end of the world.

Smelling that familiar scent of roses and metal mixed together I frown because at the same time I can feel a piercing gaze from behind me and I know for a fact that it’s Yu Sheng imagining ways to kill myself and Crown Prince An Cheng.

He stops and pulls away, looking me over he quickly drags me to where my biological father, my grandparents and General Yu is – oh fuck… my uncles are here too.

An Cheng wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me down making me sit next to him, I wonder when did he become so friendly.

I have my head bowed not wanting to make eye contact with the generals and my grandmother.

“YuMi! Do you know how worried we’ve been,” An Cheng says. He continues, “When we heard you were getting executed my father pulled half the army back and ordered us to head over.”

Hearing about my Godfather, my head shoots up but I don’t see him. Frowning I pull away from An Cheng because Yu Sheng is about ready to kill everyone here.

Turning to An Cheng I ask, “Cheng, where’s Godfather?”

He raises a brow at me, “My father is in Xieye where he belongs, he couldn’t come so he sent me along with everyone else… We almost went to war with Jilei because of you and my father had a livid expression on his face when he heard you were going to be executed! YuMi, you better make sure you go pay your respects when you can, his heart broke after you left and we’ve been searching for you throughout the empires non stop… well we did stop once you sent him letters.”

I nod my head, “I will, soon, still in this week but An Cheng, why are you here, shouldn’t you be with your wife, I’d prefer it if Godfather was here instead of you, you know I don’t like you.”

He grins at me and points to the two generals who look like they will break into insanity soon. “You have some explaining to do,” says General Yu, my father-in-law in other words.

I look at Yu Sheng quickly and he shakes his head, “I’ve already spoken to Yu Sheng, under no circumstances is he allowed to hold his sword against an emperor but he did and he did it under your orders, so start explaining.”

“Uncle, don’t be hard on Yu Sheng, you told him to protect me at all costs and he did, also there is nothing to explain, I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again; I had no intentions of entering the Imperial Palace as I only wanted to travel alone, I know how to survive in the wild and living till today is proof of it.

I was never going to enter the palace but because Ling Tian and Xian Le wanted me to follow them I did… everything else that happened just happened because I was bored and needed some excitement – look even the executioner works for me so I was never going to die and I don’t want to hear anymore of this nonsense alright! Everything is over and I want you all to leave… I’ve got no time for this shit, Yu Sheng, let’s go!” I say ready to leave but An Cheng’s strong arms snake around my waist and pull me back.

“YuMi, you were never one to follow instructions so be nice and just stay put, we still need to do a health check and give you a full body physical before we can deem that you are well, also, you and Yu Sheng need to stay put since you are a threat to the royal family.”

After struggling for a bit I give in, they chuckle but I can see the worry in everyone’s eyes. My grandmother hugged me almost breathless while my grandfather berated me. Yu Sheng was pulled off to the side and Xian Le disappeared, most probably heading to Lou Fan.

Emperor Wang looks between myself and my mother and I can see his pain filled eyes, clearing my throat I get everyone’s attention. “Okay now that we’ve reconciled, can you all leave so that Emperor Wang and myself can have a conversation?” I ask and smile wearily at the frowning and cautious looks they give me.

My papa, Wu Yong looks at me questioningly and I give a smile reassuring him that everything is alright, slowly the garden cleared and it was just the two of us. I looked back at him and his face is as blank and unreadable as when I first saw him.

*

He gets up and tells me to follow him. Watching him disappear deeper into the garden, I look around to make sure no one is following us.

I fall into step behind him and he looks over his shoulder, turning back to face forward we walk in silence for a while. We stop at a pond at the end of the trail leads to.

He looks over the palace walls and then back at me. “You know, I was confined to this palace after I went searching for you and your mother after my trusted advisor returned with news of your disappearance. I cried for many days under this sky praying to the heavens that you and your mother were safe.

I once thought that if I found the two of you I could bring you two into the palace and correct what my father and ancestors did once I become emperor but I guess I can’t. I can’t forgive myself for being weak years ago because I am your father and my duty was to protect you but I couldn’t.

I thought that you and your mother died and that I would never see you or her again that lead me to give up hope. I thought that if I had more children, they could fill the gap that you left in my heart but I was wrong.”

He looks down at me with watery eyes and continues, “You were the one person I wanted in my life and I was willing to give up my throne for you but I – I – I”

“Your majesty please don’t. I found out about you when I was still young and I always believed that you must have cared in some way. My mother, when she spoke of you that day, she had tears in her eyes so I know that what happened couldn’t be prevented. I only heard about what really happened after Yu Sheng explained it to me in detail and I was shocked but never grew hatred for either of you or my grandparents nor the ancestors… all I wanted was for you and everyone to know was that I was still alive and willing to accept your apology.

My whole execution and everything before was within my plans and was a way for you all to know that I exist. Unfortunately things happened that I didn’t have control over and here we are now… if your majesty is will to let everything go then I am willing to let bygones be bygones… and I’m hoping that Your Majesty is willing to allow my lowly self to stay here in the palace so,” I say with a bowed head.

I feel his strong yet shaky arms wrap around me and tears fall on the side of my neck. His Majesty has his head on mine while his shoulders shake due to crying. Soft sobs came following his tears, “I’ll allow anything you want as long as you will allow me to be your father, I want to hold you, kiss you, have lunch, breakfast and dinner with you. I want to take you around the empire and show you all the beautiful places. I want a portrait of you and I want to hear you call me pappa. I want to hold a coronation in your name and give you the army to lead…”

He says making my body shake. Taking in a deep breath I say, “Anything you wish pappa, I can grant it but there is one other thing, if I may,” he pulls away and looks at me with his red and puffy eyes.

Nodding his head, giving me permission to speak, “I don’t want to marry my brother, I have someone else I love and want to marry him.” Looking into his eyes I see him frown but then calm down, he nods his head but asks, “If you don’t marry him then who shall we hand to him and be the future Empress?”

Raising my hands I cup his cheeks, “Emperor An has two daughters and the youngest is the best choice for him, make the proposal and I’m sure he won’t reject, hearing that its my choice and pappa, I’ve known for long now that you want me to be Empress to give me what I couldn’t have before… But pappa, having your children as Emperor and Empress won’t be a problem. Xian Rong will marry his wife and I will marry my husband, after both weddings we can marry and consummate the wedding then rule the empire together.”

A spark flashes in his eyes as his brows rise; I can see that he is contemplating on the idea and I just hope he falls for it.

His eyes shoot back to me, “What are we going to do about an heir if we do this?”

“Xian Rong’s son is the heir,” I say.

“What about your child?” he asks not happy with my answer.

“My daughter will be the Empress by default, they won’t have to consummate the wedding,” I say and he sighs in relief.

“I actually never wanted my children to marry and give birth to infants that will be a problem, your idea works in a way and I will talk it over with your brother but Rucheng, what are we going to do about the ministers?” he asks looking at me worried.

I shake my head, “Leave those men to me, I’m not someone they can easily mess with,” I say and the evil in me starts turning. I smile at my father and he nods his head, leaning down he plants a kiss on my forehead and cuddles me.

I let him hold me as long as he wants while I smile uncontrollably at the fact that he is listening to me, now I can give my husband a proper wedding and see him happy because I know for a fact that he isn’t happy with just being my husband in the shadows, he wants the whole world to know that I’m his and he is mine.

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