Standing in the middle of my room naked, I hold my arms out to each side. The six shrine maidens immediately get to work.
One steps behind me and holds my long hair up. Another comes to me with a powder blue inner robe and slides it onto my arms, doing the same with the other sleeve and I shrug it on. Another steps forward and ties the robes at my waist and they bring over the next robe. Its cumin yellow and I think it’s for ‘life’. Tying at my waist they bring a white robe which is for protection.
The next one they bring and pull over my arms is red for imperial lineage, I think. They bring over another robe in the colour grey for … fuck I can’t remember.
I frown trying to think of why the fuck I’m letting them dress me in so many robes. The shrine maiden before me smiles saying, “Your Highness, being impatient won’t speed up the process. You are being crowned our princess and the leader of our army, the gift of our empire.”
“I know,” I say bluntly and the head priestess looks at me with a frown. I glare at her and scoff when she averts her gaze.
My shoulders sag slightly as the next robe is put on and I think this is the eight? Taking in a deep breath, I close my eyes and think up ways to kill the shrine maidens and head priestess.
My shoulders sag yet again and my arms flop down. Opening my eyes I look at the shrine maiden tying a gold robe around my waist. When she’s done, another steps forward with a tray of jewellery on it.
I close my eyes yet again as the red coral beaded earpieces get pushed through my ears… this I think is for prosperity – everything I’m wearing today has a meaning behind it, shitty but it’s their custom.
A huge and heavy gold neckpiece is placed around my neck and my hair is done in a simple loose braid with gold hairpins stuck in it.
After rouge is put on my lips and blush on my cheeks, I open my eyes and look in the bronze mirror.
“Get out,” I say listlessly. They are hesitant and don’t move, looking at the head priestess for instructions.
“It funny how you all don’t listen yet I’m being crowned today. Don’t forget, even if I wasn’t be crowned, you all would be lying in your own pools of blood,” I say and they freeze. The head priestess looks at me in shock and I don’t really care. “Yu Sheng!” I call and the doors get forced open.
He glares at the shrine maidens and looks at the head priestess with malice.
They quickly scurry out of my chamber and the head priestess gives me one look then turns to look at Yu Sheng. She stares at him for a moment and doesn’t move.
Raising a brow at her, he stares back and since I have my back facing them I don’t really know what’s going on.
I turn around and look at the two. Yu Sheng smiles at me and I can see that he doesn’t care about her. Taking in a deep breath, he kicks the doors shut and walks up to me. Putting his hands on my shoulders, he forces me to look back into the bronze mirror.
I look at him through the mirror and I see pride filling his eyes. He leans his head down and places a kiss on my cheek. I tilt my head to the left giving him further access and he smiles against my cheek.
He kisses down my cheek, leaving open mouth trails that make me moan.
Smiling against my neck he says, “You look beautiful today.”
“Don’t I always look beautiful?” I ask him, feeling wronged with the way he spoke those words.
He laughs against my neck and wraps his arms around my waist. Nodding his head, he opens his eyes and looks into the bronze mirror meeting my gaze, “Yes, you always look beautiful, but you are even more beautiful when you’re asleep in my arms, or when you’re bloated during your pregnancy and when you wake up after sleeping.”
I place my hands on his hands and beam hearing his words, “Nice cover-up,” I praise him and he growls lowly. The vibrations send shivers down my spine which get me all excited.
“Are you excited about our wedding?” I ask him and his smile fades slightly. He takes a deep breath in and his eyes become sad.
Turning around in his arms, I rest my head against his chest and hug him back, whispering to him I ask, “Should we leave?”
He chuckles lightly and kisses into my hair, “And why would we do that, this has been your goal since you were young, you’re so close to achieving it, why do you suddenly want to leave?”
“You’re not happy,” I say and see him smile and nod his head, “Mn, I’m not.
We already had a wedding and I don’t see the need to have another, the money for that can just go to the citizens no? I also don’t want you consummating the wedding with your brother,” he says and I punch him in the chest.
He looks at me with mock hurt and anger and shock then breaks out into a smile.
“I asked you about it and you said it doesn’t matter,” I say and he looks at me with a guilt-ridden expression.
Sighing he pulls me into a hug and says, “Well I lied, it’s a nice idea but I feel betrayed. We vowed to be with each other and no one else so… I just can’t help it, I’m trying to not show my anger but,” he says and I nod, after putting my hand over his mouth.
He pulls my hand away and kisses my fingers making me blush, “Well Princess Rucheng, let’s get you to your coronation ceremony before everyone gets worried.”
I nod my head and we turn to look at the head priestess who is staring at us with a conflicted gaze. She doesn’t say anything but I can see that what she just saw is affecting her – she should know that we are already together and have been since she can fucking speak to the heavens, they should have told her!
Sitting in a palanquin that stops every ten steps. I get out, bow, get in it again and it moves for the next ten steps then I get out and bow, get back in and it moves for ten steps and stopes, then I climb out, bow to the heavens and ancestors, get back and this shit repeats itself until we reach the imperial palace.
I get out as we come to a stop in front of the stairs. Holding my hands out in front of me in respect, I bow then walk up the damn stairs while my eyes dart around looking for Yu Sheng. I spot him on the far end with General Shim and our two sons Lou Fan and Xinxi. All three of them are beaming at me and I force my smile down. I look up and see the entire royal family looking down at me and I suddenly have the urge to make them all kneel because no one is allowed to look down on me.
I reach the top and bow to my father. He helps me up and I see my mother and her husband stand not too far from us with my Godfather, An Cheng and so many other people including the representative from Naiad.
I lower my head when my father raises the crown above my head and he asks, “Do you accept this crown?”
I look up at it and smile, nodding my head, I lower it and he places it on my head. He turns me around while holding onto my shoulders. I look down at all the nobles, some commoners, the officials and the ministers.
My father says something that has them all cheering but my eye narrow down onto an elderly lady staring at me with my daughter in her hands between the commoners. I smile slightly relieved that’s she’s here and suddenly an idea pops into my head.
I walk down the steps after shrugging my shoulders getting my father’s hands off me and he calls my name but I don’t turn back.
I make my way down the stairs slowly in the quiet celebration yard. Many follow my gaze and they frown slightly but don’t stop me.
When I make my way to the middle of the path, I stop and kneel down on both knees.
“Princess,” gets called by many names and some rush to my side trying to get me to stand up. I glare at them making them step away and I look at my daughter who is wiggling out of my other mother’s arms. I nod my head at her and she puts Chushan down who starts squealing and screams the words that bring joy to my heart and make everyone else suck in a breath of cold air, “MAMA!!”
Opening my arms as she nears me, she collides into my arms and places a kiss to my lips. She pulls back and beams, she places her nose against mine and says, “Mama, I thought they were lying when they said you’re a princess.”
“Well, that’s expected since you never believe what we tell you,” I say in mock anger. She giggles and shakes her head, she looks over my shoulders and around us, her eyes widen and she squeals piercingly making my ears ache. I put my hand over her mouth and she glares at me, “What did I tell you about squealing you little thing!” I complain instead of asking.
She rips out of my arms and places her hand on her hip and slants to the side, “You old woman!” she says with a roll to her eyes.
“The two of you should stop causing a scene, can’t you see that everyone is about to catch a heartache?” says a slightly deep voice making me look over.
Chushan screeches and runs into Xinxi’s arms making my shoulders sag. Lou Fan helps me up while Xinxi deals with his screeching sister.
Turning around, I look for Yu Sheng but can’t find him and General Shim.
“If you’re looking for your husband, he left, he’s angry at you,” Lou Fan whispers in my ear. I look up at him and grin, “I doubt he’s angry, he’s probably excited and wants me to wait before revealing who he is,” I say and he nods saying, “He did have a smile on his face.”
I smirk, “Alright my loves, let’s go greet your grandfather.”
The two boys look at me amused and nod at each other than follow behind me.