The Grand Secretary's Pampered Wife

Chapter 577.2: One’s Life Experience



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Huangfu Xian's gaze was fixed on the brightest star in the night sky, as if reminiscing about some unreachable memory, "Since my legs were broken, she seemed to change. She was no longer willing to get close to me, not like before when she enjoyed carrying me, hugging me, or even letting me sleep with her. She said it was because she was afraid of pressing on my wounds."

"I was only five at the time, I didn't understand. As I grew older, I realized it wasn't fear, it was disgust. She detested my broken body, she detested that I couldn't be a normal child anymore, and she didn't even want to be with me."

"Every time I had to do physical therapy, I hoped she would stay by my side. She didn't need to hug me, just holding my hand would be enough."

"But she never did."

Not even once.

Gu Jiao seemed to understand a bit. Huangfu Xian's self-loathing came largely from his parents, especially Princess Ning'an, which destroyed all his self-esteem and confidence. Compared to losing his legs, Princess Ning'an's various mistreatments were the real devastating blow.

Why didn't his mother love him?

Just because he didn't have legs?

Then what was the meaning of his existence?

Gu Jiao looked at him and asked, "Even if she treats you like this, are you still sad for her?"

Huangfu Xian was silent for a while before whispering, "...because she's my mother."

…...

In the dark prison, Empress Dowager Zhuang stood calmly in the corridor, not approaching.

Eunuch Qin had already taken the constables elsewhere, leaving only a few trusted guards.

Empress Dowager Zhuang said, "Speak up. When did you become Ning'an?"

Most people couldn't let go of their dignity, couldn't break through that window paper. But Empress Dowager Zhuang wasn't like that.

She had no trace of hesitation.

If she wanted to say something, she would say it directly and incisively.

Princess Ning'an lay on the ground, looking up at Empress Dowager Zhuang with a smirk, "I am Ning'an, imperial mother!"

Empress Dowager Zhuang said coldly, "At this point, you still won't admit it!"

Princess Ning'an looked astonished, "What should I admit? I am Ning'an! Ning'an is me! Has imperial mother gone senile? Can't even remember the daughter she raised herself? If you've changed your mind and don't love Ning'an anymore, just say it directly. Why use this method to humiliate Ning'an!"

Empress Dowager Zhuang wasn't provoked by her, but rather looked down on her as if observing the final struggle of an ant.

Princess Ning'an, under Empress Dowager Zhuang's gaze, began to laugh sullenly, her shoulders trembling as she laughed. "Imperial mother, your talent for framing others hasn't changed one bit! Back then, you framed my imperial concubine mother, and now you're framing me!"

Empress Dowager Zhuang didn't engage in verbal sparring with her, allowing her to laugh and mutter to herself.

With each blow, Princess Ning'an felt like she was hitting cotton. She grabbed onto the bars of the cell, pressing her cheek tightly against the gap, "Imperial mother says I'm not Ning'an. Is there any proof? Imperial mother, look at my face, isn't it Ning'an's face?"

Smack!

Empress Dowager Zhuang threw a stack of letters in front of Princess Ning'an on the walkway.

Princess Ning'an's gaze shifted downward, and she slowly reached out, pulling the letters in through the gap in the cell door. In the dim light of the corridor, she carefully began to read.

With each page she read, her complexion changed. Halfway through, she suddenly went mad and tore the letters to shreds!

"Nonsense! It's all nonsense!"

"I am Ning'an!"

"I am Ning'an!"

Her emotions were so intense that the veins on her forehead bulged out.

Empress Dowager Zhuang glanced at her and said calmly, "Very well, let Aijia tell you a story. Where to begin? How about we start with the ordeal of a noblewoman's daughter. This noblewoman's daughter was clever and courageous from a young age, and she was also born with good looks. However, her birth mother was not favored, and as a result, she was often bullied by her step-sisters at home. One day, on the way to the temple to offer incense, she encountered a wise man. The wise man and she hit it off immediately and became close friends after meeting a few times. After a year of interaction, the wise man successfully persuaded his friend to join a civilian organization called the Red Lotus Society."

"The Red Lotus Society is actually another identity of the remnants of the previous dynasty, and this noblewoman's daughter became a death warrior of the remnants of the previous dynasty. She was ordered to infiltrate the imperial palace and get close to the Emperor. Initially, her goal was to become the Empress or the most favored imperial concubine, give birth to the Emperor's son, support him as the Crown Prince, and then end the Emperor's life. This way, the remnants of the previous dynasty would have control over the country."

"Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. She failed to become the Empress or the favored imperial concubine, and the Emperor didn't like her at all. She could only cling to the Empress's thigh, as the Empress lost a daughter. It just so happened that she became pregnant only one month after the Empress. So she devised a plan and secretly prepared some induction medicine, causing her child to be born prematurely, on the same day as the Empress's child."

"But what no one knew was that there was... another child in her womb. Separated by only two hours, but born on different days."

"The two children never cried together. When one cried, the other stopped, and vice versa. To outsiders, it seemed like only one child was crying."

"The midwife who delivered them was her confidante, arranged by the wise man. The fate of these two children was destined from birth. One stayed in the imperial palace and became a princess, while the other was taken out as a death warrior."

"They would be two perfect pawns, even more perfect than her, an imperial concubine. But who would stay in the palace as a princess, and who would be taken out as a death warrior?"

"The imperial concubine kept the elder sister who was born first in the palace, because this child was already lying in her arms, having had her first sip of milk. She couldn't let go of this child. As for the other, she didn't even glance at her and heartlessly had her taken away."

Princess Ning'an covered her ears, "Stop... Please stop..."

"Everyone rumored that the Empress loved the little princess because she was born on the same day as her own deceased daughter, it was as if her own daughter had reincarnated. But in reality, the Empress loved her only because she was a beautiful and lovely child, with no relation to the so-called birthday."

"That child was lively and fearless on the surface, but in reality, she was afraid of everything. She was a paper tiger, afraid of the dark, especially."

"But sometimes, she seemed fearless. She liked chestnuts, but occasionally she would hate them. The Empress thought it was just a child's temperament and didn't take it to heart. Although the Empress loved that child, do you know when the Empress truly decided to never let down that child for the rest of her life?"

Princess Ning'an subconsciously perked up her ears.

"It was on a night when the Empress was banished to the cold palace. She fell ill, and no imperial physician dared to treat her. That night, there was thunder and lightning, and the Empress lay alone in the cold palace bed, feeling like she might die. Unexpectedly, at that moment, a slim figure climbed over the wall of the cold palace."

"She pushed open the door, thunder and lightning chasing after her. Her slim figure could have been blown over by the strong wind at any moment, but she wasn't afraid. She rushed into the room, threw herself into the Empress's arms, and said, 'Imperial mother, I've come to see you,' 'Imperial mother, don't be afraid, Ning'an is here with you.'"

Princess Ning'an's body suddenly froze.

Empress Dowager Zhuang's eyes flashed with memories, "It was at that moment, when the child came running through thunder and lightning to her, when she broke through the cold palace wall, when her hands were pierced by thorns on the way, when she fell many times on the road, and when her knees were bruised and bleeding... That's when the Empress told herself she would cherish her for a lifetime!"

Princess Ning'an widened her eyes in disbelief.

"That child... even if it's just once... just once... tell the Empress... that she's not Ning'an... she's Ning'an's younger sister..." Empress Dowager Zhuang choked up, gripping the fingers under her wide sleeves tightly.

Tears overflowed from Princess Ning'an's eyes as she stared blankly at Empress Dowager Zhuang.

Empress Dowager Zhuang took a deep breath, turned her head, and walked towards the exit without looking back.

A hot tear rolled down, but she never turned back even once.

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