Beauty to Ashes chapter 3

Chapter 3

She seemed to have become thinner, but somehow more beautiful as well… Standing there, Chen Ruo fell into a trance. She had just called out his name, but it seemed even more tender than before.

He walked over slowly. Jin Xiu stretched out her arms towards him, giving him a hug.
I had no other way, if I didn’t marry the daughter of the left minister, even living would have been difficult for me back then.  Chen Ruo mumbled this, but found it ridiculous.

Why did he need to explain? Who was she to him? But still, he felt as though he could not do without explaining.

Hence, once he finished that sentence, he suddenly paused.

However, Jin Xiu did not appear too bothered by it. She held one of his hands and devotedly wrote something on his palm.

This was a game that they started playing in their childhood.

Jin Xiu’s eyes were blinded. That year, the Longqing Emperor expanded much effort to help her collect an astonishing amount of printing blocks to teach her how to read braille. However, his heart hurt when he saw the calluses that formed on her fingertips, and in the end, he simply got palace maids to read aloud for her. But some sentences were too embarrassing to be read out and she would secretly bring the books over and childishly ask him to read it for her.

Chen Ruo received the book from her, but Jin Xiu felt embarrassed again. Chen Ruo was out of ideas and simply held her hand, before writing them slowly on her palm, word by word.

She was bashful and timid, her little frame shrunk into a ball. Yet, she did not struggle and allowed him to hold her hand as he slowly traced her palm.

After a long time, Chen Ruo realised that something was wrong. In the past, those startling and lingering lines were repeatedly carved onto her palm by his fingers, leaving a lasting mark on each other’s flesh and blood.

But now, she was writing on his palm – Writing an old saying.

A girl gives her life to the one she loves. Even if there came a day of heartless abandonment, there would be no regrets.            

Chen Ruo’s heart softened, but at the same time, his hardly suppressed feelings of resentment slowly bubbled up as well.

Look, she was now in his arms. There was nowhere she could go, and no one she could rely on. She only had him, he was her entire world.

Satisfaction and pain.

At this time, in this place. Wouldn’t destroying her be such a simple task?

After a long time, Chen Ruo laughed silently. At that moment, under the dimness of the candlelight, the pale youth with that red mark on his forehead was just like a wounded crane raising its head up to the sky.

He hugged that girl deeply, tightly and forcefully. To him, that girl was a barely existent warmth.

She only had him.

On the fifth day after Chen Ruo’s marriage, Jin Xiu was welcomed into the crown prince’s residence. In this eastern land, the treasured princess of the most powerful country, entered through an unlit back door on a small cyan sedan. In this way, she entered the life of the man she loved.

She was merely a servant girl who Chen Ruo took a liking to in Dayue. That, and nothing else.

When he sent her off, Chen Lan asked her, did she really want to do this? That beautiful girl flashed a faint smile and nodded her head wordlessly.

She wanted to be by his side. She only wanted to be by his side.

She had abandoned her family and forsaken her country. What she gained, was just this.
A girl gives her life to the one she loves. Even if there came a day of heartless abandonment, there would be no regrets.

According to the hierarchy of Chen Country: Crown Princess Consort, Concubine of Third Rank, Liang Di, Zhao Xun, as well as four ladies of Ru Zi. Everyone had a rank and place. When Chen Ruo took in concubines, apart from the left-wing minister, he married all the daughters of influential ministers and generals in court.

The Crown Princess Consort was the right-wing minister’s only daughter and her beauty was the subject of envy. The other girls were also from noble families, and their appearances were not much worse than her. As such, the Crown Prince’s residence became a battleground.

Logically, Jin Xiu should have been entangled in this battleground as well. But she did not have a title, and since she was blind, she was not obligated to serve Chen Ruo and the Crown Princess Consort. She lived quietly at a corner of the Crown Prince’s residence, people rarely came to give her trouble.

Although the Crown Princess Consort would occasionally make things difficult for her whenever she recalled her existence, there were too many other girls who were vying for her attention. Hence, she didn’t care much about her and as Jin Xiu mentioned, life was considered peaceful.

A peaceful life… Peacefully waiting, waiting for that man who was constantly being surrounded by other beautiful girls to come to her side once in a while. Just to exchange a few brisk words. Sometimes, there wasn’t even time for words – After a sloppy kiss, he would leave her world.

Chen Ruo’s world was that big, and her world was that small. She only had him alone, as well as this tiny courtyard.

She did not find it unfortunate. Only on the occasional night would her heart be filled with melancholy.

Emptiness, a sense of melancholy that arose from an unknown source, slowly manifesting in the depths of her heart.

There was no regret, and there was no sadness. Only melancholy.

She would think of many people. Father, Chen Lan, the mother she never met… Her father definitely suffered heartache because of her, right? As she dwelled over these, she would be on the brink of tears. She could only bite her lips, and force herself to raise her head up to hold the tears back.

If she cried here, then she was not her father’s daughter. Wouldn’t it be denying everything from her past?

Hence, Jin Xiu would cup her cheeks and gently lift the corner of her lips upwards, all alone deep into the night.

The year Jin Xiu turned eighteen, the Emperor of Chen Country passed away. After an intense power struggle, Chen Ruo ascended the throne.

This battle for the throne commenced the day the Emperor passed on. That day, everything was concluded cleanly, and amidst the short period of unrest, the Chen Country sacrificed four princes, three princesses, and eight concubines of the rear court. In this one struggle, among the mature sons left behind by the previous emperor, apart from Chen Ruo and Chen Lan, everyone was killed. Only one prince who had yet to turn eight and three princesses remained. And this was merely the start, and to the parties that opposed him, it started that day. Half a month into Chen Ruo’s ascension to the throne, more than twenty-nine powerful families were uprooted. Being ordered into exile was already considered a blessing, for some families were completely annihilated, their properties confiscated. Regarding young children below the age of ten, girls were sent to the brothels while boys were made eunuchs, only to be beheaded once they came of age.

Hence, the entire country wholeheartedly acknowledged that the pale and beautiful emperor on the throne acted mercilessly, his methods ruthless and poisonous.

And to Jin Xiu, all these simply meant a change in residence. She received the title of a ninth ranked attendant and was moved into the imperial palace – She could finally and officially become the concubine of the man she loved.

This time, even those quiet nights and occasional warmth gradually dissolved into nothing.

The person who would hug her warmly under the pear trees back then slowly walked further and further out of her world.

But maybe, he had done this to protect her…

She mumbled to herself as she stood at the corner of her courtyard.

She only had one palace maid. The palace maid was young and mischievous, and at that moment, she had run off to who knows where. Jin Xiu stood at the corner of the courtyard walls and lowered her head as she spoke those words.

It was a weathered mud wall, concealing a field of flowers. At a hidden portion of the wall, there was a hole that was approximately half a person tall. Behind the wall, there was a patch of neglected wasteland, the final resting place for old and frail palace servants. Once in a while, she would walk over and softly mumble to herself, vocalising her unhappiness. On the other side, someone would wordlessly pluck out a pear flower for her, its surface covered in a thin layer of warm morning mist.

In the palace, this was the only place that she could feel a silent sense of warmth.

As such, Jin Xiu cultivated this habit. Whenever there was no one around, she would come to this corner and spill out the matters of her heart.

She did not know who that person was, neither did she know that person’s identity. Based on intuition, she knew that that person would not harm her. And that person might or might not be there, and even when he was there, he would remain completely silent, simply listening to her speak quietly. After that, the person would pluck a flower for her.

It was the same that day. She bowed her head and said softly, “My father his majesty was just like this… He had a girl he loved, and in order not to let other people harm her, he would intentionally keep his distance from her…”

So… Was Chen Ruo doing the same thing?

He treasured her, and wanted to protect her, and hence decided to put her into an obscure corner deep in the palace?

Crooking her head, Jin Xiu pondered. After which, she slowly stopped speaking.

That person opposite her passed her a cardamom flower, its fragrance thick and rich.

She believed that, that person did not ask her any questions in order to protect her, allowing her to speak as she wished.

Just let her believe so.

Because of this power shuffle, amongst Chen Ruo’s concubines, there were some that received merit because of their families, while there were others like her who had been mysteriously punished to the cold palace. After which, they would inexplicably die from insanity.

Everyone knew, if their enemies did not fall into the latter category, then they could only wait to be sent to the cold palace to die of insanity.

Hence, all these beautiful ladies of the Chen Country Palace would hide in the darkness and scheme to kill one another – In this fight, dying would not merely implicate one person. On the contrary, the entire family would likewise be massacred and felled.

At the peak of the struggle, in the second year, Jin Xiu was dragged into the mess —

In the conflict between the Empress and the other imperial concubines, one of the concubines became pregnant. In fear that the Empress and the other concubines would snatch her favour from the emperor, she chose to force Jin Xiu out of her courtyard near the cemetery.

She was pretty and did not have an influential family background, merely a servant girl who the emperor had taken fancy to when he was a hostage prince. Because she was blind and pitiful, weak and docile, never causing a disturbance. Even after being with Chen Ruo for such a long time, she never held the intention to fight for the emperor’s favour. Was there someone who was more suitable than her?

Hence, she was pushed into the heart of the struggle. On the night of the feast, she was sent into Chen Ruo’s sleeping chambers.

After that, the quiet man of her memories, the one who always treated her with warmth snarled without warning the moment he saw her.

“What is she?!” She was dragged out of Chen Ruo’s room and ruthlessly tossed onto the ground. “What is she?!” His furious voice sounded hoarse. After that, Jin Xiu felt someone grab her hair and lift her up. The hairpins on her head lightly landed onto the ground.

Her ear buzzed as her mind started to wander. She did not seem to be able to hear what the man she loved was bellowing about. She could only vaguely hear him snarl something about minding one’s status, and something along the lines of treating this place like Dayue.

Ah… Right…

This place wasn’t Dayue.

This was Chen Country.

Chen Ruo was no longer a hostage prince. He was the emperor of a country.

And she was not the most pampered princess who was embraced on her father’s lap. She was merely the emperor’s lowliest lady-in-waiting within the palace.

What was she considered?

Her eyes drooped as she felt as someone drag her out. Jin Xiu did not struggle, she did not resist. Only, just before she was tossed out of the hall, she turned her head back and asked him softly, “… So it was like this, do you hate me…”


Beauty to Ashes

Beauty to Ashes

锦成灰
Score 9.4
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2016 Native Language: Chinese
It was a beautiful beginning.She was a precious princess who was treasured by her father. Her life should have been filled with beauty, without winter, only sunshine.She just had to meet him.As she was dozing off, wrapped in a bundle of blankets on her father’s lap in court,He was kneeling below, with a pale complexion and picturesque eyes. A small red mark was imprinted between his brows, akin to a red-crowned crane – alluring and highly venomous.He was a prince from the enemy land being held hostage, possessing an uncertain futureShe was the princess, with royal blood running in her veins.Hence, she became a legend passed down in folksongs on the apricot path: To give her life to the one she loves. Even if there came a day of heartless abandonment, there would be no regrets.But, in this story, there was another person.At her lowest points, he said to her, I will take you away, to the ends of the earth, not leaving, not forsaking – But, unfortunately, he wasn’t the same young man from the very start.Till the end, when everything that flourished receded, she realised. Alas, all her former hate and pain was nothing but a lie.Her one lifetime was the most magnificent beauty. After which, simply reduced to ash.

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