When Feng Jun Yi opened his eyes the next day, he felt extraordinarily light. For the last five months he never felt this at peace every time he wakes up. As usual, the first person in his mind is Lin Xulian. But unlike the other times, he didn't feel the usual anger and pain. He also didn't hear any voices telling him to hurt and kill her. His only feeling is longing. He badly wants to see her. And that's what he'll do.
That's when he noticed the solemn atmosphere in his palace. When he finally rose from his bed, the servant in charge of waiting for him immediately kotowed and said with trembling voice. "Y-your majesty, y-you're finally awake. Something happened to the P-phoenix Palace. T-the palace….the palace was burned. And the e-empress….the empress was t-trapped….trapped inside the burning palace."
The servant asked for forgiveness over and over again, but Feng Jun Yi cannot hear them anymore. He cannot explain the pain and emptiness in his heart thinking that Lin Xulian is really dead. He can't believe it. He doesn't want to believe it.
Without even changing out of his sleeping robes, Feng Jun Yi rushed towards the Phoenix Palace's direction. His mind is blank and the only thing in his mind is he wants to see her. He wants to say that he believes her now. After he woke up his mind is already clear. He remembered those times when Lin Xulian did everything to help him with his and his brother's health. She also dealt with his enemies even without him asking.
'What have I done? What was I thinking back then? Why did I not believe her before? What happened to me?!' Despite all the servants and guards trying to stop and calm him, Feng Jun Yi didn't mind them and just continued forward as fast as he could. There's only one thing eating him; regret.
When Feng Jun Yi finally reached the Phoenix Palace, he felt like he was struck by lightning. His heart is beating painfully in his chest. His body also uncontrollably trembled. The Phoenix Palace that stood proud through centuries is now dilapidated. The stone walls darkened because of the fire. The wood panels and paper screens turned to ashes. The plants all around it withered overnight.
But the current state of the palace is not what caught the attention of Feng Jun Yi. But the thing covered with white cloth in the center of the stone path. All around it is the rows of servants and guards kowtowing while asking for both forgiveness and punishment. Some are even crying and banging their forehead on the stone floor continuously even though their heads are already dripping with blood.
Just like a soulless puppet, Feng Jun Yi slowly walked towards it. But even after he reached it within an arm length he has no courage to lift the white cloth. Then his eyes caught the sight of a burned hand peeking out of the cover. Feng Jun Yi felt a painful stab of thousands of swords through his heart after seeing the thing that the hand is gripping. It was the emperor's golden seal. The emperor's symbol of love.
Feng Jun Yi knew that it was a message. Until the very last moment, Lin Xulian held unto his promise and declaration of love. Her confession automatically replayed in his memory. 'In my whole life, you are the only man I considered to be with forever.'
Because of this, Feng Jun Yi finally lost it. He let out a painful scream while his tears poured like a heavy rain. Despite the fact that her hand is completely burned and rotten, he still held unto it and called out to her. "Lian'er! Lian'er! No! This isn't real! Lian'er come back!"
Seeing the emperor breaking down and losing his usual indifferent look, everyone looked at him full of shock. But also their guilt for not properly protecting the empress intensified. They didn't even mind the fact that they might be buried along with the empress as punishment.
This heartbreaking scene is what greeted the princes when they arrived in the Phoenix Palace after receiving the news. The sixth prince is already crying and calling out to his jiejie when he ran towards the burned corpse. The third prince felt pity towards his brother. As a man in love, he can imagine the pain that his brother is going through. And he is also sad for the person who saved his family and marriage.
The fourth prince also pitied his emperor brother and sad about the empress's passing. Despite the fact that he did not interact with Lin Xulian that often, they have a good relationship. But he has other concern. His Xiao Tianshi isn't around even though her master had an accident. The fourth prince got worried.
As for the fifth prince, his whole body turned rigid after seeing the current state of the Phoenix Palace and the corpse in front of his crying emperor brother. This proves that the corpse is no other than his beloved Lin Xulian. Although his body is trembling and his knees are about to give out, Feng Jun Yun slowly backed out and hid as far as possible.
When he is finally alone, he let his body fall into a kneeling position and cried silently while holding his aching heart. He didn't just lose his beloved woman. He also lost his purpose in life. The only reason left why he wanted to be the emperor.
****** The fifth prince didn't know that someone witnessed his breakdown.
Xing Baihe's eyes dimmed when she realized the fact that the fifth prince also loves Lin Xulian. She coincidentally witnessed how broken hearted Feng Jun Yun is when she passed by to also look at the situation of the Phoenix Place after she received the news. 'She's dead now anyway.' Xing Baihe thought while secretly smiling coldly.