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1 A Difficult Birth

    The capital was shrouded it in days of rain. It has been raining for three consecutive days, accompanied by sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning. The entire palace was in chaos, in the Shuixian Palace, there were place maids and imperial doctors scrambling around as if their lives depended on it. From within the chamber, there were many maids who came and went, in each of their hands they were carrying a basin of water dyed crimson with blood. The atmosphere was dark and gloomy, for they all knew what would happen if Consort Ning were to perish tonight. The people of the Shui Xian Palace were fearful for their lives and their families lives.

    Within the luxurious chambers, the floor was made of glistening marble, the curtains made of finest silks. Lying on the large mahogany bed was a woman, she was about twenty years old, her beautiful face was soaked in perspiration, she was lying with her body limp on the bed. Her endless struggles had stopped and the bedding around her was stained with red. The child that had come out of her was in one of the wet nurse's arms, the child was also unresponsive, as it had its eyes closed, its body deathly still.

    The imperial physicians and the midwives silently looked at each other, at the young woman on the bed who was no longer breathing.

    They all had a mutual understanding.

    They had failed to save both mother and child, Consort Ning and the young prince had died under their care. Although Consort Ning was only the daughter of an insignificant fourth ranking official, she was doted on heavily by the emperor, he would pamper her and with the Emperor's care, the Ning Clan quickly rose to be one of the noblest Clans within a short period of time. One could see how much the Emperor favored this woman, yet she had died under their care.

    It couldn't have been helped, Consort Ning had died due to birth complications, as the child exited the womb, he had already died. They were all uncertain of what to do, the Emperor was waiting just outside the doors, he had been waiting for this child, every day he would come over and stay by her side, he had even begun reading poems to the child, hoping this child would be a talent when he grew up.

    They all understood, they would all be buried along with consort Ning.

    ~

    Within the Imperial study, the Emperor was pacing around the marble floor, his footsteps frightened the eunuchs and palace servants so much, after all, no one could stand the wrath of the dragon if the birth went wrong. If the master was unhappy, their heads would leave their shoulders.

    The Emperor was a man in his thirties with an awe-inspiring aura. A powerful and domineering ruler who struck fear into the hearts of all those who see him. His loyal subjects respect him, even his enemies cannot help but admire him.

    "Your majesty, your majesty!" A high pitch voice sounded, it was eunuch Hong who personally attend to the Emperor, he was prepared to bow in ceremony.

    "No need for ceremony, tell Zhen, how did it go?" The Emperor had lost his patience and stopped his servant from greeting him.

    "Consort Ning she... she..." Eunuch Hong did not know how to break the terrible news to the emperor.

    "Quickly tell Zhen!" The Emperor ordered, he had become impatient after listening to eunuch Hong stutter.

    "Consort Ning died, your Majesty!" Eunuch Hong cried.

    "What?" The Emperor's loud voice resounded in the imperial study.

    "Your majesty!" All the servants bowed down to the floor not daring to hold up their heads. They dare not answer, for they were certain the next person who spoke would lose their head.

    What he said next calmed them down. "Summon the head imperial physician." The Emperor ordered. At least they would not lose their heads, as for the head imperial physician...

    That was hard to say.
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