Yo! Here I am, only a day off Sunday. It would have been up yesterday, but my mum is changing the wallpaper in the kitchen, so I spent yesterday scraping the old one off while wearing a face mask because I’m allergic to dust. Fun times. So I had to get the last few pages done today. Finished like an hour ago and my brain hurts, blegh. Kept mistyping all the time, so beware any typos.
Anyways, enjoy the blooming of feelings at last~
“With this my insignificant story is at an end,” the Blessed Consort Bu who was faintly smiling as her tears overflowed seemed at this moment the most beautiful she has ever been.
Blessed Consort Bu died by strangling herself.
In the evening immediately after the victorious army lead by Kishoh had returned, she had hung herself among the trees in the garden behind the backs of the eunuch soldiers that had been watching over her.
In Yoh country, the two options for capital punishment of a concubine by the Emperor were taking poison or hanging. In other words it was choosing either swallowing poison herself or being strangled by a eunuch with a silk cloth.
Blessed Consort Bu rejected both of these choices, and severed her own life before punishment was issued to her by Kishoh.
Such a time of death was very like the prideful Blessed Consort Bu. They had a conflicting relationship, but Sekka could not hate the woman.
For people, there exists fate that they can’t do anything against. Blessed Consot Bu and Kishoh were probably fated to be on confronting sides.
Sekka did not understand why in the end the woman had been anxious to speak with him who was clearly her rival in love. He thought what she had spoken of had been merely her true feelings and not a falsehood.
Blessed Consort Bu had made a resolution, accepted her own fate and died. For the woman, there had been nothing she could do, and regretfully it had been a thing of pride. He could not suppress his tears when he thought of the very young Bunshoh, but now he could only pray for the happiness of both people in the next world.
According to Eishun, aside from the injury a few days ago, Kishoh was safe and had not gotten hurt. However, after receiving the notice of Kishoh’s return, there had been no sort of orders, and Sekka had been disappointed.
Because of such a serious affair as the suppression of the Prime Minister’s rebellion, there would probably be a celebratory feast tonight. He who had expected to shortly thereafter to see him when Kishoh returned seemed foolish.
While he made Shohen and Baigyoku anxious for him due to his bad appetite, the evening meal ended, and just as his expectations began to change into dejection there came summons from Kishoh.
He wondered if one might think he would happily come running when summoned. He wondered, really, did he understand how long he had been fretting.
He thought about contrary things and rejecting the summons, but the feeling of wanting to see Kishoh’s face and make sure he was fine won. Just as he understood he could see Kishoh, his throbbing heartbeat eloquently expressed Sekka’s true feelings.
He took a bath, made preparations, and rode in the palanquin towards the Shibi Palace. Just because he had previously been summoned without even two evenings in between, he had a very nostalgic feeling.
When he nervously entered the living room, Kishoh was writing a letter. As expected he had taken off his battle garments, and had changed into the familiar black robe, but despite having just returned, he was busy.
“It has been a long time since we last met. How have you been?”
As Sekka took his bow with folded arms, Kishoh asked bluntly without raising his head. The hands were brusque and masculine, but the handwriting was carefree and elegant.
Because it has always been like that, he did not care to get angry. Far from that, just by seeing the unchanged figure of Kishoh writing with a brush, indescribable relief and joy welled up within him.
It was great…he was safe…
Kishoh had chased away the uneasiness Sekka had felt during his absence. But what was the feeling that filled his chest instead, Sekka had already understood.
Up until now he’d been at his wits end set adrift by the wheel of fate, only lamenting it as misfortune. However, now he was no longer running away from what destiny had bestowed upon him. The meeting with Blessed Consort Bu had made Sekka make a decision.
“I hope you returned safe…”
“Unfortunately for you, right?”
He tried to express his congratulatory words, but was interrupted by Kishoh. It could not be helped he thought as such considering Sekka’s speech and conduct up till now.
“That is not true.”
“Isn’t it strange for you to deny it so seriously,” Kishoh laughed using only his lips. His heart could do nothing but flutter at the sarcastic expression that was, however, filled with masculine charm.
As it looked like he had finished writing, Kishoh put the brush away, and beckoned Sekka closer. The smell of clothes perfumed with incense was fragrant.
“We heard you met with Blessed Consort Bu.”
Eishun had probably informed him. If that’s the case, it was clear he was aware of the contents of Sekka’s conversation with Consort Bu as well. The woman’s and Bunshoh’s last moments should probably rather be left unsaid.
Kishoh did not allude to that parent and child any more than that, and pouring the prepared alcohol into glass cups offered it to Sekka. Deeply crimson grape wine shook in the cup made of clear lapis lazuli ferried from the western regions.
Kishoh poured grape wine in his own cup, and distinctly raised it in an indication for a toast .
 Not meant as a celebratory toast, but a toast in honor of something or in this case someone. Just saying in case someone misunderstands.
Sekka followed Kishoh and raised his cup, tasting the wine. The rich flavor of the grape wine that he had drunk once or twice spread in his mouth.
Was this a congratulatory cup for subjugating the rebellion, or was it a drink for the repose of Blessed Consort Bu’s and Bunshoh’s souls? Kishoh’s expression flashing in the candlelight was somber, and no note of happiness over winning a battle peeked through.
It was the same when he had overthrown Ka. There had been no triumph, but rather Sekka recalled the man had been so calm he’d made Sekka feel humiliated.
He had thought it was because the man was merciless and cruelly callous, but it was probably wrong. Kishoh mercilessly suppressed people who defied him, but he was not the sort of human being who enjoyed aimlessly spilling blood.
With having had sex many times during these few months, Sekka had seen through the cool-headed face Kishoh wears to the true feelings underneath if even just a little.
“However, about things after this.”
Kishoh who had raised the cup in silence abruptly began to speak.
“If you want to leave the Inner Palace, it’s fine to leave.”
For a moment he had not understood what Kishoh had said. He could not read the expression on Kishoh’s profile cast in shadows. Just as he had thought he finally had begun to understand this man a little bit, he again became distant.
“You can’t give your name as Prince Sekka, or return to Ka, but other than that if you have any other desires We will grant them.”
The barely squeezed out voice sounded like it belonged to someone else.
“Is it because you’ve purged Prime Minister Bu’s group and so have finished using me, you tell me to leave?”
“It is not like that. We’re saying that if it your desire, We will release you.”
As if Sekka’s reply had been unexpected, Kishoh’s expression became unusually surprised. He had immediately denied it, but that voice was distant as well.
Sekka had entered the Inner Palace pretending to be Imperial Princess Shungetsu, had been given the title of Honorable Consort and the First Prince had been made his adopted child. It was clear that Kishoh’s goal had been to incite the parent and child Prime Minister Bu and Blessed Consort Bu by setting Sekka up as the favored concubine like that and once they’d acted catch the whole herd with one throw.
Seeing that the objective had been achieved, the favored concubine ‘Honorable Consort Li’ was not needed. In Kishoh’s case, from the start he had been just a sex partner that had a rare body. With reasons such as losing interest in him and having fulfilled his duty, even if Sekka was being discarded it was not strange.
The day Talented Person Chou had attacked him, as Kishoh had told him of his mother the Empress Dowager while gazing at the fireflies dancing over the pond, Sekka had had the sort of feeling that even if only a little a connection of hearts had been made. However, that had been Sekka’s illusion.
His home country had been destroyed, and he had been forcibly taken to the enemy country Yoh, and at first Sekka’s only reason for existence had been revenge. But before he noticed, Kishoh had penetrated that obstinately armed heart.
Ironically, the one who had released him from the yoke that had bid him since he was born had been his bitter enemy Kishoh. He thought since he had uncovered his secret, only in front of Kishoh he did not have to keep up appearances, and could be his own plain self.
Wasn’t it fine for him to live not as a woman or a man, but himself?
However, in the future he won’t be able to either carry out the revenge, or fulfill the wish entrusted to him by his mother to revive their family.
That is, if kept on living in this country by Kishoh’s side…
For Sekka who had never wished for or desired something, this has been his first wish since the moment he was born. However, as soon as he had become aware of his feelings towards Kishoh, the man told Sekka he was going to release him. It was the same as saying he was not needed or forsaking him.
There was no place where he belonged…a jumbled up feeling of sadness and despair welled up in the depths of his chest. His vision became hot, and began to shake in insecurity.
Kishoh emitted in a baffled voice. Finding it strange, when he raised his head, he found dismay that was unlike this man on his face.
Even this man can make such a face…?
“Why are you crying? You have probably wanted to leave the Inner Palace?”
With that, Sekka finally noticed he himself was crying. The warmth wetting his cheeks had been tears.
Why had he shown tears in front of this man? There was a limit for being effeminate as well.
The evidence of the fact not only his body had been subjugated, but that his heart had also been changed was mortifying.
Sekka rose from the chair without saying anything and was about to go towards the doors, but before he could take a few steps, his wrist was seized by Kishoh who had followed him and he was detained. His incorrigible heartbeat that became faster from the sensation of the flexible fingers and the body temperature that was higher than his was vexing.
“Please let me go. You probably don’t need someone like me…”
“I do need you.”
Being replied to immediately, Sekka felt ashamed. In spite of forcibly entering him into the Inner Palace, Kishoh told him to leave. As he was about to turn around, he met Kishoh’s earnest gaze.
“From now on too We want to place you near Us. To be brutally honest, it’s to the degree We wish to lock you up forever so that no one’s gaze can touch upon you. However, you probably do not desire to be kept by Our side.”
If it was the previous Sekka who had harbored a desire for revenge, it was clear he would have resisted exclaiming how despotic it was. However, now, he had become aware of his feelings towards Kishoh, and seeing the ardor in the man’s gaze, and the desire to monopolize laid bare in the words he said, Sekka’s chest shook in surreptitious happiness.
To that extent, it became frustrating that Kishoh had not noticed Sekka’s feelings. However, he understood that half of it was his own fault for having taken a hard hearted attitude.
“You do not know anything about my feelings.”
“That is true.”
When he rebuked Kishoh while wiping his tears in the cuff of his night-clothes, Kishoh feebly responded in self-deprecation. It was a timid expression unlike the haughty man who had great confidence in himself.
It was unfair…how could he make such a face…?
Kouki’s words a few days ago crossed his mind. It was true, Kishoh was a man with an unfair amount of charm. It was aggravating, but he could only admit it.
“What I’m saying is that I…want to be here by your side.”
Kishoh stiffened like he’d been hit by a lie. He was too surprised, and Sekka began to feel awkward.
Had he been too shameless, or had he after all been too annoying? He halfway regret it, but now he could only move forward.
“For you, I’m probably just a rare thing, but…”
“You, have you really not noticed?”
What had he not noticed? As his wet eyelashes flickered, Kishoh’s expression became somewhat angry, somewhat troubled.
“We fell in love with you at first sight. Since the moment We first met you in that forest.”
In front of his eyes materialized a man that resembled a black gale. The striking chance meeting with Kishoh was still seared into his memory. He would probably not forget it as long as he lived.
However, even though Kishoh had said it was love at first sight, he could not believe it so suddenly. At that time Kishoh had not seemed to have much interest in him.
“Is it a lie?”
“It’s the truth.”
As if vexed by his words being doubted, Kishoh answered indignantly.
“You were so beautiful We could only mistake you not for a human, but a heavenly nymph. To the point you stole Our heart at first glance…but then, we did not realize that about Ourselves for quite a while, however.”
Being told he was beautiful so directly, Sekka’s cheeks reddened. He had never taken notice of any value in his outer appearance, but if it pleased Kishoh, he was happy.
“Even while pale faced you firmly defended your maids, and scowled at Us. It was the same when the war prisoner had testified you were the Imperial Princess Shungetsu. You were foremost anxious about the state of the prisoner. Without any concern for yourself, you tried to protect a person below yourself. Learning of your dignified, prideful character that would yield to no one no matter the person, We were increasingly charmed by you.”
In a serious tone Kishoh opened up about his true feelings.
“However, at that point in time We still only thought you were Princess Shungetsu. After that, while the true state of affairs in Ka was being investigated, a suspicion whether you were not Prince Sekka rose. In reality, when We discovered your true identity We were surprised.”
As if recalling the first night at Gyokuyoh Palace, Kishoh’s eyes had a bit of a faraway look.
“We thought We could make you Our own if We embraced you, but We were not even a little bit satisfied. Even though We embraced you again and again, it was not enough. The feeling of hunger only grew stronger. Eventually, We realized Our own true desire. We wanted to have your heart. Whether you were a princess or prince, we desired all of you. Even though We knew it would not come true, that was Our only wish.”
Kishoh spoke of it in plain words. Then, had Kishoh really wanted him since the very beginning? While Sekka was perplexed, unable to yet believe him, a bittersweet smile rose on Kishoh’s face.
“We knew that as long as you had a goal like revenge, you would probably attempt to live. Even though We were detested, We did not want to let you die.”
He wondered if threatening him by using his maids and the soldiers who had become prisoners of war had been all for the sake of not letting him die. Certainly, because they had been taken as hostages, he had no choice but to abandon suicide.
“If We put you in the Inner Palace, We could isolate you from the outside world. When We gave you the title of Honorable Consort, and made the First Prince your adopted child, Our intention as an Emperor was clear. People that do you wrong are the same as the ones who go against the Emperor. We understood we would be provoking Blessed Consort Bu and Prime Minister Bu, but We thought We could protect you. It had been unexpected that they would act so daringly. I could not enough lament the fact you got hurt because of that.”
Kishoh’s brows wrinkled and his expression became filled with bitterness. However, the person in question Sekka could not right away recall the injury Kishoh was speaking of.
“When your throat was cut by the eunuch.”
Speaking fretfully, Kishoh grasped Sekka’s chin and made him look up. Being so near their breaths touched, he scrutinized Sekka’s throat.
“It hasn’t left a scar. That’s good.”
Having made sure of it with his own eyes, Kishoh sighed in relief. Because one would hesitate to call the gash an injury, there was no reason to think it would leave a scar.
“Is your left arm alright?”
“It’s no problem. It’s preferable to you getting injured.”
Kishoh declared with a serious face, and Sekka’s chest was pricked. As the real feeling that he was considered precious soaked in, he became bashful.
“In the case of the Talented Person Chou, We were able to protect you. However, We do not know if something will come up after this as well. We have self-confidence in most things, but not at all when it comes to you. We become scared when we think of losing you as well like We did Our mother when We were a child.”
“That’s why We thought to let you leave the Inner Palace…” expressing his mind, Kishoh’s gaze was full of unabashed pain, and Sekka’s chest tightened.
“But, thus I live. Thanks to you protecting me.”
Thinking about what he should say, his thoughts were in disorder, and spurred on by his feelings of love towards Kishoh, he could only continue “I…”
“My country, my family…everything was stolen by you.”
“It is like that.”
Kishoh laughed bitterly. Above the knowledge of the pain of loss, it was resignation at taking up the hatred of the person he had stolen from.
This did not mean Sekka had either forgiven this man’s deeds, or taken a philosophical look at the inevitability of Ka’s downfall. His mother, aunt and a large number of people had died in Yoh’s invasion. Thinking of the things he had lost, he was agonized by an incomprehensible feeling, and occasionally conflicted.
But still more than that, he was drawn to Kishoh. He did not want to deceive his own feelings and regret it.
This haughty, prideful man who carried the duty and the dignity of an Emperor on his back and was lonelier than anyone was precious to him. He wanted to nestle close to the life of the man who had declared he’d walk the path of military rule.
“Even if I leave the Inner Palace, I have nowhere to go…that’s why, please, put me by your side.”
His heart throbbed with chest piercing vigor. He wondered how good he felt about what he had said. While aggravatingly thinking of Kishoh being cautious at a crucial time as well, Sekka mustered his courage and declared.
“What I mean is I love you dearly.”
Kishoh groaned faintly. Suddenly he grabbed both of Sekka’s shoulders, and peered into his face as if trying to make sure of the true meaning of his words.
“Is that the truth?”
Backed by candlelight Kishoh’s expression was frightfully earnest. Even though Sekka faltered, just as he had received assent, Kishoh embraced him, and covered his lips.
It was a storm like embrace. Forcibly, his lips that had been vaguely open in surprise were parted, and a hot tongue pushed in.
Enveloped by the long missed warmth and smell of Kishoh, he was intoxicated. The soft flesh of his oral cavity was viscously licked, the sensitive palate and gums were persistently tormented, and he was filled with an indescribably pleasant feeling.
His tongue was drawn out, and entwined soundly. When his knees lost strength, he clung to the man’s back, and was repeatedly embraced with even more strength.
His head was seeped with heat, and he could think of nothing. The arm embracing him and the warmth he felt was everything.
“You are lovelier than anyone else.”
Letting go of the kiss, Kishoh looked at him with darkly heated eyes and whispered.
“We’ve done so many things. We had resigned Ourselves to not obtaining your heart. And in addition to that We had thought to set you free, but now We will not let you go…even if you change your mind.”
“I will not change my mind.”
There was no other man like Kishoh. Because it was Kishoh, meeting as enemies, Sekka had been captivated by him before he noticed it. If it had not been Kishoh, his heart would not have been stolen.
As he gazed at Sekka enveloped by sincere affection, Kishoh smiled broadly.
“While we were apart, We only thought of you.”
Whispering in a darkly sweet voice, Kishoh pushed his hips. Even over nightclothes the furious excitement was transmitted and Sekka’s cheeks were dyed in red.
“Tonight We will not go easy on you. Be prepared.”
Aww, aren’t they sweet…Idiots in love, if I do say so.
Next week on Secret Nights In The Inner Palace: The culmination of the story, the long awaited complete deflowering. Prepare the handkerchiefs ladies, cuz it’s gonna be hot, I warn you!!!
Anyways, there’s a bit more than 20 pages left, should be done in a couple of days, as long as I put in full-work days.
If, you like Japanese Bl translations and especially all those hot mxm scenes, consider supporting me on ko-fi! Every contribution is appreciated.