At the Noble Consort’s Feet


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Li Zhi was reborn as a curse, destined to bring ruin to an empire already in decline.

At the age of fifteen, her ethereal beauty caught the attention of Prince Rui, who fell in love at first sight, and beseeched the Empress Dowager to arrange a union between them.

At the age of sixteen, Li Zhi’s unparalleled allure captivated the heart of the reigning Emperor, who resorted to abominable tactics to abduct her as his own concubine and keep her hidden away in a gilded palace.

With the Emperor’s favor, she rose to the position of a highly sought-after Noble Consort that was envied by all.

Only she knew…

In three years’ time, the Emperor and Prince Rui would turn against each other, and their once great empire would be ravaged by war.

As they fled, a formidable army of one hundred thousand soldiers stood in their way, pleading with the Emperor to order the execution of the treacherous Noble Consort. The Emperor could not bear to see her suffer such a fate, yet in the end, he offered her a three-foot length of white silk. Without hesitation, Li Zhi turned to Pei Ji and flung herself into his protective embrace.

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9 Reviews sorted by

New kejserinde rated it
September 5, 2023
Status: c123
It's a wonderful story. I find the mature and accepting love heartwarming. Despite being set in wartime, a period often associated with darkness in many political series, I didn't find it uncomfortable to read. Overall, I highly recommend this story.
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stony27 rated it
May 4, 2023
Status: Completed
Omg i've read the mtl of this before. It's been a few months so I can only remember parts of their name but I think I can try to summarize after reviewing. I think it's a solid uhhhhh 4? At best? It was rather mediocre in terms of premise originality, I just happened to like how it's one of only published and completed adultery novels I could find. The translation is also very good thus far and I do recommend everyone give it a try since it's actually pretty fun.... more>> FL isn't very interesting outside of being beautiful and kind and ML was the stereotypical ice cube that eventually melts type of guy BUT!!! It didn't have a lot of silly plot holes so it was entirely readable, just not particularly riveting.

Be warned btw, this novel contains adultery and overlapping s*xual relationships.


Li Zhi (FL) was an orphan who was raised to adulthood by her aunt and uncle in the capital alongside her full blooded elder sister and male and female cousins. Her extended family was a greedy bunch and basically prepped her and her beautiful sister to be seductresses through "lewd" dance lessons and other courtesan arts from a young age so they could pimp them out to curry favor with the rich. FL's sister ended up falling in love with someone whose identity wasn't good enough for the extended family's tastes so they split up the couple and prepared the sister to be sent as a concubine to some powerful old geezer. The sister refused her fate but ended up crippled in her escape attempt. The family was very angry at her but by chance, FL happened to be seen and admired by Rui Wang. His impression of her was so great that he immediately wanted to marry her as his wife despite her lackluster background and quickly got the Dowager Empress's consent. Because of this, FL's weight in the family changed and so they didn't dare to treat her sister harshly anymore. FL endured her reluctance to be sent around like a gift because of her love for her sister. (Here's an anecdote of their childhood to show how they grew up. When the girls first came to the family, they refused to take the demeaning dance lessons ordered by the aunt and uncle. The elder sister was very proud and would not budge despite being starved and beaten for her insolence. In the end, the sister cracked and acquiesced because FL almost fell into a well and died after she tried to get water to quench her thirst.)

On the day of FL's wedding, Rui Wang's full blooded elder brother, the Emperor, caught sight of FL and immediately became infatuated. He took her away to a temple with some bullsh*t excuse and proceeded to force himself on her for days on end. Rui Wang was humiliated by the turn of events and the Dowager Empress was furious that her two sons were feuding over a woman. In this life, FL had grown disillusioned with the Emperor and his "love" and hatched a plan to eventually leave the palace. Somehow, this ended up involving recruiting the help of the Emperor's biao cousin, ML General Pei Ji (son of the Grand Elder Princess/Emperor's paternal aunt). At first, Pei Ji was disgusted by FL and blamed her for his cousins' disharmony, but after a few repeat encounters and shenanigans, he eventually came to sympathize with her. During all this, the Emperor winded up securing his mother's passive consent to officially bring FL into the palace as a consort by promising to make her barren and render her a paper tiger in case of future power struggles. FL resented his arbitrary decision making but appeared docile and submissive to his face at all times. After she entered the palace, she attracted the envy and jealousy of the other consorts by becoming the near-exclusive recipient of the Emperor's love and favour. The highest ranking woman in the harem before that was a shufei (i forgot her family name) who truly loved the Emperor. She was very heartbroken to learn of his new beloved but was determined to not act rashly as to make him think badly of her (oh thank god... I don't rlly like harem intrigue and this novel had very little bits of them) the palace had no Empress so shufei had been the de facto leader of the harem before this, but when FL entered the harem, she was bestowed the title guifei, a position higher than shufei. Although FL was guifei, she was a recluse and did not take the initiative to snatch power from shufei so for the most part, they were able to coexist no probs.

During an imperial banquet one night, General Pei ended up succumbing to the schemes of the Princess Royal (??? Forgot her title. She's the Emperor's full blooded sister and is General Pei's cousin) by ingesting an aphrodisiac. The princess was in love with him (one-sidedly) and intended to force him to marry her by creating a s*xual encounter between them. Unfortunately for her, the plans got thwarted and General Pei ended up going to FL for "help" to resolve the problem in his pants while the princess was unknowingly defiled by FL's cousin who mistook her for an ambitious palace maid. When the incident came to light, General Pei claimed that he resolved his situation through sheer will-power and a cold shower while the princess had no explanation for her having a man in her bed. They couldn't kill FL's cousin to silence him because it wouldn't bring back the princess's chastity and might even deprive her potential child of a father, so they ended up having to get married. The marriage would later turn out tumultuous (violence, adultery, abortion (or was it miscarriage? Not sure but it was a messy affair) etc...) but who cares amirite back to FL.

FL secured General Pei's promise to help her using of his guilt, pity and budding love for her. He ended up buying her a house faraway from the capital, arranging her finances, bringing updates on her sister... all while sleeping with her during the time the Emperor's not within the premises. His relationship with the Imperial Family and official position made it easy for him to enter and leave the palace unobstructed and unsuspected.

During this time, relations between Rui Wang and the Emperor worsened as Rui Wang still hated his brother for stealing his wife while the Emperor was bitter that his whole life, he's had to give up many things he liked except the throne to his mother's favorite younger son. He held suspicion that FL longed for her intended husband as well despite FL repeatedly assuring him she's never so much as had a conversation with Rui Wang prior to the wedding. Rui Wang was so ANNOYING he kept pestering her after she entered the palace and putting her in difficult situations despite her trying to tell him she didn't want to leave with him (tactfully... because these men don't seem to take clear cut rejection very well). Rui Wang would eventually turn against his brother at the instigation of some... sh*t stirrer general idk and then leave for the borders to secretly raise troops. He felt emasculated by his brother's actions and believed that power was the only tool to get what he wanted regardless of consequence.

In the palace, FL endured criticism and hostility from everyone around her as they accused her of confusing the Emperor and facilitating nepotism. This was because her nasty ass uncle's family got ennobled with a Dukedom despite her actively trying to prevent them from climbing up. The Emperor acted without her input again and gave her uncle a position thinking it would please her, disregarding how bad it would make her look to his people. Later on, she would also be accused of pushing shufei into the water. Shufei had just been diagnosed as pregnant prior to that and people suspected she was jealous. The Emperor knew it wasn't her but still treated her like a suspect as to not piss his mother and court off. FL wasn't bothered by his disfavor and used the new free time to... cultivate feelings with her lover. After the case and her innocence got cleared up, FL used the Emperor's unfair treatment of her to guilt him into staying away. She brought up her forced infertility, criticism against her for monopolizing his favor and delaying heirs, and alleged nepotism as reasons why she's discontent. The Emperor guiltily accepted her complaints and left her alone for some time. They stopped being intimate from this time on. FL began to open up to General Pei some more, making him develop deeper feelings for her. At some point, he came to learn of her forced infertility and the physical agony the aggressive medicine wreaked on her body, so he secretly smuggled her to a doctor outside who began to cure her. Eventually, the Emperor grew tired of pushing her away and tried to reconcile with her, only for her to treat him coldly. In a fit of emotion, he told her to go back to her natal family to oversee her sister's wedding (sister managed to marry her beloved after some twists and turns and support from General Pei), an order than many people believed to be a signal of her loss of favor.

After the wedding was completely, the Emperor left the palace to personally meet her and beg for her forgiveness in a private setting, only to be rejected again. He disregarded her feelings and ordered her to return to the palace, breaking the hope that FL had that she could use the time away from the palace to escape. In the palace, FL continued to refuse the Emperor's visits. Her female cousin was jealous of her grand looking life and sought to become a concubine too by seducing the Emperor. The Emperor was disgusted by her disloyalty to her family member but bedded her anyway as to humiliate her. He didn't intend on canonizing her as an imperial concubine and meant to send her back in the morning (after everyone knew she spent a whole night in his palace) to ruin her, thinking FL would be pleased with her treacherous cousin's fate. Contrary to his expectations, FL told him how once again, his arbitrary actions would only serve to harm her and her reputation. Her cousin being sent back in this manner would incite rumours what she was the reason for this and that she was jealous, unfilial to the elders, and ungrateful to the family who brought her up.

The incident ended with her having another reason to be cold to the Emperor, so he became angry and took his anger out on the cousin by making her a concubine, but gave her an ambiguous title that made it seem like she was an ordinary nobleman's wife and not a member of the imperial harem. He visited her frequently and used her as a replacement for FL, but made her position shabby and look like an outside mistress to humiliate and depress her.

Outside the capital, war was brewing because Rui Wang was coming back with an army to usurp his brother's throne. The news eventually reached everyone and FL is blamed from the war despite her only being the needle that broke the camel's back. More stuff happened, and the Emperor finally learned that FL had been having an affair behind his back the entire time. He summoned her to his quarters and prepared to "send her off" but got interrupted by Pei Ji who rushed there fresh out of battle after hearing his beloved was going to be punished. The Emperor was very shaken seeing his unemotional cousin holding a woman so tenderly. At this point, the two men's relationship had already broken down irretrievably for reasons unrelated to FL and was hanging by a mere string (Pei Ji's father made him swear to be loyal and fight for his country). Emperor's growing paranoia and callous treatment of the old but loyal ministers (that also included Pei Ji's father) chilled the officials' heart and gave rise to sh*t stirrer ladder climbers like shufei's natal family. Pei Ji admitted to the affair on site and told him that he would continue to fight against the opportunistic invaders for the country's sake but would no longer intervene with him and his brother's war with each other.

Eventually, Rui Wang would die from his own general (I think) while the Emperor died from shufei's schemes. Shufei had a son by him and became worried for her son's future when she saw how unstable and indecisive the Emperor was. Her powerful natal family used her fears to instigate her into killing the Emperor and installing their son as the new monarch. This would turn out to be short-lived as Pei Ji would later return to unite the country divided by war as its leader and declare himself the new Emperor.

Oh... anyways in the mean time FL also eventually overcame her mental barriers and self imposed single wamunhood during her time waiting for him in the war, unsure of when and if she would ever see him again each time she said goodbye. They got married properly and she became her legal wife and mother of their children, the end blah blah.

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nanfeng rated it
June 14, 2023
Status: Completed
First, highly recommend reading this - it's nothing really new but you'll love it. Much gratitude to the translator for bringing us this gem (also, can we just pause and applaud this translation and posting speed! A whole book was translated very well for that matter in more than just a month. Thank you)

Found this gem three days ago and binged it all at once. In many ways, it's cliche but in some - very important - ways presents a unique plot line that holds your attention till the... more>> very last word. It is these parts that made this story much more enjoyable - it presents us with a conundrum from the start and we can't help but keep on reading chapter after chapter to see how it will all unravel. Though the second part was not as good as the first as it lost that sense of mystery and descriptive storytelling of the first part, the novel remained satisfying to read till the end.

The key point that made me read this story and makes me recommend it is that FL is a welcome relief from all those purity-obsessed girls we typically find in CNovels. Loved that she and the ML were not obsessed with virginity and purity.

in fact, I wholly rooted for their adultery and found FL's decision to use her beauty and sexuality as a tool commendable. She got a rebirth but she was still the same powerless, beautiful woman from a low class family being shuttled between these powerful brothers. She didn't gain any superpowers, so it makes sense that she used her one asset - beauty - to seduce ML, take back some control of her life, get herself some agency, and ensure her future.

Even if you don't typically like adultery stories, you should read this. Because what is moral and morality when one is struggling to just ensure their basic survival?

The author wanted to explore these grey lines of morality and they do it so well even in all the characters. All the characters were grey and remained so throughout the novel. There were no outright bad villains, just a whole lot of self-interested individuals who were looking to make best of the situation as they perceive it to be from their viewpoints. Hence, even the villains had moments when they saw their own incompetence and lack of options. No one was super powerful; everyone had limitations that they had to deal with whether we disliked them or loved them.

I also loved the FL and ML. They had great communication and great chemistry - though I would have loved some more showing rather than just telling us the FL is world-topplingly beautiful and this is why the ML fell for her. If you like novels where the ML pampers the FL, this is one for you. He spoils her rotten AND respects her opinions and decision-making, treating her as an equal partner in their relationship. I don't think they had any misunderstandings at once they really got together. It was interesting that

the FL mentioned that although the ML respects her, even he still deeply believes that men should rule the world. So although the ML was being written a bit too perfect for my liking, it was nice that they gave us this tidbit.


Something that befuddled me, and maybe it's just translation, but it seems that the author tittered on the boundary of transmigration and rebirth and although its stated that she was reborn, she sometimes speaks like she is from different era altogether. That said, if it was truly rebirth as I took it to be, I loved that Li Zhi did not unrealistically waste it focusing on revenger but used it to give herself longevity and a good life.

overall score: 4.4 <<less
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eating_oyster rated it
May 4, 2023
Status: c15
Thank goodness someone has picked up on this! This is by far my favorite novel from the author. I actually machine-translated it a couple of years ago, and I'm grateful I won't have to do it again. Please, please finish it!

After reading this novel, I remember researching infamous consorts who were responsible for the "downfall of the country." I don't recall the name, but I believe one of them may have served as the prototype for the FL. Women in ancient times truly endured a cruel fate, especially those from... more>> lowly backgrounds. In such a society, what options did they have to escape their predetermined destiny, as revealed in their dreams? The FL in this novel didn't have any "grand schemes". She lacked the means and resources to do so. However, she possessed a beautiful face, and what better way to use it than as a weapon?

What I admire about the author is that she doesn't follow the trend of face-slapping. It's refreshing to see an FL who is practical and realistic, rather than suddenly becoming a genius after time-traveling or reincarnating. <<less
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luxannefelix rated it
May 19, 2023
Status: c90
In this fictional dynasty, women have a lot more freedom and our FL doesn't put a lot of emphasis on virginity or keeping pure for the ml. She is very pragmatic, level headed and decisive. I like that she cares about herself and is sympathetic to the plight of other women; while she empathize with them, she decisively doesn't risk herself to help them.

In terms of emotions, the FL is very much a dom, ML knows she's no feelings for him yet lets her use him. Snippet ... more>>

"He felt like a fish on a chopping board, helpless and at the mercy of the person holding the blade. And she was the one wielding the knife"

He is also very emotionally mature and cares about his family. Its so refreshing to read two emotionally mature people work through their slow burn relationship and the tension around them.

This novel has the opposite of flat characters, the main cast's personalities are so different from each other. I like that there are neither clear cut victims nor villains. Just regular grey human beings. Ps. I find it totally unfair to rate a novel if u mtl it. Broken translation and the meaning gets lost. <<less
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potatosince1992 rated it
July 9, 2023
Status: --
This novel is so tense, omg.

It's rife with politics, and power struggle of men in power.

It's honestly a first for me. When I read ancient novels like this, it's usually women vs women but I'm pleasantly surprised that's not the case here.

... more>> If you're looking for romance though this is not it. Our FL is realistic and wouldn't fall in love easily and even if she did, it's not her priority.

Afterall, she's a prisoner to her beauty and charm, blamed for atrocities of men. She's on survival mode and I love that about her, but also I feel sorry for her.

General Pei is a dream come true. If only she transmigrated earlier to avoid all this pitiful circumstances, but oh well. <<less
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Mariad rated it
June 13, 2023
Status: Completed
a very sweet novel and it can be seen that the female protagonist just wants to escape from the cage and stop being an object, the male protagonist is also very sweet at first he did not believe her that she just wants to escape heavy that she was only manipulating him but time passes and the two realize that they need each other, I wish it was longer but I thought the ending is very good.
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dramamonster rated it
August 10, 2023
Status: Completed
Not my cup of tea, but 4 stars for the excellent completed translation and the logical plot. If you like fluffy romance, look elsewhere.

Li Zhi and her sister are gorgeous orphans. Their greedy aunt and uncle raise them to be future concubines for rich men (rather than proper wives). Prince Rui sees 15-year-old Li Zhi, falls in love at first sight, and gets married to her.

On the wedding day, the Emperor (Prince Rui's bro) falls in love with Li Zhi at first sight and steals her away.

Then, the modern FL... more>> transmigrates into the body of Li Zhi. AND also dreams of the rest of Li Zhi's life, including the Emperor callously calculating and ordering Li Zhi's death a few years later.

While the Emperor is sleeping with Li Zhi (there is no explicit smut, just lots and lots of fade-to-black type scenes), the FL formulates a plan to seduce the ML, General Pei (the Emperor and Prince Rui's cousin), as her escape plan.


FL knows the future from her dream, but does nothing to prevent it other than arranging General Pei (ML) as her escape route, and packing her things a few days earlier when it's time to leave. The rest - invasions, the Emperor's decline, etc. - She doesn't bother to avoid. Other than sleeping with the Emperor and the General Pei, and staying in her quiet area, the FL is extremely passive.

So, FL is sleeping with the Emperor and General Pei lots, Emperor's health declines, politics war politics, fight for the throne, etc.

Aside from jealous cousins and princesses, the women are mature and chill in the story - and that makes sense, since the men make a mess of things already, there's no need for harem politics.

I guess the novel didn't appeal to me that much because most of the start is the super-gorgeous beautiful seductive 15-year-old FL dealing with all the powerful men like a seasoned pro, and very little insight/emotions going on inside the FL. It was hard to feel connected to anyone in the story. The Emperor, Prince Rui were both entitled scumbags, the General was insta-love (he was happy to fall for her), and most of the story is about the decline of the dynasty and the fast rise of the new. But it's a HE. 2 years later, the 17-year-old FL and ML get married, ML is now the new Emperor, and he promises to be monogamous.

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chande rated it
July 14, 2023
Status: Completed
I usually didn't like this novel's type of MC, not because I valued chasity but because I didn't like how she hurted others for her own gain. However, after I read this story, I couldn't help but to sympathize with MC because she didn't have much choice as a woman in feudal era other than to use ML in order to survive. She took a gamble on ML who was upright but didn't expect that he would fall in love with her and vice versa.

Although I still didn't like how... more>> MC often hurted ML's heart but ML was an adult man and he could choose to walk away if he couldn't bear it anymore but in the end, he's willingly being used by MC. MC also didn't treat him poorly even though most of the time, she left him hanging. But what could she do since she's still the emperor's consort. The interaction between them was mostly passionate but don't expect some details though since this wasn't a sm*t novel.

As for the ending, thankfully, it's a happy ending but please note that there were some extras after the main story ended. You could donate to the translator to read it or you could simply read the MTL. <<less
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