The Ugly Empress


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After ten years on the battlefield, Teng Yun sees Xue Junliang protecting his country and conquering new territory, while he himself ends up with an arrow through his heart. When he wakes up, he becomes that man’s Ugly Empress.

This is about a Prince who is captured as prisoner and killed, then he is reborn as his enemy country’s ugly empress. With his black-bellied King of a husband, they love and hate each other. They use every possible method. Chickens fly and dogs jump, from imperial harem to imperial court there is no peace. In the end, they bring peace and stability to the country.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Chǒu Niáng Niáng
Sửu Nương Nương
丑娘娘 [重生]
Related Series
Reborn as My Love Rival’s Wife (3)
The Demon King Always Thinks I’m Secretly In Love With Him (2)
War Prisoner (2)
Ban Lu Qin Jun (1)
Don’t You Like Me (1)
The Life After Marrying My Sworn Enemy (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. My favorite bl
  2. bl - ancient times
  3. Uno reverse card
  4. Male empress genre ( BL )
  5. High Quality BL: Recommendations and Rising Stars ...

Latest Release

Date Group Release
09/17/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c41
09/15/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c40
09/13/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c39
09/11/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c38
09/09/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c37
09/06/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c36
09/04/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c35
09/04/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c35
09/02/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c34
09/01/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c33
08/30/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c32
08/30/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c31
08/25/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c30
08/23/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c29
08/23/21 Chrysanthemum Garden c28
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34 Reviews sorted by

New Lulucute rated it
August 30, 2021
Status: Completed
I absolutely love this novel to the point I read it 5 times and shall always read it time and time again. I enjoyed everything about it so so much. Gosh how I wish there was another novels similar to this so I can experience this amazing journey all over again. Highly recommend!
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NoRestraint rated it
March 23, 2020
Status: v2c18
I was reading this novel on Wattpad. After the first book, the translator has suddenly gone mute. So when I found out that this novel was picked up by another translator, I was really happy. And a fast updater too. But the thing is I can't understand the translation at all. I tried to keep up until chapter 63 but I just couldn't understand what was going on with the story. Some phrases are weird. Sentences are complex. In fact, the whole translation is not stable. Like when we are... more>> reading as a third person POV, it suddenly has gone off trails and become I/We which greatly confuses me. I really tried hard to keep reading since I loved the story. But my head aches just by trying to comprehend what is happening. I know translator had put a lot of effort in the story. It's amazing to finish the whole story in barely one month. By saying this, I'm not trying to be rude. I just had to get it out of my chest. Haha. Well, if anyone can put up with this translation, go ahead. But I just can't. I really really love this novel. But I had to drop it because of translation. Maybe I'll re-read this novel if the previous translator becomes active again. For now, it's goodbye. <<less
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November 27, 2018
Status: --
So for anyone who feels not sure because of the Gender Bender's tag, don't be worry. I repeat. Don't be worry! There is really gay couple! And more than one! And doing more than kissing too! I repeat! The MC himself even still maintain his pride as a male even after he became the queen empress! I repeat! You should read it! You should support the translator!

The star will be given after I finish the story. Not because this is bad. This is a gem! A really good one for... more>> "male-to-female" trope! It's just my habit.

Throw love for this story! Translator-sama, update more fassssstttt!!!! /slapped


update: the MC jumping to a new body (male) after the queen body died! And there is papapa between him and the ML! Hehehehehehehe....

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sindea rated it
April 22, 2020
Status: v2c5
Ok, this is my 1st review, but I really felt the need to write this.

The story is great, I usually dont like yaoi/bl thats pure fluff and no story/sustenance. And this is definitely not that, this has a very interesting story!

BUT, as previous comments have mention, I dont want to be rude, but the Nastrumden translations are WAY sub-par.

... more>> Honestly, his translations feel like a 100% mtl translation straight from google Translate or something.

I understand ancient Chinese is incredibly hard to translate, which is why mtl translation DOES NOT work for this style. The moment I switched over to Nastrumden, I was completely at a loss for what is going.

The sentence structures and everything are SO INCOHERENT you have no idea who its talking about who and even what they are talking about.

The pronouns are in such a way that it makes no sense, and overall you just cant follow the story what so ever with his translations.

This literally went from reading a story I loved so much (with HillOH translations), to completely loosing immersion (Nastriumden), and I couldnt even read Nastrumden's translations.

To be honest, thats how bad it is. It is LITERALLY INCOHERENT.

He is of course free to translate and upload whatever he wishes as long at it does not hurt anyone.

However, it is just really saddening that because of his translations, other translators are discouraged to translate this (as it is already "translated"?), hence we may not get a version thats actually readable; which makes me incredibly sad, since this is such a good story. <<less
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Elizalovesbooks rated it
April 21, 2020
Status: v1
Thank god almighty that HillOH picked up the volume 2!!

This book was so good! Really loved it. Ther was good story building and the MC did not loose the characteristics of a male just because he was in a body of opposite sex. It is a bit of gender bender but from what I heard it is BL later on.. But I had to stop in between!

Going on a rant about the translator so people who don't want that please skip.

The other translator before HillOH has ruined so many, SO... more>> MANY books for me! I mean I get it that you are trying your level best and I know I might come out as rude, but this dude has ruined so many books! I mean you need to realize your translations aren't good and actual you need to edit or ask someone to edit for you or join another group where people would edit. This translator picked so many books and now no other group picks them up so they are essentially gone for English readers.. Uggghhh sorry I am on a rant but I have reached a limit. This translator is translating around 20-25 books which are ruined now! Dude just get an editor!! <<less
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earlgreyt rated it
October 7, 2019
Status: Completed
Update (response) to one of the reviewers: Did we even read the same book!? This novel is BL/yaoi, so please do not spread false information. Thanks.

... more>>

FYI, there are 6 couples, not 2. "Harem intrigue" also doesn't remotely come close to being the plot. Seriously sounds like the reviewer posted about the wrong book.


I definitely recommend this if you like a strong/independent MC who isn't feminized the usual way CN writers like to feminize BL protags (ironic since the MC is in a female body the first half of the story).

The MC is a very intelligent and incredibly capable general/strategist, so there are many scenes where the MC shines and successfully wins the battle or provides the winning battle strategy.

Despite the first half of the book being him transmigrated into the body of a woman, he doesn't act like one at all. It's quite easy to forget the MC's gender (kudos to the author for that) and readers get to see him as an individual instead.


The second half, the MC is in a male body, which is why this is tagged BL/yaoi. The romance only really begins when he is in a male body. The ML really does fall for the MC regardless of his gender, which is a very interesting plot point!


The romance is enemies-to-lovers and slow burn (which I love!). There's a lot of mutual manipulation and bantering back-and-forth which make for great character development as feelings deepen. It also doesn't take center-stage of the plot.

The plot is like a simplified version of Three Kingdoms. There are essentially 3 major countries (a 4th one does show up as a small side plot) in conflict with each other, featuring 3 main couples (+3 minor couples, 6 total).

The war/politics are pretty simple but still done well and it's entertaining to see the MC out-wit the other side. The interwoven country politics and battles make the moments of humor/banter and romance more enjoyable.


The ML is portrayed very similar to how you'd expect strong emperors to act: fairly ruthless yet pretending to be noble, speaking half-truths-half-lies, difficult to guess, never showing his true thoughts, good at manipulating the masses etc., which was something I enjoyed a great deal, but may not be for everyone.


The side characters are well-fleshed out, as well as their romances and motivations. There aren't a lot of cliche'd tropes here and people don't just exist to be faceslapped.

There's a lot about honor between gentleman, a kind of old-school historical feeling, so fallen enemies are more likely to be converted than straight-up killed, which is my jam.

PS. MC really isn't some heaven defying beauty (actually scarred/ugly) and characters aren't introduced with lengthy repetitive descriptions on how beautiful they are, so it's their actions that make them awesome, not their looks, which is absolutely a gem in CN ok?! <<less
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shi.aya rated it
June 19, 2020
Status: Completed
The novel is actually good. What ruined it was the second translator. No offense for the hardwork but poor choice of word can make the readers loss their reading taste and judge the novel according to how it was translated. Hope this will be repicked by some translators who will give justice to the author's work.
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softmatcha rated it
July 26, 2019
Status: v2c2
03/25/20 Update: Thank you so much HillOH for continuing your quality translation into Vol. 2! I almost shed a tear when I saw a recent update for this story - it's too good to not continue!

My review will probably change once Volume 2 is complete, but I will say this now: even after several weeks of finishing Volume 1 and twiddling my thumbs in wait, I still found The Ugly Empress very memorable. It stands out in its own right because, while following some very conventional tropes of its genre,... more>> it has a unique flair.

I enjoy the tense exchanges between the two main characters as they engage in a war of nerves. I really enjoy how compelling of a character Teng Yun is since he maintains a strong sense of self, even in the troubling circumstances he finds himself in. He's introverted and introspective, and very importantly the author makes it clear that despite his new body and identity, he is the man that he is. Alongside the complexity and depth of the minor and supporting characters - there is a lot of good to enjoy in this gem that prevents it from getting trite. Especially with that insane plot twist at the start of Volume 2. <<less
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March 21, 2020
Status: --
I'm going to be brutally honest here. There's a lot of speculation about the gender bender: it's a gender bender. It's historical shoujo. The MC won't magically grow a D again. With this you know that you're about to read.

I'm really not personally a fan of the harem intrigue shoujo stories that even make the modern high school girls seem moderate and well behaved. Unfortunately, it's like this. Very cliché.

The yaoi tag for this story is because of the 2 side couples which appear on few chapters, nothing extensive. The... more>> main couple is typical mol*sting tyrant king with 3000 concubines and a weak empress unable to escape yada yada. The only real kick is that the empress used to be a man. However, his character development leaves much to desire because he starts to remind a high school girl as well.

If you like historical shoujo and harem intrigue then YES!! This is great read for you with the added knick knack of MC being a man in her head (doesn't actually differ significantly from the typical 'modern woman reborn into feudal time' thrope).

If you want to read yaoi then no no. Actually, please add the shoujo tag. I've dropped the story, but that's just my personal preference. <<less
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Giinza_ rated it
May 7, 2020
Status: v2c10
So I had to stop midway.

the characters are amazing and the emperor is an actual emperor and not an “emperor just to make my character more powerful”. He thinks like an emperor and acts like one.

In the second volume everything seems rushed and the new translator is tr*sh. Maybe they are using TL or idk, but it’s not coherent at all and you have to guess what is happening. This is a the reason why I had to stop. I hope the first translator keeps translating this story.
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Celissiye rated it
February 12, 2019
Status: c29
This is an enjoyable read. Not too complicated plot wise or with characters, but just enough is going on and the lack of the most irritating stereotypes of characters makes it worth if you enjoy this kind of setting. Minus the cringey, greedy concubines that somehow always appear without fail in this imperial court setting.

The gender-bender is refreshing and adds another layer to the story, the translation makes it so you scarcely notice and MC still feels like a man through and through. It makes sense, as the ML would... more>> never fall for the MC if he remained the enemy general and vice versa.

It sort of has a balance of Teng Yun (MC) worrying about guarding his chastity, a bit of petty concubine drama (but not too much), and a dash of fairly simple politics/war tactics (which I enjoy the most). The MC doesn't seem to be doing much at times, but that's because he's literally been trapped in the body of a empress without any connections and zilch physical strength. As for the MC, a little too much of the chastity protection scenes and inner monologue, but at times he gives advice and impresses the ML (Xue Wang, the emperor). Just reading TY think along the lines of 'fk this petty concubine scheme bs' and refusing to participate makes me happy.


As of now, MC still has little feelings for ML. For example, he gets sleep deprivation when forced to lie in the same bed as ML. I'm kind of rooting for TY to hold out much longer until ML really proves himself. It might even be in the second half of the novel where he becomes a man again.

The thing I like that most is that, normally in this setting, the ML would force himself upon the MC sooner rather than later, but it actually hasn't happened yet! I am sort of on the edge of my seat here and there though, as I don't prefer the r*pey type ML.


There are two side story couples, one of which may or may not end tragically, and another where the shou is crafty, so they are somewhat entertaining, but I do think I'd prefer to see more scenes of MC Teng Yun actually doing something instead. The story flips back and forth between these plot lines. Supposedly, TY wants to escape so he won't have to live as a restrained empress in the inner palace (phew can't blame him), but he doesn't really have much chance to other than one random opportunity that he botched horribly, so this point is kinda stalled. <<less
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Munya rated it
November 28, 2018
Status: c25
After 20 chapters, I found that this is a great story.

The tag is "yaoi" but, our MC was reborn into a body of an empress a.k.a a woman and it keeps like that till chapter 25.

I don't know about chapter 26++... Maybe he will become a man?? Dunno...

Why I like this story is because how smart our MC is. He is the 6th prince of Teng kingdom. His father, the king, is a paranoid who never believe anyone. All his brothers and also sister is full of schemes. He himself... more>> guarded the border for 10 years, sacrificed his blood and flesh, but in the end he fell and killed by his enemy, our ML...

Personally, I don't like our ML at all. He too is a guy that full of schemes. But what can I say, he is an emperor after all... Maybe that's only natural??

And about translating quality, the translator does his/her job well. Deserve of 3 or 4 stars. I hope he/she won't stop midway...

Overall, great story and good quality translating. So 5 stars! <<less
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iitoen rated it
July 19, 2020
Status: c50
I love historical political intrigue, and I love enemies-to-lovers just as much! Unfortunately, this novel doesn't do justice to either. All the characters are so bewildering to me. Their motivations, actions, and loyalties often make no sense at all. And literally only three characters were likeable to me: Teng Shang, Teng Yun, and the little crown prince. Even characters the author obviously meant for the readers to like were unlikeable. I was often left wondering if the author has ever interacted with another human being before, because the characters just... more>> don't behave like humans should.

There are just SO many plotholes and unanswered questions, and the worldbuilding and character development is just so weak. Maybe the poorly written political aspects of this story can be overlooked if you're reading this purely for the romance, but then the romance is also so unconvincing to me that I didn't have the patience to get through book 2. <<less
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REIchan rated it
April 27, 2020
Status: v2c5
I love this novel. But this is the one of the few bl that I wish weren't bl because I wish that the characters could kill each other to take their revenge, not get together lol. I hope Zhao Lu and Xue Junliang dies, especially Zhao Lu (I love to hate this character). :) Overall a very good story, other novel hasn't made me feel so much for their characters <3
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lanamelia rated it
May 3, 2020
Status: --
I have to say that in the middle of the story I don't like the ml, bcs for me he's too calculative even when it comes to his feelings.

... more>>

For example, when he found out that teng yun is the late empress and the current teng ying. In his thoughts, teng yun as one of the biggest threats for him comes first and after that he added that teng yun was also the person that he once loves when he's still in the empress body:)))


It's really upsetting, but I still read it bcs I hope teng yun will die again and made the ML suffer

But nope:))


He didn't die, and he didn't leave the ml.


There's one thing that I'm confused about!!!


When teng yun woke up in teng ying's body, he made a deal with the ML that if he can succed in his task, he will be free to leave the imperial city. THAT IS HIS ONLY WISH.



But after he finished the task, he didn't leave which I tried to understand with him bailing out the ex emperor of teng (his father) from prison. And in return the ML wants him to replace his father as marquis of tengnan.


ANDDD there are times when he thinks that he shoud really leave the imperial city but nope:) he didn't do it agaian.



Tbh I don't like the ending bcs teng yun deserves better

He deserves someone who wholeheartedly loves him without thingking about "reusing" him like what the ML has done:)

Bcs teng yun has already said it himself, that he is "genuinely tired"


the ML doesn't deserve the MC :))))

THAT'S IT <<less
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February 19, 2019
Status: c30
Total enjoy!!

I love how the author makes the MC to not be 'adaptable' to his second gender so fast or write his mind in woman pov, and as a person with no recollection of memories MC doesnt try to medle too much and stay on the silent side.

I also love how we get to read more ML pov than MC. It's good coz we are presented with man's pov more, so MC pov isnt that needed. It's refreshing way to paw more interest to this story. The polictics and kingdom's... more>> situation arent something I can comment. As long as it serves its purpose XD <<less
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arebg rated it
August 7, 2021
Status: v2c10
To be honest, I feel peeved that he switched back into a guy's body because it kind of denies the entire progress so far. I read both yaoi and shoujo novels, so I wasn't bothered by the gender bender, but now I feel all the character development and work raising the empress into a powerful political position is wasted now that he turned back into a guy (and it's not even his own body). I don't understand why the author did that. Why spend so much time describing the emperor... more>> having sexual feelings towards his FEMALE wife, admiring her FEMALE body and figure, developing the parental relationship between the little crown prince and the empress and exploring the emperor's desire of maybe having more children with the empress if all those plotlines are going to go to waste? They even had the empress reveal to his uncle who he actually was. And then they threw all that development to the tr*sh. In the new body, Teng Yun cannot have a parental relationship with the crown prince (because the kid hates him for what he did to his "mother"), is back to lying to the uncle about his identity, and the emperor used some weird contrived plan to trap him into the harem again, even as a male, just so he cannot amass political power. If you could do this, why make him a woman in the first place? Why not make him reborn as a guy from the beginning and just have the emperor marry him as a guy, since you obviously have no problem with that? This development also makes the emperor seem so shallow because

this is the man who literally killed his wife, the person who he himself accepted meant the most to him, and yet he's all flirty flirty with him, even before he learns they are the same person


And Teng Yun just goes along with it. He is the most passive military man in the face of the planet. I understood why he couldn't do anything when he was a woman, but now he's back to being a guy and he has a good amount of liberty since he was granted an official rank, and yet he's just going along with the emperor forcing him to marry, even though everyone mocks him and he has literally ZERO desire or romantic interest in the emperor. Again, as a woman, since they were always in close proximity and the emperor frequently touched Teng Yun, kissed him and slept in the same bed as him, him growing used to and even familiar with this contact was understandable. I was all for it. But now he only sees the emperor during court sessions so there's literally no spark whatsoever, no longing of any kind. It's not tsundere, dub-con or unable-to-express-his feelings... NO! He has shivers of dread every time he thinks about the emperor touching him. He doubts every single action and word the emperor does or says. He's annoyed by the fact that the emperor is a playboy and his women are always bothering and scheeming against Teng Yun and how the emperor forces him to deal with this. There is literally nothing he likes about the emperor as a person, other than his capabilities as king. It's super jarring when the emperor proclaims to everyone that he's going to marry Guy Teng Yun and he just stands there and does NOTHING. You can't say no to him because he's the king? BS! you are supposed to be this supremely intelligent military commander. Just run away in the middle of the night, or something!

I honestly just want this poor guy to disappear on a desert island somewhere so he can catch a break. <<less
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Shadowdrop rated it
May 13, 2020
Status: Completed

Low-key disappointed that emperor wasn't on the bottom even once (at least in the text), even though he said he is willing


Good novel, though everything feels kind of small. The countries feel small, the wars were short, the ministers in the palace (that have a name, at least) were few, the imperial harem was practically non-existent.

Perhaps because this novel includes many things, it does not really develop them to a realistic scale. Maybe I'm just used to palace drama stories where the court is portrayed realistically, but the lack of ministers (and concubines) bugged me. And, the crown prince... who was his biological mother and why didn't she try to use him to gain power? It feels like the emperor just popped him out on his own.

Also, there was no real 'nobility' - as in non-royal families that had money and status. And any aspects of ruling a country apart from gaining new territories and suppressing rebellions are basically skipped. Agriculture? Pass. Trade? Nope. Passing new laws? Nah. If it's not related to military, then please stand by while the main characters build up the sexual tension. (To be fair, this novel is focused on the war time, so military matters were the most urgent ones. That's why I gave 4 star rating despite the little rant.)
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yuukine rated it
April 11, 2020
Status: c84
Rating: 3/5

At this point, I have completed the novel.

I might change the rating once finishes translating the second book!

... more>> At the beginning, the book was fantastic, intriguing and satisfying. did fantastic job on giving us the proper understanding of situations, along with the notes.

The story was up to the point of first book ending highly interesting and wonderful.

But after the second book started, the translator changed and it was very hard to follow. Till the end of the book I have no idea what I have read anymore and the story was a mess. Which is a shame since I loved all the couples and all the ideas.

But then again, I started having issues with second book too. Mostly because emperor went on my nerves. He did some things I couldn't get over, and he just continued irritating me and making some decisions that made me just... want to combust.

Teng Yun is a very interesting character. Even in female body, he never stopped thinking as a man. To be honest, I loved the concept, because even if it's danmei, I loved to see

representation of actual character being a man stuck in female body. This is so rare and this author had fantastic chance to pull it off.

Spoilers for early plot of book 2:


I understand emperor loves talented people, but to spare the murderer of his wife (that is also now the MC that transmigrated from empress to his own murderer) and let him live because he was useful and then forcing himself on him for NO APPARENT reason was somehow... weird. First, he says how much he loved empress and then he wants to

literally r*pe a person because his eyes give the same fire as his empress? what?


I was like no. You don't do that.

Overall, a solid three so far, but i'll keep following it again since is still not yet done!

Warnings for this book:


r*pe. That should have been tagged from the beginning. Torture.



✭ Characters: 3 - the only one I loved is teng yun. the end. Xue Junliang irritated me from beginning to the end.

✭ Side characters: 4 - detailed, especially Teng Shang and Xue Houyang and little prince.

✭ Story: 3 - first book 4, second book 2

✭ emotional impact: 3 - not really invested enough to be hit

✭ Humor: / - almost nonexistent <<less
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otpsfloat rated it
February 17, 2020
Status: Completed
If you like stories like "To Be A Virtuous Wife" (BG not BL btw), or "Seven Unfortunate Lifetimes" - historical settings with MC strong and independent and not vying for ML's love or affections at all, you'll like this one.

MC never once thinks of himself as a woman or a person of lower status than the ML. He's also never cowed by ML's position of power.

... more>>

It's BL because... at first MC (a guy) transmigrates into a woman. He never acts like a woman or is referred to as one by the author if I remember correctly.

Anyways, if that leaves you skeptical: after lots of chapters and ML falls for MC, MC dies and transmigrates into a man's body. ML eventually finds out and the story ends (HE) with MC (in the guy body) and ML together so it does end on a male x male note both from the soul and body lol


MC is also useful!! He isn't whiny or a crybaby. ML is domineering gong through and through. The side characters are, for the most part, well-developed.

There was one side pairing that really irked me because it felt like they didn't add value to the plot other than more romance and made the story unrealistic - but it's very easy to ignore because you can just skip the chapters with them in it (it's the spy x prince/emperor of another country).


Otherwise, the plot was full of development and action and schemes (as historical novels often are). A satisfying read and one that I also MTLed past the chapters that weren't translated already. MTL is ok after you read the already translated chapters & have a good grasp of who is who. It does take some time for MC and ML to develop feelings for each other but it's pretty entertaining. <<less
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ylial rated it
April 17, 2019
Status: Completed
I wanted to rate 4 but rated 5 to balance the overall rating. I initially thought that the story is heavy but it isn't.

I really enjoy the story, though there are flaws. Overall I recommend this novel. Took a long time for the MC to develop feelings for the ML, and the ML is very patient with it. The ML really treasure the MC not forcing himself to him (since he's the ruler, he could be the typical overbearing emperor but instead he waits for the MC). ?
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