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 [Chóngshēng]
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)
Ban Lu Qin Jun (1)
Don’t You Like Me (1)
The Life After Marrying My Sworn Enemy (1)
The People Who’re Supposed To Kill Me Fell For Me Instead (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Plan to Read
  2. [BL] - some of my favs
  3. 4.5/+ bl novels
  5. BL In Ancient China (On-Going)

Latest Release

Date Group Release
01/31/20 Centinni v2c3
07/26/19 HillOH v2c2
05/06/19 HillOH v2c1
05/02/19 HillOH v1c45
04/25/19 HillOH v1c44
04/22/19 HillOH v1c43
04/03/19 HillOH v1c42
03/29/19 HillOH v1c41
03/20/19 HillOH v1c40
03/13/19 HillOH v1c39
03/09/19 HillOH v1c38
03/07/19 HillOH v1c37
03/03/19 HillOH v1c36
02/28/19 HillOH v1c35
02/25/19 HillOH v1c34
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13 Reviews sorted by

New 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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New Tamarrion
February 14, 2020
Status: v2c2
Quite a good story, but there is untagged r*pe in it (ML rapes unconscious and sick MC). Also MC is called genius war leader, but behaves like an hapless idiot. I don't know if it counts as misogyny (because in male body he seemed all right, but in female body he became that typical foolish shou who can only sigh and do nothing or do something really, really stupid) or as situation where shou can't be better than gong in anything (only more beautiful... which is also misogynistic if you... more>> think about it).

But I like the plot with political side of it, and the translator does her job really well. Still, it would be much better without rape.

Upd. The wonderful translator seems to be busy and not able to continue her work on this novel. Second translator just copy pasted google translated garbage. Sigh... Well, maybe this novel will be adopted by someone else. <<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....

21 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
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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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 rapey 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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softmatcha rated it
July 26, 2019
Status: v2c2
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, it has a unique flair.

I enjoy the tense exchanges between the two main characters as... more>> 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
5 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
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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earlgreyt rated it
October 7, 2019
Status: Completed
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... more>> 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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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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RabiezMonkey rated it
March 4, 2019
Status: Completed
No chickens fly and dogs jump...!

So disapointed... both MC and ML are doing just fine. Even when the ML finally clear about our MC's identity as the former prince and general who had rebirth. MC will be a lot help for ML, I guess.

But overall, I enjoyed this story so much.
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January 29, 2020
Status: Completed
4.5 stars.

I MTL'd the novel due to slow updates and was surprised how much I liked it. Book 1 was nice, but book 2 really got me hooked.

The synopsis basically say it all: Our MC dies at the hand of the enemy and wakes up in the body of the enemy's empress. He hides his true identity and tries to influence the political scene from the background.

The MC is a genius military leader and quite goal-oriented and reasonable. He has opinions but plays his role (s) very well. I love... more>> how maturely he handles his transmigration: He makes no fuss about changing gender (or possibly straight up doesn't care) and focusses on the matter at hand.

The ML is the enemy emperor. He is a skilled but also volatile ruler who plans to expand his empire. To achieve his goal, he manipulates and pressures others as he sees fit. Still, he honors talented and intelligent minds not unlike his own, and he clearly appreciates his loved ones.

The novel feels down-to-earth and mature. We still have themes of political scheming and betrayal, but thanks to solid characterizations, the drama isn't shallow or annoying at all. The main romance develops quietly on the sidelines and picks up as the story progesses.

In my opinion, the best part is the character development of both the MC and the ML. They challenge each other on different levels, and it's very interesting to watch certain aspects and opinions change slowly over time.

Bonus point: Both are mentally and psychologically on par. Even though the ML loves to trick the MC, there's no Stockholm syndrome involved. Only once does the emperor very clearly cross the line:

During his own wedding with another princess, he pretends to be drunk and assaults the now male-bodied MC for political purposes. Literal d*ck move.


I would have loved to give the novel 5 stars, but there are still notable issues. I dislike how the author portrays imperialism:


Imperialism is good because the ruler is supposedly just and fair? No chance, my dear. Never. The emperor is still a war criminal.


Don't read the extras if you want the characters to stay in character:


Suddenly, everybody is gay. Age gaps don't matter. Platonic relationships between non-related people? Never heard of it.


Also, women are a rare species in his universe, and the MC's military prowess is too great.

Still, this is definitely worth a read. <<less
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sakurahime rated it
February 3, 2020
Status: v2c3
I have this MTL before book 1 ends because it's SO GOOD. Translator for book 1 did a great job and now gone awol.

Someone good with chinese please pick book 2, it's even better than book 1. New translator just copy MTL and not even bother to edit and proofread
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lanyons rated it
December 5, 2019
Status: --
I was reluctant to start this at first because I'd read a few bad reviews, but so far I think it's one of the most intriguing novels out there, especially if you're into good plots replete with politics & court dynamics & strategy. Personally I haven't read a lot of gender benders so I found it really interesting to explore how teng yun deals with waking up in the body of his worst enemy's wife; & his transition from the battlefield, where physical & military skill are important, to the... more>> court, where scheming & manipulation & seduction are important. I appreciated that his having to adapt to his new body & lifestyle as a woman is never a source of cheap comic relief - he takes it all seriously, and in stride. Also, the slow burn is top-notch <<less
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