Chapter 22: Ye Yu: The Male Slave’s True Identity
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
The large black butterfly fluttered through the night, flitting gracefully past all the houses. Finally, it stilled its wings in front of a large residence with an impressive entrance.
Dongfang Jianming looked up. “Su Residence” was inscribed on the door plaque, rousing his suspicion. “Why would the Fragrance Detecting Butterfly come here?”
“Your Highness?” The leader of the guards looked curiously at Dongfang Jianming.
“Knock on the door,” Dongfang Jianming ordered coldly.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Immediately, the leader of the guards went to knock on the door. When the servants learned that the Crown Prince himself was visiting the Su Residence, they quickly welcomed him in.
The head of the Su Clan was at a spiritual retreat, so his son, Su Junqing, welcomed the Crown Prince instead. He asked in surprise, “Your Highness, what is the purpose of your visit so late at night?”
Dongfang Jianming scowled silently. He lifted his finger and the Fragrance Detecting Butterfly immediately flapped its wings and flew into the front of the Su Residence. It stopped at the entrance of an Elixir Production Room.
Dongfang Jianming barged in with his men and pried open the Elixir Production Furnace. There, he discovered a drop of faint purple essence from the Violets of the Netherworld.
“Su Junqing, why are my Violets of the Netherworld in your Elixir Production Furnace?” Dongfang Jianming interrogated sternly, pointing to the Elixir Production Furnace.
He had gathered all the Violets of the Netherworld in the entire city. Afterward, he had selected a few of the best stalks and soaked them in Fragrance of a Thousand Miles before giving them back to a few large medicinal stores. He had wanted to find out who had offered refuge to the brat with the last name Ye. It never occurred to him that the Su Clan might be the culprit.
“Your Highness, you have wrongfully accused me. I have never seen this stalk of Violets of the Netherworld before,” Su Junqing quickly insisted on his innocence. The Elixir Production Room was rarely used; he did not know how a stalk of Violets of the Netherworld had suddenly appeared here.
“Hmph, don’t tell me that this stalk of Violets of the Netherworld grew legs and ran to your Elixir Production Furnace by itself?” Dongfang Jianming was ferocious as he spoke in a confrontational manner. “Earlier, I felt odd. How could that Ye brat evade capture after being surrounded by soldiers? It turns out that you, a double-crosser, were helping him.”
“Your Highness, you are wrong!” Su Junqing dropped to one knee to express his obeisance as he reasoned with Dongfang Jianming, “To help you obtain the treasure map, I forsook my wife and son. Why would I betray you for the sake of my wife’s younger brother whose heart brims with hatred for me?”
When Dongfang Jianming recalled how Su Junqing had brutally murdered his wife’s entire family, his intense emotions slowly calmed. After thinking about it carefully, he realized that it was unlikely that Su Junqing was guilty. He was not that foolish.
Dongfang Jianming reached out and helped Su Junqing to his feet. He consoled him, “I was momentarily agitated, so I might have spoken harshly towards you. Junqing, please don’t take it to heart.”
“I would not dare.” Su Junqing’s expression showed that he was feeling wronged yet also touched by the Crown Prince’s gesture.
Dongfang Jianming patted his shoulder and sighed, “Since this relates to the treasure map, it’s very urgent. You can understand without further elaboration that you must catch that Ye brat as soon as possible. He was poisoned with Soul Departure, so he will not be able to live longer than a few days. If he is already dead, it will be very troublesome.”
“I understand. Your Highness, please do not worry. I will try my best to capture him soon,” Su Junqing replied, nodding repeatedly. However, he was secretly cursing Dongfang Jianming for closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.
He had already suggested to him that the Ye brat was not afraid of death, so it was useless to threaten him with Soul Departure. However, Dongfang Jianming had refused to listen to his advice and had given his commands without thinking about the consequences. This had allowed the Ye brat to escape.
“Junqing, do your job well. Your contributions will not be overlooked.” Dongfang Jianming smiled. Afterward, he mentioned casually, “I heard that Great Master Yun has recently confined your aunt to her residence?”
“That’s right. For the last two days, Shanshan has been begging us to vouch for her mother. However, her father was at the crucial point of his spiritual retreat. As a member of the younger generation, it was inappropriate for me to voice my concerns to my aunt’s husband. It was a difficult matter for me to handle!” Su Junqing sighed then said earnestly to Dongfang Jianming, “Your Highness, I hope that you will take the Su Clan’s utmost loyalty to you into account and help Shanshan. That girl has always been devoted to you. Lately, you have been neglecting her. She was so depressed that she could not even eat a grain of rice.”
“Shanshan—silly girl! I have been too busy recently, so I have not had time to see her. Why would she indulge in such foolish thoughts?” Tenderness appeared on Dongfang Jianming’s face as he said, “But if this is the case, then I will visit her tomorrow and take the opportunity to have a good chat with Great Master Yun. Shanshan’s mother is also the Ye Clan’s matriarch. Even if she has done something improper, she should be punished lightly.”
“Your Highness, you are right!” Su Junqing smiled instinctively.
“However, you still need to conduct a proper investigation into this matter of the Violets of the Netherworld.” Dongfang Jianming suddenly became severe.
“Your Highness, don’t worry. I will complete this task to your satisfaction.” Su Junqing also wanted to find out who was framing him.
While Dongfang Jianming and Su Junqing were resolving their hostility and strengthening their alliance, Ye Jiuge was preparing to steal some Violets of the Netherworld from the Crown Prince Residence.
The Crown Prince Residence was usually heavily guarded. However, Dongfang Jianming had just gone out taking a team of highly-skilled spiritual guards with him. At that moment, security was very lax.
Unnoticed, Ye Jiuge managed to retrieve the Violets of the Netherworld from the residence and successfully produce the antidote. The medicinal liquid had a vibrant purple color and the unique fragrance of the herb. It was undoubtedly genuine.
She filled a small jade bottle with the essence and went to show it off in the East Room.
“Look at this! This is the antidote I produced with tremendous effort.”
Ye Jiuge displayed the small jade bottle as she recounted the entire process of how she had acquired the spiritual herb required to produce the antidote. At the end of her tale, she lamented regretfully, “It was such a pity that there was not enough time for me to devise a better plan to incriminate the Su Clan. I doubt the Crown Prince will be fooled.”
When the beautiful male slave heard the Su Clan mentioned, a burning gaze shot out from his eyes. He reached out to snatch away the small jade bottle.
“What are you in a rush for?” Ye Jiuge slapped his hand away and said, “I will give you the antidote. However, after you have consumed the medicine, you have to be honest with me and tell me everything. If you agree, nod your head.”
The male slave nodded his head without hesitation.
Then, Ye Jiuge pressed the jade bottle and a piece of cotton cloth into his hands.
“Here, vomit into this cloth.”
The male slave drank the medicine, and his beautiful, stoic face immediately became purplish red. When he opened his mouth, black blood spewed out.
Ye Jiuge waited for him to finish purging the poison from his body. Afterward, she poured him a cup of tea and asked, “Can you speak now?”
“I can.” The male slave’s voice was unexpectedly pleasant.
“What is your name? How did you become one of the Su Clan’s enemies?” Ye Jiuge asked while cleaning up the poisoned blood.
“My name is Ye Yu…” he said slowly. Then, he filled her in on his true identity.
He was a descendant of a very famous clan of assassins. Thirty years ago, his grandfather had obtained a treasure map by accident. From that moment on, he had been hunted by men he did not recognize. As a last resort, he brought his family to live in seclusion in a mountainous forest on the outskirts. Perhaps, because he had killed so many people, his tainted hands had caused him to suffer great misfortune. The number of the Ye Clan’s descendants was shrinking; in Ye Yu’s generation, there was only him and his sister, Ye Yunzhi.
Ye Yunzhi was five years older than Ye Yu and possessed a Metal Spiritual Root as a favorable attribute. She had a gentle and kind personality. Although she practiced her clan’s secret techniques, she had always been unwilling to kill. Not only that, she yearned for the world beyond the mountains.
One day, when her family was not around, she took her chances and snuck off. She never could have known that her running away would have resulted in an ill-fated relationship.