Chapter 25: Hexed: Mental Manipulation
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Su Junqing?” Ye Jiuge could not help but raise a plucked eyebrow. She had not expected to meet the renowned Su Junqing so soon.
“Eldest Miss, do you know the Su Clan’s Eldest Son?” Fifth Concubine asked, feeling uncertain. Since her previous position was so lowly and she’d been holed up in her dilapidated residence with her daughter, she had never met Su Junqing before.
“No, but I have heard about him often!” Ye Jiuge smiled slightly. She told Qiu Mama, “Since Second Sister and the Su Clan’s Eldest Son are so thoughtful, let’s invite them in!”
“Yes.” Qiu Mama bowed. However, in her mind, she felt that it was beneath her to obey Ye Jiuge.
When she hears that a handsome man was visiting, she cannot keep herself together. She really is a lewd woman.
After a while, Ye Shanshan led in a slender man with a handsome face. He was around twenty years old. A golden coronet perched on his head, and he wore a magnificent embroidered white robe. He smiled silently, and his gaze was warm. At first sight, he was unforgettable. Ye Jiuge finally got a slight clue as to why he had been able to pull the wool over Ye Yunzhi’s eyes. Sure enough, Su Junqing was very good-looking.
“Eldest Sister, you are here too. Don’t tell me, you found out that my cousin was coming to visit Fourth Sister, so you came here on purpose to wait for him?” Ye Shanshan smiled cheekily, but her eyes were full of condescension. She was implying mockingly that Ye Jiuge was secretly in love with Su Junqing.
Before Ye Jiuge could reply, Fifth Concubine spoke first, “Second Miss, you really love cracking jokes. Eldest Miss is not a goddess, so how could she have known that you were bringing over the Su Clan’s Eldest Son? We only became aware of the Su Clan’s Eldest Son’s visit after Qiu Mama informed us.”
When Ye Shanshan saw how Fifth Concubine was speaking on Ye Jiuge’s behalf, she itched to lacerate her face. If Fifth Concubine and Ye Jiuge had not joined forces to frame her mother, she would have never been locked up in her residence. However, Ye Shanshan focused on the purpose of her visit and switched her expression into a smile.
“My cousin heard that Fourth Sister is ill, so he came with me to visit her,” she said.
Su Junqing, who was standing beside Ye Shanshan, smirked slightly. Then, he elaborated, “I heard that the Vitality Strengthening Elixir has been extremely beneficial to Younger Sister Ruyi, so I have prepared her a bottle of second-grade Vitality Fortifying Elixir. I hope that Fifth Concubine and Younger Sister Ruyi will not be offended.”
One bottle of second-grade Vitality Fortifying Elixir was worth five hundred silver taels. If he gave it away as a gift, he would be considered lavish.
“This present is too costly. I cannot accept it,” Fifth Concubine quickly declined.
“If Fifth Concubine does not accept, then I will think she is looking down on me.” Su Junqing placed the elixir down in a gentle yet persistent manner. Afterward, he smiled at Ye Ruyi and said, “Younger Sister Ruyi, are you feeling better now?”
He was acting as if he were very close to Ye Ruyi. However, as far as Ye Jiuge could recall, Ye Ruyi had never met Su Junqing before. It was clear that Ye Ruyi was unaccustomed to Su Junqing’s amiability. She lowered her gaze and said very shyly, “I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Su Clan’s Eldest Son for his concern. I am feeling much better now.”
“I am only older than Younger Sister Ruyi by a few years. If you do not mind, you can refer to me as your cousin, just like your Second Sister!” Su Junqing beamed even more tenderly. His handsome face was entirely capable of enticing anyone to become besotted with him.
Ye Ruyi’s face reddened more. She hesitated for a moment. In the end, blushing, she called him, “Cousin!”
From the sidelines, Ye Jiuge felt that there was something fishy about this situation that she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
No matter how she looked at Su Junqing’s sly face, it looked as if he were romancing a lady! But Ye Ruyi was only seven years old. If he made romantic advances towards her now, he would be entirely out of his mind!
Su Junqing stuck around for a while then took his leave. Before he departed, he eyed Ye Jiuge deliberately. A glint of soul-stirring joviality flitted across his expressive eyes.
If Ye Jiuge were not well aware of Su Junqing’s degeneracy and the fact that it would be impossible for him to be attracted to her hideous face, she might have misinterpreted matters by thinking that he had taken a fancy to her.
Fifth Concubine personally escorted out Su Junqing. When she returned, she beamed with joy. She kept praising how gentle and well-mannered Su Junqing was and how he had treated her with respect.
Ye Ruyi’s face reddened. When she heard her mother praising Su Junqing, she could not help but curve her lips into a smile. It was clear that Su Junqing had made a positive impression on her. Although, given her young age, Ye Ruyi’s response to Su Junqing did not go as far as love-struck feelings. However, she had always been lonely and suffered from hardships, so she strongly desired a gentle, handsome older brother figure with an advanced cultivation level to dote on her. This was why, unconsciously, she had developed a childlike admiration for Su Junqing.
“Fifth Concubine, Fourth Sister, lest you have forgotten, allow me to remind you: Su Junqing is Su Yufeng’s nephew!” Ye Jiuge had to warn the two ladies, who were genuinely elated.
“I feel that the Su Clan’s Eldest Son may not be the same kind of person as Su Yufeng,” Fifth Concubine argued with conviction.
“He really is different. From what I can see, the Su Clan’s Eldest Son is a far more daunting opponent than Su Yufeng. With one mere visit, he has charmed you and your daughter to the point that you cannot even determine which direction is north or south. It has even slipped your mind that Su Yufeng has been released from confinement,” Ye Jiuge said, smiling coldly.
“She was released from her confinement because of the Crown Prince’s appeal. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the Su Clan’s Eldest Son,” Fifth Concubine refuted.
“Do you truly believe that he has nothing to do with the matter, or do you think that this Su Clan’s Eldest Son will help you defy Su Yufeng in the future?” Ye Jiuge asked gravely.
“The Su Clan’s Eldest Son told me earlier that Madame regrets her actions very much. He said that Ruyi represents the Ye Clan. If he stands behind her, it is like he is standing behind the Ye Clan. Therefore, he wants to resolve the hostility between us so that we can communicate on friendly terms.” Su Junqing had personally told her this when she escorted him out. Standing beside them, Ye Shanshan had agreed.
“You truly believe that you can live in harmony with Su Yufeng?” Ye Jiuge felt that Fifth Concubine had truly gone insane.
Fifth Concubine lowered her head guiltily to avoid Ye Jiuge’s gaze.
She had never been very ambitious. If Madame was genuinely willing to have a good relationship with her, she did not want to fight.
“Fourth Sister, do you also feel the same way?” Ye Jiuge turned to look at Ye Ruyi.
“I, I don’t know.” If she were honest, Ye Ruyi did not want to go against Madame either.
However, whenever she thought of how Madame had forced poison down her throat that night, she felt petrified.
Ye Jiuge knitted her eyebrows together. She surmised that something strange was happening. This situation was extremely suspect. Why would Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi suddenly change their mind about Su Yufeng? It was as if someone had cast a spell on them.
“That’s right. They are indeed entranced,” Zi Shang’s laid-back voice rang out in her head.
“What do you mean?” Ye Jiuge asked in reply.
“Can’t you see that Su Junqing has mentally manipulated them into being infatuated with him?” said Zi Shang.
“Mental Manipulation?” Ye Jiuge was stunned. Why would a spiritual practitioner like Su Junqing practice black magic?
“He is quite skilled in Mental Manipulation. These two ladies have been influenced by him. If you continue to argue, you will only exacerbate the Mental Manipulation’s hold on them.”
“What can I do to nullify it?” Ye Jiuge asked quickly.
“When you return to your residence, you must prescribe two medicinal elixirs to purify the mind and undo the curse,” Zi Shang replied.
“Very well.” When Ye Jiuge found out that there was a way to repel the curse, she immediately regained her composure.
Actually, Fifth Concubine and her daughter were so easily mentally manipulated because, in their hearts, they were hoping that Su Yufeng would spare them. In which case, she ought to let them learn a proper lesson about Su Yufeng’s scheming ways. That way, they would not lose themselves in the comfort of living in the Qiushui Residence to the point that they could no longer differentiate the good from the bad.
However, Su Junqing was too proficient in the art of Mental Manipulation. Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi had only needed to see him once to be charmed by his curse.
Perhaps, that fateful night, Ye Yunzhi had also been under the influence of his Mental Manipulation. Was it possible that the curse had tricked her into revealing the road leading to the entrance of the Ye Clan’s valley?