Chapter 60: A Scheme: The Empress Makes a Move
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The lovely palace maid endured the pain from sex with the Crown Prince with difficulty, but she did not dare complain. Ever since she had learned that the Crown Prince loved to bed women when he was enraged, she had been looking for an opportunity to elevate her position. She had deliberately related what Ye Yuxuan had told her. As expected, the Crown Prince had become infuriated and, subsequently, f*cked her. Even though the Crown Prince inflicted immeasurable suffering on her body, she was willing to withstand it so long as it meant that he would make her his concubine. Her suffering would be worth it.
As the Crown Prince was having his way with the palace maid, he thought about matters concerning the Ye Residence.
That b*tch, Ye Jiuge, had humiliated him over and over again. He would not let her get away with it. Also, Ye Shanshan, who seemed innocent enough, was actually a two-faced wh*re. She must have gotten close to him so she could steal his jade ornament. He had not anticipated any problems since he’d hid the treasure map in the ornament for safekeeping and carried it with him at all times. It had never crossed his mind that someone would still be able to get wind of the map.
Su Junqing, that thieving brat, must have worked it all out. He had only claimed to assist the Crown Prince so that he could ascend to the throne himself. It was f*cking bullshit. Su Junqing must be the one harboring Ye Yu. For all, the Crown Prince knew, the other half of the Ye Clan’s treasure map might have already fallen into Su Junqing’s hands. Su Junqing must have asked Ye Shanshan to pickpocket him.
The Crown Prince blamed himself for the oversight. He had assumed that Ye Shanshan was simply a weak girl; however, she was clever enough to pinch his jade ornament without his noticing. If the Fragrance of A Thousand Miles, which he had applied to the ornament, could not be detected on her, perhaps, he would not be able to find out the truth. Even if the Su Clan managed to get hold of the treasure map, it did not matter. The final victory would be his.
As the Crown Prince already firmly believed that Su Junqing had the treasure map, he did not worry. In any case, there were still a few missing pieces. He could wait to order a raid on the Su Residence. Recently, the Crown Prince’s cultivation had plateaued. It was hard to come across top-notch pills to clean the marrow and relocate the nerves. He needed to think of a way to get the Purple Lightning Wood back from Ye Jiuge.
Once the Crown Prince had straightened out his thoughts, he ejaculated. He pulled out from the maid and hastily wiped his lower body clean. He planned to return to his bedchamber and change his clothes before meeting the Empress.
The lovely maid’s knees buckled, and she dropped to the floor. She called to him, feebly, “Your Highness!”
The Crown Prince turned around and swept his eyes over her alluring form. From head to toe, the maid was in a sorry state. He had gripped her wrists and neck so hard that they were completely red. Her virgin blood smeared the hem of her dress. He coldly instructed the servants in the corner of the room, “Force Contraception Medicine down her throat and send her to the Lateral Courts!”
This palace maid was most unfortunate. Because of Ye Shanshan, the Crown Prince loathed devious women. Things would not turn out well for her. Her eyes widened. The Lateral Courts was a Cold Palace where maids who had committed crimes were banished. It was an extremely unforgiving place. If she did not die as soon as she arrived, she would surely be skinned alive.
The maid was about to plead for mercy when two elderly female servants appeared out of nowhere, covered her mouth, and hauled her away like they were dragging a burlap sack.
After the Crown Prince bathed and changed his clothes, he went to the Fengyi Palace to see his mother. The Empress sat on her throne with regal poise, donning a royal red robe embroidered with glittering golden silk chrysanthemums. A golden dangling hairpin depicting a phoenix with its wings spread and adorned with jade and seven jewels inlaid on six sides was inserted into her topknot. Not only that, a small golden hairpin decorated with an oriental greenfinch strung from pearls, which suited the Empress, was placed to the side of her hair. With her fair complexion and dainty face, she did not seem like a married woman over forty.
The Crown Prince greeted her with a respectful salute. “Mother, I have come to see you.”
“Ming’er, why have you taken the time to visit me here?” Even when interacting with her biological son, the Empress’ smile was formal. The curve at the corner of her lips could be measured with a ruler.
“Mother, I have come to ask you for a favor.” The Crown Prince told the Empress about his stagnated cultivation and how he wanted to recover the Purple Lightning Wood from Ye Jiuge.
“Can’t you ask Su Yufeng and her daughter to handle this?” answered the Empress in a flat voice.
Since Ye Shanshan wished to be the Crown Princess Consort, she must exhibit some concrete proof of her competence for the role.
“Mother, you must be unaware that, right now, Su Yufeng and her daughter are in an extremely bleak situation. The night before last, Ye Yuxuan sent Su Yufeng to the ancestral shrine. He also confined Ye Shanshan to her residence.” The Crown Prince also recounted how he had sent someone over to visit Ye Shanshan, but Ye Yuxuan had refused the visitor.
“Both mother and daughter are worthless!”
When the Empress wore a dour expression, her resemblance to the Crown Prince was remarkable. After she had seen how Su Yufeng and her daughter had ruined Ye Jiuge to the point of giving her the infamous reputation of an incompetent lady with a repulsive appearance, she had thought that they had some ability. Because of this, she tacitly approved of the relationship between the Crown Prince and Ye Shanshan. She had never expected that these women would be so useless.
“Mother, considering that Ye Jiuge was previously my betrothed, it is inappropriate for me to make a flagrant move against her. I can only ask for your help.” The Crown Prince had always believed that women should settle the problems caused by women. He merely needed to stand aside and reap the fruits of his mother’s victory.
The Empress lowered her eyes and muttered to herself irresolutely. Then, she nodded and said, “After seven days, that b*stard will enter the palace to pay his respects to the Emperor. At that time, I will ask Ye Jiuge to come.”
Although half of the Empress’ plan was left unspoken, the Crown Prince understood her meaning. He buttered her up, “Mother, you are brilliant.”
“Speaking of which, you should not focus your thoughts on women. The right thing to do is cultivate more. Not only that, you should continue winning over Ye Shanshan. The Ye Clan is still an influential family of alchemists. She also has some spiritual aptitude, and the Alchemy Tournament is going to take place soon,” the Empress instructed her son impassively. Her tone was light; it was as if she were conversing casually.
However, the Crown Prince did not show the slightest hint of inattentiveness. He responded promptly, “Mother, you do not need to worry. I will keep what you have said in mind.”
“Alright. You may leave.” The Empress nodded.
The Crown Prince left Fengyi Palace. He stood at the entrance and heaved a small sigh of relief. He looked into the distance, and a malicious smile appeared on his face. Ye Jiuge, I want to see how you will get away from me this time.
Meanwhile, at that exact moment, Ye Jiuge was visiting Ye Ruyi at the Yaoguang Residence. Qing Mama had mentioned Ye Ruyi’s obsession with alchemy before, but Ye Jiuge still did not take her seriously. Now that she was visiting the girl personally, Ye Jiuge discovered that this obsession was worse than she had thought.
Ye Ruyi wore a black garment with her hair fashioned into a simple bun, held together by a black headband. Various books on basic alchemy technique filled her room. Ye Ruyi even jotted down annotations at her writing desk. There were no other decorative items. The room did not seem like it belonged to a young girl; it looked like a cell in a nunnery.
“Eldest Sister, why are you here?” Only when Ye Ruyi saw Ye Jiuge did she show the slightest bit of childlike innocence.
“I came to see you. Why are you dressed like that?”
Ye Ruyi was dressed like an old woman. She looked stiffer and more conservative than the nuns from the mountains.
Ye Ruyi begged to differ. “I think it’s fine,” she said. If she dressed in beautiful clothing, when she encountered psychopaths, she would die faster.
“Eldest Miss, please help me advise Ruyi. She refuses to listen to me,” Fifth Concubine pleaded dejectedly.
Ever since her release from prison, Fifth Concubine’s body was thoroughly drained. It was extremely obvious that she had aged. Although she was not yet thirty, she already had white hair, the area between her brows wrinkled with worries, and she seemed sickly.
“Mother, if what you say is useful, I will heed your advice,” Ye Ruyi replied rigidly.
Every time she saw how submissive her mother was, Ye Ruyi abhorred the lack of strength of character in women.