Chapter 68: Troublesome: Please Move Aside Your Golden Cudgel
Even though Dongfang Que was a solid choice, Ye Jiuge still felt slightly uneasy about him. For a long time now, a rumor had been circulating in the capital: because Dongfang Que had injured his leg, he had already lost the will to fight for the throne. As Ye Jiuge thought about it, she concluded that he was hiding his light under a bushel, biding his time, and disguising himself as weak to vanquish his stronger foes. It would be difficult to manipulate a crafty, ruthless character like him, who excelled in self-restraint, into wrapping himself around her little finger. She did not want a large tiger pouncing on her from behind right after she’d driven the wolves away.
Forget it. I will enter the palace first and assess the situation before deciding.
Ye Jiuge set fire to Bai Songling’s slip of paper and reduced it to ashes. After that, she shut herself in the Pill Production Room and continued her work.
The day that Ye Jiuge was to go to the palace, Qing Mama woke her early in the morning. After she washed her face and rinsed her mouth, Qing Mama dabbed balsam diligently on her face and hands. Then, she painstakingly fashioned Ye Jiuge’s hair into a topknot in the “spiritual snake” style and inserted a golden openwork hairpin adorned with beaded plum blossoms, giving the impression of a refined, dignified lady. In her bamboo-colored pleated dress peppered with flower motifs, Ye Jiuge looked youthful and immaculate without appearing plain. Though Qing Mama had planned to apply makeup, Ye Jiuge refused.
“This heavily scarred face is my characteristic feature. If you conceal it with cosmetics, perhaps they will refuse me entrance at the palace,” Ye Jiuge said half-jokingly.
In any case, even if she met the Empress looking like a goddess, the Empress would not pay her more attention. There was no need for her to put so much effort into attempting something so futile.
“Fine!” In Qing Mama’s mind, even if Eldest Miss’s face was covered with scars, she was still a soul-stirring beauty.
A carriage from the palace was already waiting outside. However, it was not Court Eunuch Fu who had come to fetch her, but a stern, long-faced elderly palace maid who acted as if her father and mother had passed away. She maintained a ramrod-straight posture, even as she stood on the carriage. As soon as Ye Jiuge set her eyes upon her, she already knew that she would be difficult to deal with.
With a smile, Qing Mama walked over to the elderly maid and tried to push a money pouch into her hands. However, she was turned down coldly by the maid’s unaccommodating personality. Ye Jiuge did not feel inclined to be friendly to someone who reacted to her goodwill with disdain. She pulled Qing Mama away and climbed into the carriage alongside the maid.
A carriage from the Ye Residence followed them, in case of emergency. Just because the palace had sent someone to fetch her did not mean that they would send her back. It was prudent to be prepared and bring along her own carriage. Not only that, Qing Mama was not authorized to enter the palace. When they arrived, Ye Jiuge’s loyal servant needed a suitable place to wait for her mistress.
The streets were tranquil early in the morning. The journey between the Ye Residence and the palace normally took about an hour. When they set off, the first glimmer of light was just peeking out. By the time they reached the palace entrance, the sun was in full view. Its faint, golden beams shone on the majestic palace gates, causing them to appear indescribably solemn and evoke reverence.
The elderly palace maid took a plate inscribed with her identity from her waist and handed it to an imperial guard. The guard inspected it and confirmed that everything was in order, then allowed them to pass through the imperial gates. Although the elderly maid was past her prime, she stepped lightly. It was evident that she cultivated spiritually.
Ye Jiuge had no choice but to quicken her steps as she followed her. They passed through long palace corridors with vermilion walls, bypassing Yuhua Garden before reaching Fengyi Palace. A row of palace maids stood at the palace’s splendid entrance dressed in cerise uniforms.
A beautiful young maid walked towards the elderly maid and said in a low voice, “Elderly Lady Xu, the Empress is currently in an audience with the Crown Prince. She would like you to bring the Ye Clan’s Eldest Miss to the secondary palace and wait there for now. When the Empress is not otherwise engaged, she will summon her.”
The elderly palace maid furrowed her brows and nodded. “Alright.” Then, she turned her head and said to Ye Jiuge, “Ye Clan’s Eldest Miss, please come with me!”
Ye Jiuge followed calmly behind Elderly Lady Xu and went past the Fengyi Palace, heading toward the secondary palace behind it. To her surprise, she arrived at the Jinxiu Palace.
“Ye Clan’s Eldest Miss, please wait inside patiently. When the Empress is unoccupied, someone will come to call for you,” said the elderly palace maid. Then, she saluted insincerely and left.
Ye Jiuge glanced up at a sign carved with two large words, “Jinxiu Palace,” which hung outside the dilapidated palace. She could not help but furrow her brow. She had heard that Lady Hongxiu had once served here and wondered about the Empress’ intentions. Why had she instructed Elderly Lady Xu to guide her to this place? It was unlikely that Elderly Lady Xu also worked for the Dongling Prince!
With her curiosity piqued, Ye Jiuge walked into the Jinxiu Palace. Although the large exterior was covered entirely with dust, its interior was remarkably pristine. Clearly, it was cleaned regularly. The palace’s architecture glowed faintly with gold, indicating that it had been quite a sight in its time. Ye Jiuge made a move to walk into the palace. Suddenly, the sound of a stifled breath came from within.
“Who’s there?” Ye Jiuge raised her voice. No one answered.
Immediately, she felt that something was amiss. She was about to turn and leave when she heard a creak behind her. Suddenly, the palace doors slammed fast. Ye Jiuge hurried to the main entrance and kicked the doors forcefully, but they did not budge. Someone had barred the main entrance from the outside!
Damn! Don’t tell me that the past is repeating itself and they’re setting fire to the palace!
Her Lightning Fire Needle was not yet fully restored. Zi Shang was also still deep in slumber. If a fire broke out again, she would definitely end up dead.
Ye Jiuge speedily ventured further into the palace. Since there was still someone else there, perhaps, she could pry some information from his mouth. The main doors of the inner palace were tightly shut as well. Ye Jiuge pushed the doors open with all her might. Suddenly, a figure lunged at her with lightning speed and fiercely pinned her to the ground.
Ye Jiuge lifted her leg to kick him away, but her movement was entirely restricted. The assailant even managed to seize her neck, as if his hands were a pair of iron pincers. She was about to deploy her spiritual energy to counterattack when she scrutinized the man sprawled on top of her. In spite of herself, she froze. He was incomparably handsome with exquisite facial features. Slightly flushed skin, like the millennium-old snowy mountains, and eyes similar to deep ponds, but filled with lust. They belonged to the Dongling Prince.
His fervent body and passionate panting undeniably indicated that this blue-blooded prince had ingested an Aphrodisiac. He was fixated on seeking a woman to release his sexual mania.
“Dongling Prince, please look at me with your eyes wide open and see clearly who you are forcing yourself on.” Ye Jiuge spoke with difficulty. “Also, can you please move aside your golden cudgel?” She was most uncomfortable feeling it poke her thigh!
Dongfang Que’s bloodshot eyes gawked at Ye Jiuge. A hint of confusion appeared in his eyes. Just when Ye Jiuge thought that Dongfang Que had recognized her and was prepared to shake hands with him and exchange words of happiness and relief, all of a sudden, he lowered his head and aggressively bit her lip.
Ye Jiuge was dumbfounded. She turned her head away quickly so that Dongfang Que’s soft, burning lips seared on her face. He even trailed his lips from her cheek toward the lower part of her body.
What the f*ck! How potent was this Aphrodisiac that it could cause the Dongling Prince, known as the most dispassionate man in the capital, to completely lose control and pursue an unattractive lady like her with relish? Although it felt good to have a handsome man throw himself at her, it was unfortunate that Ye Jiuge could not enjoy it.
Thinking on her toes, she concluded that the Dongling Prince was here because the Empress had laid a trap. A large crowd was likely on the way to catch them in the act of illicit sex, anticipating the voyeuristic pleasure of the erotic scene.
Ye Jiuge refused to perform for the enjoyment of others. However, Dongfang Que’s hands held her down tightly. His long legs were planted firmly on either side of her thighs. She was wedged so hard in between his legs that her entire body was in pain. A man caught up in lust’s climax had zero rationality left. Ye Jiuge feared that if she struggled too much, the movement would only stimulate Dongfang Que more. All she could do was resign herself to allowing him to stroke her body and lavish it with bites and kisses. Seemingly, she surrendered to the prospect of being taken advantage of.
Just as Dongfang Que released Ye Jiuge’s hands, ready to rip her clothes off and force himself into her, the Lightning Fire Needle in Ye Jiuge’s hand suddenly exposed itself. In the blink of an eye, she plunged it ruthlessly into the back of his ear.