Chapter 70: An Enthusiastic Mob Intending to Catch an Illicit Affair (2)
“What! His Highness was given an Aphrodisiac?”
Lady Hongxiu was taken aback by the revelation, and her face turned a ghastly white. She muttered to herself, “A while ago, I caught wind of a rumor that the Empress had secretly obtained a bottle of Lingering Affection Herb. I assumed that she wanted to use it against a certain imperial concubine. I never thought that, in the end, she would force it on my master, the Dongling Prince.”
The Aphrodisiac was actually Lingering Affection Herb? Ye Jiuge raised her eyebrow. She had a bad feeling about this. One drop of that Aphrodisiac could allegedly cause a feisty, unwilling woman to become promiscuous. A man with erectile dysfunction could become rock hard. They would not feel any exhaustion, even if they fornicated ten times in a single night. Without peeling off at least one layer of skin, the potent poison could not be neutralized!
“This will not do. I need to return to the palace immediately to save His Highness,” Lady Hongxiu said.
She was so distressed that her face alternately flushed and paled. She dashed in the direction of Jinxiu Palace. How could her master, the regal Dongling Prince, be defeated by such a revolting poison?
“I will go with you.” Ye Jiuge quickened her steps, mirroring Lady Hongxiu’s pace.
The Dongling Prince could have certainly escaped through the secret tunnel by himself and abandoned her at Jinxiu Palace to face the Empress’s interrogation. However, he had chosen to send her away. This act of kindness was enough to make Ye Jiuge return to Jinxiu Palace and save him.
“You have my undying gratitude!” Lady Hongxiu exclaimed.
She led Ye Jiuge through a shortcut to an area close to Jinxiu Palace. The Jinxiu Palace was thronging with people. Even the imperial guards had made their way there. Lady Hongxiu was about to rush inside when Ye Jiuge stopped her in her tracks.
“Lady Hongxiu, if you enter the palace now, there is nothing you can do to help the Dongling Prince. You would be better off seeking assistance at this crucial moment.” Ye Jiuge pressed herself close to Lady Hongxiu and exchanged a few words with her.
A hint of hesitation flashed across Lady Hongxiu’s face. “But what about His Highness? He is still inside.”
“With me here, you can rest assured that His Highness will be fine. I guarantee it.”
Ye Jiuge smiled gently. After finding out that Dongfang Que had been poisoned with Lingering Affection Herb, she had already thought of a way to help him neutralize the poison. Lady Hongxiu looked at Ye Jiuge, who was brimming with confidence, and felt, somehow, that she could trust her.
“Alright. I will go and ask for help. I entrust His Highness to you,” said Lady Hongxiu through gritted teeth. After hesitating, she finally steeled her resolve, turned around, and left.
Ye Jiuge made herself presentable. After ensuring that nothing was out of place, she crept closer to Jinxiu Palace. Next, she pretended to cry out in astonishment, “What are you doing?”
When Elderly Lady Xu, who was inside the palace, heard Ye Jiuge’s voice, her expression changed instantly. She had seen Ye Jiuge enter Jinxiu Palace with her own eyes and locked her in with her own hands. How did Ye Jiuge manage to escape?
“Let her in,” the Empress instructed coolly.
Her noble, virtuous face did not have any trace of emotion. It had already crossed her mind that Ye Jiuge could have escaped from Jinxiu Palace through a secret tunnel. Still, she had not completely believed that the old, derelict palace still possessed such a tunnel. She’d failed to notice its existence. However, it did not matter now. She’d managed to learn one of Jinxiu Palace’s secrets, so she considered it useful information.
“Right,” responded Elderly Lady Xu.
She hurried outside to meet Ye Jiuge. The imperial guards surrounding the area stepped aside immediately.
As soon as Ye Jiuge saw Elderly Lady Xu, she preempted her by complaining, “Elderly Lady Xu, how could you abandon me at Jinxiu Palace’s entrance and leave? Because of you, I couldn’t even quench my thirst with water. I ventured outside and looked for someone for a while, but there wasn’t a soul in sight.”
“It was my negligence. Eldest Miss, I hope you can forgive me.” Elderly Lady Xu forced a smile as she spoke; it was a complete contrast to the dark expression she’d worn earlier on her old, grave face.
“When you slight me, it’s not a serious matter. However, if you also treat other noble ladies in such a disrespectful way, I fear that it may be difficult for you to keep your head attached to your body,” Ye Jiuge said with a fake smile. Then, disregarding Elderly Lady Xu’s scowl, she swept into the palace with her head held high.
The lanterns in Jinxiu Palace’s main hall were already lit, illuminating everything clearly. Dongfang Que was propped against the back of the Duobaoge display cabinet with a droopy head. His handsome face was concealed by shadows. From afar, he looked like a sculpture. The Empress and the Crown Prince stood opposite Dongfang Que with their minions. A split was apparent between the two sides; they were in a state of confrontation.
As soon as the Crown Prince saw Ye Jiuge walk in, he chided her, “Ye Jiuge, where did you run off to? Don’t you know that Mother is anxious about you? When she heard that you went missing, she immediately brought people over to look for you.”
He spoke as though Ye Jiuge mattered to him. She rolled her eyes discreetly. She was about to mock this shameless Crown Prince when the Empress moved her red lips lightly to speak. “Crown Prince, now that we have found her, it’s fine. You should get off her back!”
“Right.” The Crown Prince nodded deferentially.
Then, the Empress looked at Ye Jiuge and said in a somewhat doting manner, “Jiuge, you cannot behave in the palace the same way you do at the Ye Residence. When you enter the palace in the future, you should be more mindful of your actions. You cannot walk around as you please. Otherwise, if anything unfortunate were to occur, you would not be able to deny your involvement.”
“Your Majesty, your words of caution are excellent advice. I realize now that I was wrong.” After Ye Jiuge acknowledged her mistake with a sincere attitude, she acted as if she had just noticed Dongfang Que’s presence and said with surprise, “Eh? What’s wrong with the Dongling Prince? Why is his face so red? Has he been poisoned?”
After she finished speaking, she walked quickly towards Dongfang Que. When Dongfang Que saw Ye Jiuge making her way towards him, he lifted his head slightly, revealing tempestuous undercurrents flickering in his black, bloodshot eyes. It was clear that, by now, his endurance had reached its limit.
The look in his eyes made Ye Jiuge uneasy. She activated her Lightning Fire Needle and plunged it into several of his primary acupoints. Dongfang Que remained still, allowing Ye Jiuge to treat him as she pleased. She pierced the prince’s body with thirteen consecutive needles; the last was inserted into his philtrum. Purple spiritual energy seeped into Dongfang Que’s entire body from the Lightning Fire Needle. His pupils contracted. A drop of light green blood oozed out of his fair skin. It was extremely viscous, similar to a round green crystal, and released a sweet fragrance.
With just one whiff, Ye Jiuge’s whole body began warming up, and her blood flowed faster in her veins. She could not help but marvel inwardly that the Lingering Affection Herb was truly the most potent Aphrodisiac in the palace. She had merely smelled it, and its influence had been so powerful. It was hard for her to imagine what it felt like to Dongfang Que, who had this poison coursing throughout his entire system.
To be honest, the fact that he could withstand it up until now demonstrates that he is truly more impressive than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
When the Empress saw that Ye Jiuge was helping Dongfang Que expel the poison from his body, she raised her elegant eyebrows. Though she did not express it, she was most surprised.
Isn’t this stupid brat publicly recognized as incompetent? How does she know how to treat someone with acupuncture?
Moreover, when the Empress observed the deftness of Ye Jiuge’s hands, she seemed more practiced than the experienced imperial physicians. She could even force the Lingering Affection Herb out of Dongfang Que’s body. That being said, this time, Ye Jiuge was going to be a victim of her own ingenuity. When she helped Dongfang Que eliminate the poison from his body, she would not be saving him. On the contrary, she would be doing him harm.
The Crown Prince was not aware of the Empress’s plan. He thought that Ye Jiuge would be able to save Dongfang Que successfully. He shouted at her with agitation, “Ye Jiuge, what are you doing?”
“Your Highness, are you blind? Can’t you see that I’m currently neutralizing the poison in the Dongling Prince’s body?” Ye Jiuge smiled coldly.
To her surprise, as soon as she’d finished speaking, Dongfang Que’s face abruptly turned deathly white. He opened his mouth and vomited fresh blood. His eyelids drooped before his body collapsed weakly onto the ground. His breath became extremely shallow, giving the impression that he was on the edge of death.
Ye Jiuge was utterly flabbergasted. She reached out her hand and checked Dongfang Que’s pulse. She was confident that the procedure she’d used to neutralize the Lingering Affection Herb was free from error. There must be another reason why the prince’s condition was worsening. She needed to find it as soon as possible. Otherwise, she and Dongfang Que were doomed.