Chapter 83: Plan Before Action: The Empress’s Scheme
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
“In Father’s eyes, there is no such thing as affection, only utility. No matter how well he is treating you now, he is only thinking of using you. Do you understand?” explained Ye Jiuge.
She had not wished to teach Ye Ruyi this lesson so soon. However, recent events had demonstrated how sinister the people in the Ye Residence really were—they would not even spare a child. Instead of allowing Ye Ruyi to die ignorantly, she might as well help her mature sooner rather than later so she could find a way to protect herself. If not, Ye Yuxuan would foolishly sell her off.
Fifth Concubine felt that such dark things should not be said to her daughter and was about to advise Ye Jiuge against it. However, Ye Ruyi nodded her head forcefully and said, “I know. Father only wants me to help him produce pills.”
Although Ye Ruyi was still young, she’d endured hardships while growing up. Furthermore, she had lived through a terrifying kidnapping, so her mind was maturing early. Already, she understood when someone was being genuine with her and when they were putting up an act.
“Good sister, you just need to know this in your heart. Do not reveal even the tiniest bit in front of Father. If not, what happened to Eldest Sister today will be your fate tomorrow.” Ye Jiuge intentionally placed her terrifying swollen pig head in front of Ye Ruyi.
“Eldest Sister, is it excruciating?” Ye Ruyi sniffled as her eyes brimmed with tears. She looked as though she wanted to touch Ye Jiuge’s face but did not dare.
“It’s alright. It doesn’t hurt now.” When Ye Jiuge saw that she had made the young lady cry, she felt terrible about it.
“Oh, I have made some medicine for you. Take a look and see if you can use it.” Ye Ruyi turned and took out a small jade bottle from the giftbox on the table. Slightly bashfully, she said, “This was my first time producing medicine. I am not sure if it will be effective.”
“Sure, I will test it out.”
Ye Jiuge opened the jade bottle and sniffed. The medicine’s smell was quite strong, but the heat control during its production had been slightly off. However, for a young lady producing medicine for the first time, it was quite impressive. A Wood Fire Spiritual Root was indeed extraordinary—no wonder Ye Yuxuan treated Ye Ruyi like a treasure.
“When Ruyi heard that you were beaten by Old Master yesterday, she immediately went and made this medicine,” Fifth Concubine said.
It would be a lie to say that Fifth Concubine did not feel sad that the first time her daughter had produced medicine was neither for her nor the Old Master, but the Eldest Miss. On second thought, the Eldest Miss had been affectionate and sincere to her and her daughter. She had even saved their lives a few times.
Now, her daughter had demonstrated that she was a grateful person, thinking of the Eldest Miss in all respects. A person who knew how to be grateful would not grow up to become wicked. As she considered this, Fifth Concubine felt better.
“Little girl, you still have a little conscience left.” Ye Jiuge pressed Ye Ruyi’s forehead, then said to Qing Mama, “Bring the personal letters about pill production that I have prepared.”
Recently, Ye Jiuge had been collating what she had learned from producing pills. On the one hand, this practice was a form of study. On the other, Ye Jiuge also wanted to keep the notes for Ye Ruyi.
Although Ye Yuxuan had given Ye Ruyi many books about pill production, the contents were cryptic and too tricky for a seven-year-old girl. As such, Ye Jiuge had deliberately written using easy-to-understand colloquial words to allow Ye Ruyi to read side by side for comparison, enabling her to improve significantly.
“Many thanks, Eldest Sister!” Ye Ruyi received the personal letters as though they were a treasure and impatiently started to read them.
She was fascinated after only a few sentences. As it had been her first time producing medicine, she had encountered many problems. After checking the books her father had given her, she was still confused. When she read her Eldest Sister’s personal letters, she immediately understood—it was as though her head was anointed with the purest cream. She had a feeling that Eldest Sister was an even better Spiritual Alchemist than Father.
“That’s enough. Go back to your room and read them. Don’t disturb the Eldest Miss’s rest,” Fifth Concubine advised softly. Books about pill production always fascinated her daughter, and the girl did not listen to anything her mother said.
“Okay.” Ye Ruyi’s eyes were still glued to the book. Without lifting her head, she said to Ye Jiuge, “Eldest Sister, have a good rest. I will come and visit you again when I am free.”
“When you go back, you are not allowed to read the books if you neglect sleep and forget about food. If not, these personal letters will be confiscated.” Ye Jiuge drew the books out of Ye Ruyi’s hands and threatened her.
“I know, Eldest Sister. Please give them back to me!” Ye Ruyi replied pitifully.
She wanted to stay up all night to finish reading her Eldest Sister’s personal letters, but after hearing Ye Jiuge’s warning, she would not dare.
“Eldest Miss, you have helped me a great deal,” Fifth Concubine said gratefully.
As she grew up, Ruyi was becoming more and more disobedient. She could only be controlled when Fifth Concubine mentioned Ye Jiuge.
“Go back and read the books carefully. You can ask me if you do not understand anything.” Ye Jiuge stroked Ye Ruyi’s head and asked Qing Mama to see them off.
In the days that followed, Ye Jiuge shut her door and declined to see any visitors using recuperation as an excuse. Ye Yuxuan had come to her residence when he had heard about the rumors in the streets. When he was barred from entering, he was so enraged that he wanted to tear down the Zilin Residence. However, he did nothing of the sort.
Rumors in the streets ran amok. They claimed that Ye Yuxuan had sold his daughter to please the Empress and the Crown Prince. Many of his fellow Spiritual Alchemists mocked him behind his back. For the time being, he did not dare lay a hand on Ye Jiuge.
Unfortunately, the Crown Prince was pressing him continuously. Finally, Ye Yuxuan wrote a letter to the Crown Prince saying that Ye Jiuge was unwilling to marry him as a concubine and told him to find a way to win her over himself.
Meanwhile, in the Fengyi Palace…
After the Crown Prince read Ye Yuxuan’s reply, he said tactfully to the Empress, “Mother, Ye Jiuge is disgusting and stubborn like the stones in the latrine pits. She would never marry me as a concubine.”
If the Empress had not suggested the idea, he never would have sought out Ye Yuxuan, even if he were being beaten to death.
“I was merely testing out Ye Yuxuan’s attitude,” said the Empress coolly. “As long as he is still willing to help you out, it does not matter if your request is successful or not.”
“Mother is wise,” the Crown Prince immediately buttered her up.
The Empress lifted a celadon teacup and moistened her throat. Then she said, “What did the Su Clan say about the matter regarding Su Yufeng and her daughter?”
It was strange that the Su Clan had not said a single word after Su Yufeng and her daughter had been confined for such a long time.
“I sought out Su Junqing and asked him, but his opinion was that the time had not yet come.”
The Crown Prince was frustrated when he recalled his interaction with Su Junqing. He had tried to probe by asking Su Junqing about the matter regarding Ye Yu and the treasure map.
However, Su Junqing had claimed that he had absolutely no idea. Furthermore, he had the audacity to complain tearfully that his medicine warehouse on West Main Street had been burned down, causing him to suffer a significant loss. Su Junqing had wanted the Crown Prince to subsidize some of the damage. The Crown Prince had wanted to subsidize Su Junqing with a slap. If Su Junqing weren’t useful for now, the Crown Prince would have gotten someone to cut him down.
“The Su Clan’s Old Master should be leaving his spiritual retreat soon.” The Empress looked pensive.
They would be more confident when the moment came for them to support Su Yufeng and her daughter if the Su Clan’s Old Master had successfully reached the stage of Spiritual Master.
“I think so.” The Crown Prince nodded. He had not laid a finger on Su Junqing because the same thought had also occurred to him.
“Is there anything going on with Dongfang Que?” the Empress questioned again.
“He’s been in close contact with the Bai Clan lately; they seem to be searching for something. However, they have kept the information a closely guarded secret, and we were unable to ascertain the exact item. We could only determine that it is some sort of spiritual medicine.” The Crown Prince did not take the matter seriously.
In recent years, the Bai Clan had left no stone unturned in their quest to help cure Dongfang Que of his poison. They did not miss an opportunity to try out any spiritual medicine rumored to be useful.
The Empress and the Crown Prince had tried to stop them a few times. However, after losing some of their manpower, they became disinclined to care.