Harem: The Woman Who Could Oppose the Empress
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
“I see.” Ye Jiuge glared at Bai Songling.
This fellow is not a good friend because he did not tell her in advance that Dongfang Que would be coming!
“Actually, His Highness wanted to ask you about the fifth stage Fire Dragon Herb.”
Bai Songling smiled awkwardly. He had wanted to inform Ye Jiuge about Dongfang Que ahead of time, but the prince had not allowed him to. Dongfang Que had feared that Ye Jiuge would not come if she knew. He must have been joking. Ye Jiuge, with her fearless personality, would not be afraid of him.
Dongfang Que took over from Bai Songling and asked, “Eldest Miss Ye, where does this fifth stage Fire Dragon Herb grow?”
Although he had already sent word of this news to the Bai Clan, it was extremely challenging to find a fifth stage spiritual herb in these vast mountains.
“Fire Dragon Herbs are sun-loving and hot-natured plants. They usually grow near volcanoes or where molten lava has once flowed,” Ye Jiuge replied. Getting this information from Zi Shang had not been easy.
“Volcanoes? Molten lava?” Dongfang Que stared blankly. What are these things?
“A volcano is a mountain that spews fire. A red river hotter than molten iron flows out from the inside of such a mountain,” Ye Jiuge explained.
“Such incredible mountains exist in this world?” Bai Songling found it unimaginable. There were only plains near the capital and not many mountains, let alone volcanoes.
Dongfang Que muttered to himself hesitantly for a moment. Finally, he said, “I once read a passage in a book of travel notes. It said that, a few thousand miles south of the river, there is a volcano that spews red rivers. Wherever the red river flows, plants and trees wither, and birds and beasts die. Could this be the volcano and molten lava that you speak of?”
“It should be.” Ye Jiuge nodded. She had never seen a volcano on this vast continent and was not very sure about it.
When Bai Songling heard that the volcano was a few thousand miles south of the river, he involuntarily sighed. The current transport system was still underdeveloped. People usually rode horses, and only a few owned spiritual beasts. Even if they traveled across the plains, a few thousand miles would take more than half a year to traverse. If they met an obstacle, like high mountains, it would take even longer.
“Many thanks to Eldest Miss Ye for telling us,” Dongfang Que expressed his gratitude calmly. As long as there was hope, he would definitely find the herb.
“You are welcome, Your Highness,” Ye Jiuge smiled and said. “Since
Your Highness has specially invited me here, you must have other matters to discuss with me.”
“You are right.” Dongfang Que saw that it was easy to speak freely with Ye Jiuge, so he spoke straightforwardly of his goal, “I would like you to help me save someone.”
“Who?” Ye Jiuge asked curiously.
Something about this person must not be so simple if Dongfang Que is personally asking her for help.
“A woman who can oppose the Empress,” Dongfang Que answered solemnly.
“Who is it?” Ye Jiuge’s eyebrows raised in surprise.
It would be incredibly magical if a woman existed who could oppose the vicious Empress.
“Imperial Consort Xi,” Dongfang Que spoke the words slowly.
“Oh, it’s her!” Ye Jiuge realized suddenly.
Imperial Consort Xi was famous. She was noble-born, the grand-niece of the Empress Dowager and the cousin of Emperor Xuanwu. Her beauty was said to be unparalleled. Furthermore, she was considerate, gentle, and very sensible.
Long ago, the Empress Dowager had wanted Consort Xi to marry Emperor Xuanwu, who had yet to ascend the throne, and be his legitimate wife. However, Consort Xi had requested to be Emperor Xuanwu’s concubine and gave way to the current Empress, whose maiden name was Xue. With the support of the Xue Clan, Emperor Xuanwu had successfully ascended the throne.
When Bai Linglong entered the palace, Consort Xi took good care of her. Emperor Xuanwu had wanted to promote Bai Linglong to Imperial Noble Consort, but she had refused using all sorts of excuses. She had argued that Consort Xi was more qualified than her to be the Imperial Noble Consort. However, Consort Xi had personally advised Bai Linglong, who finally agreed to be the Imperial Noble Consort. Meanwhile, Consort Xi was promoted to Imperial Consort. The two of them were as close as sisters and served Emperor Xuanwu together, and their story was spread far and wide, capturing the imagination of the people.
When Bai Linglong passed away from illness, Imperial Consort Xi fell gravely ill and never recovered. There was no further news of her. Some claimed that she had gone to the Emperor Temple to accompany the oil lamps before the statue of Buddha.
“Imperial Consort Xi was as close to my mother as a sister. After my mother passed away, she became afflicted with a strange illness. Tumors grew on her face, and even spiritual doctors were unable to treat her. She then requested to go to the Emperor Temple to personally tend to the ancestors’ graves. If you can treat her strange illness, she will be able to return to the palace,” Dongfang Que said.
While Dongfang Que could not be sure that his mother, Bai Linglong, had been the woman whom his father had loved the most, he was confident that the Emperor respected Imperial Consort Xi more than any other woman.
“Sure, I will treat her illness,” Ye Jiuge agreed without any hesitation.
Forget about helping to treat an illness— if she could cause trouble for the Empress, she would happily pay money for it.
“Imperial Consort Xi is currently in my residence. She can see you at any moment.”
Sending a letter to the Emperor Temple to invite Imperial Consort Xi out of obscurity was the first thing Dongfang Que had done after leaving the palace. At first, Imperial Consort Xi had refused. But when she had heard that Ye Jiuge had inherited Yun Tianwei’s teachings and was able to treat the demonic poison in her son’s body, she was willing to give it a try.
“Then let’s go over now!” Ye Jiuge said eagerly.
The sooner Imperial Consort Xi’s illness was treated, the sooner she could stab the Empress in the back.
“Not many people know that Imperial Consort Xi is back in the capital. To prevent the news from spreading, I must ask Eldest Miss Ye to follow me through a secret passage,” Dongfang Que said solemnly.
“Sure.” Ye Jiuge nodded.
She had initially thought that the secret passage was outside. She had not expected Bai Songling to remove a work of art depicting Admiring the Plums, which was hanging on the wall of the private room. He forcefully pushed away a floor tile, and a passage was revealed.
“The Yuwu Teahouse is His Highness’s property,” Bai Songling explained.
“I see.” Ye Jiuge realized that Dongfang Que was a secret passage maniac. Not only did he have a secret passage in the Jinxiu Palace, but he also had one in the teahouse. How many more secrets does he have?
“Eldest Miss Ye, this way please!” Bai Songling called out to Ye Jiuge before he took the lead and pushed Dongfang Que’s wheelchair into the secret passage.
Ye Jiuge followed behind them. After walking in the secret passage for approximately the time needed to burn two sticks of incense, they finally arrived in one of the houses behind the Prince Mansion.
Then, Ye Jiuge changed into a cloak, which Dongfang Que had prepared, and followed them into the Prince Mansion through the back door. After turning many corners along the long corridors, they came to a secluded courtyard.
The doors and windows of the house were tightly shut. The courtyard was empty, and the flowers and plants had already withered. It was difficult to imagine a person like Imperial Consort Xi staying in such a place.
“Elderly Lady Zhou, please help me convey the message that I have brought the Eldest Miss Ye here,” Dongfang Que called out softly at the entrance. It was clear that he respected Imperial Consort Xi immensely.
The door opened with a creaking sound. A short, fat Elderly Lady with a benevolent look bowed to Dongfang Que. She said softly, “Greetings to you, Your Highness. The Imperial Consort has requested that Eldest Miss Ye enter alone.”
“Alright.” Dongfang Que looked apologetically at Ye Jiuge. He said softly, “Ever since Imperial Consort Xi was stricken with illness, she has become unwilling to receive visitors.”
“Okay.” Ye Jiuge understood. Any woman whose beauty had once been unparalleled would be unwilling to let people see her now that she was ugly.