Chapter 159: A Set-up (2)
Li Zijun probably never expected Ye Shanshan to come forward and testify against her own sister. He was stunned for a moment before asking, “Ye Clan’s Second Miss, can you please share what kind of evidence you have incriminating her?”
“Senior Li, anyone in the Capital knows that, in the past, my Eldest Sister was seriously ill. Her meridians were completely damaged. She was unable to cultivate at all. Not only that, her face was absolutely hideous. She was drained of her strength and vitality all the time.
“However, a while back, she suddenly said that she had experienced a miraculous occurrence in the Wanzhang Depths.
“She not only managed to restore her meridians, but her cultivation level also grew exponentially. Within a short time of three months, she advanced to a Rank Two Alchemist. Her appearance also became extremely beautiful.
“Other than Black Magic cultivation, I cannot think of another favorable encounter that could justify such a drastic change in her.”
It was obvious that Ye Shanshan had rehearsed every word before reciting them now.
Ye Jiuge had to acknowledge that her speech was very persuasive.
After Li Zijun listened to her, even he was convinced.
He furrowed his brow and turned his gaze toward Ye Jiuge’s face.
Because he admired Great Master Yun, he’d once met Ye Jiuge privately three years ago.
At that time, Ye Jiuge had indeed been extremely ugly. She’d also been so timid that she could not even speak clearly.
However, the Ye Jiuge in front of him was exceptionally beautiful, like a Frozen Snow Lotus in full bloom during the dark night.
Even though she was surrounded by hostile soldiers, her clear, bright eyes remained resolute. They displayed the unique, unfaltering, and assertive side of her.
She was very different compared to her past self.
“Second Sister, admittedly, you make some good points. However, if I am really a Black Magic Practitioner, you should have been the first person to die by my hand. Although the smell of your blood would be repugnant, I think that it could be a good idea to feed you to the dogs.”
Ye Jiuge had a pair of pretty, emotive eyes, which were as clear as a pristine lake. However, the gleam that flashed from their depths was exceptionally cold, like a terrifying abyss.
Ye Jiuge’s gaze made Ye Shanshan’s skin crawl, and she immediately cowered behind the Crown Prince.
“Ye Jiuge, you still refuse to repent even now. You dared to threaten Ye Shanshan right in front of me. Did you really think that you could hide the truth from the public?” The Crown Prince stepped forward fearlessly.
“I am innocent. Why do I need to feel any remorse over things that I never did? You are the one who wants to hide the truth from the public!” Ye Jiuge snorted with laughter.
“You…” The Crown Prince was so furious that his face turned red. However, he knew that he was no match to Ye Jiuge when it came to sparring verbally with her, so he turned to Li Zijun and said, “Zijun, we have a witness and physical evidence that prove that Ye Jiuge is a murderer. We must jail her in the Imperial Prison. Otherwise, it will be difficult for us to placate the Gong Clan!”
Before this, Dongfang Yao had turned his back on the Crown Prince, so the Crown Prince had wanted to get on Li Zijun’s good side. Otherwise, he would have ordered his men to capture Ye Jiuge a long time ago.
When Li Zijun thought of the Gong Clan, he suffered a headache.
Although Gong Hongyu was merely one daughter from the collateral branch of the family, she was still a member of the Gong Clan.
She’d come to the Lei Kingdom to participate in the Pill Production Tournament. In the end, she’d died tragically in the Medicine Refinery City.
Regardless of who was responsible for her death, the authorities would not be able to stay out of it. The Gong Clan would hold them accountable.
Li Zijun sighed. He said to Ye Jiuge, “Ye Clan’s Eldest Miss, at present, we have a witness and evidence. You are our most likely suspect. I would like to request that you cooperate with our investigation. If you are really innocent, we will definitely acquit you.”
Ye Jiuge evaluated the situation quickly. She knew that, given the current circumstances, it would be impossible for her to escape unscathed.
Li Zijun has been quite civil with her. It might be better for her to oblige.
She swept her eyes over Hua Die, who was trembling behind the soldiers and trying to hide herself. Then, Ye Jiuge replied to Li Zijun, “Fine, I will leave with you. However, I do not want Hua Die to remain by the Crown Prince’s side. You should hand her over to Wan Ziyang.”
“I will not allow this,” the Crown Prince objected right away. “Everyone knows that you connived with Wan Ziyang. How can Hua Die stay alive once she’s in his hands?”
Ye Jiuge narrowed her eyes at the Crown Prince. After this, she slowly turned to Li Zijun before saying, “The events which took place during the Pill Production Tournament are still fresh in everyone’s minds. You are well aware of the Crown Prince’s character. I do not trust such a person to investigate this case. Perhaps, he is colluding with the Black Magic Practitioners.”
“You are talking nonsense. How can I possibly have connections with the Black Magic Practitioners? You should not slander me maliciously.” The Crown Prince almost jumped.
When Li Zijun recalled how the Crown Prince had messed with the Pill Production Tournament, he agreed that the Crown Prince was untrustworthy. Therefore, he said, “Since this has happened in the Medicine Refinery City, it is my responsibility to investigate this thoroughly. I will send someone to watch over Hua Die while she is in captivity.”
“Zijun!” the Crown Prince shouted. However, when he saw that Li Zijun was firm in his decision, he could only shut his mouth grudgingly.
“You must keep an eye on Hua Die in case someone kills her to silence her and blames her death on me.” Ye Jiuge eyed the Crown Prince. Her meaning was obvious.
“Of course.” Li Zijun nodded gravely. After he asked his men to look after Hua Die, he said to Ye Jiuge, “Let’s go!”
“What will happen to those corpses?” Ye Jiuge remained still.
“I will send someone to deal with them.” Li Zijun looked indifferent. It was apparent that he would not handle this matter personally.
Ye Jiuge furrowed her brow. She said, “As these corpses were produced by Black Magic Practitioners’ activity, they will definitely contain a lot of clues. If we just clear them from the scene without any careful examination, I am afraid that this is not be a proper way to handle the case. I would like to advise you to find a professional coroner or Spiritual Doctor to examine them.”
“Fair enough.” Li Zijun had a whole new level of respect for Ye Jiuge.
Most people in her situation would be a bundle of nerves, but she had a good head on her shoulders. She really did not look like a murderer.
“Hmph, what a hypocrite!” the Crown Prince jeered with a mocking laugh. He said to Li Zijun, “Zijun, you should not let this witch delude you. Black Magic Practitioners are extremely capable of manipulating others’ minds. Her words are meant to pull the wool over your eyes. In my opinion, we should quickly make arrangements for the Gong Clan’s Third Miss’s funeral so that the Gong Clan will not feel let down by us.”
“That’s right. We should respect the dead. It is better for us to stop tormenting their remains,” Ye Shanshan chimed in sorrowfully.
Li Zijun felt slightly hesitant.
At that moment, another battalion of men and horses hurried to the scene from the distant darkness.
As it turned out, Wan Ziyang had caught wind of what was happening and was now rushing over to the stone hillocks.
When he saw Ye Jiuge surrounded by the Crown Prince, he immediately asked in an unfriendly manner, “What is going on?”
“Ye Jiuge practices Black Magic. She killed people and drank their blood. We have solid evidence of her crimes. Right now, we are going to take her to the Imperial Prison to interrogate her,” the Crown Prince answered before anyone else could speak.
“That is absurd,” Wan Ziyang declared—he was certain that the Crown Prince’s accusations were untrue. “It’s possible for anyone to be a Black Magic Practitioner, except for Ye Jiuge.”
“How do you know that it’s not possible? Can it be that you are the real killer?” the Crown Prince questioned him aggressively.
Wan Ziyang was about to argue with the Crown Prince when Ye Jiuge cut him off, “Brother Wan, His Highness is bent on incriminating me. Even if you want to reason further with him, it is useless. You may as well hurry up and uncover evidence to prove my innocence.”
Gong Hongyu’s letter and Hua Die’s testimony had put her in an extremely disadvantageous situation. Not only that, but Ye Shanshan was making things worse for her from the sidelines.
As matters stood, Ye Jiuge could only clear her name by finding the real murderer.
Wan Ziyang composed himself immediately. Reason returned to his eyes at once.
When Ye Jiuge saw that he had calmed down, she said gravely, “Brother Wan, there is something wrong with those corpses in the underground cave.”