Chapter 217: Murdered: Grandfather’s Whereabouts
“That’s right. I want to give you a nice surprise.” Ye Jiuge also smiled.
“We are pleasantly surprised. Imperial Noble Consort was so happy that she wanted to come outside to welcome you personally.” Lady Hongxiu beamed.
“I do not deserve such grand treatment.” Ye Jiuge knew that Lady Hongxiu was joking, so she played along.
Ye Jiuge walked into Jinxiu Palace and saw Imperial Noble Consort Xi standing in the middle of the hall.
Although she was wearing a simple, light blue embroidered dress, her authoritative aura was not diminished. She was beyond reach as if standing high up in the clouds. She was most worthy of her Imperial Noble Consort title.
As soon as Imperial Noble Consort Xi saw Ye Jiuge, a smile instantly appeared on her face as she walked over her to greet her. She held her hand and pretended to be angry as she said, “Little heartless girl, at long last, you’ve come to see me after completing your Enclosed Cultivation.”
When Ye Jiuge heard Imperial Noble Consort Xi referring to herself as ‘me,’ she relaxed slightly. Judging from how she was acting, Imperial Noble Consort Xi hadn’t changed.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi led Ye Jiuge to the chairs. After they were seated, a hint of guilt appeared on her gorgeous face. “I am incredibly sorry about the plaque. I wanted to ask the Emperor to inscribe it with ‘Yun Residence.’ I never expected that the Emperor…”
Imperial Noble Consort Xi did not finish. She sighed.
When she’d found out that Ye Jiuge planned to leave the Ye Residence and strike out on her own, she was genuinely happy for her. Therefore, she wanted to urge the Emperor to inscribe the plaque with ‘Yun Residence’ as a way to support her.
After all, Ye Jiuge was the Yun Clan’s only living descendant. When she’d been born, her last name had been ‘Yun.’
However, though the Emperor had listened to her suggestion, he had not said anything at all. In the end, he went ahead and inscribed the plaque ‘Ye Jiuge’s Residence’ and sent it to Ye Jiuge shortly after their conversation. Even if she’d wanted to stop him, it was too late.
“There is not much difference between ‘Ye Jiuge’s Residence’ and ‘Yun Residence.’ Your Highness, you do not need to take it to heart.” It did not bother Ye Jiuge.
A name was merely something that others addressed her by.
If she insisted on changing her surname for the sake of cutting Ye Yuxuan out of her life, then she would be making a mountain out of a molehill.
“Regardless, I should have thought this through before proposing it to the Emperor.” Imperial Noble Consort Xi breathed out a prolonged sigh.
If Ye Jiuge had not helped her force the poison out from her body, she would still be living aimlessly in the Emperor Temple. She would not be the high-status person she was today, much less ousting the Empress and the Crown Prince.
“Your Highness, if you feel bad about it, then accept this!” Ye Jiuge smiled as she changed the topic and pulled out a wrapped bottle of Anti-aging Pills from her Magical Bottomless Satchel.
“Every time you visit me, you bring me a gift. You are too courteous.” Imperial Noble Consort Xi knew that Ye Jiuge did not want to continue the conversation about the plaque, so she eyed her with mild displeasure.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi accepted her present and passed it to Lady Hongxiu, signaling to her with her eyes.
Lady Hongxiu understood. She took the gift from Imperial Noble Consort Xi before leaving the room with the other palace maids.
When Ye Jiuge saw this, she knew that Imperial Noble Consort Xi wanted to speak to her in private. Therefore, she straightened her face.
“Jiuge, I heard that your grandfather has sent an exceptionally adept master to protect you. Is that true?” Imperial Noble Consort Xi’s tone was somber.
“That is correct.” Ye Jiuge repeated the lie that she had previously mentioned to others. In the end, she pretended to sigh ruefully before saying, “Unfortunately, this master is too eccentric. Usually, it is hard for me to get ahold of him. If he does not want to show up, I cannot find him.”
Ye Jiuge’s words effectively dissuaded those people who wanted to meet Zi Shang.
In any case, Zi Shang was a master with a mind of his own. She would not be able to command him as she wished. If they wanted to meet him, then they should find him themselves!
When Imperial Noble Consort Xi heard Ye Jiuge, she wanted to say something, but her face was full of hesitation.
Ye Jiuge looked at her in a puzzled manner.
The expression on Imperial Noble Consort Xi’s face kept changing. In the end, she made up her mind and said, “In the past, I heard a rumor about Great Master Yun. I do not know if it is true.”
“Regardless of whether it is true or fake, I would like to ask Your Highness to be honest with me.” Ye Jiuge straightened her back, conveying how much she cared about this.
“You are also aware that, all this while, I have been trying to find out about Great Master Yun’s whereabouts. I accidentally caught wind of news that Great Master Yun was murdered because of a piece of a treasure map,” Imperial Noble Consort Xi said gravely, before looking at Ye Jiuge worriedly.
Ye Jiuge paled immediately.
This expression was half-sincere, half-deceptive.
She’d already had a hunch that the treasure map was related to her grandfather. Imperial Noble Consort Xi merely helped her to confirm her suspicion.
However, she’d never thought that someone had already taken her grandfather’s life.
When she first returned from Wanzhang Depths, Ye Yuxuan had been behaving very oddly, as if he were sure that her grandfather was no longer living in this world.
Ye Jiuge forced herself to close her eyes. When she opened them again, she was calm.
She asked Imperial Noble Consort Xi, “May I know where did Your Highness heard this?”
“I’m afraid that I can’t tell you. Right now, the most important thing is to ascertain whether that extremely skilled master is a sham!” Imperial Noble Consort Xi avoided Ye Jiuge’s gaze.
She could not let Ye Jiuge know that she’d found out about this when eavesdropping on Emperor Xuanwu.
Although she used to loathe Emperor Xuanwu, after the Empress passed away and Dongfang Que moved into the East Palace, her hatred gradually faded.
Irrespective of what had happened, her future and Que’er’s depended on this man.
Regardless of how much she hated him, she would never go against him.
She was only informing Ye Jiuge of this news out of consideration for their existing friendship.
“I understand. Your Highness, you have my utmost gratitude for telling me.” Ye Jiuge nodded.
She knew that this time, she was in serious trouble.
Her grandfather’s disappearance was linked to the treasure map. Now, Zi Shang had shown himself in public, claiming to be sent by Ye Jiuge’s grandfather. This clearly implied that Zi Shang knew the treasure map’s location.
People who wanted to get their hands on the treasure map would swarm her like bees.
However, this was also an opportunity.
Those who knew that her grandfather was connected to the treasure map would know the truth behind his disappearance.
Or, as now seemed more likely, the truth behind his murder.
Thinking of this, Ye Jiuge was shaken. She was not in the mood to remain in Jinxiu Palace. She stood up to take her leave.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi did not try to convince her to stay. She only said one more thing: “In the future, you have to be more careful.”
“Your Highness, I will engrave your kindness in my heart.” Ye Jiuge felt that she’d made the right decision in doing her utmost to save Imperial Noble Consort Xi.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi smiled. She said pointedly, “Rather than thanking me, you should express your gratitude to Que’er. He keeps you close to his heart.”
She was willing to reveal this secret to Ye Jiuge because of Dongfang Que’s tacit approval.
“Your Highness, rest assured that I have never forgotten about the Dongling Prince. I have found a way to help him to expel the remaining poison in his body,” Ye Jiuge swore.
Although the Poisonous Earthworm King had eliminated more than half of the poison in Dongfang Que, it still had not gotten rid of all of the toxins from his body’s most vital parts.
When Jun Yichen returned, they could use his Life’s Origin Parasite to help Dongfang Que to eradicate the poison.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi had never expected Ye Jiuge to be so dense. She could not catch the underlying meaning of her words at all.
She smiled helplessly. Deep down, she understood that it was very likely that Que’er and Ye Jiuge were fated to meet but not to be together as lovers.
Imperial Noble Consort Xi summoned Lady Hongxiu and asked her to accompany Ye Jiuge to the palace entrance before seeing her off.
As they passed through Yuhua Garden, they saw Dongfang Que standing beneath a tree with red flowers in the distance.
He was wearing a golden coronet with seven pearls on his head. He was clad in a dark purple robe embroidered with a golden dragon with five talons, and his handsome face brooded, as usual. When he saw Ye Jiuge walking over, a glint of happiness flashed in his eyes. He brightened up considerably.
“Your Highness, why are you here?” Ye Jiuge asked in surprise.
“I came here to wait for you.” Dongfang Que’s gaze was unusually gentle as he looked at Ye Jiuge.
Ye Jiuge did not notice a thing. She asked in a forthright manner, “Your Highness, is there something you want to tell me?”