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“We’ll be fine with Huo Feng attending to us. You can withdraw for now!” Ye Hongyi nodded slightly. Having obtained instructions, An Bingshan allowed Huo Feng to take the tray. As he was turning to leave, Huo Feng used inner strength to suck the wine inside the pot into her sleeve, then she refilled it with the water that was in a pouch hidden inside her sleeve.
When Wang Qinruo drank the first cup of fruit wine, she knew that Huo Feng had swapped out the wine. Although she was angry, she didn’t point it out. Fortunately, Ye Hongyi expressed no desire to drink the fruit wine during the course of the entire dinner, otherwise she wouldn’t have known how to explain things. The dinner lasted a good while. She thought that Ye Hongyi would stay the night, but Ye Hongyi said that he still had memorials to review and left Splendid Veneer Palace.
“Huo Feng! Why did you do that? You heard what he said earlier! His Majesty doesn’t blame this consort at all. His Majesty loves this consort and even hopes that this consort can give birth a son for him! Why do you insist on being so cautious? You’re always…” The moment Ye Hongyi left the perimeters of the palace, Wang Qinruo turned towards Huo Feng and started berating her angrily.
“Your Highness… Pfff!” Before Wang Qinruo had finished her words, Huo Feng felt a metallic taste in her throat and blood abruptly spurted out of her mouth. The ink-like poisoned blood splashed onto the ground.
“Huo Feng! How could this be? How could this happen!?” Wang Qinruo was astonished, but she quickly ran to Huo Feng’s side as tears flooded her eyes.
“Your Highness…” Huo Feng struggled to lift her left sleeve. There was a black line that stretched from her palm to her arm.
“You… You got poisoned? It was His Majesty’s fruit wine? That’s not possible… This is impossible! His Majesty said that he wanted this consort to give birth to a son for him! He clearly said that he would make things up to this consort… How could he have poisoned the wine? How’s that possible!? Huo Feng, you’re lying to this consort, right… Huo Feng…” Wang Qinruo cried heartbrokenly as tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Your Highness… Please open your eyes and see that man for who he really is… How did the empress treat him? Yet he actually killed his child with his own hands and forced the empress to commit suicide. A man like this… How many truths could possibly come from his mouth? This servant knows that you don’t like to hear these words, but this servant won’t have any more chances in the future… This servant won’t be able to rest in peace if this servant doesn’t wake Your Highness up from this…” The black blood that spilled out of Huo Feng’s lips dyed her lapel horrifyingly black.
“But this consort had done so much for him… This consort doesn’t stink anymore! Huo Feng, this consort doesn’t stink anymore! Why… Why did he still do this? Why!?” Wang Qinruo’s tears rolled down as the bitterness and sadness that had accumulated in her heart over the years flooded out.
“Your Highness has already wasted over twenty years on a man who didn’t deserve your sacrifices, that’s long enough… It’s been twenty years, there’s no way you aren’t clear on what kind of person His Majesty is… Your Highness, please wake up! Huo Feng is willing to use her own life to exchange for Your Highness’s future freedom… Pfff!” Huo Feng’s body suddenly started convulsing as mouthfuls of blood poured out from her mouth.
“No… Huo Feng! Don’t die! Please, I’m begging you… Don’t leave me alone… This consort can’t bear to part with you… This consort was wrong! This consort was wrong ah!” Wang Qinruo gripped Huo Feng’s convulsing arm tightly as she cried this beseechingly. Tears blurred her vision as they streamed down, but they finally washed her heart clean.
“Your Highness… Huo Feng also can’t bear to part with you… But what can be done… Huo Feng’s about to leave… Your Highness…” Huo Feng’s tears glided down the sides of her face. Her entire body was convulsing with pain, but she couldn’t bring herself to close her eyes. She didn’t want to let go of Wang Qinruo’s hand.
“This consort was blind! This consort had been possessed! Huo Feng, this consort realizes her mistakes now! This consort knows that even if this consort digs out her heart to offer it to him, he still wouldn’t even bother to glance at this consort! This consort knows everything, Huo Feng! So… So please don’t leave! Stay with me! Please… As long as you live, this consort will leave this place with you and will never come back, alright?” Wang Qinruo finally admitted the reality that she had never wanted to face.
She hugged Huo Feng tightly as her heart pulsed with pain. What she had always been chasing after was the unreachable image of the moon reflected in the lake. She had never spent time thinking about Huo Feng, but now that she wanted to give Huo Feng all her love, it was already too late.
“Yes… Huo Feng really wants to leave this place with you, Your Highness. Your Highness will only be happy once you leave this place. Your Highness will only be free then…” Huo Feng’s hot tears dropped onto Wang Qinruo’s palm. The heat seemed to scorch every inch of Wang Qinruo’s skin, causing her unbearable pain.
Right at this moment, there came the sound of rapid footsteps and there was even the faint sound of armor.
“Oh no… It’s definitely the people His Majesty sent! Your Highness… Hurry and hide… Remember, go look for Noble Consort Yao. She’s the only one that can help you leave…” The smile on Huo Feng’s stiffened and she looked towards Wang Qinruo worriedly for the last time.
“No! This consort won’t leave you! Huo Feng!” Wang Qinruo sobbed as she hugged Huo Feng. She couldn’t bear to let go. She was afraid that the moment she let go, she would lose the best sister in the world!
“Your Highness… Let it go and be free…” Huo Feng’s hand fell weakly and her eyes which were filled with hope gradually dulled until her gaze was hollow and empty.
“Huo Feng… This consort won’t let your death be in vain…” Wang Qinruo felt cold like never before as she hugged Huo Feng. Her tears fell onto Huo Feng’s now empty eyes. In this instant, Huo Feng seemed to sense Wang Qinruo’s resolution, because her eyes slowly closed.
The doors of Splendid Veneer Palace were abruptly pushed open. When Qing Long walked into the main hall, he was shocked by the sight of Huo Feng lying on the ground lifelessly.
“Search!” Qing Long soon got over his shock and gave this stern command. Following that, guards rushed into the room. However, even after searching through the entirety of Splendid Veneer Palace, they weren’t able to find any trace of Wang Qinruo. After hearing the guards’ report, Qing Long’s expression turned cold. He knew that things were bad, so he immediately headed towards the imperial study.
By the time Yin Xue brought Wang Qinruo to Guan Osprey Palace, Yao Mowan had already been waiting for quite a long time.
“Eat this.” Yao Mowan’s heart ached faintly when she saw Wang Qinruo’s lost look. Wang Qinruo didn’t hesitate. She strode forward to grab the half a pill on the table and swallowed it.
“You knew that this would be the outcome from the start? Then why didn’t you save Huo Feng? Why!?” cried Wang Qinruo. She couldn’t hold back her tears and they overflowed again.
“Because Huo Feng wanted to use her own death to prove to you how heartless Ye Hongyi was.” The moment Yin Xue appeared in front of her with Wang Qinruo, she knew that Huo Feng had died. She truly appreciated this palace maid, so she was sincerely saddened by Huo Feng’s death.
“What did you say?” asked Wang Qinruo as she choked back her sobs.
“This consort warned Huo Feng early on that if anything happens three days later, she should immediately take you and leave. With Huo Feng’s martial arts, she could easily knock you unconscious and escape from the imperial palace with you. That way both of you could survive, but… Perhaps this consort understands her decision. If she didn’t prove to you that the wine was poisoned, you’d never be able to get past this in this lifetime!” Yao Mowan had been looking at Wang Qinruo accusatorily, but near the end, her tone became tinged with a hint of sorrow and self-ridicule.
If she hadn’t died once, how would she have realized that she had always been worshipping a heartless bastard? That was why, she really didn’t have the right to mock Wang Qinruo.
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