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“There is still no news?”
“Replying Your Majesty, this subordinate has secretly sent people to investigate everything they can about Mystery Nation, but none of them found a single thing,” reported Qing Long.
“Send more people! The veil of this Mystery Nation must be uncovered! We want to see exactly who it was other than Qi and Shu that dared to try to hoard iron mines… Cough cough…” Ye Hongyi’s indignant bellowing was cut off by an intense coughing fit.
“Your Majesty, should we call the imperial physician?” asked Qing Long worriedly.
“There’s no need, you can withdraw.” As Ye Hongyi was dismissing Qing Long, An Bingshan ran in from outside.
“Reporting, Your Majesty, Daoist Priest Jue Chen is waiting outside and said that there was something he needed to report to Your Majesty.” An Bingshan’s shrill voice contained clear schadenfreude even as he respectfully bowed.
“Jue Chen? Which Jue Chen?” Ye Hongyi leaned back in exhaustion onto the dragon seat as he asked this weakly.
“Did Your Majesty forget? It’s the Daoist priest that the late Emperor had highly valued. In the past, he even secretly helped the second prince…” An Bingshan narrowed his eyes as he said this in reminder.
“It’s him? He actually dared to step out of Honest Monastery? Is he not afraid that we’ll have him beheaded!? Have him come in!” Ye Hongyi’s face immediately filled with fury when he heard this. An Bingshan had predicted that his master would have this reaction and he eagerly stepped back out of the imperial study.
Beneath the steps, a Daoist priest was standing majestically upright in a white gown. A few strands of silver-white hair fell over his forehead. As the autumn wind swept past, the Daoist robe lifted in waves in a scene that inspired admiration due to the aura of calmness in the face of the changes of the world that he gave off. His handsome looks made it seem as if he was an immortal that had arrived here by traveling on the wind.
“Jue Chen ah, since we were once of the same school, this one will remind you that you’ve offended quite a few people when you placed the wrong bet during the five dragons struggle and one of those people is the victor of the five dragons struggle who is currently sitting inside the study. This one advises you to leave now and perhaps you’ll still be able to preserve your life.” An Bingshan swung his horsetail whisk slowly as he walked to Jue Chen, his eyes narrowed with ridicule and amusement.
“If Senior Brother had been able to say such sincere words before going in to deliver the news, Jue Chen would’ve definitely been moved to tears. But now…” Jue Chen glanced at An Bingshan coldly as his lips curved in an icy smile.
“Forget it, since you wish to seek death, this senior brother can’t stop you. This way then. His Majesty’s waiting for you!” An Bingshan flicked back his horsetail whisk and, following habit, bowed and extended his hand.
“Senior Brother has truly been an eunuch for too long. Have you even forgotten how to walk normally? Then Jue Chen will teach you, so watch carefully!” Jue Chen lifted his horsetail whisk and straightened his back as he walked towards the imperial study with large strides.
“Jue Chen, you shouldn’t be so smug. Since you dared to actually leave Honest Monastery, I have the ability to make it so that you’ll never have a chance to return!” As An Bingshan watched Jue Chen walk with light, vigorous steps into the imperial study, he tried straightening his posture as well, but just as he was about to start walking, he found that he couldn’t remember which foot to step out with.
Inside the imperial study, Ye Hongyi was currently sitting upright, his eyes dark as whirlpools as he glowered at the person in front of him.
“This humble Daoist, Jue Chen, kowtows in salute to his emperor, may you live for ten thousands of glorious years.” Jue Chen stood in front of the dragon desk respectfully as he bowed with his hands in front of him, his expression calm as the water of a well.
“Your emperor? If we didn’t remember wrong, Daoist Priest Jue Chen has once said that we don’t have the fate to ever sit on this throne in this lifetime.” Ye Hongyi looked at Jue Chen with cold, indignant fury.
“At that time, this humble Daoist had read the heavenly phenomenons wrong. That was the only reason this humble Daoist ended up giving succor to the enemy and almost causing his emperor’s talents to not be recognized. This humble Daoist recognized his mistakes, which is why this humble Daoist sentenced himself to face his misdeeds in Honest Monastery when Your Majesty ascended to the throne and never appeared again before this day,” replied Jue Chen with complete composure. However, under his very strong front was a heart that was shaking like a windblown leaf.
“Is that so? Daoist Priest couldn’t actually be thinking that a single sentence of having read the heavenly phenomenons wrong could make up for the great crimes you had committed back then?” From the very moment Jue Chen stepped in the door, Ye Hongyi had been thinking this entire time which form of execution would deal Jue Chen the most suffering.
“This humble Daoist knows that he has committed crimes and doesn’t hope to gain Your Majesty’s magnanimous forgiveness. However, there is one matter that this humble Daoist cannot keep silent about. A few days ago when this humble Daoist was observing the heavenly phenomenons, he saw the calamity star shift positions and Polaris dimed by a cloud of dust, so this humble Daoist destroyed his own cultivation as the price to divine the future for Your Majesty and found that Your Majesty will be facing a great crisis in the coming days. If it is not resolved, Your Majesty may not have much longer to live!” exclaimed Jue Chen solemnly.
“Audacious! You actually dare to spread your lies here and curse the current emperor! Your Majesty, this person is simply full of lies! This old servant will drag him out right now to be beaten!” At the side, An Bingshan instantly stepped forward and shouted this sternly.
“That’s exactly what we were thinking! Guards…”
“Your Majesty, lately, haven’t you been often feeling tired to the point you don’t have enough strength to get things done? You would often cough and have phlegm in your throat? There’d be bouts of dizziness and you’d find it hard to focus on things? And in particular, there’s black blood collecting in the palm of your right hand?” Just as Ye Hongyi was going to call the guards in, Jue Chen a series of questions in a firm tone.
“He’s trying to mislead with lies! Your Majesty, you can’t allow yourself to be tricked by him! You shouldn’t forget how he had managed to trick an entire bowl of blood from you with his flowery words to the late emperor!” The instant An Bingshan heard the symptoms Jue Chen described, his heart plunged. These were the symptoms of the poisoned palace maids in the pill refining room. How did Jue Chen find out about it?
An Bingshan was worried about losing the emperor’s trust, so even though he knew that the latest batch of pills were poisonous, he still delivered them to His Majesty as scheduled. Although the pills wouldn’t take His Majesty’s life, it would still damage the dragon physique. An Bingshan had been worried that these matters would reach His Majesty’s ears, which was why he had been secretly disposing of the palace maids who had died from testing the medicine and kept the palace maids who were still alive locked up. Now that these symptoms had come out from Jue Chen’s mouth, An Bingshan was naturally terrified.
“Whether this is simply lies or not, this humble Daoist believes that His Majesty naturally has an answer. Of course, if Your Majesty doesn’t trust this humble Daoist’s ability, this humble Daoist is willing to prove himself in front of Your Majesty.” Jue Chen fixed his robe a little, then looked towards Ye Hongyi solemnly.
“Your Majesty!” An Bingshan wanted to interrupt, but Ye Hongyi stopped him.
“Alright. We’d like to see what abilities Daoist Priest has gained during the last five years in which we haven’t seen each other. How about we command you to divine the esteemed prince, Ye Junqing’s current situation?” Ye Hongyi looked towards Jue Chen sternly with skepticism.
The reason Ye Hongyi chose Ye Junqing was because he was sure that even if everyone in the palace could be collaborating with Jue Chen, Ye Junqing was the only one who’d never do that. This was because back then, he wasn’t the only one tricked by Jue Chen to offer Imperial Father a bowl of blood, Ye Junqing had been forced to as well.
It was only later that Ye Hongyi found out that due to one sentence from Jue Chen, after he left, a bowl of blood had forcefully been taken from Ye Junqing. After that Ye Junqing had been unconscious for three days and almost died.
“Please wait a moment, Your Majesty.” After obtaining this command, Jue Chen started waving his horsetail whisk as he walked back and forth in the imperial study while muttering a chant. After a few minutes, when there was a sheen of sweat on his forehead, he stopped.
“Reporting Your Majesty, this humble Daoist has found that the esteemed prince is in the imperial palace, in the southwest direction,” said Jue Chen, slightly out of breath.
“The esteemed prince has already been staying in Guan Osprey Palace for a long time. Everyone within the palace knows about this, so is there a need for you to even divine something like this?” said An Bingshan with a snort.
“Is that all?” Ye Hongyi looked towards Jue Chen coldly.
“This humble Daoist has also divined that the esteemed prince will face a water misfortune at half past noon,” replied Jue Chen confidently.
“Half past noon? Isn’t that around now? A water misfortune? What do you mean?” Ye Hongyi looked towards Jue Chen with interest, his eyes shining with strange light.
“Your Majesty, forgive this humble Daoist lack of ability, but all that this humble Daoist had been able to divine was that Esteemed Prince had misfortune with water. This humble Daoist is still not capable of divining much of the details,” replied Jue Chen humbly.
“Arrange for a palanquin to Guan Osprey Palace!” Ye Hongyi’s slender eyes narrowed slightly as he got up and walked past the dragon desk to pass by Jue Chen. “If your divination is accurate, we will let bygones be bygones and confer you a post in the palace. However, if your divination is off…” Jue Chen’s heart was already shaking uncontrollably as he took in that dark ruthless smile on Ye Hongyi’s face, but he maintained a completely tranquil expression.
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