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“Your Majesty, this incident…” An Bingshan was stunned and he staggered as he walked to Ye Hongyi. He really wanted to explain that although those palace maids had died due to refining the pills, the pills were completely fine. However, the moment he opened his mouth, Ye Hongyi stopped him.
“You can talk once the state preceptor gets here.” Ye Hongyi didn’t even bother to glance at An Bingshan. His gaze was fixed on those corpses. After a few minutes, Jue Chen was brought to the imperial garden by a guard.
“This humble Daoist kowtows in salute to Your Majesty.” Jue Chen bowed respectfully, then glanced at An Bingshan out of the corner of his eyes. The instant their eyes met, An Bingshan glowered at Jue Chen.
“State Preceptor, please rise. Help us take a look at what caused these palace maid’s deaths.” The low voice was extremely cold. Jue Chen didn’t dare to dally and immediately turned to walk towards the corpses of those palace maids.
Next to Ye Hongyi, An Bingshan’s eyes were bloodshot. He was vexed with himself for not having gotten rid of Jue Chen earlier. With the situation like this, it’d be difficult to get out of this unscathed.
“Reporting, Your Majesty, this humble Daoist must cut open the abdomen to be certain.” Jue Chen walked to Ye Hongyi with a solemn expression that contained a hint of worry. Ye Hongyi, without a word, pulled out his own broadsword and handed it to Jue Chen.
To An Bingshan, time seemed to inch past unbearably slowly. When he saw Jue Chen take out the pill from a palace maid’s stomach, he knew that this time, he was done for. The only thing he can do now was try to preserve his life. As long as he was still alive, he’d have a chance to reverse his fate.
“Your Majesty, this humble Daoist believes that these palace maids have died due to this pill!” Jue Chen wiped one of the pills clean, then lifted it for Ye Hongyi to see.
“Daoist Priest, is there any difference between this pill and the pill we had shown you a few days ago?” Ye Hongyi’s voice was completely cold and behind his back, his hands were clenched into fists.
“From what this humble Daoist’s sees, these two pills use the same ingredients, but different amounts of them. It must be known that there can be no errors when refining this kind of pill. If the quantity of the ingredients isn’t accurate, while the former could be an excellent life-lengthening formula, the latter could be a potent fatal poison,” said Jue Chen solemnly.
“State Preceptor, with your expertise, do you think that someone who’s able to create the life-lengthening formula would be able to turn it into a fatal poison?” Ye Hongyi’s voice turned even colder. At the side, An Bingshan’s body was already trembling nonstop. At this time, it would only take one sentence from Jue Chen to seal his fate.
“Only if it’s deliberate.” Jue Chen’s swift and simple answer caused Ye Hongyi great rage.
“Guards! Escort An Bingshan into Central Dragon Palace! State Preceptor, please come with us. The rest of you, stay here. Transport the corpses out of the imperial palace and burn them!” shouted Ye Hongyi indignantly before storming off in the direction of Central Dragon Palace.
Ye Junqing and Yao Mowan only walked from the shadows once everyone had left.
“His Majesty is already this angry even though he hasn’t even confirmed that the pills from the pill refining room are poisonous?” Ye Junqing shook his head, but inside, he was pretty delighted. The angrier the emperor was, the more tragic An Bingshan’s death would be.
“Anyone that takes longevity pills greatly treasure their lives. How do you think someone who desires to live so much would react when they find out that something they ate every day was likely a fatal poison?” Yao Mowan smiled. Fortunately, Ye Hongyi wasn’t very severely poisoned yet. If he had died just like this, it’d be such a shame.
“Oh right, how did you get those pills into the stomachs of those corpses?” Ye Junqing looked towards Yao Mowan curiously.
“How hard could it be? Just cut them open, stuff it in, sew them back up,” replied Yao Mowan simply.
“No way! Weren’t you worried that His Majesty would have an imperial physician come over to inspect the corpses?” Ye Junqing looked at Yao Mowan in alarm. He was suddenly hit with a belated feeling of lingering fear.
“I hope you’re joking. If this was something that could be known by the public, why would His Majesty have sent you away? You saw it as well. If this wasn’t the imperial palace, His Majesty would’ve just destroyed those corpses right then and there. Let’s go. Mowan will invite Prince to sample some tea. Yin Xue will soon be bringing good news back to Guan Osprey Palace.” Yao Mowan smiled sweetly as she started walking away.
As Ye Junqing watched Yao Mowan’s graceful figure slowly move away, he couldn’t help sigh. At this current moment, Yao Mowan’s every movement seemed so much like Moxin’s.
Inside Central Dragon Palace, Ye Hongyi instructed for the hidden door to be opened, then An Bingshan was pushed into the pill refining room.
“We servants kowtows in salute to Your Majesty.” The instant Ming Yu and the others saw Ye Hongyi, they fell to a fearful kneel on the ground. They had never seen His Majesty step foot inside here for all the time since they had started working here until now. In this instant, Ming Yu knew that the day she had been longing for had finally arrived.
“Your Majesty is wise, so you must know that even if this old servant had a hundred guts, this old servant wouldn’t dare to give Your Majesty pills that were poisonous! This old servant swears that those palace maids hadn’t died due to those pills! It was Jue Chen! Jue Chen harbors hatred towards this old servant and had been wanting to put this old servant to death! Your Majesty, all these years, this old servant had served you wholeheartedly and loyally!” An Bingshan’s face was covered with tears as he sobbed in fear, but Ye Hongyi wasn’t moved at all.
“You! Bring over the pills that were refined these last couple of days.” Ye Hongyi casually pointed towards Ming Yu.
“This servant understands.” Ming Yu was internally overjoyed and she immediately went to carry the jade box that held all the pills over to offer them to Ye Hongyi.
“State Preceptor, help us inspect these pills to see if there’s anything strange about them?” Ye Hongyi didn’t seem to have heard An Bingshan’s words at all and just kept his dark gaze fixed on Jue Chen.
Jue Chen saluted, then turned to walk to Ming Yu. He took a pill and lifted it to his nose to sniff it.
“Your Majesty, these pills are the same as the pills in those corpses. After taking them, the person will gradually waste away. In addition, they tend to accumulate without dissolving in the body,” replied Jue Chen solemnly.
“That’s slander! Your Majesty! This pill truly does have the effect of lengthening life. Although taking them will cause people to feel fatigued at first, once you’ve taken enough, your complexion will regain a youthful glow! The palace maids here can testify! Ming Yu, hurry and tell His Majesty! Hurry!” shouted An Bingshan as he urged Ming Yu impatiently.
“Eunuch An… What are you saying? Ming Yu doesn’t understand.” Ming Yu looked towards An Bingshan with a completely blank expression as an indescribable feeling of delight filled her heart.
“How could you have forgotten? Back then all of you had symptoms of being poisoned, but then all of you suddenly recovered! That incident, hurry and tell His Majesty about it!” reminded An Bingshan anxiously.
“Reporting, Your Majesty, this servant truly doesn’t know what Eunuch An is talking about. Ever since this servant had come here, this servant had always been refining pills according to Eunuch An’s instructions and nothing like what Eunuch An had said ever happened. Your Majesty, everything this servant says is true!” Ming Yu was starting to panic due to An Bingshan’s urging, so she fell fearfully to a kneel as tears whirled in her eyes.
“Ming Yu! You! You wretch! Y-you all, hurry and tell His Majesty that everything this eunuch said was true!” An Bingshan hadn’t expected for Ming Yu to say such blatant lies and was taken aback.
“Your Majesty, please have mercy! We servants have always been refining pills here, but we’ve never had symptoms of being poisoned!” Behind Ming Yu, the two dozen palace maids all knelt down to say this fearfully.
“Your Majesty, this humble Daoist believes that if we test this medicine on a mouse, it’d be enough to tell if this pill is real or fake.” Jue Chen took advantage of this perfect opportunity to insert this suggestion.
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