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“This subject dares to guarantee with his life!” replied Imperial Physician Li decisively.
“Then hurry and prepare carriages! We will personally take the empress to Mangyuan to cure this illness! All of you are to follow! If anything happens, we will have all your nine extended clans exterminated!” Ye Hongyi swung his sleeve to have all the imperial physicians in the room leave and prepare things as quickly as possible. Just as the imperial physicians left Guan Osprey Palace, Huan Heng suddenly appeared outside to ask for an audience.
“We will not see anyone!” Ye Hongyi took Yao Mowan’s cold hands in his with extreme heartache. He wished he could just give all the warmth in his body to her instead. The true emotions on his face weren’t things that could be faked. At the side, as Ting Yue wiped at her tears, she couldn’t help but sigh. It was a pity that the person in her master’s heart wasn’t His Majesty…
“Your Majesty, forgive this humble subject for being as audacious as to ask for an audience, but there is great turmoil at Nanjiang. They’ve already sent troops to attack Chu and has already taken down two cities in great Chu!” Huan Heng quickly gave the report, his eyes filled with worry.
“What? Why would Nanjiang send troops all of a sudden?” When Ye Hongyi heard this, he was stunned and he looked towards Huan Heng in disbelief.
“It’s probably because of the issue with territory. Nanjiang covets our great Chu’s Qilan Mountains and they’ve always been eying them,” said Huan Heng.
“You can handle this matter. We must go with the empress to Mangyuan to cure her illness!” said Ye Hongyi decisively after a moment of consideration.
“That cannot be done! A large battle is imminent. If Your Majesty doesn’t oversee the throne room, how are us subjects supposed to deploy the army?” Huan Heng’s words hit the main point in one go. Back then, Ye Hongyi had, due to his apprehensions, taken most of Huan Heng’s military power. As of now, Huan Heng only possessed control over a few troops. It wasn’t enough to resist Nanjiang at all.
As Ye Hongyi looked at Yao Mowan who was on the bed, he hesitated. He couldn’t bear to part with Yao Mowan, but he also didn’t want to give the military power he had finally managed to take back to Huan Heng. After reconsidering things multiple times, Ye Hongyi finally gave up on heading to Mangyuan with Yao Mowan and passed this heavy responsibility to Ye Junqing again.
The main reason was that, in all of the imperial city, there was no one whose martial arts was better than Ye Junqing’s. He’d feel completely at ease with Ye Junqing protecting Yao Mowan. The second reason was because if anything happened to Yao Mowan, he’d definitely have Ye Junqing be buried with her. However, this time, Ye Hongyi truly hoped that Yao Mowan would be able to return safely.
The events occurred so suddenly that before Ye Junqing even had a chance to find Yin Xue and get answers, he had already been commanded to guard Yao Mowan as she left the imperial city. For the sake of convenience, Ye Junqing asked His Majesty for permission to only bring Imperial Physician Li and a few select guards.
Inside the agarwood carriage, Ye Junqing stared at Yao Mowan who was on the couch. He reached out again to rub her face.
“It’s not painted?” Ever since Ye Junqing had heard this news, he felt like his heart was being burned by fire, like someone had suddenly ripped his heart out of his chest. He had never thought about the possibility that Yao Mowan might one day leave him. That sudden feeling made it hard for him to even breathe. In Guan Osprey Palace, he had wanted more than anyone to rush toward the bed and personally check her pulse, but with Ye Hongyi present, all he could do was look on silently and endure. There were tears, but they had flowed silently into his heart.
It was only when the imperial physician announced the way to cure this illness that his heart finally returned to its place. There was an instant when he wanted to just rush to Yao Mowan and drag her down from the bed, then kick her a couple times for scaring him.
“Prince, what are you doing?” When Ting Yue saw that Ye Junqing was still rubbing at Yao Mowan’s face, she immediately stepped forward to stop him.
“Don’t worry, all the guards I brought are people I trust and that Imperial Physician Li has already been arranged to follow at the very end of the procession. No one will discover the fact that you’re just pretending, so hurry and get up!” Ye Junqing paid no attention to Ting Yue and just urged Yao Mowan to get up.
“Prince! How do you know that Her Imperial Highness is pretending? I’d like to ask who’d pretend by painting their faces purple!?” Ting Yue was getting a little anxious now and she moved in front of Yao Mowan to shield her while glowering at Ye Junqing.
“Your master… She’s not pretending? Could it be that she’s really caught a strange illness?” When Ye Junqing saw how serious Ting Yue’s expression was, he was stunned and his expression immediately turned cold. Ting Yue didn’t reply and just lowered her eyes as she helped fix Yao Mowan’s clothing.
“It’s actually true? How can this be? How did she get this strange illness? You should’ve told this prince earlier! Now we only have one imperial physician with us, how is that anywhere close to enough? This won’t do! This prince will send people right now to call all of the imperial physicians from the palace over, then change the horses for thousand-mile colts. But will we make it in time… Then let’s not ride the carriage! This prince and Yin Xue will carry her. That will be faster than a carriage, and…” Ye Junqing was so flustered that he could barely keep his thoughts straight.
“Pfff!” Just as Ye Junqing was beside himself with worry, Yao Mowan suddenly burst out laughing.
“Your Imperial Highness, didn’t you say that we were going to pretend until we reached Sunshine City?” When Ting Yue saw her master move, she immediately looked towards her master with a complaint-filled pout.
“No, this empress seriously couldn’t hold it back anymore. Help this empress up.” Yao Mowan grinned with her completely bruised face. How was there any trace of city-toppling beauty left at this point? At this moment, she seemed like a demon that had just crawled out of hell.
Ye Junqing’s earlier worry was instantly replaced by speechless disbelief.
“Ting Yue, you’ve become corrupted!” Ye Junqing glowered at Ting Yue, then looked towards Yao Mowan.
“This servant thanks Prince for the praise.” When Ting Yue heard this, she immediately voiced her thanks. If she was still a good person after following Yao Mowan for so long, then that meant that there was definitely something wrong with her.
“Prince has always hated Mowan, so why did Prince suddenly get so nervous?” Yao Mowan calmed her emotions, then leaned languidly against the back of the carriage before looking towards Ye Junqing with interest.
“Humph! Scourges are supposed to cause disaster for a millennium. This prince just didn’t want to go against the nature orders of things.” Although Ye Junqing was angry, his heart finally calmed when he saw that Yao Mowan was perfectly well and lively.
“It’s a good thing that Prince only brought Li Zhun. If an entire group of imperial physicians had come along, Mowan really would’ve had to keep pretending the entire way.” Yao Mowan didn’t mind Ye Junqing’s sneer. All she knew was that her heart had felt warm when she heard how worried Ye Junqing had been over her.
“What difference does one imperial physician make with a group of imperial physicians? This prince would advise you to lie back down so that Li Zhun doesn’t end up finding out!” Whenever Ye Junqing recalled that Yao Mowan had almost tricked him into crying, he’d feel his heart fill with anger.
“Li Zhun knows. If not, how could he have brought up the location Mangyuan?” Yao Mowan reflexively lifted the curtain of the carriage and the autumn wind blew in, lifting the hair on Yao Mowan’s forehead slightly. However, the scene that was supposed to be beautiful was ruined by Yao Mowan’s bruised face.
“You bribed Li Zhun? You had better not tell this prince that you’ve also bribed Huan Heng and that the incident with Nanjiang is completely made up?” Ye Junqing looked towards Yao Mowan with astonishment.
“It was fortunate that Mowan had predicted that His Majesty would come along and had arranged for Huan Heng to enter the palace. As for Nanjiang, there is indeed something happening there. It’s just that Duan Shiming’s movements are a little slow. Mowan had sent the letter five days ago, but he had only made a move now!” said Yao Mowan lightly with a faint hint of complaint in her tone.
“You know Nanjiang’s Duan Shiming? No way-“ Ye Junqing’s eyes widened as he looked towards Yao Mowan in disbelief. He knew that Yao Mowan’s connections was extensive, but he never imagined that she was actually even that familiar with the ruler of Nanjiang!
“Doesn’t Prince feel like miracles are everywhere? Don’t worship Mowan too much.” Yao Mowan lifted her brows. That prideful smile seemed to be telling Ye Junqing a certain fact: Don’t worship this big sis too much, this big sis is just a legend.
In reality, when Yao Mowan and Ye Junqing were sent as ambassadors to Nanjiang, they had helped Duan Shiming greatly, so this time, when Duan Shiming saw the keepsake Yao Mowan sent over, he agreed to send troops to great Chu to contend with the nation of Chu for ten days. It was really just for the sake of returning the past favor. They weren’t actually very good friends.
“Lower the curtain already, lest you end up scaring a ghost!” Ye Junqing’s expression was unperturbed, but his heart was already a mess.
“How could there be any ghosts in broad daylight?” asked Ting Yue in confusion, but she just got an eyeroll from Ye Junqing.
It took about a month to get from the imperial city from Mangyuan. During this month, they had probably passed through ten counties. Every time they reached a county, Yao Mowan would feign illness and lie on the bed for Li Zhun to check her pulse and diagnose her condition. She was doing this for those county officials to see, because she was certain that even if Ye Hongyi didn’t come with them, he’d definitely continue to keep an eye on her. Since he couldn’t really bring himself to trust Ye Junqing, these county officials would become his eyes.
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