Each string had the potential to inflict a fatal blow. If it was an ordinary person, they would’ve died 4 times over. But Huangfu Wu Shuang could easily evade the first three strings. As for the last one, though he couldn’t avoid it, he was still able to move in time and thus only suffered a minor injury.
The assassination attempt by Hua Zhu Yu, the evasion by Huangfu Wu Shuang, everything happened all so quickly in the blink of an eye. Within the great hall, the crowd exclaimed in shock, unable to believe what was happening.
One banquet, two assassinations.
But what surprised them most was that Huangfu Wu Shuang, who used to be an incompetent juvenile who played around all the time, had actually possessed such high martial skills.
“Protect His Majesty! Catch that assassin! ”The Imperial Guards rushed over to surrounded Huangfu Wu Shuang in a protective circle while a few rushed towards Hua Zhu Yu.
“Stop!” Huangfu Wu Shuang coldly shouted as his eyes fell on Hua Zhu Yu, standing at the center of the hall, her lips stretched into a radiant smile. “Come here, my Empress!”
The originally stunned crowd became even more bewildered. No one anticipated that Huangfu Wu Shuang would call this female dancer his Empress. Did Southern Kingdom have two Empresses?
Upon hearing those words, Hua Zhu Yu continued to calmly smile. Her smile was indescribably beautiful yet overwhelmingly cold as jade.
“Empress? Huangfu Wu Shuang, you should take a look at your wound! ”She said tonelessly.
Huangfu Wu Shuang looked down and pulled out the string embedded between his ribs.
The string, though thin as a silver needle, would’ve taken his life had it pierced his head or throat. But since it struck between his ribs, his life was not in danger, there was merely a trickle drops of blood spilling from the wound.
However, when Huangfu Wu Shuang pulled out the string, his dark pupils constricted suddenly. The string was drenched in dark, black blood!
Huangfu Wu Shuang’s fingers gripped the string tightly as he stared at it in shock momentarily. He remembered that she had lost her internal strength so how could she suddenly recover? Moreover, what made him incredibly shocked was that she actually used poison!
“You … you actually used poison?” Huangfu Wu Shuang held up the string coated in black and looked at her in disbelief.
Standing in the middle of the hall holding the pipa within her hands, Hua Zhu Yu’s eyes slightly narrowed and she replied with a faint smile, “Knowing it would be difficult to kill you, I poisoned the strings when I played the pipa. Just now, you utilized your internal force, the poison must have diffused into your blood. If you continue to move, I fear it will penetrate into your internal organs.”
The guards standing behind him were shocked, quickly moving to support Huangfu Wu Shuang who had begun to feel dizzy. Frowning, he ordered, “Escort her to zhen’s palace and immediately send of Imperial Physician Ye!”
Dan Hoang rushed over to block the guards, coldly shouting: “You can’t arrest her!”
Hua Zhu Yu smiled at Dan Hong and said, “I’ll be alright. You should quickly leave here with your elder brother.” She then glanced at Xiao Yin and softly said, “I’m leaving her in your hands.”
The pair of siblings were finally reunited, her wish fulfilled. She had asked Dan Hong to replace her in this ceremony to let Xiao Yin publicly recognize her in front of all the officials in order to return Ji Feng Li’s innocence. Now that it’s over, Xiao Yin will take Dan Hong away.
“I’m not leaving!” Dan Hong said stubbornly.
Hua Zhu Yu gave her a reassuring smile and said,”Didn’t you hear the Emperor? I’m escorted to his palace not prison. I’ll be fine.” An attendant stepped forward and Hua Zhu Yu followed his lead to leave the hall.
Tonight, the moon was shining with a soft glow, unobscured by the passing clouds. Hua Zhu Yu walked steadily, the hem of her dress furling in the passing wind, radiating with haughtiness.
Suddenly, a small laughter sounded in the hall and a figure slowly walked forward. “This prince is unfamiliar with the laws of Southern Kingdom. However, shouldn’t that assassin be imprisoned? Why is she being escorted to the Emperor’s palace?” he said in a toneless voice, accompanied by a cold undertone.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
Hua Zhu Yu looked over and saw that the person who spoke was the young prince of Yue Zhi. This prince rarely spoke but when Hua Zhu Yu heard his voice, though it was the voice of a stranger, the tone felt strangely familiar.
She quickly advanced to the front of the palace hall, walking past him. Beneath the golden mask, his dark eyes held traces of undulating emotions within its depths.
Huangfu Wu Shuang waved his hand weakly. While panting for breath, he said, “Prince Na Lan, you are probably unaware but she’s not an assassin. She is my Empress. She is mischievous by nature. Any day she doesn’t pull a stunt, zhen will feel uneasy. Therefore she let the royal princess of Northern Kingdom replace her in the ceremony. It was all just a joke, how could I imprison my Empress.”
So that’s how it is!” Prince of Yue Zhi glanced at Huangfu Wu Shuang calmly yet a murderous air within the depths of his eyes were threatening to surface. “The Emperor carries such deep affection for the Empress. Na Lan shall toast to the Emperor and Empress’ deep conjugal love.” He then gently lifted the hem of his robes and slowly took a seat. With a smile, his slender hand raised the wine cup in front of the Emperor in a toast before he finished the cup, his every movement full of poise and grace.
“Everyone can continue on with the banquet, zhen shall first treat the poison!” Huang Fu Wu Shuang said slowly as a few guards supported him, escorting him out of Kang Ning Hall. Very quickly, the music and dancing performances had resumed.
Watching as Huangfu Wu Shuang slowly disappeared from sight, Ji Feng Li’s grip on the wine cup tightened and the cup instantly shattered into pieces.
“Luo …… What’s wrong with you?” Na Lan asked quietly.
“Na Lan, was that really just a joke?” He narrowed his eyes and asked in a low voice.
Na Lan Xue shook his head and replied, “It doesn’t look like it, but then why is she willingly being taken away? I can’t make sense of it.”
“I can’t either,” Ji Feng Li slowly unclenched his hand and saw that his palm was full of blood. But the pain in his hand was not even a thousandth of pain within his heart, completely incomparable. He wondered, who could she be? Why did she hate him so.
“Na Lan, we need to move ahead with our plan,” He calmly stated, his eyes stirred with a fire within its depths.
Hua Zhu Yu was no stranger to Huangfu Wu Shuang’s palace. The attendant led her in then bowed and left. Moments later, Huangfu Wu Shuang was carried in by the guards, already unconscious. He was placed on the bed and Imperial Physician Ye had arrived, quickly entering the room.
Imperial Physician Ye, named Ye Rong Hua also had a younger brother, Ye Fu Gui. The two brothers were both imperial physicians for many years. However, his brother Ye Fu Gui had resigned from his post and disappeared from the palace. On the other hand, Ye Rong Hua remained in the palace and won the favor of Emperor Yan. Since Emperor Yan’s illness, Ye Rong Hua was fully devoted in treating him alone. If someone in the palace fell sick, other imperial physicians would be sent over.
After her previous meeting with Imperial Physician Ye, she had sent people to investigate him.
At this time, she watched as Imperial Physician Ye silently take Huangfu Wu Shuang’s pulse. On the sidelines, she observed as he treated the poison before slowly turning around to look at her.
His face was lined with wrinkles and creases, a natural occurrence due to old age. Yet his pair of eyes were far from muddled, instead they shone with clarity and sharpness.
The corners of her lips lifted in a smirk.
Last time she had sent Kang to Liang Zhou to check his grave and confirmed that he was not dead. Thus she suspected that he must be hiding in the palace. But it’s been so long and she hadn’t seen any traces of him.
Consequently, she decided to assassinate Huangfu Wu Shuang because she concluded that the person behind Huangfu Wu Shuang must be him. Once Huangfu Wu Shuang was in danger, he will definitely appear. But she didn’t expect him to be Imperial Physician Ye.
When she was in the army, every time she suffered a serious injury that needed diagnosis, it was not Tai who treated her but an appointed military doctor. When she was seriously injured and unconscious, she thought that is was military doctor Ning that had treated her but he remained in the dark of her female gender. Now thinking back, it seems it wasn’t the military doctor but actually him that treated her!
It turns out he possessed such high medical skills, on par with an Imperial Physician.
“Yu’er!” Hua Mu said as he took off the wrinkled disguise. Very quickly, a handsome and slightly less wrinkled face appeared before her. Perhaps because he had on the disguise for so long, his face was no longer rough and dark as it had been on the battlefield.
In truth, transforming into Ye Rong Hua was not difficult. He was reclusive by nature with a face full of wrinkles. In addition, his back was hunched so he rarely looked people in the eyes. Thus, the chance of being exposed was minimal. Unfortunately, she feared that the real Ye Rong Hua was most likely no longer on this earth.
Seeing her father who she hadn’t seen for a long time, her heart was not overwhelmed with happiness but was rather quite cold. She couldn’t believe that her father who was known for his devoted loyalty had harbored so many devious schemes within his heart.
She had her doubts about him but she always hoped that they were merely just doubts not the truth. But having witnessed everything with her own eyes, she was still gripped with shock.
What exactly does he wish to gain? Southern Kingdom? Or the whole world?
“If you have anything to ask, just ask,” Hua Mu slowly said as he glanced at Hua Zhu Yu, his eyes, gentle and affectionate.
“Jin Se was a pawn you had planted by my side ten years ago, wasn’t she? On the day of my wedding, you knew it was clearly a trap or perhaps it was because Huangfu Wu Shuang begged Emperor Yan that you sent me off. Afraid that I would run away, you sealed my internal strength. Yet still not assured, you secretly disclosed that I had martial arts so Emperor Yan had bestowed me a cup of poisonous wine. Right?”
“At Lian Yu mountain, you knew that Emperor Yan would send assassins so you placed Jin Se by my side, anticipating that she would die in my place and be rescued by Ji Feng Li. Moreover, you made me believe that Jin Se was the princess of Northern Kingdom, all just to topple Ji Feng Li.”
“But in fact Dan Hong was the true princess of Northern Kingdom. She should’ve been the one but she was in love with me so you swapped their identities. Taking advantage of her love for me, you arranged for her to enter the palace and become Emperor Kang’s concubine. That secret letter Dan Hong stole stating that Ji Feng Li had framed you, that was fabricated by you, wasn’t it?”
“You’re right, it’s all true,” Hua Mu calmly confirmed as he picked up the cup of tea and slowly took a sip.
“Now I just want to know, why do you have to help Huangfu Wu Shuang?” Hua Zhu Yu pointed at the man lying on the bed and coldly questioned.
He secretly assisted Huangfu Wu Shuang in the dark while she did so in the open. Both father and daughter helped Huangfu Wu Shuang ascend the throne, in the end what was the purpose?
“Because only he is worthy!” Hua Mu coldly replied.
“Him? Why him? ”Hua Zhu Yu laughingly asked.
“Because he doesn’t carry the surname Huangfu!” Hua Mu sharply replied as he placed the cup of tea down.
“Doesn’t carry the surname Huangfu?” Hua Zhu Yu repeated at a lost. Her gaze fell upon Huangfu Wu Shuang who was still unconscious on the bed. In his golden dragon robes, he lied there, his hair scattered across his temples. His blackened lips were slightly lighter but he still hadn’t awoken. “So… what is his surname?”
“That, I will tell you later. Yu’er, what you must do now is put your mind at ease and be his Empress,” Hua Mu slowly said.