Once Lin Haihai was done, she asked the kneeling maids, “What poison have you used on them? Where’s the antidote? If you don’t talk now, I’ll make you wish for death!”
The maids exchanged a panicked glance before hurriedly taking out antidotes from their clothes and handing them to Lin Haihai. Lin Haihai smelled it first. Then she gave the maids a pill each and used her inner energy to circulate the medicine so that she could determine if the antidotes were the real deal by taking their pulses. Only after that did she give the pills to Wangchen and Zheng Feng. Her companions took some time to reach equilibrium in their bodies, and their darkened complexion recovered.
Zheng Feng bowed to the emperor of Rong rather than kneeling down, which was the proper etiquette in this situation. “Zheng Feng, Daxing’s Imperial Commander, greets Your Majesty the Emperor of Rong!”
Wangchen didn’t move nor bent down. She was a prideful woman who would bow to only her father and Lin Haihai and no one else. She especially wasn’t going to kneel before a blind fool like the emperor of Rong!
“Commander Zheng, your reputation precedes you. Please be at ease.” The emperor nodded. He had heard about Zheng Feng. In fact, he had been paying attention to every aspect of Daxing.
Zheng Feng was surprised that the man had heard of him. The regent seemed to know Daxing pretty well. He put on a humble smile and said, “Thank you, Your Majesty!”
“What’s going on, Nuo’er?” The emperor was asking about why the maids would have the antidotes to the poison. His empress said that Lin Haihai had barged in with two critically injured people, indicating that Zheng Feng and Wangchen had been poisoned beforehand. Why, then, would Chunxiang and Qiuyue have the antidotes?
The empress levelled a cold gaze on the two maids and asked, “What’s going on?” She was no fool. She was behind many intricate schemes. Of course she would have a way to talk her way out of this.
Chunxiang and Qiuyue hurriedly knelt down and said in unison, “In response to Your Majesty the Emperor and Your Majesty the Empress, these servants saw their thick killing aura and deemed them a threat when they arrived. That was why we poisoned them as a precaution!”
“Why do you know your way around poison?” the empress asked with feigned surprise. “Who are you?”
“These servants are from Miaojiang, and we knew poison since our youth!” Chunxiang and Qiuyue kowtowed as they explained. “However, we haven’t taken anyone’s life before. We learned to use poison only because Miaojiang was weak and prone to being bullied by Han people. Therefore, everyone in our homeland knows a trick or two in poison, but it’s limited to simple poison rather than the gu poison the woman talked about!”
“Do you truly not know that they know how to use poison?” the emperor asked with narrowed eyes.
“This Empress doesn’t know - ”
“Enough,” Lin Haihai interjected. “I don’t have time to listen to more of your lies. Ning Nuoli, are you going to come with me willingly, or do I have to tie you up and take you away?”
The truth had been laid bare. She didn’t have time to keep walking in circles with the empress!
Ning Nuoli smiled faintly and said with a calm expression, “You must justify yourself before taking me away!”
“How can you be certain that it was the empress’s doing? Where’s Keqing? Take this Emperor to her. This Emperor has many things to tell her!”
Lin Haihai could tell the man did genuinely love Keqing, but at the end of the day, he still believed his empress’s lies.
Lin Haihai gave Wangchen and Zheng Feng a pointed look, who understood her immediately and flew into the air. Lin Haihai then whipped out a long silk band from her sleeve to wrap around Ning Nuoli. Stunned, the emperor rushed to save the empress, but Lin Haihai pulled the empress in with her right hand and sent torrential wind at the emperor with her left hand, hitting the emperor squarely and sending him back to the ground. When the guards swarmed toward her, Lin Haihai had already fled with Ning Nuoli.
The emperor stared at her back, stunned. He could hear Lin Haihai’s clear voice ringing in the wind, “If you want to see Keqing, come to Ascension Inn!”
The guards were going to rush after the group when the emperor stopped them. With a dark expression, the emperor asked, “Who is Lin Haihai?”
He never heard anything about her martial art training, and she turned out to be a brilliant master! Who was this woman, and was Keqing truly with her?
“This commander knows only that she’s Daxing’s Sixth Princess Consort, and that she’s a physician!” a man dressed to signify his position said with cupped fists.
“She’s Daxing’s imperial physician,” a scholarly man dressed in pale blue robe emerged and said, swinging his feather fan. “It’s said that she’s become the Head Imperial Physician despite her young age, and the imperial physicians are all her disciples. Some time ago, she fell victim to a villain’s ploy, and everyone in the capital sprang to action for her. It turns out she truly has enough influence to topple a nation!”
“Do you know her, Shuyu?” the emperor asked with furrowed brows.
“Who doesn’t?” Shuyu chuckled. “Everyone wants to know her for the extra security it’ll grant them. After all, she is someone who can save even dead people!”
Although rumors were often exaggerated, there would still be some specks of truth to the stories. If Lin Haihai didn’t have some skills under her belt, she wouldn’t be so highly regarded.
“This Emperor has to go to her. Even if she doesn’t have Keqing, she did take the empress to force this Emperor to go with her. There must be a reason for that!” After a bemused pause, the emperor said to Shuyu, “Are you going to come with this Emperor?”
“I’d love to meet someone like her, who’s stayed in the mundane world despite the unique skills she possesses. War is about to break out. Most unique talents like her have gone into hiding in the mountains to lead a free and peaceful life. I must meet her!” Shuyu waved his fan as he spoke, his lips curled into a faint smile. It seemed as if his lips were permanently fixed in that gentle curve. He remained unfazed no matter the circumstances, and his smile never dropped nor deepened.
“You don’t have to come with us, Tuoduo!” said the emperor. If Lin Haihai wanted them harm, not even the greatest army would be of any help.
Tuoduo immediately ran after the emperor. “That’s too dangerous, Your Majesty!”
Shuyu smiled. “Do you think you’ll be Lin Haihai’s match, Tuoduo?”
Tuoduo came to a sudden halt. Was Lin Haihai really that powerful? He had seen her move earlier, but wasn’t that just luck?
Lin Haihai brought Ning Nuoli back to the inn. Juanzi immediately opened the door. She staggered back in fear when she saw Ning Nuoli, while Keqing walked out slowly despite her discomfort and glared icily at the woman.
Ning Nuoli was stunned when she saw Keqing. The poison’s about to claim her. She should be suffering from tremendous pain the past month, too in pain to stand or even talk! She should be scratching open all parts of her body until she dies of blood loss!
However, Keqing’s pale face was the only indicator of her condition. She was still able to walk on her own, and she didn’t seem to be in pain. Has the gu been cleansed? No, if that’s the case, she wouldn’t send the woman to look for the antidote. She must have had a fortunate encounter that delayed the poison. His Majesty must not see her, or I’ll surely die!
“It’s been a while, Regent’s Consort. No, I should be calling you Your Majesty the Empress!” Keqing said coldly, shooting an icy glare at Ning Nuoli.
“You haven’t died?” Ning Nuoli sneered. “How lucky of you to have survived to this day!”
“I’m not going to die before you do!” Keqing scoffed. “Serve Her Majesty a cup of tea, Juanzi!”
Juanzi hurriedly came up to them with a cup of tea. Lin Haihai untied the silk band and pushed Ning Nuoli to a chair. With venomous eyes, Juanzi placed the cup on the tea table next to her. “Your Majesty.”
Ning Nuoli looked at the cup warily before turning to Keqing. Lin Haihai laughed. “What? Aren’t you a master in poison? Are you afraid of being poisoned as well?”
“You’re just as good with poison as I am. One can never be too careful!” Ning Nuoli seemed as calm as ever, but the worry glint in her eyes betrayed her true emotions. She feared that the emperor would arrive soon. Once they talked face-to-face, the emperor would surely take that bitch’s side!
“It’s as easy as flipping my hand to kill you. Why would I use poison?” Lin Haihai looked at the woman derisively. A vicious person had the tendency to assume others were as vicious as they were.
“Aren’t you afraid that you would be robbing her of a chance to survive by killing me?” Ning Nuoli didn’t know that Lin Haihai had determined the way to deal with the Golden Caterpillar Gu, so she was able to retain her calm.
“Do you take me as a fool? I’ve said it before. The poison would be resolved on its own once I kill you, wouldn’t it?” Lin Haihai said coolly. She didn’t miss the way Ning Nuoli’s expression froze, which was all the confirmation Lin Haihai needed.
“She won’t be able to live if you kill me!” Ning Nuoli scoffed, eyes shooting daggers at Keqing. “You must be curious why I would make a move against you even though I had respected you like a sister.”
Keqing looked at her coolly. She had been wondering about that, but then she realized that it was because of the regent. It was because the emperor had never forgotten about her, so Ning Nuoli, possessed by furious jealousy, wanted her dead!
“This Empress Dowager doesn’t want to know about your shameful thoughts, nor do I want to listen to your excuses...”
“Shameful? Listen to yourself. Don’t you feel even a little guilty? Ashamed?” Ning Nuoli cut her off. “If you even knew what shame is, you wouldn’t have an affair with your own brother-in-law! You wouldn’t do everything in your power to become his consort! I’ve seen my fair share of greedy women in the harem, but I’ve never known anyone as shameless as you are. You want to take my man away from me, and yet you want me to play sisters with you! Shameful? You are the dirty one! You are the one I don’t want around!”
Ning Nuoli lost her calm completely, her face twisted by resentment. Lin Haihai shook her head. Another woman had lost her sanity to the thrall of love!
“Ever since this Empress Dowager married the former emperor, I have never once done anything out of line despite my lingering feelings for Haoyue. You’re spitting venom for no reason! I cannot control my feelings or my thoughts, but I’ve never done anything other than thinking of him!” Keqing sat down on the chair, mumbling with a pale face. She felt ashamed and sorrowful, having her secrets revealed by Ning Nuoli.
“You have done nothing but think about him? Then why would he visit your palace in the small hours? Discussing state affairs? When you were together, it was so clear from your exchanges of gazes and words that you were in love. You’d been flirting so openly, and yet you dared say that you’ve done nothing out of bounds?”
Ning Nuoli was relentless with her accusations, hurling her sharp, cutting words like a weapon at Keqing.
Keqing shot to her feet and pointed at Ning Nuoli with a trembling hand, but her voice sounded timid. “There’s nothing else between the two of us. Don’t talk such nonsense!”
“You may be able to lie to others, but can you really lie to yourself?” Ning Nuoli scoffed. “Can you really claim to never have thought about getting back together with him? Would you be able to swear to the heavens?”
She knew Keqing’s weakness. Keqing couldn’t find it in herself to admit her love for the man. There were too many mundane concerns in her mind that stopped her from exploring her feelings, from discerning the reluctance and hurt in her heart. She didn’t have the courage to admit how deeply in love she was with her brother-in-law.
Keqing opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Wangchen had had enough of Ning Nuoli’s domineering behavior. She reminded her of her past self! Wangchen marched up to the empress and slapped her before throwing a teacup at her. Lin Haihai turned away. She didn’t see anything!
Wangchen grabbed Ning Nuoli by the collar and bit out, “You should fight for your man openly if you love him so much, rather than pulling such despicable tricks and using gu! You may even kill her instead! However, there are more women in the emperor’s harem. You have poisoned Keqing to get rid of her. Who are you going after next? How many in the harem have fallen victim to your nefarious way?”
That hit a nerve, and Ning Nuoli pushed Wangchen away like a mad woman. “That’s right, this Empress is going to kill everyone who dares seduce the emperor!” she screamed. “This Empress will ensure you a painful death if you dare get near the emperor!”
Lin Haihai found it difficult to listen to her. Ever since she came to this era, she had met many women who had lost their sanity. At the end of the day, the root cause was the fickle men in their lives. Lin Haihai sighed inwardly. The phenomenon persisted even in the twenty-first century. In fact, the problem might be just as serious, if not more!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Please don't use love to excuse murders 😂