Chapter 2 – Poisoned Wine (2)
“Lingzhi! I need your help. You said you would help me, didn’t you?” Ye Zhen grabbed his arm, a desperate look on her face. For the past two years, he had helped her tremendously. For that, she regarded him as a close friend, her closest actually. She had sent letters to Mo Rongzhan through him. And now, she thought he was the only one who could certainly help her, especially in this situation.
“I did say I would help you.” Lu Lingzhi said with a reassuring smile. He watched as Ye Zhen pulled something from the folds of her gown: a green stone with the image of a phoenix engraved on it.
“Help me take this to the emperor, and as soon as he sees this, he will come and see me.” Ye Zhen took out the jade pendant that she had worn and kept for eight years.
“It will not be a problem.” Lu Lingzhi’s eyes gleamed over the stone. “It is just that the emperor may be busy attending to his royal duties.”
“I beg you, Lingzhi. Do anything you can to talk to him. I didn’t ask him for anything. I saved his life. He said he’d promise me one thing as long as I have this. Please, tell him I am only asking this one thing: spare the Ye family.” Ye Zhen felt tears choking her up. She didn’t desire to live with him anymore. Now, she just wanted to save the Ye family.
She handed it to Lu Lingzhi with her hands trembling.
Lu Lingzhi’s eyes glistened over the jade penchant in his hand. “You can count on me. Wait here for my return.”
Ye Zhen went back to the house and waited but little did she know, that a glass of poisoned wine was awaiting her arrival…
“Why?” Ye Zhen looked at Lu Lingzhi, confused. By seeing the jade pendant, he would have known that she was the girl who had saved him. But why didn’t he come to see her?
“The Emperor always believed that the girl who saved him is Shuang’er. Even if you took out this jade pendant and had me show this to him, it wouldn’t change anything,” Lu Lingzhi said faintly.
Ye Zhen suddenly raised her eyes to Lu Lingzhi. “Shuang’er? Lu Wushuang is your sister, right? You knew I was the one who saved the emperor. Why didn’t you explain it to him?!”
But Lu Lingzhi only stared at her face with a hint of disdain.
“Lingzhi, answer me! Why-”
Before she could throw another question, the hands of the people she trusted seized her. She kicked and wriggled but she was too weak.
“Ye Zhen, I owe you this life.” Lu Lingzhi whispered, “Have a safe trip to the afterlife.”
Her most trusted maid around her had already buckled her jaw open and poured wine into her mouth when she was caught off guard.
Lu Lingzhi’s voice reached her in a low voice “If…there is indeed an afterlife.”
She was reduced into a heaping mess on the floor, scratching her throat as she struggled to breathe. During her suffering, she looked nowhere but to Lu Lingzhi’s smug face alone.
Then suddenly, she didn’t feel anything but the pain in her heart. The pain of betrayal.
Her soul flew out of the body and lightly floated in mid-air like an empty entity. She watched as Lu Lingzhi gave the order to kill all the servants in the palace, including the maid who had just fed her poisoned wine.
A big fire engulfed the palace where she once lived, and all traces of Ye Zhen were erased.
Ye Zhen’s soul followed Lu Lingzhi into the palace and drifted towards the royal study.
“Your Highness, Imperial concubine Ye Zhen learned that you will keep her under house arrest in the palace. She was unwilling to comply and set fire to her own home. No one survived.” Lu Lingzhi knelt down in front of a man and said respectfully.
Ye Zhen drifted across the pillar. And now that there was nothing to stop her body, she just stood in front of the man and looked straight at his bright golden clothes, which made his whole dignified face feel familiar and strange. She felt herself tremble uncontrollably.
Having not seen him for many years, he was no longer the teenager she remembered wearing plain clothes with a smile on his face despite his disability. He had become more handsome, straight-eyed, unfathomable and indifferent, which she felt was quite a daunting change.