FMEA Chapter 247 Part 4

Ch 247 Final – Second Half Part 4

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While everyone’s gaze was fixed on the two glowing figures, no one noticed two figures standing one after another on the rooftop of a nearby high building.

“I didn’t expect that girl to attract so many talented individuals. They were able to find a way to temporarily suppress the epidemic.” Ying Yue stroked the feathers of his tamed vulture, his eyes revealing a hint of gloom.

He couldn’t understand why such an ordinary girl could attract so many extraordinary people. It made him… jealous.

Ye Shuyan remained silent as the gentle breeze lifted a few strands of his long hair, concealing the emotions swirling in his eyes.

“Time will reveal everything. Even if Ye Country survives this plague, the heavenly calamity still exists. As long as you’re alive, Ye Country will never be at peace,” Ying Yue said, his eyes filled with malice.

Just as Xia Yuqing and Feng Tingye held hands and smiled at the lively crowd in front of them, a familiar voice suddenly echoed in Xia Yuqing’s mind, conveying certain information and shattering the relief she had just built. It felt as though her soul was forcibly dragged away, leaving her feeling a little dizzy.

Xia Yuqing quickly turned her head to look at the nearby high building but found that it was empty. She furrowed her eyebrows and silently withdrew her gaze.

“What’s wrong?” Feng Tingye noticed Xia Yuqing’s uncomfortable expression and asked with concern.

Xia Yuqing shook her head and forced a smile, “It’s nothing, I just feel a bit dizzy all of a sudden.” It was as if her soul had been ripped away forcefully, leaving her feeling faint.

Feng Tingye, seeing her pale face, didn’t care about the occasion and gently touched her forehead, asking in confusion, “Do you have a fever?”

With Feng Tingye’s eyes so close, Xia Yuqing looked into his eyes, seeing her own reflection, and smiled slightly.

Unbeknownst to the intimate couple on the stage, a figure in the crowd stared at them with a gloomy gaze. Finally, seemingly unable to bear it any longer, the person adjusted their hat and walked away.

After Xia Yuqing and Feng Tingye parted, her gaze casually swept the area, and she saw the figure of that person retreating in the distance. Something about the back seemed oddly familiar. Then, suddenly, as if recalling something, her eyes narrowed, and even her fingertips trembled slightly.

No, she must be overthinking it. That person had already died long ago. How could they possibly appear here? It must be her imagination, and she must have mistaken the person.

Although she told herself that, Xia Yuqing’s unease grew heavier and heavier.

After the ancestral temple ceremony, everything developed as Feng Tingye and others had expected. The rumors of Xia Yuqing causing the nation’s misfortune were quickly debunked. Moreover, this incident made Xia Yuqing a well-known figure throughout the entire country.

The rumors of the deep affection and perfect match between the Emperor and Empress of Ye Country spread far and wide in the streets and alleys.

The people in Xiefang Hall were relieved that Feng Tingye and others had the foresight not to let Xia Yuqing take the blame. At the same time, they resented those who had falsely accused her.

Regardless, the matter was resolved, and Xiefang Hall entered a period of joy and jubilation.

However, the real parties involved were not so optimistic. The words that appeared on the altar that day kept echoing in Xia Yuqing’s mind, reminding her that everything was not over yet. Additionally, she had noticed that her physical condition had indeed worsened, just as Ye Shuyan had warned.

Fortunately, during this time, some good things also happened. At least, the most worrying matter was resolved: Su Wuduan had survived the ordeal. After days of uncertainty between life and death, he finally emerged from danger and woke up one morning.

Since Su Wuduan fell into a coma, Cui Er had been preoccupied, staying by his side day and night. She watched the imperial physicians come and go, unwilling to leave or even eat much, causing her to lose weight.

Seeing her like this, Xia Yuqing and the others felt heartache but were helpless, only feeling anxious on the side.

Fortunately, on the eighth day after Su Wuduan was injured, everything changed.

Early that day, Cui Er was still holding Su Wuduan’s hand as she dozed lightly when she suddenly felt a slight movement in the hand she was holding. Startled, she woke up from her slumber and stared intently at the hand, afraid that it was just a figment of her dream.

Fortunately, fate wasn’t playing tricks on her at this moment. Under Cui Er’s expectant gaze, the slight tremor in Su Wuduan’s hand became more pronounced. Su Wuduan’s eyes also moved slightly, as if struggling to open.

“Su Wuduan?” Cui Er called softly and cautiously, causing Su Wuduan’s eyes to slowly open. That fleeting moment seemed to last a lifetime in Cui Er’s eyes.

The slightly dazzling light made Su Wuduan squint uncomfortably, but then he seemed to realize something and turned his head to look at the bedside with widened eyes. He smiled faintly and said, “My wife.”

With a clang, the sound of a water basin falling to the ground echoed in the room, but no one paid any attention to it.

Cui Er swiftly sat by the bed, leaning over Su Wuduan’s body, and looked into his eyes from up close, as if to confirm that everything she saw was not an illusion.

The mix of pain and joy in Cui Er’s eyes left Su Wuduan in disbelief, and he was also momentarily stunned. After a moment, he smiled, the corner of his lips lifting slightly, as he reached out his right hand to touch Cui Er’s cheek teasingly. “My wife, you’re in trouble. Even the King of H*ll won’t take me. In this lifetime, you are destined not to escape from the palm of my hand.”

Cui Er covered the hand that Su Wuduan had placed on her face, tears uncontrollably falling from her eyes and landing on Su Wuduan’s face. Finally, unable to restrain herself any longer, she directly hugged Su Wuduan, burying her face in his neck and bursting into tears.

Feeling the moisture on his neck, Su Wuduan was taken aback for a moment. Then, the corner of his lips curled up, and he slowly reached out to embrace Cui Er.

Xia Yuqing and the others, who had heard the commotion, arrived just in time to witness this scene. After a moment of stunned silence, smiles of relief appeared on everyone’s faces.

Su Wuduan finally woke up, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially the group of old physicians. Whenever they saw Cui Er standing by, her eyes devoid of any emotions, staring at them, they felt an icy chill, making them wish they could find a hole to hide in. How come they hadn’t noticed this person beside the Empress before?

Fortunately, these days didn’t last long. Otherwise, if it continued like this, they were afraid they would age prematurely.

The old physicians carefully examined Su Wuduan. During the examination, they heard Su Wuduan’s loud and pitiful cries as if they were being violated. It made them feel helpless in the face of Cui Er’s cold and intense gaze. Sighing helplessly, they realized that Su Wuduan was much more docile when he was unconscious. Now that he was awake, he couldn’t be kept under control. Nevertheless, since he was so spirited now, there shouldn’t be any major issues.

Xia Yuqing and the others, on the other hand, were having a hard time looking at Su Wuduan’s melodramatic display. Did he really think everyone was blind?

Come on, Senior Brother, you were injured in the chest. The old physicians didn’t even touch you except to feel your pulse or read your expressions. Was it necessary to make such a fuss? And only Cui Er falls for your act and can’t see through it. Truly… people in love basically have negative IQs!

“Cough… ” Unable to bear Cui Er’s intense stare any longer, the old physicians cleared their throats, stood up straight, and said seriously, “Since Young Master Su has woken up, it means there is no danger to his life. However, the injury to his chest is severe, and he has lost a lot of blood. He is still weak at the moment. He needs to rest in bed for a few days and avoid getting the wound wet or reopening it; otherwise, not even immortals can save him.”

“Okay, okay, we understand. Thank you, doctors!” Xia Yuqing and the others sighed with relief and nodded gratefully at the old physicians.

The old physician smiled faintly and bowed to Xia Yuqing, saying, “Your Majesty, there’s no need to be polite. It’s my duty to do all this. Young Master Su has lost too much blood, so I will prepare some tonic prescriptions for him. However, medicine can never match the effects of nourishing food. I’ll trouble Miss Lu Rui to prepare some blood-nourishing meals for Su Wuduan to aid in his recovery.”

“Yes, we understand. Thank you, Doctor,” Xia Yuqing replied gratefully.

The old physician bowed again and left. As soon as he left, Su Wuduan immediately tugged at Cui Er’s sleeve and acted coquettishly, saying, “Wife, I want to eat the food you make.”

Everyone in the room was taken aback, and even Cui Er was surprised by Su Wuduan’s sudden request. She asked again, “You want to eat the food I make?”

Su Wuduan responded matter-of-factly, “Of course.”

However, Lu Rui seemed somewhat annoyed and crossed her arms, coldly laughing, “Is Senior Brother Su suggesting that the meals this servant makes are not to your taste?”

Su Wuduan laughed awkwardly. “Of course not. It’s just that since I met my wife, I haven’t had the chance to taste her cooking, so I thought…”

Cui Er blushed, murmuring, “The food I cook is not that delicious.”

“It’s alright, it’s alright. As long as it’s cooked by my wife, it’s the most delicious in my eyes.”

“Then… alright.”

Su Wuduan didn’t expect Cui Er to agree so readily. He was overjoyed, and if his body allowed it, he might have jumped up and done a few somersaults.

If this display of affection had happened on any other day, everyone would probably sneer at them and curse them for being overly affectionate, but this time, everyone seemed to give Su Wuduan sympathetic looks in unison.

Xia Yuqing gazed at Su Wuduan with a bitter expression, Senior Brother, you will regret this!

Before Su Wuduan could fully enjoy the happiness of being smothered in love, an unpleasant voice came from outside.

“Master, Master’s wife, I knew this disaster, Su Wuduan, wouldn’t be so easily heroic and sacrifice himself! Just look, as soon as he woke up, he couldn’t resist flirting with his wife. Indeed, people can change their appearance but not their nature!”

The group turned their heads and saw Xu Lao and Su Linlang walking into the room. Behind them were Yun Zhongyue, Hua Nongying, and Feng Jiuyi.

“Hmph, I know you are just sour grapes because I’m so deeply in love with my wife. It’s definitely jealousy!” Su Wuduan glared at Yun Zhongyue indignantly, but when he tried to move, he winced in pain. Seeing this, Cui Er hurriedly went to support him.

Su Wuduan’s expression immediately turned from miserable to sunny. He provocatively glanced at Yun Zhongyue, who was itching to beat him up.

“Alright, Second Brother, Senior Brother has only just woken up, so please say a little less.” Xia Yuqing reminded Yun Zhongyue with a slight cough, considering Su Wuduan’s condition.

“…” Yun Zhongyue looked at Su Wuduan’s miserable “I’m the one who’s injured, I’m the biggest” appearance and couldn’t help but want to slap him in the face.

However, considering that his parents were present, and now that Cui Er was protecting him, he could only snort in annoyance and turn away. This jerk, he had worried about him for quite a while back then. It’s such a waste of emotions. If he had known, he would have taken the opportunity to curse him thoroughly when he was still unconscious!

Hua Nongying, who had always never been in sync with Yun Zhongyue, unexpectedly stood on his side this time. He looked Su Wuduan up and down and lightly laughed, “Senior Brother, it seems you’re not yet skilled in hero saving the beauty act. You ended up exhausting everyone’s worries. It looks like your skills still need some work.”

As soon as Hua Nongying spoke, Su Linlang slapped Su Wuduan’s face. “What Little Three said is correct. Your skills aren’t up to par, or else how could you have lost half your life? When you recover, you must come back with me to cultivate in seclusion.”

“Pfft…” Little Three*, Little Three, Little Three… So, Third Brother, you’re actually a “Little Three”? Well, considering your looks and your wicked nature, you really fit the bill as a “Little Three”! Xia Yuqing covered her mouth and silently stifled a laugh.
* slang = mistress

Su Linlang’s palm landed directly on Su Wuduan’s chest, not hitting the wound directly, but still causing some discomfort. Su Wuduan groaned in pain and glared at Su Linlang with a face as red as a liver. D*mn it, I’m definitely not their real son, not their real son!

Yun Zhongyue looked at Su Wuduan’s aggrieved appearance and felt extremely satisfied. Well done, Master’s wife! To uphold justice and destroy the enemy, a hundred and twenty thumbs up for you!

Seeing his son being treated like this right after waking up from death’s door, Xu Lao couldn’t stand it any longer and put on a stern face. “Madwoman, what are you doing? My son has just woken up, and you treat him like this. Do you really want him to die before you feel satisfied?!”

“Sigh, why do you sound so awkward? What do you mean, he is your son and not mine?”

“Here we go again!” Xia Yuqing looked at the two old spouses who were once again quarreling without regard for anyone else, feeling tired of it.

Fortunately, just as the situation between the two of them became completely unmanageable, a light cough successfully interrupted their public bickering.

“Um… Master, can you save the discussion for when we get back home? Everyone is still watching here!” Feng Jiuyi’s interruption immediately drew everyone’s attention, especially Cui Er.

Cui Er felt somewhat at a loss seeing this woman who had once shared the same bed with Su Wuduan.

Feng Jiuyi seemed to sense Cui Er’s gaze and smiled gently, up to her and saying, “Last time, I didn’t have a chance to talk to my little brother’s wife sister before she left. This time, I came specifically to explain. Su Wuduan and I are not what you think we are. I am already married. The reason I acted so close to Su Wuduan before was entirely to test you.”

“Test me?” Cui Er frowned slightly, feeling surprised.

Feng Jiuyi smiled faintly, “Isn’t it because this little sister suddenly broke up with Su Wuduan, which caught him off guard, and he became melancholic and distressed all day long? His junior sister, who was enthusiastic and can’t bear to see him so depressed, came up with an idea to have him find someone else to stimulate you.”

“Su Wuduan’s junior sister, you mean…” Lu Rui stared, wide-eyed, then turned to look at Xia Yuqing, not far away.

Seeing everyone’s gazes suddenly gathering on herself, Xia Yuqing coughed lightly, looking innocent.

“…” Your Majesty, so it was you pulling the strings behind the scenes! The most important thing is that you didn’t even tell us such a crucial matter. Can’t we enjoy ourselves anymore? This was the collective sentiment of the people in the Hall, led by Lu Rui.

Feng Jiuyi looked at the uncontainable surprise in Cui Er’s eyes and covered her mouth, continuing, “Su Wuduan was worried that if he found someone else with his looks and personality, it could lead to false misunderstandings.”

“…” Xia Yuqing’s mouth twitched. She thought, Senior Brother, your self-perception is really too good.

“Just when Master and I came to the capital together to broaden our horizons, I heard about the situation between Su Wuduan and this younger sister. I wanted to help, but I didn’t expect…”

“So you mean all those days when you were together and inseparable, you were just acting?” Lu Rui still found it somewhat hard to believe.

Feng Jiuyi nodded with a smile, but there was a hint of embarrassment on her face. “I just didn’t expect things to get more complicated as I helped. What this younger sister saw that day was indeed a misunderstanding. Our drinks were intentionally tampered with, but because Su Wuduan and I grew up in the Miao region and have unique constitutions, although we lost consciousness, we didn’t do anything inappropriate.”

“I can vouch for that. If that kid really did something improper to Jiuyi, he would have died a long time ago and wouldn’t have survived until now.” Hearing this, Su Linlang finally couldn’t hold back her laughter and added some gloating.

“Mom, don’t say that!” Su Wuduan blushed at Su Linlang’s words and hurriedly interrupted her.

After exchanging glances, everyone found it hard to believe that the person who was usually shameless and thick-skinned like a city wall could actually blush. After a brief astonishment, curiosity arose among them. What could make Su Wuduan, who was always shameless, feel embarrassed?

“Master, why are you so sure? Is there some secret?” Xia Yuqing asked curiously, and everyone else perked up their ears, waiting for the answer.

Su Linlang looked at her son’s anxious and restless appearance and chuckled, “It’s because my eyesight is good. I immediately took a fancy to my future daughter-in-law. After a few meetings, this kid hurried back to the Miao region and asked me how to bring her home. I was amused and told him to be faithful and treat the girl well. But this kid usually talks big and acts like a lady-killer. When it came to a crucial moment, he was just as dumb as his father. I got tired of him pestering me, so I directly gave him a gu worm and told him to find a way to put it on his future wife. From then on, if he dares to touch other women, the curse on him will backfire, and not long after, he will die a miserable death.”

“…” Everyone was stunned by Su Linlang’s words. They couldn’t believe that a mother would put such a thing on her own son. Are you sure you two are related by blood?!

Seeing everyone’s thoughts, Su Linlang spread her hands innocently. “Don’t look at me like that. Although I put a gu on him, I didn’t put the mother worm on him. It was his own choice whom to put the mother worm on. If he remains faithful to his wife, how can I stop him?”

“…” Cui Er turned her head and looked at Su Wuduan with surprise. “You put a gu on me? When? Why don’t I feel anything?”

Su Wuduan cleared his throat and said, “Um… it was when we first returned from the Xia Kingdom. The gu worm has been inside me and remained dormant. It won’t act rashly unless there are special circumstances. It won’t harm my body, and you can rest assured.”

“Special circumstances?”

Su Wuduan’s embarrassment became more evident. “For example, if I do something I shouldn’t do, or when we do things together that we should do.”

“…” Cui Er suddenly understood the meaning behind Su Wuduan’s words, and her face turned red. She glared at him in annoyance, and Su Wuduan couldn’t help but chuckle like a thief.

“Tsk tsk… I never expected that the usually suave and charming Senior Brother would also have days of celibacy. It’s truly unimaginable!” Yun Zhongyue seized the opportunity to mock Su Wuduan.

Hua Nongying couldn’t stand being left out and joined the battle, adding to Su Wuduan’s embarrassment. For a moment, he was red-faced and flustered, but when he saw his blushing wife, he felt that it was all worth it.

Humph, go ahead and laugh all you want. I don’t care. My wife has already become mine. You single guys can only envy and can’t have it!

“Alright, now that the misunderstanding is cleared up, you young people like to have exciting romances, but after experiencing life and death once, it’s better to live peacefully. Stop causing trouble in the future,” Su Linlang said, feeling somewhat worried, and turned to admonish Cui Er a few more times.

Cui Er hesitated for a moment, but eventually nodded slowly. Xia Yuqing looked at her appearance, her eyes flickering slightly, and a trace of a plan arose in her heart.

Su Wuduan finally woke up, and everyone finally let go of the long-held worry. In the following days, Su Wuduan began a bittersweet life, enjoying the food prepared by Cui Er.

After witnessing Cui Er’s culinary skills for the first time, Su Wuduan understood why people looked at him with pity when he suggested that Cui Er cook for him. Unlike Cui Er’s elegant and skilled cooking, her culinary skills were at the level of dark cuisine. If Xia Yuqing could barely be considered a “kitchen killer,” then Cui Er was undoubtedly a “kitchen poison.” No matter what ingredients she used, whether it was meat or vegetables, they would all turn into a black mess of terrifying substances.

On the fourth day, Cui Er once again presented a plate of unimproved black lump-like substance. Su Wuduan, with a heroic and determined spirit, prepared to swallow it all, but Lu Rui couldn’t bear to watch anymore. She snatched the food away, begging them to show some restraint in their lovey-dovey acts. She didn’t want to see the person saved by the physicians die again for such a ridiculous reason.

As a result, Cui Er was completely driven out of the kitchen by Lu Rui, and her cruel and torturous treatment of the kitchen came to an end.

Su Wuduan also felt relieved, knowing that he couldn’t tease his wife anymore during meals.

As the days went by, Su Wuduan’s injuries slowly healed, and everything seemed to return to the usual calm. However, some people could sense the slight turmoil hidden beneath the surface.

“Cui Er, come with me out of the palace.” Early one morning, after Xia Yuqing had fed the two children and let them play with their two pets, she called out to Cui Er who had just come out of the room.

Cui Er hesitated for a moment and asked, “Where does Your Majesty want to go? Should we bring some more people along?”

Xia Yuqing looked deeply at her and said, “No need to bring others, just you and me. You’ll know where we’re going when we get there.”

Cui Er was taken aback, looking at Xia Yuqing’s unusual expression, her heart suddenly tightened.

Following Xia Yuqing’s instructions, the coachman drove the carriage slowly to a slightly remote inn.

When the carriage stopped, Cui Er opened the curtain and stepped out. After seeing the signboard hanging above the inn, she trembled all over and turned to look at Xia Yuqing in astonishment.

Xia Yuqing lifted the curtain, smiled faintly at Cui Er, and said, “Let’s go in.”

Cui Er’s heart trembled, feeling somewhat at a loss, but she still followed Xia Yuqing inside.

Xia Yuqing went to the room where Ye Shuyan was temporarily staying, and gently knocked on the door.

In a short while, a familiar voice of a young man came from inside, “Come in.”

Xia Yuqing took a deep breath, pushed open the wooden door, and entered with Cui Er.

Inside the room filled with a light fragrance, two young men were sitting there. One was Ye Shuyan, whom Xia Yuqing was familiar with. He was currently sitting at the table, pouring tea. The other was a young man Xia Yuqing had never seen before. He looked slightly older than Ye Shuyan and had a fierce vulture perched on his arm. The young man was feeding it meat jerky, and Xia Yuqing could only see his side profile.

Feeling Xia Yuqing’s gaze, the young man smiled lightly and turned his head, his somewhat sharp eyes unexpectedly meeting Xia Yuqing’s gaze without warning.

Xia Yuqing suddenly felt a chill down her spine, as if this young man held an inborn hostility towards her. She frowned, unable to figure out when she had offended this seemingly moody young man.

Cui Er also noticed this and quickly stepped forward, blocking Xia Yuqing from the young man’s sight.

“Bixuan, why be so nervous? If I really wanted to harm her, would I wait until now to take action?” Ying Yue’s eyes darkened slightly, with a hint of mockery, as he looked at Cui Er.

Cui Er’s expression changed slightly, but she still tried to maintain a calm demeanor and said slowly, “Young Master, you forget, I am no longer Bixuan. Now, I am just Cui Er.”

Ying Yue’s smile faded a bit, and he stared at Cui Er, saying, “It seems you are determined to betray your adoptive father and stand on the side of your new master?”

Adoptive father? Young Master? Xia Yuqing’s eyes widened in astonishment as she looked at the young man who appeared to be slightly older than Ye Shuyan. She realized that the young man was addressed as Young Master and the adoptive father referred to Little Shuyan. This meant that this guy was Little Shuyan’s adopted son, someone of her grandmother’s generation?

Xia Yuqing’s mouth twitched, once again puzzled by Ye Shuyan’s complicated family tree.

Cui Er stared at Ying Yue’s somewhat unfriendly gaze and pursed her lips, saying, “Young Master, you misunderstand. My existence is solely to protect the Empress and nothing else.”

As Cui Er said this, Xia Yuqing felt Ying Yue’s gaze shift to her. His scrutinizing eyes swept back and forth over her, making Xia Yuqing’s skin crawl.

Finally, Ying Yue took a deep breath, withdrew his gaze in a rather magnanimous manner, but his face still carried some puzzlement and disdain.

“Not particularly outstanding in appearance, not in great shape, timid, always hiding behind others when faced with difficulties, and lacking even the ability to protect yourself. I really can’t understand what merits this unremarkable person has that you, Bixuan, would repeatedly protect her.” Ying Yue swept disdainfully over Xia Yuqing’s petite frame, full of mockery.

… Xia Yuqing’s expression froze for a moment, and she could practically see several large red crossroads appearing on top of her head. For goodness’ sake, this was a personal attack, a blatant personal attack!

Xia Yuqing’s eyes widened, and she found it hard to put on a good face for this young man who criticized her from the moment they met.

Before Xia Yuqing could get angry, Cui Er’s face had already turned stern. She looked straight at Ying Yue’s somewhat unfriendly eyes and said, “Young Master, your words are too harsh. We, your servants, only need to know that the Empress is good, and there’s no need for Young Master to worry.”

Cui Er’s words eased Xia Yuqing’s agitated mood a little. She raised her head, glanced at Ying Yue sideways, and directly ignored his somewhat unpleasant expression. She raised her hand to push Cui Er to the side and looked at Ye Shuyan, who had been quiet at the table, and got straight to the point, saying, “I’m here to find you.”

Cui Er and Ying Yue were both taken aback by Xia Yuqing’s initiative to look for Ye Shuyan. Ye Shuyan, on the other hand, wasn’t very surprised, as if he had already expected it, “It’s rare for you to take the initiative to find me. What’s the matter?”

“For Cui Er’s sake.” Cui Er was surprised once again by Xia Yuqing’s purpose for coming here. She didn’t expect Xia Yuqing to be here for her.

“For Cui Er’s sake?” Ye Shuyan raised an eyebrow, got up, and walked toward Xia Yuqing.

Ying Yue, who was previously dissatisfied with Xia Yuqing, also changed his attitude due to her words. With his arms crossed, he looked a little curious as he watched the situation unfold.

Xia Yuqing’s hand under her body tightened slightly. Facing the probing gazes of the others, she raised her head and said, “You said before that Cui Er’s life belonged to you before she came to me, but after she came to me, she became my servant. Is this still true?”

Ye Shuyan’s eyes flickered slightly, a hint of understanding passing through them, as if he had already anticipated what Xia Yuqing wanted to do next.

“Of course, this matter counts no matter when.”

“That’s good.” Xia Yuqing breathed a sigh of relief and turned around, pulling Cui Er’s wrist forward. She said, “Today, in front of all of you, I want to tell—or rather, inform—you all. Since Cui Er’s life now belongs to me as her master, she has no connection with you or the so-called Yue Clan anymore. Cui Er has never had any Yue Clan blood flowing in her veins; all she owed you was the debt of raising her. But that debt was repaid when you arranged for her to stay by my side for these four years. Now that her life has transferred from your hands to mine, she is completely cleared from any debts to you. From now on, she owes you nothing, and you should stop using your so-called debts to bind her. In plain terms, she is not a member of the Yue Clan at all, so you have no right to impose anything on her.”

“Empress…” Cui Er was taken aback by Xia Yuqing’s words said in front of everyone. Her typically composed face showed an unexpected astonishment.

Ye Shuyan glanced deeply at Xia Yuqing and asked lightly, “What comes next?”

“What?” Xia Yuqing was caught off guard by Ye Shuyan’s sudden question and couldn’t react in time.

“Since you came here specifically, you shouldn’t only want to inform us and have Cui Er distance herself from us. So, what comes next? Now that Cui Er’s life truly belongs to you and has nothing to do with us, how do you plan to use her life?” Ye Shuyan’s keen eyes locked onto Xia Yuqing, seemingly seeing through everything.

Xia Yuqing was slightly stunned, looking at Ye Shuyan’s insightful eyes. She inwardly complained, “D*mn old fox!”

“As you treat Cui Er as an object, I’ll do as you wish. Recently, a group of black-clothed assassins appeared in the palace, intending to assassinate me. My eldest senior brother almost lost his life saving me. Life is so precious; naturally, it must be repaid. One life for another. My life is not worth as much as my eldest senior brother’s, but in his eyes, Cui Er’s life is invaluable. So, I used Cui Er’s life in my hands to repay him. It’s only reasonable.” Xia Yuqing’s words left everyone in the room stunned. Ye Shuyan’s face showed a hint of surprise, and a glimmer of light flashed in Ying Yue’s eyes. Cui Er herself looked at Xia Yuqing in shock.

“I’ve made this decision. Little Shuyan, are you okay with it?” Xia Yuqing asked with a serious face, staring at Ye Shuyan and Ying Yue.

Ye Shuyan fell silent for a moment before nodding gently, “Her life is in your hands, so it’s up to you to decide. We have no right to interfere.”

Xia Yuqing breathed a sigh of relief, then turned to Cui Er, saying, “Cui Er, did you hear that? From now on, you are no longer theirs, no longer a member of the Yue Clan, and not mine either. I have transferred you to my eldest senior brother, and from now on, you belong to him. No one will say anything, and no one has the right to separate you two. Do you understand?”

Cui Er trembled all over, finally understanding why Xia Yuqing personally brought her here. She lowered her head and her lips curved into a relieved response, “Yes, I understand.”

Xia Yuqing completely relaxed and was about to say something when Ye Shuyan asked again, “Is there anything else you want to say?”

Xia Yuqing turned to look at Ye Shuyan, her little face turning serious and full of resentment as she said, “Nothing.”

“Very well.” Ye Shuyan looked up at the ceiling and calmly said, “The people above have waited for so long; it’s time for them to come down and meet.”

“Huh? People above?!” Xia Yuqing was taken aback, her eyes widened as she looked at the empty beams, finding no one there.

Just as Xia Yuqing was frowning in confusion, a figure leaped lightly from the window. Although the movements were agile, the face was still pale from a long illness.

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