Adorable Food Goddess Chapter 154
"Ye Binghuai, I knoweverythingyou have done these past few years. Don't try and back me into a corner."
Ye Binghuai closed his eyes infrustration.What was I thinking when I married this crazy woman?
"Do you think that I want to do this? Either we do this or you go back to your mother's home for a while and lay low!" Ye Binghuai reasoned.
Ye Ning huffed in distaste. "I will not hide and cower like a dog, Binghuai. Get that idea out of your head!"
The following day, Xia Chunyu came to pick up Ye Jiayao. They both stayed silent the whole ride, their nervousness almost palpable. Xia Chunyu just held on tightly to her hand, trying to give her comfort.
Ye Jiayao looked over to the palace wall, hoping that this would be the last time she would need to go here.
When they arrived at the Zi Chen Palace, she noted the two Helian brothers, Zhao Qixuan, Chunfeng, and Susu waiting outside the hall. There was also an elderly man next to Xia Chunfeng that looked a lot like Chunyu.
"Why are they all here?" Ye Jiayao whispered to Chunyu.
Xia Chunyu looked at her, not understanding her surprise. "What do you mean? They came for you."
They came for me? Ye Jiayao's eyes stung with unshed tears. Her friends might not be perfect, but they do love her.
Zhao Qixuan looked Ye Jiayao up and down, puzzled. "Why can't I see it?"
Helian Jing didn't want to be here at all. He was just afraid that Yaoyao wouldn't be able to handleall the stress, so against his better judgment, he went, dragging Zhao Qixuan and Su Yi with him.
Xia Zhuofeng observed Ye Jiayao silently.So this is Lady Ye?A privileged woman who dressed up as a man and made her living through cooking? That was beyond impressive. Even when Chunyu told him all about this situation last night, he couldn't really believe it.
"If everyone's here, let's go in," Xia Zhuofeng called out. This was such a delicate situation that every move they make should be calculated correctly. Chunyu and Lady Yeliedoutright to the Emperor - that's not a crime that His Majesty would just wave away.
Helian Xuan turned to Helian Jing and the others and said, "You all can wait here."
Ye Jiayao followed Xia Chunyu and walked inside the Zi Chen Palace.
As Eunuch Wei led them into the house, he said, "The Emperor is not in a good mood today."
Xia Chunyu glanced at Helian Xuan.
Helian Xuan shrugged helplessly.
Ye Jiayao tugged on Chunyu's sleeves. "Can't we just come back another day?
Chunyu shook his head. They needed to get this over with. They've been battling with this secret for far too long, he was tired of it.
"Chunyu, you said that you have found Miss Ye? Where is she?" the Emperor asked, his face harshly stoic. His dark mood was not just because of their military disadvantage but also because of this whole Miss Ye situation. He could not believe that Xia Chunyu managed to find her this quickly. He felt as if though he was somehow being tricked.
Xia Chunyu kneeled and kowtowed on the ground. "Your Majesty, she's here -the Mobile Imperial Chef, Li Yao."
Ye Jiayao nervously stepped forward and kowtowed. "I am Ye Jinxuan, Your Majesty."
The Emperor shot up from his seat, anger emanating from his form. "How dare you lie to my face? Execute her!"
Ye Jiayao flinched, fear pumping through her veins.Is this how I'm going to die? Again? Being beheaded? What kind of sick reincarnation is this?
Xia Chunyu immediately went to her defense. "Emperor, you can't bestow death to Ye Jinxuan for lying to you."
The Emperor turned to Chunyu furiously. "I can't? Ye Jinxuan dressed up as a man, deceived me, worked in the imperial kitchen as a fraud... this is a direct crime against me!"
"Your Majesty, Ye Jinxuan only dressed up as a man because she feared for her life. She had to travel thousands of miles from Ji Nan to Jin Ling, and if she hadn't dressed up as a man... I can't even imagine the horrors that could've happened to her.
"And Your Majesty, she only worked in the imperial kitchen because of the summons from the royalties. She didn't deliberately set out to integrate herself with the palace. She was simply following orders. It was not like she could refuse the mandates coming from the palace!"
Helian Xuan added, "Emperor, Ye Jinxuan didn't ask for the things she was given. Your Majesty offered her a place in the imperial kitchen because you believed in her skills. She might be wrong about not confessing her true identity, but she didn't do it with the intention to deceive you."
The Emperor listened to the two nobles, seeing the reason in their words. Indeed, it wasn't right to blame Ye Jinxuan for the actions he perpetuated himself, but he could not just let the matter go.
"Your Majesty, Ye Jinxuan is just an ordinary woman," Xia Zhoufeng said with a smile. "She was just trying to make the best out of a very difficult situation. Please find it in your heart to forgive her."
The Emperor sighed. Old Lord Zhoufeng was of high status and has been an important ally of the crown, he couldn't just ignore his request. "Alright. For you, Old Lord, I will forgive her. I have another concern, though. Chunyu, why did you ask for a three-month period when you knew where she was all along?"
"Your Majesty, I encountered a problem. Ye Jinxuan lost her memory, and I have been trying to make her remember me as gently as I could. I didn't want to force her into anything. I asked for a three-month leeway because I wasn't sure if I'd succeed and if I didn't - if she couldn't remember the past - she would always be Li Yao. If she didn't remember who I am, even if she's around me, she'd always be a stranger. When I said that I didn't know where she was, that wasn't a lie. At that time, I truly didn't know if I'll ever get her back." Xia Chunyu's words sounded so heartfelt, there were even tears in his eyes.
Ye Jiayao looked at Chunyu in awe. She knew that he was good at acting, but she didn't know that he's this good. For a moment there, he even almost had her.
"Emperor, I can testify to the truth behind Chunyu's words," Helian Xuan swore.
"Of course you do. You two practically breathe through the same nostrils," the Emperor dismissed impatiently. "You said she lost her memory? That does not line up with what you said in the Queen's Palace."
"Emperor, if she hadn't lost her memory, why would've I let her suffer in Heavenly Residence? Wouldn't I have just brought herto our mansion?"
"Xia Chunyu, do you even hear yourself? Do you think that just because of what you've done for me and for the palace, I'll wave this away? Or do you think that I am just that gullible to believe your lies?" the Emperor demanded.
"I would never dare to do such thing, Your Majesty."
"Don't patronize me," the Emperor yelled furiously.
Xia Zhuofeng was drenched in cold sweat. He wanted to say something but the Emperor's sharp eyes shut him up.
"This farce has gone too far. I can forgive Ye Jinxuan, but not you, Chunyu. You will be demoted three levels and will become a third-class guard. And in three months, you will be marrying Princess Liu Li. You can have Ye Jinxuan as your concubine," the Emperor decreed.
Xia Chunyu kowtowed again and said, "Please take back the order, Your Majesty. I have already married Ye Jinxuan, I can't marry another woman."
"Xia Chunyu, are you really daring to refuse myorder?"
Ye Jiayao has had enough. She couldn't stay silent anymore.
"Your Majesty," she began. "I know that your word is the law. You can order your people to do whatever you want and they'll obey. However, destroying a marriage is beyond your power. There will be curses and consequences that will follow your actions. I am volunteering to step down. I can't compete with Princess Liu Li and she really is the best fit for Chunyu. She can take my position as Chunyu's wife but I wouldn't be his concubine. I may not be a royalty, but I still have my morals and integrity. Your Majesty, I will let my husband go and I will willingly take a plaque and vow never to marry anyone ever again."
Everyone waited with bated breath as the Emperor mulled over her words.
"Emperor," Xia Chunyu called out, cursing Yaoyao inwardly. Why couldn't she have stayed silent? She was ruining his plan! "That is not fair to her. Please, just execute me."
"What? The Emperor wants you to marry Princess Liu Li! That's a huge reward! You can't refuse an order like that! Don't worry about me, Chunyu. The man I originally wanted to marry turned out to be a vile creature, the person I married was being taken away from me... this is fate telling me that I am destined to be alone. I need to accept that," Ye Jiayao said, wiping her tears mournfully.
"Your Majesty, the whole city already knows about Xia Chunyu and Ye Jinxuan's story. If Your Majesty insists on breaking them up, I am afraid that there would be a backlash," Helian Zhen advised solemnly. He admired how smartly Ye Jinxuan played this. She really was a formidable woman.
"Helian Lord, it's okay. After all, what's a good story without a tragic ending, right? I am not afraid to be cast out. I just can't let Chunyu suffer for me. I am merely a plebeian, he'san Heir-Son Lord. He's a great man with a bright future ahead of him. I can't let that be taken away. Everyone will understand why this happened," Ye Jiayao said tearfully.
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