Judging from Madame Dong’s gait, she looked more poisoned than himself. This could be a byproduct of his stronger physique, but it was most likely because the amount of slow-acting poison Dong Haoyang consumed was smaller.
He fixed his attention on the meals. Madame Dong would often personally prepare some tonics and meals for him, but her meals were mostly provided by the kitchen. This could also explain why he experienced lesser effects of the slow-acting poison.
However, if the problem was in the kitchen, wouldn’t the other residents of the House of the Minister also be poisoned?
Dong Haoyang returned to the Dong residency to continue his investigations. He discreetly asked the servant girls for more information feigning ignorance at every step. He learned that Dong Boyu and Dong Wenbai were indeed in weak health. The physician dismissed their symptoms as a result of overworking and suggested they take more rest. Hence, no one paid any notice to this.
But the main question was, who would poison them?
Dong Haoyang’s eyes gleamed with interest.
He definitely had to further his involvement with such an intriguing matter.
The dishes were swept off the table, shattering with a loud crashing sound and their contents spilling across the floor.
“You little shit, how dare you cause such a disturbance during mealtimes!” Dong Wenbai severely reprimanded Dong Haoyang, who was picking up the shards of broken plates from the floor.
Dong Boyu, who was sitting at the head of the table, was immediately taken aback by the sudden sound. The sight of Dong Wenbai reprimanding his precious grandson angered him. He slammed his chopsticks onto the table, “How dare you talk to Yang ‘Er like this! Have you ever heard me speak to you in this manner?!”
Dong Wenbai shrank back and dared not to continue speaking. He resorted to glaring at Dong Haoyang.
Dong Haoyang pointed to the spilt vegetable soup contents on the ground, shivering as his face paled. “Grandfather, the vegetables…there’s a centipede in the vegetables!”
Several people who had heard this commotion stood up and looked at the contents of the vegetable soup on the floor. The centipede, which was about as thick as a pinkie, was lying within the pile of green vegetables. It had a greenish appearance, making it obvious to the onlookers that it was cooked with the soup.
Thinking about how they had taken a few bites of the vegetables just now, several people blanched instantly. Madame Dong and Matriarch Dong immediately fled the big hall to vomit in the yard.
“Hurry up and summon the kitchen staff for me!” Dong Boyu was the calmest out of all of them, but his face was as pale as the rest. He swore he felt something stuck in his throat.
Dong Wenbai’s face was ghastly pale. In a daze, he stared at the centipede until he could not contain the contents in his stomach, emptying its contents out in the big hall.
The stench instantly became overwhelming.
Dong Boyu’s mood worsened. He could not wait to slap Dong Wenbai and send him out.
“Grandfather, shouldn’t we call the physician first?” Dong Haoyang reminded weakly, his voice trembling.
At that moment, Dong Boyu suddenly remembered that the centipede was poisonous. His face instantly darkened from his extreme anger and fear. He quickly summoned a servant to fetch the physician.
Madame Dong and Matriarch Dong directly vomited in the yard for a full half-hour, until they had no more strength left. They sat on the stools brought outside by the maids and did not dare to enter the big hall again.
In a short while, the steward in the kitchen rushed out hurriedly. As soon as he entered, he noticed the food that was spilt on the floor.
“Sir, what is this?”
Dong Boyu was extremely irritated. He pointed to the ground furiously, “See for yourself!”
At first, the steward did not understand. After squatting down and carefully inspecting the food on the ground, he caught sight of the hideous and terrifying black-headed centipede. He was immediately frightened, his scalp going numb.
“S…sir!” Cold sweat started trickling down the steward’s forehead. A centipede unexpectedly appeared in the food that they served. If the matter were to be investigated, they would get into trouble with the authorities and might even lose their jobs.
Dong Boyu was livid. In his rage, he picked up a teacup and slammed it on the ground next to the steward. The sharp shattering sound of the teacup made the steward shiver.
“Get to the bottom of this quickly! I want to know what the hell is going on here!”
As soon as the steward heard this, he hurriedly acknowledged, stood up before dashing out.
A servant was called in to clean up the mess on the ground. The raging anger in Dong Boyu’s chest calmed down a bit at this, but his body felt more and more uncomfortable.
By the time the physician arrived, Dong Boyu and a few others felt that their bodies were feeling uncomfortable and they thought they might collapse. The physician checked the pulses of a few people, knitted his brows together for a while before giving everybody the antidote.
Just when the physician was about to leave, Dong Haoyang suddenly clutched his stomach and cried out in pain. The physician immediately rushed over to check on him and his expression instantly changed.
“What did you eat just now?” The physician asked him with the utmost urgency.
Dong Haoyang withstood the pain to point to one of the dishes, “That dish!”
The physician dipped a pair of chopsticks in the dish before tasting it. His face changed drastically, and he immediately spat out the juice.
“This dish is poisonous!” The physician said as he rushed to help induce Dong Haoyang into regurgitating the poison. He then asked his entourage to grab the medicine.
Dong Wenbo was shocked when he heard this. His shock soon fueled his rage.
After Dong Haoyang was cleared and no longer in serious danger, Dong Boyu immediately ordered a thorough investigation of this matter. As the right-hand man of Yuanning country’s Shangshu Sheng, Dong Boyu had some powerful connections. In a single day, he had already managed to clear all possible people who might have been involved in this matter. Finally, after searching in the cook’s room, he found a suspicious powder.
After a few days, the doctor identified the substance to be a slow-acting poison/drug. The strangest thing was that once the powder was ingested, its symptoms only included physical weakness, but it was impossible to find out what was actually going on.
Dong Boyu was even angrier after reaching this conclusion. He thought about how recently they had been feeling physically weak and that he had thought that he had just overworked himself. Now, it seemed very likely that they were the effects of this poison/drug.
In anguish, Dong Boyu was prepared to torture the cook for information, but who could foresee that the next day, the cook would commit suicide in the room she was being confined to by poison.
They still did not know who wanted to harm the people residing in the House of the Minister. This whole situation grew more convoluted with each development.
News regarding the right-hand man of Shang Shusheng being poisoned spread throughout the capital. Naturally, the Emperor learned of it. Thinking about how his body was getting weaker and weaker in the recent days, the Emperor’s face suddenly changed and he hurriedly sent an imperial physician to Dong Boyu to retrieve the powder of the chronic poison/drug for further studies as soon as possible. During this period of waiting, the Yuan Jing Emperor was extremely anxious, until the imperial doctor’s testing produced a result, then he hurriedly called people in.
After his pulse was examined, it was confirmed that the Yuan Jing Emperor was suffering from the effects of the poison/drug, and he was ingesting the slow-acting poison for several years. In his anguish, the Yuan Jing Emperor ordered a thorough investigation of the matter and also ordered the imperial doctor to check on all the concubines and princes.
The results of this check shocked everybody. All the concubines and princes had more or less been infected with the poison.
For a while, the people in the palace panicked.
During the investigation, a steward of the Imperial Dining Room suddenly committed suicide and died. Later on, the chronic poison/drug was found in his room. Although the investigation continued, there was no result. All leads led them to a dead end.
Although the Yuan Jing Emperor was not a murderous person, this incident almost brought his entire royal family lineage to an end! The furious Yuan Jing Emperor ordered all those who might have been involved in this to be executed.
For a whole month, the palace was a bloodbath.
Fortunately, the imperial physicians soon developed an antidote for treatment and the Yuan Jing Emperor specially granted Dong Boyu a dose of the antidote. However, this only served to slightly diminish the severity of this life-threatening crisis.
Dong Haoyang was lying on the bed with a pale face to recuperate, but his slight peach eyes were full of colour.
Even though he acted rashly and alerted the enemy, resulting in the loss of any possible leads, Mrs. Dong and others would no longer continue to suffer the effects of this poison. Moreover, the more complicated things get, the more interesting it is. And it would be more fun to flush out an enemy hiding in the dark.
Dong Haoyang recuperated at home for three to four days. During these days, he did not enter the palace to tutor the prince. Fortunately, before Dong Haoyang brought the poisoning affair to light, he had already prepared sufficient fruits and snacks for the little boy. The weather was cool now, so the snacks would preserve well for now. Hence, the boy would not be hungry during this time.
However, in order to make up to the little runt, who had not seen meat for three whole days, Dong Haoyang brought a whole roast chicken for the little runt upon his return.
A child who just turned seven years old was tough to deal with. Let alone a child like Heng Rui, whose only source of human interaction was Dong Haoyang. As such, during these four days, Heng Rui did not have a pleasant time.
Dong Haoyang had just entered the courtyard when a figure rushed towards him. Instinctively, he kicked at that figure. The figure wanted to hide, but his reaction time was too slow, and he was still kicked away.
The little runt rolled on the ground three times.
As soon as he kicked his leg out, Dong Haoyang reacted again. Seeing the little runt embarrassed, he tapped the tip of the little runt’s nose rather unnaturally and stepped forward to pick the little guy up.
However, the little runt was peeved and refused to look at Dong Haoyang.
Dong Haoyang realised he made a mistake. After putting the little runt back on the ground, he brushed the dust off the little runt’s body. Looking at the little runt’s bright red eyes, Dong Haoyang had no choice but to take out the roast chicken.
The strong aroma wafted into his nostrils and the little runt could not help himself. He wiped away the tears from his eyes and immediately snatched the roast chicken away from Dong Haoyang’s hands.
His impatient behaviour only showed just how eager he was to eat.
“You can eat slowly, no one is going to take it away from you,” Dong Haoyang looked at the little runt’s oily mouth, which was kind of disgusting.
Dong Haoyang’s words only earned him a fierce glance from the little runt. His eating motions grew more vigorous as he continued to gobble up the chicken.