Li Xueyue could feel it—hands that touched her everywhere. It covered every inch of her body, moving like slimy bugs on her skin.
Crawling and wriggling, every part of her was violated. She screamed, and cried out in fear, fighting everything off, but could not move. Sobs choked her body, as she fought against the people holding her down, the people ruining what was left of her heart.
She cried and screamed for Yu Zhen, the only thing on her mind. 'What would he think of her now? How should she view herself now? What's left of her dignity and pride? What's left of her heart and soul?'
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" she repeated, again and again, hoping, wishing Yu Zhen would hear her sincerity. She tried. She truly did. She crashed the teacup, it shattered on the ground, but then everything was a blur, and she felt more hands on her.
Like a never-ending nightmare, she was back there again—in that room, held down onto the table. Her ears rang and the sound of her dress being ripped could be heard. It repeated, over and over, until she was close to losing her mind.
"'Please," she begged, "I'm sorry, I'm so…so, sorry!"
Li Xueyue cried and cried until her throat was hoarse, and she could no longer say anything. Every word hurt, every breath tasted like blood. But she continued uttering the words, "I'm sorry," as if it could turn back time.
"Drugged…" a voice whispered in the background.
And slowly, but surely, she lost consciousness once again.
- - - - -
Yu Zhen stiffened when her body went limp. She was thrashing about in his arms a second ago, refusing to be hugged or held by him. Even so, he had kept her on his lap, hugging her fiercely. He would never let her go. He refused to.
"Your Highness, it seems the Crown Princess was drugged with a heavy dosage of aphrodisiac, more than what a tiny woman like her can possibly handle."
The Imperial Physician examined the teapot that was brought to him. He found it strange. The aphrodisiac scent was strong, but the dosage in the tea didn't seem that heavy. Even if she drank one cup, it shouldn't have caused such a violent reaction.
Did the Crown Princess accidentally consume more than just the liquid version of the aphrodisiac?
It was difficult for a person to get their hands on it, but there was a powder version of aphrodisiac that was no longer being manufactured, after being banned in every corner of the continent. The powder was often mixed with sugar, to keep the aphrodisiac fresh and effective.
"The Princess was likely struggling for her life, even in your arms, because the dosage was so high, that she is delirious. It seemed she was hallucinating, and completely unaware of what is currently happening, Your Highness."
The Imperial Physician settled the teapot onto the wooden tray held out by his apprentice. This was going to be a messy problem to cure.
"As of now, there is no known cure for aphrodisiac, since the tonic was banned in every part of the continent. Thus, not many physicians had the time to research a remedy for the tonic, Your Highness."
The Imperial Physician took a worried glance at the Princess. It seemed like she had finally calmed down, after tiring herself out so much, her own body decided to give up on her.
"However, there is one way to lessen the side effects," the Imperial Physician slowly said, as if it pained him to say it. "Her body will feel like it's burning. She'll think the flames will consume her from inside out."
The Imperial Physician waved his apprentice off, urging everyone to go outside. Only when the door was firmly shut, did he take off his spectacles and turned to the Crown Prince with a grave expression.
But when he saw the murderous glare of Yu Zhen, the Imperial Physician dropped to his knees in fear. He swallowed.
"The Princess will need to be bathed with cold water from head to toe, and after a count of ten, she will have to be brought out, so that her inner qi  is not harmed. Then, she will need to be placed back into the cold water, and taken out again, then back in there, until she finally calms down, Your Highness."
The Imperial Physician bowed his head low as if he had failed the world. "But this will have to take place when she is awake, or else she might go into a greater shock, Your Highness."
Yu Zhen ground his teeth. He would have Lady Ge Beining skinned alive and burned at a stake.
His arms tightened around Li Xueyue who was slumped in his arms. But even in her sleep, she was crying. Her tears stained his shoulders, but he couldn't care less. She was calm before the storm.
"B-but that is not all… Your Highness." the Imperial Physician quivered out. He tried his best to remain calm, but could not when the Crown Prince looked like he was ready to massacre everyone in the palace.
"Her head will also have to be totally submerged during the cold bath. The Crown Princess will feel as if she's drowning, and on the brink of death, only to have relief for ten seconds before being forced to drown again, Your Highness."
The Crown Prince slammed his hand on the nightstand. The Imperial Physician flinched. He took a shaky glance at the nightstand and saw a crack. He squeezed his eyes shut in fear, knowing the Crown Prince was going to murder anyone in his sight.
"T-there is no other way than this, Your Highness," the Imperial Physician squeaked out. In all his twenty-five years of life, he had never felt this much terror. His legs were frozen in a permanent kneel.
The Crown Prince shot the Imperial Physician a scathing glare.
"GET OUT!" he roared.
The Imperial Physician scrambled to his feet. Without turning his back to the Crown Prince, he took quick steps backward until his hand grazed the door handles. He pushed it open and slipped outside, letting out a massive sigh of relief that he had been holding in.
"S-sir, are you alright?" his apprentice shakily asked.
The Imperial Physician mutely nodded his head, as he could not speak. It felt like a lump was stuck in his throat, choking at him. And he knew it was because the Crown Prince's menacing presence was seeping out of the room.
"Sir, you're shaking, your face is pale, and you've broken into a cold sweat. Are you sure you're alright?" the apprentice whispered.
Eventually, the Imperial Physician's legs gave out from underneath him. He sank to his knees in front of the bedroom door, as his chest shook from another sigh.
"I...barely escaped with my head intact," he whispered to his apprentice.
The Crown Prince didn't make a single threat, but his gaze said a thousand words. His glare was as ferocious as a tiger, his roar as lethal as a lion.
The Imperial Physician had never seen or met someone so intimidating, yet so young. It was an unworldly experience. What a terrifying presence the Crown Prince had…
"H-help me to my feet," he ordered his apprentice. The thin man quickly came forward and helped him up.
"Let's leave quickly before the Crown Prince changes his mind and slaughters all of us," the Imperial Physician shakily said.
The apprentice didn't need to be told twice. Together, they ran out of the estate. Much like the rest of the servants who stood outside, they were all awaiting their impending doom.
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