Chapter 193: Phoenix Herb
After lying on the bed for some time, Jun Huang felt a little better. Her body was going to become rigid if she continued to stay on the bed. She didn’t want to waste her time like this anyway. She sat up and let out a long breath.
Nan Xun walked into the room with a bowl of medicine in his hand. “Is something the matter?” he asked as he went up to her. He didn’t chastise her for getting up on her own.
“Nothing,” Jun Huang said quietly with a smile. “I’ve been too naive. This experience isn’t all bad. It has helped me think more clearly.”
Nan Xun nodded and handed the bowl to her. He pulled a chair to the bed and sat down. The words were at the tip of his tongue, but he didn’t say them.
Jun Huang could tell that there was something he would like to say. She waited patiently.
In the end, Nan Xun decided to be honest with her. “After what happened this time, I… I don’t want you to stay at Qi Chen’s side as a spy anymore. There’s no need for you to do this personally. We can arrange for other people to take your place.” He looked up at her nervously. He was worried that Jun Huang would be unhappy with him.
Jun Huang was not upset, but she was surprised by Nan Xun’s reaction. She let out a resigned sigh. “I can’t do that. You and I both know that if I were so easily deterred, I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything in the future. Besides, I’m not disregarding my own safety. I’m simply waiting for an opportunity. Before that, I would not give up, nor would I fall. You have to trust me.”
Nan Xun didn’t know what to say. He knew how Jun Huang was. In the end he let out a sigh. He shared a few words with her and stayed at her side until she asked him for the books they took from the House of Heavenly Fiends.
She hadn’t had the chance to read the books. During her recovery period, they could go over the information recorded in them.
What Jun Huang cared the most about was information about Jun Hao. It had not been long since they left the organization, though. There had been no progress yet. She frowned and let out a sigh.
“Don’t think too much,” Nan Xun assured. “You have more people helping you now. Perhaps your brother will be found soon. Perhaps he and the guard have picked a sanctuary in this vast world and decided to stay put. There are many possibilities.”
Jun Huang took a deep breath and nodded before laying against the bed frame with her eyes shut. Reading the books had caused a sting in her eyes. The prickling pain coming from her body suggested that her wounds were far from fully healed.
“What’s wrong? Are you in pain?” Noticing her condition, Nan Xun put his arm around her shoulders. Her face was pale and covered in sweat. Her eyebrows drew together closely.
Jun Huang waved a hand tiredly and pressed her hands against her stomach. It took a moment for her to recover. “I’m fine. My body hurts a little, but the pain is going to go away. Don’t worry.”
With a frown, Nan Xun reached out to take her pulse. He let out a sigh of relief after making sure that she was alright. Nonetheless, seeing her pale face put a heavy weight on his chest. He didn’t know what to say to make things better.
Jun Huang always knew what she wanted. Once she had made up her mind, no one would be able to convince her otherwise. He was no exception.
Nan Xun couldn’t help feeling down. He loved her, but he never knew what Jun Huang was thinking.
Noticing that Nan Xun was brooding, Jun Huang patted his arm and said, “Don’t worry, Nan Xun. I’ll tell you if anything happens. Promise.”
That made Nan Xun feel a little better. He nodded and looked outside. After a pause, he turned to Jun Huang. “The sun is still out. The doctor has said that cold energy has seeped into your body when you were in the prison. How about I take you outside to let you get some sunlight? It’s also going to be more comfortable for you to read under the sun.”
Jun Huang looked outside the window. Sun shone on the desk by the window. The weather was beautiful. It was perfect for staying outdoor.
Jun Huang didn’t argue. “If so, I’ll appreciate your help.”
Nan Xun got moving once he got her approval. He moved the desk out first, then the empress chair. And finally, the books. Once that was done, he gathered Jun Huang into his arms and carried her outside. Gingerly, he lay her on the empress chair. He draped a robe over her shoulders before sitting by her side and picking up a book.
As a general he rarely read. It didn’t take long before he got bored. He put down the book and turned to look at Jun Huang. Her faint smile was beautiful under the sun.
Jun Huang was so focused when she read, it was as if the world had fallen away. Silently, she paged through the book. The only sound Nan Xun could hear was the rustling of the paper. The sun came from behind her back, enveloping her in a warm glow. He had never known anyone quite like her.
Nan Xun watched her without a word. The air seemed to have come to a halt. He had not seen Jun Huang a lot since they returned to the imperial city. Most of the time Jun Huang was busy dealing with Qi Chen. If this incident had not happened, he didn’t know how long it would take for him to see her again.
He had missed her dearly. He would love to stay at her side every moment every day, but he knew that wasn’t possible. Jun Huang had her goals.
“What?” Jun Huang asked when she noticed that Nan Xun had been staring at her. She put the book aside.
Nan Xun darted his eyes away. “Nothing. You just seem to take everything seriously.”
Jun Huang chuckled and picked up another book. “That’s not true. I just have nothing else to do. Besides, I’m now one of the leaders of the House of Heavenly Fiends. I have to take responsibility. I can’t possibly do nothing while occupying this position.” She paused. “Now that’s the silver lining out of this mess. If I had not been played by Wei Lanying, I wouldn’t be calm and at ease enough now to sit down and read these books.”
“You shouldn’t have to bear this burden...”
“If I shirked away all responsibilities, I wouldn’t be here today. If I have no talent and no character, I won’t be bothered with these problems. However, we both know that’s not a possibility for me. I cannot put the destruction of Western Que out of my mind.”
Jun Huang’s voice was steady and calm, but Nan Xun was rendered speechless. He sighed inwardly and didn’t say anything.
Fate had dictated where one’s life would go. There was nothing other people could do to change it.
Jun Huang stopped flipping the pages suddenly. Nan Xun looked up at her in question. She stared at one of the wanted mission recorded on the paper.
“What’s the matter?” Nan Xun asked in a low voice. He didn’t want to startle her.
Jun Huang took a deep breath and handed the book to Nan Xun. “Don’t you think there’s something odd about this mission? There’s no such thing as a phoenix herb in the world now.”
She was reminded of what Yin Yun told her a few years ago: In an ancient text there were mentions of a phoenix herb. It was the herb of the celestials. It represented safety and peace.
How many would have read that same book? How many knew about the existence of such herb? Very few would have even heard of the name.
Nan Xun handed the book back to Jun Huang. She read through the mission description again. Yin Yun was a careful man. He didn’t leave a lot of clues for her. Nonetheless she was sure the one who gave the mission was him.
The mission was given on the day they arrived at Yun Town. So Yin Yun and Jun Hao had been in Yun Town. She had missed them by a hair.
Jun Huang let out a sigh. Fortunately she was able to get some information about them. She was glad that they were safe. Still, she was disappointed that they had missed each other. She didn’t get the chance to check if Jun Hao had grown. Was he taller now?
Nan Xun noticed the change in her expression, but he didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t ask for fear of upsetting Jun Huang. He could only watch her. What he wouldn’t give to take all the pain from her.
“I’m tired. Can you please help me inside?” Jun Huang put the books on the table and looked up at him, waiting for Nan Xun to carry her in.
“Alright.” Without another word, Nan Xun picked her up and walked into the room. He gingerly put her on the bed before going out to move everything back to where they belonged.
Jun Huang didn’t feel like sleeping. When she closed her eyes, all she could think of was the way Western Que had looked when it still stood. It used to be a prosperous country. Jun Hao used to follow her everywhere.
Now, however, everything was gone. The only thing left of Western Que were ruins covered in burn marks. The land was barren and lifeless. Sorrow filled her heart every time she thought of her home.
She stayed on the bed and only sat up when the sun had set. She talked to a maid and found out that there was a banquet in the palace. Every courtier was invited. Nan Xun therefore wasn’t in the manor at the moment.
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