Chapter 1029: Tacit understanding, light clouds, soft breeze

When Pill Furnace Master recalled all of Gu Qishao’s actions upon entering the Medicine Requesting Cave, he realized he’d been an idiot. Little Loony was right in front of his eyes, yet he hadn’t recognized him.

Little Loony knew everything about the Medicine Requesting Cave and its interiors and could even read his thoughts! But he hadn’t recognized him!

Pill Furnace Master broke into a bitter smile. When he recalled how Han Yunxi had pressed him for answers, he quickly asked the assistant, “When did Gu Qishao give you this copper coin?”

“Just then. I thought he’d already left, but Gu Qishao, he...he was hiding up top and secretly spying on you,” the assistant said timidly.

Pill Furnace Master’s smile grew even more helpless. “So that’s why! So that’s why, ah!”

Gu Qishao had never left, but stayed behind to hear everything he’d told Han Yunxi. Pill Furnace Master’s smile soon threatened to turn into tears before he realized a problem. Alarmed, he cried, “He...he was Medical City’s Little Qi!”

Although Pill Furnace Master didn’t concern himself with worldly matters, he had stayed in contact with Long Feiye and Han Yunxi ever since the former contacted him about Returning Dragon Pills. Thus, he had paid some attention to dealings in Medical and Medicine City, too. Gu Yuntian’s son out of wedlock had been big news in the medical community, so of course he learned of it too.

But how could he ever predict that the medical genius he picked up in the fields that year was none other than the escaped Little Qi! When he recalled their first meeting and Little Qi’s ragged state, when he remembered the gaze in Little Qi’s eyes as he said he didn’t want to grow up just yet, when he relived the moment Little Qi’s blood-streaked face took on an expression of despair…

Tears streamed down Pill Furnace Master’s face. He did his best to wipe them away, but they kept falling. In the end, he was drowning in them. At last, he knew he’d lost a most excellent disciple. 

Would Little Qi come to pick up the Returning Dragon Pills once he was done refining them?

Pill Furnace Master hung the copper coin around his neck before he loudly proclaimed, “Issue orders to seal the cave! This old man is closing the doors to refine that pill!”

He would wait!

He’d wait until Little Loony came back. He would tell him that he was only taking one disciple in his lifetime. He would tell him that Little Loony would always be a child in his eyes and never grow up.

--

Pill Furnace Master had already ordered the Medicine Requesting Cave shut up while Gu Qishao was fleeing for his life on horseback, afraid of being chased down. His speed was shocking, forcing Long Feiye to personally take the reins of the carriage so they could catch up.

“Gu Qishao, you’ve been running all day. There’s a teashop up ahead, so go in and rest your feet! You can keep going tomorrow!” Long Feiye shouted.

Gu Qishao had no reaction besides galloping for his life.

Han Yunxi stuck her head out from the carriage. “He couldn’t have...done something to Pill Furnace Master, right?”

“Heaven knows!” Long Feiye replied, before shouting after him, “Gu Qishao, did you hear me?” 

Gu Qishao still wouldn’t reply. In the end, Long Feiye took out his whip and lashed Gu Qishao’s horse on the leg. The horse lost balance and flipped, sending Gu Qishao flying. He finally looked back with a scowl and hollered, “Long Feiye, what are you doing?!”

“I told you to stop. Didn’t you hear me?” Long Feiye retorted frostily.

Heaven knows what Gu Qishao had done back at Medicine Requesting Cave, but his attitude showed that he was at least alright now. Gu Qishao was a master at playing dumb, so even though Han Yunxi and Long Feiye knew about his matter with Pill Furnace Master, he could still pretend that nothing had happened at all. By the time Long Feiye pulled up the carriage next to him, he said, “The wind was too loud, so I didn’t hear you clearly.”

Han Yunxi ducked back into the carriage before she laughed out loud. She knew then that Gu Qishao would be fine. Long Feiye then whipped the carriage back into moving along, forcing Gu Qishao to dart out of the way. Xu Donglin followed close behind while driving another carriage, leaving Gu Qishao to chase after him. 

“Hey, wait for me! I don’t have a horse anymore!”

--

That night, the group settled down at a teashop. Long Feiye had Xu Donglin go rest while Gu Qishao took the night watch. Before Long Feiye went inside, Gu Qishao complained, “You’re avenging personal wrongs in the name of public interest.”

“It’s not like you’d be able to sleep tonight,” Long Feiye shot back. His words were enough to shut Gu Qishao up. 

Indeed, Gu Qishao had a sleepless night. He ended up sitting in the courtyard of the compound that Long Feiye had rented for the group. The next morning, he was in no spirits to ride a horse, but docilely nestled up in Xu Donglin’s carriage and slept all day. Like thus, Han Yunxi’s group traveled north and made it back to Three-Way Black Market with no more mention of Pill Furnace Master.

On the fifteenth of the twelfth lunar month, they finally reached the black market gates. There was about half a month left before Lunar New Year’s Eve, so everyone had rushed home to celebrate with their families. Three-Way Black Market was rather chilly and deserted. Han Yunxi’s group had just disembarked at East Origin Hall when they saw Gu Beiyue waiting to greet them by the gates.

He was dressed in robes whiter than snow, a solitary figure whose warm eyes and cool calm showed no signs of loneliness. Instead, he was rather like gentle jade, wearing a smile as light as a breeze. Even a warm spring was no rival to his grin, to say nothing of a chilly winter.

Beiyue, have you been well these days? 

Han Yunxi returned his smile soundlessly while Long Feiye remained silent and gave him a polite nod. Gu Qishao carelessly threw his arm around Gu Beiyue’s shoulders and started heading inside. “Brother, we’ve brought you back something good! Let’s go!”

Gu Beiyue had been waiting for them and the Returning Dragon Pill. Despite this, he asked the group, “Everyone, did you have smooth journeys?”

Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had hardly replied when Gu Qishao chuckled and proclaimed, “With your West Qin princess here, there’s nothing but good news and smooth passage!”

Gu Beiyue turned towards Han Yunxi, who laughed and said, “It took a long time to refine the pills because we had to change internal energy into flames. By chance, it awoke the Phoenix energy within me. Once I control its power, I’ll be an expert just like you all!”

“Phoenix energy?” Gu Beiyue was surprised. He had never heard of this before.

“It’s the power hidden in the phoenix wing birthmark, inherited like the poison storage system. I discovered it this time,” Han Yunxi was nothing but happy as she explained. “I can’t use much of it yet, so I’ll have to keep practicing!”

Gu Beiyue looked towards Long Feiye next, but he seemed no different from usual with his expressionless face and cold eyes. Seeing that, Gu Beiyue grew convinced and laughed. “Congratulations, princess! This subordinate always felt there was something mysterious about the phoenix wing birthmark. I never expected it to contain such power. Princess, you’ll have to work hard for the next couple of years.”

“Congratulate me after I succeed!” Han Yunxi proclaimed.

With their masters acting like that, neither Xu Donglin nor Baili Mingxiang dared to say too much. That trio had experienced twists and turns at Medicine Requesting Cave and narrowly lost their lives, but acted as if they’d never been hurt. Not one of them brought up their ordeal.

For the sake of Gu Beiyue, this was all worth it!

Back in the rooms, Han Yunxi quickly took out the Returning Dragon Pill and offered it to Gu Beiyue with both hands. Petrified, Gu Beiyue hastily bowed to accept the item. “Many thanks to princess.”

He was going to thank Long Feiye and Gu Qishao next, but the former remained silent while the latter personally carried over some water. “Stop with the blathering and hurry up and take it! Let us witness your shadow arts first hand!”

Only then did ruffles stir in Gu Beiyue’s still heart. He grasped the Returning Dragon Pill and subconsciously looked towards Long Feiye. How could he had ever predicted in the past that he’d cripple both legs and lose his martial arts? When he fell into Long Feiye’s hands at his lowest point, he was certain that he’d die. Unexpectedly, Long Feiye not only accompanied the princess to beg for medicine, but even brought it back with her and Gu Qishao.

He was the East Qin crown prince, ah!

Gu Beiyue plopped the Returning Dragon Pill into his mouth before washing it down with a mouthful of water. The index and middle fingers of his other hand lightly touched the table and bend down in the semblance of a grand bow towards Long Feiye in place of his legs.

From this moment on, his shadow arts would return; from this moment on, there would be no East and West Qin in his heart; from this moment on, he was looking expectantly towards this man, who would wipe out Northern Li and crush Western Zhou and Tianan, then unite Tianning with the south central regions to lead as their sovereign!

Long Feiye naturally noticed Gu Beiyue’s fingers. When the man finally set down his cup of water, Long Feiye slightly raised the hand resting on his armrest. This was a signal for Gu Beiyue to forgo the formalities. It almost meant that he acknowledged Gu Beiyue as one of his subjects and accepted the man’s expectations! Although Han Yunxi noticed them both, she didn’t pay it much mind. To her, these were just civilities between men. Gu Beiyue would always be a friend in her eyes, and she looked forward to the days after the chaos was quelled in Cloud Realm Continent. Perhaps Gu Beiyue could grow closer to them then. This way, she could spend her leisure time in his courtyard drinking tea and chatting. She could always relax completely when it was with him.

Gu Qishao didn’t notice a thing because he was more concerned with the medicine’s effects. “How is it, how is it?” he asked anxiously.

Gu Beiyue only felt a gradual warmth spreading from his dantian after the pill reached his gut. Slowly, it formed a mass of qi that left him very comfortable. He quickly crossed his legs on the bed and began to circulate his energy. Seeing this, Long Feiye quickly went to help. With the aid of Returning Dragon Pill and Long Feiye’s ample reserves, Gu Beiyue could clearly feel his dantian restoring itself. Before two hours had passed, he could circulate internal energy normally again!

The sword sect master’s pill had restored 20 to 30 percent of his reserves, so his recovery was extremely fast. Although Long Feiye had plenty of other pressing issues, he spent the next two days in Gu Beiyuje’s room to help him treat his wounds. Just like this, Gu Beiyue used a total of three days to recover all of his lost internal reserves.

He had just gotten off the bed that day just as Han Yunxi, Long Feiye, and Gu Qishao approached.

“How’s your recovery?” Gu Qishao grinned. Han Yunxi’s eyes were full of anticipation. Gu Beiyue broke into a rare dazzling smile before his figure flickered out of sight.

“That fast?” Gu Qishao chased him outside.

Han Yunxi and Long Feiye followed suit and saw Gu Beiyue standing in the courtyard, staring at his legs.

“Gu Beiyue, you’ve recovered! Truly recovered!” Han Yunxi exclaimed.

“Tsk tsk tsk, Long Feiye, aren’t you afraid of Gu Beiyue carrying off Poison lass one day? You wouldn’t even be able to catch up,” Gu Qishao teased.

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Ruyi's Thoughts

He would tell him that Little Loony would always be a child in his eyes and never grow up. 

Annnnd this is where I had to stop and dab at my eyes a bit because sand got into them for some reason. Go figure.