Han Yunxi really did recall an extremely important thing--one that would affect Long Feiye’s future kingdom and state. That was the matter of a son.
Her other hand snuck out of its sleeves to carefully take her pulse. She had been secretly preparing for a pregnancy. By avoiding tea, she would avoid affecting the iron absorption in her blood and aggravating anemia. She had been so busy these past few days that her qi and blood were both a little lacking. Due to preparations for the punitive expedition to the north, she hadn’t even had time to notice her monthly friend was late for its usual visit.
Could it be…
Han Yunxi wore a disturbed, nervous expression as she tested her pulse. Yet the results soon upset her further because there was no pregnancy pulse. Even modern methods and tests had no guarantee of positively detecting pregnancies. The best thing to do was a blood test and ultrasound, so Han Yunxi wasn’t wholly disappointed by her lack of results. She only felt more tense and uneasy. There was no way to predict such things beyond waiting.
Withdrawing her hand, Han Yunxi turned to face Long Feiye, who slackened his hold on her but didn’t let go. She was close enough to almost bump noses with him. Looking at his handsome face, she couldn’t help but imagine what their children would look like. Would it be a girl or a boy? Would they resemble him more, or her?
He’s definitely the type to dote on children, right? Han Yunxi mused. More and more, she wanted to see what Long Feiye would be like as a father. She personally hoped their first child was a girl, because she wondered what it’d feel for Long Feiye to have a little admirer of his own. If the first child was a girl, they would have more happy, carefree days for a bit. A boy would become the eldest son and be expected to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the future alongside his father. How could he be allowed to relax?
Children born in a royal household had inherent differences and were destined to shoulder more than other kids! Han Yunxi wasn’t childish enough to dream of denying this reality from her children. She hoped that her brood would be diligent and assiduous, possessing both wisdom and the courage to undertake their responsibilities. At least she could help them avoid the cruel competition of royal families. Yet it was then that she realized she was thinking too far ahead.
Right now, there was no kingdom and her womb wasn’t doing her any favors! If Long Feiye opened his eyes, he would see Han Yunxi’s peeved expression, which looked extremely foolish. Unable to fall asleep, she began to wonder how to discuss the delay for the campaign with the Di Clan delegation. Since Long Feiye had already told Tang Li his plan, the decision was set. There would be no other changes. The battle against the Di Clan delegation would be a formidable tasks. For the sake of going north in spring, they had already made ample preparations and were simply waiting for Long Feiye and Han Yunxi to return to Three-Way Black Market to settle the details for a few major things. It was approaching the new year now, so if they told them the plan was delayed for at least two more months, what would they think?
At this moment, the military, trade consortium, and Myriad Merchant Hall Council of Elder representatives were currently holding a secret meeting that had started since this morning. They had no idea that Long Feiye intended to delay the campaign and assumed that the Baili Army delegation had been held back by the snowstorm. This wasn’t the first of such covert meetings. In past sessions, they had discussed how to stick to their guns and maintain Di Clan powers during the alliance with East Qin. They had even pinned down which factions would take the initiative on the battlefield while another waited and watched for problems. These were all complicated questions, especially in light of the fact that the Di Clan themselves weren’t a united front. Before Long Feiye met with them, they had to sort out a conclusion by themselves.
Naturally, they had hoped to contact Ning Cheng directly and have him decide, because then there’d be no objections. Nor would they be debating so long. Unfortunately, there was no way for them to reach Ning Cheng directly. All news regarding him came from Ning Jing, and what she knew came from Bai Yuqiao’s spies within Jun Yixie’s camp. Ever since Jun Yixie took Ning Cheng away, Bai Yuqiao was their most direct channel of communications. She was a cautious type and knew that the less people involved in communicating, the better. Unless it was absolutely necessary, she would never deliver any letters to the army, much less allow her helpers to deliver messages from Ning Cheng.
According to Bai Yuqiao’s observations, the Di Clan could simply listen to Han Yunxi since she was around. Ning Cheng only needed to control Jun Yixie’s side! Many members of the Di Clan were guarded around Ning Jing, especially since she had married off to another clan. Moreover, her husband was Tang Li of all people. Just like that, the military, trade consortium, and Myriad Merchant Hall stopped interrogating Ning Jing about the expedition details and used a group discussion to figure out a solution. Because of that, precious few letters came from Myriad Merchant Hall to Tiger’s Prison. Hao San waited for an entire day with no results before doubling back.
Uncle Cheng was unable to break the code on the letter, because Ning Jing had used a special code passed down to the Di Clan’s main bloodline. Besides Ning Cheng, only Ning Nuo would be able to decipher the numbers. When Hao San reported this to Jun Yixie, he was deeply disappointed. Without a way to break through the secrets, there was no point in intercepting further letters. Moreover, keeping this one out of the blue would alert their targets, so after some hesitation, he decided to allow Bai Yuqiao to keep sending her messages.
“Have you talked with that Old Cheng?” Jun Yixie asked coldly.
Bai Yuqiao’s secret delivery proved that Uncle Cheng hadn’t been lying, but he still didn’t understand why the man would sell out Ning Cheng.
“Master, he wouldn’t speak to this servant. He told this servant to pass on a message,” Hao San replied.
“Speak,” Jun Yixie grew curious.
“He begs master to give the Di Clan another chance based on his actions in exposing the plot. Convince Ning Cheng to cooperate with us, and if he’s willing, then we just have to control Bai Yuqiao to deal with Han Yunxi and Long Feiye,” Hao San repeated.
Jun Yixie knitted his brows before bursting into guffaws. “This lord is no fool!”
Ning Cheng had already fallen victim to a hypertoxic poison but still dared to trick him. It was obvious he was willing to throw his life away. How could he still agree to work with him?
“Master, shall I reinforce the guards around Tiger’s Prison?” Hao San asked.
“Of course!” Jun Yixie narrowed his eyes. “This lord wants Han Yunxi and Long Feiye to die at Tiger’s Prison even if I use up three armies!”
Judging by the current state of Northern Li and the soldiers at his command, he was incapable of repelling an attack from the East-West Qin forces even if they invaded, much less guard against them. Thus, his only option was to kill the master of the armies, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi, before their forces ever moved north! Once both lost their lives in Tiger’s Prison, East and West Qin would fall into disorder. The punitive expedition to then north would also fail.
Compared to his old impulsive ways, the current Jun Yixie was much more sober. He could even rein himself back, although circumstances forced him into no other choice. He instructed Hao San, “Issue orders that no one’s to startle the snake in the grass. Also sent people to keep an eye on that Uncle Cheng!”
“Yes!” Hao San obeyed and left.
Jun Yixie sat down and finally muttered a name. “Bai Yuqiao...Bai Yuqiao!”
He didn’t understand. Bai Yuqiao had adored him since she was young, but why would she betray him now? Had she been threatened, or were there other factors at work? But he was in no rush to find out. After capturing Long Feiye and Han Yunxi, he was perfectly willing to slowly interrogate that base wretch!
A few days after Jun Yixie discovered Bai Yuqiao’s identity as a mole, Bai Yanqing found out as well. He hadn’t gone anywhere beyond settling down at an ordinary house in the center of Skyriver City. The news came by letter and surprised him vastly. “It was that lass!”
“Master, could this intel be mistaken? Miss Yuqiao has always liked Jun Yixie. The entire Hundred Poisons Sect knows that fact,” the retainer was incredulous.
“Queer, queer!” Bai Yanqing couldn’t figure it out despite his understanding of his disciple. “Go and look into the cause, there’s something fishy about all this.”
He was currently kneeling on a tatami mat, taste-testing some plum wine being warmed over a fire. When his retainer made to leave, he called out, “How about making another bet?”
The retainer grew fearful. “This servant doesn’t dare, doesn’t dare.”
“If this old man says you dare, then you do! Let’s take a guess: will Jun Yixie be able to capture Han Yunxi and Long Feiye?” Bai Yanqing asked.
Tiger’s Prison was filled with tigers and all sorts of traps. If Jun Yixie wanted to catch a turtle in a jar, he would plant other ambushes to have a chance at victory. The retainer expressed his thoughts, provoking Bai Yanqing into laughter. “Then this old man bets that Jun Yixie fails!”
The retainer didn’t get it, but he didn’t dare ask. After leaving behind some flattering words, he left the room. He had followed Bai Yanqing for many years but still didn’t understand what his master was planning. Bai Yanqing didn’t want to conquer the world, but he didn’t want to confront Long Feiye and Han Yunxi directly, either. He had an undying body and should have no problems dealing with the couple, but seemed to have no desire for revenge.
Snowy winds whipped across the increasingly chilly skies. In a flash, it was already the 29th day of the twelfth lunar month. Tomorrow would be Lunar New Year’s Eve. Long Feiye was scheduled to meet with the Di Clan that morning at East Origin Hall’s Eastern Promotion Hall. He was present with Han Yunxi, with only Gu Beiyue and Tang Li in attendance. The Di Clan, on the other hand, had sent quite a sizable party with Ning Nuo at the head. All five of the Myriad Merchant Hall elders had come, while the military sent Deputy General Xue and two others. Cloud Realm Trade Consortium had Elder Chen and two others, making for a grand total of 12 people.
The battle array of the Di Clan made it clear that they were like a dragon missing its head. Neither had the factions reach a united consensus before today’s meeting. Long Feiye disliked big crowds and knitted his brows as soon as Xu Donglin brought all 12 members inside. Although he didn’t want to see Ning Cheng, he dearly wished the man was here now.
Gu Qishao had no interest in today’s proceedings but rushed back as soon as he heard about all the people showing up. It was a rare chance to see Long Feiye arguing with such a big crowd. How could he miss the fun?
That’s right, today’s meeting would end up in an argument as soon as Long Feiye declared his intentions to delay the northern expedition!
1. Side note: you ever notice how depending on plot, a loooot of Chinese novels make it nearly impossible to get pregnant despite all the multiple rounds a husband and wife do every night? Just putting that out there…
That's all well and good for Gu Qishao but as experience has taught us, every time he expects something from Long Feiye, the exact opposite happens instead.
Stay tuned for the faceoff!