The location that Tang Li found was none other than his home, the Tang Clan! Han Yunxi’s group was taken aback by the discovery. Who would expect the thing they’d been searching for all this time was on their own turf? Tang Li was especially thrilled by the news. As long as it was something from his home, it belonged to his big brother and sister-in-law too!
This coincidence was a pleasant surprise, especially as Han Yunxi had been fretting over whether the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace would be stuck in the hands of another eccentric like Pill Furnace Master. That would be much harder to claim. But since it was in the Tang Clan, they’d find it eventually, even if they had to dig around. No one would dare to stop them, either.
The poison codex didn’t mention the exact existence of the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace, but the description of its phosphorescent fire was a dead giveaway. The notes said that within the Lotus Flower mountain range was a spring called the Fire Spring. There was no fire there, but the water was a scorching red. When the wind blew on its surface, it looked like flames from a distance, thus giving it its name.
Fire Spring’s water was raging hot and no plants grew near its borders. Any animal that approached its shores died instantly, their bodies turning black. A poison expert had once checked the spring and confirmed its water was toxic, but couldn’t determine the specific poison. Celestial fire was hot, but had no form; the same logic had to apply to earthly fire as well. Most likely, those dying animals with black corpses had been poisoned.
This record was a few centuries old, so it was already impressive that the unknown poison expert had realized the spring was toxic.
“Tang Li, have you ever seen Fire Spring?” Han Yunxi asked anxiously.
Tang Li shook his head. “The poison grounds of the Tang Clan has always been under Aunt Ru’s jurisdiction. It’s a forbidden area so I’ve only been there once.”
Han Yunxi wanted to ask Long Feiye next, but realized it’d be a waste of time. If he and Tang Li knew about this spring, they would have connected it to the Earthly Fire Kun Furnace ages ago. Moreover, it was normal for Aunt Ru and the rest to never mention it since they didn’t know of the furnace, either.
Han Yunxi didn’t care how much Aunt Ru knew of the Fire Spring, but right now she had to hurry over there and find the Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons. The best guarantee was to get the item in hand!
“Sister-in-law, so the earthly fire was ours all along! I’ll come with you guys! As long as it belongs to the Tang Clan, it won’t run off anywhere!” Tang Li was very excited. This was the first time since becoming clan head that he’d shown such initiative!
“Alright! Pack your things and we’ll set out tonight!” Han Yunxi agreed instantly. Tang Li really did need to get away from Three-Way Black Market before his low spirits wrecked him.
“Your Highness, princess, there’s been many snowstorms recently. I’m afraid it’ll take around a month to get there,” Gu Beiyue said seriously. “By the time you find Fire of Ten-Thousand Poisons, it’ll be time to head for Celestial Mountain.”
The Tang Clan was located in the south, far away from Three-Way Black Market. Celestial Mountain was in the northwest, also quite some distance away. Counting in travel time, these two to three months weren’t generous at all. Moreover, they had to return to Three-Way Black Market half a month early.
Time would fly once they left!
Before Han Yunxi could reply, Tang Li declared, “Then we’ll get to save them really soon!”
Seeing him so happy, everyone grew gratified. Giving him their well wishes on New Year’s Eve had been worth it.
“Xu Donglin, send a message to Tang Zijin first and ask him the details of the Fire Spring,” Long Feiye muttered.
Judging from the records of the poison codex, the Fire Spring had existed in Lotus Flower mountain range before the Tang Clan claimed the land. The Tang Clan had its speciality in assassination weapons and poisons from the start, the latter hailing from teachings of the Poison Sect. Then as their poison skills declined, the Tang Clan focused on weapons instead. Thus, its poison grounds only took up two mountains and were forbidden from entry. Later on, Tang Zijin started up a new casting shop and claimed one of the poison mountains, leaving the other left. The Fire Spring recorded in the poison codex was located in this other mountain.
The Tang Clan’s poison grounds were only that in name. Over the past few years, Aunt Ru had exercised control over them and was in charge of seeking out the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion’s secrets. Long Feiye wasn’t familiar with poisons, so he had handed all the work to her. Like Tang Li, he’d rarely stepped into the grounds himself, much less know the Fire Spring’s location.
They left as soon as they decided. Before departure, Han Yunxi send someone to inform Ning Nuo and remind him to tell Ning JIng and Ning Cheng of the delay in plans. That night, their group secretly headed out of East Origin Hall and towards the Tang Clan.
Tang Li and Gu Qishao led the way while Xu Donglin and a few shadow guards were in charge of clearing the roads of snow. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye sat in the first carriage while Baili Mingxiang followed behind. Gu Beiyue didn’t come along because someone had to stay in Three-Way Black Market to observe the Di Clan and Northern Li to give them timely updates. If anything amiss came up, he had to possess the ability and initiative to deal with it independently. Naturally, Gu Beiyue was top choice for the job.
As Gu Beiyue predicted, it was already the end of the first lunar month when Han Yunxi’s group reached the doors of the Tang Clan. While the north was still wreathed in snow, especially Northern Li and its blizzards, the south was already carrying hints of spring. The spring water in the mountains were cold and clear and filled with tadpoles; the ground was covered in tender grass shoots and endlessly colorful flowers. Han Yunxi kept track of her pulse the entire trip, but when her monthly friend came to visit all of a sudden, she was left disappointed and cold.
She had really been too exhausted these days to keep her qi and blood in optimal health. Her pulse wasn’t as good as her old days in the army camp, either. When she thought of the pile of tasks awaiting her, Han Yunxi could only give up. If Long Feiye knew the state of her health now, he’d probably summon Zhao mama to her side and slow down their progress.
Han Yunxi told herself that everything would get better after they worked through the next few months. Everyone would get better, too.
After scaling up Reclining Dragon Range, home of the Tang Clan, Han Yunxi exhaled deeply and told herself to forget her troubles. Their group had just reached the top when they saw Tang Zijin, Lady Tang, and Aunt Ru waiting by the front gates. As soon as she saw her precious son, Lady Tang flew over and took Tang Li into her arms. All of them knew about the delay for the northern expedition. Lady Tang didn’t bring up such sad news, but just held her son tight while feeling proud of him. Even Tang Zijin, who had always thought Tang Li wouldn’t grow up, was looking at him with increased respect. Of course, he wasn’t as expressive as his wife. He and Aunt Ru came to pay their respects to Long Feiye.
“Your Highness, it’s been a hard road.”
Tang Zijin had already been warned by Long Feiye in the army camp of their difference in status. He could not act as a mere senior member of his family anymore. Long Feiye didn’t respond, so Tang Zijin got the hint and added, “Princess, it’s been a hard road.”
Only then did Long Feiye gesture for him to rise. Seeing Tang Zijin look her way, Han Yunxi smiled slightly and didn’t cause him any difficulty. Xu Donglin had long told her about all the things Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru had done behind their backs. If she really held grudges, the man wouldn’t even have a chance to pay his respects anymore. Bringing someone to submission was another form of revenge.
After the misunderstanding between East and West Qin was cleared up, Tang Zijin had no more objections to her status. She herself felt there had been nothing originally offensive about her identity beyond the West Qin princess title. Indeed, Tang Zijin was now truly convinced. No matter whether East and West Qin would revive separately or combine as one in the future, a woman like Han Yunxi was of very noble birth. She would either end up as West Qin’s female emperor or the empress of the Great Qin Empire. To strengthen the status of their Tang Clan, they had to avoid offending her and stay on good terms.
Aunt Ru’s eyes flashed with disdain, but she also bowed towards Han Yunxi. “Princess, it’s been a hard road.”
Despite clearing up the misunderstandings between the two nations, her resentment against Han Yunxi only grew. If not for that damned girl, I wouldn’t be confined to the peak of Reclining Dragon Peak right now!
Aunt Ru was no Tang Zijin. She was a prisoner of the Tang Clan now and didn’t need bother worrying for its future. She only felt that her lot in life was unfair! Now that her long-awaited chance had come, she was going to give Han Yunxi a piece of her mind! Otherwise, it’d be impossible to quell the hatred in her heart.
Before Long Feiye could speak, Han Yunxi beat him to it. In a cold tone, she told Aunt Ru, “No need for formalities. Please rise.”
Han Yunxi gave Long Feiye and Tang Li face for the sake of the big picture, but that didn’t meant she was easy to bully or forgot her grudges! She could be friendly with Tang Zijin, but her heart only went “Forget it!” when it came to the likes of Aunt Ru! The fact that she collaborated with Duanmu Yao in the past meant the woman was not only stupid, but had no bottom line. If she wasn’t confined to Reclining Dragon Peak, she might cause disaster for the Tang Clan one day!
Aunt Ru looked up at Han Yunxi, who pretended not to notice. Long Feiye would never have let her rise, so if Aunt Ru hadn’t accepted Han Yunxi’s pardon, she would be bowing indefinitely. Loathing flashed through her eyes before she managed a smile. “Many thanks to the princess.”
“Your Highness, the poison grounds have always been looked after by Aunt Ru. This subordinate isn’t familiar with them, so I took Aunt Ru from Reclining Dragon Peak without authorization. May you mete punishment,” Tang Zijin said.
“No need to be so reserved here,” Long Feiye intoned before glancing at Lady Tang. “Aunt, have you been well?”
With those words, Tang Zijin relaxed. Under these circumstances, he had to go with Long Feiye’s whims. Otherwise, the power of the Baili Army could very well eclipse the Tang Clan’s in the future.
“Very well. It’s you two who’ve been running about all day. Don’t you know to look after your bodies?” Lady Tang pulled Han Yunxi over for a good look, but she quickly moved to divert her attention.
Taking out a small brocade box, she handed over. “Lady Tang, this is…”
“What now? Even Feiye calls me aunt, but you won’t? Looks like I’ll have to give you a formal bow instead!” Lady Tang said unhappily.
Han Yunxi broke into a helpless smile. She glanced at Long Feiye, then changed her tone…
1. One thing I have noticed is the lack of Zhao mama’s nourishing soups. Remember when LFY used to stuff them on HYX at the slightest hint of her feeling unwell? I guess both of them have been waaaay too busy to notice as much? I wonder.
3. Quick reminder that Reclining Dragon Peak is just one of the mountains making up Reclining Dragon Range. Author seems to have a trend of sharing names between ranges and peaks in this novel (Celestial Mountain vs. Celestial Mountain Range is another good example.
When I'm done with all these chapters I'm gonna play some Pokemon and maybe Rakuen (got it on sale from Steam), yaaaay~
Meanwhile I'm baking a California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken pizza in the oven..the day is partly cloudy in the high 30s/low 40s with a chilly breeze...I'm alone in my bedroom typing on my husband's study table...it's a good, peaceful day for translation work.
Let's make it to 1050 at least!! I wanna catch up so much! Ahhhhh~