Chapter 1089: Ning Cheng's secret

What distracted Han Yunxi was none other than Ning Cheng’s hand! If she hadn’t pulled on it today, she would never notice it had a problem. Perturbed, she didn’t want to make any preposterous guesses but stopped to ask, “Gu Beiyue, come have a look. What’s wrong with Ning Cheng’s hand?”

“Hand? What is it?” Gu Beiyue asked curiously.

Ning Cheng’s wounds were mostly concentrated on his body, not his limbs. The new and old scars were mostly whip injuries besides the stab wound Jun Yixie had inflicted on his shoulder. The explosion just then had injured Gu Beiyue, but not Ning Cheng. 

“It seems…” Han Yunxi didn’t know how to say it. “Well, it just looks wrong somehow, you have a look.”

“The palm?” Gu Beiyue changed places to take Ning Cheng’s hand. He was about to examine it when Han Yunxi cut in.

“No, it’s the place between his arm and shoulder, the bones and muscles there.”

Gu Beiyue released Ning Cheng’s hand to examine the location, then cried in alarm, “It’s been heavily injured in the past--at least five years prior. It didn’t heal correctly and greatly damaged the muscles. It must have been a severe tear through the tissue that caused necrosis. Moreover, his upper arm...is a prosthetic limb.”

Now even Long Feiye was looking over. Gu Beiyue had to be the best physician in the world. Although he was stunned by Ning Cheng’s arm, he didn’t express it, but only spoke in low tones so that only Long Feiye on the side could hear. The rest of the group didn’t hear a thing.

After all, these were Ning Cheng’s private affairs.

“His hand is disabled?” Long Feiye was very surprised.

A severe injury to the shoulder that healed incorrectly, plus a fake upper arm, meant that Ning Cheng couldn’t use much strength in this arm at all. Daily tasks wouldn’t be an issue, but martial arts and the battlefield would render this arm useless. Ning Cheng was none other than the leader of an entire clan and its commanding general. He was meant to kill in the field! Leaving aside everything else, he could only kill by holding a sword in one hnd and the reins in another! How could a useless arm like his bear the shock of a horse if it spooked? 

Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had never heard of General Ning Cheng’s arm being crippled, much less his upper arm being a fake. Just how had Ning Cheng hid this from the Tianning army and Di Clan over the past few years? If he wasn’t unconscious today, who would expect this after taking his left hand? 

Now Han Yunxi couldn’t help but think back to all her interactions with Ning Cheng. She couldn’t recall anything out of place, but she’d never paid attention to his hand either! She only witnessed him swordfighting with both hands, but who would expect he only had the strength of one arm?

“Is it curable?” Han Yunxi asked.

Gu Beiyue examiend it carefully before he said with a helpless air, “Princess, it’s too late...even a miracle pill would only yield average results. Even if we did heal him, there wouldn’t be a point.” So speaking, he gestured to Ning Cheng’s upper arm and explained, “This whole section is a prosthetic. If this subordinate guessed right, Ning Cheng must have been severely injured in the past. All the bones in his upper arm would’ve been crushed to pieces to have him replace it like this.”

Han Yunxi understood. They couldn’t give him a replacement upper arm. Even modern marrow transplants were incapable of growing an entire bone. Thus, Ning Cheng was doomed to have no strength in his left hand. Faced with this reality, she and Gu Beiyue fell silent. Since Ning Cheng had hidden this fact--and so exceptionally well---they were better off playing ignorant than exposing his secret.

This was both a matter of privacy and self-dignity.

“I don’t know a thing!” Han Yunxi muttered before taking her needles to look for acupoints.

Naturally, Long Feiye understood too. Gu Beiyue set down Ning Cheng’s hand and had no more curiosity to inspect the other, either. However, he never checked Ning Cheng’s left palm. If he did, he could have found that it was useless too, because a tiny acupuncture needle was hidden beneath the skin, the softest, most unbridled part of Ning Cheng’s hidden heart.

Han Yunxi focused her attentions on the acupoints and carefully inserted needles. Long Feiye stood by as an assistant, following her instructions. In the past, this was Gu Beiyue’s job! Who would have thought it’d fall to Long Feiye’s hands one day?

Noting that Han Yunxi didn’t make any big movements, Gu Beiyue silently crouched by her side to start treating her shoulder wound. She glanced over as soon as he touched her.

“Princess, please don’t worry. This subordinate won’t disrupt you,” he smiled.

What a familiar scene! In the past, Han Yunxi had been whipped by Great General Mu at his estate before sporting the wounds to treat Mu Qingwu. Gu Beiyue had been by her side then and treated her injuries while she tended to her patient. Back then, Han Yunxi was stunned by Gu Beiyue’s skills because he hadn’t disturbed her a bit. Moreover, his treatment didn’t even hurt. 

Years later and much had changed. Gu Beiyue was no longer the imperial physician of the past, but his smile was the same as ever. She grinned back and resumed her treatment. Gu Beiyue’s faint smile and familiar movements didn’t affect Han Yunxi’s movements at all. It had been a long, long time since he’d seen her focused, professional side so up close. Even though he was no longer than imperial physician and she no Qin Wangfei, he still saw her as a marvel, fascinating enough to stir his heart.

Her brows were creased in the same old way. 

However, Gu Beiyue quickled reined in his thoughts of the past and glanced at Long Feiye, who happened to looking over.

“Is it a very deep wound?” Long Feiye murmured.

“It’s not a serious injury, may Your Highness set your cares at rest,” Gu Beiyue replied.

“Will it leave a scar?” Long Feiye asked next.

“It depends on the medicine. I can’t guarantee it with the medicine I have on hand, but once we leave the mountains tomorrow, we’ll need to find alternatives quickly,” Gu Beiyue said honestly.

“Write a prescription later and I’ll have the shadow guards find it,” Long Feiye replied.

Finally, Han Yunxi raised her head and creased her brows at Long Feiye. “Don’t talk! You’re making a racket!”

Long Feiye obediently shut up. 

Helpless amusement rose to Gu Beiyue’s eyes. So it was that easy to disturb her focus. Unfortunately, that’s not a skill I have.

Han Yunxi stuck multiple needles into Ning Cheng’s body and arms and even sliced into his skin to bring out the poison. Then she fed him another pill. This was probably the longest detoxification treatment she’d ever done. 

It wasn’t until afternoon of the next day that she pulled him out of danger so he wouldn’t have to take Jun Yixie’s pills everyday. Still, the next month would see Ning Cheng eating one of her antidotes daily to truly clean out the poisons. Once that task was done, Han Yunxi was thoroughly spent. She was physically paralyzed in Long Feiye’s arms, unwilling to move a muscle and wanting only to sleep.

But she couldn’t.

Ning Jing, Su Xiaoyu, and Bai Yuqiao were still missing! 

Tang Li and Mu Linger saw her exhausted and didn’t dare to urge her on, much less ask Long Feiye. However, Manager Jin spoke up and said, “Han Yunxi, where’s my indenture agreement?”

Han Yunxi glared at him. “I don’t have time, just wait!”

Han Yunxi had no idea where Manager Jin got the gall to demand his indenture agreement now. Didn’t he realize this whole hostage situation started from his kidnapping? She wasn’t even in a rush to get back at him, yet here he was demanding his share.

Manager Jin was about to speak again when Han Yunxi beat him to it. “Linger, where were you guys attacked after escaping Tiger’s Prison? Who had the skills to ambush you all?”

Yesterday Mu Linger hadn’t had time to explain all the details, especially when they were busy dealing wtih Jun Yixie. Now was the best time to ask questions. Han Yunxi only felt a wave of sweat when she recalled how Ning Jing barely had time to rest after giving birth! After so much torment, it’d take work to restore her health again. Not only that, she was worried that the new attacker was less simple than he appeared. She could think of one person, but was afraid to ascertain him. She only wished it wasn’t true!

Mu Linger grew afraid when she recalled the attacker. “Big sis, it was a mysterious man in a mask who attacked us. None of us could see his face! He was really strong. I didn’t even see what he did, but two of the white tigers were reduced to bloody puddles. Even their bones disappeared! If Bai Yuqiao hadn’t stopped him, Jin Zi and I would’ve never escaped with the baby. That man wanted to kill us. I...I don’t know if…”

“It was poison!” Han Yunxi interrupted hastily, not wanting Mu Linger to finish.

“Bai Yanqing!” Long Feiye was convinced. He finally knew why Jun Yixie had planned to die with them instead of searching for his missing hostages instead! It looked like he long figured out the culprit was Bai Yanqing. Since he couldn’t beat the man, much less guess his motives, he had given up completely.

“Mu Linger, what don’t you know? Where’s Ning Jing now? Where?!” Tang Li was getting agitated. At first, Mu Linger had rambled through and said the mysterious man kidnapped Ning Jing and the rest. But now---what was she saying now?

Mu Linger was a scaredy-cat, so Tang Li’s hollering made her blurt out, “Actually...actually I don’t know if Ning Jing and the rest were kidnapped, or--”

“Alright!” Han Yunxi cut in again. “Where were you guys attacked? Take me for a look.”

“It was in the mountains behind Tiger’s Prison,” Mu Linger said hastily.

Gu Qishao and Mu Linger led the way while a stormy-faced Manager Jin followed behind them. Gu Beiyue supported Ning Cheng as the group headed for the rear mountains. As Tiger’s Prison was still burning, its light illuminated their surroundings. Mu Linger hadn’t even pinpointed the spot when Han Yunxi sensed poison nearby. She ran out first with Tang Li close behind, for once faster than his big brother. 

Soon enough, they saw splotches of bloodstains on the ground…

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Ruyi's Thoughts

I feel like the author has a habit of making each of her secondary male leads miserable. First we had GBY getting captured/almost killed left and right, then GQS with his tragic past and hopeless pining for HYX, and now Ning Cheng and his impressive collection of battle scars, both enemy and self-inflicted. Hurhur.