Long Feiye gave the shadow guards five days to assemble because 1) they needed the time to transfer the troops and 2) this transfer was different from others in the past. No matter what, prudence was key. They couldn’t afford the tiniest leak in intel. Of course, Long Feiye and the rest weren’t idle during those five days either. Now that they knew the hostages were trapped in Clearbreeze Peak, they had to figure out their exact location within the massive mountain.
Both Long Feiye and Gu Qishao had searched the peak themselves in the past, but didn’t find a single clue. It was clear that Bai Yanqing had hidden himself deeply, which meant the mountain must have some unknown, secret locations.
“Big bro, let’s just send men to guard every pharmacy with a maternity department for a 100 li around. As long as Bai Yanqing sends someone to get medicine again, we can capture his messenger!” Tang Li suggested.
If the doctor of each pharmacy only sent them the prescription after writing it out for the client, then the messenger would have long ran away by then. It was best to have their scouts on call. But Gu Qishao was quick to reject this idea.
“No good. If we capture the man and he refuses to confess, it’ll all be over!” Even he had cut back on his careless ways to be cautious and careful. Suppose their prisoner refused to divulge Bai Yanqing’s location? If Bai Yanqing realized his messenger had gone missing, all of their efforts would be wasted.
“Then we’ll follow the person who grabs the medicine instead!” Tang Li said desperately.
“Who will follow him? Suppose they’re discovered along the way? Can you guarantee that plan won’t fail?” Gu Qishao retorted. The person in charge of the prescription was extremely shrewd. It was unlikely he’d visit the same pharmacy every time. The last one had gone to a shop outside Medical City, so who know what next time would bring? The few of them were capable of following the man undetected, but how were they supposed to predict which pharmacy he’d go to next, much less plant an ambush in advance?
As for the shadow guards, only Xu Donglin and Chu Xifeng were skilled enough to pull it off, but the ordinary rank and file would be discovered as soon as they tried to follow the suspicious person. Bai Yanqing wouldn’t send anyone who wasn’t skilled in martial arts and poisons to do the task. For now, their best bet was to sit and wait with their forces.
Seeing Tang Li look defeated, Long Feiye finally spoke up. “Last night I’ve already sent word for Xu Donglin and Chu Xifeng to personally take 10 high level experts to watch all entrances to Clearbreeze Mountain. As soon as someone comes out of one, they’ll send us a report.”
Gu Qishao and Tang Li looked at him in astonishment, while Gu Beiyue sat on one side with a smile teasing at his lips, unsurprised by the turn of events.
“Big bro, how did you think of a plan like that?! That’s impressive! Really formidable!” Tang Li was thrilled.
Here was the idiom, “sitting by a tree to catch a rabbit” come to life! There were too many uncontrollable factors in sending out a contingent of men to watch the various pharmacies. But having Xu Donglin and Chu Xifeng with their ten experts guarding the mountain exits was much more reliable! Even if they couldn’t follow their prey, they could narrow down their location on Clearbreeze Peak.
Tang Li had worshipped his big brother since he was young, to say nothing of now. Meanwhile, Gu Qishao would never acknowledge Long Feiye out loud if he could help it. Pursing his lips, he dawdled for a while before looking away. So there’s different levels of intelligence after all?
Five days came and went; not slow yet not fast. They were busy transferring guards the first couple of days and looking up all records related to Clearbreeze Peak. By the third day, Chu Tianyi had arrived with at least ten skilled archers from the Nether Clan. Although Western Zhou had already withdrewn their troops, the combination of traitors and the chaos of war had left him with only 100 or so archers to form the full strength of the Chu Clan.
Long Feiye had him pick out a dozen or so of them to help out. Besides this, he also transferred some high level experts from Celestial Mountain Sword Sect. Bai Yanqing didn’t want to face them head-on and preferred to drag things out, so it was likely he’d chose to flee once they infiltrated Clearbreeze Peak. The guards scattered on Phoenix Song Peak was their last line of defense. Even if they couldn’t trap Bai Yanqing in place, they could at least buy them some time.
As Chu Tianyi walked over to Long Feiye, he cupped his fists with a bow. “Your Highness.”
Leaving aside the two Chu elders still imprisoned by Long Feiye’s hands, he had long sworn allegiance to the man.
“Sit,” Long Feiye said.
Chu Tianyi sat next to Gu Beiyue and muttered, “Long time no see, Brother Gu.”
“It’s fortunate we can still meet,” Gu Beiyue murmured back.
This simple exchange was enough to reflect the years of partnership, gratitude, and resentment between the Nether and Shadow Clans.
Long Feiye and Chu Tianyi discussed the deployment of shadow guards so the latter would know how to arrange his archers. He hadn’t discovered any signs of the Li Clan’s subterfuge in Western Zhou and thus had no face to ask Long Feiye for permission to see his father and uncle. Instead, he simply withdrew when he was done.
On the fourth day, the shadow guards had more or less all arrived, Tang Li’s new weapons, the “flame crossbow,” also came in time for them to finish their preparations.
On the morning of the fifth day, Chu Xifeng personally reported a bit of good news.
“Your Highness, there’s been a situation in the pine forest on the west side of Clearbreeze Peak. Apparently a black-robed man emerged from there to go down the mountain, but this subordinate didn’t dare follow,” Chu Xifeng said excitedly. It was the safest, most prudent choice to let the man go, because very likely, that black-robed man was out to get medicine. He would return to the mountain eventually.
“Excellent!” Long Feiye stood up, his lips curving into a cold smile.
Following him, Gu Beiyue, Gu Qishao, and Tang Li all rose to their feet. It was time for them to catch the rabbit! The quartet immediately headed for Clearbreeze Peak, leaving Chu Xifeng to wait in the medical academy for news. They didn’t travel together, but separated to the four directions atop the mountain. However, they waited all day with no sign of anyone coming by. Neither did Chu Xifeng receive any news from the pharmacies.
If that black-robed man was out to fill a prescription beyond the city walls, then it was likely he wouldn’t return the same day. Thus, they kept guard, but there was still no sign the next day or night. Still, everyone held firm and kept waiting. But the third day passed with no news as well.
Now Gu Qishao and Tang Li grew restless. Gu Qishao found Gu Beiyue and said, “That person might not be out to fill a prescription! Rather than sitting around, we’d be better off searching the mountain instead!”
Gu Beiyue had never seen Gu Qishao look so serious. Coldly he replied, “Qishao, you can’t be rash! Hurry back to your post and keep watch! If you lose him, shoulder the consequences!”
As Gu Qishao tried to argue, Gu Beiyue simply furrowed his brows and barked, “Go back!”
Without a choice, Gu Qishao could only retrace his steps. Meanwhile, Tang Li had ran to Long Feiye but didn’t get a single word out before the man told him to scram. Afraid to explain himself, he also returned to his post. Once again, the four men and accompanying shadow guards waited through another night.
However, Gu Beiyue spotted a dark shadow in the early morning of the fourth day. It was still dim, so the lighting was bad. Moreover, the man was far away so Gu Beiyue couldn’t see him clearly. But he was certain the figure was heading deeper into the woods!
“Tell His Highness and the rest there’s movement. I’ll chase after him, so everyone keep calm and don’t get excited,” Gu Beiyue instructed in low tones before silently tailing the man. He was the safest choice to follow the suspect, being both fast and imperceptible. Even Bai Yanqing himself would be hard pressed to notice.
When news reached Long Feiye’s ears, his stiff face finally relaxed slightly. The shadow guards by his side also collectively exhaled. Over the past three days, they felt like they were living in a freezer locker just by being next to His Highness! All of them hoped for the day the princess and the baby in her womb could return to melt this giant iceberg.
Long Feiye was always at ease when Gu Beiyue was in charge of a task. As expected, the man came back to report four hours later.
“Let’s talk when we get back,” he said in a low voice.
Long Feiye left without a word. After getting the updates, Tang Li and Gu Qishao also packed up to head for the medical academy.
“There was a tree with a hole in it on the mountain and the man escaped down there,” Gu Beiyue began.
“An underground palace!” Long Feiye blurted.
There were only two mountain ranges in the Poison Sect, Clearbreeze Peak and Monarch Peak. Between them stood the sacrificial altar in a deep ravine filled with dense forest. They had already destroyed the underground palace in Monarch Peak, which they entered from a hole in the tree as well. Now it seemed that Clearbreeze Peak had a palace of its own.
At this moment, a shadow guard arrived with a prescription. “Sir Beiyue, this is from a defensive garrison’s pharmacy 50 li away from the city.”
Gu Beiyue glanced at the contents and picked out the wrong medicine at a glance: cassia seed (决明子). Without their previous certainty, they might have spent more time and efforts delaying the search process, but their accurate guess had led to today’s discovery. Now they were certain that the “明” in 决明子, or cassia seed, was a code for Clearbreeze Peak. Although the rest saw no other meaning in this prescription, Gu Beiyue noted, “Although the three prescriptions all carried different medicines, they were treating the same condition. The princess isn’t in any serious danger and doesn’t need to take the medicine at all. Otherwise, Fourth Young Miss Ren’s skills wouldn’t need her to write out three whole prescriptions.”
That was the best bit of news yet. Long Feiye’s heart finally settled in his chest.
“Big bro, let’s kill our way in now!” Tang Li was extremely excited.
Gu Qishao stood up. “Transfer all your men here and we’ll surround the entire mountain!”
“Yes! Or we could wait a few more days for me to transfer the entire Tang Clan’s forces here!” Tang Li added.
When it came to exciement, Long Feiye’s heart probably held the greatest waves, but he could still remain calm. Ignoring the two men, he said, “If it’s an underground palace, I believe there should be other entrances as well.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter