Hurt? Of course it hurt! Gu Qishao feared pain the most! But Poison lass was asking him with teary eyes if it hurt a lot. To live to hear her say such words was worth it.
“The pain is killing me!” Gu Qishao admitted, but still chuckled and added, “So much that I have almost no strength left. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have let Bai Yanqing run away!”
Truly, the agony had been too much. Although he’d been enduring all this time, he couldn’t hold out in the end. It was a shameful truth that made him gnash his teeth. He was reluctant to admit his failings.
“What in the world happened?” Long Feiye asked. Before Gu Qishao could answer, the man added, “Are you really alright?”
Gu Qishao’s heart gave a faint lurch, but he quickly ignored it. Pursing his lips, he explained, “When Bai Yanqing and I fell in, we landed in the middle of these pillars. The knives sliced us all over until two of his subordinates activated the switch and ran in though the doors, asking for Bai Yanqing’s help to treat their poison. They were probably affected by the poison gas that filtered down.”
Everyone now realized Bai Yanqing was the type to sacrifice even his own men just to kill them. On one side, Tang Li couldn’t help asking, “Qishao, did you see Ning Jing?”
“Nope!” Gu Qishao shrugged his shoulders. Seeing Tang Li say nothing more, he went on with his narrative. In the secret room, he and Bai Yanqing had been overcome by pain and the sheer quantity of blades. Even slicing through his vines would hurt, but those knives were cutting his flesh as well. In the end, he was planning to release Bai Yanqing and run out the room first before trapping him afterwads. Thus, he broke off the vines from his arms and stopped feeding them blood. The blades quickly cut them into pieces as it tore through their clothes, leaving him and Bai Yanqing covered in wounds.
As soon as Bai Yanqing was free, he activated a switch that dropped Gu Qishao into the underground room. Gu Qishao had no idea where Bai Yanqing ran off to, but he might have been stuck underground forever if the group didn’t find him.
At his explanation, everyone exhaled in relief. So that’s what happened! No wonder they saw all the vine pieces and copper coin mixed in with the flesh on the walls. Meanwhile, the other clumps of flesh must have been the remains of Bai Yanqing’s subordinates. It was likely he threw them to the blades when they were blocking his way and asking for antidotes.
“I’m really sorry, heheh, this old man couldn’t hold out. If I knew you guys were coming, I would have endured a little longer,” Gu Qishao apologized, though he didn’t sound sorry at all. Actually, he was internally slapping himself. His current airs were simply hiding his own feelings of uselessness, but Long Feiye unexpectedly spoke up.
“Nobody could stand the pain of ten thousand knives. It’s not your fault.”
Gu Qishao gave him a doubtful look. If I really die one day, maybe this fellow would feel a little bit bad?
Han Yunxi gave Gu Qishao his copper coin and declared, “Keep it safe! As long as it’s around, you should be too!”
Gu Qishao hadn’t even realized he lost his coin. Because he’d been trapped underground, he couldn’t hear the voices above him clearly, but now he saw the bloodstains on Han Yunxi’s palms as well as the red string attached to the copper string. He looked at Han Yunxi’s red, teary eyes, then at Long Feiye and the rest, before his lips quirked up into a smile.
How come I suddenly feel so happy?
But while Gu Qishao was enjoying his happiness, Han Yunxi and the rest had gone through a scare! Her heart ached as she turned serious. “Gu Qishao, just what’s the deal with your body?”
Can you take on the world just because you can’t die? Can you fight with anyone you want? Until you figure out what’s up with your body and its weaknesses, you might not even know how you die one day!
Gu Qishao suddenly realized that Poison lass had already found out his secret. He avoided her gaze and coughed lightly, hoping to play it off. “I’m just a monster fetus who can’t die, don’t worry.”
Before Han Yunxi could reply, Gu Beiyue took the chance to coax, “Qishao, even Poison Gu humans have weaknesses, to say nothing of yourself.”
As the princess already knew the truth, he would seize this chance to convince Gu Qishao to face reality. He knew that Gu Qishao might not listen to anyone, but he never refused the princess’s requests. Even Long Feiye chimed in, but...his tone was cold as he said, “Gu Qishao, you have to treat your ills.”
Tang Li was about to join in when his big brother’s words shut him up. He believed that anything after that would only sound extraneous! Gu Qishao looked over coldly and was about to break into an argument with Long Feiye when Han Yunxi added, “What about your vines? Why does hurting them hurt you too?”
She had been puzzled by his explanation. When Gu Qishao was at Qingzhou Water City, he had been burned by fire, but remained unharmed because of the vines he wrapped around himself. She always assumed the vines had protected him, making them some sort of special anti-inflammatory plant. But it looked like she’d been lied to all this time!
Gu Qishao didn’t survive because the vines were protecting him, but because the vines absorbed enough of his undying blood to resist the flames and shield his body. It seemed they were one system with his body, so burning the vines would have hurt him too! Just how did their seeds come from Gu Qishao’s arms, and why could they use his blood as nutrients to grow? Why were their senses linked to his own? And why did injuring them cause Gu Qishao pain?
It was almost as if the vines were a part of Gu Qishao’s own body. If something else replaced these vines, would it have the same effect? And what did this have to do with Gu Qishao’s unique constitution and blood cells? Han Yunxi felt a sense of familiarity when her thoughts hit this point, as if she’d met this situation elsewhere in the past. But for now, she couldn’t recall anything.
Once upon a time, Han Yunxi had heard an old professor at the medical academy state that “Plants are the true powerhouses of Mother Nature. They can live for thousands to ten thousands of years.”
Gu Qishao cut her thoughts short by saying helplessly, “Alright, alright. Once we’re out of here, I’ll lie on Gu Beiyue’s examination table and have him study me as he pleases. Is that good enough? Let’s hurry up and find the others!”
He glanced at Tang Li and added, “Getting anxious, right?”
Tang Li nodded furiously.
Han Yunxi was anxious. She only wanted to force Gu Qishao into a promise, and told Gu Beiyue, “If he dares to run away then, catch him and bring him back no matter what.”
“Orders accepted!” Gu Beiyue vowed.
“Looks like Bai Yanqing must have escaped ahead of us, so let’s go back,” Long Feiye said.
With the enemy gone and the situation uncrtain, it was unwise to remain in such a narrow space. Even though they knew Ning Jing had been taken away via this tunnel, they couldn’t chase after her the same way. If there were any ambushes lying in wait, they’d be in danger. Quickly, they left the room of blades and began to discuss rescue strategies. Soon enough, they went aboveground and standing in front of the stone room again.
Seeing Han Yunxi’s upheaval of emotions and exhaustion, Long Feiye couldn’t help but worry. He was going to ask Gu Beiyue when the latter took out a pill and said, “Your Highness, have the princess take this first. It’ll calm her womb in case anything happens.”
Gu Beiyue was a detailed thinker and had prepared multiple pills before their trip here so it’d be simple for patients to ingest them. Long Feiye gave Han Yunxi the pill and said, “Be careful, take care of yourself.”
“Sister-in-law, Beiyue and I came in from the cliff and saw a dead old man with a bleeding scalp. Did you poison him to death?” Tang Li asked.
Although Gu Beiyue always referred to him respectfully as “Tang Clan Head,” Tang Li had long moved on to call Gu Beiyue by name.
“Hao San? Bleeding scalp?” Han Yunxi grew alarmed. “Bai Yanqing should have killed him himself, right? My poison is fatal, but it wouldn’t cause bleeding.”
“This Bai Yanqing can even kill his own subordinates. Does he show anyone kindness in this world?” Even Gu Beiyue was incensed.
“I was shut that stone room you passed. Right now I’ve hidden Fourth Young Miss Ren away, so let’s hurry up and track down Ning Jing and little Yu’er before picking her up. We have to send the three of them out of here first!” Han Yunxi declared. “Little Yu’er and Ning Jing used to be locked in my room. If Bai Yanqing wanted to lock them up elsewhere, they wouldn’t be far from my cell. But those two screams just then…”
The cries had come from opposite directions, making it clear that Su Xiaoyu and Ning Jing had been taken away from their original cells. Tang Li glanced at the hole where Gu Qishao had fallen in, then into the stone room. Soon enough, he pointed at the right and said, “The direction of the secret passage is parallel with this pathway. If we can’t walk underground, let’s try this one first?”
Although no one else noticed, Han Yunxi could clearly see that Tang Li was growing more and more serious. She truly hoped they could find Ning Jing soon and that the woman would be all right. She was certain that no matter how solemn Tang Li got, he would still return to his old self, teasing and grinning at Ning Jing again.
Without any better solutions, the group could only take Tang Li’s advice. Long Feiye’s eyes flickered with a complicated expression as he awaited news from the cave entrances. Bai Yanqing would definitely fear them now that he knew Gu Qishao couldn’t die. Perhaps he’d even try to flee. As long as he tried, all the men outside could keep him tied down for at least a few hours.
Xu Donglin had ways to get news to him right away and even prepared explosives. Once Bai Yanqing slipped out of the caves, Xu Donglin would blow up the entrance to get their attention. They would definitely hear such a commotion inside. Bai Yanqing’s escape would also facilitate the rescue of the hostages.
As Long Feiye thought over his plans, he suddenly recalled the screams from before. They had been too preoccupied with rescuing the hostages to ponder deeply, but now he realized something was wrong.
Halting his footsteps, he said, “Tang Li, give a shout, the louder the better!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter