Where was His Highness?
Nobody knew where Long Feiye went. Seeing the shadow guards’ lost expressions, Chu Xifeng felt angry enough to kick them.
“Where’s His Highness? Speak!” Chu Xifeng hollered. He had picked today of all days to get some tasks done in the army camp. Who expected this to happen as soon as he got back?
How did the princess find out about Gu Qishao? Why does His Highness just happen to be missing right now?
“His Highness vanished last night, but I’m not sure where,” a shadow guard said timidly.
Another, braver shadow guard complained, “Chief, you know His Highness’s temper. If he doesn’t want anyone to follow him, we can’t find him even if we try.”
Chu Xifeng gave a start before racing for the back mountains, leaving everyone else in the dark. He could slap himself for being so stupid! The princess was still in confinement, so His Highness would never leave Rear Camp unless there were mandatory military matters. Even if he did, at most he’d go to Yunning’s army camp. Having just come from there himself without seeing His Highness, Chu Xifeng knew he must have gone to the other place!
The back mountains!
His Highness must have gone there alone to find Gu Beiyue and Gu Qishao!
Chu Xifeng was in such a rush that he didn’t even bring a torch. In the absolute darkness, he flew above the forest in hopes of finding His Highness as soon as possible. If the princess lost her temper and decided to run off to Medical City, no one would be able to stop her! As he ran up the hill, Han Yunxi returned to the large tent and sat spacing out. Her grief and impatience were all buried in her heart. Even though she’d cried, she didn’t feel any better.
What’s Gu Qishao’s condition now?
Just...is he alive or not!?
According to Ning Jing, Mu Linger had left Medical City about a month ago. Gu Beiyue’s diagnosis then had stated that Qishao could only live two months maximum. So what about now?
If Gu Beiyue found Mu Linger, that means they hadn’t found any of the necessary ingredients or poisonous medicines in the past few months. They were supposed to have pinpointed the prescription while I was still in Medical City and only needed to gather ingredients. They were supposed to move on to experimentation and testing. They shouldn’t need Mu Linger’s prescriptions at all.
Han Yunxi could clearly remember the prescription she read. The poisonous medicine from plague patients she’d worried about over the last four months--Gu Beiyue said they’d found them all! The storehouse in the medical academy had them! The rest were easy enough to find with Gu Qishao’s skills.
Han Yunxi could only sit blankly as she thought back to the details. All of the letters from Medical City passed through her mind, making her feel stifled. The people around her watched carefully, afraid that she’d dash outside again.
But she wouldn’t!
She would wait!
Wait for Long Feiye to see her and give an explanation! She also wanted to know the conclusion: how was Gu Qishao doing now? She couldn’t even be bothered with asking why they’d lied to her in the first place. She just wanted to know if Gu Qishao had any hope of living!
While Han Yunxi was waiting for Long Feiye’s return, Chu Xifeng had finally found the little house by its lantern light in the darkness. He flew to the source and didn’t even notice Gu Qishao sitting on the doorstep’s shadows. While he was still far away, he shouted, “Your Highness! Bad news, the princess knows about Gu Qishao!”
Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue stood up at the same time. Gu Beiyue’s voice was cold. “Who told her?”
Chu Xifeng froze. He never expected to see Gu Beiyue so cold and didn’t know what to say. He only felt like the other man had suddenly turned into a stranger. Long Feiye walked out of the house without a word, aiming to get down the mountain. But he’d just reached the doo when a familiar voice spoke up beside him.
“Long Feiye, I don’t want to see her.”
It was Gu Qishao speaking! Long Feiye looked down at the source of the icy voice that seemed to rise from the depths of Hell itself.
“And also,” Gu Qishao added, “Her confinement period hasn’t ended yet. If you dare let her take half a step out the door, this old man won’t forgive you even if I die!”
Chu Xifeng finally noticed Gu Qishao there. He looked at the man and felt a weight on his chest. This...Gu Qishao doesn’t even look human anymore.
Long Feiye stopped, his voice equally frosty. “Gu Qishao, since when have any of your threats succeeded against this crown prince?”
Gu Qishao slowly raised his head. His beautiful face were filled with fine lines that crisscrossed beneath the pale skin. They were none other than the tendrils of thorny thistle vines waiting to sprout and burst into life on his face. Currently, Gu Qishao looked hideous and even horrific! Still, none of the men present were frightened. Gu Beiyue, Long Feiye, and Chu Xifeng all looked at him, staring and staring until…
Gu Qishao chuckled and spoke. “What are you looking at? This old man knows I’m ugly!” His voice was beautiful, his laugh mesmerizing. But his face…
Long Feiye knew without asking that Gu Qishao couldn’t hold out more than past a few days. The thorny thistles had already taken over his entire body except for his brain. Once those vines sprouts, Gu Qishao’s life...would be over!
Long Feiye turned away in silence. Gu Qishao quickly shouted after him, “Long Feiye, can’t you take it as this old man begging you?”
“I can’t!” Long Feiye said without looking back. “Han Yunxi will choose herself! You don’t have the right to pick for her!”
“These are this old man’s personal matters!” Gu Qishao shouted.
But Long Feiye ignored him. It wasn’t until his figure disappeared into the night with Chu Xifeng that Gu Qishao turned to grin at Gu Beiyue. His slender eyes had curved into a pleasant arc like the crescent moon, charming and radiant like an innocent child.
“Gu Beiyue,” he said, “See this? This old man finally beat Long Feiye once before I died! Heheh! It was worth it!”
Actually, Gu Beiyue hadn’t been telling Long Feiye the whole truth, either. At most, Gu Qishao could live for less than an hour. By the time Long Feiye came back with Han Yunxi, it would already be too late. Even if Chu Xifeng hadn’t come with his report, Gu Beiyue had already planned to make Long Feiye leave with a made-up excuse.
Long Feiye had never been softhearted when it came to Gu Qishao’s demands, but Gu Beiyue would always give in. He wanted to smile back at Little Qi, but his face finally failed him. Creasing his brows, he looked at Gu Qishao with unspoken grief. “Qishao...does it hurt you?”
How much agony did he feel, having thorny thistles eat away at his flesh and blood? How long had Gu Qishao been suffering since they left Clearbreeze Peak?
How can he still smile at a time like this?!
“Qishao, doesn’t it hurt?” Gu Beiyue knitted his brows while shaking his head.
“No pain!” Gu Qishao replied instantly. Abruptly, a vine suddenly sprouted from his neck, breaking through skin and blood vessels. Gu Qishao’s smile stiffened on his face before he squeezed his eyes shut with gritted teeth.
It hurt! He was in a ton of pain! How could it not hurt?
He feared pain most of all!
Very soon, another vine pierced through the back of his ear, causing Gu Qishao to shrink back involuntarily from the shock. But that did nothing. After the first two vines came out, multiple others joined them. A tender sprout even burst out of one cheek.
Gu Beiyue’s eyes were damp. He was waiting for Gu Qishao to open his eyes again, but the man never did. He allowed the vines to thrash about wildly and entangle with each other.
“Little Qi, no!” Gu Beiyue finally broke and dashed over to hold Gu Qishao tight.
“Little Qi, don’t go! Don’t go!”
“Little Qi, I’m begging you, don’t leave!”
“Little Qi, the princess will come to see you. She definitely will, you have to wait for her!”
“Beiyue…” Gu Qishao mumbled hoarsely and Gu Beiyue stopped to hold his breath, afraid to make a peep.
“Beiyue, it’s so…” Gu Qishao was all out of strength. He couldn’t even voice a single sentence. Gu Beiyue stayed silent, scared of missing anything. He listened for a long time before he finally caught the words.
Gu Qishao was crying out in pain!
He was trying to say, “Beiyue, it hurts so much...so much…”
Tears trickled slowly down Gu Beiyue’s face. He hugged Gu Qishao tight, completely at a loss for what to do next. All he could do was hold him and listen to his cries. Very soon, he felt all of the vines in Gu Qishao’s body begin to move. They were like countless tendrils seething to break through the surface. Gu Beiyue didn’t dare to meet Gu Qishao’s eyes, but he knew this was the end. The most agonizing and tortuous moment had come.
“Beiyue, it hurts so much…”
Gu Qishao’s voice was deathly soft, but Gu Beiyue heard every word crystal clear. He couldn’t tell whether this was really Qishao’s voice or his own hallucination. The sound tormented his heart.
At last, Gu Beiyue got up and ran into the house to grab Han Yunxi’s leftover Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Even though it couldn’t melt Poison Gu humans like Bai Yanqing, perhaps it could eat away Gu Qishao? The two men had different constitutions, after all.
Gu Beiyue didn’t want Little Qi to suffer until he died! He couldn’t bear it! He would rather use Perplexing Butterfly Illusion to cut Little Qi’s pain short once and for all!
By the time he came out of the house, he couldn’t even see Gu Qishao anymore. There were only countless thorny thistles growing from the depths of the black robes, thrashing crazily in the air! Gu Beiyue’s heart seized. He had no idea whether Gu Qishao was still alive and conscious. He loathed those vines to his very core and went to pour the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion on the teeming mass…
Meanwhile, Long Feiye had just arrived in the tent to stand in front of Han Yunxi. Everyone else had withdrawn, leaving just the two of them inside. Han Yunxi’s eyes were red and puffy from crying, making Long Feiye’s heart ache. She wasn’t sobbing now, but she didn’t interrogate or blame him either.
“Long Feiye, I want to see Gu Qishao.” These were her only words.
“Alright!” Long Feiye agreed without hesitation. He crouched down on one knee to help her put on cotton boots, then grabbed a fox fur cloak to wrap her up tight.
“Let’s go,” he said, “I’ll carry you there on my back.”
The duo had just reached the entrance when they ran into Mu Linger…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Will GQS survive? Guess we'll find out. And of course, Mu Linger just had to show up now of all times...
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