Gu Beiyue kept inserting needles into Gu Qishao. Neither Han Yunxi nor Mu Linger knew what he was doing, but their eyes never left Gu Beiyue’s hands. Mu Linger’s heart had all but shattered at her feet.
One hour later, Gu Beiyue finally spoke. “Princess, Miss Linger, you two should both leave. It’s not convenient for you to be here. Don’t worry, Gu Qishao isn’t in serious danger.” As he spoke, he never took his gaze away from Gu Qishao’s body or stop any of his movements. His eyes were clearly bloodshot, but he remained calm and focused.
Han Yunxi and Mu Linger’s hearts finally settled back into their chests! The two exchanged looked with watery smiles. As medical professionals, they knew that Gu Beiyue’s words meant good tidings and left the room. Han Yunxi personally shut the door behind her.
After breathing in the cool, fresh air, her muddled brain felt a little clearer. Sunlight was already illuminating the entire mountain, warm and bright. All of the flowers were blooming in the field, making it a carpet of blossoms. Long Feiye and Chu Xifeng were standing beneath the thorny thistle tree, studying its branches. When Long Feiye saw the women approach, he walked over, took off his cloak, and placed it over Han Yunxi’s shoulders.
She tried to refuse him. “I’m not cold, really.”
She was already wearing a thick cloak underneath. Moreover, Fourth Young Miss Ren had taken personal care of her during her confinement period and she’d had at least 10 days of rest with nightly interruptions, so her energy and body had recovered quite well. Typically, pregnant women had 42 days of recovery after giving birth, although the number varied by person. Some recovered faster than others, and Han Yunxi knew her own body very well.
“Chu Xifeng, it’s cold on the mountaintop. Send the princess away,” Long Feiye instructed.
Han Yunxi immediately told Long Feiye her own diagnosis, leaving him helpless. He only told her to sit down.
“Gu Beiyue says Qishao isn’t in serious danger,” Han Yunxi hastened to say.
Long Feiye had long guessed as much, or else he never would have left the room. Mu Linger stood staring at the tightly shut door. Han Yunxi pulled her aside to tell her everything, but that only made things worse. When Mu Linger found out about Gu Qishao’s undying body and how he’d been living with thorns in it for months, almost turning into a tre himself, she burst into fresh wails.
“Big sis, Qi gege’s afraid of pain! He’s really scared of geting hurt! Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you?!”
Han Yunxi let her cry wordlessly. Hadn’t she only found out the truth herself today? The sight of Mu Linger’s sobbing expressions made her miserable.
Qishao fears pain. Just what has he been suffering for the past few months?
Han Yunxi leaned against the wall and thought back to all the times Gu Qishao told her he “couldn’t die.” Her eyes prickled at the memories. What was Gu Qishao feeling when he told me those words?
What did he think when he said, “Poison lass, I won’t forsake you unless I die?”
Only now did Han Yunxi realize the heavy implications of his words! The deepest impression he ever left on her were those lines and that ever radiant smile.
While Mu Linger was sobbing uncontrollably, Han Yunxi’s eyes remained dry. She was still hoping fo the moment Gu Qishao walked out of those doors to grace them with a grin. He would complain about why she wasn’t crying and laughed at Linger for being a crybaby.
Han Yunxi might not be crying, but she was thinking back to Little Qi’s promises and everything she experienced today. She thought of him suffering all alone and soon enough, tears had flooded her face again.
They waited all day until night fell. Long Feiye had already sent for shadow guards to set up a tent. Zhao mama was on call to serve them as well, cooking up a big pot of hot food. Unfortunately, nobody had any appetite while Gu Qishao remained unconscious. If it wasn’t for Gu Beiyue’s reassurance, everyone would be panicking by now.
Han Yunxi had instructed Chu Xifeng to deliver Gu Beiyue lunch earlier that noon. It wouldn’t do for him to starve when he needed to focus. After a barely-eaten dinner, Chu Xifeng was preparing to deliver food again when Gu Beiyue himself emerged.
Mu Linger ran to him first and nearly knocked him down.
“How is it how is it? How’s Qi gege doing? Is he awake? Is he okay?”
Gu Beiyue’s face was tinged with weariness and obvious exhaustion, but he still gave Mu Linger a warm smile. “Miss Linger, don’t worry. There are no serious problems.”
He instructed Chu Xifeng to stand guard inside the house and told Mu Linger to go to the tent. There were still things to discuss. Mu Linger wanted to see Qi gege, but she also wanted to know about his current condition. The indecision left her wavering.
“You can’t go in, his body’s covered in needles,” Gu Beiyue said, before telling Chu Xifeng, “Warm up the remaining two stoves as well. Don’t let Qishao catch a chill, he’s very weak right now.”
Mu Linger’s face flushed immediately. She realized now that Qi gege was probably still completely naked. She whirled around but couldn’t help asking, “Then when can I go in?”
“Probably tomorrow,” Gu Beiyue intoned.
No one would know how someone as calm and cool as Gu Beiyue last night had hugged Qishao and cried so bitterly. But using the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion was the most logical of his illogical actions! Back at the tent, Gu Beiyue skipped dinner to explain the events to the group. It wasn’t until Han Yunxi personally pushed a bowl of hot soup in front of him that Gu Beiyue deigned to drink it all up.
Now that he was here, everyone else could eat their dinner without worrying too. They chatted as they ate. Gu Beiyue summarized Gu Qishao’s state from last night in one succinct sentence, not wishing to torment them with his suffering. He himself didn’t want to recall the details again.
He went on to describe Little Qi’s reaction after he poured Perplexing Butterfly Illusion over his body. All of the vines rotted up and died without a speck, leaving only scarlet droplets behind that deeply resembled blood. But they weren’t blood at all. In despair, Gu Beiyue could only look on as the plants continue to vanish. To his surprise, Gu Qishao’s flesh and blood were also recovering at the same time. The shriveled up vines seemed to drop off by the roots from Gu Qishao’s body. By the time he saw Gu Qishao in full, there was nothing but a puddle of red, blood-like substance on the ground.
He immediately took Gu Qishao’s pulse and found that it was practically normal, only very very weak. His heartbeat was close to stopping all together. With no time to take care of the red puddle, he brought Gu Qishao into the room and immediately used needles to preserve his pulse in an emergency rescue effort. Afterwards, he examined the man thrice before determining Gu Qishao had stabilized and was out of danger.
Mu Linger only listened blankly, occasionally sniffling. Han Yunxi quickly asked, “So that red puddle sent roots down into the ground and grew into a thorny thistle tree?”
Gu Beiyue had noticed the tree as well and nodded in confirmation. “Princess, that red liquid must be the plant extract essence inside of Gu Qishao’s body.”
“Why did Perplexing Butterfly Illusion cure the poison?” Long Feiye asked next.
Han Yunxi had given the poison to Gu Beiyue after they left Medical City. Despite having the antidote in their hands all this time, they had busied themselves for months in ignorance. It made them feel helpless just thinking about it.
“This is something this subordinate can’t figure out either. When it comes to pharmaceutical knowledge, it’s better to wait until Qishao wakes up. He can study the question with Linger. Medicine and poisons have a way of countering and assisting each other. Since Perplexing Butterfly Illusion was originally created with a mix of plants, it doesn’t seem so miraculous that it could cure Qishao’s undying body as well,” Gu Beiyue mused. “But this subordinate believes that using it wouldn’t have yielded the same effects before Qishao’s body was overtaken by vines.”
Han Yunxi was thinking the same thing. If they used Perplexing Butterfly Illusion on Qishao before the vines ran rampant, it might have eaten through his flesh and bones instead. Nobody could predict its effects completely. Moreover, Gu Qishao’s body had already tried all sorts of medicines before getting doused in the liquid last night. Perhaps the remnants of his drugs had been stored in his body, affecting the vines that grew out of it as well?
Suppose they followed the original prescription, found the poisonous medicine from plague patients, and recreated the entire thing. Would the toxicity of their creation vary much from Perplexing Butterfly Illusion?
This really was a question for Gu Qishao and Mu Linger. Even the two of them combined weren’t guaranteed to uncover the mystery. It also wasn’t easy to obtain poisonous medicine made from plague patients. In any case, Gu Qishao had recovered now, so Han Yunxi would rather they never make that antidote than see Cloud Realm Continent plunged into another plague infestation.
Mu Linger wept as she cried, “Big sis, thank goodness you still kept some Perplexing Butterfly Illusion! Otherwise...sobsob…”
Of course Han Yunxi was relieved as well!
“Qishao’s body is still very weak. We don’t have enough medicine here, so I have to bring him back to Medical City. I’m afraid he’ll be stuck soaking in medicinal decoctions for a while,” Gu Beiyue said.
“I’ll go with you!” Mu Linger said urgently.
Gu Beiyue helplessly nodded his head. “I’ll need Miss Linger to write up some prescriptions.”
Tears were still dangling at the edges of Mu Linger’s eyes, but she only nodded furiously. She was both miserable and overjoyed, still caught up in all her emotions. With Gu Qishao’s matters set, Gu Beiyue estimated it’d take him at least a month before regaining consciousness again. That night, everyone thought back to all of his brilliant, unrestrained smiles.
After dinner, Gu Beiyue rose to his feet and cupped his fist respectfully towards Long Feiy and Han Yunxi. “Congratulations to Your Highness and princess on the birth of the royal son.”
Mu Linger finally remembered she was here to visit her nephew. “Big sis, how about I go see little Rui’er tomorrow?” she asked.
“Let’s all go down the mountain tomorrow,” Han Yunxi agreed. Although she missed being away from her son for a day, she still wanted to spend time with Gu Beiyue and Mu Linger. Long Feiye didn’t have any objections either.
The group camped out for a night. Next morning, Han Yunxi and Mu Linger both went to pay Gu Qishao a visit. His face was as devastatingly beautiful as always, his slender eyes shut and draped with long lashes. Gu Beiyue had changed him into a white brocade robe, making his quiet form resemble a noble young gentleman or the big brother from next door.Previous Chapter Next Chapter