Chapter 1263: [YeXi] Bashful

A famous saying went, “the sovereign hated that the spring nights were short and slept only until the sun was high in the sky; from then on, he never went to morning court again.” But in this case, it was the empress who stopped waking up early. 

When Han Yunxi woke the next day, it was already noon. Long Feiye had just returned from court, finished managing business in the imperial study, and was now sitting alone to drink tea while he waited for Han Yunxi to wake. It was rare for him to have leisure time so he wanted to take her out to enjoy the scenery and flowers. 

When Han Yunxi finished her toilet and went outside, the first thing she saw was him sitting at the stone table in the courtyard, elegantly enjoying his tea. Today he was dressed in loose, white-brocade robes with a jade pendant tied to his waist. His hair had been piled into a knot above his head and secured with a purple jade hairpin. Although his outfit was simple, it still looked regal. Even his posture holding the teacup was irresistibly refined. 

Han Yunxi stared at him and almost felt like they were back to times at the Duke of Qin’s estate again. When he was idle around the estate, he would wear simple, noble clothing like this. Many times, she’d spotted him strolling around the gardens on one of her walks and would end up spacing out staring at him.

Once again, her thoughts had wandered!

The stormy clouds and soft aggression from last night flashed before her eyes in vigorous scenes. Her body was littered with marks from him, but Han Yunxi had difficulty equating the white-robed Long Feiye with the wolf from yesterday. 

Long Feiye had noticed Han Yunxi as soon as she came out of the door. He slowly sipped at his tea, his gaze directed forward as always. But he said in a light tone, “Empress, have you seen enough?”

“Hardly!” Han Yunxi was full of courage this morning as she sat down by his side and propped her chin in her palms to stare at him in earnest. They said admiring beautiful men could prolong one’s life. Since the handsomest man in the world was right by her side, she decided to admire him everyday. 

Seeing Han Yunxi’s affected, adoring gaze, Long Feiye couldn’t resist stroking her hair before covering up her eyes. 

“All right. Go eat. We’ll pick up Rui’er at the Grand Tutor’s later and enjoy the spring scenery outside the capital.”

Han Yunxi didn’t reply beyond tugging his hand down so she could continue staring at him.

Long Feiye covered her eyes with his other hand and urged, “Hurry!”

Han Yunxi tugged his hand down again and kept staring. Long Feiye decided not to bother and got up to leave, but Han Yunxi ran in front of him and kept looking with a grin.

“Are you going or not?” Long Feiye’s face was cold.

Han Yunxi was fearless. Her smile grew dazzling, but it wasn’t an attack Long Feiye could take for long. Although she hadn’t done anything or spoken a word, his resistance against her was wavering. He took her hand and said, “Enough. I’ll take you out to eat.”

Han Yunxi swung their hands as they walked and asked, “Long Feiye, were you being bashful just then?”

Long Feiye didn’t answer. 

Han Yunxi then asked, “Long Feiye, I saw your ears turning red. Are they cold?”

Long Feiye still didn’t reply.

Han Yunxi suddenly stopped and looked towards him. “Long Feiye, your face is red too!”

Long Feiye had had enough. He pulled her towards him and covered her lips with a rough, aggressive kiss. It wasn’t until Han Yunxi’s lips and face were equally red and he was on the verge of losing control that he let go. He then stared at her without a word. 

Han Yunxi’s legs had almost turned into jelly as she felt a mixture of embarrassment, anger, and laughter. She wanted to hit him, but her fist had hardly touched his chest when she threw herself at him with a hug. “Long Feiye, you’re a bully!”

“I’ll let you bully me back,” Long Feiye grinned.

“No need. I’m a magnanimous person so I forgive you,” Han Yunxi said as she released him.

By now they had left their living quarters. It wouldn’t do for someone to spot them acting like this. Of course, Han Yunxi had no idea that Zhao mama, Xu Donglin, and the rest were all hiding away at this moment while stealing peeks at the pair.

Zhao mama was quite worried. “Aiya, look at how vigorous His Majesty is! Our Esteemed Empress is so blessed!”

Xu Donglin pursed his lips, not knowing how to reply.

Zhao mama kept mumbling to herself. “No good, no good. This old lady has to think of a way to nurture the empress’s body. We can’t always leave His Majesty to suffer.”

Xu Donglin couldn’t believe his ears. How could this old mama tell that His Majesty was the one suffering?

“His...His Majesty told you?” Xu Donglin asked curiously.

Zhao mama gave a start before she smacked him on the head. “As a servant, we have to watch what we say, understand what we see, and know what they want! This old lady serves my master’s living needs and knows exactly what displeases him as soon as he creases an eyebrow! How could I not know something as massive as His Majesty being wronged? If we waited until His Majesty voiced complaints, then I might as well retire and go home!”

Xu Donglin was really at a loss for words. After some thought, he finally said, “Zhao mama, the Tang Clan Head brought back all those old hens. Do you have any other secret techniques?”

Zhao mama chuckled enigmatically. Xu Donglin thought she had some high-level recipe in reserve, but she only declared, “I’ll make old duck soup!”

Xu Donglin felt his vision go black. Now the kitchen’s going to be a duck coop soon.

While Zhao mama was fretting over her master and mistress, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were already in the carriage on the way to the Grand Tutor’s manor. Rui’er had just woken up from his noonday nap when they arrived and was playing with Gu Qishao and Lil Thing in the flower gardens.

On the side, Gu Beiyue and Mu Linger sat together discussing pharmaceutical topics. Although the couple had planned to go sightseeing, they stopped to join in the conversation as soon as they learned of the topic. Although change often caused problems, Long Feiye was more inclined to go with the flow with reforms.

Thus, he temporarily suppressed Gu Beiyue and Mu Linger’s preparations for reforming Medical and Medicine City. To place the medical and medicinal circles until the ownership of the royal court required the palace to hold enough clout and have enough capital to afford both industries. Without that, it was better to wait and see. At the very least, Medical and Medicine City could ensure that no unrest fell upon the medical community. 

After the Xiao Clan was exterminated, its assets became public property and its wealth had solved the issue of the national treasury. There was also an abundance of relief money and supplies for Northern Li. As long as the tax reforms passed smoothly, the Great Qin’s finances would soon enter a positive cycle. If the distribution of wealth remained balanced after that, everything would improve gradually.

Long Feiye hoped to change Medical and Medicine City after the Great Qin’s financial and military sectors stabilized. 

“We only need five to six years more before making a bolder move. By then, what will come will come. We won’t have to go around in circles for fear of the consequences,” Long Feiye said seriously.

Han Yunxi agreed with his views. She had many ideas about reforming the medical and medicinal circles, but it was futile to discuss them without a secure foundation first. 

“Hasn’t Linger established a pharmacovigilance group? As I see it, Beiyue can also create a medical regulatory union. Whether it’s medicine or doctors, both will fall under jurisdiction of the royal court. In this way…”

Before Han Yunxi could finish, Gu Beiyue was already nodding. “This is an excellent idea! There are valid reasons to establish them. Linger and I are both qualified, plus we have Little Qi…”

All of them turned to see Gu Qishao rolling around on the grass with Rui’er. The two of them were having heaps of fun. Even Lil Thing had come out of hiding from a distance to join in. It had curled up into a ball to chase Rui’er back and forth. 

Gu Beiyue’s courtyard wasn’t very big, but it was filled with spring scenery. All sorts of vibrant flowers bloomed in the grass and the trees were all in bloom. Many of their branches extended beyond the walls to share the splendor of springtime beyond the manor. There was no need to leave the capital when they could enjoy the scenery right here and watch Rui’er play around like a wild child. What a happy occasion!

The innocent fun on the grass amused the four adults until they forgot what they were talking about. Mu Linger suddenly stood up as if wanting to join them, but hesitated. Han Yunxi glanced at her and wondered whether she should give her a push. In the end, Mu Linger ran over first and started playing with the trio. 

After the bet between Mu Linger and Gu Qishao that night, nobody knew whether Gu Qishao had fulfilled his end of the gamble. Still, seeing that he wasn’t avoiding Mu Linger now while she played with them, the group naturally assumed there was still something between the duo and didn’t ask. 

Most likely, only Mu Linger and Gu Qishao knew the truth.

There were plenty of times when one wished desperately to be together but never saw it happen; conversely, once one gave up, one could be together daily. 

What was this called?

During sleepless nights, Mu Linger would often think this was probably called “being destined to be apart.” Although they couldn’t be a couple, they didn’t have to never see each other again. 

“Is Qin Min’s body doing better? It’s not cold anymore, so why not have her come here?” Han Yunxi asked.

“She’s lived so long in the south that she doesn’t want to come back anymore. This subordinate would rather find time to go south and enjoy the sights with her without ever returning.” Gu Beiyue’s smile was so full of adoration that even a shrewd woman like Han Yunxi was fooled. As for Long Feiye, he wasn’t concerned with so many matters. His attention was wholly focused on Rui’er. The first batch of spring tea was almost ripe. By then, Han Chen should be back too, right?

Gu Beiyue’s yearning expression made Han Yunxi soften. “Long Feiye, you should give the Grand Tutor a vacation. Have him bring Qin Min here so I can have a companion.”

Long Feiye immediately replied, “I’ve never restricted him.”

Gu Beiyue smiled helplessly and even sounded like he was put in a hard spot. “Esteemed Empress, Min’er’s stomach is already big. This subordinate...this subordinate couldn’t bear to have her suffer the toil of a long journey.”

Mu Linger suddenly piped in, “Grand Tutor Gu, Esteemed Empress was still running about when she was pregnant with the crown prince. A pregnant mother and her child aren’t that delicate and fragile! How could you be afraid while being a doctor yourself?”

Han Yunxi was tickled. “Qin Min is a doctor too! Beiyue, are you forbidding her from doing this and that all day? Did she finally get annoyed and ran away to play by herself in Jiangnan?”

Gu Beiyue had no words to refute beyond nodding his head. In the end, he never did end up going south, but the first batch of spring tea came from Jiangnan, the most precious biluochun leaves. Unfortunately, Han Chen didn’t come with it.

It wasn’t until half a month later that Long Feiye received the man’s invitation to drink South Peak Red at Celestial Fragrance Teahouse...

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Ruyi's Thoughts

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