Chapter 458: Unexpected situation Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Judging by the current situation, she seems to have incurred brain damage. As for the extent...it’s hard to tell,” Gu Beiyue replied.
The burns might have affected her cranial nerves, Han Yunxi thought. Or maybe it affected the blood vessels within her brain. It would really be hard to tell then. Even the head elder of the medical academy might not find anything out.
They had no choice but to wait…
Han Yunxi still remembered she wanted to settle things with Gu Qi Sha, but she had no choice but to deal with Su Xiaoyu first. Over the next few days, she did nothing but wait for the girl to wake up, but the girl obstinately remained asleep. Meanwhile, Long Feiye stayed home as well, while Chu Xifeng investigated the inn that Su Xiaoyu had mentioned, only to find it had long been emptied out. His previous leads yielded nothing as well.
“Your Highness, mistress, the other side was extremely prudent. They didn’t leave a single clue behind!” Chu Xifeng still had to admire them for their thorough efforts.
“You didn’t find anything off of Su Xiaoyu herself?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
“We’ve long searched her and her room, but there was nothing out of the ordinary,” Han Yunxi intoned.
“There has to be a clue somewhere. Chu Xifeng, expand your range and keep looking!” Long Feiye commanded sternly.
Han Yunxi was about to leave, but suddenly paused to say, “Your Highness, let’s go to Pill Fiend Valley after Su Xiaoyu wakes up.”
She hadn’t brought the topic up in days, so Long Feiye assumed that she’d let it go. Instead, she remembered it clearly. This woman’s picky with her compassion. It looks like it’d be impossible for her to treat Gu Qi Sha kindly!
“Mm,” Long Feiye could only nod.
When she left the room, Chu Xifeng spoke up. “Your Highness, this girl didn’t come to the estate to kill or steal, but instead she risked exposure to injure esteemed wangfei. It’s all too fishy!”
Long Feiye’s eyes flickered before he finally deigned to speak. “I’m worried she was specifically targeted for the infiltration. But to injure her on purpose like that is strange.”
Long Feiye didn’t say anything out loud, but Chu Xifeng understood the hints. He had no idea what Long Feiye and Mute Granny had talked about in that room, but he had a fair gauge of esteemed wangfei’s true identity. Su Xiaoyu’s odd actions may have really been targeting esteemed wangfei. Even if they couldn’t guess why she tried to hurt Han Yunxi, one thing was obvious. Someone was already knocking on their door. Whether or not it was one of the Seven Noble Families or the Poison Sect, they had to be on their guard.
Long Feiye still didn’t understand one thing. Back when the West Qin imperial clan switched the royal daughter for a commoner son, only the Shadow and Nether Clans knew the truth. Judging from the actions of the white-robed man from the Shadow Clan, he either had different motivations or had yet to confirm Han Yunxi’s true identity. Meanwhile, there had been no sign of activity from the Nether Clan yet. Still, neither of them would resort to injuring Han Yunxi for the truth. So who’s really behind Su Xiaoyu?
What if someone else knows of the existence of the West Qin imperial orphan besides those two clans?
Of course, even if the Seven Noble Families weren’t at fault, he still wouldn’t let any one of them off! When the Great Qin Empire entered into a civil war all those years ago, the two imperial clans fought fiercely against each other. After the West Qin was destroyed, the East Qin suffered heavy losses of their own. It was the Di Clan,[1. Di Clan (狄族) - dizu, another one of the Seven Noble Families. Di is an archaic word for “northern tribes.”] loyal supporters of West Qin, that had started the final battle by allying themselves with the Black Clan and Wind Clan to thoroughly decimate East Qin.
Meanwhile, the East Qin had the Li Clan,[2. Li Clan (离族) - lizu, in which Li means “leave, part from, be at a distance.”] whose men and soldiers they’d fed and paid for years. However, during this crucial juncture, the Li Clan had dismissed their soldiers and declared neutrality in face of the conflict. Long Feiye might have aspirations to build his own dynasty, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t take revenge against those crafty, greedy clansmen who had cravenly clung to life and reneged on their promises.
“Has Jun Yixie made any moves lately?” Long Feiye asked.
“Supposedly, he’s already found a medicine to cure the pestilence in the horse farms. The Wang Clan recently sent men to the Hundred Poisons Sect as well, but we haven’t received any updates yet,” Chu Xifeng replied.
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had suspected Jun Yixie’s master of rescuing him from Fishery Island thanks to using the winds to spread the poison fog. He had thus entrusted the head of the Wang Clan to send scouts to infiltrate the Hundred Poisons Sect. It would be hard for his own men to slip in compared to members of Medicine City, since the sect still needed to do some quantity of trade with their ranks.
“Be cautious above all, don’t startle the snake in the grass,” Long Feiye instructed.
He had studied the Annals of the Seven Noble Families for a long time. The page detailing the Wind Clan had only said thus: Wind Clan, experts in astronomy and geomancy. Skilled in ancient divination techniques and experts at commanding the winds to position their pieces, make traps, and move soldiers. Long Feiye tapped his knuckles against the table as he thought over the description.
Currently, Jun Yixie and Bai Yanqing were both in Northern Li, puzzling over Baili Mingxiang’s blood sample. Because Jun Yixie had been unable to figure it out, he could only hand the sample off to his master to research.
“Very strange. There are incredibly high concentrations of poison in this blood, but its host is still alive,” Bai Yanqing murmured before lightly licking a drop. His expression turned doubtful from the taste. “It truly doesn’t seem to be human blood.”
“But it’s ridiculous to think that it’s fish blood! If that was the case, I would’ve long been able to tell whether the fish were poisoned!” Jun Yixie insisted.
Bai Yanqing didn’t speak, but continued to lick the blood. Jun Yixie waited before dropping his voice to ask, “Master, could it be a technique to cultivate Gu? Might Long Feiye be making Poison Gu hosts?”
Poison Gu hosts were humans raised on poisons until they became impossible to kill and impervious to hundreds of different toxins.
“It doesn’t seem like it. At the very least, he wouldn’t use slow-acting poisons to create them,” Bai Yanqing said before storing the rest of the sample away in his sleeve. “Master will keep this for now and study it more thoroughly.”
Jun Yixie was reluctant to part with the sample because he wanted to research it too. But since master had already claimed it, what else could he really say?
“Have you found out the source of the horse disease?” Bai Yanqing asked next.
“I still don’t have proof that it was man-made, but I’ve controlled the pestilence itself. It’s a shame that our cavalry has suffered serious losses in the meantime.” The news left Jun Yixie extremely depressed. Because the horses had fallen sick, his escape from Fishery Island had been delayed as well.
“Horses are Northern Li’s lifeblood. When master left you in the past, I reminded you that you had to gain control of all three major horse farms. But the only one you own currently is the Skypool Horse Farm. What am I supposed to say to that?” Bai Yanqing lectured.
Jun Yixie was the stormy and arrogant type, but he was infallibly meek before his master. His head drooped as he replied, “Your disciple knows his wrongs.”
“Use this chance to get the horse farm in the south and the Hong City one as well. You are prohibited from leaving Northern Li until you accomplish these tasks!” Bai Yanqing commanded fiercely.
Jun Yixie didn’t object at all, but replied, “Yes, this disciple understands!”
Bai Yanqing rose to leave, refusing to let Jun Yixie send him off. He hadn’t revealed his presence in Northern Li after his arrival, but instead had remained concealed in the Duke of Kang’s branch estates in Linjiang. Even the emperor of Northern Li had no idea that he was here.
After reaching the estate, Bai Yanqing immediately went to his rooms and took a sample of blood-tainted spittle from his tongue. He placed it in a porcelain bottle and dripped in a few drops of medicine. Immediately, the scarlet red hues of the blood began to change until it turned black and emitted a strange fishy smell. It was faint and not cloying, almost like the scent of an ocean breeze. Bai Yanqing heated up the black blood and saw white smoke emit from its depths. He shut his eyes and took another whiff, almost enjoying it like a pipe. After all, this smoke was full of concentrated poison vapors from the blood samples. Bai Yanqing didn’t fear such toxins---even inhaling all of the smoke would fail to poison him. Such venoms were mere child’s play in his eyes.
Once the black blood was all burned off, its remnants reverted back to fresh red blood. Bai Yanqing slowly opened his eyes and stared at the single, offending drop of red left in the bottle. It seemed that his own eyes had been stained red with its reflection as well. For a long time, he remained silent before barking out a cold laugh.
“So it was Mermaid Clan blood! When did they resurface? Hmph!”
It wasn’t clear whether Bai Yanqing was hiding his revelation from Jun Yixie on purpose. In any case, Jun Yixie never found out about his master’s discoveries. He was nothing but all compliance to Bai Yanqing’s wishes even if he loathed Long Feiye and Han Yunxi and wanted to take revenge. For now, he would focus on settling internal affairs in Northern Li first.
A few more days passed. Long Feiye didn’t find any leads from Su Xiaoyu’s things, while the girl herself was still unconscious. Gu Beiyue dropped by for another examination, this time with Long Feiye in tow. He sat expressionlessly in a corner while Gu Beiyue greeted him with a bow and got to work. The two men didn’t seem to have any conflicts between them, but only they knew the actual state of their relationship beneath the surface.
“How is it?” Han Yunxi asked. The longer she stays unconscious, the poorer her prospects will be!
Gu Beiyue shook his head in resignation, causing Long Feiye to look over. “Even Imperial Physician Gu is at a loss?”
“This official’s abilities are limited, may Your Highness mete punishment,” Gu Beiyue apologized.
“Your lordship still has faith in your abilities after you pulled me from King Yama’s gates,” Long Feiye said icily.
“Your Highness’s trust in this official makes this one apprehensive,” Gu Beiyue’s attitude remained unchanged.
Han Yunxi stood off to one side, feeling that there was a strange undercurrent between the men’s words. In any case, she didn’t dare to stick her nose in. Su Xiaoyu’s burns were just about recovered by now. She began to consider handing the child to Baili Mingxiang’s care if she didn’t wake up. She still needed to go to Pill Fiend Valley!
Alright, I’ve been thinking about going this entire time! And how to make sure I claim damages from Gu Qi Sha!
Long Feiye had only spoken half his piece when Baili Mingxiang, who was standing vigil by the bedside, suddenly cried out, “Esteemed wangfei, she moved!”
Gu Beiyue and Han Yunxi hurried to the bedside at her words, their movements and speed so perfectly synchronized that it irked Long Feiye just to see them.
“What part of her moved?” Gu Beiyue asked.
“Her eyes, they opened just then!” Baili Mingxiang was truly moved. Most of the responsibility for looking after Su Xiaoyu had fallen to her over the past few days. Although she didn’t like this child, she had still conscientiously done her work.
Gu Beiyue immediately went to examine Su Xiaoyu’s pupils, but as soon as he lifted her eyelids, the girl shoved his hand aside and opened them herself.
She was finally awake!
Everyone rejoiced at the realization except Long Feiye, who was still sitting expressionlessly in his seat. The girl waking up was a boon to them all, because they could keep asking her about her origins. Unexpectedly, the first thing Su Xiaoyu said made Long Feiye’s expression shift as well. She peered around at the crowd of faces and asked, “Who are you guys?”
Everyone felt startled, but Gu Beiyue remained calm. “You… You don’t remember us?”
Su Xiaoyu shook her head, then asked, “Where is this place?”
“You stinker, you’ve gotten amnesia?” Han Yunxi was both alarmed and furious.
Su Xiaoyu lifted her head to meet her gaze. “Who the heck are you?”
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