Chapter 500: Antidote, do you believe him or me?Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
When Baili Mingxiang saw esteemed wangfei walking over all alone, she quickly ran to receive her. “Esteemed wangfei, come onto the carriage! His Highness is waiting!”
“Where to?” Han Yunxi asked listlessly.
“Back to the estate with His Highness! Esteemed wangfei, you said yourself that you’d go if he picked you up personally. Just come home, quick. His Highness is waiting.” Baili Mingxiang was all smiles, but her heart was clenched up in her chest. She had never expected His Highness to climb into the carriage first. Had something else happened between the pair in the palace? Why did esteemed wangfei look so despondent?
Han Yunxi didn’t speak, but looked carefully at Baili Mingxiang. Baili Mingxiang could put on a confident front at first, but she soon quailed and avoided her mistress’s gaze.
“Tell him...he doesn’t need to wait for me anymore.” Han Yunxi was about to leave when Baili Mingxiang finally caught her.
“Come on the carriage first. You know His Highness’s temper. If you yield one step, His Highness will definitely yield you ten more.”
Han Yunxi still insisted on leaving, but Baili Mingxiang simply refused to let her go. She coaxed her mistress now with all her might, “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness would have long left if he didn’t have you in his heart, right? He’s still waiting in the carriage, so you should seriously reconsider!”
Han Yunxi’s eyes suddenly turned red as she looked at Baili Mingxiang, recalling all the injustices she’d suffered in the imperial study. “Mingxiang, my legs really hurt.”
“Legs? What’s happened to esteemed wangfei’s legs?” Baili Mingxiang panicked. She was about to crouch down and check them when an impatient voice sounded from inside the carriage.
“Han Yunxi, you’re still not leaving?”
What a fierce and ferocious tone. She had never heard him sound so angry since she’d gotten to know him! Ever since their first visit to Empress Dowager Li’s palace, he’d always called her like this.
No matter how impatient or frantic he was, he would always stop three to five steps away and turn around to ask with a cold voice, ‘Han Yunxi, you’re still not leaving?’
But he’d never abandoned her so utterly as he had today, much less lose his temper. Now she was left in the streets while he sounded terrible and fearful. Han Yunxi walked straight to the carriage window and said in a chilly voice, “Your Highness, please wait. I just have one thing to ask Your Highness before I leave.”
Actually, she’d been holding back ever since leaving the Han Estate for the palace. She desperately wanted to ask him about Duanmu Yao’s visit and Gu Qishao’s explanation so they could have a big argument. But after she was forgotten in the imperial study, she suddenly lost all her will. Now she didn’t want to ask a thing.
If, for the sake of being loved by another, I have to try harder and harder to earn that right, is there any point?
Now all she wanted to do was get her answers and leave.
“Speak,” he said coldly.
“Was Gu Qishao’s bottle of antidote really only eight-parts full?” Han Yunxi asked seriously.
Silence came from the carriage.
“He said he handed over a full bottle,” Han Yunxi added.
The silence remained unbroken. Han Yunxi waited patiently without pushing him. Finally, Long Feiye spoke.
“So you believe him?”
Han Yunxi ignored his question. “I’m only asking Your Highness, that’s all.”
“You believe him and you suspect your lordship?” Long Feiye asked again.
Han Yunxi only heard how cold his voice was and hadn’t realized it was because he’d grown completely spiritless inside the carriage. She had no idea that this man had resolved to hide this incident utterly, including the reality of Mute Granny’s suicide. She was ignorant of all the hatred he had suppressed, the cares he had taken, the plans he had delayed and the countless nights he’d spent without sleep in order to keep everything a secret. Ever since they stepped into the palace, he’d been neglecting her on purpose just to goad her into opening her mouth to yell at his face.
But instead of yelling, she’d come to ask him about this instead.
She’s asking about Gu Qishao! It’s Gu Qishao again!
I see, so the only reason she had faith in me at Pill Fiend Valley was because she didn’t know Gu Qishao was the hated Gu Qi Sha. Now that his identity’s been exposed, she instantly calls me into question.
Now it was Han Yunxi’s turn to fall silent.
“Han Yunxi, answer your lordship’s question!” Long Feiye raged.
“Gu Qishao took me to find Mute Granny, so if he’s Gu Qi Sha, he’d never hide the antidote for himself,” Han Yunxi replied politely. She wasn’t an idiot. When she was first facing off against Gu Qi Sha, she chose to believe that the latter had tricked them out of one portion of pure antidote, but logic told her that Gu Qishao wouldn’t do such a thing. Although she hadn’t put things bluntly, her insinuations were clear: whoever took that last portion of antidote was the one hiding Mute Granny! And whoever was hiding Mute Granny, was trying to hide the secret of her own origins.
“You think that Mute Granny really is in your lordship’s hands?” Nobody could see Long Feiye’s expression in the carriage, but he got straight to the point.
“Gu Qishao would ‘never’ hide the antidote for himself? Then why did he mix those other dregs into the medicine? Why did the bottle get so conveniently dyed black to prove his point?” Long Feiye asked back. Gu Qishao was not only the Pill Fiend, but he was also the black-robed man back at the Hidden Pavilion who’d attacked him. If Gu Qishao had done everything just to incite Han Yunxi’s doubts, then Long Feiye would never forgive the man!
He, Long Feiye, had never needed to lie to this woman. But since she was accusing him now, he’d never admit to the lie!
Not even if he died!
Faced with Long Feiye’s questions, Han Yunxi recalled Gu Qishao’s words from last night and suddenly didn’t know what to say. Her feelings were in utter turmoil! Finally, she managed to say, “Your Highness can just pretend I didn’t ask anything at all.” Then she listlessly turned to leave.
Long Feiye jumped out of the carriage and snarled, “Han Yunxi, stop right there!”
Han Yunxi really did stop. “Does Your Highness have any other orders?”
“You still haven’t answered your lordship’s question! Do you think Mute Granny is in your lordship’s hands?” Long Feiye’s dark pupils were filled with obstinacy.
But Han Yunxi didn’t reply. Long Feiye grabbed her by the hand and demanded, “Answer me!”
Han Yunxi kept her head bowed. This man’s mocking smile at the brothel had hurt her deep in her heart. She was no longer the silly, idiotic woman who stared at him like a fool. Before she figured out right from wrong, she wouldn’t trust him or Gu Qishao. She didn’t trust anyone!
Finally, Long Feiye released her hand and ordered coldly, “Someone come, send her to the Han Estate!”
Han Yunxi’s heart lurched, before a self-mocking smile rose to her lips. She had guessed right, Baili Mingxiang really had been lying to her all along.
Fine then, I’ll just go back! Long Feiye, I’ll never return after I’m gone!
Baili Mingxiang was badly scared. She didn’t dare to coax His Highness Duke of Qin, so she ended up chasing after esteemed wangfei instead. Unfortunately, the carriage driver reached her before she did, while Long Feiye himself had vanished from sight. She looked at the empty surroundings and suddenly didn’t know what to say. Right now, any words she tried would be useless.
His Highness Duke of Qin had truly left Han Yunxi behind.
Han Yunxi didn’t take the carriage, but endured her leg pain to walk all the way to the Han Estate. Baili Mingxiang followed her the whole way and settled down to live with her. Meanwhile, Long Feiye reached the Duke of Qin’s estate and immediately issued orders to Chu Xifeng.
“Stop all construction on Pill Fiend Pharmacy!” he said coldly.
Chu Xifeng could tell that His Highness’s rage was dashing to the skies. But he still tried timidly, “Then what about the one in South Ning….”
“Stop all of it!” Long Feiye snarled.
Chu Xifeng could only do as he was told. His Highness had previously started secret construction of a large pharmacy hall down in South Ning Prefecture that was twice the size of the one in the capital. Moreover, he and the head elder of Medicine City’s Wang Clan had designed the blueprints together.
It looks like this is more than just an awkward misunderstanding…
Chu Xifeng silently went to fulfill his orders. When he left, Tang Li appeared. He had nearly gone crazy doing nothing but staying at the Hidden Pavilion all day. As soon as he received a summons to come, he’d flew like a bird escaping from a steamer, feeling extremely happy.
“Big bro, once you’ve treated your injury, let’s join together to crush that Gu fellow! I refuse to believe he’s so hard to kill!”
“Go to Celestial Mountain in my place,” Long Feiye said faintly.
Tang Li’s expression shifted. “What for?”
He had escaped from his own wedding, thus offending the bride’s family. While his father was mending relations, Aunt Ru had taken out an entire team of people to hunt him down. Meanwhile, he had hunkered down in the safest yet simultaneously most dangerous Hidden Pavilion. Every month or so, he’d toss out fake clues to lure those hunters on a wild goose chase. It was likely Aunt Ru and the rest were making for Celestial Mountain this month. Him going there was simply seeking death!
“Go visit my master in my place,” Long Feiye’s heavy, grief-filled tone seemed to affect Tang Li as well.
He gave a soft sigh and agreed. “Alright, I’ll go!”
After that, Long Feiye met with General Baili in private as the two discussed secret plans. Once General Baili returned home, he began to transfer a few fishermen soldiers to sneak into the Han Estate’s pond as guards. Finally, Long Feiye retreated to his corners and secluded himself for ten days and ten nights.
During that time, the capital city had descended into complete chaos that soon spread across all of Tianning Country! Three days later, General Mu discovered that the traces of the gunpowder explosion came from within the military depot, not without. Emperor Tianhui flew into a rage at this news and accused them of secretly amassing gunpowder on their own. Naturally, Great General Mu denied the claims, saying that the location couldn’t act as solid proof. The facts of the case were still unclear---whether a subordinate had collected the stores or whether someone had framed them from the start still required more digging. Without any proof, Emperor Tianhui had no way to set a punishment on the Mu Clan.
However, he had stripped Great General Mu of his military power in front of all the court officials and gave command of the capital city’s artillerymen to Minister Wu of the Ministry of War. Naturally, they took over guard duties for the rest of the gunpowder as well.
At the same time, Emperor Tianhui stripped Mu Qingwu of his title as head commander of the imperial guards for his failure to track down the crossbow archer assassins. Deputy General Meng Zhan was promoted in his place. In the end, the Mu family suffered a heavy loss in power! Both the artillerymen and imperial guards were top-notch soldiers with the important responsibility of guarding the capital city. Who wouldn’t lament the loss of two such powers from their hands?
The Mu father and son felt their hearts bleeding, but Long Tianmo simply felt like a knife had cut into his heart. As soon as court was dismissed, the crown prince grew impatient and headed straight for the Mu Estate to find Mu Qingwu. “Just what was the deal with those imperial guards than turned traitor?! Speak!”
Mu Qingwu was full of resentment and didn’t speak, so Long Tianmo glared at Great General Mu instead. “Great General, you say something!”
Great General Mu wore looked dignified and imposing, but he remained silent as well.
“If neither of you will say, then how can this crown prince help you? Imperial father is only taking the first step! Don’t you know that Noble Consort Chu’s already been favored? If she keeps giving him advice in bed, you’ll have no choice but to accept the verdict that you were the ones amassing stores of gunpowder!” Long Tianmo raged.
Finally, Mu Qingwu couldn’t take it anymore and cried, “Father, the crown prince has a right to know!”
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