Chapter 525: Do you know? I like himOriginal and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The weird voice coming from nowhere instantly made Mu Linger’s heart skip a beat! She froze, her eyes fixed on the floor because she was too scared to look up. Just then...was that really a person’s voice? Or was it...just my imagination?
As if recalling something, her heart began to pound like a herd of horses stampeding as she felt the entire world sink into silence. The thump-thumps rang out clearly against her chest.
The sound of rapid footsteps rang out in the hallways, hurrying her way. Mu Linger instantly looked up but saw nothing beyond an empty door frame. There was nobody there until various prison guards arrived on the scene. Her bright, glittering eyes instantly dimmed. She allowed the guards to point and talk amongst themselves before they locked her door, never sparing them another glance. She forgot about her record-keeping bowl and sat on the ground like a slumped over doll, her arms listlessly hugging her knees. I knew I heard wrong, I must have just been hallucinating things.
“Lass, since you gave up on the chance to escape, there’s no fleeing for you now,” the voice rose out of the darkness again, bright and clear and coming from right.
Mu Linger’s head whipped over and saw nothing until her eyes had adjusted to the darkness. There was a black-robed figure plastered to the wall, merging almost seamlessly with the blackness. It would have been impossible to see him if she didn’t look carefully.
She almost blurted out the ‘Qi’ from her lips before she caught herself in time. Still, she couldn’t help the tears streaming down her face.
Qi gege, Linger has missed you!
Gu Qishao was covered completely in black robes as befitting his identity as Gu Qi Sha. Han Yunxi had told him to come as Gu Qishao, but he would never do that! Mu Linger might be a fool, but she was not an idiot. What if she made the connection between his two personas? He wouldn’t have cared so much in the past, but things were different now. This girl would be working in Pill Fiend Pharmacy in the future. If she found out that Gu Qi Sha was Gu Qishao, wouldn’t she vex him to death?
Thank goodness Xie Deyi had been too busy hurrying back to deal with the commotion to bother tormenting Mu Linger, so he didn’t have to expose himself as Gu Qishao then. Mu Linger sat there dripping tears like a leaky faucet while Gu Qi Sha was too lazy to pay her any attention. He strolled around the cell before spotting a little white porcelain bowl.
Mu Linger hastily caught the bowl in her hands before smiling in spite of her tears. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, thank you!”
Her vision was hazy from all her crying, but her smile was still brilliant. The light streaming from above just happened to hit against her face, illuminating her teary grin. Unfortunately, Gu Qishao turned a blind eye to the sight as he leaned against a wall and languidly sat down. “Lass, what were you doing? Putting a pill in the bowl everyday?”
Mu Linger grew alarmed. “How did you know that?”
“Shh!” Gu Qishao grew unhappy at her raised voice.
Mu Linger muffled her mouth and waited until there were no more sounds coming from the outside, then scooted over to sit beside Gu Qi Sha. Like him, she leaned against the wall and lowered her voice to reply, “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, how did you know?”
“This old man’s been guarding the skylight everyday. How else do you think I got here in the nick of time? You think you’re that lucky?” Gu Qi Sha asked in return.
Mu Linger secretly chuckled at how stupid she’d been. Why did she never notice how similar Pill Fiend and Qi gege were in the past? Still, she hadn’t met His Excellency Pill Fiend that much in the past. Moreover, Han Yunxi was so smart but she hadn’t realized it either until recently. It’s not that Han Yunxi and I are stupid, but that Qi gege’s just far too shrewd and good at hiding things.
If Han Yunxi could hear her now after swearing her oath to Gu Qishao, she’d probably laugh out loud until her stomach hurt.
“Your Excellency Pill Fiend, did you come to rescue me!?” Mu Linger asked cheerfully.
“You didn’t escape when you had the chance, so what was the point of this old fellow’s rescue mission?” Gu Qi Sha snorted contemptuously.
“Where could I have gone if I had escaped? Hide for the rest of my life? In any case, I can’t die, so there’s still hope, isn’t there?” Mu Linger asked Gu Qi Sha seriously. She knew that at least two major factions in Medicine City were interested in her marriage affairs. It’d be impossible to confine her in the cell for the rest of her life, so those people could make it so that her life was worse than death.
“Can’t die…” Gu Qi Sha muttered to himself before laughing out loud. “Not dying means you still have hope? Hahah!”
For some reason, Mu Linger suddenly sensed a trace of despair in Gu Qi Sha’s eerie laughter. She disliked the feeling very much. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, why did that man suddenly grow worms? Did you poison him?” she asked as she changed the subject.
“Han Yunxi gave me the toxin, it’s called Roundworm Birthing Poison. A tiny dose can give rise to a full swarm within the human body. Don’t worry, that man won’t last longer than two hours before the worms eat up his internal organs.”
Gu Qishao had received Han Yunxi’s poison via carrier pigeon as soon as he arrived in Medicine City. He was to use it to save Mu Linger. The method of poisoning wouldn’t give him away, but it would make everyone else think it was Mu Linger who knew poison arts instead and keep a healthy distance.
“Han Yunxi is so scary…” Mu Linger gave a polite assessment of the woman.
Gu Qishao laughed even louder at that. “That’s why you shouldn’t annoy her. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even know how you died.”
Mu Linger shivered involuntarily while Gu Qishao gloated inwardly. With the girl’s history of previous transgressions, it was better if she nursed a healthy fear of Han Yunxi. He would never tell Mu Linger that this Roundworm Birthing Poison was one of the Hundred Poisons Sect’s most famous poisons instead of Han Yunxi’s own creation. Of course, Han Yunxi’s toxins were formidable, but her poisoning skills themselves were downright awful. If she were the one in charge of spreading poison today, she’d probably fumble multiple times before she succeeded while Mu Linger was bullied in the meantime.
Feeling a little guilty after Gu Qi Sha’s latest comment, Mu Linger moved to change the topic again. When Gu Qishao saw her tightly clutching the white porcelain bowl of pills, he asked again with great curiosity, “Lass, just what’s all this medicine for? This isn’t how you make prescriptions, right?”
He had watched and guessed her motives for many days, wondering if a little genius like Mu Linger had come up with a novel way to create new medicines. Every daybreak, she’d place one pill into the bowl. He had puzzled over the problem from the perspectives of time, temperature, humidity, the strength of her grip on the pills and even the material of the bowl, but still couldn’t figure out what she was doing. He even analyzed how she’d swirl the contents of the bowl after putting in a pill, but couldn’t get anything out of it.
Mu Linger suddenly didn’t know how to reply.
“Bring it here, let me have a sniff,” Gu Qishao continued earnestly.
Mu Linger looked at his unconvinced gaze and felt torn between laughing and being miserable. Qi gege, Linger isn’t making a prescription. Linger’s just keeping track of the days. She stared at him for a long time without responding in the end.
Gu Qishao was a hopeless fool for medicine, so he wouldn’t give up. He scooted over with a smirk and said, “It’s a new way of making medicine, isn’t it? How about we discuss it together?”
Mu Linger smiled wryly. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, I have no sense of time in this cell, so I rely on those pills to keep track of the days! As soon as it grew light, I would put another pill into the bowl…”
Gu Qi Sha had lost all interest by the time Mu Linger finished and muttered to himself, “This old fellow was overthinking things!” He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes to rest.
Mu Linger looked and him and couldn’t resist murmuring, “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, do you wish to know why I’m keeping track of the days?”
Gu Qi Sha didn’t reply anymore. It was as if he’d fallen asleep. Mu Linger was all too familiar with his attitudes. In the past, she’d tug and yell at Qi gege nonstop but he would still feign unconsciousness when he had trouble falling asleep.
“I’m simply keeping a record of the days left until I can go to Pill Fiend Pharmacy. If I can visit once every three months, that means there’s 77 days left before my trip,” Mu Linger smiled.
Gu Qishao’s eyes flew open as he asked doubtfully, “Do you really want to go to Pill Fiend Pharmacy that badly?” Didn’t she only have to go because she lost to me? How strange!
“No, I want to meet my Qi gege. Pill Fiend Pharmacy belongs to Han Yunxi, so my Qi gege will definitely show up there,” Mu Linger said very, very earnestly.
Gu Qishao instantly averted his gaze before he retorted, “Absurd!”
But Mu Linger only said, “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, do you know? I like Qi gege.”
Gu Qishao felt his heart lurch at the sudden sight of Mu Linger’s large, clear eyes. It felt like something had stabbed the softest part of his heart, making him feel extremely uncomfortable. Still, the sensation only lasted a second at most. He immediately broke into long guffaws that didn’t stop until he glanced back at her again. In an incredulous tone, he cried, “Don’t talk to this old man about love and sweet nothings or hovering between life and death! This old man is too old, I can’t take it!”
Mu Linger grit her teeth before finally uttering, “Oh.”
Like that, the two of them fell into silence. Still, Gu Qishao was quick to walk away and hide himself in the darkest corner of the cell to sleep. He had also ordered Mu Linger, “Leave some food for this old man when they deliver the meal!”
Until he found a chance to escape, he would probably have to spend time waiting with this lass. Mu Linger could still smile despite the dire circumstances. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, you’re getting on in years and can’t afford to be hungry. I’ll give all my food to you.”
There were many different ways to like a person. Some people demanded an equal relationship---if I like you, you have to like me back. If I treat you well, you have to treat me well, too.
Others blindly demanded love from their partners---no matter how I treat you, you still have to treat me well.
And then there were others who would willingly hold onto a one-sided love---as long as I treat you well, it’s all sunny skies for me.
Qi gege, you are Linger’s sunny sky.
Mu Linger suddenly had no desire to leave her jail cell at all. She wished she could stay here forever instead. Of course, that was impossible in the end.
The roundworms had hollowed out the entire stomach of the man sent by the Lin Clan. He had died a horrific death. Naturally, the prisons superiors suppressed all news of the incident so it wouldn’t spread, but they told Head Elder Xie straight away. Both Head Elder Xie and the Xie Clan head met with the Lin Clan head to see the man’s corpse covered in poison roundworms.
Head Elder Xie was greatly alarmed by the sight. “This poison is from the Hundred Poisons Sect!”
None of them knew poisons, but the most famous toxin of the Hundred Poisons Sect was recognizable on sight. The Lin Clan head was completely flabbergasted by the declaration. “Mu Linger has relations with the Hundred Poisons Sect?”
Head Elder Xie and the Xie Clan head both exchanged quick glances before consoling the Lin Clan head. They told the guards to keep mum about the incident and get rid of the corpse quickly.
“Father, Mu Yingdong’s move was too finely calculated! It looks like Mu Linger’s long been in cahoots with Jun Yixie. She surely only went to challenge Gu Qi Sha as part of the stratagem to lure you over!” the Xie Clan Head said in shock.
Both of them had assumed that it was Mu Yingdong and Jun Yixie who were working together, but it seemed that Mu Linger’s challenge against Pill Fiend Pharmacy was all pre-planned as well!
“Mu Yingdong! Do you think this old man’s so easy to trick?!” Head Elder Xie was incensed. He had originally wanted to wait for a better time to take action, but now he was going to counterattack first!
Whatever his schemes were, he asked to meet with Jun Yixie the very next day.
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