Faced with Chu Yunyi’s sudden question, the white-robed gentleman was completely unruffled. “This junior went there for the sake of the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. If Long Feiye and Han Yunxi can find the Poison Sect’s underground chamber, then they’ll know much about the poison even if it’s not in their hands.”
Chu Yunyi scrutinized him in silence.
The white-robed man remained cool and calm as he slowly sipped at his tea. Then he said, “Nether Clan Head, this junior has been living a bumpy life right up to this moment. When have I ever been idle? ‘Those who own the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, own the world.’ This junior is still doing my very best for the sake of West Qin’s glory. If Nether Clan Head doubts this junior, aren’t you suspecting the sincerity of the Shadow Clan as well?”
Of all the Seven Noble Families, the Shadow Clan was the most loyal of them all. They would use their very lives to protect the imperial clan, something none of the other six could match. The Shadow Clan’s trustworthiness was beyond question.
Chu Yunyi was quick to refute his words. “No, no! This old man was merely making a casual remark.” He had only thought of the idea when he spoke it out loud. He trusted that the man before him didn’t have the gall to hide the heir from them if he really had discovered something. Moreover, Tianyin had long come to report that Han Yunxi’s back bore no phoenix birthmark.
Chu Yunyi personally found the Shadow Clan man this time, not because he suspected him, instead because Chu Tianyin needed help.
“This old man has considered and re-considered Tianyin’s matters, but it seems I’ll have to trouble you instead,” he said sincerely.
The white-robed man quickly bowed with his hands clasped in front of him. “I dare not, I dare not. This junior is useless and cannot shoulder such an important burden.”
If he was really going to save Chu Tianyin, would he have waited so long in the first place?
Chu Yunyi assumed that he was only being modest and smiled. “Now isn’t the time to be humble. Each day that Tianyin remains a prisoner of the Duke of Qin is another day of danger for the Nether Clan. The Duke of Qin only said he’d visit Western Zhou, not that he’d expose the Nether Clan. I believe he has schemes in place. But if we can rescue Tianyin, then we...will be fully assured of matching them!”
“This junior understands your reasoning,” the white-robed man spoke frankly.
Chu Yunyi was thrilled. “Then I’ll have to leave this to you.”
“Nether Clan Head, this junior has long explained that I am useless in this matter. May you find someone better qualified than myself.”
The white-robed man still spoke with a conscientious tone, but Chu Yunyi’s face had long turned black. Ever since the destruction of the Great Qin Empire, the Nether and Shadow Clans had both protected the West Qin heir until now. They were like one united family. Just what kind of attitude is this brat putting on now?
Chu Yunyi examined the white-robed man anew. Under his sharp old eyes, the man was still as calm as ever. He freely offered up his wrist and intoned, “Senior, I won’t hide this from you, but junior doesn’t have many years left in my life… I really do lack the strength to do as I want, so I hope that you’ll forgive me.”
Chu Yunyi quickly went to take his pulse. He was no professional doctor, yet a warrior like him still knew the basics. He discovered that the white-robed man’s pulse was indeed very weak. Leaving aside his physical body, even his internal energy was almost completely gone, a far cry from his former days. Chu Yunyi had long known the white-robed man was a chronic invalid. There was also the saying that ‘a doctor can treat illnesses, but not his own.’ Still, he never expected the man to weaken so much, so quickly. In the past, his father had still managed to live to the age of 30, but it seemed like the white-robed man wouldn’t even survive that long.
“If Nether Clan Head insists, this junior can give it a try. But if this junior fails and falls into the Duke of Qin’s hands, I hope you can rescue me as well.”
Chu Yunyi’s intentions died with those words. If that brat really lands in Long Feiye’s hands, things will only get more complicated than they already are. The man might be weak, but his medical skills were extremely astonishing. Moreover, he’d managed to gain both Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s trust back at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. If he left him there, he’d be useful in the future.
Chu Yunyi softened his stance. “This old man naturally won’t allow you to take such a risk. The matter of the rescue requires further thought. I’m just afraid that Tianyin will have to suffer a bit more.”
“From what this junior understands, no one has ever been able to bear up under the Duke of Qin’s torture methods,” the white-robed man replied.
Chu Yunyi wasn’t worried. “Tianyin, that child---this old man trusts him. He can submit or assert as the situation demands it, advancing or retreating as needed. He has the proper sense for boundaries to guide him. Even if he dies, he’ll never reveal the ultimate truths he knows.”
“If that’s the case, this junior thinks that Nether Clan Head doesn’t need to worry about saving him. If the Duke of Qin lets him live, he’ll definitely come find you in person. If he dies, then it can be considered a great sacrifice for the good of West Qin. That’s certainly a deed worthy of glory and honor,” the white-robed man said sincerely.
His words were no different than someone who saw someone dying, but refused to rescue them. Forget about refusing to save him---he even mentioned having Chu Tianyin die? If Chu Tianyin could hear these words now, he might die from anger instead. Still, the white-robed man’s words were consummate, emphasizing West Qin the entire time. As a bearer of the Nether Clan, Chu Yunyi had no words to refute him. Although he regretted the fact that they couldn’t help Chu Tianyin now, he decided to stop wasting words on the matter. It was hard enough getting this brat to come in the first place, so he naturally had other business to discuss.
“We’ll set this matter aside for now,” Chu Yunyi said as he stroked his beard. “But the other matter will most definitely require your assistance.”
“Please speak,” the white-robed man replied politely. The calm heart hidden within that sickly body could harmonize with the entire world. No matter what happened, even the sky falling, his heart felt hardly a ripple. Aside for the sole person he’d give his life to protect, there was probably no one else on Earth who could move him.
“Qingge is already four months’ pregnant. In three more months, she’ll be able to take medicine to induce an early labor.”
Before he could finish speaking, the white-robed man cut in. “Nether Clan Head wants to use drugs to induce an early birth?”
“We’ve already bought the ingredients from Medicine City, so I’ll have to trouble you to take care of the seven-month old fetus for us,” Chu Yunyi smiled a little helplessly.
The white-robed man knitted his brows. “And if it turns out to be a girl?”
“You needn’t worry about that. Tianyin’s already found 10 other pregnant women around the same state of pregnancy as Qingge. This old man refuses to believe that we won’t get a son out of them!” Behind his words was the understanding that those ten women would be forced into an early labor as well.
The white-robed man only shook his head. “Labor inducing drugs have been forbidden for use by the medical academy. Medicine City might have the gall to sell them, but this junior doesn’t have the guts to use them.”
Chu Yunyi chuckled lightly. “When have you placed any importance on the medical academy’s rules?”
“Nether Clan Head, there’s no 100 percent guarantee that the early labor will succeed. A careless mistake could cost us two lives instead,” the white-robed man replied.
“With your skills, this old man has nothing to worry about,” Chu Yunyi said, his smile growing cold. “It was hard for this old man to find you. You’re not going to ask me to find someone better qualified again, are you?”
“This junior certainly has the skills to induce early labor, but I would never agree to do it. Nether Clan Head, what fault does a seven-month old baby have? Why force an early birth on both mother and child, instead of allowing a normal process of development? Do you know how much suffering a premature baby has to endure just to survive? And how sickly they’ll be for the rest of their lives?” the white-robed man asked.
Rejected once again, Chu Yunyi’s tone grew cold as his temper flared. “This old man just knows that child needs to be here, soon. Otherwise, there’s no need for the baby to exist anymore! This old man will ask you one last time! Are you helping us or not?”
The white-robed man rose to his feet and bowed with his hands clasped in front of his chest. “I regret that I cannot comply with your wishes.”
“You!” Chu Yunyi slapped the table and stood up. “Do you know the importance of the throne at West Liang?”
Long Feiye was nearly on his way to Western Zhou, where the emperor already dreaded the might of their Chu Clan. If Long Feiye involved himself in their mess, it’d be even harder for the Chu Clan to exist peacefully in their home country. Thus, they had to quickly seize Tianning’s throne at West Liang. Although Tianning Country itself had been broken up into three separate power factions, reducing Emperor Tianhui’s territory to a single West Liang city, his might was still formidable. As the saying went, ‘a lean camel that dies of starvation is still bigger than a horse.’ The military might, wealth, and territory in Emperor Tianhui’s hands were all things that the Chu Clan desperately needed.
Currently, both the Chu Clan and Western Zhou were Chu Qingge’s sources of support. They had also helped Emperor Tianhui stand up against the forces of Tianan Country, which were led by Long Tianmo, and the southern central regions where Long Feiye dwelled. But before long, Tianning would become the Chu Clan’s source of strength to challenge Western Zhou instead.
There were never permanent friends nor allies in the royal court; the same logic held for one’s enemies as well. Sources of support wouldn’t last forever, either. The only way to hold power was to make sure it was all under your own hands! Chu Yunyi was a man full of ambition. The Chu Clan’s schemes were also wide and far-reaching, but the white-robed man didn’t care for any of that. Even if this was the first time he’d seen Chu Yunyi so furious, he was still serene and peaceful. He didn’t say much, he only remarked lightly, “If there’s nothing else, this junior will take his leave.”
He made to turn and leave, but Chu Yunyi wouldn’t let him off that easy. “Gu Beiyue, you’ve rejected this old man twice. Where does your heart truly lie?”
“.....” said Gu Beiyue.
Yes, the white-robed gentleman was none other than the former Head Imperial Physician of Tianning’s royal court, now the in-residence doctor at Pill Fiend Pharmacy.
He had laid low in Tianning for many years without no one but the Nether Clan aware of his true identity and origins. Those in the clan never once called him by his full name---today could count as the first time. It was a testament to Chu Yunyi’s true rage, but Gu Beiyue simply opened the door and prepared to step out.
“Someone come! Stop him!” Chu Yunyi ordered, and a team of archers soon surrounded the tiny courtyard on all sides. All of them only held arrows with no bows. Faced with such an array, any normal man would back off, but Gu Beiyue simply kept walking. The archers grew flustered at first because they didn’t know how to stop him. In response, the Nether Clan Head simply grabbed an arrow and attacked on his own!
The object flew straight past Gu Beiyue, a clear warning shot over his bow. But he remained aloof and indifferent.
“Is your Shadow Clan planning to break off relations with our Nether Clan? If your grandfather knew this, he wouldn’t be content even if he was up in Heaven!” Chu Yunyi roared.
“Nether Clan Head, your words are too severe. If my grandfather was still alive, he would also refuse to do such a cruel and ruthless thing.” Gu Beiyue was almost gone before he added, “Nether Clan Head, if this junior hears any new regarding the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, I will tell you promptly.”
By now he was right in front of the archers, none of whom dared to shoot without orders. All they could do was make way for the man while the Nether Clan Head looked coldly at his retreating form. His expression had completely fell, but he still couldn’t move to really kill Gu Beiyue. In the end, he only let the man go.
General Chu---Chu Yunyi’s brother and the head of the Chu Clan---arrived on the scene after Gu Beiyue had left. “Why didn’t you stop him?” he inquired.
“What’s the use of that? At least he can be a spy while he’s still at Pill Fiend Pharmacy,” Chu Yunyi murmured back.
“That brat is on good terms with Han Yunxi. He’s offended Emperor Tianhui multiple times just to help her. As I see it, Han Yunxi merits another investigation!” General Chu was a prudent type, but Chu Yunyi disagreed.
“We’ve already got to the bottom of it. He’s only interested in her because of the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Han Yunxi’s poison skills are advanced and mysterious. If she really gets ahold of the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, it won’t be difficult for her to crack it.”
General Chu nodded and muttered to himself, “I was overthinking things. If that’s his aim, then we can still keep him.”
“How goes things with Qingge?” Chu Yunyi asked in return.
With Chu Tianyin captured, Chu Qingge’s side was like a host of dragons missing their head.
“Witch Aunt is already with her. As for inducing early labor...why don’t we find someone from Medical City?” General Chu suggested.
“Medical City…” Chu Yunyi’s eyes glittered. After a long while, he finally spoke. “Even if it’s Medical City, we’ll need to find someone of at least rank seven---a Medical Sage---in order to prevent any chance of failure.”
“Medical Sage...then there’s only three possible choices. There’s the Head Elder Ling Guyi[1. Ling Guyi (淩古易) - Ling is a surname that means “insult, bully, rise high/tower aloft,” Gu is “ancient,” and Yi is “easy, amiable.”], Second Elder Li Xiuyuan[2. Li Xiuyuan (李修远) - Li is a surname that also means “plum (tree),” Xiu means “to cultivate,” and Yuan means “far away, distance, remote.”], and Third Elder Shen Jueming,” General Chu replied.