Although she couldn’t see the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons, Han Yunxi could grab it all the same with a very simple solution.
“Gu Qishao, shield me, quick!” she said as she hid behind Gu Qishao with her back to the crowd.
“Shield you from what?” Gu Qishao asked puzzledly. He wanted to turn around, but was afraid of ruining Han Yunxi’s plan, so he simply stood in place.
No one knew what Han Yunxi was planning, but a large crowd of soldiers had already arrived while she was still fine-tuning her methods. They surrounded the ginkgo tree on all sides as archers poured in after them and went down on one knee, their weapons aimed at the invaders.
Judging by the looks of things, Chu Yunyi’s group must have successfully escaped. Otherwise, Emperor Kang Cheng would never use so many resources just on a single tree!
“Archery division? They couldn’t be from the Chu Clan, right? Haha!” Gu Qishao gave a mocking laugh that made the leader of the archers scowl.
The Chu Clan was famous for their archers, but how could they be Chu Clan members?! News of the chaos at Thousand Buddha Cave had long spread to the capital. The Chu Clan had not only kidnapped the empress, but called out their troops to revolt. Within a single day, they’d become traitors to Western Zhou! The shock fell upon Western Zhou’s court like an earthquake. Everyone needed time to recover from the revelation. Even now, Emperor Kang Cheng was dealing with mutiny from his military on all sides, while the guards of Thousand Buddha Cave were still chasing after Chu Yunyi and the empress. Although Emperor Kang Cheng had no idea what Chu Yunyi and the masked figures were planning with the thousand-year ginkgo tree, he’d never let them have their way if they were trying to get some gains out of it!
The emperor even sent an emergency missive by hawk to ensure that the prisoners were captured alive. He wanted to know whether the masked figures truly had any relation with Tianning’s Duke of Qin.
“I suggest you all surrender peacefully! Otherwise, we won’t be picky with our arrows!” the leader of the archers warned the group loudly.
He had to be forgiven from his ignorant words since he didn’t get to witness their skills firsthand. He’d probably never seen anyone toy with arrows like Long Feiye before. Naturally, none of the intruders paid his warning any attention, but neither did Long Feiye wish to stay here for long. There was the risk of exposing his identity, and the increase in reinforcements from other areas if they didn’t escape fast enough. Running away would be harder the longer they waited.
He turned back and murmured to Han Yunxi, “Do we need to uproot the entire tree?”
“You’d probably have to take all the roots as well. It’s a thousand years old, so who knows how deep its roots go? Are you sure we have enough time to pull it up? Are you even sure it’s that easy to escape with a entire tree in tow? If it blocks up the gates, we won’t even be able to get out,” Tang Li couldn’t help but remind them of the reality of the situation.
A complicated expression flickered past Long Feiye’s eyes. Although they had defeated the Chu Clan, their trip would be a waste if they couldn’t get the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons! He originally thought the poison would be in their hands as soon as they reached the tree, but who knew things would turn out like this?
Long Feiye’s question got no answer from Han Yunxi, but the archers around them began to shoot. He impatiently waved his whip and scattered the first wave with ease, then aimed for the archers with his second. The archers all drew back, but a team of armored soldiers came to surround them in their place. They weren’t planning on letting the group escape.
Things had gotten troublesome!
“Duke of Qin, why don’t we leave first? Instead of getting tangled up with Chu Yunyi, the soldiers came after us instead! At this rate, we’ll end up helping them escape!” Tang Li reminded quietly again.
Western Zhou had even sent its armored infantry their way. If they started fighting seriously after this, they might end up destroying the entire temple. Then it’d be easy for Chu Yunyi to double back and seize the spoils from their battle!
“Master, we don’t need to worry about missing the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons as long as this tree is still here! Our wangfei’s poison skills are far superior to their Witch Aunt. If she can’t find it, the Chu Clan definitely wouldn’t be able to! Let’s get out of here!” Chu Xifeng urged.
Just when Long Feiye had decided to leave, all of the soldiers drew back in shock. They stared dumbstruck towards the direction of the ginkgo tree, many of them even dropping the weapons in their hands.
What had happened?
Long Feiye’s group were rather surprised as well. Then they turned around and had a fright, because the entire thousand-year ginkgo tree had vanished into thin air. Immediately, Long Feiye recalled the scene back at Medicine City’s Medicine Forest. The exact same thing had happened back then when the poison pond had suddenly disappeared. The guards at the forest had been struck speechless then, too. While everyone was watching in disbelief, Han Yunxi was crouched on the ground, observing changes in the dirt.
The solution she’d thought of was to using Perplexing Butterfly Illusion to melt down the thousand-year ginkgo tree! Although it was a simple idea, it was difficult in execution. Fortunately, she had tools in her detox system to help her facilitate the process. Perplexing Butterfly Illusion had powerful corrosive properties, but a few drops weren’t enough to penetrate to the roots of the thousand-year ginkgo tree. Thus, she added a few extra drops of liquid to enhance its toxicity before dripping it onto the dirt. She had used a chemical from modern day, of which she only had three portions. Although she’d been saving it all this time, today she sacrificed one portion.
The dirt by her feet began to break away under the influence of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Much of the soil was disappearing at a rapid rate, but it still wasn’t to Han Yunxi’s satisfaction. In the end, she braced herself and used more drops of fortified PBI until entire sections of earth were sinking in swathes beneath her feet. In truth, they were literally rotting away.
The formally tall and straight ginkgo tree was soon reduced to nothing by the poison in the dirt. All that was left was a deep pit about the length of two men and various smaller tunnels left by the ginkgo tree’s roots. Han Yunxi had suspected that the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons might be hidden in the tree roots, so this was where she focused her attention now. If that really was the case, Perplexing Butterfly Illusion would react with the poison there to create another toxic teardrop. The toxicity of the teardrop would make it easy for her to sense and examine with her detox system!
Long Feiye’s group was closer so they could see what was going on, but the soldiers in the distance were still trying to figure out the situation. They could only deduct that these people knew some sort of demonic arts and shouldn’t be trifled with lightly. Han Yunxi crouched by the edge of the pit and carefully scrutinized its depths. She was probably the only person who could find anything in this situation---but once she did, everything would be easier!
She focused her sights on one of the tiny tunnels before murmuring, “Gu Qishao, take me down there.”
“You...just what are you trying to do?” Although Gu Qishao knew his share of poisons, he was still lost in the dark this time.
Before Han Yunxi could explain, Long Feiye had already come over and taken her into his arms to jump into the pit. He left Gu Qishao and the rest to take care of the mess aboveground. Gu Qishao rolled his eyes in response. Even with a face mask, one could tell by his eyes that he was annoyed!
Still, he and the rest were perfectly capable of holding off the soldiers for awhile if they really started to fight. Right now, the soldier’s expressions before them were already changing from shock to fear. They were too afraid to approach these strange and unnatural figures!
In the pit, Han Yunxi took out the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion and dripped a drop into the smaller tunnel. Dirt immediately vanished beneath the toxin and left a gaping hole in its wake. If it wasn’t for Long Feiye, she would’ve fallen into its depths long ago.
Even so, she still didn’t see any signs of a toxic teardrop.
“It’s probably like the tree roots, buried deep at the bottom,” she spoke confidently. Although Long Feiye couldn’t follow her train of thought, he continued to help her in silence. In the end, Han Yunxi ended up using ten drops of PBI to create a pit 20 meters deep before she finally found what she was looking for.
“That’s it!” Thrilled, she went to pick up the object she wanted. At a glance, Long Feiye only saw what looked to be a piece of wood, but it was tiny and teardrop-shaped like all the other poisons they’d collected.
Here was their fifth toxic teardrop.
All that was left amongst the Five Element Poisons were Fire and Metal of Ten-Thousand Poisons. In terms of blood samples, they lacked just the poison beast blood and one last, unknown source of blood. They would have to wait for Lil Thing to recover before taking its blood. If Long Feiye had known it’d be so useful, he would have never allowed Han Yunxi to use its blood to save Long Tianmo. But many things would have turned out differently in hindsight, especially the various connections they made along the way. Changing the past was simply impossible, anyways.
Long Feiye wasn’t the type of person who became sentimental over memories or people from the past, but this time he couldn’t help but wonder ‘what if?’ Han Yunxi had no idea what he was thinking, but simply collected the poison teardrop before looking up and growing stunned.
“So deep!” she exclaimed.
“Hold fast, we’re going up!” Her voice jolted Long Feiye from his thoughts. Although he was the one who told her to hold on, his grip on her waist was so firm that it precluded the necessity. Han Yunxi secretly laughed into her sleeve. When did this guy learn to say such unnecessary things?
Fine, even though I’m thinking that, I don’t have the guts to ask him. She obediently wrapped her arms around Long Feiye and hugged him tight.
By the time they flew out of the pit, Tang Li and Chu Xifeng were already brawling with the soldiers, who had doubled their forces. They were even trying to shoot flaming arrows down into the pit, but Gu Qishao was standing guard at the entrance and kicking them all aside. Because of the overwhelming numbers, Gu Qishao and the rest were using some measure of effort to keep them at bay. Once he saw Long Feiye, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Did you get the thing?”
“Yes, now retreat!” Long Feiye said coldly.
It was hard to fight back an entire mob of soldiers, but simple enough to withdraw. Tang Li cut open a path for them with Long Feiye and Han Yunxi behind him, while Gu Qishao and Chu Xifeng brought up the rear. Their group quickly fled from the path whence they came. The reason they hadn’t alerted anyone of their approach in the first place was because of 1) Chu Yunyi’s map and 2) Tang Li’s superior skills with traps. The pursuing soldiers soon found themselves at the mercy of the Thousand Buddha Cave’s snares and pitfalls. Soon enough, they gave up the chase altogether. In their hearts, Long Feiye’s group was something that demanded caution. They were simply too fierce and mysterious!
Meanwhile, the abbot of Thousand Buddha Cave’s temple and the head of the infantrymen were both investigating the scene. Neither of them could figure out how the thousand-year ginkgo tree could just suddenly disappear, nor why such a deep pit had suddenly shown up in its place.
After a pause, the old abbot could only sigh and mutter with emotion, “Perhaps this is all just predestination---of the tree, the people, and the entire nation!”