To Chu Yunyi, it was more important that they delivered Empress Xue into General Chu’s hands so she could be the Chu Clan’s pawn during their negotiations. It had to be said that the rebel army kidnapping their empress was both Western Zhou’s greatest joke and its deepest disgrace. Fortunately, Emperor Kang Cheng had seized his chance to check the Chu Clan’s power and reduce their troops during the embezzlement case; otherwise they would have been able to destroy Western Zhou single-handedly.
While the Chu Clan troops were causing chaos in Western Zhou now, they still couldn’t match up to Emperor Kang Cheng’s combined forces. The Chu Clan was disinclined to waste their troops there. Their plans were to concentrate most of their strength in Western Liang and take over at least four of the border cities on Western Zhou’s east end. Then, by combining their troops with Tianning’s strength, they’d be able to suppress Western Zhou’s soldiers and force an end to the potential war.
As the head of the clan, Chu Yunyi knew the restrictions and powers allocated to a person of authority. Emperor Kang Cheng might be the unrivaled sovereign of an entire nation, yet even he had his limits. If his soldiers couldn’t rescue the empress within the next three months, his ministers and officials would definitely persuade him to cast her aside for the sake of the country---especially the factions allied against the crown prince’s Eastern Palace.
Empress Xue was favored, but she couldn’t win against an entire kingdom in Emperor Kang Cheng’s heart. He, too, knew that the quicker he put the Chu Clan rebellion down, the better. He wouldn’t be able to fight against them indefinitely, or he would be forced to give up on Empress Xue. Thus, the Chu Clan had a temporary advantage, which meant Chu Yunyi had to seize the chance and flee the country!
“Rest well. We head out at daybreak tomorrow!” he ordered his men icily.
The night was long and cold. Silent snowflakes fell from the sky, heralding the winter’s first snow. Afraid to alert their pursuers, none of the soldiers lit a fire. All of the archers put on thick coats and huddled within them for warmth, leaving only Gu Beiyue himself to sit alone beneath an old tree, covered in chilly snowflakes.
Being alone meant seeing her clearly before him, yet keeping a solitary distance.
Being lonely meant seeing her smiling with eyes shut, even though she was nowhere near him now.
In this life, you are the master and I am the servant. You’ve already married and become his wife, but I don’t regret my infatuation, or protecting you. If you can be happy and healthy, then my life...was worth it!
After the snowy night, Chu Yunyi’s group kept fleeing east until they were out of the mountains. They disguised themselves as merchants for the rest of the journey. Empress Xue was hidden at the bottom of a horse cart, while Gu Beiyue was tied up, stuffed into a burlap sack, and secured to the back of a horse. To outsiders, he looked like nothing more than a big parcel.
Chu Yunyi was no fool. After his first time giving Gu Beiyue medicine to treat his wounds, he withheld all treatments from him thereafter. He knew Gu Beiyue’s skills were formidable enough to heal himself within a short time. Once he recovered from his injuries, it would be all too easy for him to escape. During their journey, he refused to provide Gu Beiyue with rations, only feeding him grains soaked in cold water everyday. This was enough to preserve his life without starving him to death. Although Gu Beiyue was already weak to begin with, Chu Yunyi still feared him. He dreaded the possibility of that man slipping away!
They were walking in the wilderness when the guard in charge of Gu Beiyue spoke up. “Clan Head, this man hasn’t moved an inch since last night. Could he be dead?”
Gu Beiyue might be sickly, but how could he die so easily? From what Chu Yunyi knew of Gu Beiyue, there simply had to be a plot afoot. However, when Gu Beiyue still hadn’t budged by nighttime, Chu Yunyi finally began to grow alarmed.
If Gu Beiyue is dead, how am I supposed to threaten Long Feiye and Han Yunxi?
He hastily opened the burlap sack and found Gu Beiyue curled into a ball inside as if frozen stiff. He didn’t move when Chu Yunyi ripped off his fake beard to reveal his ashen white face. It looked quiet and calm, a gentle, soothing visage that resembled a sleeping child’s. But that expression tugged at his heartstrings, for it looked like he’d never wake up again…
Chu Yunyi tested Gu Beiyue’s breathing by holding a finger under his nose, only to discover there wasn’t a hint of movement.
He was dead!
Chu Yunyi panicked. He checked once more; without warning, Gu Beiyue took that chance to spit a needle out of his mouth. Chu Yunyi tried to duck in alarm, but he was too slow, and the needle plunged into his eye!
“AhhHHHHHh!” Chu Yunyi screamed as he staggered back. He was in so much pain that he instinctively covered his eye, but this only served to drive the needle deeper into his flesh. Immediately, fresh blood came pouring from the wound!
Gu Beiyue opened his eyes and glared icily at Chu Yunyi before a scornful smirk rose on his lips. Even while disdaining others, he was always so breezy and carefree…
He had been brewing ideas to kill Chu Yunyi with a single needle, but missed the space between his eyebrows---and thus his brain---by just a smidgen. For the sake of this needle, he’d sacrificed much, yet he didn’t regret the present results. All he did was smile lightly and contemptuously at Chu Yunyi. This wound would prove fatal, as well! How could an archer aim while blinded in one eye?
Chu Yunyi had been crippled…
When Chu Yunyi saw Gu Beiyue’s smile through his remaining eye, he angrily kicked the man until he fell off the horse.
“Someone come, call for a doctor, quick!” his angry roars filled the air. He knew that his eye was important to his livelihood. Like a crazed beast, he cradled his injury and spun around in circles. His eye was in agony from the needle!
I’m going to go blind! What can I do now?
How can I shoot any arrows with a blind eye? How can I still be the Nether Clan Head?
“Doctor! Someone! Hurry and find a doctor! Quick!”
His loud ravings alarmed all the archers around him in silence. Cloud Realm Continent’s most formidable doctor was present within their ranks, but the most compassionate doctor could also be the most merciless executioner! Once a doctor had it in his mind to kill, he could become the world’s most frightening murderer! They were all too familiar with a body’s vital points.
Where can we find another doctor in this wilderness?
Finally, a brave archer came forth and said, “Clan Head, there’s still a day and night of travel before we reach the closest town. Why don’t…” He wanted to suggest that rather than sending for a doctor, Chu Yunyi should go find one himself.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get to finish his sentence before Chu Yunyi turned to glare at him. Blood was pouring from his eye, and that sight, combined with his vicious stare, bloodied face, and disheveled hair. made him seem like some sort of demonic fiend.
The archer quickly retreated in silence. Still, his words were enough to drive reason into Chu Yunyi’s crazed thoughts. He couldn’t leave his party while Empress Xue and Gu Beiyue were within their grasp, but Gu Beiyue was a doctor himself! He ran like a man possessed towards Gu Beiyue, nearly crushing the man’s chest beneath his foot, but he managed to hold himself back. One hand hauled Gu Beiyue to his feet as he roared, “Gu Beiyue, treat me immediately or your life is forfeit!”
Gu Beiyue’s body was very weak. He was only able to spit out that needle after sealing up one of his body’s meridians to simulate death. He’d been playing dead for one day and one night---the absolute limit for a human body. From a medical standpoint, playing dead like this was akin to a real death, so he would have perished if he had stayed there any longer. This was a medical technique that went against Heaven’s law and cast heavy retribution on its user. The effect on his already-weakened body was like adding frost to snow.
Despite this, he was still smiling---not a self-deprecating grin, or a conceited smirk, nor a crazed sneer or savage leer. He’d even lost the disdainful air to his lips and was simply smiling faintly, rendering him completely unreadable. Perhaps he may have been so tranquil and indifferent for the rest of his life if he had never met her.
His white clothes were covered in blood, his body exhausted without even the strength to stand, yet he didn’t look half-dead or pitiful at all. Instead, it was Chu Yunyi who found himself the weaker party despite his flare and bluster.
“What are you smiling about?”
“Gu Beiyue, our Nether Clan never mistreated you. Why did you repay our kindness with treachery?”
“Gu Beiyue! Do you hear me? Speak! Are you going to treat me or not?” Chu Yunyi had Gu Beiyue by the collar as he jostled the man, completely ruining his dignity and demeanor as the head of an entire clan. “I’ll kill you!” Chu Yunyi reached for an arrow and aimed it at Gu Beiyue’s heart, but Gu Beiyue spoke up.
“Give me medicine so I can treat my wounds. Otherwise, I promise no medicine will save you!”
“Heal my eye first!” Chu Yunyi shouted in reply.
“You only have two options. Either give me medicine...or kill me,” Gu Beiyue intoned.
Chu Yunyi screamed in rage before he finally had to ask, “Will you treat my eye, or not?”
“I’ll treat your eye after I’ve recovered. If I don’t get well, you’ll have no choice but to lose that eye,” Gu Beiyue stated. “It’ll be useless, even if you invite the head of the medical academy to help you.”
“You!” Chu Yunyi felt stifled. Nevertheless, he had no choice but to deliver the medicine as requested. There was only Jinchuang Medicine, but Gu Beiyue wasn’t concerned. Chu Yunyi knew that the longer he left his injury untreated, the more dangerous it would become. Surely the man would find him better medicine without even being asked.
By the time they reached the town, Chu Yunyi immediately set off to find a doctor, but they were powerless to heal his wound. They could only treat the surface injury and cover it with cloth, declaring that he would go blind in his right eye. Chu Yunyi had no choice but to accept Gu Beiyue’s terms. As the man had predicted, he hastily prepared a pile of precious ingredients for him.
Chu Yunyi had thought that Gu Beiyue would recover quickly and set up strict guards to prevent the prisoner’s escape, but this time, his injuries were dire. His wounds were refusing to close. Whether this was reality or a part of Gu Beiyue’s schemes, Chu Yunyi couldn’t tell. As far as he knew, the man had no motivation to fool him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Reuploaded with Edits: 12/12/2020