Lady Lianxin’s voice was low and flirtatious. “Head Elder, Lianxin thinks this is just all hearsay spread by that Wang Clan! For the sake of collaborating with Pill Fiend Pharmacy, they cut off contracts with Cloud Realm Trade Consortium on purpose. Now they’re even denouncing them on false charges. Hmph, they must have gotten some benefits from Pill Fiend Pharmacy!”
Lady Lianxin never stopped thinking about the welfare of the Mu Clan! To ensure that they would rise to glory once more, the current Council of Elders in Medicine City had to lose its power; they were nothing more than a tool for the Wang Clan to rule the city. She had hinted as much to Head Elder Ling, but as a woman with no backing behind her name, she couldn’t just imply and whisper things for the rest of her life and expect to get results.
Head Elder Ling silently broke free of her hand, his focus completely on Chu Qingge — or to be more precise, the baby she was holding in her arms. He had his own motives for agreeing to the early labor and looking after the baby during its first month. Chu Qingge had told the rest of the world that she had her baby early because of an unfortunate stumble. Fortunately, a nameless divine doctor had been on hand to save both her and the baby. Thus, Head Elder Ling and Lady Lianxin had a perfectly justified excuse for hanging around. They had remained incognito to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. After taking care of the child each day, he would return to his reports and send them to the medical academy. The academy head was in the midst of research and needed updates regarding the status of their patient.
Lady Lianxin was quite unhappy when Head Elder Ling shook her off. She had agreed to help the Chu Clan invite Head Elder Ling here, believing the Chu could help her get revenge against Han Yunxi and the rest, while she could speak to Head Elder Ling in private for the sake of the Mu Clan. After all, they were old friends, so the man should afford to lend her an ear. Who knew that he would ignore her outright!
Lady Lianxin wanted to take Head Elder Ling’s hand again, but he walked out the door and turned the corner, forcing her to chase him all the way to his room. It seemed like the man was absorbed in some problem, his heart vexed by his thoughts. Today, he used a certain medicine on the crown prince that should have shown effects by now, but nothing about the baby had changed. Flummoxed as he was, he could only write a letter to the medical academy head to report the situation.
But before he could shut the door, Lady Lianxin stopped it with her hand, finally getting his attention.
“What do you want?” he asked impatiently.
“Head Elder, it’s still early. Aren’t you going to invite me in for a cup of tea?” Lady Lianxin asked seductively.
Head Elder Ling naturally knew what she was aiming at, but he was much more interested in medicine than women. Moreover, he’d played with the one in front of his door already.
“Why aren’t you going to look after the crown prince? If anything happens to him, you’ll be the one at fault!” he scolded sternly.
Lady Lianxin felt disgruntled, but hid her feelings as her palm slid from the door to Head Elder Ling’s hand. “Head Elder, Lianxin has things to discuss with you.”
Head Elder Ling was out of patience. He slapped her hand away and reprimanded, “What kind of wiles are you trying on me at your age? Why aren’t you leaving yet?”
Stunned, Lady Lianxin could only stand blankly by the door as Head Elder Ling slammed it in her face. When they were sleeping together in the past, Head Elder Ling had been the one pleading at her door instead! But now…
Feeling aggrieved, Lady Lianxin’s eyes grew red before she quietly cursed. “Old dog! You better not have a day when you’re begging me for favors!”
Lady Lianxin was assisting Head Elder Ling in his treatments this time, so of course she knew he was doing experiments on the premature crown prince. She decided to wait a few days before revisiting the matter of Medicine City. If he refused to chat, she didn’t mind threatening him with knowledge about his experiments! In any case, she had already risked everything. Now that she’d lost her favor with the ‘old dogs’ of the medical academy, she’d be nothing in her position unless she revived the Mu Clan again. After all, her medical skills were that of a trifling Divine Doctor at best. Securing a spot on Medical City’s Council of Elders would offend no shortage of people!
Plenty of them were waiting to see her become a laughingstock, or planning to throw rocks at her in the well; others were eager to cut off all contact and stomp on her instead. Lady Lianxin silently made her decision before slipping away. She had no idea that Gu Qishao was staring at her from a nearby rooftop, or that he’d witnessed the entire exchange between her and Head Elder Ling just then.
“Old dog? Heheh!” Gu Qishao’s unruly gaze flickered wickedly. He had been in hiding for days now, and was determined to maintain his vigil as he broke into a cold chuckle. Like a hunter, he seemed to be waiting for something…
As the night grew darker, silence settled over the imperial palace. At this moment, a dark figure darted past the walls and vanished behind Chu Qingge’s palace. Lady Lianxin was already there, looking after the crown prince. Chu Qingge herself had dragged her tired body to soak in the hot springs, where she sat resting against a wall. The torments of her body couldn’t be compared to the anguish in her mind. As the time for her revenge drew closer, the discordance within her heart ran wild. Over the past few days, she needed nightly soaks in the hot springs just to calm herself down.
Suddenly, a dark figure landed on the ground---that of a tall man dressed in black robes which outlined his excellent physique. He stood in the shadows like a lord of darkness, mysterious and aloof. Chu Qingge knew martial arts as well, so she naturally sensed his presence. As she glanced hazily at the figure, she suddenly grew excited and stood up in the water with a cry. “Feiye!”
At the same second, the man kicked up a spray of water. It wasn’t clear whether he was trying to cover her naked form or block his own view of the sight. In a cold voice, he said, “Restrain your romantic fancies. Don’t sully the eyes of this clan head!”
His voice was very similar to Long Feiye’s, but Chu Qingge had already regained her senses and plopped back into the water. When she looked up at the man towering above her, then at the bronze gauze mask covering his nose and face, she saw a pair of handsome eyes staring haughtily back, as if no woman could ever catch his attention. She wasn’t interested in him, anyway, since he was hardly worthy of her. Chu Qingge only sighed lightly and said, “I mistook you again. In the end, you’re still not him.”
This man and Long Feiye were truly very similar---both proud, cold types. But this was an extremely frivolous man, while Long Feiye was more restrained. He didn’t seem to like being compared to Long Feiye, because he kicked up a second spray of water that formed themselves into arrows to shoot past Chu Qingge.
It was a warning.
Finally, Chu Qingge broke free of her reverie. She simply stood straight up, forcing the man to turn aside without a second glance. After she put on her clothes, she smiled coldly and said, “So many people want to see my body, but here you are playing the gentleman.”
Before she got married, scores of men lusted after her, and they lined up in droves before the Chu Clan’s door to propose. Even after marrying Emperor Tianhui, there were enough men who still wanted to seduce her in this dirty court.
The man didn’t answer, but instead prepared to leave. Chu Qingge quickly called him back. “Fine, I’ll stop fooling around with you!”
Despite her promises, the man continued to depart, forcing Chu Qingge to use her lightness techniques to catch up with him. “Witch Aunt told me a new piece of news today!”
The man paused, then leapt into a nearby tree. Chu Qingge caught up and murmured, “Gu Beiyue’s in their hands.”
“What?” the man turned back in alarm.
“Tianning’s former top imperial physician, and head of the Imperial Physician Courtyard, now known as Pill Fiend Pharmacy’s Doctor Gu — Gu Beiyue — is in my uncle’s hands,” Chu Qingge elaborated.
“How did that happen?” the man demanded.
“I’ve asked about it in detail, but Witch Aunt isn’t sure. Perhaps my uncle intentionally sent men out to capture him. Gu Beiyue has a significant relationship with Han Yunxi,” Chu Qingge said.
“Significant relationship? Would that be enough to keep Long Feiye in check?” the man asked scornfully.
Although Chu Qingge didn’t want to admit it, she had yet to make an objective analysis. “It’s enough! Because anything that can keep Han Yunxi in check will keep Long Feiye in check as well!”
A complicated look flashed across the man’s gaze. “How could a trifling doctor have any relation to Han Yunxi?”
“You have to believe that my uncle won’t capture people without a reason!” Chu Qingge said with a harsh laugh.
That was enough to convince the man, who declared, “I understand!”
He prepared to march away after that, but Chu Qingge stopped him again. “I’ve told you everything I know. Don’t forget the thing you promised me!”
The man didn’t turn back, but waved a hand to indicate that she should return.
“Don’t forget!” Chu Qingge reminded him one more time. She watched until his silhouette vanished before leaving herself.
This man was none other than the head of the Di Clan, Ning Cheng! Chu Qingge might have forced her father to fulfill her revenge plans and kill Han Yunxi, but after her uncle had given up on her brother, she realized that her father couldn’t call the shots. When she was in the midst of giving up, the Di Clan’s leader Ning Cheng came calling to tell her about everything. Despite living for so long and doing so much for the Chu Clan, she had only found out about her family’s secret as the Nether Clan just recently. Moreover, they weren’t traitors to the West Qin imperial clan; they simply faked the murder of its “imperial son.” The Nether Clan head had told the truth to the Di Clan, and the West Qin imperial family could still have survivors. Moreover, he’d revealed yet another massive secret: The princess of the West Qin royal family always had a phoenix birthmark on their backs. Because of that, the loyal Di Clan agreed to work with the Nether Clan, all to unite the kingdom and revive West Qin!
But Ning Cheng could tell that the Nether Clan head, Chu Yunyi, had long since lost any reverence for the royal family. He wanted to borrow the heir’s name and amass his own power and influence. Thus, Ning Cheng met a plot with a plot and decided to eliminate the Chu Clan once Tianning and Western Zhou were under their control! Chu Qingge was very surprised that Ning Cheng would seek her out, of all people, but she knew that he’d found the right woman.
Next to Han Yunxi, the one thing she hated the most was the Chu Clan! Ning Cheng had even promised to help her capture Han Yunxi and eliminate her clan, thus granting her freedom. Why wouldn’t she help him when she could?
Chu Qingge returned to the hot springs, shed her clothing, and resumed her soak. She stared up at the bright moon in the sky and muttered to herself, “Han Yunxi, we’ll be able to meet again very soon…”
Tonight was the 15th. A few days later, once the three armies started moving, war would begin! Chu Qingge was anticipating Ning Cheng’s return in triumph!
Reuploaded with edits: 10/10/2021