Long Feiye’s soldiers were at Yaoshui Prefecture and could ally with Western Zhou’s forces at any time to launch a pincer attack on Fenglin Prefecture, thus winning the city even if Ning Cheng added reinforcements. The Chu Clan’s choice must have offended him along with Ning Cheng’s behavior today. Just how was he going to deal with them both?
The choice laid within his own heart, so Han Yunxi had no idea. She wasn’t in a mood to ask either, because she was completely preoccupied with Gu Beiyue’s injury. As soon as they left the city, Han Yunxi summoned her guard Xu Donglin. “Hurry and send a flying hawk message to Medical City and get someone to escort Third Elder Shen here. Just tell him that Doctor Gu’s knee joint tendons have been torn and left untreated for a long time, worsening the injury. Please have him hurry to Yaoshui Prefecture as soon as he can.”
Once Xu Donglin left, Han Yunxi next told another guard, “Get a message to Medicine City’s Wang Gong and say I need the best Dragontendon Powder he has as quickly as possible at Yaoshui Prefecture. And also, send someone to Yaoshui Prefecture first to gather up all its doctors at our side estate to wait.”
Long Feiye kept silent the entire time while Tang Li stole looks at his face. Seeing him still calm, he glanced back at the unconscious Gu Beiyue and sighed with emotion. This couldn’t be just a coincidence, right? If he was only slightly certain before, now both he and Long Feiye were certain that Gu Beiyue was the Shadow Clan man---the same one who was captured by Chu Yunyi that day at Thousand Buddha Cave. His shoulder and leg wounds were the proof!
Han Yunxi had been too busy gathering the Wood of Ten Thousand Poisons to notice, but he and Long Feiye had both spotted the arrow sticking out of the bearded man’s chest on that day. Although Tang Li had suspected Han Yunxi’s connections with the West Qin Dynasty all along, he didn’t dare speculate any further anymore. Was Gu Beiyue really just aiming for the poison beast when he went to the Skypit? Did he really have no other motives for taking up a post at Pill Fiend Pharmacy? Tang Li’s thoughts wandered as he kept darting glances at Long Feiye. He couldn’t help but recall Mute Granny. Just what had she talked with Long Feiye in that secret room? Why did she kill herself afterwards? Just what is Long Feiye hiding, even from his own cousin?
Both Long Feiye and Tang Li’s unusual silence were overlooked by Han Yunxi in the midst of her worries. After they got into the carriage, Han Yunxi suddenly remembered Gu Qishao and Mu Linger. Mu Linger had to be at Pill Fiend Pharmacy, while Gu Qishao had said he was going to Western Liang and never came back. She didn’t even know if she could reach him. But no matter what, she wanted to try. Immediately, she sent people to contact them both. Mu Linger was a genius pharmacist, while Gu Qishao was Pill Fiend. Perhaps they might know of some miracle pills to heal bones and save Gu Beiyue’s leg. Fortunately, the carriage was wide enough for Gu Beiyue to lie down, but he ended up taking two seats. Tang Li proactively chose to sit outside with the driver.
The carriage galloped away to the south. From Fenglin to Yaoshui was a single day’s worth of traveling. It was hard to find any doctors or medicine during times of strife, but Han Yunxi didn’t touch Gu Beiyue’s injury during the entire trip. She was hopeless at treating wounds like his, so she couldn’t afford to act recklessly. She could only let him sleep for now.
Despite being in sore straits, Gu Beiyue’s face was as clean as ever. He only looked like he was asleep, his expression as gentle and warm as always. Lil Thing carefully lowered its head to lick away the blood by his wounds, glancing intermittently at his gentleman. Many times, it stopped to scamper over to his nose and check if he was still breathing. Lil Thing was deathly afraid that the gentleman would suddenly stop and never wake up again.
Han Yunxi remembered Gu Beiyue’s April breeze smile at Lil Thing’s actions as she reminiscenced over the past. She remembered how well the man had treated her, Lil Thing, and all the patients who’d sought him for aid and felt her eyes stinging. How could someone so good be crippled just like that? It’s too cruel.
She coldly declared, “Long Feiye, we have to get revenge!”
“We’ll do everything,” Long Feiye replied mildly. Whether it was the Chu Clan, Ning Cheng, the mobilization of the three armies of the decision of the Chu Clan leaders, he would settle each and every account. By his calculations, the Chu Clan and Ning Cheng would be in big trouble 10 days from now. He wasn’t planning to send troops to Fenglin Prefecture or fight over Tianning with Ning Cheng. Still, that didn’t mean the war was over. As long as he stayed in Yaoshui Prefecture in the western regions, nothing would be finished.
Both husband and wife were preoccupied with their own thoughts the whole way home. Tang Li debated with himself for a bit before he finally asked, “Big bro, how did you know that sister-in-law’s needle wasn’t coming to kill you?”
Tang Li didn’t want to consider the possibility, but he had to for Long Feiye’s sake. If Han Yunxi really was the West Qin imperial heir, then that would make her an enemy to the Tang Clan, East Qin, and Long Feiye himself. The current Han Yunxi didn’t know any martial arts, but she could easily kill Long Feiye at any time. Tang Li had no choice but to be prudent.
Actually, this wasn’t the first time that Long Feiye had exposed his back to this woman. If he really died by her hands, then Long Feiye….was willing to accept that! He ignored Tang Li’s question and didn’t answer. Han Yunxi couldn’t see the tense set of Tang Li’s brows past the hanging door curtain and answered in his place.
“Because your big bro trusts me.”
She knew that Ning Cheng had spiked the wine as soon as she entered the pavilion. Distiller’s Grain #7 was an ingredient used in the fermentation process but also useful for making poisons. It was commonly seen in both hard liquor and poisons, so she hadn’t paid it any mind and only assumed that Ning Cheng had a good tolerance for alcohol. She only realized his true intentions after he challenged Long Feiye to a drinking contest. But it was simple enough for her to combat the effects of the grain with a single needle. She never worried whether Long Feiye would dodge the blow despite knowing he could sense it ahead of time.
He trusted her…
“Heheh, then if my big bro points a sword at you one day, will you trust him?” Tang Li asked.
Long Feiye looked up as soon as he spoke. Even with the curtains between them, his gaze was piercing enough to send fear into Tang Li’s heart!
Han Yunxi didn’t respond directly, but simply stated, “He wouldn’t lie to me.”
Last time, Long Feiye had asked her the same question when they were coming back from Pill Fiend Valley to Tianning. Did she trust him?
She had said she did, but if he lied to her once, she’d take it as 100 times. Who would ever trust anyone after 100 lies? Obviously no one. So as long as he lies to her once, she would never trust him again!
A complicated look flitted past Long Feiye’s eyes before his gaze trailed down to Gu Beiyue again. Again he kept silent, but Tang Li couldn’t help but ask next, “Sister-in-law, suppose that---”
“Meddlesome!” Long Feiye cut him off coldly, his voice so icy that even Han Yunxi felt a chill. She knew he didn’t like to talk about topics like these, much less her and Tang Li. But unlike her, Tang Li caught the trace of warning in his tone.
He quickly changed to a joking tone and teased, “Sister-in-law, I don’t know whether you trust my big bro or not, but he definitely trusts you. Otherwise, why would he have no objections to you fussing so much over Gu Beiyue?”
What’s there to object about when Gu Beiyue’s already so seriously injured? Wasn’t he captured because of us in the first place? Otherwise, he would have been perfectly fine.
If Long Feiye was eating vinegar from something like this, she’d definitely accuse him of purposely causing a fuss. And in fact, Long Feiye wasn’t feeling jealous this time. The threat of Han Yunxi’s birth origins being exposed was probably the only thing that could keep his vinegar at bay. In the end, no one acknowledged Tang Li’s joke and left him hanging for a response. He couldn’t help but find the entire atmosphere strange, making his heart restless. Did I ask too many questions and offend Long Feiye?
Their group hadn’t done anything to hide themselves recently, so their whereabouts were clear as day. Intel would travel quickly to the Tang Clan, and his father and Aunt Ru would definitely come looking for them. He would need to depend on Long Feiye to protect him then. Afraid that he’d said too much, Tang Li shut up. Still, he wanted to find another chance to speak with Long Feiye in private. He was certain that his big bro had found out about something.
Once silence resumed, Han Yunxi leaned gently against Long Feiye’s shoulder and finally caught the whiff of alcohol coming off his body. Although she’d used a needle on him, it only took care of the Distiller’s Grain, not the alcohol itself. Long Feiye had drank quite a lot, but remained sober without reeking of drink. Han Yunxi disliked the smell of wine, but she was fine with his. She even took a few extra sniffs.
“So it turns out you had excellent alcohol tolerance,” she remarked.
Drinking tea was a solitary habit, while drinking wine fit the mood of a pair. Tea calmed the hearts for deep thoughts, while wine freed the inhibitions to wild abandon. Pouring wine for solitary pleasures or raising glasses to propose a toast were both activities Long Feiye had no time to enjoy. In fact, he’d only drank wine with Medicine City’s Wang Gong and his master in Celestial Mountain. His recent bout with Gu Qishao couldn’t count as drinking at all.
To Han Yunxi’s comment, he only replied, “You’re not allowed to touch any wine without your lordship’s presence!”
Years ago, Princess Changping’s Plum Blossom Meet had forced Han Yunxi to compete in drinking against two men. She narrowly avoided falling into Princess Changping and Murong Wanru’s trap. He had been observing her movements even then, but didn’t care enough at the time to act beyond a disinterested observer. Now the memory only brought him fear in hindsight.
“Don’t worry, I’m not interested in wine,” Han Yunxi agreed easily.
As night fell on their southward journey, Han Yunxi leaned against Long Feiye to sleep. Only then did he reach out a hand towards Gu Beiyue. Lil Thing grew alert at the action and immediately bared its fangs in warning once it realized Mama Yunxi was asleep. He could sense that Papa Long didn’t like the gentleman. Long Feiye ignored him and kept reaching forward with his large hand, alarming Lil Thing. It was about to call Mama Yunxi awake when it saw him simply taking the gentleman’s wrist to check his pulse. Lil Thing immediately understood his actions and docilely nestled back against the gentleman’s side. Papa Long was a martial artist, so he should be able to tell that the gentleman’s martial arts skills were all ruined now, and that his dantian had been shattered.
Indeed, Long Feiye discovered this fact as soon as he took Gu Beiyue’s pulse. It also allowed him to confirm his identity for good. Silently, he released the man just as Gu Beiyue’s eyelids fluttered open...