Gu Beiyue wasn’t groggy when he woke, but seemed more like someone who had been pretending to be unconscious the entire time. His eyes were clear and alert, and he wasn’t surprised by the sight of Long Feiye looking down on him. Neither did he panic. If anything, he seemed to have let Long Feiye see he was conscious on purpose.
Long Feiye was as expressionless as ever, but his cold eyes took on a thoughtful sheen. He simply looked at Gu Beiyue without saying a word. Lil Thing, on the other hand, was stunned to discover his gentleman had been faking it. Was it too distracted to notice? It hadn’t realized the deception at all.
But it was good that the gentleman was awake! It was thrilled enough to wake up Mama Yunxi, but the gentleman’s look silenced him. Perhaps it had stayed with this man for too long or loved him too well, but it could always accurately guess his intentions with even a single glance. In Lil Thing’s eyes, nobody treated Mama Yunxi as good as the gentleman in this world, not even how it treated him. As for Papa Long, hehe, he was still under observation at the moment. The gentleman must have his reasons for hiding this for Mama Yunxi, and it trusted him.
Lil Thing silently returned to the gentleman’s side and burrowed its head into his palm to express its pleased surprised. But somehow, it started crying instead, wetting the gentleman’s hand with tears. Gu Beiyue felt the damp, warm sensation in his palms and put on a compassionate smile. He lightly curled his fingers to cradled Lil Thing, who snuggled up in contentment. Long Feiye glanced at the sight and raised his lips in a mocking smile. He still owed Lil Thing a hug, but the creature had probably forgotten about it already.
He was long aware that Gu Beiyue was faking his coma, but didn’t ask any questions. His face betrayed nothing as he withdrew his hand and looked away. Gu Beiyue wasn’t surprised by this, but closed his eyes anew. Han Yunxi slept on while the two men came to a tacit understanding. There were some things that simply couldn’t be discussed in front of Han Yunxi. If Long Feiye could realize that, why wouldn’t Gu Beiyue? This was their silent, secret agreement.
Back at the Thousand Buddha Cave, Gu Beiyue had guessed the masked intruders were Long Feiye’s group even without seeing their faces. He also recognized the man’s golden whip. Although Long Feiye was busy fighting off his attackers, he had observed Gu Beiyue as well. Now that Gu Beiyue was in Long Feiye’s hands with his shoulder and leg wounds exposed, he knew he couldn’t hide his identity anymore.
The carriage traveled overnight without rest until they finally reached Long Feiye’s side courtyard in Yaoshui Prefecture near noon the next day. Xu Donglin had already arrived ahead of time to make arrangements, so the place was full of doctors. Han Yunxi immediately organized a medical consultation with them all. A few of their diagnoses left Gu Beiyue secretly laughing at their naive views. He was very clear on his condition. If even he couldn’t cure this, who could? He only laughed helplessly in his heart with a calm mind as he allowed the doctors to inspect him. There was no sign of irritation or impatience from him at all.
After some heated discussion, the consultation ended with inconclusive results. The only two points that the doctors agreed on were 1) Gu Beiyue’s leg wound was impossible to cure without a miracle, so the best thing to do was to keep it from getting any worse and 2) Gu Beiyue’s body was too weak and couldn’t take any strong medicines. Only gentle and mild concoctions were suitable to heal him slowly over time.
To Han Yunxi, they might as well have said nothing at all. She angrily chased them all away and waited for the Dragontendon Powder to come from Medicine City instead. It was the best remedy for bone and muscle injuries, at least enough to stop the wound from getting worse until Third Elder Shen arrived. Fortunately, the powder came that very afternoon. It was controlled by the Council of Elders and not widespread, so Han Yunxi and Long Feiye never would have gotten their hands on it so quickly by the usual channels. It was attached to the leg of a messenger hawk along with a letter. One tiny bag was enough for Gu Beiyue to use for a long time. As soon as Han Yunxi got her hands on it, she went to adjust the intake herself.
Once she left the room, Long Feiye stopped brewing tea at the table and stood up to walk to the bed. He stood there with his hands clasped behind his back and said coldly, “You can wake up now.”
Gu Beiyue immediately opened his eyes with a pallid smile. He was neither defensive, affected, surprised, nor nervous. The cool serenity in his eyes could never been disturbed except in the face of the woman he had to protect or himself. Only then would a myriad of emotions flit through their depths. His gentle gaze was enough to intoxicate Lil Thing watching from the side. Long Feiye’s eyes flashed briefly with admiration. Despite his weakness, Gu Beiyue was a man through and through.
“You should be clear that your leg is crippled now,” he said coldly.
“Yes,” Gu Beiyue replied simply. “The shadow arts are gone, too.”
Before Long Feiye had asked any questions, he had already verified his identity. Not surprised by the reveal, Long Feiye only asked, “Was it you at the Skypit that time? And you who rescued Han Yunxi from Jun Yixie’s hands?”
He wanted concrete answers, but when Gu Beiyue said ‘yes,’ Long Feiye grew more restless and asked, “Why?”
Why did you get close to Han Yunxi in the Skypit and protect her? You clearly vanished after we entered the secret room, but how did you know Jun Yixie kidnapped Han Yunxi? Why did you risk your own life to save hers?
If Gu Beiyue wasn’t part of the Shadow Clan, Long Feiye would only assume that the white-robed man was aiming for the poison beast by getting closer to Han Yunxi. But since both roles were one and the same, then Gu Beiyue’s previous actions were suspicious. He might have gotten close to Han Yunxi long before the Skypit for other reasons, then worked his way into a position at Pill Fiend Pharmacy!
What did Gu Beiyue know? What was he trying to protect? What about his connections with the Nether and Di Clans? Did they know something? And just what were Gu Beiyue’s goals? He had known Han Yunxi for so long, but had yet to act against her for anything.
Long Feiye considered many different questions, but didn’t act rashly to startle the snake in the grass. After all, no one else in the world knew what Mute Granny had told him, even Gu Qishao. He creased his brows and waited for Gu Beiyue’s answer.
Suddenly, the door opened and stole his words away. It was Han Yunxi who had come in, and she realized what was up as soon as she saw Long Feiye by the bed.
“Doctor Gu’s awake?” she rushed over and saw Gu Beiyue smiling faintly as if he’d just woken from a nap.
Originally, Gu Beiyue wanted to clear accounts with Long Feiye first before regaining ‘consciousness,’ but now he had no choice but to face this woman. His words weren’t self-abasing, but modest all the same. “Esteemed wangfei, I’m sorry for being unable to greet you properly. Please pardon the slight.”
“What are you saying?!” Han Yunxi was anxious. She didn’t even ask how he’d been kidnapped, but cried, “You can still save your leg, right? What kind of medicines do you need, I’ll send people to find them right away! This is Dragontendon Powder. I’ve already measured it all out. Do you just daub it on or do I have to do something specific? Maybe use it with a hot compress? Or combine it with acupuncture and moxibustion?”
“Many thanks to esteemed wangfei for your care,” Gu Beiyue was still well-mannered as before, “This one can simply apply the medicine myself.”
Han Yunxi had already told Gu Beiyue multiple times not to be so polite, but all he did was nod his head and be just as formal the next time they spoke. She was too lazy to fuss with him over such details now and just went with the flow.
“Your shoulder’s still injured. How are you supposed to apply medicine like that? Suppose you tear the wound? How many days would it take you to heal then?” Han Yunxi asked with knitted brows. Before Gu Beiyue could reply, she was already sitting on the edge of the bed and ordering him about. “Don’t move about!”
She began to carefully treat the wound since applying medicine ASAP was paramount. Gu Beiuye’s eyes flashed with helplessness, but he didn’t refuse her advances. His shoulder wound was a complete stab injury, but most of the insides had healed. All that was left was the entrance and exit wounds. A few doctors had already taken care of it, cleaning out the traces of old medicine with new---a simple enough task.
His leg wound, on the other hand, had remnants of old medicine as well. But it was hard to clean that out because of the severity of the wound. It was not only deep, but liable to cause him pain if one wasn’t careful. That kind of agony was unimaginable by ordinary standards. Han Yunxi was worried that he’d hurt because she always shielded the people that she favored. Although she was a doctor herself, she knew that treating any sort of wound would cause pain. Even with anesthetics in place, the pain would come once the medicine wore off. She wasn’t a well-mannered doctor either, and often scolded her patients if they yeled and screamed.
But when faced with Gu Beiyue, she was actually worried that he’d suffer. Of course, compared to touching a sore spot, there was the real risk of tearing at his already damaged injury. Han Yunxi’s serious, professional, and focused gaze rested on Gu Beiyue’s leg in the silent room. Her eyebrows were tightly creased, making her look extremely stern.
Seeing this, Gu Beiyue felt the urge to reach out with his hand and smooth out her forehead, then tell her It’s alright, an injury’s just an injury. As long as I’m stlll alive, I can still protect you. He loved her when she looked so serious, but hated it when she was looking at his wounds with that same expression.
Despite this, he had to endure it.
Abruptly, a large hand reached over and broke Gu Beiyue’s train of thought. It was Long Feiye. He was standing right on one side, his large hand smoothing out Han Yunxi’s wrinkled brows in a motion that was neither soft nor tender, but even a little unhappy.
“Rest, I’ll do it,” he said coldly.
His giant jar of vinegar had finally overturned. It had been a long time. How could he ever let Han Yunxi appy medicine for another man right under his eyes? Moreover, that man was Gu Beiyue.
Han Yunxi’s hand shook slightly before she remarked, “The wound is very deep.”
She was hinting that Long Feiye wouldn’t be able to treat the wound. But he insisted back, “I’ve treated ones even deeper than this. I’ll do it.”
He was domineering enough to simply snatch the medicine from Han Yunxi’s hands. She knew him too well and had witnessed Gu Qishao’s previous experiences to knew they’d only end up fighting if they persisted. With Gu Beiyue’s modest and courteous personality, he should have spoke up to relent first. But this time he kept quiet to wait.
Would Han Yunxi relent?