Gu Beiyue didn’t need anyone’s sympathy for his injuries. Being neither haughty nor humble, he persisted in his views with an ashen face. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, the Nether Clan’s Chu Family is overwhelmingly ambitious. Their claims to revive the West Qin Dynasty are only a pretense to fulfill their own desires for power. My Shadow Clan is much different from such savage wolves! Moreover, there’s only one member of the clan left, so even if we wanted to, we couldn’t do a thing.”
Long Feiye’s lips curved up in a mocking lilt as he stared coldly at Gu Beiyue’s outright lies. But the other only maintained his sincerity and replied, “Your Highness Duke of Qin, although the West Qin imperial clan did leave a heir in the past, there’s no guarantee that heir still lives now, much less whether anyone’s found them. They might not even want to revive the dynasty and take revenge. This one may be a member of the Noble Families, but I have no desire nor strength to assist my masters in reviving a nation. I only ask to live my days treating illnesses and healing injuries, living a quiet and peaceful life. If it wasn’t because I had to, I would never have used my shadow arts or revealed my identity.”
Long Feiye was unmoved by his words. His reaction left Gu Beiyue secretly flustered, because this was the first time he was at a loss for what to do. That cold expression made him even more uncertain, but he persisted in his course. Because his explanations all came from the heart--the truest lies that ever were.
“Your Highness isn’t curious about why the Chu Clan’s arrows injured me?” he asked.
Long Feiye couldn’t figure it out either. Even though he was the one to sow discord, Chu Yunyi and Gu Beiyue shouldn’t have been out for each other’s blood at the Thousand Buddha Cave.
“Why?” Long Feiye finally asked.
“Because Chu Yunyi ordered you and wangfei to be killed at Thousand Buddha Cave and I refused him,” Gu Beiyue said simply. His lips rose in a self-mocking grin. “I wanted to take the chance to save you and esteemed wangfei, hehe. But as it turned out, I overestimated my abilities…”
If he had long figured out that the two masked figures in the procession were fakes of Long Feiye and Han Yunxi, he wouldn’t have refused Chu Yunyi’s request at all, much less risk his life to save them. Then he would have avoided becoming the man’s hostage and everything else afterwards. He’d paid a massive sacrifice in a moment of worry and impulse, but he’d never tell Long Feiye such things.
Hearing his words, Long Feiye finally set down his last misgivings. There were too many reasons to show that Gu Beiyue didn’t know Han Yunxi’s identity, but none to prove that he did. Despite all of his suspicions, Long Feiye believed Gu Beiyue’s words this time. Actually, the best way to get rid of his troubles would be to kill Gu Beiyue directly, but he had Han Yunxi to worry about. One dead Mute Granny was already weighing on his heart and mind. If Gu Beiyue died as well, how much more work would he have to do?
He hated hiding things like that!
It was better to keep Gu Beiyue for the time being. He could be an asset to Han Yunxi at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. Without a word, Long Feiye nodded and turned, only for Gu Beiyue to call him back. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, please wait. There’s one that this one doesn’t understand. I don’t know if I can ask for your guidance.”
“Speak,” Long Feiye spoke from by the door.
“How did Your Highness find out that esteemed wangfei was part of the Poison Sect?” Gu Beiyue’s biggest question laid here.
“Lady Lianxin said so. Tianxin was Mu Xin, you should know that already!” Long Feiye shot back.
“So that was it..” Most likely, Lady Lianxin had been backed into a corner at the Grand Medicine Testing Convention and forced to tell Mu Xin’s secret. But neither she nor Mu Yingdong knew of the West Qin imperial clan.
“Your Highness, can you...not tell esteemed wangfei about my matters?” Gu Beiyue knew that Long Feiye trusted him now, so this was simply something extra to set his mind at ease.
“These are your personal matters. They have nothing to do with your lordship,” Long Feiye tossed back a reply before leaving the room. He knew that Gu Beiyue wouldn’t tell her, so he was letting him take the burden for hiding the truth.
So it looks like Long Feiye’s afraid of Han Yunxi too! Gu Beiyue couldn’t help but smile, the warm expression making his ashen face beautiful. He’d never felt so light and free since revealing his shadow arts. He knew that, as long as Long Feiye trusted him, he would be able to stay by Han Yunxi’s side as long as he lived.
His shadow arts were already shot and his leg crippled. No one else knew how he had made it through Ning Cheng’s imprisonment, even he himself. Perhaps he’d forgotten the whole ordeal, or his subconscious had rejected it because of all the suffering he’d endured. He only knew that his chest stopped aching as soon as he saw Han Yunxi’s small and worried face. Without the shadow arts and his legs, she...still had Long Feiye. That should be enough? And I’ll do my best to help her expand Pill Fiend Pharmacy as much as possible…
Just like that, the two men with the clearest knowledge about Han Yunxi’s double origins hid the truth from each other under mutual misunderstandings. But how long could they keep hiding them? And how long would the misunderstanding last? Han Yunxi disliked liars, so how could she show mercy for their white lies, either? A day would come when she realized how much of an idiot she’d been. Not only was she tricked by Long Feiye, but Gu Beiyue and Gu Qishao as well!
Right now, she was still searching medicine for Gu Beiyue’s sake. It was hard to procure materials in the middle of a war and she had limited supplies on her person, so she could only tell Medicine City to deliver the goods. Fortunately, the Wang Clan had everything Gu Beiyue wrote down. The items arrived that very day along with Mu Linger’s reply. She’d given her a miracle ingredient called White Peak Oil. Only Gu Qishao was silent. It was unclear whether he’d missed the flying hawk message or hadn’t bothered to reply. Gu Qishao knew many more miracle drugs than Mu Linger, so he could give suggestions even if he didn’t have any on hand. Han Yunxi gave orders to keep on contacting him.
Gu Beiyue’s complexion improved markedly after 10 days’ worth of treatment, but his leg wound showed no signs of healing. Fortunately, Mu Linger’s White Peak Oil stopped the injury from growing worse. Han Yunxi kept trying to get in touch with Gu Qishao while urging Third Elder Shen to hurry up at the same time.
“Esteemed wangfei, there’s no need to rush the search for medicine. Third Elder Shen will be here in a few days as well,” Gu Beiyue didn’t like to see her fret because she always ended up knitting her brows. Long Feiye didn’t like it either. Like an OCD patient, he’d reach out to silently smooth out her brows whenever they wrinkled over her eyes. He didn’t stop even when the creases disappeared until she removed his hands herself. In the end, it wasn’t clear who was comforting whom, only that Long Feiye never calmed down unless she held his hand first.
Gu Qishao would definitely stare if he was here, but Gu Beiyue chose to avert his eyes. There were some scenes meant for two people alone. Ever since he’d laid his cards on the table for Long Feiye, Gu Beiyue had been doing nothing but attending to his wounds. Long Feiye would only show up if Han Yunxi came to visit, and kept out of his room otherwise. It seemed as if nothing had ever happened between the two men.
“Third Elder Shen still needs five more days before he arrives,” Han Yunxi remarked. Once they left Gu Beiyue, she asked Long Feiye, “What if I made a personal trip to Medicine City?”
“Find Gu Qishao for his opinion first. Let Chu Xifeng go take a trip to West Jing,” Long Feiye replied. Although Han Yunxi was the Pill King’s disciple, she only carried the title and held no real power. If they went to ask the man for help now, they’d be owing him a favor instead. How could he let that happen? The Pill King wasn’t a generous man. Suppose Han Yunxi was forced to stay by his side in exchange---what then?
Damned Gu Qishao. He never shows up when you need him, but he always sticks around when you want to chase him off. Long Feiye’s brows wrinkled at the thought.
“Nothing could have happened to that old fiend, right?” Han Yunxi suddenly exclaimed.
“He can’t die!” Long Feiye’s voice was a little louder than usual, revealing his utter exasperation.
Han Yunxi resentfully shut her mouth. She was already thankful that her husband hadn’t shipped Gu Beiyue back to Southern Ning already. That night, she personally cooked Long Feiye a bowl of cinnamon vine porridge and delivered it to his rooms. He was currently going through a pile of secret missives on his desk, so he only spared her a silent glance when she came in.
“Mending things in wintertime is better than fixing them in spring. This is top tier cinnamon vine from Medicine City, it can restore your energy and vitality,” Han Yunxi said in a low voice. Inexplicably, another year had passed and they were nearing spring again…
Long Feiye patted his leg to indicate that Han Yunxi should set it on the table. But as soon as she drew near, he hooked an arm around her waist and pulled her into a seat. Hugging her from behind, he murmured into her ear, “Your punishment is to spend the night with your lordship.”
She was clear on exactly why he’d used ‘punishment’ of all words, and silently sighed over all the different methods he had for eating vinegar. There were too many meanings hidden in the phrase ‘spend the night’ for her to truly understand what he meant. Perhaps she was a little afraid of knowing the truth as well. “Chenqie accepts her punishment,” she said in the end.
His grip on her tightened significantly after the words, as if blaming her for acting out despite knowing her own crimes. Despite the sudden ache in her waist, her heart was filled with sweetness. He nuzzled against her ear and lightly kissed her ear a few times, seemingly lukewarm yet holding back an almost unbearable passion.
“Drink the porridge and go back to sleep.” In the end, he finally let her go to urge her away. Han Yunxi rose to her feet but didn’t leave. She spooned a mouthful of the soup to his lips.
“I’ll leave after you finish this. Otherwise, I’ll stay here until day breaks.”
He knew that even with her gone, he’d be stuck reading these reports until tomorrow. Even though the fighting had stopped, the situation was still quite delicate. Moreover, he had to make preparations to deal with Ning Cheng which kept him plenty busy.
“You’re threatening your lordship?” Long Feiye arched a brow.
“Yes!” Han Yunxi arched her brows back provokingly. The two of them stared at each other with cold eyes before bursting into grins at the same time.
“You finally smiled, haha!” Han Yunxi crowed in her delight. Even though Long Feiye’s smile was only a tiny curve of his lips, he covered her face with his hands at the comment to purposely block her view.
Han Yunxi removed his hands and said seriously, “Eat. I won’t leave even after you’re finished, but stay with you here.”
Long Feiye had just smoothed out his lips, but now they curved up into a grin again. It was a very faint smile, yet genuine. Han Yunxi carefully flipped through the reports on the western regions. Many developments had happened over the past few days. The Chu Clan took Western Zhou’s Fenglin Prefecture and publicly announced their allegiance with Tianning, while Empress Chu accepted their surrender. Then she condemned Western Zhou’s Emperor Kang Cheng for listening to Empress Xue’s slander and persecuting loyal subjects, thus forcing the Chu Clan to revolt to save themselves. Meanwhile, Ning Cheng transferred Tianning’s troops to the western borders of Fenglin Prefecture, formally taking it as part of Tianning Country territory. The Chu Clan soldiers and Western Zhou’s decades old marriage alliance with Tianning were thus both ripped from their roots!
“Long Feiye, how are you planning to deal with Ning Cheng and the Chu Clan?” Han Yunxi asked seriously.