How would Long Feiye deal with Ning Cheng and the Chu Clan?
He only told Han Yunxi this. “You’ll know in three days’ time.”
“Three days?” Han Yunxi couldn’t figure it out. “We’ll make a move then?”
Long Feiye drank his porridge as he shook his head, making Han Yunxi more puzzled. “You’re not going to take any actions?”
Long Feiye only nodded, but kept silent.
“Say something!” Han Yunxi really felt depressed. There were days when she could count on her fingers the number of words this guy had said.
Long Feiye opened his mouth and said, “This porridge tastes pretty good.”
Han Yunxi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She knew that he had steeled his heart to keep quiet. But this was a question she’d been sitting on for days. Long Feiye had to have a plan if he was staying in Yaoshui Prefecture, but he hadn’t made any overt moves. Though the fighting had stopped, many changes had swept through Cloud Realm Continent’s western regions in the past half month. The Western Zhou emperor was furious that the Chu Clan’s wicked intentions had turned them into ungrateful traitors. He condemned Empress Chu and Ning Cheng for colluding together to commit regicide and usurp the throne, then made friendly overtures to Long Tianmo. He would only accept Tianan Country as the true emperor of Tianning and continue their marriage alliance traditions there.
Long Tianmo had been hoping to befriend Western Zhou as soon as the unrest started so they could converge on Tianning in a pincer attack. He immediately supported Emperor Kang Cheng’s scathing attacks against the Chu Clan and warned that Tianan would send troops if the usurpers didn’t give up the throne. Despite sounding fierce, Emperor Kang Cheng wasn’t really expecting Long Tianmo to go through with his words under these circumstances. Meanwhile, he himself condemned the Chu again and again, demanding them to release Empress Xue. But when the Chu Clan gave their terms, he refused them, so the empress was stuck imprisoned in the military barracks.
Everyone assumed that the two heads of the Chu Clan had decided to do all this, but they had long fallen under Ning Cheng’s thrall. It was unclear who really led the Chu Clan at this point---Ning Cheng, or Chu Tianyi. Emperor Kang Cheng didn’t know these details, so he left his hopes in Long Feiye’s hands. He was waiting for the man to set loose his troops and combine forces with Western Zhou to attack Tianning on three sides. Unfortunately, Long Feiye didn’t budge. The soldiers from his south central regions didn’t make any moves either, but returned to Yaoshui Prefecture. Despite his impatience, the Western Zhou emperor didn’t dare to act on his own and could only accompany Long Feiye to wait.
Because the western regions were the intersection points of four different countries, the positions of the armies played a critical role. This was also the first time that the Duke of Qin had joined the battle despite never involving himself in politics or warfare in the past, so the situation attracted attention from the entire continent. The Chu Clan troops had sought refuge with Tianning, causing much gossip on two topics: would the Duke of Qin continue to attack Tianning, and did Empress Chu and Ning Cheng have some sort of affair going on?!
But without Long Feiye spilling the beans, Han Yunxi could only wait. Three days later, the news that broke stunned both her and all of Tianning Country!
That was the fact that Empress Xue had been attacked and killed by an assassin. The very same afternoon, Emperor Kang Cheng denounced the Chu Clan for a conspiracy while grieving and demanded they return the empress’s corpse. As before, the Chu Clan refused.
By that night, Celestial Mountain Sword Sect disciple Duanmu Yao had pubicly condemned the Chu Clan and personally led ten other disciples down the mountain to threaten them for the body. If they didn’t give her an explanation, the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect wouldn’t spare a single Chu Clan member. At this news, Han Yunxi immediately ran to ask Long Feiye, “How did Empress Xue die?”
Both Emperor Kang Cheng and Duanmu Yao wanted the empress’s body so that she could rest in peace, gain some time, and perform an autopsy to see how she’d truly die. Was it really from an assassin, or abuse at the Chu Clan’s hands?
Long Feiye could calculate the date of death so precisely that Han Yunxi was sure that he was involved in the plot.
“What do you think?” he ask while reclining lazily on his bed. A wicked smile rose on his lips.
As expected, it was him! Destroying the Chu Clan troops and fighting back against Ning Cheng’s forces was difficult, but slipping in an agent to kill a single hostage would be simple for him---or one of his high-level subordinates. He really was a sinister man. The small effort needed to kill a single Empress Xue was an easy way to deal with his other enemies by proxy. Anyone who offended Celestial Mountain Sword Sect would have a miserable time. Even if the Chu Clan and Ning Cheng gave up the body, Duanmu Yao would never end things just like that. She even began to wonder how the girl would react if she ever found out the truth.
But Han Yunxi still couldn’t grasp the extent of Duanmu Yao’s influence at the sword sect. How could she declare actions against the Chu Clan in their name? Did a private grudge ever merit a feud between two larger powers?
“Forcing the Chu Clan to hand over the body. Was this...your master’s idea?” she asked.
“I’m not sure, either. Even if it wasn’t, Duanmu Yao would still have ways to borrow Celestial Mountain’s strength to deal with the Chu,” Long Feiye said icily. Perhaps he hated the girl too much, but the way he spat out her name made even Han Yunxi feel uncomfortable.
“She’s quite skilled, then,” she mocked instead.
Long Feiye simply pulled her over and remarked, “We can just stay here. Once the snow melts, I’ll take you to Celestial Mountain, how’s that?” His expression and words were caught in a rare moment of sincerity as he gazed at her. There was a magnetic charm to Long Feiye’s eyes whenever he grew serious, one that Han Yunxi found impossible to refuse. No matter what he said then, she couldn’t reject him, and now he was talking about going to the mountain she’d been hoping to visit.
“Alright,” she replied loudly.
It was currently the first month of the lunar year. For the snows to melt, they’d have to wait for at least two more months. We can definitely heal Gu Beiyue’s injury and send him back to Pill Fiend Pharmacy before then, Han Yunxi thought. And leave Ning Cheng to deal with that annoyance Duanmu Yao on his own.
If she remembered correctly, Northern Li’s battle horses had recovered their stock quite well this winter. Once summer rolled around and the grass was full again, they’d be able to replenish their forces. Ning Cheng wouldn’t have time to be idle then. After all the chaos in the western regions, Northern Li wouldn’t hesitate to jump at this golden opportunity to threaten Ning Cheng! Although things had changed from Long Feiye’s initial plans and he had lost part of the reins, he still ended up with the last laugh and the most gains. In the coming months, they would sit in Yaoshui and watch storms rise up between Western Zhou, Northern Li, and Tianning. Even Long Tianmo and his Tianan would be swept up in the mess.
Idiots used betrayal to get their gains, while geniuses seized opportunities to succeed. The unmoving, silent man before Han Yunxi right now was simply an instigator who called upon rains and winds with a turn of his hand. I can dedicate the coming days to curing Gu Beiyue, Han Yunxi decided. She wasn’t going to forgive the Chu Clan either. Once Duanmu Yao finished her business, she didn’t mind throw a stone after them in the well!
Two more days passed. There was still no news from Gu Qishao, while Third Elder Shen arrived on the final day with a Divine Doctor Luo, who specialized in orthopedics. After Third Elder Shen took a pulse, he and Divine Doctor Luo began a long, serious discussion on Gu Beiyue’s injuries. But all they did was shake their heads when everything was over. As a doctor herself, Han Yunxi knew what that meant. She only sat with a taut expression, grave enough to frighten a man.
“Elder Shen, don’t just shake your head. What’s the status?” Tang Li blurted out.
Third Elder Shen didn’t seem to have heard. When he didn’t reply, Tang Li tried asking again, but was silenced by a glare from Han Yunxi. She was anxious too, but she knew doctors shouldn’t be disturbed while determining their diagnosis. Both Third Elder Shen and Divine Doctor Luo asked Gu Beiyue questions while they examined the wounds. It took an entire hour before the elder re-bandaged Gu Beiyue’s injuries and said in a heavy tone, “Beiyue, you...probably know the conclusion already.”
Han Yunxi knit her brows. She stared at Gu Beiyue’s bandaged knee and subconsciously bit her lip. Lil Thing sat on her shoulder, clasping its claws tightly.
“Mm,” Gu Beiyue smiled mildly. “I know.” Despite his expression, the mood in the room only sank further at the words. Tang Li and Chu Xifeng exchanged glances, while Long Feiye stood with hooded eyes, his face cast in shadows.
Third Elder Shen looked at Gu Beiyue’s unsullied smile and really felt contrite. He had interacted with Director Gu in the past and watched Gu Beiyue grow up as a child. How could such a good, kindhearted boy ended up with such a plight? Can Director Gu rest easy in the Nine Springs after knowing this? He gave a long sigh and rose to bow towards Han Yunxi with clasped hands.
“Esteemed wangfei, Doctor Gu’s leg...is a loss!”
“A loss? How can this be?”
“Third Elder Shen, it’s really incurable? Does no one else have a way?”
Tang Li and Chu Xifeng were both astonished. Even Long Feiye creased his brows slightly. All of them knew that Gu Beiyue’s injuries were severe, but they never expected it to be beyond hope. They all assumed that Third Elder Shen would fix the man once he arrived.
Third Elder Shen somberly shook his head while Divine Doctor Luo spoke up. “Doctor Gu injured his tendon and incurred serious tears to his leg muscle. Although nothing’s been torn completely, the ripping is serious enough to affect his mobility and ability to stand. It’s impossible to cure something like this. All we can do is give him medicine to treat the wound long-term and prevent it from getting worse. Once it does, the tendon might tear completely.”
“Can’t the tendon be reattached?” Han Yunxi finally spoke up. She wanted to see if Third Elder Shen had the skills, which was why she invited him in the first place. If that was the case, even a completely torn tendon could be fixed! Although she knew Cloud Realm Continent’s medical technology was limited and possessed no knowledge of surgery techniques herself, she still held out a trace of hope.
“Broken bones can be reattached, but torn tendons…” Third Elder Shen could only shake his head again.
“Bones can be reconnected, while tendons can be restitched!” Han Yunxi said. Broken bones were fixed that way, with the marrow reparing itself until it was as good as whole past 100 days. The same reasoning applied to cut tendons as well. A single stitch along a seam could incite the same healing in the same amount of time. This was a simple fix in modern days, so why was it so hard for the past?