It was rare indeed for Long Feiye to place so much merit in Gu Qishao’s words. But he only grinned and said, “Guess!”
Long Feiye didn’t answer, only stared coldly back. If looks could kill, Gu Qishao would have evaporated instantly.
“What kind of good news could you have?” Han Yunxi asked with a roll of her eyes.
“How about a chance to hurt Medical City?” Gu Qishao lowered his voice. Now even Tang Li quieted down to look at him anxiously. Right now they didn’t have to resources to challenge Medical City outright. The fact that Pill Fiend Pharmacy and Gu Qi Sha were their allies was already a black mark against their relations with Medicine City. If they weren’t careful, they could risking offending everyone and causing more trouble.
“Did you do something to Head Elder Ling?” Han Yunxi asked. But to Gu Qishao, Head Elder Ling wasn’t worth venting his temper on. Everything he and Academy Head Gu had done was for the sake of fame and wealth. He wanted their reputations thoroughly tarnished so they could taste the feeling of being humiliated and having eggs pelted at their faces! His eyes flash sinisterly before Gu Qishao chuckled again.
“I haven’t even done anything yet!” As he spoke, he rested an arm on Long Feiye’s shoulders like close brothers. “Long Feiye, want to go on a splurge with me?”
Long Feiye simply removed his arm by force, nearly causing Gu Qishao to topple over. As everyone stared at the awkward moment, Long Feiye only went on to say, “What kind of scheme are you planning? Tell us.”
Aside from Han Yunxi, anyone male or female who provoked Long Feiye--enemies or not--were only inviting a snub. Gu Qishao pursed his lips before getting into the details. He had been spying on Head Elder Ling and Lady Lianxin in the Tianan palace for a long time. Lady Lianxin had been constantly throwing herself into Head Elder Ling’s arms, only to get rejected again and again. Finally, she turned resentful and started harboring thoughts of payback instead. Using his disguise as Pill Fiend Gu Qi Sha, Gu Qishao had managed to express his goodwill towards the woman.
“As long as we agree to spare the Mu Clan, she’s willing to expose the facts about the expedited labor,” Gu Qishao declared. If news of that spread, ripples would definitely occur. This would cause irreparable damage to Medical City, and Head Elder Ling would have no choice but to face censure and assume responsibility. To shake the foundations of Medical City, they had to attack its reputation and prestige first. For both Long Feiye and Gu Qishao, this was exceptionally good news.
Han Yunxi didn’t even need to think twice before agreeing. If they could expose the expedited labor incident, then tens of thousands of people would spurn the person who did it! But she was more concerned about Lady Lianxin’s terms. “What exactly does she mean by sparing the Mu Clan?” They’d expended no end of effort to crush the clan, so if they let up now, there was a real possibility it could bounce back back again.
“Heheh, Lady Lianxin’s like a dog backed into a corner and forced to jump right now. As long as she can see some hope, she’ll agree,” Gu Qishao still had firm control of the situation. At the Grand Medicine Testing Convention, the Mu Clan had lost all rights to participate in the competition ever again. Mu Yingdong was imprisoned and all of the Mu Clan’s secret pill formulas and most of their land given away to the public. They had no more ability to bounce back again, so Lady Lianxin would be satisfied with even a little favor now.
“If we hand things to Linger, I’d stop worrying as well,” Han Yunxi remarked. She had no feelings for the Mu Clan, but she felt an innate intimacy with Mu Linger by way of blood ties. The Mu Clan was Mu Linger’s home in the end. If she was left in charge of things, she could give Pill Fiend Pharmacy a way to retreat back into Medicine City. After visiting the medical cottage, neither her nor Long Feiye wanted to see the likes of the Wang Clan die off without offspring. They were a loyal clan, but also undeniably loyal and respectful of the medical cottage. If a row really rose between them and that place to send waves throughout Medicine City, the Wang Clan would have no choice but to change sides, leaving them without an ally.
But if Mu Linger was controlling the Mu Clan and slowly fostered her own source of strength, it might not be a bad idea. At least, Han Yunxi was sure that Mu Linger’s personality would make sure the Mu Clan was never at odds with Pill Fiend Pharmacy! In truth, she doted on the girl and didn’t want her to shoulder the crime of ruining her clan’s prospects at such a tender age.
Gu Qishao was contrite. “What kind of things could that slip of a girl accomplish?”
“You can help her. I think I’ll leave this matter to the two of you!” Han Yunxi decided happily.
“What kind of scheme are you planning?” Long Feiye asked again. He could accept Mu Linger reviving the Mu Clan under her own hands, but he was more interested in how they were going to hide their involvement in the expose from Medical City in case Lady Lianxin betrayed them.
“Hehe, I’ll leave that part to you. That girl Linger has a simple and pure heart, it’s not as black as yours,” Gu Qishao said seriously.
Is he here to talk terms or argue for the sake of arguing? If it wasn’t for his good news, Long Feiye would have kicked him outside by now. In the end, he agreed and said, “You discuss things with Mu Linger. Give some suggestions for your lordship to consider.”
Gu Qishao was about to refuse when Long Feiye added, “Your lordship will give you ten days’ time. If you can’t do it, then...hehe, it’s fine if we don’t move forward with the plan, either!”
They’d have to deal with Medical City sooner or later. If they could ruin its reputation and get rid of Head Elder Ling now, that’d be best, but he was baiting Gu Qishao on purpose because he knew exactly how impatient the man was for his revenge. As expected, Gu Qishao only paused briefly before nodding in agreement. “Fine!”
He turned to leave as soon as he spoke. It’d take a full ten days to just travel back and forth from Pill Fiend Pharmacy. He wouldn’t meet Mu Linger in person, but he would exchange plenty of letters. Even if Mu Linger offered bad ideas, at least she had to be involved in affairs of the Mu Clan.
Once he left, Tang Li finally burst out, “Duke of Qin, what should I do?”
Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru were almost at their door. If they caught him, he’d be hard-pressed to escape unless Long Feiye fell out with them entirely! From what he understood of the Duke of Qin, he’d only argue with his father at most, but never truly turn against him.
Long Feiye raised a cold gaze at him. “Why aren’t you running away yet?”
Tang Li narrowly fell on his knees to cry and call him big brother in front of Gu Beiyue right then and there. Run away? He had been on the run for a full year already, but now he had to keep running? Moreover, nowhere was safer than the Duke of Qin’s side! He sent a pleading look at Han Yunxi next, and she said in turn, “Hide!”
“Hurry and find a room to hide in. I’ll tell you when to come out. Otherwise, don’t move about!”
As soon as she finished speaking, a servant entered to report, “Your Highness, two people are asking for an audience at the gates. They say they’re from the Tang Clan.”
Did Tang Li have any other ideas besides hiding away? None! He cupped his fists at Han Yunxi before fleeing through the back door.
“Bring them to the guest hall,” Long Feiye ordered simply.
“Your Highness Duke of Qin, esteemed wangfei, this one is weary and will withdraw to rest now,” Gu Beiyue said as he retreated.
A complicated look flitted past Han Yunxi’s eyes before she asked, “Should I...check on Tang Li?”
Long Feiye didn’t reply beyond taking her hand and heading for the guest hall. Han Yunxi’s heart burst with joy. Finally, this man had stopped keeping her out of the Tang Clan’s business. She turned to steal a peek at him and found that his side profile was very, very handsome as always. They arrived at the hall at the same time the servants brought in Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru. It had been ages since Han Yunxi had seen the woman, but she looked the same as ever, if a little travelworn. She’d probably expended no end of effort hunting down Tang Li over the past year. Meanwhile, this was her first time seeing Tang Zijin. Thanks to her bad impressions of him in the past, the man’s proper clothes and manners befitting a large clan did nothing but appear sanctimonious in her eyes.
She kept her heart calm, however. This time she was only here as a listener, not to get involved in their family affairs. Both Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru felt waves in their heart at the sight of Han Yunxi. Aunt Ru had once overheard that this woman had connections with the Shadow Clan. Though she’d yet to discover the truth, she and Tang Zijin were already harboring murderous intentions thanks to that tenuous hint. But today they were here for Tang Li, so Han Yunxi’s case could wait for another day.
“Have these two seniors found me for anything in particular?” Long Feiye’s tone was neutral.
Tang Zijin sighed repeatedly as he attempted to speak. In the end, it was Aunt Ru who spoke up first. “Feiye, Li’er is with you, isn’t he?”
“He was just a moment ago, but he’s probably ran far off by now,” Long Feiye’s words sounded like nothing but the truth.
Aunt Ru and Tang Zijin grew anxious at his words. “Where did he run off to?”
Long Feiye tilted his head towards Han Yunxi instead. “Beloved consort, do you know?”
Han Yunxi didn’t expect that, and only stared foolishly at Long Feiye as his question flew over her head. Long Feiye allowed her to look while his lips curved into a perfectly composed smile.
Your Highness Duke of Qin, is it really alright to flirt under these circumstances?
Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru were both hopping mad with impatience.
“Feiye, Tang Li’s made big trouble running away from his wedding. This old man...this old man can’t even salvage the situation anymore. You should hurry up and hand him over,” Tang Zijin admitted the truth. The bride’s family had already started pressuring the Tang Clan. If they couldn’t find Tang Li soon, they were going to force the clan to pay the price.
“Could it be that the Tang Clan head can’t even bear the burden of a single ruined marriage agreement?” Long Feiye smiled coldly. Tang Zijin was getting worse and worse if he was using shoddy excuses like that one.
“Feiye, do you know who Tang Li’s fiancée is?” Aunt Ru asked urgently.
“Not interested. You won’t get what you want from your lordship. Tang Li just left, if you search in all directions, you might find him before he escapes.” Long Feiye’s words were simply chasing them off.
But Aunt Ru only revealed the startling truth. “Feiye, Tang Li’s fiancée is from Celestial Mountain!”
At this, Long Feiye angrily pounded the table and stood up. It startled Han Yunxi, who hadn’t seen him lose his temper in a long time. She was stunned as well. She never expected Tang Zijin to actually carry on with people from Celestial Mountain. Was there a hole in his head? Long Feiye was one of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect’s disciples. There was no need for the Tang Clan to make a marriage agreement with one of them! Judging from Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru’s behavior, this girl wasn’t some simple denizen of the peak, either.
“Who from Celestial Mountain?” Long Feiye demanded coldly!