What was Long Feiye’s plan?
He only told Han Yunxi a single phrase: “Lure the snake from its hole!”
Han Yunxi’s eyes lit up. “I get it!”
There were many methods to lure a snake out of its hole. With Long Feiye’s style, it would doubtlessly be nothing short of ruthless. If she was added to the mix, it’d be even worse, because she was dealing with a suspect like Aunt Ru!
“Are you doing it, or should I?” Han Yunxi asked with interest.
Long Feiye only said coldly, “Tang Zijin will do it.”
It was unlikely that Tang Zijin would believe the results if Long Feiye or Han Yunxi did the deed. Even if he did, he could find ways to absolve Aunt Ru of guilt. But if Tang Zijin himself accomplished the deed, the results would be different. He couldn’t deny anything he’d uncovered himself.
“That’s brilliant!” Han Yunxi’s somber mood finally lightened at the news. She narrowed her eyes. “But…”
“But what?” Long Feiye couldn’t think of a better solution than this, yet Han Yunxi only said faintly, “Tang Zijin still isn’t the best candidate. Lady Tang would be a better choice.”
Long Feiye smiled and shook his head. In the end, Han Yunxi was the most brilliant one! If Lady Tang personally uncovered the culprit, it’d be impossible for Tang Zijin to favor Aunt Ru no matter how much he tried. If she was the traitor, she wouldn’t be able to escape.
“I’ll find a chance to talk about this with Lady Tang. You can have Chu Xifeng go check out the black markets first,” Han Yunxi finished. Long Feiye nodded. Although he knew Aunt Ru was the most probable suspect, he still held out a sliver of hope that she was innocent. It’d be a bitter disappointment for someone of her status to have colluded with the enemy!
The two of them were still discussing the details of their scheme when Tang Li came by, forcing them to drop the topic.
“Big bro, that kid shouldn’t have died!” he declared as soon as he entered the room.
“Who do you suspect?” Han Yunxi sounded him out.
Tang Li grew troubled at her question. He had a target in mind, but he found it unfathomable to consider. He knew this was no minor affair, so he couldn’t blab as he liked. “This whole situation is too strange. It’s hard for me to say.”
“You have ten days left before you become a bridegroom. Go and prepare for that instead. You don’t need to worry about this,” Long Feiye said.
“But big bro, this isn’t some minor incident. This…”
“Neither is your marriage,” Long Feiye interrupted. “Your lordship will give you one year. If you can’t get Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s arms trade by then, you can take care of yourself from then on.”
Tang Li began to feel even more unwell. “How are you so certain that the arms trade rights will be part of Ning Jing’s dowry?”
Han Yunxi suddenly grew serious. “Want to place bets?”
Tang Li’s mouth twitched. Forget it. It’s harder to win against Han Yunxi than Ning Jing. To gain control of the arms trade under the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium, he’d have to master one person: Ning Jing herself. Han Yunxi patted him on the shoulder.
“You can do it! Go get ready for the wedding. Perhaps Ning Jing will be so touched that she’ll really end up falling in love with you.”
“Sister-in-law, how did you fall in love with my big bro?” Tang Li asked seriously.
“Wasn’t it your big bro who fell in love with me first?” Han Yunxi retorted.
In a verbal spar, Tang Li had no chance of victory. He simply left in silence, but Han Yunxi chased after him. “I’ll go and see Lady Tang!”
Unfortunately, Long Feiye’s hand clasped her shoulder after a single step. Without a word, he stood with his hand resting on her and successfully froze her in place. Han Yunxi knew exactly what he was doing and simply stood there without daring to breathe. Soon enough, Long Feiye’s fingers brushed past her ears before he asked, “Why are they red?”
Actually, they’d turned red as soon as he touched her shoulder. A cowardly Han Yunxi carefully turned around to avoid his hand. But Long Feiye stepped forward to rest his hands on her waist before drawing close to plant a featherlight kiss on her reddened ear. “Mm, it was your lordship who fell in love first.”
He released her as soon as he was done, but she stood gaping at him. Perhaps it was his hug or gentle kiss, but in any event, her face was now flaming scarlet. She had a strong heart and doughty spirit, but why did his face always make her blush?
Han Yunxi didn’t dare to dawdle and hastily...fled. So much for visiting Lady Tang, she just wanted to escape! Long Feiye didn’t stop her but watched her run away with an amused expression, his mood improving by the second. This woman was more of a mystery than the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Even a single phrase from her would surprise him so that he never grew weary of her.
One of his guards appeared just then and said, “Master, Gu Qishao’s returned.”
“How is it?” he resumed his usual icy expression, reserved and taciturn.
“He said he hasn’t talked with Mu Linger yet and needs more time,” the guard replied. Long Feiye was asking about the plot against Head Elder Ling and Lady Lianxin. He had given Gu Qishao a ten-day deadline, which by now was long overdue. If not for Han Yunxi’s care towards Mu Linger, he would have lost patience with the man ages ago.
“Tell him to finish up by the end of this month. Otherwise, he doesn’t need to talk with your lordship anymore,” he declared coldly.
’s Council of Elders was under his control. Thus, if Gu Qishao wanted to bribe Lady Lianxin of the Mu Clan, it had to go through him. The man should understand if the message was passed on.
“Yes, this subordinate understands!” the guard said, then added, “Doctor Gu’s plans are proceeding as expected. He said he can guarantee that Chu Tianyin will cooperate with Your Highness completely if the people are rescued successfully.”
Compared to Gu Qishao, Gu Beiyue gave Long Feiye far fewer things to worry about.
“Tell him it’ll be by the end of this month.” When Long Feiye finished, he added, “In terms of timing, tell them to give a heads up to that person in the east.”
The guard didn’t understand the meaning of those words but accepted his task regardless. “Yes, this subordinate will pass on the message.”
The twenty-eighth day of the third lunar month was the last day of the month, and also Tang Li’s wedding day. Just what was Long Feiye planning? The answer would come very soon. In the following days, the quiet Tang Clan grew spirited as they prepared for the wedding. The issue of the missing traitor was left to Chu Xifeng and Aunt Ru to investigate in secret. Few people were alerted to the work, but Tang Zijin busied himself with keeping tabs on both events.
Unfortunately, there was still no progress after multiple days. Today, Lady Tang had just finished determining the menu for the wedding banquet when Han Yunxi arrived.
“Zijin, go busy yourself. Yunxi and I will go inspect the latest shipment of satin. I want to prepare a few more robes for A’Li,” Lady Tang said before she complained, “Aye, I won’t have to worry about these things once the daughter-in-law arrives.”
Tang Zijin was a rather henpecked husband in reality, but still put up appearances when Han Yunxi was around. He gave a stern nod before turning to leave. Han Yunxi looked down on men like him the most. Sure, he might fear his wife, but there was no shame in that. Why play pretend instead of admitting it openly? That would earn more respect in her eyes.
Once Tang Zijin was gone, Lady Tang pulled Han Yunxi over to sit. “Speak, what did you find me for?”
“Chu Xifeng investigated for days and finally got news from the black market. Duanmu Yao didn’t spread any message there. Everything that Kong Xi said before was a lie,” Han Yunxi got straight to the point.
Lady Tang wasn’t expecting this topic. “In other words, the traitor was diverting our attention to the Black Market?”
“Yes. Your ladyship should know the customs of the Black Market as well. It takes great effort to investigate any happenings there,” Han Yunxi remarked.
“How despicable! Then what should we do next?” Lady Tang asked anxiously.
“Use our own despicable means,” Han Yunxi replied. “But your help is required!”
“Mine?” Lady Tang was puzzled. Han Yunxi quickly drew closer to speak in a low voice.
“I’ve already made the arrangements. A fake traitor using an assumed name has sent out a message to Duanmu Yao to meet tomorrow at at the isolated pavilion at the foot of the Tang Clan’s mountains.”
Lady Tang grew bewildered. “That’s not right. You know who the traitor is?”
“Only a suspect. I used their name to pass on the message,” Han Yunxi wore a sly smile.
“Who’s the suspect?” Lady Tang grew nervous.
“A secret. You’ll know when you see them tomorrow night.” Han Yunxi left her in suspense on purpose. Lady Tang didn’t understand the details of her grudge with Aunt Ru in the past, after all.
“Just who is it?” Lady Tang was very curious. “Do Aunt Ru and Chu Xifeng already know? And also, did you tell Zijin and Feiye about this idea?”
“Your ladyship, don’t ask me about anything. Just trust me this once, alright?” Han Yunxi asked seriously.
Lady Tang hesitated before nodding her head. “Alright. You’re certain that Duanmu Yao will come?”
“I’m offering her a map of all the Duke of Qin’s properties. Do you think she’ll come?” Han Yunxi grinned. “She definitely will.”
But even if Duanmu Yao shows up, how is she going to prove that her suspect is the traitor? Lady Tang was a bit confused. Perhaps everything would be made clear tomorrow night. She was definitely confident in Han Yunxi’s abilities.
The next evening, Han Yunxi and Lady Tang took their positions around the pavilion at the foot of the mountain nice and early to wait for . The winds were strong this time of night, causing the lanterns at the pavilion to wave to and fro amidst the tall, dark trees in a horror stage play. Fifteen minutes remained before the appointed time.
Lady Tang couldn’t help but ask, “Will Duanmu Yao really show up?”
“Yes.” Han Yunxi was certain. Even she wanted a map of Long Feiye’s estates, to say nothing of the other woman. Her woman’s intuition told her that Duanmu Yao would show up no matter what.
“Yunxi, if you make a mistake and the suspect’s not the traitor, Duanmu Yao would assume that letter was a trap. She wouldn’t show up then!” Lady Tang said seriously.
“How about we make a bet?” Han Yunxi asked.
“What are we betting on?” Lady Tang liked betting. But as they spoke, a servant girl suddenly showed up from one of the grassy side paths. Lady Tang recognized her immediately as one of Aunt Ru’s servants.
“This….” Lady Tang trailed off in shock. “Your suspect is…”
“Shh. Time’s up,” Han Yunxi gently pressed Lady Tang down so they were hidden in the undergrowth.
was here! This was the servant girl she had arranged to show up. Would Duanmu Yao appear as well?Previous Chapter Next Chapter