Su Xiaoyu was surprised when she opened the door, but that quickly turned into a cry of fear. “Master!”
Zhao mama and Baili Mingxiang both called Han Yunxi “esteemed wangfei.” Su Xiaoyu used to do that too, but after losing her memory, she suddenly started calling Han Yunxi “master” one day. She didn’t care what kind of person Han Yunxi was; she only knew that the woman had saved her life. Taking a sudden stride forward, she circled around her while examining her from head to toe.
“Master, you’ve finally come back? You’re a lot skinnier.” Her tone of voice, expression, and gaze were a complete mismatch to her actual age. The maturity level was on par with Zhao mama herself. Fortunately, she wasn’t as chatty as the old woman; nor did she know how to make old hen soup.
“You’re the one who’s gotten skinnier!” If Long Feiye hears her, he’ll make Zhao mama cook me soup again! Han Yunxi rapped her fingers against Su Xiaoyu’s forehead. “Did you do anything bad while I was gone?”
Su Xiaoyu blinked her wide eyes and was about to give a shrewd answer when she suddenly exclaimed, “Baili Mingxiang, why are you crying? Although master’s back, you have no reason to be this moved, right?”
Baili Mingxiang knew that Su Xiaoyu was acting. Moreover, her words held hidden barbs. She smiled and seized the chance to say, “Of course I’m touched that esteemed wangfei has returned.”
“So you wouldn’t be touched if His Highness Duke of Qin came instead? Hmph, I’m telling His Highness Duke of Qin!” Su Xiaoyu teased and threatened simultaneously.
Baili Mingxiang was about to explain when Han Yunxi stopped them both. She assumed that the woman didn’t want Su Xiaoyu to know she’d been crying about her mother, so she simply changed the topic, “Be quiet, both of you. Don’t wake Zhao mama. Both of you go back to bed.”
As she walked off, Baili Mingxiang chased after her. “Esteemed wangfei, this servant can give you some snacks. What would you like to eat?”
“Master, I can make your favorite mango drink really quick! You should just rest in the meantime!” Su Xiaoyu exclaimed, before running for the kitchen. Han Yunxi ended up having the helpless Baili Mingxiang sit in the room with her instead.
“Has everything been going well at Pill Fiend Pharmacy?” Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Beiyue was originally in charge of the pharmacy, but once he left, the task was given to Mu Linger. Then she left too, so Baili Mingxiang rose to shoulder the burden. Her skills weren’t on par with Mu Linger’s, but she was more reliable than the girl in other ways.
“Esteemed wangfei, everything’s been going well with the pharmacy. Medicine City sends their deliveries on time and all of the branch shops are operating smoothly. However, we’ve been getting a lot of visits from merchants recently to discuss wholesale business deals,” Baili Mingxiang reported.
Han Yunxi smiled coldly. “Can’t they go to Medicine City for that? Why run all the way to Pill Fiend Pharmacy instead?”
Baili Mingxiang laughed. “Besides Pill Fiend Pharmacy, where else does Medicine City do any big business?”
Han Yunxi grinned back. “With the unrest in the western regions, these people just want to buy raw ingredients and sell them over there. They’re simply sent from the military to stock up on medicine.”
“Then we won’t sell!” Baili Mingxiang declared once she understood, but Han Yunxi disagreed.
“There’s no such thing as medicine that can’t be sold in this world. Pill Fiend Pharmacy isn’t Pill Fiend Valley. Sell them as much as they want, as long as they can afford to pay the price!”
The war over the western regions had just begun. For now, the medicine stores of all three participants should still be full. Only Ning Cheng would be anxious enough to stock up this early in the game! The Cloud Realm Trade Consortium was full of silver, so why wouldn’t she seize the chance to get some for themselves?
“This servant understands!” Baili Mingxiang smiled, her red eyes looking bright and radiant despite them being puffy. Han Yunxi couldn’t help but sigh at the sight.
“You’re not meant to be a servant girl for the rest of your life. You should simply just become a proper shopkeeper at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. Don’t stay here just pouring tea and drinks all the time.”
Baili Mingxiang immediately rose to her feet and protested, “No! Esteemed wangfei, we had a promise. You saved Mingxiang’s life, so I’ll serve you for the rest of mine.”
Han Yunxi felt helpless. Actually, she liked keeping the woman by her side. Compared to Su Xiaoyu, Baili Mingxiang knew how to do things by principles and had a proper sense of propriety. Compared to Zhao mama, she was younger and more nimble. She was exactly the type of servant girl Han Yunxi needed. But her merits went far beyond those traits. It was a shame to have the young Miss of General Baili’s estate act as a servant girl!
Han Yunxi assumed that Baili Mingxiang would give up from hard work eventually after being a servant by her side. Perhaps she’d get tired of the lonely life and leave. Instead, she’d stayed on all the way up to the present.
However, Su Xiaoyu happened to hear her final words. As she walked in with the mango drink, she said coldly, “Baili Mingxiang, can’t you tell that master’s chasing you off?”
Han Yunxi glared at her. “Do you need a beating?”
Su Xiaoyu just pouted and offered her the drink. “If master’s going to beat me, at least wait ‘til you’ve filled your stomach first.”
“Esteemed wangfei, this servant will take her leave first,” Baili Mingxiang excused herself as she didn’t want to dawdle. She was afraid that Su Xiaoyu would blurt out her secret if she stayed any longer. Although she’d never admitted to her feelings, she would have no face to stay at the Duke of Qin’s estate if Su Xiaoyu exposed them. Moreover, she’d be too ashamed to return to the Baili Estate as well.
Han Yunxi was already tired anyways, so she simply downed the mango drink in large gulps while dismissing Su Xiaoyu as well. Still, the girl paused to murmur back, “Master, if you want her to leave, you should be more ruthless. Do you need my help?”
“Who said I’m chasing her off? I just want her to be a shopkeeper at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. If you don’t watch your mouth, be careful that I sew it shut!” Han Yunxi warned with narrowed eyes.
“If you do that, I won’t be able to talk. Could you try something else?” Su Xiaoyu giggled as she replied. It sounded like she was joking, but in her heart she vowed to find a way to banish Baili Mingxiang. Thus, it was better to ensure her punishment now so she could mentally prepare herself in the future.
Han Yunxi was too exhausted to reply and simply headed up the stairs. Su Xiaoyu quickly grabbed her. “Master, just--”
“What would you think if I chased you off instead?” Han Yunxi interrupted.
Su Xiaoyu grew agitated and gripped Han Yunxi’s hand so tightly that it hurt.
“Little Yu’er’s life was rescued by master. Little Yu’er will live as master’s servant and die as master’s ghost. I won’t leave master for the rest of my life, no matter whether I’m alive or dead!”
Han Yunxi had just left a ghostly bamboo forest that was scattered with human corpses. Hearing this only made goosebumps rise on her skin. She rolled her eyes at Su Xiaoyu and said, “Let go!”
Su Xiaoyu only grew more nervous. “Master, if you chase little Yu’er off, I’ll stop living! I mean what I say!”
“Then why are you trying to chase off Baili Mingxiang?” Han Yunxi asked.
“I...I…” Su Xiaoyu had her reasons, but she didn’t want to share them. The world knew that Qin Wangfei was one of Cloud Realm Continent’s smartest women, but in her eyes, her master was actually its greatest fool. She couldn’t even tell that Baili Mingxiang liked His Highness Duke of Qin and kept the woman by her side. It was like nurturing a tiger that would bring about calamity.
“You’re still not letting go?” Han Yunxi was extremely sleepy. Leisurely Cloud Pavilion was supposed to be a place to soothe her heart, but why was there nothing but trouble here?
No matter how bold Su Xiaoyu was, she didn’t dare to oppose Han Yunxi. In the end, she obediently released her hands. Han Yunxi had planned to sleep in the next day, but Zhao mama woke her up first thing in the morning with shouts from the foot of the stairs.
“Esteemed wangfei, are you awake?”
“Esteemed wangfei, when did you come back? Why didn’t you say anything? This old servant could have bought some nice hens to make you soup!”
“Esteemed wangfei, are you awake yet? This old servant made His Highness’s favorite breakfast. His Highness isn’t awake yet, so perhaps you can get him out of bed?”
Han Yunxi buried her head beneath the covers and pretended to sleep, but the last sentence made her jump out of bed. Wake Long Feiye out of bed? I can do that! I have to! She quickly washed and dressed herself before coming down the stairs. Zhao mama saw her and had the same reaction as Su Xiaoyu, delighted beyond compare. She examined her from head to toe before exclaiming, “Esteemed wangfei, you’ve gotten skinnier!”
Han Yunxi immediately muffled her mouth with an icy warning, “If you dare to say ‘skinny’ again, I’ll send you to the countryside to raise chickens!” I haven’t gotten any skinnier at all! It’s impossible when I’m traveling with Long Feiye! In her opinion, her looks didn’t lose to Duanmu Yao, but she wasn’t as skinny as the other girl. That was a great issue weighing on her heart.
Scared by her threat, Zhao mama quickly nodded. Only then did Han Yunxi release her. “Go prepare some morning tea first. I’ll get Long Feiye out of bed.”
Zhao mama was quite unused to hearing esteemed wangfei refer to His Highness by name. Su Xiaoyu glanced at Baili Mingxiang before she chuckled. “Only master is allowed to call His Highness directly by name. Do you guys know why?”
“That’s obviously because His Highness allowed esteemed wangfei,” Zhao mama replied with a smile so broad that she couldn’t even close her mouth. She always felt that the days were meaningless without her master and mistress at the estate. Now that both were back, she could start busying herself in the kitchens again.
“Baili Mingixang, what do you think?” Su Xiaoyu was asking this on purpose, of course.
“Because His Highness only loves esteemed wangfei,” Baili Mingxiang said seriously. “Don’t go to Pill Fiend Pharmacy today. Stay behind and wait on esteemed wangfei and His Highness, I’ll go instead.” She then left without hesitation, but Su Xiaoyu only snorted contemptuously.
Han Yunxi didn’t have her fill of sleep, but she was still full of spirit. Yet when she reached Long Feiye’s quarters, she realized that she couldn’t get in when she found that the door was locked from the inside. After knocking a few times, she got no reaction. The building is so big that Long Feiye might not even be able to hear my knocking. For once I’ve gotten up earlier than him to call him out of bed, but now I’ve lost that chance.
Actually, she was mistaken. Long Feiye had highly vigilant senses even when unconscious, so he could sense every movement around his quarters. She was about to leave when a shadow guard appeared.
“Greetings to esteemed wangfei.”
“His Highness is still sleeping, right?” she asked.
“His Highness is at the ancestral hall,” the guard replied.
So early. Did he find a new clue? Han Yunxi had just reached the bamboo forest when she saw Long Feiye walking back.
“You found something?” she urgently asked. Much to her surprise, Long Feiye tossed her a letter. “A ransom note?”
Actually, she had privately pegged Tianan’s empress dowager as the culprit who hired assassins to kidnap Grand Concubine Yi to figure out Long Feiye’s birth origins. But now they had gotten a ransom note. Does this mean this has nothing to do with Long Feiye’s origins?
Han Yunxi opened up the message and saw the following lines: Three days from now at noon precisely, bring the treasured Profound Frost Sword to Lost Void Lake to exchange for the hostage. Only one person can come. If you’re late, shoulder the consequences!
“What an arrogant tone!” Han Yunxi said coldly. “Just who is it?!”
Oh my goodness...Su Xiaoyu’s treating HYX the same way she used to treat the original master who saved her from the streets, Tianyin...