Han Yunxi’s formidable adversary was none other than Jun Yixie’s master, the former head of the Hundred Poisons Sect, Bai Yanqing. He and his junior disciple Bai Yuqiao were sitting on a large boulder at the entrance of the maze pathway and hadn’t entered the mists at all.
Bai Yuqiao always knew and believed her master to be Cloud Realm Continent’s most powerful poisons master. Even the famed Han Yunxi couldn’t be his match. Yet her world had been turned upside down today. Reality after reality proved that she’d severely underestimated Han Yunxi. Despite her youth, the woman was already this skilled. It was far beyond both her and her senior brother, making her an undisputed genius. At the same time, she realized she’d underestimated her master as well.
Of all the poisons Han Yunxi had used, she only recognized the one that had plagued her senior brother’s shoulder. The rest were all a mystery to her. Yet her master seemed very familiar with each toxin and had found ways to dispel them without a second thought. It only took as much time to brew a cup of tea because he was teaching her how to differentiate the toxicity of each poison before getting rid of it.
Bai Yuqiao couldn’t imagine the lofty realms that her master’s poison skills had reached by now. She was only curious about two things. 1) Master hadn’t brought any materials with him this time, so where was he getting the ingredients to make his antidotes? She didn’t even see him take anything out to dispel the poison. It was more like he strolled inside the path a bit before all the toxins in the air disappeared. 2) The rheumatism-like poison on her senior brother’s shoulder was still tormenting him. Master had been studying its antidote but still didn’t have any success. Just then, he’d taken a two-hour nap before going on his usual stroll inside the pathway. The same poison that had plagued her senior brother for ages disappeared from the air just like that.
Just what was that all about?
Han Yunxi kept releasing poisons, even as that master kept dispelling them. Finally, Bai Yuqiao couldn’t help but ask, “Master, you...right now, you could...treat senior brother’s shoulder poison, right?” She was full of questions, but this was the most important one.
She couldn’t figure it out. Did master just unravel the mystery of that poison during his two-hour nap today? Senior brother had been suffering from its effects for over two years. Anytime the weather turned chilly, his shoulder would flare up. Moreover, the effects were growing more and more severe. Senior brother was certain that master was looking into his condition, so he hadn’t asked him once for the progress of the antidote. Meanwhile, Bai Yuqiao could only feel distressed whenever she saw him wracked with agony from his pains.
“It’s incurable,” Bai Yanqing replied honestly.
Bai Yuqiao was stunned. “Then master, just then…”
“Who told you that antidotes are required to dispel poisons?” Bai Yanqing rebuked.
“Your disciple is slow-witted and stupid…” Now Bai Yuqiao was even more confused, but she quickly ducked her head and stopped asking questions. She knew there would be dire consequences for talking too much.
As she waited obediently on the side, Bai Yanqing and Han Yunxi fought a few more rounds before he muttered to himself, “That lass must have the Water of Ten Thousand Poisons in her hands.”
The Water of Ten Thousand Poisons?
Bai Yuqiao grew startled. Isn’t that the poison pond water that disappeared into thin air from Medicine City’s forest? Senior brother brought it up before!
The Water of Ten Thousand Poisons could raise all sorts of new poison plants and her senior brother had been searching for it for ages.
Soon enough, Bai Yanqing allowed the poison mists to converge again while he sat back down, seeming a little tired. Bai Yuqiao quickly handed him a flask of water. “Master, rest for a bit.”
“Hehe, it’s been decades since I’ve faced off against an opponent. Looks like I’ve gotten old,” Bai Yanqing sighed with emotion.
Moments prior, Han Yunxi had attacked them with the same first-tier poison used against Jun Yixie. He had deliberately taken a nap to confuse Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s theories, but now he really needed a break. When he stopped to calculate, he and Han Yunxi had been dueling for half the day. It was really taxing!
“Master should rest well for now, your disciple will guard the way. Your disciple promises that Han Yunxi won’t be able to use her poison mosquito swarms,” declared Bai Yuqiao. Even if Han Yunxi didn’t fear the poison mists, she and Long Feiye would never escape from the matrix because Bai Yuqiao had long released poison into the surrounding wild. All poison mosquito swarms within 100 li of their location would avoid them out of fear. She had similar methods to combat any other poisonous creatures the woman would think to summon.
Without a word, Bai Yanqing simply shut his eyes. Today he’d come with the express purpose to test Han Yunxi’s skills. He wasn’t aiming to try anything against the woman here. Moreover, he doubted he could with Long Feiye’s abilities protecting her. Acting rashly would only earn more losses than gains.
Once he rested enough, he would resume the battle with Han Yunxi. Each new round against the woman brought fresh surprises to his plate! Meanwhile, Han Yunxi was on high alert.
When she saw her latest poison taking longer to dispel, she lowered her voice and said, “Long Feiye, just then I used the same first-tier poison as Bone Eclipse. Do you think our opponents will need another two hours to break through it again?”
It was hard for Long Feiye to give a straight answer when he wasn’t sure, either.
“Suppose I try an even higher tier of poison?” Han Yunxi suggested. She had plenty of scarier toxins than Bone Eclipse, but a couple of them were completely new strains that she’d never use except under express circumstances.
“No need. There’s not just poison mist in the pathways, but matrix changes as well. There are too many variables to keep track of, so it’d be better if we don’t use that to leave at all.” Long Feiye was a man who favored risks, but he would always pick the safer choice with Han Yunxi in tow. This opponent was a far cry from Lady Leng Yue’s hidden agents. With the enemy obscured from sight and them out in the open, the disadvantages were obvious.
Long Feiye said, “They’ve dispelled all the poisons you’ve sent out so far. You’ve already revealed too much of your hand. We don’t need to keep up with this game.”
“Are there any other paths besides the maze?” Han Yunxi asked helplessly.
“Yes, there is,” Long Feiye replied. He didn’t look like he was joking--nor would he ever joke in a situation like this--but Han Yunxi found it hard to believe him. All around them was dense forest with mist thick enough to obscure the sight of their own hands. Only the maze pathway had enough markers to show them a path. Now she was beginning to regret leaving Lil Thing at home with Gu Beiyue. If it was here, it might be able to lead them out.
“Where?” Han Yunxi asked doubtfully.
Long Feiye sat down and took off his boot. Han Yunxi grew more puzzled by the sight, though she noticed that even his feet seemed filled with contours of strength. The next moment, she suddenly realized there was an impressive blue crystal embedded in his ankle.
“This is…” Han Yunxi grew incredulous. She’d known Long Feiye for years, but never realized he had a treasure stuck into his foot. It shone with equal brilliance and luster as her jade crystal bracelet.
Don’t tell me this thing is some blue jade crystal stone from the future or something.
Long Feiye tugged the crystal out of his foot, releasing a stream of fresh blood. Only then did Han Yunxi realize there was a post at the end of the stone similar to that found on women’s earrings. Long Feiye hadn’t pierced his ankle, but he had nailed the stone to his flesh. Pulling it out had caused the wound to bleed again.
Han Yunxi immediately took out some antiseptic and gauze, but Long Feiye was already preparing to put on his stocking.
“No rush, let’s treat the wound first,” she stopped him.
“A little thing like this isn’t--”
“No injury of yours is trivial to me!” She was very demanding and pushed him back on the rock, then hoisted up his pant leg, took off his stocking, then carefully disinfected and bandaged his wound. Long Feiye sat still obediently as he let her work. The set and focused lines of her tiny face made him rest a hand on her chin and slowly raise her head up.
“Don’t distract me!” Han Yunxi slapped his hand aside. She carefully bandaged Long Feiye’s foot, then helped him slip on his stocking and boot.
Once everything was done, she looked up as Long Feiye asked, “Can I bother you now?”
Han Yunxi burst into laughter. Before she could answer, Long Feiye lifted her up by the chin, gently nipped her lips, and pulled her to her feet. Han Yunxi wanted to ignore it but still ended up smoothing her lips. Of course, she quickly directed her attention back to the blue jewel in Long Feiye’s palm.
“What is this? Can it take us out of here?” she asked with curiosity.
Long Feiye rested the crystal in the center of his palm, where it sparkled with a shine to rival the most precious of pearls. Although it was tiny, its faint blue hue refreshed the senses and seemed to enlighten its viewer. Those who stared at it long enough would think of the sky or the seas or other vast, expanseless vistas.
There was a hypnotic, mesmerizing quality to the stone that sucked Han Yunxi in.
“What does it look like?” Long Feiye asked.
“Like...a teardrop,” Han Yunxi said with certainty. “A single teardrop.”
“That’s exactly what it is. One of the mermaid’s tears, the Tear of Holding,” said Long Feiye.
Amazed, Han Yunxi exclaimed, “Something from the Baili Clan?”
There were many branches within the Mermaid Clan, with the Baili family among them. They could live on land like normal humans but expressed their true nature freely within the water.
“The Baili Clan are part of the teardrop mermaid branch within the Mermaid Clan. Their tears won’t change into Tears of Holding unless their lives are at risk. Only then the strongest thought their hearts hold onto will cause them to shed this tear. The stronger the urge to hold onto a thought, the more powerful the teardrop,” Long Feiye explained.
The one in his hands had been handed down to his imperial mother from his imperial father, then to him. It was bestowed upon the East Qin Dynasty by the forefather of the Mermaid Clan as thanks for a lifesaving favor. So far, it remained the largest Tear of Holding to have existed within the Mermaid Clan.
“What can it do?” Han Yunxi asked, floored. The Baili Mermaids were completely different from the mermaids of lore that she knew. Would this teardrop hold the secret to their escape from Lost Void Lake?
Long Feiye took her to the lakeshore and tossed the teardrop into the water. “This is the Mermaid Clan’s biggest Tear of Holding yet. As long as it’s tossed into the water, every member of the teardrop mermaid branch within the vicinity will sense its presence and hurry over.”
As Long Feiye stared at the almost hidden tiny pools within the larger ones of Lost Void Lake, he remarked, “This lake contains lakes within itself. From a distance, they look like an endless connection of holes. If your lordship guesses right, the bottom of this lake must connect to other waterways as well.”
“You mean to say...as long as the Mermaid Clan can sense the Tear of Holding, they’ll find us via the waterways?” Han Yunxi finally understood Long Feiye’s intent.
He nodded. Although he’d heard of Lost Void Lake, he had never come here personally. If he knew beforehand that its waters connected to other systems, they could have skipped going through the maze formation in the first place.
While Bai Yanqing and Bai Yuqiao waited for them outside the formation, would Long Feiye’s Tear of Holding summon the rescue they needed?Previous Chapter Next Chapter