Chapter 701: Yes, yes, that's itOriginal and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
As the Tear of Holding sank into the lake waters, it quickly vanished into the soundless depths.
An hour passed.
The poison within the pathway was still intact, but Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were both watching and waiting quietly by the lake. Time passed.
Ripples grew from the water before billows sprang up from the lake surface. One by one, they rose into the air, each bringing a single mermaid soldier. The column of water in the center towered over them all and revealed none other than Baili Yuanlong himself.
When they fled Tianning’s capital city, it had been in the middle of the night, so Han Yunxi hadn’t seen a thing. Now was her first time seeing the Mermaid Clan’s true forms, causing her to cry out in shock. “It’s beautiful!”
Indeed they were, with more defined features and pointed ears like dragons’ fins. Noble and dignified, they stood with elbow fins sharp enough to act as weapons. Light blue scales covered their bodies like armor, glittering in the light. Here was the face of a true noble clan. As they floated in the water, they resembled its most esteemed guards while bowing towards Long Feiye and Han Yunxi.
“Your subordinate arrived late to the rescue, may Your Highness mete punishment!” Baili Yuanlong was filled with fear. He knew His Highness Duke of Qin wouldn’t use the Tear of Holding unless it was absolutely necessary. Thus, he had immediately called upon his mermaid soldiers to rush into the opening of Lost Void Lake as quickly as he could.
“It’s not wise to tarry here long. Evacuate!” Long Feiye ordered coldly.
Before Han Yunxi could react, Long Feiye had already grabbed her and jumped into the water. The special blue shield of the Mermaid Clan protected them as soon as they went underwater, allowing them to breathe as freely as on land. Mermaid soldiers took charge of Grand Concubine Yi and the various unconscious, poisoned members of the City of Daughters with them, thus clearing out the shores. They led the way with Baili Yuanlong personally shielding Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s side. Their figures quickly vanished into the waters, which calmed and stilled in their wake. It was as if nothing had ever happened in the first place.
One hour later, Bai Yanqing slowly opened his eyes and went for his stroll inside the pathway. He didn’t use any antidote before dispersing the poison completely. Despite witnessing this countless times, Bai Yuqiao still shrank back at the sight, fearful of the extent of her master’s powers.
The poison’s gone.
Bai Yanqing had hardly left the path when he realized something was wrong.
Bai Yuqiao leapt to her feet. “Impossible! Master, I was on watch the entire time! They couldn’t have run away!”
“Han Yunxi didn’t release any more poison. They’ve definitely fled,” Bai Yanqing muttered to himself.
“Master, maybe Han Yunxi’s tired as well and needed to take a breath. Or maybe she’s all out of poisons by now,” Bai Yuqiao suggested.
Bai Yanqing immediately filled the air with poisons. He waited a long time, but the toxins didn’t dispel.
“They must have ran away!” Bai Yanqing was convinced.
“Master, maybe Han Yunxi couldn’t dispel this on…” Before Bai Yuqiao could finish, Bai Yanqing had already dispelled his own poison and strode into the pathway. She hurried after him, too timid to coax him further even as she refused to accept his verdict. There was only one way in and out of the maze pathway to Lost Void Lake. She had stared at its exit for an entire hour. Could Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had slipped away before her very eyes?
She only accepted the truth when she and her master saw the abandoned shores of the lake. There wasn’t a single person left.
Where did they go?
Bai Yuqiao couldn’t figure it out, but Bai Yanqing didn’t seem surprised. He stared at the lake for a long time before a cold smile rose to his lips. “Yes, yes…” he muttered to himself, “That’s it! This trip wasn’t a waste of time after all, hehe.”
Bai Yuqiao didn’t quite understand what was going on, but she was too afraid to ask despite her master looking like he was in a good mood. Indeed, Bai Yanqing was so pleased that he turned back and said with a smile, “Little lass, let’s go back. It’s about time for your senior brother’s letter to arrive.”
Master and disciple left the pathway behind them just as Lady Leng Yue returned with Leng Shuangshuang.
“Old Bai, so you were here! It certainly took me effort to find you! Hurry and help Shuang’er.” Lady Leng Yue knew that Bai Yanqing was nearby, but she’d searched the entire perimeter before doubling back to the maze. Fortunately, she happened to see his carriage parked by the road.
As Bai Yanqing glanced over, Lady Leng Yue quickly approachd with an unconscious Leng Shuangshuang so he could take her pulse. Unfortunately, Bai Yuqiao blocked her way. Lady Leng Yue was about to scold her when Bai Yuqiao quickly found the place where Leng Shuangshuang had been poisoned: a tiny needle mark. Seeing this, Bai Yanqing remained silent and Lady Leng Yue relented without much choice.
Bai Yuqiao took out a dagger and marked the spot with a “十” before widening the incision. After that, she took out a magnetite in an attempt to pull out the poisoned needle buried deep within the flesh. But no matter how long she tried, the needle wouldn’t come out.
Surprised, Bai Yuqiao cried, “Master, that Qin Wangfei’s so wasteful! Her poison needles are made of solid gold. Even magnetites can’t attract them!”
Many acupuncture needles in the medical world--poisoned or not--were called jinzhen (金针), which literally meant “gold needle.” But the gold was just a general term and not meant to be taken literally. A mixture of different metal alloys made them up, which was why they were attracted to magnets. It was rare to find truly gold needles, especially those used as weapons. Han Yunxi was probably the first of her kind.
“Heheh, interesting.” Bai Yanqing was sitting in his carriage by now, flipping through a book and looking relaxed. Lady Leng Yue grew agitated.
“What happens if we can’t suck it out?”
Bai Yanqing remained silent, as did Bai Yuqiao. She simply took her dagger and drove it straight into the wound as it dripped with blood. Smoothly but harshly, she dug the needle out. Despite being a girl who often felt distress for her senior brother, she was quite cruel and merciless. Leng Shuangshuang’s eyes flew open from the pain, staring blankly before they shut again.
Even as a mercenary, Lady Leng Yue had to suck in a cold breath. “Bai Yuqiao, how dare you!”
Bai Yuqiao ignored her and went to sniff the poison needle, then the traces of blood by the wound. “It’s not hard to cure this poison,” she muttered to herself.
Soon enough, she created an antidote and haphazardly applied it to Leng Shuangshuang’s injury. “Take this medicine with you. No need to sprinkle it on the wound any more, just take it orally three times a day.”
“Help her stop the bleeding!” Lady Leng Yue fumed. If not for Bai Yanqing’s sake, she would have killed this damned girl ages ago!
Bai Yuqiao took out needle and thread before sewing the wound shut like one would to a set of clothes. Leng Shuangshuang abruptly cried out in pain before the agony sent her spiraling into unconsciousness again.
“Assassins are this picky too?” Bai Yuqiao scoffed.
Lady Leng Yue stared at her coldly until she finished sewing up the wound, then slapped her across the face. “Cheap girl! Do you believe it when I say I’ll take you back to the City of Daughters with me if you get smart with me again?”
Killer intent flashed past Bai Yuqiao’s eyes as she prepared to retaliate, but Bai Yanqing coughed lightly. With no other choice, she swallowed the bits of blood and broken teeth in her mouth.
“Shuang’er’s poison is cured now?” Lady Leng Yue asked.
“What, you suspect this old man’s disciple’s skills?” Bai Yanqing asked.
Lady Leng Yue didn’t dare. “Thanks.”
Only then did Bai Yanqing gesture for her to board the carriage. She did with Leng Shuangshuang in tow and went to sit in a corner. Bai Yuqiao felt nothing but resentment, but only docilely followed behind her.
“Old Bai, Han Yunxi used the same methods as you in the past to break through the matrix pathway. Her poison skills...who taught them to her?” Lady Leng Yue asked with curiosity.
Bai Yanqing stroked his beard without answering, but he was even more curious to know than she. Despite being friends, she was also his subordinate, so she didn’t dare to press too hard. When Bai Yanqing remained mute, she stopped pursuing the subject. After a while, Bai Yanqing said, “Have you dealt with things on Duanmu Yao’s side?”
“Don’t worry. Even if Duanmu Yao was half-dead, she wouldn’t sell us out. We’re all in one boat, after all,” Lady Leng Yue said seriously.
“And Grand Concubine Yi?” Bai Yanqing asked next.
“Nothing to fret over. She won’t every wake again,” Lady Leng Yue smiled.
Bai Yanqing was quite pleased. He took Lady Leng Yue’s hand and patted it gently. “Excellent.”
It was originally Tianan Country’s empress dowager that had wanted to kidnap Grand Concubine Yi, but Bai Yanqing told Lady Leng Yue to steal Grand Concubine Yi away and make a deal with Duanmu Yao after finding out the news. This way, Duanmu Yao could extort Long Feiye. Like this, Long Feiye wouldn’t suspect the empress dowager, or that the origins of his birth could be exposed.
“Old Bai, what did Grand Concubine Yi say?” Lady Leng Yue asked curiously. She only knew of his plans, not the intel he wanted from the woman’s lips. Bai Yanqing had been the only man present that day to interrogate Grand Concubine Yi and the sole witness to her truths.
Very quickly, Bai Yanqing released Lady Leng Yue’s hand. “You don’t need to know about that.”
“Aye, it’s a shame,” Lady Leng Yue sighed. “Instead of killing Han Yunxi, we lost Duanmu Yao.”
“Yuqiao, you lost. When we go back, remember to take off a month’s worth of allowance,” Bai Yanqing laughed out loud. He had placed bets with his disciple on whether Lady Leng Yue would be able to kill Han Yunxi before they came here.
“Yes!” Bai Yuqiao felt even more aggrieved, but her gloomy face shed no tears. How could a child like her ever cry?
“Old Bai, you didn’t want to kill that lass? She’s quite something. Leaving her alive will only spell peril!” Lady Leng Yue reminded him.
“That’s for the future,” Bai Yanqing chuckled. “As for losing Duanmu Yao, hehe, the sword sect elder will find trouble for Long Feiye because of that. Don’t you worry.”
“I’m afraid that girl might find her way to the City of Daughters before the sword sect elder ever gives Long Feiye trouble. Of the 30 some experts in my city...only two to three are left,” Lady Leng Yue grew solemn. If she had killed Long Feiye this time, the City of Daughters would have seen their reputation skyrocket. It was really a pity!
“What? Afraid?” Bai Yanqing smiled.
“Heheh, not quite,” Lady Leng Yue was telling the truth. The City of Daughters had strong foundations.
Bai Yanqing was pleased. “This old man will send you two back.”
Thrilled, Lady Leng Yue’s gloominess all but evaporated. It would be a lie to say she didn’t admire Bai Yanqing, but the man had always kept his distance from her. As the carriage rolled slowly along, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had already returned to shore by this time. It had been a deep and distant trip away from Lost Void Lake, filled with plenty of obstacles.
“We’re finally safe,” Han Yunxi exhaled.
“Baili Yuanlong, make arrangements. Three days later, your lordship will set out for a detour to East Jing Prefecture,” Long Feiye said coldly.
Baili Yuanlong was stunned. Wasn’t the plan to leave at the end of the month? There are still 10 days left. Why the detour to East Jing? That’s where the City of Daughters is located!
Translator's Note: Sorry for the disappearing act! It's been a cold week..brrr. Playing catch-up now! And hey, we finally get a hint of some geographic locations besides our major countries and capitals!
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