His Highness Duke of Qin wanted to detour through East Jing to reach Celestial Mountain, but that was the location of the City of Daughters!
“Your Highness, you’re going to the City of Daughters?” Baili Yuanlong asked.
“Your lordship won’t forgive anyone who dares to kidnap people from the Duke of Qin’s estate, no matter who they are,” Long Feiye said coldly.
Han Yunxi remained silent. Even if Long Feiye didn’t find Lady Leng Yue to settle accounts, she would have urged him herself. This matter didn’t just involve Duanmu Yao and Lady Leng Yue, but that mysterious poisons expert as well.
“Fine. This soldier will make arrangements immediately.” Baili Yuanlong was a military man, so unlike Chu Xifeng, he’d follow orders even if he still had questions. Back at South Ning, Long Feiye thought things through overnight before delaying their time for departure. He had to wait for Chu Xifeng to report back from Tianan.
“Someone come, send a flying pigeon message to Chu Xifeng. Have him bring back Murong Wanru immediately, no matter what methods he uses,” he ordered coldly.
“You mean to say…” Han Yunxi was lost.
“Things aren’t as simple as they look,” Long Feiye remarked. It looked like Duanmu Yao was the mastermind who only kidnapped Grand Concubine Yi to threaten them, but he felt that something else was at play.
“How so?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Duanmu Yao might be stupid, but Lady Leng Yue isn’t a fool. She wouldn’t have really brought Grand Concubine Yi to Lost Void Lake without ample reason,” Long Feiye explained.
Although he didn’t sense any movements from Cang Qiuzi, he had noticed the various Celestial Mountain females hidden in the woods. However, he hadn’t managed to track down Grand Concubine Yi amongst them until she was brought out. If he had known ahead of time, he wouldn’t have wasted so many words with Duanmu Yao.
Han Yunxi came to a realization when he spoke. She gave Long Feiye a thumbs up as her face filled with admiration. He was more meticulous than a doctor like her when it came to noticing these tiny details. That’s right. Duanmu Yao’s dumb, but not Lady Leng Yue. Duanmu Yao’s motive wasn’t the Profound Frost Sword, but my death and gaining treatment from Long Feiye. Why would she be so obedient as to bring the hostage all the way out there?
As expected, a pro like Long Feiye could see through everything!
“Thinking back now, is it possible they handed us Grand Concubine Yi on purpose?” Han Yunxi asked doubtfully. “Why bother at all?”
She puzzled over it a bit longer, before asking, “What do they want us to misunderstand? There has to be a plot afoot!”
Long Feiye stroked her hair lovingly. More and more, he was beginning to adore discussing problems with this woman. She was very intelligent and could get the whole picture with a single hint. He didn’t need to waste much time explaining things.
“It’s only a conjecture for now. The safest bet is to bring Murong Wanru here. Only Grand Concubine Yi would know the whole truth.”
No matter what had happened, Long Feiye was only interested in knowing whether Grand Concubine Yi had revealed his birth origins as an adopted son. Murong Wanru would be the key point in making her talk.
By now, daylight had arrived. After eating breakfast, Zhao mama came to report. “Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, the Grand Concubine’s yet to wake.”
Han Yunxi had checked on Grand Concubine Yi’s health the entire trip back. She was neither poisoned, injured, nor ill and seemed perfectly normal. She suspected that the fright had been too much for the woman, who would remain unconscious for a day until she recovered from its effects. Thus, she left her in Zhao mama’s care.
“Still not awake? That shouldn’t be, right?” Han Yunxi grew uneasy. “Let me go take a look.”
Long Feiye accompanied her. Grand Concubine Yi had been taken back to her room at the ancestral hall, where she lay quietly on the bed as if peacefully asleep. Han Yunxi carefully examined her but found nothing amiss. However, that was the greatest suspicion of all. Immediately, she said, “Long Feiye, looks like we’ll need to send someone to summon Gu Beiyue.”
Once Gu Beiyue arrived, his examination yielded the same conclusions as Han Yunxi. Nothing seemed wrong.
“How long has she been unconscious?” he asked seriously.
“She was out when we saw her yesterday at noon. I’m not sure about the times before then,” Han Yunxi replied.
“Wait a bit longer. If she doesn’t wake up by tonight, then we’ll have a serious problem on our hands,” Gu Beiyue’s expression turned complicated. “Please allow this one to watch over esteemed Grand Concubine today. It’ll make checking up on her easier.”
“Then we’ll leave it in your hands,” Long Feiye said before bringing Han Yunxi out of the room. He wasn’t part of Tianning’s imperial bloodline, so he didn’t want to tell Gu Beiyue too many details about his birth. The truth would come out eventually, but now wasn’t the time.
There were some things that were impossible to explain with words alone. Only actions could prove himself to others. As the threat of Celestial Mountain still loomed overhead, he didn’t want to incur more trouble for himself.
If Han Yunxi had any doubts before, she was thoroughly convinced now. “Someone left Grand Concubine Yi in a coma on purpose. They must have found out something from her!”
Long Feiye’s eyes dropped as he walked slowly with his head bowed.
“Long Feiye, this has to be a calculated move! Definitely!” Han Yunxi declared.
Long Feiye finally spoke, “The crucial point is who’s behind the move.”
Unless Grand Concubine Yi regained consciousness, it was useless even if they knew this had been planned. Was everything related to Tianan’s empress dowager, or had someone else started suspecting the origins of his birth? If so, when had they begun to suspect? Long Feiye couldn’t figure it out. Where did the problem come from? Was there a weak point somewhere that elicited doubt from other parties?
For now, all he could do was wait.
A few days later, Chu Xifeng arrived with Murong Wanru, but Grand Concubine Yi was still unconscious. Gu Beiyue found himself at a loss as well.
“Under these circumstances, it’s definite that she’s suffered brain injuries. However, this one cannot determine the exact causes just yet,” Gu Beiyue explained.
“Is it possible to find out? How long will it take?” Long Feiye asked.
“It’s impossible to say,” Gu Beiyue admitted.
Long Feiye paused, then remarked, “Then I’ll leave this to you. For now, Mu Linger can take charge of affairs at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. You’ll move into the ancestral hall.”
Han Yunxi looked at the unconscious mother and daughter pair in the room and was filled with emotions. When she first stepped foot into the Duke of Qin’s estate, she’d suffered much from this pair of women. But fortune was a fickle mistress. She never expected them to end up like this. They probably expected it even less.
“Everything will be as Your Highness decrees,” Gu Beiyue’s words were filled with double meaning. Leaving Gu Beiyue at the ancestral hall would also make it easier for them to communicate via Long Feiye’s shadow guards. With the war between the three nations still ongoing, they had to keep an eye on Chu Tianyin.
When Chu Xifeng brought back Murong Wanru, he also had another piece of news.
“Your Highness, Jun Yixie’s left for the Wintercrow Clan. He’s probably gone to buy horses, but he’s traveling with the crown prince and second imperial prince.”
“Those two princes agreed to travel together?” Long Feiye laughed coldly. “And what about the poison on his shoulder?”
“This subordinate was unable to find out any information,” Chu Xifeng was put in a difficult spot. He had suffered the loss of quite a few men already just to find out intel about Northern Li sending teams to the Wintercrow Clan.
Jun Yixie’s own subordinates might not even know about his poison, to say nothing of mere outsiders. Without a word, Long Feiye flipped the pages of the Annals of the Seven Noble Families until he came to the section on the Wind Clan. At his sides stood Chu Xifeng and Baili Yuanlong, who could both read the heading clearly.
The Wind Clan possesses intimate knowledge of astronomy, geomancy, and the Qimen Dunjia. They are experts at controlling the air and using wind to cover spaces, set traps, and move troops.
Both men exchanged glances at the words. They knew that the Wind Clan specialized in astronomy and could predict the weather ahead of time. Thus, their clan members had been in charge of overseeing the many great fields of the kingdoms. Who knew they had these other skills too?
“Qimen Dunjia, control of the wind…” Long Feiye muttered with interest. After a while, he declared, “Baili Yuanlong, prepared to dispatch your troops north at any time.”
“Yes!” Baili Yuanlong accepted immediately.
“Your Highness, what about taking a break before going to Celestial Mountain? It looks like there’ll be plenty of things to take care of come autumn!” persuaded Chu Xifeng.
“No, there’ll be even more problems then,” Long Feiye replied icily. At Lost Void Lake, Cang Qiuzi had intentionally kept himself hidden until Duanmu Yao was injured. Without a doubt, he was planning to keep the girl completely under his control. Right now, his master was suffering through one of his bouts of insanity, so he feared for the old man’s safety if he didn’t go back now. Moreover, Cang Qiuzi and Duanmu Yao had not only joined up with the City of Daughters, but that mysterious poisons expert too. Whether it was the imperial court controlling the jianghu or vice versa, it now kept his attention.
No matter what the case, controlling the jianghu’s strength was a critical point. If Cang Qiuzi seized the advantage and pitted the jianghu forces against the imperial palace, then all the pieces he’d set into motion over the past few years would be wasted. They couldn’t avoid going back to Celestial Mountain.
“Then this subordinate shall make preparations!” Chu Xifeng didn’t even move to leave before Long Feiye rejected the offer.
“Let Xu Donglin come with us. You stay here. I’m leaving Gu Beiyue’s safety in your hands. If there are any accidents, your lordship will hold you responsible!”
“Your Highness!” Chu Xifeng grew anxious.
Even so, Long Feiye ignored him. “Have you given the City of Daughters their big gift?”
“I have…” Chu Xifeng replied helplessly.
“How’s the situation with Tang Li?” Long Feiye asked next.
“I heard he took Ning Jing out touring. He said something about…” Chu Xifeng trailed off before he finally recalled the words, “About a honeymoon trip. Your Highness, the young clan head is just finding ways to leave the Tang Clan!”
Chu Xifeng assumed that His Highness wouldn’t ask for any details of the honeymoon beyond this, but Long Feiye only queried, “For how long?”
“A month. I heard it’s supposed to be a sweet and tender month for couples, which is why they call it the honeymoon,” Chu Xifeng explained at length while General Baili listened uncomfortably from the side.
“Your Highness, you must be careful on the road! This soldier will await your return!” So speaking, the great general respectfully excused himself.
“Your Highness, that brat Xu Donglin’s never been to Celestial Mountain before. Moreover, you’re taking a detour to the City of Daughters as well. Why don’t you…” But Long Feiye had long left the room before Chu Xifeng could finish. The Duke of Qin walked to the corner of the covered passageway before turning his steps towards Leisurely Cloud Pavilion. It was still dark there, so Han Yunxi was probably still at Pill Fiend Pharmacy tying up loose ends before their departure tomorrow. He had told her he’d reward her when they returned, but she hadn’t asked him for any favors. Perhaps she’d forgotten. Long Feiye smiled helplessly.
He didn’t look for Han Yunxi at Pill Fiend Pharmacy, but went to the ancestral hall. Somehow, the place had become extremely serene ever since Gu Beiyue’s arrival. Even the lantern light looked warm and inviting. Gu Beiyue was sitting on a rush cushion and staring at the Buddha statue when Long Feiye arrived. His thin face looked lonely in the candlelight, his peaceful eyes filled with devotion. He still hadn’t noticed Long Feiye even when the man stopped behind him.
“You believe in Buddha?” Long Feiye asked frostily.Previous Chapter Next Chapter