It was true, Han Yunxi had gone days without hot food. She’d tried to minimize stopping at all during her travels because Gu Beiyue was waiting for her to save him! Corpse Cripple poison would be fatal if left unattended in his body for too long. She’d have more trouble curing it later.
As she stared at the fresh food now, she wasn’t sure whether the steam was too strong, but her vision had suddenly turned blurry. Unlike Long Feiye, who preferred simple meals, Gu Qishao was a classic foodie. Despite being a lunchbox meal, everything was fine and exquisitely made. Their combined scents formed an olfactory bouquet.
He personally ladled out some soup and handed it to Han Yunxi, who glanced between the bowl and the canteen before asking, “Which one should I drink first?”
“Drink a sip of water to wet your whistle, then drink the soup,” Gu Qishao said seriously, his voice exceptionally soft. Han Yunxi wasn’t used to him acting this way at all. It made her feel awkward and unable to relax. She took a few sniffs until her vision grew clearer and her heart became calmer.
“I’m in a hurry! What’s with all these particulars?” So speaking, she accepted the hot soup and gulped it down. This was her first time accepting Gu Qishao’s good intentions: a single bowl of soup in the barren countryside. The soup was very common, just pork ribs with corn, but its fresh flavor was something she’d never forget in her lifetime.
Gu Qishao watched her drink his soup and felt excellent. He quickly helped to get her some rice next. Forget rice, he’d even pluck the moon from the water or the stars from the sky if she’d accept them from him. Before he could hand her the rice, Han Yunxi moved to nimbly help Xu Donglin onto the carriage and asked, “Old Fiend, can you help him treat his wounds?”
Gu Qishao glanced at the man with disdain. “Useless thing.”
“I don’t need his help!” Xu Donglin yelled back. “I’d rather die than accept aid from him!”
Of course, Han Yunxi understood why Xu Donglin was angry. He had heard everything Gu Qishao told Qi Zonglin back then. She knew that Gu Qishao had a venomous tongue, but his heart wasn’t quite so poisonous. He must have gotten there just in time, or else he never would have waited until all of the shadow guards were dead before he acted. Meanwhile, Gu Qishao was too lazy to bother with Xu Donglin’s protests. In truth, Han Yunxi didn’t understand him as well as she thought. He was a decisive extremist. If he liked you, he’d sacrifice everything for you without every changing himself. If he disdained you, he wouldn’t even care if you died in front of his face.
He was a good person, but at the same time, he was someone completely heartless. It was true that he’d arrived only after all the shadow guards died, but even if he had come earlier, he would only move to save Han Yunxi, not her guards.
“Idiot! You believe the words he used to trick Qi Zonglin? Without his help, we both would be dead by now!” Han Yunxi glared at Xu Donglin. Only then did he wilt and stop speaking. Gu Qishao didn’t fuss with the man. After treating Xu Donglin’s wounds, he handed the hot bowl of rice to Han Yunxi again.
“Poison lass, eat it while it’s hot, quick.”
Although Gu Qishao’s kind intentions were hard to deny, Han Yunxi had no appetite. She looked at the ground full of dead bodies, then at the Poison Corpses lingering nearby, and felt as numb as a stone. It was as if she’d been plopped into a deep lake and was sinking endlessly into the waters without end.
After a while, she looked back at Gu Qishao. “Old Fiend, how about helping me bury these men?”
Gu Qishao had no comment. Once he was sure Han Yunxi couldn’t stomach any food, he tossed the fragrant bowl of rice aside and rolled up his sleeves to get to work. Using a sword as a spade, they dug a huge pit to lay the 50 shadow guards to rest with their weapons. There was no time to grieve. Gu Qishao sent the Poison Corpses scattering while they made haste on their journey. He became Han Yunxi’s driver and left the small paths for the main road. Since he’d come to personally pick her up, he wasn’t afraid of anything, Medical City included!
“When did you make so many Poison Corpses?” Han Yunxi finally asked. From what she knew, even raising one was a difficult task.
“I’ve been raising them back at Pill Fiend Valley. This time I brought them out specially just so everyone can see!” Gu Qishao chuckled icily.
“You’re hurting esteemed wangfei by doing this!” Xu Donglin rebuked him.
The fact that esteemed wangfei was a Poison Sect descendant was already hot news around the continent. The medical academy was doing all sorts of things already, so Gu Qishao’s interference would just cement her guilt. Who in the world didn’t fear Poison Corpses or poison gu?
“What’s there to fear? It was this young gentlemen who made these Poison Corpses. I’ll shoulder the blame!” Gu Qishao said breezily.
“Just what are you planning to do? You don’t need to be my scapegoat!” Han Yunxi was displeased.
She was quite clear that Gu Qishao was trying to divert the world’s attention off her and onto himself. If anything, he probably wanted to shoulder her guilty status in her place. After all, he used to be the foster son of the medical academy’s head elder. If news of this spread, the medical academy would never forgive him. Han Yunxi didn’t want to hide her status forever like a shrinking turtle in its shell, but she didn’t want to be labeled as a scourge like the Poison Sect descendant. She couldn’t afford to be rash or impulsive now.
Their patient forbearance all this time wasn’t from cowardice, but to seize a chance to expose the truth and acquit themselves of their criminal name. From what Han Yunxi understood of the medical academy now, those old men weren’t saints at all!
Gu Qishao turned back and chuckled. “Poison lass, if Qi gege wanted to be your scapegoat, I would’ve told my Poison Corpses to kill those Carefree City lads! Qi gege only wanted to warn certain people not to go too far. You’ll see!”
“You’re provoking the medical academy!” Han Yunxi came to a realization.
“No, your Qi gege is provoking Gu Yuntian.” Gu Qishao’s bright eyes flashed with the sinister joy of anticipating revenge as he spoke. He had never revealed his army of Poison Corpses before, having prepared them all for his eventual face-off against Medical City. Although the time wasn’t ripe, he wouldn’t spare anyone there if they dared to touch a hair on Poison lass’s head!
Soon enough, Carefree City would spread the news until it reached Gu Yuntian’s ears. He’d understand what he meant. He hadn’t killed those fellows because he didn’t want Han Yunxi to be labeled as cruel or ruthless, much less smear the Poison Sect’s name. He couldn’t stand to see the world cursing Poison lass. He’d rather she acknowledge her ancestors while being as free as the wind, as dazzling as the light!
A flash of surprise fitted through Han Yunxi’s hart. She had the faint sense that Gu Qishao should know about the medical academy’s secrets if he was once their illustrious ‘fiendish genius.’
“You…” she was about to ask when he suddenly turned towards her.
“Poison lass, do you trust Qi gege?”
Han Yunxi was both doubtful and confused, but she couldn’t refuse the question in those bright, clear eyes. Of all things, she nodded her head. “I do.”
Gu Qishao laughed out loud in delight. Then he whipped the horses and had them gallop off. It was only after they vanished into the distance that a certain master and disciple pair emerged from the side of the road.
“Master, just who is that Gu Qishao person?” the disciple asked.
“Interesting, haha!” the master stroked his beard with a chuckle. “Let’s go. We’ll have a good show to see soon!”
The disciple was clearly unconvinced, but remained quiet as the two of them headed north. Master explicitly told senior brother not to hurt Han Yunxi, but why did he instigate Carefree City to assassinate her instead?
Does master want Han Yunxi alive or dead? Or maybe it’s neither? If that’s the case, does he want her to have a life worse than death?
Carefree City’s news indeed spread fast. They even slandered Han Yunxi for being too powerful to leave unchecked. She had to be eliminated to uproot all potential threats. Long Feiye knitted his brows for an entire day after receiving the news. He was very clear on what Gu Qishao wanted to do, but he was worried for Han Yunxi! He only hoped that he could recover instantly so he could chase after them. Unfortunately, that was impossible.
“This person, Gu Qishao...what are his origins?” the sword sect master was curious.
“Gu Qi Sha,” Long Feiye replied.
The sword sect master was enlightened. “So it’s him! He has some gall, openly challenging Medical City!”
Even if this was the sword sect master, Long Feiye hadn’t told him about Gu Qishao’s undying body. The saying went that even a team of horses couldn’t catch up to words already uttered. He had promised to protect Gu Qishao’s secret while the latter kept quiet about his involvement with Mute Granny. Thus, Long Feiye changed the topic.
“Master, how did you save Duanmu Yao last time?” He had only recalled the topic after resting for a couple of days.
The sword sect master’s expression turned unhappy at the mention of Duanmu Yao. If he wanted to dismiss her from his thoughts, he’d probably had to forget Luo Qingling as well. But how was he supposed to manage that after a lifetime spent remembering her? Still, his thoughts towards his memories were much more clear-headed now.
“Severe injuries to the dantian will result in a loss of all internal energy and make it impossible to circulate qi within the body. As long as one has enough true qi, it can be healed. To shorten the recovery time, one can fine a certain miracle medicine to repair the damage,” the sword sect master revealed all.
“What kind of medicine?” Long Feiye asked quickly.
The sword sect master whispered four words into Long Feiye’s ear that caused his expression to shift. “Mm, I see.”
Then he explained how he’d channeled true qi into Gu Beiyue’s body until it was expelled by the man. Astonished by the description, the sword sect master could only exclaim, “As things stand, he’s quite impressive, quite impressive!”
“What do you mean by that?” Long Feiye didn’t understand.
“He’s a rarely seen once in a hundred years talent! His body must be the type that fights to live on the verge of death. If he’s ever injured, his internal energy will suddenly increase until it overwhelms the likes of you or me,” the sword sect master said, before asking earnestly. “Feiye, who is he?”
A shadow flickered across Long Feiye’s eyes. It was a long time before he finally replied, “A friend.”
He didn’t give many details, but simply asked, “Master, is there any news of your miracle medicine yet?”
The sword sect master had already sent people to search for the rare ingredient while he was treating Duanmu Yao.
“None yet…” the sword sect master trailed off before he finally spoke up. “Are you really going to save this man?”
Long Feiye’s eyes were hooded, hiding his expression. But his tone was firm. “He must be saved.”
News that had reached Celestial Mountain naturally spread to other corners as well. Neither Western Zhou nor Tianan City had openly declared their stance. Meanwhile, Ning Cheng was fighting Chu Tianyin on the battlefields while simultaneously threatening South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate to hand over Han Yunxi. Otherwise, he’d head south after defeating the Chu Clan troops on a mission of justice!
As for the medical academy…
It's going to be some time before I can transfer the PGC glossary and whatnot here, but I'll leave the links in the reminders post up above! A quick reminder....