Han Yunxi had left a seriously injured Long Feiye back on Celestial Mountain to travel thousands of li without stop, all for the sake of buying time to help Gu Beiyue remove his poison. Deigning to speak politely with this lot was already her giving them plenty of leeway.
Her eyes grew frighteningly cold. “I gave you face, but you don’t want it. Don’t blame this wangfei for turning presumptuous!”
She didn’t know any martial arts, but her killing intent was enough to still the advance of her opponents.
“What are you all spacing out for? Get over there and capture her! There’ll be generous rewards!” Clan Head Xiao shouted.
Han Yunxi pushed Xu Donglin out and issued orders. “Xu Donglin, take a good look. Anyone who tries to raise a ruckus will be killed without mercy!”
“This subordinate obeys the orders!” Xu Donglin said. Immediately, shadow guards hidden on the sidelines showed themselves. Although there wasn’t much, their presence was enough to stun the crowd.
“Old Fiend, take me inside!” Han Yunxi muttered.
Gu Qishao was waiting for those very words. Exceptional times called for exceptional measures. He happily wrapped an arm around Han Yunxi’s waist and lightly tapped his feet to propel them into the air. His extravagant red robes seem to blot out the skies, a beautiful sight.
As soon as Han Yunxi landed on the other side of the wall, he heard the angry protests of the clan heads outside.
“We want to see His Highness Duke of Qin! His Highness Duke of Qin must have been poisoned and bewitched by this woman! If you don’t get rid of her, South Ning is doomed for sure!”
“This is simply a revolt! That poisons woman is publicly rebelling!”
“Where’s General Baili? Has he stopped caring about affairs at all?”
Han Yunxi hadn’t even reached the ancestral hall when crowds of officers poured into the Duke of Qin’s estate. They began fighting with the shadow guards while Clan Head Xiao proclaimed his intentions to invade the estate, capture Han Yunxi, and eliminate the evil for South Ning’s citizens! The sound of combat was extremely loud, forcing Han Yunxi to halt and look back.
“Are they fighting for real?”
The shadow guards could hold off their pursuers with no trouble, but if anyone died, their deaths could be used to exacerbate the internal strife in South Ning. The commoners wouldn’t be able to bear such chaos, especially since Medical City had already issued them sanctions. The situation looked bad. Foreign aggression was still pressing upon them, so any trouble here would turn South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate into Cloud Realm Continent’s biggest joke.
Noting Han Yunxi’s worry, Gu Qishao said impatiently, “Poison lass, don’t worry. Qi gege will deal with them personally!”
Han Yunxi quickly held him back. If Gu Qishao was going to call out his Poison Corpses to face those men, then the ensuing guilt pinned against her would stick on even if she dove headfirst into the Yellow River. “Old Fiend, you don’t understand the specifics of the situation at South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate. We can let the world accuse us all it wants, but we can’t let those five prominent clans get a handle on any loopholes.”
Without Long Feiye here, how were they supposed to deal with these powerful old and established families? With the threat of domestic strife on one side and Gu Beiyue’s fate in the other, Han Yunxi was burning with impatience when Baili Mingxiang came out of the bamboo woods leading to the ancestral hall with quick steps.
“Esteemed wangfei,” she shouted from a distance, “You’re finally here!”
Seeing her in a rush, Han Yunxi stopped hesitating and rushed to meet her. “How is Gu Beiyue?”
“Esteemed wangfei, Doctor Gu’s been waiting for you ever since hearing you’d come today. Esteemed wangfei, please hurry over there. Doctor Gu said that there’s no need to worry about outside. My father will bring troops over very soon,” Baili Mingxiang huffed for breath.
“Bring troops…” Han Yunxi was surprised.
“Yes, Doctor Gu said that scholars rule in times of peace, while warriors rule in times of chaos. My father’s already planted soldiers nearby. Once they turn more unrowdy, he’ll capture them in the name of quelling an insurrection,” Baili Mingxiang said seriously.
Han Yunxi understood. This was the true meaning of “extraordinary methods for extraordinary times!” The power of South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate was kept in check by the five family heads, but its military strength laid with the Baili Clan troops! He controlled not only the navy, but many major military forces in South Ning and the south central region after their exodus south. All of the units had been reorganized under his command. Even if the five prominent families controlled a majority in the military, most of their men were simple government officers. How could they stand up against an army bred for war?
When it was impossible to convince people with reason, when it was hopeless to control public opinion, then military strength was the way to speak up! Though a purely military administration couldn’t hold down a country for long, it could extinguish pressing issues and buy them time to face off against Medical City and Ning Cheng. Han Yunxi had been wondering why she didn’t see any Baili Clan troops upon her arrival; as it turned out, Gu Beiyue had planned things perfectly ahead of time.
For a physician who only treated illnesses, this man was quite skilled in affairs of state. His wisdom was like his gentleness, soft and imperceptible. He would deal with things silently while hiding his own credit.
“Saving him is my greatest honor,” Han Yunxi tossed out these words before sprinting towards the bamboo. But she soon stopped upon seeing Gu Beiyue waiting outside the ancestral hall. He was still sitting in his wheelchair, thin and frail, but his smile was as warm as an April spring breeze. It brought her serenity in the midst of the chaos.
How could someone like him exist? He clearly couldn’t stand, but it didn’t leave him in a difficult position at all. Han Yunxi was certain that nothing in this world could ever disturb the calm in those eyes, that nothing foul could ever stain the folds of those snow-white robes. She almost wanted to stand there a little longer and leave the peaceful scene undisturbed, but time was pressing!
The detox system was already sending her constant alerts about Gu Beiyue’s poisoned legs while analyzing the situation. It concluded that the Corpse Cripple was still curable--she could expel the poison thoroughly.
In truth, Gu Beiyue was staring at her too, hoping that the quiet moment could last longer. But his wish for eternity only lasted an instant. Like always, he clasped his hands before him and greeted respectfully, “Esteemed wangfei, you’ve had a hard journey.”
“Sorry I came late!” Han Yunxi immediately wheeled him into the rooms and summoned attendants to help him onto the bed. She smoothly retrieved her needles and a bit of liquid medicine, discussing the status of the poison with Gu Beiyue while she did her preparations. She was still curious to know when Gu Beiyue had learned to suppress poisons with acupuncture needles. As it turned out, he simply sealed multiple major acupoints on his legs to slow the flow of blood and qi.
“You...if I had come too late, even gods wouldn’t be able to save your legs!” Han Yunxi scolded.
“It was the only way. See now, esteemed wangfei made it in time anyways,” Gu Beiyue spoke the truth. He never would have lasted this long otherwise.
“There must be a spy in the estate. We have to ferret them out. How did you get poisoned?” Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Beiyue didn’t answer.
“Did it suddenly break out, or did you bump against something?” Han Yunxi askd next.
Gu Beiyue still didn’t reply. Han Yunxi looked up to see Gu Beiyue peering down at her with a pair of warm, clean eyes. He pressed a finger to his lips before murmuring, “Esteemed wangfei, you’ve never been distracted while treating people’s poison. Shhh….”
Han Yunxi’s pounding heart stilled at the sight. That’s right, I’ve always been focused when it comes to treating poisons. I don’t even let people disturb me. She lowered her head and quickly got into treatment mode. She wanted to wind up Gu Beiyue’s trouser legs, but he beat her to it.
“Esteemed wangfei, please excuse my impropriety.” He was always polite, so Han Yunxi was used to it, but those words made him seem distant nonetheless. She didn’t answer before carefully searching for his acupoints.
Of course, Han Yunxi didn’t realize that those words weren’t a matter of distance at all. The reality was that Gu Beiyue was her subordinate and didn’t dare accept her waiting upon him. Meanwhile, Baili Mingxiang paused at the door, her heart aching at his sentence. It was impossible for someone to experience the exact same thing as someone else in this world, but she could still commiserate. Only those who had gone through the same trials could understand and see through th signs.
Despite Doctor Gu’s modesty and manners, Baili Mingxiang could clearly tell that he harbored feelings for Han Yunxi. His emotions were no less inferior than Gu Qishao, who proclaimed them loud and clear. How much must he like her to carefully hide his feelings away? He never allowed himself to show a hint, which was why he was willing to express his distance from her again and again. Baili Mingxiang could understand all this.
She silently ended up as Han Yunxi’s assistant while the latter disinfected the needles in her liquid medicine and placed them in the appropriate acupoints. She didn’t use very many, but she stuck them deep into his skin. Soon enough, black blood was seeping out of tiny puncture marks and sliding down Gu Beiyue’s calves. Han Yunxi observed that Gu Beiyue’s muscles were still intact despite his thin legs. He must have had plenty of physical activity to build them up!
But does he usually exercise a lot?
The thought flashed through her head but a second before Han Yunxi was back on task. Corpse Cripple hid its poison deep, so expelling the toxin like this was an extremely slow process. It would probably be an entire day before they finished. She was weary from her journey, but she had to conserve her mental energy. The bamboo forest was isolated from the rest of the estate, so Han Yunxi could focus on each and every needle. Gu Beiyue looked at her with his head bowed, his entire world silent at the sight.
Miss Yunxi, long time no see… he thought to himself.
Distant contacts called her by “esteemed wangfei,” while intimate friends simply used “Yunxi.” Only he knew the meaning of Miss Yunxi to himself. At this moment, Gu Qishao was quiet as well as he leaned against the door. Beyond the bamboo forest and estate walls, the city’s clamor was in a completely separate space. General Baili personally lead a team of crack troops stationed in South Ning to round up the troublemakers as both sides faced off.
It wasn’t until night fell that Han Yunxi finally pulled out all of Gu Beiyue’s needles. Then she did a special massage on his legs to ease the bloodflow and wrapped up her word.
With a sigh, she finally smiled. “Doctor Gu, it’s okay now!”
“Esteemed wangfei, I’m sorry I couldn’t greet you at the city gates,” Gu Beiyue was remorseful. That was their promise before she left, after all.
“Then just let me see you stand up with my own eyes!” Han Yunxi was serious.
“Alright!” Gu Beiyue’s reply was strong and firm. He carefully touched his toes tot the ground. Han Yunxi wanted to help, but he refused her and held onto the bamboo couch to rise slowly to his feet.
He was standing! And steadily!
Han Yunxi was greatly moved by the sight. She finally managed to speak. “Doctor Gu, long time no see!”
It really had been a while!
“Esteemed wangfei, as long as this one can stand, South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate will never fall!” Gu Beiyue said seriously.
Perhaps it was time for him to pay a visit to Medical City…Previous Chapter Next Chapter