Lil Thing had been seriously injured last time, but it was still better off than the time Han Yunxi took its poison-proof blood. Despite recovering in the poison storage system, it could still sense Mama Yunxi’s feelings and hear the conversations of the outside world. It had woken up by the time Mama Yunxi reached the Duke of Qin’s estate because he caught whiff of the gentleman’s scent, the cleanest one in the human world.
Only a clean soul could give off such a pure scent.
Lil Thing was still as small as a fist and very furry. Its snow-white pelt made it resemble a tiny furball. It had wanted to come out much earlier, but it didn’t have the strength. It tried very, very hard until it could jump out of the poison pond and escape the poison storage space. After leaping out of the window, it dashed straight for the ancestral hall and followed its usual path through a certain window to land inside. As expected, the gentleman was lying on his bed.
He was dressed in white robes beneath half-rolled up silk covers. His hair pooled about his face and spread across the bed. He was even more gentle and warm when he was asleep, because he lacked his usual modesty and restraint. There was even a rarely-seen lethargy on his face. It was hard to imagine just how this man would look if he completely relaxed all forms of etiquette on his waking face.
Gentleman, ah, gentleman. Just what kind of person are you?
Lil Thing sat on the table and stared at the sleeping figure in a trance. The longer it stared, the more familiar his face looked--as if it had seen him somewhere else before.
But how can that be?
Have I seen the gentleman before? Did I forget?
It really did have a bad memory, but this gentleman was only in his twenties. It couldn’t have forgotten something in as little as a couple of decades, right? Lil Thing carefully thought back and realized that it really had forgotten many things. Perhaps it’d been locked up for too long in that little black room and gotten bored, so there was nothing worth remembering.
There would be four more hours before daybreak. Lil Thing jumped onto the bed and rubbed against its gentleman, then found a comfortable place to sleep! Thus, the Duke of Qin’s estate settled into a serenity as still as moonlight…
At the same time, Mu Linger was sitting by herself on the back steps of the estate. Chu Xifeng ran into her on his patrols and wanted to tell her that Gu Qishao was nearby moon-bathing on a rooftop while fast asleep. But after some hesitation, he decided to stop getting involved in other people’s affairs. He really did loathe Gu Qishao and didn’t think a good girl like Mu Linger deserved such a jerk. Abruptly, he thought of the young Tang Clan head. Even though Tang Li had been made official clan head, Chu Xifeng was still used to calling him “young clan head.” He remembered that Tang Li had once been interested in Mu Linger’s genius pharmacist skills. But how did he fall into the hands of that slut, Ning Jing?
Who knows if he’s gotten her under control yet. War’s about to break out, so those arms trade routes are going to be very important!
Mu Linger was sprawled over her knees half-asleep. Actually, she was ready to collapse from exhaustion after busying herself until the early hours of the morning to finish seeing her patients. She then spent time organizing the inventory with a few servants and was supposed to head for the bedrooms at Pill Fiend Pharmacy’s back courtyard, but came running over the Duke of Qin’s estate instead without breaking for a single sip of water.
Once here, she saw the tightly shut back gates and realized that it was late night. Of course everyone would’ve scattered and slept by now, so there was no way for her to meet Qi gege. She didn’t know why she ended up sitting here either. So what if she waited until daybreak? She’d still have to return to Pill Fiend Pharmacy and busy herself with work.
But she sat anyways, and once she did, she didn’t want to leave. Perhaps a tiny, wild wish still existed in her heart that Qi gege would pass through this door. He always did weird things like come and go as he pleased in the middle of the night.
Qi gege, you didn’t even say goodbye the last time you dropped by. Won’t you see Linger once now that you’ve returned?
Although I’m no one to you, we’ve still been friends since we were younger.
Qi gege, just what do you take Linger as?
In the end, Mu Linger didn’t meet Gu Qishao all night. She didn’t snooze when light fell, but stretched her back and went back to a hectic day of work at Pill Fiend Pharmacy. Even she didn’t notice the wet spots she’d left on her knees.
The first ray of sunshine entered the study and immediately woke Han Yunxi up. As light spread through the dark and chilly rooms, Han Yunxi checked her poison storage system to verify that Lil Thing was gone. Her schedule was packed today between visits to the pharmacy, the Baili military compound, and South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate. Every place needed her to take care of a heap of tasks and make the final say. But just in case, she decided to visit Gu Beiyue first and see if Lil Thing was over there.
She entered his room to see Gu Beiyue speaking with Lil Thing, his voice very soft. Lil Thing simply nodded in response to him, although it was hard to tell whether it understood anything. This one man and one squirrel didn’t look strange, but unspeakably harmonious together.
“So it was here after all,” Han Yunxi smiled.
“It snuck over last night. I only discovered it this morning,” Gu Beiyue smiled as he cradled Lil Thing in his hands and stroked its fur. “This little fellow might have some predestined fate with me since it clings to me so often.”
“Isn’t that so? And while still injured. Instead of properly treating its wounds, it only knows to run over here and place,” Han Yunxi’s voice was full of reproach, but her heart still ached for Lil Thing. The scenes at Celestial Mountain sometimes flashed through her mind. It was impossible for her to fathom whether she’d still be alive without Lil Thing’s help. She knew that Lil Thing had excellent jumping and running skills, but never expected it to transform into a big white wolf, or contain such explosive power. Now she took it from Gu Beiyue’s hands and gently stroked its fur while the squirrel nuzzled affectionately against her fingers.
“You’ve never seen it transformed, right?” Han Yunxi smiled. “It’s a big white wolf. Perhaps the sight could even scare you.”
Lil Thing was rather unsatisfied with that evaluation and lazily raised its head to glare at Han Yunxi. Unfortunately, she didn’t notice.
Mama Yunxi, don’t ruin my image in front of the gentleman, alright?
Gu Beiyue was surprised, but not startled. He smiled lightly and replied, “A snow wolf with fur as clean and pure as snow. Esteemed wangfei, since you’re the descendant of the Poison Sect, the poison beast will protect you to the death and co-exist with you.”
“Yes, a snow wolf!” Han Yunxi nodded. She raised up Lil Thing and rubbed her face against it. Much to her delight, its chubby paws patted her a few times. She laughed. “Doctor Gu, since Lil Thing likes you so much, I’ll give it to you as protection once it recovers. How’s that?”
Gu Beiyue was a doctor, but he didn’t even have the strength to truss a chicken. He desperately needed protection. Lil Thing’s eyes immediately lit up, but Gu Beiyue just laughed and said, “I like it too, so you can lend it to my occasionally. But I can’t afford to accept it as a gift.”
Lil Thing didn’t hear anything past ‘I like it too.’
Gentleman, you know Lil Thing likes you and you like Lil Thing too, but why...why can’t we be together?
While they were chatting, an attendant brought in Baili Mingxiang. Han Yunxi didn’t want to delay Gu Beiyue’s lesson, so she gave him Lil Thing and greeted Baili Mingxiang before leaving the room…
Meanwhile, Long Feiye had received Han Yunxi’s letter at the same time as Gu Beiyue’s message. Although the latter had important information, he opened Han Yunxi’s first. He never expected there to be just two lines on the paper: Long Feiye, I miss you, and Long Feiye, you’re such a fool.
He cradled his forehead as he held the paper, staring at it until his lips rose up into a grin. The ink in his study was a very precious kind with its own exclusive, faint fragrance. He knew then that she had gone to his study. His thoughts began to wander until the sword sect master entered the room, forcing him to hide her letter in a hurry so he couldn’t see. Imposing dignity overtook his joy as he raised his brush and wrote a few words on the bottom back of the paper.
“Looks like it’s nothing serious,” the sword sect master remarked.
Long Feiye ignored him and waited for the ink to dry before he carefully folded up the paper and placed it back in its envelope. Seeing this, the sword sect master was mystified. “Feiye, this...you’re not sending it out?”
“No,” Long Feiye intoned.
“You replied the letter but didn’t send it back. What did you write?” the sword sect master had a rare moment of curiosity--perhaps an emotion only present when it came to his disciple.
Alas, Long Feiye avoided the question and slipped Han Yunxi’s letter into his robes. Then he opened up Gu Beiyue’s instead. The man had given him a detailed account of South Ning’s commander-in-chief’s estate and its situation. He also mentioned that proper arrangements had been made, and that Baili Mingxiang was coming to Celestial Mountain. This time, the sword sect master scooted over to peek again. Long Feiye didn’t avoid the man, but gave him the letter instead.
“Baili Mingxiang?” the sword sect master hesitated. “Is this woman really trustworthy?”
“She’s part of the Mermaid Clan, so she’s naturally trustworthy. Don’t worry,” Long Feiye said coldly.
“Using needles to treat your wounds? That lass even believed words like that?” the sword sect master was amused. He always thought that Han Yunxi was a smart woman.
“She always has moments of foolishness,” Long Feiye said accurately. His tone, however, was doting. After a while, he exhaled and said, “She’s never suspected Gu Beiyue’s words.”
“I’m afraid there’ll come a day when she’s foolish enough to...stop trusting you,” the sword sect master remarked.
Actually, Long Feiye hadn’t told the sword sect master that Han Yunxi was the West Qin imperial heir. Even Chu Xifeng and Tang Li had no idea. He was the only person with that knowledge after Mute Granny’s death, and the one truth he couldn’t control with his own hands. He didn’t reply to his master, who relented after catching the imposing air in his eyes. Soon enough, he went to invite the Honored Elders over to treat Long Feiye’s injuries again.
The words they spoke before--that it would take a year or a half for Long Feiye to make a full recovery--were simply meant for the spies to overhear. With help from the Honored Elders and Long Feiye’s own solid foundations, it’d take at most a month before he was well again!
In truth, Long Feiye had even regained consciousness during the five days that the Honored Elders were performing emergency treatment on him. He knew that Han Yunxi had been waiting just outside the door, but steeled his heart not to meet her until later. How else would the spies believe that he was seriously injured unless Han Yunxi was truly grieving?
The spies at the Duke of Qin’s estate and agents concealed on Celestial Mountain had worked together to instigate He Yilian. They were aware of his Lustbite Seal energy, so he’d long set his sights on the mastermind hiding behind the scenes!Previous Chapter Next Chapter