Although the sword sect master couldn’t guess the candidate, he was both surprised and delighted. He never worried about not finding someone or whether they fit with Long Feiye; he was always more concerned that such a person wouldn’t exist at all.
“Feiye, tell me quick, who is it?” the sword sect master almost lost control in the midst of his excitement, but Long Feiye only smiled at him.
“Feiye, you’re not deceiving your master, right?”
“Feiye! Say something, who is it?”
“Stinkin’ brat! Hold it right there!”
“Do you hear me? Who is it? Is it a man or a woman, and how old are they? What’s your relationship with them? When did you find such a person?”
The sword sect master had a whole heap of questions as he chased after his disciple, but Long Feiye ignored them all. He was angered half to death. If not for the fact that Long Feiye’s time was tight, he really would drag him out of that cave for a thorough questioning. This stinkin’ brat shouldn’t be lying to me, so when did he find someone capable of dual cultivation with him? He sure knows how to hide ‘em! He even kept them from his own master!
Who can it be?
For the next few days, Long Feiye remained in closed door cultivation with the Honored Elders while the sword sect master was left utterly depressed by the “secret.” Of course, he didn’t forget to tell Baili Mingxiang the truth so she could act her role to lure the snake out of its hole. She was very calm upon receiving the news and settled down in Long Feiye’s recovery room. Everyday, she’d enter and exit the room three times and stay about an hour each trip. That was precisely the amount of time she needed to do her medical treatment. Unfortunately, staying in an empty room for so long made time crawl by. After staying in Celestial Mountain all these days, she hadn’t even glimpsed His Highness Duke of Qin’s face.
It was a lie to say she wasn’t disappointed. She wasn’t quite so lofty to be beyond such feelings. If they could be controlled, then what would be the point of liking or disliking anyone? How would anyone feel happiness or sorrow? Emotions were uncontrollable, but they could be restrained. Baili Mingxiang’s thoughts would wander too. She sat by the empty table and thought of many, many things. Most of all, she thought of the phoenix birthmark on esteemed wangfei’s back. If His Highness discovered esteemed wangfei’s identity one day, would he still dote on esteemed wangfei as much?
If the day came when esteemed wangfei became aware of her own status, would she continue to like His Highness?
If this...if that…
If those two became enemies in the end, what course should her heart take then?
She would never expose this secret, but she knew it would come to light one day. At the very least, His Highness wouldn’t hide his own status forever. She looked at the tea tools used by His Highness Duke of Qin and unconsciously reached for them. But before she touched his cup, she sighed and drew back.
Suppose, suppose a day came when they were no longer in love? Would I be allowed to love then?
Thinking up to here, Baili Mingxiang suddenly laughed mockingly at herself. What was wrong with her today? Why was she thinking about so many things? Even if that day came, she couldn’t love him! He was her master while she was his subordinate. What right did she have to love him? Furthermore, how could he ever stop loving Han Yunxi? He’d probably keep on even after knowing her identity. There might be hatred mixed in, but their ties of love and hate would entwine their lives forever.
“Esteemed wangfei, if that day ever comes, please trust His Highness Duke of Qin,” Baili Mingxiang murmured to herself.
Today’s treatment time was almost up, so she cleaned up her things and prepared to leave. Two guards by the door would often chat with her about inane topics; today was no exception.
“Esteemed wangfei, is His Highness Duke of Qin’s injuries better?” the guard asked.
Baili Mingxiang sighed. “His injuries are so severe, how can he ever recover without a year or a half of rest?”
“But haven’t you come? What kind of needle techniques are you using? Where’s esteemed wangfei? Won’t she come?” the guard asked again.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t understand. I’m off.” Baili Mingxiang prepared to leave, but the guard had one more question.
“Miss Mingxiang, then won’t you have to follow after His Highness Duke of Qin for over a year?”
Baili Mingxiang smiled but didn’t answer. At nighttime, she practiced martial arts with the sword sect master, so now she needed to get some sleep. No matter what, she had to play her part realistically to finish this time’s mission!
News of Baili Mingxiang’s arrival on Celestial Mountain reached Bai Yanqing’s ears at the same time he made it to Medical City.
“Baili Mingxiang?” Bai Yanqing muttered to himself. “Beauty’s Blood…”
He had studied the poisoned blood that Jun Yixie brought back from Fishery Island for a long time before figuring out that it wasn’t just Beauty’s Blood, but mermaid people blood, too. Thanks to that sample, he began to suspect Long Feiye’s identity.
“Does she know martial arts?” Bai Yanqing asked.
“We’ve done investigations,” the messenger said dutifully. “She’s the youngest daughter of General Baili’s estate. For some reason, Han Yunxi kept her as her servant girl. She knows medical and poison arts, but not martial arts.”
Bai Yanqing was an extremely suspicious man. He now fell into silence as he began to consider a few questions. Baili Mingxiang’s blood was extremely toxic, which meant that Long Feiye was using her to nurture Beauty’s Blood. Anyone capable of that had to have a unique constitution, but the host was certain to die after completion of the poison. Most likely, Han Yunxi had saved Baili Mingxiang’s life. That was no easy task. If anything, it was exceedingly difficult. She was only a servant, so why would Han Yunxi save her unless she had other uses? Had Long Feiye told her to do it?
And also, why was Baili Mingxiang going to Celestial Mountain now of all times? Was she really there to treat Long Feiye? Did she or didn’t she know martial arts?
“Find a chance to investigate and see if she actually knows martial arts,” Bai Yanqing muttered.
The messenger left with orders in tow just as Bai Yuqiao arrived. “Master, my people interrogated Su Xiaoyu at least five times, but that girl still doesn’t know anything about the phoenix birthmark. I’ve sent people to investigate her past and it looks like she really has no idea, much less seen it for herself.”
“In other words, the Chu Clan...and even Long Feiye himself, doesn’t know about this matter?” Bai Yanqing was a little happy about that.
“Master, what matter is it? What does a phoenix birthmark look like?” Bai Yuqiao dared to asked.
Today Bai Yanqing was in a good mood, so he didn’t glare at her. Instead, he chuckled and said with confidence, “Looks like they don’t know the truth. Heheh, then this game will be much more amusing! This old man is looking forward to it!”
Bai Yuqiao seized the chance from his high spirits to ask, “Then master, when will the good show begin?”
Even if master didn’t tell her about the phoenix birthmark, he should at least reveal something related to it, right? Bai Yuqiao couldn’t help but feel that everything was connected to Han Yunxi. Judging from her master’s tone, Han Yunxi must have that birthmark. Master had ordered Su Xiaoyu interrogated to see if Chu Tiayin, Long Feiye and the rest were aware of its significance.
“The good show…” Bai Yanqing stroked his beard with a chuckle. “Wait until after the Apricot Woods Conference. Little lass, this will be the greatest show in Cloud Realm Continent’s history. The best it’ll ever see, just you wait!”
After the Apricot Woods Conference was over and Ning Cheng took care of Chu Tianyin to head south, he would definitely expose Long Feiye’s secret to the public! He’d like to see what Long Feiye would use to face off against Ning Cheng’s red coat cannons and thousands of calvary then.
“Master, so there won’t be a good show...at the Apricot Woods Conference?” Bai Yuqiao asked.
Bai Yanqing abruptly knit his bows. “Lass, the Apricot Woods Conference is the most distinguished gathering of the medical community in Cloud Realm Continent. There’ll be plenty to see, so you should keep a close watch for your master. Medicine and poisons have many similarities, and treatment through poisons falls under the jurisdiction of medicine.”
Besides asking about Medical City’s future intentions towards the south central regions, Bai Yanqing came to the Apricot Woods Conference for the pure intention of learning something new. He considered this gathering to be a vacation so he could take care of himself, physically and mentally. Only then would he have the energy to fight a round against Long Feiye! Bai Yuqiao was full of resentment.
She wasn’t interested in the Apricot Woods Conference, so she asked, “Master, how about we take a look at the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds? That’s the birthplace of the poisons world, after all!”
Finally, Bai Yanqing fell silent. Bai Yuqiao wanted to bring up her senior brother too, but obediently shut up at these developments.
Han Yunxi’s group had reached Medical City a few days ahead of Bai Yanqing. Han Yunxi had a new understanding of Gu Beiyue during this trip. He actually knew the quickest mountain paths into the city. After traveling over three barren mountains and some other complicated paths, they managed to save five days of travel to their destination. Moreover, Han Yunxi never expected Gu Beiyue to have a large estate located right in Medical City. He hadn’t mentioned it at all during their last trip.
Currently, they were staying in the residence.
“Esteemed wangfei, Qishao, take a look at this.” Gu Beiyue handed over three invitation letters to the Apricot Woods Conference.
“You’ve got some skills,” Gu Qishao had a rare moment of admiration as he skimmed over the letters. Actually, he could have asked Luo Zuishan to get them invitations too, but he was too lazy to listen to the man talk in exchange.
“I never thought you had some ironclad friends in Medical City,” Han Yunxi teased. Gu Beiyue had grown up here, so he had plenty of friends even if he didn’t like to socialize. Still, she never thought they were still willing to help him despite his status as a Pill Fiend Pharmacy member while South Ning was in trouble.
Just what kind of friendship do they have?
“Hehh, Doctor Gu, just what are your origins?” Gu Qishao was the first to speak. Actually, Han Yunxi had been considering the same question on their trip, but didn’t know how to ask.
Gu Beiyue wasn’t flustered. Smiling as warmly as ever, he said, “My surname is Gu, so my ancestors have some connection with Medical City’s Gu Clan. My grandfather often did good deeds for others while he was alive. Relying on the fortune incurred from his kindness, many of Medical City’s old and established families gained friendly relations with me.”
He chuckled and added, “With this trip, they’ve all assumed that I’ve left the darkness for the light, hehe.”
Of course, those were all lies.
Gu Beiyue’s surname wasn’t Gu (顾). It was simply adopted by the Shadow Clan to hide their identity. In the past, the Shadow Clan had hidden themselves in Medical City and simply chose the surname of the biggest, number one clan there.
The Shadow Clan went by Gū (孤) as they were destined for a lifetime of loneliness in the shadows. Gu Beiyue’s real name was Gū Yue (孤月). He was born on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month when the moon hung bright in the sky. Thus, his grandfather gave him the name of “Yue” (月), or moon.
Gu Qishao wanted to ask more questions, but Gu Beiyue cleverly changed the topic. “Qishao, your surname is Gu too. Perhaps we were from the same family 500 or so years ago.”
Gu Qishao immediately found the subject boring and laughed coldly. “I’m going to take a walk.”
“It’s already night, where are you going?” Han Yunxi asked. The Apricot Woods Conference would start the day after tomorrow. It was hard enough for them to arrive without a hitch, so she didn’t want problems to pop up over the next two days.
Gu Qishao turned back with a smile devastating enough to topple entire cities. “Poison lass, I’m going to prepare a huge gift for Gu Yuntian!”
He left for two days. By the time he showed up again, Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue were already at the entrance to the Apricot Woods Conference....
3. 15th day of the eighth lunar month - also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the time when the moon is fullest in the year.
Remember that GoogleTranslate is your bestie when you want to check out how to pronounce Chinese words, such as GBY's two names! They have a nifty speaker option. ^^
Also, results for the 6 bonus chapters poll is really close, guys! At this rate I might end up doing double releases for 3 days and 4 chapters on the fourth. How's that for a compromise? I'll check again tonight for the final results, then get back to you all by tomorrow's release(s)!