Between the hush, tears, and smile, Head Elder Ling continued his cruel narrative. He spoke of Little Qi’s childhood in the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds, which was innocent and carefree. It was his only source of comfort in his lifetime, but also the beginning of his nightmare. Gu Yuntian had hid Little Qi in the forbidden grounds and taught him how to distinguish medicine from poisonous plants, as well as the poison arts.
“Heavens, the medical academy really did collude with the Poison Sect!” someone shouted in the lull. Finally, Gu Yuntian came to his senses and desperately denied the claims.
“Ridiculous! This is nothing but false charges! Ling Guyi, this old man has treated you well, but why are you making up lies to slander me? Who can believe such a thing?”
“Gu Yuntian, you know best of all whether it’s true! I coaxed you back then, but you insisted on having things your own way!” Head Elder Ling raged back. Gu Qishao had already forced him onto a dead end. He knew nothing good for him would come of exposing the truth today, but Gu Qishao had told him it was better to make sure Gu Yuntian ended up even more miserable! Gu Yuntian had taken a single step to the top as academy head, but what about him? He couldn’t even qualify as a department head now thanks to the induced labor scandal. Yet Gu Yuntian had forsaken their old bonds to insist on driving him out!
He, Ling Guyi, was a man with a temper too!
“Verbal statements are no guarantee!” Gu Yuntian’s forehead was soaked in sweat, but he still held onto his last line of defense and remained calm. “Ladies and gentlemen, just listen to this, just listen! Can you believe things like this? Ling Guyi can even do something as inhuman as induced labor, so how can we believe his words?”
“Too absurd! If that’s really the case, then how could that child still be alive?” Department Head Lin piped in.
The crowd finally recovered from their shock. Logically speaking, Head Elder Ling’s words really sounded inconceivable!
“It...it shouldn’t be true, right? Tang Li?” Ning Jing muttered.
“It shouldn’t…” Tang Li wasn’t certain. “Who could survive after all that?”
Most of the crowd were still doubting their ears, but Han Yunxi didn’t budge. Her eyes were still fixed on Gu Qishao, because she finally understood where Gu Yuntian had gained his knowledge of infant care and illnesses! She dearly wished to doubt Head Elder Ling, but she had no choice but to believe him. Right now, she just wanted to take a good look at Little Qi, almost as if he’d disappear if she didn’t keep her eye on him. Unfortunately, her vision had long turned blurry with tears.
She had no idea whether Little Qi was joking or not anymore, but she couldn’t see him! She couldn’t see his face!
He was still smiling as he slowly turned to face the crowd. For some reason, they shut up instantly at the sight. Although they all doubted Head Elder Ling’s account, they were still looking at Little Qi with eyes of disdain, caution, and vigilance as if he was a freak. Under their gazes, Gu Qishao remained easy and carefree. Shrugging his shoulders, he grinned and said, “Verbal statements are no guarantee, so let’s bring out the proof.”
The silence grew intense. Even Gu Yuntian held his breath. Proof?
How could he have any evidence?
But then a medical apprentice arrived with a chest in tow, huffing and puffing as he ran to the stage. “Qi gege, the thing you wanted is here.”
Everyone recognized the boy as someone from Gu Yuntian’s courtyard. The chest fell with a bang on the floor, causing Gu Yuntian’s souls to fly out of his body. He knew exactly what was inside. His face turned white as his teeth began to chatter. He wanted to speak, but didn’t know what to say.
How can this be? How could Gu Qishao have found this chest?
I don’t believe this! It has to be a nightmare!
Gu Yuntian dashed over like a man possessed and wanted to steal the chest away. Gu Qishao only gave him a cold look before stepping on the old man’s fingers moments before he touched the box. Leaning down, he enjoyed the sight of his panicked face. “Father, what are you so anxious about?”
He called him “father” so intimately without moving his foot off the hand. Gu Yuntian’s palm felt liked it was being crushed to powder, the pain causing veins to pop out on his temples.
Enduring the agony, he lifted his head with effort and warned Gu Qishao in a low voice, “Little Qi, there’ll be no good for you either if you reveal the truth!”
It had been over a decade since he heard “Little Qi” again, the moniker that accompanied him for countless peaceful nights of sleep in his childhood. But why did it sound so disgusting to him now? Whether it was nausea over the name or his own freakish body, Gu Qishao suddenly felt like throwing up. Still, he quickly ignored the sensation to smile again, bewitching and beautiful, brilliant and naive.
“Father,” he said happily, “Little Qi’s already out of good ends.”
“You--just what do you want to do?” Gu Yuntian was finally afraid.
The saying went that those who walked barefoot didn’t fear wearing shoes. A person who had nothing was harder to provoke than someone who had everything. Gu Yuntian finally realized that Gu Qishao was burning all his bridges without looking back. He looked at the man blankly before muttering, “Why? Why now of all times?”
Didn’t Gu Qishao become His Excellency Pill Fiend? Doesn’t he have Pill Fiend Pharmacy? Wasn’t he living perfectly well? Why did he suddenly decide to come back for revenge? Why not earlier or later, but now?
Gu Yuntian had once thought of overtaking Pill Fiend Valley in the past, but he still dreaded its power to risk an attack. He always thought that Little Qi would lose his will to seek vengeance and proclaim the truth after gaining so much. After all, once everything became common knowledge, Little Qi would be hard pressed to escape himself! His unique constitution would be feared by others and make him a public target.
Little Qi was nothing more than an incomprehensible monster! That was why Gu Yuntian hadn’t use Medical City’s powers to pressure Pill Fiend Valley. If Little Qi wanted to destroy him, he’d destroy himself first. Father and son had always been on the same boat. Gu Yuntian just couldn’t understand why Little Qi would be so willing to ruin him now?
“Because…” Gu Qishao dropped his voice to a whisper.
“Because, nobody’s allowed to bully my Poison lass!”
Right after that, he kicked Gu Yuntian aside and tilted up the edge of the chest with his foot. Then he sent the box flying into the air, where it broke into pieces and scattered its piles of yellowed papers upon the crowd. Like flowers blooming in riotous profusion, they fell from the skies. Gu Qishao stared up at the sight, his gaze hazy and empty as they reflected the papers. He fell into a trance, uncertain as to whether he was looking at documents or butterflies flitting through the air.
“How beautiful!” he sighed with feeling before turning back just in time to meet Han Yunxi’s eyes. Once again he smiled, light and faint.
Poison lass, if these really were butterflies in the air, how great that’d be.
If we have a chance in our next life, let’s meet by chance in the flower fields of the mountains amidst its dancing butterflies. Maybe we’ll remember our past lives when night falls and we turn to go back home?
As the papers fell, one of them landed on Han Yunxi’s face. She clutched at it while her heart shattered to pieces!
How could these be butterflies? These were nothing but blood-sucking bats, demons from the depths of Hell! They were nothing but Gu Yuntian’s personal notes and records that detailed all the medicine he ever used on Gu Qishao’s mother, the reactions from those pills, then accounts of all the medicine Little Qi ate after Head Elder Ling adopted him as his foster son and their reactions in his body. There were also details on how Gu Yuntian used Little Qi as an experimental subject and fed him poisonous medicine laced with pestilence, then found the cure through various methods…
All of Gu Yuntian’s crimes against Little Qi since he was in his mother’s womb were completely recorded on the sheafs of papers. Countless sheets fell from the skies, landing on each and every corner. Everyone picked them up to read the contents. Gu Yuntian’s personal handwriting and his note taking habits were all familiar to the upper echelons of the medical academy. They could recognize his hand at a glance without a doubt! But the contents of the papers, as well as the results that Gu Yuntian had published over the past few years regarding his research on infant illnesses and pestilence cures, were exactly the same!
What was this, if not evidence?
Head Elder Ling had no need to say any more. The papers spoke for themselves! Whispers and comments began to punctuate the silence, growing louder and louder until the voices were filled with shock and fear.
Department Head Ouyang was the first to stand up and rush onstage. He threw the papers in his hands at Gu Yuntian’s face and roared, “Gu Yuntian, are you still human? Are you?!”
Soon enough, more people from the crowd started throwing things at the academy head.
“Too horrific! The righteous and noble medical academy can even do things like this!”
“The medical academy has no such academy head!”
“Gu Yuntian, you’re worse than dogs and swine! You’re even less than a beast!”
“Gu Yuntian, the medical academy is ruined at your hands today! How could you have done such a thing?”
“This...how are we supposed to trust Medical City like this? They’re scarier than the Poison Sect!”
As the chaos grew, both members of Medical City and the outsiders began to censure Gu Yuntian. Han Yunxi couldn’t care less about them now. She looked at Gu Qishao, her thoughts full of words she wanted to say. But she didn’t know where to start. She finally understood why Pill Fiend Valley had such ruthless rules against saving those who needed treatment. She finally knew why this man was always so angry when they brought up Medical City.
Little Qi, if this is your grand gift, I’d rather not have it. I’d rather never take it at all!
Even if I’m the target of public criticism and become the enemy of the world, I don’t want you to show your savage scars to everyone else.
Little Qi, why are you such an idiot!
Why are you….smiling like such a fool…
Gu Yuntian was like a mouse without a place to hide. He cradled his head in his hands as he stooped onstage, looking extremely awkward. Those notes were his precious treasures, so he couldn’t bear to destroy them even though they were damning evidence. He had hidden it away perfectly well, but never expected Gu Qishao to find them!
Head Elder Ling was hiding in a corner, but he still got hit with quite a few rocks. Because of this proof, he had no choice but to cooperate with Gu Qishao. And yet, as the commotion went on, someone suddenly cried out, “Gu Yuntian, why do you know the poison arts? Has the medical academy long been colluding with the Poison Sect?”
This voice belonged to none other than the imperial physician from Northern Li.Previous Chapter Next Chapter