Baili Mingxiang waited quietly. At last, Long Feiye called out to Uncle Gao to stop the carriage when they went through the pass. Baili Mingxiang quickly jumped off the carriage. She had learned quite some martial arts over the past few days. Although her level was average at best, she wasn’t as weak as she used to be and didn’t need an extra step to get off. Though she’d been hoping His Highness Duke of Qin would change his mind, she still was a little disappointed when he did.
Such disappointment reflected her conflicted heart. She knew full well how hard she’d fallen for him. Finally, she understood that love meant pain as well as joy. At least, that was how love had played out in her lifetime. She began to wonder whether His Highness Duke of Qin would go to Medical City himself and make them wait, or bring them with him?
But in the end, it turned out Baili Mingxiang had been naive.
Would her words be enough to affect Long Feiye’s decision? Long Feiye called a shadow guard to his carriaged and instructed him in low tones. Baili Mingxiang could only catch three phrases: after the medical competition, eliminate, and Gu Beiyue. Besides that, she was left in the dark.
Together, the three phrases combined could form a complete sentence: After the medical competition, eliminate Gu Beiyue.
But Baili Mingxiang had no idea whether this was His Highness Duke of Qin’s actual intentions. She only discovered after arriving at Celestial Mountain that Gu Beiyue wasn’t merely a doctor, but had kept in secret communications with His Highness Duke of Qin all this time without either of them telling esteemed wangfei. She had asked A’Dong about it in private, but his answer was simply that no one amongst the shadow guards knew what was going on between the pair except for Chu Xifeng.
If His Highness Duke of Qin is really getting rid of Gu Beiyue after the medical competition, then it’s possible he’s just been using him.
But if that’s not his intention, then who does His Highness Duke of Qin want to eliminate?
Gu Beiyue should be esteemed wangfei’s best friend, right? If she discovers one day that His Highness Duke of Qin’s been hiding this, what will happen then? Baili Mingxiang didn’t dare to entertain the thought. She wanted to remind His Highness Duke of Qin, but lacked the courage to speak up in front of him.
Very soon, that shadow guard left for Medical City while Long Feiye told Uncle Gao coldly, “Let’s go. No rest tonight, we have to reach Sand River within ten days.”
Baili Mingxiang only felt blank as she resumed her seat on the carriage. She suddenly discovered that her own little thoughts and conjectures were a farc. How could she hope to guess His Highness Duke of Qin’s intentions?
However, she had no idea that her guess was spot on. Long Feiye had hesitated, but in the end he held onto the last bit of reason in his heart. He wasn’t reckless or wanton, but had learned since he was old enough to wait and forbear, stay rational and sober, and finally restrain himself.
While Long Feiye was rushing to Sand River, Ning Cheng had already led his army there. He was going to cross it tomorrow, but didn’t expect the latest news from Medical City. The united front of three armies had stopped abruptly because of the news. It was the first time Ning Cheng had felt so oppressed in his life! He got no sleep last night but gathered his advisors in his tent to figure out what to do. In the end, it because a “Han Yunxi Analyzation Meeting.”
Someone sighed with feeling, “Han Yunxi’s such an impressive woman. She cleared the name of the Poison Sect after all these centuries!”
Someone praised, “No wonder Long Feiye was interested in her, she’s not simple, not simple! And no wonder someone like Gu Qishao would help her out.”
Someone questioned, “Say you guys, do you think Long Feiye long knew about the truth of the Poison Sect? Is that why he married Han Yunxi?”
Someone disdained, “So what if Han Yunxi can exonerate the Poison Sect? She doesn’t have the ability to ruin the medical academy. As long as that exists, they’ll be a chance to deal with them! They don’t have any allies in the medical academy.”
Ning Cheng sprawled lazily on his tigerskin chair, his legs resting on the table. His hands were folded beneath his head as he listened to the discussions outside. In the end, he couldn’t resist rubbing his forehead. After listening to repeated cries of “Han Yunxi,” he interrupted the crowd with an irritated tone. “You guys spent an entire night discussing a woman? If there’s anyone who’s analyzed her thoroughly, report the results to your lordship!”
Silence greeted his words. Finally, Ning Cheng said coldly, “Does anyone have objections to us dispatching the troops first thing tomorrow?”
“Your Highness Duke of Ning, there’s no meaning to dispatching troops at a time like this. We might be the target of public criticism instead. As this old official sees it, why not observe the situation for a few more days and see how things progress at Medical City?” an advisor suggested.
“Baili Yuanlong’s already brought his troops here. Do you think he’ll let the matter drop if your lordship doesn’t send out the soldiers?” Ning Cheng retorted.
“Your Highness Duke of Ning, if we don’t send out our troops, Baili Yuanlong will be the target of criticism instead. The south central region’s commander-in-chief’s estate just passed through a calamity. As this old official sees it, Baili Yuanlong won’t really attack us as long as we stop advancing. Even if they want to, we’ll let them make the first move. This old official refuses to believe that Baili Yuanlong’s navy can deal with our red coat cannons when they’ve never been in a real fight before!” the advisor declared.
Ning Cheng’s eyes swept over the crowd before his lips curved up subconsciously. “In other words, everyone agrees to wait and watch?”
“Exactly! At the very least, we should remain unchanged before the Medical Academy chooses its next head!” the advisor replied.
Ning Cheng slapped his thigh. “Fine! Just this once, your lordship will listen to your advice! Send orders to withdraw the troops by three parts. All soldiers are to await further orders!”
Though everyone rejoiced over the orders, they were still confused. Ning Cheng the general was an obstinate man who insisted on having his own way. It was rare for him to listen to his advisors, and he never sent out soldiers without having them fight. What was different this time? As they left the scene, Ning Cheng took off his armor and changed into a set of black, tight fitting robes worn by mysterious jianghu figures. His deputy general stared blankly at him from the side before he finally asked, “Your Highness Duke of Ning, are you really going to go?”
“You’ll oversee everything in the few days that your lordship isn’t here. If there’s a situation in the army, send a flying hawk message to me immediately,” Ning Cheng said coldly.
“But…” before the deputy general could finish, Ning Cheng picked up his sword and strode out the door. By the time the deputy general ran out after him, he was already gone. His heart only groaned at the sight. Not only did he have to look after the army now, but also shoulder the pressures of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. After all, His Highness Duke of Ning had left in secret. He was heading to none other than Medical City.
The deputy general had no idea why His Highness Duke of Ning would go there now of all times. By the time he arrived, the medical skills competition would have already finished. Then they’d pick the new academy head and everything would reach its conclusion.
Could it be that he didn’t send any troops to capture Han Yunxi because he wanted to kidnap her himself? The thought scared the deputy general. How could His Highness Duke of Ning be so illogical?
He was tormented by the thought all night before he told himself that the Duke of Ning must be playing out some important scheme that demanded him to be present in person!
Ning Cheng didn’t even tell Ning Jing that he was on his way to Medical City. That night, Ning Jing was curled up in Tang Li’s embrace, unable to sleep a wink. She really wanted to ask Tang Li why he had helped Han Yunxi, but in the end, she remained silent. She didn’t want Han Yunxi to attract Tang Li; more than that, she deplored the thought of them having a secret friendship or the like. She should have reported her suspicions to Ning Cheng immediately, but somehow, she didn’t write him anything. Now she carefully moved aside Tang Li’s arm around her waist, but his leg soon replaced it, curling around her own tightly and pinning her in place.
She didn’t push him aside, but huddled up against his embrace instead…
Morning at Medical City was usually peaceful and lovely, but today was filled with clamor around the city. People crowded the streets beyond the Apricot Woods. Many of them had started waiting here since last night. Without invitations, all they could do was wait at the border of the forest and hope to be the first to get its news. Everyone was anticipating today’s medical skills competition and guessing who the next new academy head would be. Thus, the entire city was already making a hullabaloo.
And yet, a critical piece of news spread through Medical City before the competition even began: Gu Beiyue was going to participate!
Although the requirements for the competition were quite broad and covered 20 some members of the medical academy, the only people truly in the running for the championship were the three department heads. Their strength was obvious as seventh-ranked Sage Doctors, while their support came from existing factions within the academy. They had enough clout behind their voices and people to back them up.
But they moment they ascended the stage, Gu Beiyue joined them openly in his white robes, becoming the focal point of the entire scene.
“Gu Beiyue? You…” Department Head Lin smiled incredulously.
“Doctor Gu is going to participate in the competition as well? You haven’t gone to the wrong place, right?” Department Head Ouyang was calmer, while Department Head Hou simply smiled silently.
Yesterday, Han Yunxi had proved to be remarkable. They also knew that Gu Beiyue’s skills were beyond that of a fifth rank Divine Doctor, or else the man would never dare to step forward. But they assumed the man would participate in other competitions and raise his rank first, then get some supporters from the medical academy to improve his standing so he could speak up for Han Yunxi. However, they never expected Gu Beiyue to be aiming for the spot of academy head. What wishful thinking!
Even the audience offstage were in an uproar. Third Elder Shen and Luo Zuishan were equally astonished. The former finally understood why Gu Beiyue and Han Yunxi had stopped him from participating in the contest himself yesterday.
“Third Elder, this Doctor Gu….this…” Luo Zuishan didn’t know what to say.
“Esteemed wangfei this time has really...really risked things! Those three department heads have genuine skills, so things aren’t as simple as they think. The medical skills competition must display their ability in medicine. Even if they have new research results, it won’t help their case!” Third Elder Shen was heavy hearted.
Gu Qishao was sitting right next to Han Yunxi, caught in a rare moment of curiosity. He asked in a low voice, “Is this how he’s going to deal with matters?”
“You don’t have faith in him?” Han Yunxi asked.
“On what basis do you?” Gu Qishao challenged back.
“He’s saved Long Feiye before. Last time when an assassin stabbed Long Feiye in the heart, he almost died. It was Gu Beiyue who brought him back!” Han Yunxi murmured.
Gu Qishao narrowed his eyes. “He…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Important Note: "Sand River" was previously translated as Shajiang in C.787, it has since been updated.
Also I'm laughing over HYX telling GQS about the assassin that was...GQS in disguise. Pfft.