Soft as they were, Han Yunxi still heard Gu Beiyue’s words. Actually, she didn’t want Gu Qishao to be present at the trial either, but she hadn’t known how to coax him. They would have to outline Gu Yuntian’s previous crimes there and verify each piece of evidence, one by one. And unlike the Apricot Woods Conference, this would be a completely public forum right by Medical City’s gates. Everyone in the city could see the proceedings while all of Cloud Realm Continent watched.
Gu Qishao said before that he didn’t needed sympathy. She firmly believed that he had the courage to face his unbearable past. Maybe she was the one who lacked strength. She couldn’t remain indifferent to the man who always smiled so easily while exposing his fresh and bleeding scars to countless eyes before them. She couldn’t accept that, and she didn’t want to! She was afraid that she’d cry again
Gu Qishao only pretended not to hear Gu Beiyue’s request as he stretched lazily. “Have you guys eaten breakfast yet?”
“Old Fiend, don’t go. I still have something--” Before Han Yunxi could finish, a miserable cry rose from outside the courtyard.
“Qi gege...Qi gege!” Mu Linger flew in with a face full of tears and threw herself at Gu Qishao, holding him tight. She buried her head in her his chest and bawled. “Qi gege, don’t go! Don’t! I don’t want you to! I won’t let you!”
“Qi gege, sobsob...why didn’t you tell Linger, why? Sobsob…”
“Qi gege, we’ve known each other since we were little, why didn’t you say a thing?”
Mu Linger’s sobs were heartrending. She always thought Qi gege was only an orphan who lived on alms to grow up, but only found out later that he was Gu Qi Sha, the expelled disciple of Medical City. A few days earlier, she received news from Medical City and discovered the whole truth. Leaving the affairs of Pill Fiend Pharmacy behind her, she had galloped nonstop on horseback until she reached her. Her eyes were almost blind from crying.
How much she regretted being such an idiot when she first met Qi gege. Why didn’t she investigate him thoroughly? Qi gege must have just been expelled when she saw him, covered with wounds yet with no one to protect or comfort him. Why had she...why had she even fought with him? And cursed him as a feral child?
Mu Linger sorely wished she could go back to the past and the first moment they met so she could give Little Qi a good hug.
Silence reigned in the courtyard. Chu Xifeng and Xu Donglin, who had rushed in after all, could only stand rooted to the spot without making a sound. Mu Linger’s sorrowful cries were enough to break one’s heart. Gu Qishao’s eyes were hooded as he let Mu Linger hug him. It was a long while before he pushed her aside and wiped his robes clean with dislike. “Your tears and snot are all over my clothes now, so dirty. Stay away.”
Mu Linger’s sobbing intensified at his words. She almost threw herself at him again, but Gu Qishao hastily backed away.
“Qi gege, sobsob...I feel bad, so bad….sobsob….” Mu Linger couldn’t stop crying as she looked at him.
Her crying vexed Gu Qishao the most, but before he could yell at her, he saw her bloodshot, red-rimmed eyes. With a start, the words died in his throat.
“Still crying?” he arched a brow, his gaze as unhappy as ever even as he dried her tears with his sleeve. “If you keep crying, you’ll go blind. Then you’ll never see me again.”
Mu Linger’s tears abruptly stopped. Not a single one more leaked out from her eyes as she stared at him blankly, then at his hand. It was brushing past her eyelashes and extremely gentle. She was afraid to move in case Qi gege vanished before her eyes and really disappeared from sight. Gu Qishao finished cleaning up Mu Linger’s tears before he said gruffly, “Try and cry again if you dare.”
As soon as he drew back, Mu Linger dared to breathe again. Her wet eyes were red from tears, making her look like a pitiful rabbit.
“Qi gege, can you not go?” she begged. Just then, she’d heard Han Yunxi’s words from the door.
Gu Qishao waved his hand impatiently as he ignored her.
“Old Fiend, just listen to--”
“Do you guys know how long I’ve been waiting for this day?” Gu Qishao interrupted her again, his voice laced with ice.
Too, too long!
He long had the ability to face off against Gu Yuntian. He controlled all of the evidence in his hands, and he could have threatened Ling Guyi to cooperate even earlier than this. But he hadn’t made the final move because he had an agreement with Long Feiye to keep each other’s secrets. He would hide the truth about Mute Granny while Long Feiye wouldn’t tell anyone about his undying body; he would help Long Feiye demystify the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion while Long Feiye helped him deal with Medical City. He hadn’t moved because he didn’t want to expose his own identity or past. He hoped that the day would come when Long Feiye destroyed Gu Yuntian and all of Medical City himself.
But Han Yunxi’s Poison Sect ties had changed all of their plans. He could have sat by and watched, or leave everything to Gu Beiyue to deal with, but he couldn’t choose that option. More than anyone else, he knew that Gu Beiyue wouldn’t be able to lead Medical City in such a short while even if he claimed the academy head position by his own merits. Nor could he win back the Poison Sect’s innocence. Thus, he chose to move against Gu Yuntian and the Gu Clan first.
Looking at the silent crowd before him, Gu Qishao broke into a dazzling smile. “Since this young gentleman made outstanding contributions, shouldn’t I celebrate my victory?”
As he spoke, he flew off with a parting sentence. “Everyone, see you this afternoon!”
Mu Linger chased after him, but it was hopeless for her to catch up. She looked at Han Yunxi as fresh tears streamed down her face. “Han Yunxi...sobsob...Han Yunxi, what do we do?”
Han Yunxi sighed deeply at the sight of her face. She should be celebrating the fact that she was stronger than Mu Linger here. “There’s nothing to be done,” she said. “If he’s not even afraid, then we should fear even less! You come by this afternoon too. Don’t make a joke of yourself by crying, got it?”
Mu Linger was still weeping until Han Yunxi glared at her. Before she could speak again, Mu Linger immediately wiped her face clean. “Don’t worry, I won’t cry! I mean what I say!”
Chu Xifeng approached next to hand over a purple envelope, which everyone recognized as Long Feiye’s special letters to Han Yunxi.
“Esteemed wangfei, this one will head on over to the medical academy first to organize evidence for the trial. All of you rest well until this afternoon,” Gu Beiyue said before leaving.
Han Yunxi had Xu Donglin arrange living quarters for Mu Linger, then went back to her rooms to read her letter. She already had eight others in her possession, so this made for the ninth. Although all of the other eight letters had been blank, she was still looking forward to opening the ninth. Perhaps this one would have words to explain the mystery of the rest.
Unfortunately, the ninth letter was as blank as the others.
Han Yunxi was both disappointed, vexed, and aggrieved. She stared at the empty paper and muttered, “Long Feiye, it’s almost been two months. Don’t you miss me? At least say something to me!”
Besides these personal messages, Long Feiye would write her normal letters every few days to update her about the status of his wounds and the situation at Celestial Mountain. Then he’d tell her how to deal with the administration affairs at the commander-in-chief’s estate. Those letters were open to anyone to read despite being addressed to her. However, even they had stopped once she reached Medical City.
Long Feiye had special letters for Gu Beiyue regarding the affairs here. Those too, were open letters that anyone could see. Han Yunxi always knew that Long Feiye had secret intelligence networks to receive news from all corners. Thus, he had many different types of letters that were delivered and sent in varying ways. There were different orders and procedures for each message too, and he even had a trained messenger hawk team to deliver timely updates. Long Feiye’s letters to her and Gu Beiyue differed. Hers were all about the political situation at the commander-in-chief’s estate with no mention of Medical City, while Gu Beiyue’s was the opposite. Han Yunxi wasn’t curious about these arrangements, but she did feel a sense of loss despite not being angry or despairing.
Very quickly, she adjusted her thoughts and wrote Long Feiye a reply with a smile. Every day he sent her a blank letter, she replied with the same message as always: Long Feiye, I miss you.
After sending that off, Han Yunxi stored the purple envelope with all the rest. With nine here, a tenth should be forthcoming, right? Who knows how many letters it’d take before they reunited again. His recent letters had all been about recuperating from his wounds. He couldn’t leave Celestial Mountain for at least a year. Once things are settled at Medical City, Han Yunxi thought, I’ll go to the south central region’s commander-in-chief’s estate first, then visit Celestial Mountain.
Ning Cheng had already retreated three sections of his army. Long Feiye’s letters had clearly outlined that his troops would only stay on the defensive to observe Northern Li and the surrounding chessboard before going into battle. It was already the end of summer, approaching autumn. Han Yunxi figured that after taking care of the harvest season in the south central regions, it would be just enough time to make it up the mountains before snow fell. She had even planned out how she’d spent the winter with Long Feiye there. Once the snows melted, they’d leave together. After all, they needed to oversee the commander-in-chief’s estate so those prominent clans didn’t overturn their authority.
She trusted so much in Long Feiye’s letters and took so much pains to plan things at the commander-in-chief’s estate, hoping that she could do her best to shoulder some of his burdens so he could recover better. But naturally, all of Long Feiye’s letters about his injuries and the commander-in-chief’s estate were lies. They were written by subordinates stationed at Celestial Mountain’s Nine Xuan Hall. Long Feiye was certain that their contents would reach the old fox, so he had no choice but to hide the truth from Han Yunxi. The true letters were all secretly sent to Gu Beiyue, who knew the whole truth.
Currently, he was reading over another secret missive in his room delivered by a shadow guard. After finishing the contents, he stared blankly into the distance for awhile, his thoughts unclear. In the end, he shook his head with a helpless smile.
“That’s fine too, that’s fine too. Finally, a day like this has come. Long Feiye, I only hope you keep to your promises!”
At this moment, a shadow guard suddenly appeared. “Doctor Gu, Your Highness has a few words he left out of the letter. He wanted this subordinate to tell you them personally.”
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