Both Gu Qishao and Mu Linger rushed to the forbidden grounds. By now it was daylight, but Han Yunxi was still sitting by the cliffside, staring blankly into the abyss. She could see nothing but an endless stretch of darkness last night, but it was no less deep under the sunlight. Chu Xifeng was still leading a huge team of shadow guards to search the depths with various men sending periodic updates from below.
Han Yunxi only listened without saying a word.
Seeing her dejected state left Gu Qishao’s heart aching. But Mu Linger was the first to hurry over.
“Han Yunxi, what happened last night? Doctor Gu...can Doctor Gu still be saved?” she asked anxiously.
Luo Zuishan had told them scant details on their way here. They only knew that Han Yunxi’s group had been ambushed last night and that Gu Beiyue had fallen over the cliff. Now Han Yunxi looked up at Mu Linger before turning back to the cliff again without a word.
At this moment, Chu Xifeng climbed up the cliff, so Mu Linger asked him, “Guard Chu, what’s the situation? Have you found Doctor Gu?”
Chu Xifeng sighed. “This cliff is too deep. The upper half is completely barren with no life. The middle is filled with tall trees and boulders. We searched for an entire night through this section last night, but didn’t find Doctor Gu. Further down…” Chu Xifeng glanced at Han Yunxi. Although he dreaded her reaction, he still had to tell the truth. “For now, we’ve only searched as far as the central section and haven’t reached the bottom yet. But from there we can hear the sound of water...the water… The water’s moving very rapidly, so there should be a river at the bottom of the cliff. We’re not sure how deep it is, but since the lighting’s better now, this subordinate’s already sent people to find a way down. This subordinate…”
Chu Xifeng looked timidly towards Han Yunxi again. “This subordinate...I came to make a report.”
“Then…” Mu Linger’s eyes were already turning red. “Then Doctor Gu’s prospects are bad! Doctor Gu’s such a good person, how could…” She would never forget how much he’d taken care of her when she first entered Pill Fiend Pharmacy! Then Gu Beiyue had gone to treat Grand Concubine Yi at the Duke of Qin’s estate and left her to manage the pharmacy by herself. However, he’d helped her out silently with countless things! Actually, after Han Yunxi and Long Feiye left for Celestial Mountain, Gu Beiyue had shouldered the burden of the south central region’s commander-in-chief’s estate and the Duke of Qin estate’s various details by himself. No one realized how he’d worked, but she knew everything.
How could such a gentle, warm, kind, and quiet man, who took compassion and pity on the pitiful, end...end up being the pitiable one in the end?
“No! Doctor Gu won’t die! He won’t!” Mu Linger abruptly stood straighter as she rushed towards the cliff. “I’ll go search too, we have to find him!”
Finally, Gu Qishao walked over as well. He crouched down and stuffed a water canteen into Han Yunxi’s hands before giving her a long look. Without a word, he flew down the cliff as well, right after Mu Linger. He acknowledged scant few people in his life, but Gu Beiyue happened to be one of them. Gu Beiyue had even called him “Little Qi” once, so he’d find him for the sake of their friendship even if he had to go through a mountain of swords and a sea of flames!
Chu Xifeng made as if to speak, but stopped himself. He would rather esteemed wangfei curse him out or interrogate him than remain silent. He didn’t regretting choosing to protect her last night and coming too late to save Gu Beiyue, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t feeling miserable! After a few more attempts to speak in vain, he finally went back to continue the hunt.
By noon, the search team had all made their way back up the cliff. Mu Linger couldn’t stop her tears, while Gu Qishao remained mute. Chu Xifeng lowered his head and gave the status report.
“Esteemed wangfei, it’s a river at the bottom of the cliff. The shallowest point is the height of a full-grown adult and the flow...the flow is extremely rapid. Our people searched for a long time...but didn’t find anything. This subordinate...this subordinate will have them keep swimming downstream…”
“You long knew that Gu Beiyue was a member of the Shadow Clan?” Han Yunxi cut him off.
Gu Qishao and Mu Linger were surprised by the revelation. So Gu Beiyue was the white-robed gentleman they met in the Skypit? Both of them stared at Chu Xifeng. Chu Xifeng had already written a letter to His Highness Duke of Qin last night but had yet to receive a reply. He didn’t know how the Duke of Qin would deal with this issue. Under Han Yunxi’s scrutiny, he knew there was no escape. Lying now would only make things more difficult for His Highness Duke of Qin.
His head hung as he replied. “Yes.”
“So Long Feiye long knew as well?” Han Yunxi’s voice sounded hints of anger.
After a while, Chu Xifeng nodded again. “Yes.”
“Then who am I?” Han Yunxi demanded next.
She had once suspected her origins because of the white-robed gentleman and even asked Long Feiye about the possibility multiple times. But she never thought that Gu Beiyue was that very gentleman, or that Long Feiye would hide this from her!
Chu Xifeng hastened to explain. “Esteemed wangfei, it was Doctor Gu who requested to keep this a secret! It’s not His Highness Duke of Qin’s fault! Doctor Gu said he’s the sole survivor of the Shadow Clan. He doesn’t know if the West Qin imperial heir still exists in this world, but he doesn’t want to find them either. Nor does he want to be the Chu Clan’s watchdog. He said his identity is unique, so he doesn’t want to make trouble. All he wanted was a peaceful live as a Pill Fiend Pharmacy physician, so he asked His Highness Duke of Qin to hide the truth with him. Esteemed wangfei, these are Doctor Gu’s private affairs. If he didn’t want you to know, then His Highness Duke of Qin couldn’t have done anything either, right?”
Chu Xifeng’s heart was always on his master’s side. Han Yunxi didn’t fear becoming West Qin’s imperial heir, but she was afraid of lies and plots. Hearing Chu Xifeng’s explanation cleared her head before she asked, “How did Long Feiye know? When did this happen?”
“His Highness had suspicions about Doctor Gu since...since esteemed wangfei was close to him. His Highness was worried about esteemed wangfei’s safety, so he investigated the man. Then at Western Zhou…”
Chu Xifeng explained how Gu Beiyue had been seriously injured by the Chu Clan and then kidnapped as a hostage. Han Yunxi finally understood the whole story and how Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue had joined hands to win over Chu Tianyin against Ning Cheng.
“Does Ning Cheng know Gu Beiyue’s identity?” she asked next.
“His Highness looked into it. Chu Tianyin didn’t say, and the two Chu Clan elders never brought it up either. Ning Cheng shouldn’t know this yet, or else he wouldn’t have released Doctor Gu so easily back then.” Afraid that Han Yunxi wouldn’t believe him, Chu Xifeng quickly explained, “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness only found out about Doctor Gu’s identity after thorough investigations. If Doctor Gu wasn’t so seriously injured by the Chu Clan, then His Highness would have never found out about his secret. It really was Doctor Gu who wanted His Highness to hide this from you. Esteemed wangfei, besides His Highness, none of the other shadow guards know who Gu Beiyue is. His Highness is really--”
“If it’s not Ning Cheng, then who was the one that wanted to kill him?” Han Yunxi interrupted again. “The person last night clearly knew his identity.”
Hearing this, Chu Xifeng’s heart finally settled back into his chest. Thank goodness esteemed wangfei hadn’t thought of extremes when she discovered Gu Beiyue’s identity. Otherwise, no amount of explanations from him or the Duke of Qin would work. He secretly sighed with emotion. It’s no wonder His Highness Duke of Qin fancies this woman. She’s completely different from those argumentative females who plague one with unreasonable demands.
Despite his secret rejoicing, Chu Xifeng had no idea how saddened Han Yunxi was inside. She respected Gu Beiyue’s privacy, but why was he still keeping it a secret even after Long Feiye found out? She felt like an outsider excluded from Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue’s circle. And yet despite her sadness, Han Yunxi couldn’t blame them. After all, everyone had their secrets and the right to choose. Her transmigration and detox system were two such examples. She only smiled bitterly in her mind. Why should Gu Beiyue explain himself to me? What right did I have to say those words to him last night?
But even if he didn’t owe her an explanation, he needed to come back alive and well!
Gu Beiyue, don’t you know that Yunxi owes you a “thanks?!”
You risked your life to save me from Jun Yixie’s assault, you draped me in your white robes when I was in sore straits. You silently bandaged my shoulder wound after Long Feiye and I had an argument, leaving medicine but not your name.
Gu Beiyue, you have to admit to things you’ve done!
Chu Xifeng quickly seized the chance to explain in more detail. “Esteemed wangfei, the person last night used Celestial Mountain swordplay, but he’d definitely not His Highness Duke of Qin--”
“What did you say?” Gu Qishao suddenly grabbed Chu Xifeng by the collar.
Han Yunxi broke them apart and explained everything that happened last night. Gu Qishao only sneered. “If his sword skills are so powerful, then Long Feiye should know who he is.”
When Gu Qishao first heard that Gu Beiyue was from the Shadow Clan, he seemed as surprised as Mu Linger, but his inner heart was already filled with terrifying waves. He remembered the incident with Mute Granny. He couldn’t figure out why Long Feiye had wanted to kill the old woman. Besides Mu Yingdong and Lady Lianxin, Mute Granny was the only person who knew about Han Yunxi’s birth origins. Long Feiye must have killed her to silence her mouth.
Long Feiye never bothered to hide Han Yunxi’s status as the Poison Sect descendant, so what was he hiding with Mute Granny’s death? Gu Beiyue had remained in Tianning’s Imperial Physician Courtyard for so many years. If he really wanted a peaceful life, why did he offer to undertake the role of Pill Fiend Pharmacy physician? And why did he enter the medical skills competition to take over Medical City and become its leader?
A frightening thought began to sprout in Gu Qishao’s mind, but he didn’t voice his ideas. He only prayed that Gu Beiyue and him were both exceptions, two men who simply wanted to help this woman and nothing more!
“Long Feiye is still treating his wounds at Celestial Mountain. He’s seriously injured and won’t recover until a year. It would have been impossible for last night’s man to be him,” Han Yunxi intoned.
Chu Xifeng immediately broke out into cold sweat. Although His Highness Duke of Qin never gave him particular instructions, he felt like he had to tell the entire truth now. Otherwise, the misunderstandings would be humongous!
“Esteemed wangfei, His Highness Duke of Qin has long left Celestial Mountain...right now he’s at the Sandy River and he’ll be leading the troops to fight Ning Cheng soon!”
Everyone fell silent at his words. Han Yunxi’s expression froze on her face before she cried, “Chu Xifeng, what did you say?”
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1. He couldn’t figure out why Long Feiye had wanted to kill the old woman - Remember that Mute Granny hung herself, but it’s likely no one but Long Feiye knows she committed suicide out of her own will.
With this we've completed the latest story arc ahem~ Stay tuned for more mystery and intrigue ahead! (Or well, painful misunderstandings and all that jazz.)
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