Han Yunxi couldn’t believe her ears! The man she’d been missing and worrying about everyday had lied to her like this! She remembered to fret over his injuries everyday while hoping to finish things up at Medical City faster. She was trying to figure out how to balance the power plays in the south central regions so she could stabilize things there and go back to Celestial Mountain to take care of him.
He, on the other hand, had long recovered and left Celestial Mountain. He long held the reins of the south central regions in his hands. Now he was even preparing to go to war while she was still clueless!
Long Feiye, just who do you take me as? A fool?
Even Chu Xifeng knows the truth, and he’s just the commander of the shadow guards. So what do I count as?
She finally understood why Long Feiye kept sending her empty letters. How else could he face her missing him except with these blank messages?
Chu Xifeng saw that Han Yunxi’s expression looked off and felt his heart pound fast enough to leap out of his chest. He glanced at Gu Qishao and Mu Linger, but one of them looked shocked while the other was expressionless. Neither could help him out now. Aside from bracing himself to explain, what else could he do?
“Esteemed wangfei, Doctor Gu knew about this too--”
“Stop painting Gu Beiyue as the villain!” Han Yunxi’s rage dashed to the skies. “We don’t even know if he’s alive or dead, can’t you let him go already?”
When it came to the Shadow Clan, Gu Beiyue had full right to make decisions. But matters of Celestial Mountain and the south central regions, including this move for war, were Long Feiye’s own affairs!
He lied to her! That had nothing to do with Gu Beiyue!
Chu Xifeng immediately fell to his knees. “Esteemed wangfei, please calm your anger. There were difficulties that His Highness couldn’t discuss! Esteemed wangfei, you knew that the Nine Xuan Hall had spies too. They still don’t know that His Highness has left the mountain. For the sake of stringing them along, His Highness lied to you too! Esteemed wangfei, think it over carefully. Hasn’t His Highness’s letters to you mentioned nothing except his injuries, Celestial Mountain, and the south central regions? There’s no mention of Medical City. Only His Highness’s letters to Gu Beiyue talk about that while excluding Celestial Mountain and the south central regions.”
Chu Xifeng couldn’t help stealing a peek at Han Yunxi, hoping that she’d calm down. He continued to talk. “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness has always suspected that the spies at Celestial Mountain and the Duke of Qin’s estate are connected with Northern Li. He designed this plot all for the sake of this fight. Northern Li’s cavalry has yet to recover their losses, so His Highness is seizing this chance to make a concentrated attack on Ning Cheng, then head straight for Northern Li! Then he’d catch them unprepared. Esteemed wangfei, His Highness has long told Doctor Gu to send you away from Medical City last night. His Highness..His Highness has been missing you as well, and he’s waiting for you at Sandy River! Who knew...who knew that last night…” Chu Xifeng’s words were full of devotion as he poured his heart out into the facts he knew.
“So his severe injuries at Celestial Mountain were nothing more than an act to trick me?” Han Yunxi asked in disbelief. She’d cried herself hoarse back then. How could Long Feiye be so heartless?
“Esteemed wangfei, if it wasn’t for that act, would the spies have believed that His Highness was seriously injured?” Chu Xifeng asked back.
“Then what did Baili Mingxiang go up the mountain for?” Han Yunxi asked.
“This...esteemed wangfei, although His Highness wasn’t seriously injured, it’s true that he was hurt. Doctor Gu told Miss Baili to treat him with acupuncture up the mountain. That part’s not false!” That was what Chu Xifeng believed, because he was ignorant to the fake “dual cultivation” act.
“Is he fully recovered now?” Han Yunxi asked coldly. Despite her fury, she still worried for that man.
“He only left the mountain because he recovered. Esteemed wangfei, this subordinate has already told His Highness about what happened last night. Medical City isn’t safe anymore, this subordinate will send you to Sandy River to see His Highness next. He’ll definitely explain everything to you,” Chu Xifeng coaxed.
“I won’t leave Medical City until we find Gu Beiyue,” Han Yunxi insisted stubbornly.
Chu Xifeng panicked. “But...but…” Although he didn’t want to say it, he had to now. “Esteemed wangfei, the chances of Doctor Gu surviving are very slim, you--”
“If he’s alive, I want to see him in person. If not, then I want to see a body.” Han Yunxi steeled her heart and cut him off coldly.
“Esteemed wangfei, you…” Once again, Chu Xifeng kowtowed his head against the ground. “Esteemed wangfei, this subordinate will use the lives of myself and all the shadow guards to vow that last night’s assassin wasn’t His Highness Duke of Qin!”
“Chu Xifeng, listen well. I don’t suspect him,” Han Yunxi made her stance known.
It was true. Even now, Han Yunxi didn’t suspect Long Feiye a bit. She’d find him personally for his lies, but that had nothing to do with last night’s assassination attempt. Her heart might be aching like mad, but her mind was still clear. Last night’s assassin had behaved exceedingly like Long Feiye, from his swordplay style to his silent ways. He had little reaction to Gu Beiyue’s shadow arts and even avoided her gaze on purpose while holding no animosity towards her. All of the doubtful details pointed towards Long Feiye. But he lacked the ultimate motive to kill Gu Beiyue.
Ever since going to Celestial Mountain, Gu Beiyue had been Long Feiye’s most competent assistant. He and Long Feiye had a close collaboration, so why would the latter kill him off?
Chu Xifeng had no idea how to react to his general pardon besides nodding constantly. “Esteemed wangfei is wise and brilliant! Esteemed wangfei is wise and brilliant!”
Han Yunxi sighed and forced herself to calm down. Actually, she’d rather prefer to cry out her grievances right now. Long Feiye had dared to lie to her, which made her mad enough to want to interrogate him on the spot. But she had no time to feel sad or angry. She told herself to stay cool. It was clear that last night’s assassin harbored ill intentions. If she didn’t stay calm, she’d fall into his trap. She had to clear her mind even if it was just to repay Gu Qishao back for his sacrifices and Gu Beiyue back for efforts to gain the position of academy head.
She looked towards Luo Zuishan and said coldly, “Elder Luo, go tell Department Head Shen to wait for me immediately in the study. Doctor Gu’s fall over the cliff must be kept secret!”
Luo Zuishan knew the graveness of the situation and immediately went to carry out her ordes.
“Poison lass, leave the search for the man up to me,” Gu Qishao’s face was stiff, his thoughts hidden. It was rare for him to be so serious.
“Qishao, I ask that you protect esteemed wangfei’s safety instead. Last night’s assassin was on par with His Highness Duke of Qin’s skills. Only you can protect her now,” Chu Xifeng said urgently.
Gu Qishao laughed coldly. A helpless Han Yunxi said, “If that man wanted to kill me last night, would I still be standing here today?”
Chu Xifeng had no rebuttal beyond a resentful silence. Mu Linger, on the other hand, suddenly grew alarmed. “Han Yunxi, where’s Lil Thing? It loves Doctor Gu the most. It can definitely find him!”
“I hope it can find him too,” Han Yunxi said with low spirits. Then she turned to Gu Qishao. “Old Fiend, I can’t summon Lil Thing back. It’s very far away from me now.”
Once she sense Lil Thing’s disappearance, Han Yunxi had been trying to summon it back to the poison storage space, but with no success. This meant that Lil Thing was far enough to be out of range. She didn’t know whether the creature had gone off to chase after the assassin or Gu Beiyue. She rather it went after the former so they had a better chance of finding Gu Beiyue. If Lil Thing went after Gu Beiyue instead...Han Yunxi didn’t dare to imagine the consequences.
Gu Qishao could hear the meaning in her words and lowered his voice. “No matter the distance, I’ll find it.”
Then he flew down into the cliff again. Mu Linger hesitated before clutching Han Yunxi’s hand tightly. “Han Yunxi, Doctor Gu is the best. He’ll definitely be alright!”
Then she leaped off after Gu Qishao. Han Yunxi sniffed and told Chu Xifeng, “Back to Medical City!”
They had to return to the city, hide the news of last night’s events, and stabilize things here while finishing up Gu Beiyue’s major tasks. This would support Long Feiye’s campaign at Sandy River too. On the way back, Han Yunxi was still cool as she asked Chu Xifeng what she could do for Gu Beiyue to cooperate with Long Feiye’s plans. She was even scared by her own rationality. She was always a logical woman, but she never knew she could still keep her head here.
But really, this wasn’t rationality at all. She was being a fool who was easy to bully.
She knew that the only reason she could keep calm now was because her partner was him, Long Feiye. Her strongest source of reason wasn’t reasonable at all.
Long Feiye, do you know? Even when my heart aches, I still think of you. I want to see you and be by your side.
By the time Han Yunxi reached Gu Beiyue’s academy head courtyard and prepared to discuss plans with Department Head Shen, a single piece of news threatened to shatter her rational mind. News came from Sandy River that General Baili had suddenly launched a surprise attack against Tianning yesterday. Overnight, his forces successfully forged the Sandy River and killed their way into Tianning borders. Ning Cheng’s troops couldn’t react in time and suffered successive defeats. Just this morning, they’d lost two cities and retreated to Tianning’s largest moat city in the south in South Xiao Prefecture. The Ning Clan troops drew aid from the terrain to place all of its red coat cannons around the stronghold before finally managing a stalemate against Great General Baili.
The only reason General Baili could cross the Sandy River overnight was because he had sent out his mermaid soldiers to control the river system. News of the battle spread throughout Cloud Realm Continent. No one expected the Baili Navy to be the fabled mermaid soldiers of ancient times.
But this wasn’t the most shocking bit!
What stunned everyone was that Great General Baili’s black war banners all carried the white character, “Long!” Long Feiye was Tianning’s Duke of Qin and was known for his black war banners. However, all of his were inscribed with the white character, “Qin.”
In the past, the Great Qin Empire had also used “Qin” for its East and West Qin Dynasties. West Qin’s banners were white with black words, while East Qin’s banners were black with white words. Long Feiye’s old war banners differed from the old East Qin war banners in that the latter had a coiling dragon motif stitched on the reverse side.
But this time the Baili Army wasn’t fighting under Tianning’s Duke of Qin, but pure war banners of East Qin’s imperial family. The backs of the banners were stitched with that very same coiling dragon.
Baili Yuanlong publicly declared that the Baili Clan were not only the Mermaid Clan, but the very same family loyal to the East Qin Dynasty from the Seven Noble Families. He also exposed the connection between the Ning Clan and Cloud Realm Trade Consortium and revealed that the Ning were none other than the long-missing Di Clan loyal to West Qin in the past!
Long Feiye was riding into a punitive expedition against the Di Clan in his identity as East Qing’s imperial heir. He had started his revenge battle to revive the dynasty!
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Releasing this around 11 as things get turned up to 11 and I...need to run off and mail something. Cya!
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