Why wouldn’t Han Yunxi be falling apart by now? All these years, she’d believed that she was a martial arts waste. For a while, she was even depressed by the revelation, only to find out she had the highest innate talent in all of Cloud Realm Continent!
She was seriously...seriously floored to the extreme!
Only a guy like Long Feiye could trick me so thoroughly! If it was anyone else, I’d doubt them, but Long Feiye…
Han Yunxi was so furious that her face turned white. She couldn’t even speak straight. “Long Feiye! Long Feiye, you--you you…! Long Feiye, do you know how long I was depressed because I thought I couldn’t learn martial arts?!”
So many times she ended up dragging him down. How much she wished she could fight!
“As punishment, let me give you internal energy. Once your reserves are equal to mine, we can start dual cultivation. I--” As Long Feiye spoke, he took out a secret manual from his cabinet and gave it to Han Yunxi. She opened it up and saw that it was a handwritten martial arts manual. She didn’t read manuals, but the pictures and movements drawn within seem to depict it as a hidden weapons styled fighting art. She carefully flipped through the pages from beginning to end to discover that it really was the case. This book taught one how to circulate the internal energy, coordinate attacks, and use hidden needles and other related weapons.
“I used two years to create this from scratch myself. It should be suitable for your poison needles. Starting tomorrow, I’ll teach you for two hours every night. It only requires good eyesight and mastering the different forms to elevate your internal energy. Then you’ll be able to kill your enemies with a single needle. Once your dual cultivation with me succeeds, your needles will be just as formidable as the Pear Blossom Rain Needles of the Tang Clan.”
Han Yunxi stared at him as she suddenly fell silent. Of course Long Feiye knew how much she wanted to learn martial arts. He thought she’d stop being angry after seeing this tailor-made martial arts manual, but she only grew mute.
A complicated look flitted past his eyes before he intoned, “I won’t lie to you ever again, really. I only have one secret left that I’ll tell you too. Han Yunxi, if I cultivate to the third level of the Lustbite energy, I’ll have no opponents in this world except you. You’d be the only one capable of killing me. The Lustbite energy draws its strength from feelings of love. If you ever raised your sword against me, I’ll lose all of my internal energy.”
Even though they were destined to meet on the battlefield someday, he still revealed this secret.
Han Yunxi, do our 100 steps count as finished now?
If possible, he wouldn’t lie to her at all. Who wanted to do something as tiring as living with a burden of a lie on his shoulders? The hardest thing in the world was keeping a secret all to yourself. No one else knew just how much patience, forbearance, and persistence he had endured for the sake of this woman in the past four years.
Han Yunxi muffled him before he could continue. “It’s only the likes of you who can lie to me like this. Long Feiye, I fold! We’ll meet on the battlefield eventually, but there’ll never come a day when we cross swords! Alright?”
Meeting on the battlefield was a matter between East and West Qin, while facing off in combat was their own private affair!
Long Feiye stroked her bangs. “Definitely.”
Once, she had said that lying to her once was like lying to her a hundred times. And yet, even if he did, she couldn’t resent or hate him for it. The handwritten, hand-drawn manual in her hands was the sum of all his good intentions behind lying to her for the past few years. If not for his lies, they wouldn’t have reached this step, nor could she live well and unharmed to this day. When she recalled all the days they traveled together and fought shoulder-to-shoulder, they always seemed carefree and relaxed. If his plans had gone accordingly and her status had remained hidden, then she probably wouldn’t be harboring a guilty conscience and sense of responsibility to West Qin today.
Han Yunxi didn’t blame Long Feiye a bit, but her heart ached...ached over the fact that he’d been shouldering his burdens all alone these years.
“Long Feiye, what are you going to do if you channel your internal energy to me?” she asked seriously.
“I’ll only channel a single level each time. I can recover from that, so don’t worry,” Long Feiye had his proper limits in place.
Han Yunxi exhaled in relief before smiling helplessly. “Bai Yanqing definitely doesn’t know that I’m the person he’s looking for!”
A cold look flitted past Long Feiye’s eyes. “It’s unfortunate that he didn’t show up in person last night. Otherwise...everything could have ended right there!”
“Isn’t it very dangerous for Baili Mingxiang if you keep her by your side?” Han Yunxi asked.
“She’s the best candidate!” Long Feiye had picked Baili Mingxiang very carefully, firstly because she was from the Mermaid Clan, and next because she was female. Although she hadn’t served by his side before, she had long entered the Duke of Qin’s estate as a servant girl. Back then, it’d even caused waves in Tianning’s capital city when the news broke out. Bai Yanqing was so suspicious and prudent that he would have found out as well. If he created the false impression of favoring Baili Mingxiang, then Bai Yanqing would doubt him, but because everything was still ambiguous and unclear, Bai Yanqing would steel his sights on the girl instead.
“She’s a girl of the Mermaid Clan, so it’s her honor to accept such a great undertaking for East Qin,” Long Feiye said coldly.
It had to be said that Han Yunxi was always softhearted when it came to the people by her side. She wasn’t as merciless as Long Feiye since she didn’t have many people to begin with. With a smile, she said, “It took a lot of effort for me to save her life. Now she’s delivering it up for your East Qin instead.”
“She has something capable of countering Bai Yanqing in her hands. As long as he doesn’t use poison, she can keep him in check. As to whether or not she’ll survive, that’s up to fate,” Long Feiye said mildly.
“What kind of thing?” Han Yunxi grew curious. She scooted over, and Long Feiye told her in hushed tones.
“Heavens!” Han Yunxi was very surprised. Baili Mingxiang will be by our side for the coming days. With me here, there’s no need to fear Bai Yanqing’s poisons. If Baili Mingxiang can use the thing in her hands well, then she’d not only be unharmed, but render meritorious service.
“Long Feiye, if Baili Mingxiang accomplishes it, you have to reward her with a military rank. Don’t leave her as a servant girl anymore.” Han Yunxi’s words sounded so nice that Long Feiye finally abandoned his sour expression for something more satisfied.
“Long Feiye, tell me about your childhood, okay? How did your parents...pass away?” Han Yunxi asked seriously. Although she’d found out heaps tonight, it still didn’t feel like enough.
“It’s already in the past…” Long Feiye said as he began to straighten her hair. He placed all of it behind her back and brushed through the strands. “It’s fine if I don’t mention it too...I only have you now.”
“Long Feiye…” Han Yunxi still wanted to know.
“Be good...that’s all passed by now. When there’s time, I’ll tell you everything slowly,” Long Feiye still wouldn’t say. Happiness could be shared, but there were some pains that had to be kept separate. Once it was split, it’d lead to both parties suffering instead. The past had already been swallowed up by the earth that buried its people. Nothing could change them or smooth things out. One more person knowing the truth was one more who would suffer. He couldn’t bear to let this woman know the various scars and wounds that strung together as beads in his past. He never wanted to tell her.
Han Yunxi didn’t press him. Since she couldn’t join in his past, she’d definitely be a part of his present and future.
As the day grew light, Xu Donglin and Zhao mama came by with breakfast. “Your Highness, it’s time to eat. You still have to interrogate those dancers this morning.”
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi dressed themselves and got up. She was still in soldier’s garb, which Xu Donglin couldn’t help but secretly laugh at. The princess has to be the only “shadow guard” in history to get so close with His Highness!
And yet despite his smiles, he still felt sick at heart when recalling his old Boss Chu. Who knows how he was doing now? If he knew His Highness and the princess were together, would he be able to take it?
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi sat together to eat their breakfast while Xu Donglin and Zhao mama stood on guard outside.
“That’s right, I wrote a letter to Gu Qishao. He...has the right to know,” Han Yunxi said seriously.
Long Feiye only smiled coldly without a word. His attitude was always like this when it came to Gu Qishao.
“Gu Qishao should have received the letter in these past few days….” Han Yunxi went on.
Long Feiye didn’t speak. It was impossible for Gu Qishao to enter his military barracks! Back then, the two of them agreed: Gu Qishao would hide the truth about Mute Granny while he kept quiet about his undying body. Since they made a contract, he wouldn’t betray it by any means. And yet, Gu Qishao had told the truth to Han Yunxi. Fortunately, he had a chance to explain himself, or else he would never forgive the man!
Han Yunxi should know it was no good bringing up Gu Qishao in front of Long Feiye!
Long Feiye quietly finished his breakfast before he said, “Even now, we can’t get in touch with Gu Beiyue. Do you have any way of tracking down Lil Thing? I want to know his decision.”
If Long Feiye had any friends, Gu Beiyue would count amongst them. Although he had his own guesses, he still wanted to know the other’s current circumstances. What did Gu Beiyue think of all this, and what would he choose?
Han Yunxi shook her head helplessly. “I’m afraid it’s fallen into Bai Yanqing’s hands. Last time, Gu Beiyue’s letter via Chu Tianyin hadn’t made any mention of Lil Thing, which meant he hasn’t seen the poison beast at all. If Lil Thing wasn’t following Gu Beiyue, then it’s possible it was trapped by Bai Yanqin in his poison storage space.”
It’d been so long since she’d seen it that she missed it.
Long Feiye nodded. “Come on, let’s go to the water cells.”
Long Feiye always had a clue on hand to find Bai Yanqing, but since they had these dancer spies on hand, he would naturally interrogate them first. Perhaps he’d discover something new. Han Yunxi followed him out of the tent and discovered that it had rained last night. Everyone always said that it’d rain on Qiqiao, and that those were the tears of the weaver girl.  The air was cool and refreshing in the wake of the rainstorm, and the morning sunlight glittered brilliantly without hurting their eyes. Han Yunxi’s heart felt like a fresh clear day. She went back into the tent to take out the basins full of sunflowers and placed them all by the entrance outside. She then pulled Long Feiye back to wait a while until the drooping flowers all raised their heads to the east to face the sunlight.
She wanted their love to see the light, lift its head, and face it dazzlingly on! Once all of the sunflowers were looking up, Han Yunxi felt satisfied enough to let Long Feiye go. Like a young retainer, she followed behind him just like Chu Xifeng as they headed for the water cells.
How many people were still dreaming in the wake of Qiqiao night?
In a bamboo house by the side of a stream deep in the mountain valley, Gu Beiyue had already awakened. He was dressed simply in snow-white robes that looked like they could take him airborne at any second. Against the backdrop of celadon waters and blue peaks, he looked like an immortal. He stood by the windows looking at the distant mountains, where a flying hawk was circling around its peaks. It wasn’t until the bird flew past the mountains and disappeared that he withdrew his gaze. His pale white lips curved into a faint smile, filled with the gentle warmth of an April spring breeze that was nothing if not soft, soft, and ever soft…
“Nephew Beiyue, you’ve certainly woken up early today!” a low voice called from beyond the door.
It was none other than Bai Yanqing.
1. Random Note: Remember Gu Qishao’s birthday? That’s right, it’s none other than the 7th day of the 7th lunar month...aka Qiqiao. On a side note, Gu Beiyue’s is the 15th of the 8th lunar month, aka the Midautumn Moon Festival!
I owe you guys a week's worth of PGC chapters from my mini-break, so here's #1 of seven! They'll be filled in throughout the month whenever I have some extra time to translate, like today. :3