Gu Beiyue was convinced that Bai Yanqing had taken Long Feiye’s hook after seeing him so interested in Baili Mingxiang! For the sake of hiding the truth about the Lustbite energy, he helped Long Feiye lie to Han Yunxi and send the girl up Celestial Mountain under the pretext of an acupuncture treatment plan.
“This Baili Mingxiang is the young Miss of General Baili’s estate and his own daughter. I don’t know how, but she ended up entering the Duke of Qin’s estate as a servant girl,” Gu Beiyue said.
“This old man heard of that as well. Back then, it was the talk of Tianning’s capital city,” Bai Yanqing said. “A general’s daughter wouldn’t really go to be a servant girl, right?”
“Naturally not! To outsiders she’s a servant girl, but she was learning needle and poison arts from the princess. The princess wasn’t willing, but it wasn’t like she could chase her off. As this junior sees it, she was probably taking Long Feiye’s face into consideration. I’ve heard that the Duke of Qin never leaves guests overnight, but Miss Baili started living in the Duke of Qin right and properly after becoming a servant girl in name,” Gu Beiyue said.
Bai Yanqing fell silent as his gaze grew dark. It wasn’t clear what he was thinking about. Gu Beiyue continued to speak.
“That’s not the strangest part. This junior doesn’t understand--when Long Feiye was injured in Celestial Mountain, he personally called for Baili Mingxiang to accompany him. Supposedly, she was to treat him with acupuncture, but I and the princess are far better in the skill than Baili Mingxiang.”
Bai Yanqing finally opened his mouth. “The princess and you were probably too busy to rush to Celestial Mountain while dealing with Medical City, right?”
“Uncle Bai might not know, but this junior actually recommended Imperial Physician Huang to Long Feiye. Yet he insisted on none other that Miss Baili!” Gu Beiyue said in all seriousness. “As this junior sees it, there’s something fishy about all this!”
Bai Yanqing’s eyes flickered with a complicated expression before he nodded. However, he didn’t tell Gu Beiyue anything regarding the Lustbite energy or dual cultivation. Over the past few days, he’d sent men to keep their eyes on Baili Mingxiang and investigate everything about her. One of his agents had recently infiltrated into the East Qin barracks to probe around. He had received news just before meeting with Gu Beiyue that the three dancer assassins had failed their mission and were all caught. Actually, the assassination was his secondary goal. Sending out those dancers was just to feel out the situation. Although he highly suspected Baili Mingxiang, he couldn’t be certain that she was Long Feiye’s dual cultivation candidate. He could only make his move to kill the girl after he was absolutely sure.
When it came to sword skills, he was still inferior to Long Feiye in a serious match, but his poison skills were enough to suppress the man. Thus, he had to stop Long Feiye from cultivating to the third level of the Lustbite energy, or else he’d be unstoppable. The man could easily evade his poison attacks then! Gu Beiyue’s words and the dancer spies’ failed assassination attempts dismissed the last thread of doubt in Bai Yanqing’s head. He decided that he could start to make his own move now!
Gu Beiyue didn’t continue talking. This was as much as he could do for Long Feiye now. Although he wished he could do more, he couldn’t be rash in front of Bai Yanqing. Bai Yanqing may underestimate him, but he couldn’t underestimate him in turn.
“Uncle Bai, how did the Wind Clan discover the princess and Long Feiye’s identities?” Gu Beiyue asked seriously.
Bai Yanqing explained how Jun Yixie had brought back the mermaid blood from Fishery Island. As for Han Yunxi’s identity, he hesitated for a long time before stating, “Lady Tianxin and the heir of the Poison Sect had an affair together. You must have heard about this during your longer days in Medical City, right?”
Gu Beiyue’s heart was alarmed. Although he’d guessed as much, he wished it wasn’t true.
“I’ve heard grandfather bring it up,” he answered.
Bai Yanqing sighed. “That heir of the Poison Sect...was none other than your Uncle Bai, me!”
Gu Beiyue’s hands clenched as he was rendered speechless. Bai Yanqing, the heir to the Poison Sect, was really Lady Tianxin’s lover and Han Yunxi’s father!
“So Uncle Bai long knew that Lady Tianxin was the descendent of West Qin?” Gu Beiyue asked.
Bai Yanqing nodded and didn’t deny it.
“Then why did Lady Tianxin married Han Congan? Why didn’t you ever ask after the princess? Why?” Gu Beiyue asked.
“I didn’t know Tianxin was Mu Xin. I’ve been looking for Mu Xin all these years. Once I discovered she was Tianning’s Tianxin, she...she had already died from dystocia! Yunxi had already grown up!” Bai Yanqing grew agitated as tears fell from his old eyes. “My father was the son of the first wife in the Poison Sect. My mother was a descendant of the Wind Clan. Back then, I had no idea that Mu Xin was the descendent of the West Qin Dynasty until I saw her phoenix wing birthmark. Before I had time to tell her I was from the Wind Clan, she misunderstood me as having an affair with a different woman and left while still pregnant with my child…”
Bai Yanqing grew too choked with sobs to continue. Gu Beiyue’s eyes flickered with doubt. He could tell that Bai Yanqing’s tears were genuine. When would a man shed tears without truly feeling something? But he didn’t trust Bai Yanqing’s excuses at all. The bit about Bai Yanqing being Han Yunxi’s father might very well be true, but the rest were all lies!
The fact that a spy like Helian Zuixiang existed already proved that Bai Yanqing knew about Han Yunxi a long time ago and planted agents in her vicinity. If he was really concerned about Han Yunxi’s wellbeing and wished to revive the West Qin Dynasty, he should have acknowledged her ages ago and made his move. He shouldn’t be circling around Long Feiye and Ning Cheng--much less Northern Li!
Gu Beiyue started out assuming that Bai Yanqing had aspirations to conquer th world, but now he was feeling a bit lost and even afraid. If Han Yunxi knew her own father was like this, what would she feel? How was she supposed to go against him?
“Uncle Bai...why didn’t you acknowledge the princess? If the princess knew her real father was still alive, she’d definitely be thrilled,” Gu Beiyue probed.
Bai Yanqing gave a long sigh. “Uncle Bai owes her too, too much. Moreover, if I tell her everything at a time like this, then I’m afraid the Di Clan will...show suspicion.”
Gu Beiyue expressed his understanding. Although both the Wind and Di Clans were loyal to West Qin, they were rivals for power in their own right. Bai Yanqing wiped away his tears with a smile. “Nephew Beiyue, only you know this. You…”
“Don’t worry, Uncle Bai, Beiyue knows proper limits,” Gu Beiyue promised hastily.
Bai Yanqing nodded. “Come, Uncle Bai will bring you to boil these medicines. Your internal injuries must be healed quickly. Medical City...is still waiting for you to return! With their help, the Northern Li emperor will definitely be willing to rely on us.”
“This junior can return to Medical City right now!” Gu Beiyue continued to probe.
Naturally, Bai Yanqing refused. “No rush, no rush. You just need to mend your injuries. Once the time is right, Uncle Bai will take you back!”
A cold smile flickered past Gu Beiyue’s lips before he said, “I’ll listen to whatever Uncle Bai says. Beiyue asks that Uncle Bai passes on greetings to the princess in my place.”
“Don’t worry. Yunxi knows you’re by my side and told you to take care of yourself. If you need any ingredients, simply give the word,” Bai Yanqing replied.
Gu Beiyue wanted to make the brew himself, but Bai Yanqing politely offered to help. He brought over the piping hot decoction and insisted on Gu Beiyue drinking it while it was hot. Although Gu Beiyue had no idea what kind of poisons were lurking in this mixture, he knew it had to be some sort of slow-acting toxin. Fo the sake of throwing off suspicion, he would finish the brew in front of Bai Yanqing every single time, then secretly take medicine to induce vomiting. That could reduce the poison’s effects despite leaving lingering traces behind. And in truth, Bai Yanqing’s medicine really did help his internal energy recovery, although it wasn’t very much.
After taking his medicine, Gu Beiyue sighed. “Uncle Bai, can you tell the princess to lend me Lil Thing? This junior rather misses it.”
“It’s being raised in the poison storage space. We need to seize the time and nurture it until its injuries recover. Then it could face off against a big army!” Bai Yanqing refused.
Gu Beiyue began to suspect that Lil Thing was trapped in Bai Yanqing’s hands. Otherwise, the little creature’s personality would have it running out to seek him long ago.
Once Bai Yanqing left, he immediately took medicine to induce vomiting. He threw up so violently that it left his organs feeling ill, then cleaned up everything and went to lean against the chair. His originally ashen face now seemed drained of all blood, his figure wan enough to be sent afloat by a breeze. For the sake of reducing his poison intake as much as possible, he used a lot of medicine to induce the vomiting. Every session left his throat and stomach aching for an hour. After the pain passed, he exhaled turbidly.
Ever since he was young, he had experienced all kinds of pain, much less this trifling ache for an hour. Despite his weak and feeble frame, his eyes were glittering with ice. He had already found out a way to send secret messages.
Bai Yanqing, just you wait!
Meanwhile in a forest right outside Tianning’s capital city, Gu Qishao was reclining in a big tree. He was supposed to leave with Bai Yuqiao yesterday to rescue Su Xiaoyu, but hadn’t left before Mu Linger suddenly said, “Qi gege, it’s Qiqiao tonight, so let’s leave tomorrow.”
If Mu Linger hadn’t reminded him, he would have forgotten the date altogether. Qiqiao, or the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, was his birthday and the origins of his nickname “Little Qi” (Little Seven). It was a pity that nobody except Gu Yuntian and Ling Guyi knew--both of whom had been locked up. Even Mu Linger, who loved him the most, and Han Yunxi, who he loved the most, had no idea.
Gu Qishao abandoned Mu Linger in the palace and ran out by himself. In the clear and refreshing woods, he ended up sleeping for one day and one night. In the past, he couldn’t sleep if he tried, but now sleeping thoroughly was rather good! When the birds in the forest began to make a racket, Gu Qishao flipped off the tree and gave a lazy stretch before heading back to the city. Once inside the palace, he saw Mu Linger’s red, tear-rimmed eyes as she stood in front of him.
“Qi gege, where did you go? Linger thought...I thought…” before she could finish, she was already choked with sobs. She assumed that he’d left her behind just like all the other times to vanish into thin air.
“Crybaby!” Gu Qishao looked askance at her.
At this moment, Ning An arrived. “Gu Qishao, where did you go? We’ve been looking for you for a day and a night!”
“We said we were leaving today, what’re you yelling at this young gentleman for?” Gu Qishao said brusquely, lofty and aloof. When he was cold, he wasn’t seductive at all.
“Ning Cheng’s on his way. He said for you to wait because he’s coming with you!” Ning An replied.
“What about Han Yunxi?” Gu Qishao asked immediately.
East and West Qin had stopped fighting, so Han Yunxi should have written him a letter by now. There had to be a reason for the ceasefire. Ning An glanced at Mu Linger before she said, “The two armies might have stopped fighting, but the situation still isn’t good. The princess needs to stay within the barracks. The princess said, as long as Long Feiye was guarding the East Qin barracks, she would guard the West Qin one!”
Gu Qishao wanted to asked more, but Mu Linger tugged at his shirt instead. “Qi gege,” she murmured, “My big sis sent a letter, it’s with me.”
Naturally, the “big sis” she referred to was none other than Han Yunxi. Although she wouldn’t call her that to her face, she was quite happy to say it in private. Knowing this, Gu Qishao was too lazy to press the issue.
“Whether or not we’ll wait for Ning Cheng, I’ll tell you tonight. This young gentleman has things to busy himself with.” So speaking, he grabbed Mu Linger and went away, anxious to read Han Yunxi’s letter. Ning An didn’t stop them, but simply slipped into a long and meaningful smile…
Uh-oh. The last time we heard of Han Yunxi's letter to Gu Qishao, it had fallen into Ning Cheng's hands. Where is it now? And why did Ning An smile like that?
I smell a conspiracy...!