Faced with Baili Yuanlong’s stubbornness, even an even-tempered girl like Baili Mingxiang was about to lose her cool. “Father! If anything happens to you, who’s going to lead our East Qin army?”
A bitter look flickered through Baili Yuanlong’s eyes. “His Highness should naturally have arrangements!”
His Highness had silently allowed Han Yunxi to cause him difficulties, so could he even continue to lead the army? Not long ago, he’d even threatened His Highness with retirement, but never thought he’d end up like this!
“Father!” Baili Mingxiang’s heart ached. She had never seen her father act so helpless or sick at heart.
Baili Yuanlong looked upon death like going home. It’s better to die avenging my brothers than returning to camp and losing all face.
“It’s all because of those poison kraits!” Baili Mingxiang was on the verge of tears. Faced with her father’s perilous situation, she’d panic no matter how mild-mannered she was! She desperately hoped that the princess hadn’t been serious.
Baili Yuanlong suddenly glanced over and murmured, “Everything was perfectly fine, so why did these snakes suddenly attacks?”
“The princess just said that we need to investigate the snake den to be sure,” Baili Mingxiang answered.
Baili Yuanlong fell silent, then muttered, “Isn’t it a single thought for her to lure over the poison snakes?”
“Shhh...father!” Baili Mingxiang was greatly alarmed, afraid that the couple would overhear. If her father hadn’t been so distrustful, this disaster would never have happened.
Baili Yuanlong wasn’t afraid, though. He thought it over some more, then added, “If a thousand snakes is a rarity, then how big is the den? If they all came out in full force, how is she supposed to take them all on alone even with formidable poison skills? By not asking us to come along, it’s possible she’s afraid that--”
“Father, stop making wild guesses!” Baili Mingxiang interrupted furiously. She had never lost her temper in front of him until today.
“Mingxiang, don’t you forget, she’s the West Qin princess! If she knew who she was earlier on, she might not have saved your life at all!” Baili Yuanlong reminded.
“You what? You’re just a girl, what do you know? Just because she treats you well, you--”
“Father, I believe in His Highness!” Baili Mingxiang cut in.
“Your father does too, but you still need to guard against others! I’m bearing the burden of tens of thousands of lives from the East Qin army on my shoulders!” Baili Yuanlong said coldly.
Baili Mingxiang simply turned aside, not willing to say anymore. Baili Yuanlong didn’t notice, too lost in his own thoughts. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were in the lead, following the poison gas all the way to the woods bordering the west camp. After walking for five li, they still hadn’t found the snake den.
“It’s so far away. Even if the den was disturbed, it’s not likely they would’ve found the camp of all places,” Han Yunxi murmured.
The White-Lipped Kraits wouldn’t attack humans without cause. Either someone had led them to the army, or something had startled them. She thought the snake den would be closeby and that the military’s daily activities had disturbed them, but this seemed to be an orchestrated plot.
“None of the surrounding villagers exhibited signs of poisoning. All of the snakes within five li headed for the army camps. Strange!” Long Feiye was growing suspicious too.
At this moment, Han Yunxi’s detox system blared out a warning, causing her to stop in her tracks.
“What is it?” Long Feiye asked.
Baili Yuanlong and Baili Mingxiang stopped too, along with the shadow guards tailing them on the sidelines.
“There’s poison up ahead. Everyone, stay put,” Han Yunxi said as she strode forward, but Long Feiye pulled her back. Without a choice, she explained, “It’s not the snake den. The source is somewhere up close, you’ll be able to see me from here, so it’s fine. I’ll take care of it and come back immediately.”
Only then did Long Feiye release her. Just like Han Yunxi’s earlier vexations, he too felt annoyed with himself. If only he knew poisons arts too--how great that’d be.
Han Yunxi didn’t go far, but remained within view of Long Feiye the entire time. She seemed to have found something in the grass, but no one knew what it was. Very soon, she stood up and waved at Long Feiye. “Keep following me at half a li’s distance behind!” she said.
“Why?” Long Feiye shouted back.
Han Yunxi was smiling happily, though it wasn’t clear whether he could see. She said, “You promised to listen to everything I say! Just do as you’re told!”
Long Feiye couldn’t help smiling, his expression looking radiant. It wasn’t clear whether she could see from this distance, either. If this was the past, he’d never agree, but his martial arts skills had now advanced to the stage where he could protect her as long as she was within his sights. He waved back and gestured for her to keep walking as he agreed.
Han Yunxi walked ahead, occasionally stopping to crouch on the ground as if searching and collecting something. Long Feiye was curious, while Baili Yuanlong was filled with doubts. After five more li, Han Yunxi stopped. Long Feiye and the rest caught up until they saw a huge pit up ahead. Although it wasn’t as big as the Poison Sect’s Skypit, it was no small hole. They were 10 meters away when Han Yunxi declared, “We’ve reached the snake den.”
Long Feiye didn’t feel anything, but Han Yunxi had started sensing the thick cloud of poison here since long ago. The detox system broke down all of the toxins present within and compared it to the usual concentration of poison found within a White-Lipped Krait. Its calculations told her that there were at least 20,000 snakes inside! It was double the number in Han Yunxi’s estimates! Thanks to the poison gas in the air, the entire nest was seething with excitement. All of the snakes were furiously climbing towards the cave exit, including the ones hidden at the very bottom of the den, who stirred and exhaled more noxious fumes.
Even a poisons expert of Han Yunxi’s caliber was alarmed by the movement. She only thanked the stars that she had already cultivated to the second level of the poison storage system, or else even Long Feiye and a team of shadow guards wouldn’t be enough to deal with such a huge pit! She collected all of the data before looking back at the group.
“This pit is about 20 meters deep and houses 20,000 snakes along with one queen…”
Everyone’s faces blanched at the revelation. What was the notion of ten-thousand strong snakes and a single queen? Even if they weren’t afraid of poison, it’d be impossible to kill them all! Yet once the snakes escaped and went every which were, it’d be even harder to track them down, especially if they headed for the army camp! Han Yunxi’s antidotes had a time limit, so once they wore off, new doses would be needed to defend against these serpents.
Long Feiye knitted his brows as he walked to her side, but Han Yunxi still pushed him back towards the Baili father and daughter pair. She continued to speak. “They’ve already smelled the poison gas, so they’re all climbing up right now. I expect they’ll reach the surface soon, so we’re in a very dangerous position right now. There’s not enough time either. I’ll say this one last time: listen to everything I say or accept the consequences!”
Standing by the edge of the pit, Han Yunxi was both stern and serious. Her authority was unshakable so that even the suspicious, dissatisfied Baili Yuanlong was left too awed to speak. Long Feiye’s eyes flickered with a complicated expression before he said, “Alright, you be careful.”
Han Yunxi nodded. She took out a few bags of antidote and gave them to the 20 or so shadow guards with them--poison guards she’d chosen personally and taught for circumstances like these.
“There might be poisonous snakes escaping later, so the five of you protect His Highness and the rest. Also, draw back 50 meters and be on guard, understood?”
Although they had all taken antidotes before coming here, she wasn’t sure how long she’d need to absorb the entire den of snakes into her poison storage space. The largest thing she’d ever absorbed was the poison pond, but that was one body. The den was filled with 20,000 individual snakes and one queen. She was confident that she could take this den, but she never had practical experience trying. It was hard to account for unexpected events, so she had to make ample preparations to protect Long Feiye and the rest.
As Long Feiye and the rest backed away, Han Yunxi dismissed the remaining poison guards to form a perimeter around the edge of the pit. Only one man was left to guard her side.
“Try your best to not let the snakes escape. Fight poison with poison, understand?” Han Yunxi said.
“Understood! Don’t worry, mistress!” the guards chorused.
Once everything was settled, Han Yunxi looked back and saw Long Feiye staring at her with knitted brows. She grinned at him, but his expression remained severe. She gave him a placating look next, then turned around and shut her eyes. Their surroundings had grown exceptionally quiet, but those with good hearing could sense the snakes slithering closer and closer to the exit. Long Feiye couldn’t understand how Han Yunxi was planning to face off against these snakes. Was she going to fight poison with poison and kill them all? Or absorb the creatures into her poison storage space? But how would she do that?
Baili Yuanlong and Baili Mingxiang were curious as well, waiting to see what she’d do. Baili Mingxiang couldn’t believe that Han Yunxi could face off against so many snakes on her own, while Baili Yuanlong was still guarded.
After a few moments, Han Yunxi muttered to the guard next to her, “I’m ready, let’s go down.”
“Yes!” the poison guard obeyed before grabbing Han Yunxi and jumping into the snake den! In a flash, her figure vanished from Long Feiye’s eyes.
“Han Yunxi, what are you doing?!” Long Feiye roared in rage!
Without a second thought, he chased after her. As if realizing something, Baili Yuanlong followed after him in alarm. “Your Highness, be careful of a trap! Your Highness, this is a trap! A trap, ah!”
It was obviously human hands that had lured the snakes from such a distant den into their camp! Han Yunxi had forbidden His Highness from coming along at first, but now she was jumping down herself. Her dangerous actions were obviously meant to lure His Highness into the snake pit.
This has to be a trap!
Long Feiye and Baili Yuanlong’s bodies quickly vanished from sight. Alarmed, Xu Donglin didn’t know what to do next! The princess had ordered them not to move, but His Highness had already followed after her. What was he supposed to do? After some hesitation, he led the rest of the men after them too.
Baili Mingxiang ran to the edge of the pit and was so anxious she threw out all semblance of etiquette. “Your Highness! Father! Don’t cause trouble for the princess!”
No one answered. Steeling her heart, she too, jumped into the pit. But by the time she reached the bottom, not a snake was to be seen. There was only His Highness supporting the princess while leaning against the wall. Father and Xu Donglin were all looking around the premises, all of them equally confused.
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Ok, I get what our girl Yunxi was trying to do here, but for crying out loud, couldn't you have warned your husband first?!