As soon as Long Feiye and Han Yunxi flew out of the den, it was to see Baili Yuanlong and Baili Mingxiang outside. The former had long lost consciousness, his body covered in blood pouring from his lips. His complexion was pale like death, but the shadow guards were still channeling true qi into his body without giving up. For one thing, none of them knew that Baili Yuanlong had defied His Highness’s orders down in the snake den; for another, Baili Yuanlong was the leader of the Mermaid Clan and East Qin’s army. In the entire barracks, he ranked only below Long Feiye himself. Even if he committed a heinous crime, nobody dared to do anything against him without His Highness’s word. Thus, they were giving their all to save his life.
Baili Mingxiang had been kneeling by her father and crying all night. Her eyes were bloodshot with tears, and it seemed like she’d nearly go blind from crying. As soon as she saw Long Feiye and Han Yunxi emerge, she hastily rose to her feet. Her legs were long numb from kneeling all night, so she tumbled to the ground after a couple of steps. She quickly crawled and reached out a hand for Long Feiye’s leg, though she didn’t dare to touch him directly. In the end, she withdrew her arm and started kowtowing furiously against the ground.
“Your Highness, Mingxiang and father both know our wrongs. I beg Your Highness to save my father!”
“Your Highness, my father’s internal injuries are severe. You’re the only one who can save him! Your Highness, Mingxiang begs you, please!”
“Your Highness, my father’s going to die...sobsob, Your Highness…” As she sobbed, she pounded her head against the ground without stopping, as if slamming it harder would cause His Highness’s heart to soften.
Long Feiye’s face was akin to ice while rage burned in his eyes. He didn’t spare Baili Mingxiang a glance, but only stared coldly at Baili Yuanlong. Han Yunxi was in a good mood up to the moment Baili Mingxiang appeared. All of her rage from last night flared up once again! If this father and daughter had listened to His Highness’s orders last night, then everyone would be safe and sound now. Nobody would need to be hurt! She wasn’t clear on the circumstances in the den, so she didn’t dare to let Long Feiye come along. But the truth revealed that his martial arts skills would have been enough to keep him from any danger. Instead, it was Baili Yuanlong and his daughter who were a pair of idiots!
Baili Yuanlong was a prominent example. This man suspected her of a plot and refused to leave. How could she not realize that herself? Go ahead, suspect her all he like. But under such dangerous circumstances, he still remained so stubborn!
“Your Highness, please save my father on account of his years of service and hard work! Your Highness, I’m begging you!”
“Your Highness, I’m begging you on behalf of the entire Mermaid Clan! My father can’t die! Your Highness…” When Baili Mingxiang saw that Long Feiye didn’t speak, she quickly spun to face Han Yunxi. “Esteemed wangfei…”
As the familiar words left her lips, her tears poured down uncontrollably. Why couldn’t she change her old habits? “Esteemed wangfei” was a close and intimate form of address that soothed her heart, while “princess” was distant and strange, making her afraid.
Why were things like this? Hadn’t she seen that phoenix wing birthmark long ago, much earlier than father or anyone else in the world? Didn’t she know esteemed wangfei was the princess first?
“Princess, Mingxiang begs you! Mingxiang apologizes for my father in his place...I beg princess to save my father!”
“If princess wants Mingxiang to slave as a cow or horse, it’s all fine! I beg princess to rescue my father!”
Han Yunxi’s icy stare was no less inferior to Long Feiye’s. She hated people who overestimated their skills. Last night, Baili Mingxiang was the least qualified person to enter the snake den! She looked at the woman loftily from above without saying a word. She saw her disheveled clothes, messy hair, and red eyes that shimmered with tears; she saw the blood on her forehead from repeated kowtowing, mixed with black and green bruises. The more pitiful she looked, the angrier Han Yunxi felt!
Baili Mingxiang was perfectly fine, but now she’d reduced herself to a sorry, pitiful mess. Where was the dignified, magnanimous Baili Mingxiang who always had a sense of propriety?
Faced with the princess’s cold glare, Baili Mingxiang’s heart lurched as her tears poured down like a waterfall! She knew that if Han Yunxi didn’t speak up, no one else would be able to coax His Highness. She had already begged and asked with everything she could, so she simply looked at her now with a pleading tone. Instead of calling her princess, she only repeated “esteemed wangfei” as if the name could take them to the past, where there was no antagonism or long-standing enmity.
“Esteemed wangfei...esteemed wangfei...this servant begs you, please…”
Despite this, Han Yunxi remained unmoved. Right now, she didn’t want to say a word. Long Feiye didn’t linger long, but simply turned to leave with her in his arms without leaving the shadow guards further instructions. Baili Mingxiang panicked and simply crawled forward to latch onto his leg. But as soon as she touched him, he kicked her aside.
Baili Mingxiang toppled to one side and finally fell apart. She burst into tears and wailed, “Father...father….”
Han Yunxi only gave a long sigh. She didn’t want to see this anymore, but for some reason, she still looked back. Only then did she see Baili Mingxiang sprawled on the ground. Both of her sleeves had been chewed through by snakes, whose bites littered her arms. All of them left deep fang marks--signs of the White-Lipped Kraits. The marks on her right arm were more scattered, but her left arm and wrist were densely littered with bites. It was a shocking sight!
How many snakes had attacked Baili Mingxiang as she flew up last night? Only now did Han Yunxi recall that the snake queen had left the poison storage space with at least 300 more poison snakes in tow. How many snakes must have crawled over her arms to leave so many bites behind?
What girl didn’t fear snakes? Han Yunxi was afraid of them as well--she’d released the snake queen last night in the first place out of sheer disgust. Now her gaze trailed downwards to see that Baili Mingxiang’s body and legs were covered in more snakebites. She didn’t show any signs of poisoning--most likely, the poison guards had fed her plenty of antidotes last night. It had to be admitted that Han Yunxi couldn’t begin to imagine how such a weak and delicate woman had fought her way out of the snakes to find the reinforcements aboveground.
Baili Mingxiang had no idea that Han Yunxi was examining her. She didn’t dare to beg for any more help, but she didn’t know what else she could do now besides cry. Long Feiye walked away step by step until her figure grew distant and hazy to Han Yunxi’s eyes.
By the time they reached the tent, Han Yunxi sat down and handed a bottle of medicine to Xu Donglin first. In a low voice, she murmured, “Find a female doctor nearby and have her take a look at Baili Mingxiang.”
Although Baili Mingxiang had taken plenty of antidotes, she still needed to treat all those snakebites. It would be troublesome if they got infected.
“Princess, exactly what happened last night? Why did His Highness ignore General Baili?” Xu Donglin murmured back.
Han Yunxi explained the situation in brief, which left Xu Donglin white-faced. “Then doesn’t that mean General Baili…”
Han Yunxi didn’t answer beyond waving a hand to dismiss him. Long Feiye was sitting beside her, so he naturally heard all she said. He didn’t speak either, but found some gauze to carefully wrap around the tiger’s mouth bite mark on his left hand. It was only to avoid infection, so he didn’t apply any medicinal balm. Han Yunxi was about to speak while he stopped her and called for Zhao mama to wash her up and change clothes. He went to tidy himself up as well--it was uncomfortable wearing clothes that stank of fresh blood.
Once they were both cleaned up, Zhao mama delivered their meal. In the meantime, Long Feiye had already written two letters--one to Medical City, the other to Medicine City to ask for medicine. Although this wasn’t a major injury, he would rather Han Yunxi recover the very next day. He didn’t want to see her hurt a bit!
Zhao mama had a belly full of words upon seeing Han Yunxi’s injuries, but she could only shut up in the presence of His Highness. As for Baili Mingxiang and Baili Yuanlong, Long Feiye didn’t mention a word. Han Yunxi hesitated, but decided not to ask.
“What was the other clue you had to find Bai Yanqing that you mentioned last night?” she was more concerned with that instead. Since they’d gotten nothing from the dancer spies, Long Feiye had said he’d take her out of the army camp yesterday.
“Su Xiaoyu,” Long Feiye intoned.
“You have news about Little Yu’er!” Han Yunxi exclaimed. Little Yu’er had been missed for far too long. The second day of her return to Long Feiye’s side, she’d asked Xu Donglin about the girl, but he had only shaken his head.
“I’ve always had,” Long Feiye replied.
“What does that mean?” Han Yunxi grew alarmed. “You...did you hide something else from me?”
Long Feiye set down his chopsticks and grew serious. “It’s bad news. You should prepare yourself.”
“Where’s Little Yu’er? What’s happened to her?” Han Yunxi panicked.
Long Feiye looked at her a little helplessly. He liked everything about her except this point: she was too merciful to the people by her side. It was all to easy for Han Yunxi to grow softhearted, but that would only become her weakness--perhaps even fatally.
“Say something, ah!” Han Yunxi cried anxiously.
Long Feiye knitted his brows unhappily until Han Yunxi finally said, “Talk, I’ve prepared myself.”
“Su Xiaoyu was only a spy. What are you so anxious about?” Long Feiye asked with displeasure. He was seventy percent serious and thirty percent...jealous.
Han Yunxi didn’t answer, so Long Feiye continued to grumble. “You’ll fall because of your mercy someday.”
Han Yunxi didn’t want to retort, but couldn’t help but speak when she saw his creased brows. “Long Feiye, Little Yu’er is only a child. Even the naughtiest child still hold an angel in their hearts. We can give them a chance to change themselves for the better, so why don’t we?”
“What about Baili Mingxiang?” Long Feiye shot back. Although that was all he said, both of them understood it implicitly. Actually, Han Yunxi wasn’t merciful at all. She only trusted people she bonded with, or rather--people who needed friends.
She changed the topic and pressed, “Just what’s happened to Little Yu’er?”
“She’s still alive,” Long Feiye didn’t let her worry for long.
“Then what kind of mental preparations are you telling me to make? What’s going on?” Han Yunxi didn’t understand.
Only then did Long Feiye tell her how Lady Helian had been a Northern Li spy. Han Yunxi’s heart hurt at the revelation! She never thought the spy by her side was Lady Helian!
She had treated both mother and son so well!
“Helian Zuixiang entered the Han Estate ages ago. Bai Yanqing must have long known about your identity, so it’s very possible that he’s your father,” Long Feiye remarked. He knew that Han Yunxi wasn’t a real daughter of the Han Clan, so bringing this to light eased a weight off his shoulders.
Han Yunxi remained momentarily stunned before she said, “You guys are using Little Yi’er as a hostage?”
“Yes, Han Yunyi’s already in Noble Consort Xiao’s hands,” Long Feiye replied.
“You guys won’t hurt him, will you? He’s only a child, he couldn’t know anything about the spying,” Han Yunxi recalled how Little Yi’er had looked so innocent while following about Gu Beiyue to learn medicine. She was certain he hadn’t been faking it.
“That depends on how Helian Zuixiang cooperates with Noble Consort Xiao,” Long Feiye’s words implied that refusal would lead to a bad end for Little Yi’er.
Han Yunxi grew furious as she slapped the table. “Long Feiye, I have no objections if you kill Helian Zuixiang, but you can’t touch a hair on Little Yi’er’s head! It’s dishonorable doing this to a child!”
Long Feiye gave her a cold look, silent to the point of being terrifying, but Han Yunxi refused to yield an inch.
“It’s just dishonorable, that’s what it is!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter