Although he’d overheard Han Yunxi’s conversation with Zhao mama, Long Feiye didn’t mention a word of the Baili pair after entering the room. It was unclear what Han Yunxi thought of them, either, but a complicated look flickered past her eyes as she decided not to ask.
Since she couldn’t do much besides sit, he knelt down in front of her to inspect her legs. “How is it? Do they still hurt?”
“They don’t. You can knock on them!” Han Yunxi rapped her hands against the wooden planks attached to her legs. They really didn’t hurt. Despite this, Long Feiye couldn’t bear to tap them. He called for dinner before cleaning up his account books and washing his hands. Then he went to change clothes. Han Yunxi sat watching him do everything with a smile, unaware that her happiness was written all over her face. No matter what Long Feiye did, it was always pleasing to watch. Everyone always said that admiring handsome men was good for the mind and body. Han Yunxi felt that this logic made a lot of sense.
Once Long Feiye finished his tasks, he carried over some water to help Han Yunxi wash her own hands. Without a word, she watched him bend down and concentrate on the task at hand. She wished she could freeze this moment in a painting for all eternity. At this second, they were nothing but ordinary husband and wife, with no need to worry about national affairs. All they had to do was live their lives, wash their hands, and eat.
“How did I meet you of all people? Just how?”
Long Feiye looked at her without a word.
“How did we ever manage to meet?”
Long Feiye continued to wash her hands without a word, but Han Yunxi looked up with a tender tone. “Long Feiye, I was thinking…”
Long Feiye covered her eyes with his hand. “What nonsense are you thinking of now? Get ready to eat.”
“It’s not nonsense, I was just thinking--”
“Eat!” he cut her off. He was naturally cold and distant, so he’d never discuss tender matters of affection with Han Yunxi unless he was in the right mood. Now he avoided her gaze, seemingly feeling awkward.
Han Yunxi noticed his evasiveness and suddenly laughed. “Long Feiye, I was thinking that my hands aren’t crippled, so why are you washing them for me?”
Long Feiye looked back, clearly startled. This was the first time Han Yunxi had seen him wear a “silly” expression, which made her laugh out loud. He knitted his brows as he realized she’d been teasing him, so he splashed a handful of water at her face. Immediately, Han Yunxi dodged. Following that, Long Feiye splashed water on her body instead. Since Han Yunxi’s legs were broken, she couldn’t escape.
“Alright, alright!” she said as she looked at him. “It was just a joke!”
Without a word, the sober and serious Long Feiye splashed her with another dose of water, soaking Han Yunxi’s clothes. She didn’t dodge, but smoothed out her expression to giving him a provoking look. Both of them stared sternly at each other. Long Feiye’s eyes narrowed as his lips pursed into a dangerous line. Han Yunxi met him square on as she raised her chin with a scornful glare.
Long Feiye leaned forward until he had her trapped between his arms. His gaze was chilly enough to made other people faint from fright, but Han Yunxi remained glaring at him with a warning. Long Feiye ignored it and lowered his head as if to bite her. Yet Han Yunxi blocked him and pointed sternly at her legs. Then she waved her hand like a queen gesturing her subordinate to withdraw.
Finally, Long Feiye broke the silence with a snort. Han Yunxi joined in like a small woman intoxicated by her success. Yet soon enough, he leaned over her again, expression serious. Han Yunxi placed her hands against his firm chest with another warning. “You can’t bully the crippled!”
She was injured. No matter how much they fooled around, Long Feiye had to yield to her!
“We can...bully you in other ways,” Long Feiye muttered, his breath hot against her ear. Han Yunxi couldn’t help but shiver. His lips were already teasing her sensitive spots.
Heavens, he must have gone mad. She quickly pushed him aside. “You can’t!”
He lowered his voice even further. “Behave, don’t move.” She just had to sit there and let him wait on her.
Han Yunxi’s face reddened. How could she allow that! She couldn’t begin to imagine it. As Long Feiye prepared to take off her clothes, Xu Donglin called from the door.
“Your Highness, the young general requests a meeting!”
Both of them gave a start before Han Yunxi laughed. She was shaking like a spring branch full of flowers while Long Feiye’s eyes flickered unhappily. But he soon rose to his feet. After helping Han Yunxi change into clean, dry clothes, his expression had grown so overcast that it looked like one could squeeze water from his skin. Han Yunxi had trouble controlling her laughter then. She knew though, that he still had to meet with the young general no matter how displeased he felt. They were leaving tomorrow, but Long Feiye hadn’t dealt with Baili Yuanlong at all. It was obvious that he was waiting for someone to beg mercy on his behalf!
An entire day had passed, so it was time that someone showed up.
This young general was none other than Baili Yuanlong’s most illustrious boy, his third son Baili Yuqi. Back then, he had been the one to lead the navy into surrounding Fishery Island. His calm when facing the poison mist afterwards had remained fixed in Han Yunxi’s memory.
Baili Yuqi greeted Long Feiye with a bow as soon as he entered. “Your Highness, this soldier comes to ask for punishment in my father’s name! Father disobeyed military orders and deserves 10,000 deaths. This soldier asks to declare my father guilty, but begs Your Highness to spare his life!”
A beauty was before his eyes but he couldn’t eat her. Thus, Long Feiye only ignored the man as he continued to eat his dinner with a gloomy face. Seeing his silence, Baili Yuqi felt upset. “Your Highness, with war imminent, the army needs its general! My father already knows his wrongs, I ask that Your Highness spare him on behalf of his--”
Long Feiye deeply disliked the use of ‘spare him on behalf of’ and raised a hand to stop him. “Han Yunxi was the one to quell the snake den. This matter will depend on what she thinks.”
Baili Yuqi was astonished. His disbelief was written all over his face, along with the deepset resentment hidden in his pupils. Finally, he turned towards Han Yunxi. She too, was caught off guard. Originally, her plans were to eat dinner while watching the show, but Long Feiye had actually thrown the hot potato into her court. From a personal perspective, she had no desire to look at Baili Yuanlong and Baili Mingxiang anymore. As teammates, they behaved more like swine. But it was impossible to take a personal standpoint in this case, because the father and daughter pair had a unique status within the army.
When it came to their transgressions, both of them had committed the crime of defying military orders. As the sovereign, Long Feiye’s words in the army were law. In either case, both defying the sovereign and military orders would only lead to death.
When it came to their contributions, Baili Yuanlong had fought to the death to win her those fifteen minutes to save Long Feiye, while Baili Mingxiang had successfully called down reinforcements. One had to determine if they had more transgressions or contributions, or whether their contributions could offset their transgressions. But things like that could be determined with a word from Long Feiye himself, as their master. Since Long Feiye was asking her, she chose to consider the problem from his perspective.
Baili Yuanlong was the leader of the Mermaid Clan and East Qin’s Great General. In terms of military affairs, he was Long Feiye’s double-edged sword and East Qin’s most senior ranking official. If they killed Baili Yuanlong here and now, or stripped him of his rank, the consequences would be far-reaching. The soldiers’ hearts would be invariably affected and the Mermaid Clan would grow dissatisfied. Furthermore, they didn’t have a suitable candidate to immediately replace Baili Yuanlong at the East Qin camp. The young general before them now was still too young and inexperienced.
Removing Baili Yuanlong now would only give them temporary happiness and cause negative repercussions for the entire East Qin army. After all, the only reason he had defied military orders began from her, the “West Qin princess.” No military reasons were to blame, and Baili Yuanlong obeyed Long Feiye utterly on everything else. In truth, Baili Yuanlong’s suspicion of her princess roots were, in some ways, another expression of his duties. Although Han Yunxi was angry, she still admired these points. How could a man who lived his whole life for the sake of vengeance and battle easily forget his hatred? And trust an enemy?
Han Yunxi knew that they couldn’t afford to discard Baili Yuanlong. She had long see that Long Feiye wasn’t planning to either, because he would have ordered those shadow guards to stop channeling true qi into his body after they left the snake den instead of keeping quiet. He hadn’t killed the man, but neither did he stop the shadow guards’ rescue efforts!
If Baili Mingxiang was as bright as she used to be, she would have noticed those points, too. Han Yunxi had long made her stance clear on the girl: she could neither die nor be punished, which was why she had Xu Donglin find her a doctor. Baili Mingxiang’s position was even more unique than Baili Yuanlong’s because Long Feiye had exerted massive effort to make her into a lure. Bai Yanqing had already taken the bait, so how could they let her go now?
Han Yunxi long understood these times after they returned to camp. She was certain of Long Feiye’s stance on the matters as well. As she stayed silent, Baili Yuqi remained glaring at her while Long Feiye casually ate his dinner as if nobody else was around. She smiled bitterly: was Long Feiye so certain that she’d handle this well?
Although their stance on the issue was clear, it was a different matter altogether to put it into practice! Dismissing Baili Yuanlong and Baili Mingxiang’s crimes directly would invalidate Long Feiye’s dignity as their sovereign. With a personality like Baili Yuanlong’s, he’d just ask for a mile after getting an inch. If news spread that people could disobey military orders yet get off scot-free, that would be disastrous for the army.
But how were they to be punished? Too light, and it’d be as bad as no punishment at all; too heavy, and it’d be too much right now. While Han Yunxi puzzled this out, Baili Yuqi lost his patience and suddenly kowtowed soundly against the floor. “Your Highness, father defied military orders and deserves to be punished. This soldier is willing to take the punishment in his place. I ask Your Highness to please consider the bigger picture and spare father this once!”
Long Feiye smiled coldly. “Baili Yuqi, do you mean to say that my East Qin army will be completely useless without your father? That this crown prince can’t control the big picture myself?”
Although losing Baili Yuanlong would bring them heaps of trouble and delay his plans, it didn’t mean his world would fall into chaos with one less general!
Baili Yuqi grew alarmed as he denied the claims. “This soldier is stupid with his speech and spoke wrongly. May Your Highness mete punishment!”
Han Yunxi didn’t know whether to rage or laughter. Why didn’t Bail Yuqi ask her instead? What were Long Feiye’s exact words?
Han Yunxi was the one to quell the snake den. This matter will depend on what she thinks.
He had used “Han Yunxi,” not “the West Qin princess” or “her.” This meant that Long Feiye had already yielded a step and wanted to resolve this issue privately to avoid addressing Baili Yuanlong’s suspicion towards “the West Qin princess.” As long as they thanked her and admitted their wrongs, Long Feiye would open one eye and shut the other for the sake of the bigger picture, ah!
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Here's #3 of the 7 makeup chapters I owe readers for PGC! <3