Han Yunxi’s eyelids slowly fluttered open with confusion. She was still a little groggy. Unlike last time, she hadn’t ended up in the poison storage space after losing consciousness, but only felt unending exhaustion. Her mind was all astir, but she managed to sense Lil Thing’s existence in the midst of it all and realized it was much stronger than before. She didn’t know why, but sensed that her own cultivation status had improved by quite a bit.
“Yunxi…” There was a familiar voice very, very close by. Han Yunxi recovered her senses and saw the face already pressing close to her own. This was a visage she knew well, someone she could imagine even with her eyes closed.
“Yunxi, you...say something to me, will you?” Long Feiye asked carefully. He was afraid that if he spoke any louder, Han Yunxi would fall back asleep. After all, he was already at his breaking point!
Han Yunxi had no idea how long she’d been unconscious. She stilled her nerves and brushed the traces of hair on Long Feiye’s chin. “You…”
Before she could finish, Long Feiye grabbed her hands and pressed them against his face. He peered at her deeply without a word before burying his head soundlessly against her chest. For some reason, Han Yunxi almost felt like he was trembling. She realized then that she must have been unconscious for a long, long time. There were many things that she could try hard and do her best to control, but not everything. Right now, she still didn’t understand how to fully control the poison storage space, or whether she’d suffer cultivation deviation one day and never wake up, or whether she’d stay here or leave one day. She had no idea how she’d transmigrated into Cloud Realm Continent, or if she’d stay forever. Although she’d vowed to Long Feiye she wouldn’t leave, that was only her fooling herself.
“Long Feiye...I made you worry again,” she sighed, her voice soft yet helpless.
Long Feiye raised his head to look at her. Although he wanted to tell her many things, he only ended up holding her tighter with another sigh. “You scared me again, what to do?”
Han Yunxi was already aching at his unshaved chin, bloodshot eyes, and sallow, exhausted form, but hearing his listless sigh made her feel like a vise had clenched her heart tight enough to stop her breathing. It was an indescribable form of agony.
“It’s okay...it’s okay…”
“Ye...I’m already awake, I’m fine.”
Han Yunxi repeated those words as she held on tight, as if that was enough to possess him, as if that was enough to make them inseparable. Neither one wanted to let go, wishing that they could remain like this for the rest of their lives.
Gu Beiyue had long rushed into the room at the first signs of movement, but now he stood next to the folding screen, watching the pair in silence. He was very calm, his clear eyes filled with gentleness. His tenderness for Han Yunxi was an aching, pitiful sort of compassion, because he loved her; his tenderness for Long Feiye was an empathetic sort of compassion, because he understood him. He seemed like an outsider, but no one knew he could sink himself in his roles, in his love. The only difference was that he never lost himself.
Whenever he acted or loved, it was with full awareness. He knew all too well his own position and responsibilities. After waiting for awhile, he glanced at the color of the sky outside and broke Han Yunxi and Long Feiye’s reverie.
“Your Highness, since the princess is awake, please have this subordinate take her pulse,” he said.
Long Feiye came to his senses and reluctantly released Han Yunxi. He made way for Gu Beiyue and asked, “Just what happened to you? Was it the poison storage space? You’ve never been unconscious for so long!”
“How many days has it been?” Han Yunxi asked.
“We’ve already been at Great Central Garrison Post for three days,” Long Feiye answered. Combined with their days on the road, and Han Yunxi quickly calculated a number that frightened even herself. She immediately recalled the details of the Hundred Poisons Sect face-off.
“What time is it now? Is it the deadline? Has Bai Yanqing come?” she asked anxiously while unconsciously pushing her hand aside, making it impossible for Gu Beiyue to take her pulse.
Long Feiye didn’t care about that at all. Instead of answering Han Yunxi, he stepped forward, grabbed her hand, and pressed it on the pillow so Gu Beiyue could examine her. In truth, Gu Beiyue could already tell that Han Yunxi was fine upon examining her complexion in proximity. Still, he smiled helplessly and went to take her pulse again.
Han Yunxi couldn’t calm down and asked impatiently, “Just what day is it? Gu Beiyue, you speak! Have I…”
She looked at Long Feiye in fear. “Has everything been ruined because of me? Did Bai Yanqing show up?”
Neither Long Feiye nor Gu Beiyue answered her. Long Feiye had his hands against her shoulders so she couldn’t move about, while Gu Beiyue remained looking down as he resolutely took her pulse.
“I’m fine! I sensed Lil Thing!”
“I’m really okay! This time was different from the rest, it was like Lil Thing was cultivating. I felt it cultivating! Maybe...maybe that affected me!”
After he was certain her pulse was fine, Gu Beiyue spoke--but it was to Long Feiye, not Han Yunxi. “Your Highness, the princess’s pulse is normal. Her body suffered no harm.”
That was all he could determine for certain. When it came to the poison storage space, he had no idea.
Long Feiye’s heart finally settled back into his chest before he asked, “What’s wrong with Lil Thing? Why can you sense it? Where is it?”
This was probably the first time he’d cared so much about Lil Thing!
Han Yunxi wasn’t clear on all the rules of the poison storage space. Without a master, she had either figured things out by herself or by reading the secret cultivation manual for the place. As a cultivator of its second level, she could sense some of the rules of the poison storage space, but not all. They were only regulations related to cultivation.
“It was only a feeling. I don’t know what was going on either. Lil Thing has recovered a lot of its former strength. I...I think I improved as well. It’s just...it was very exhausting,” Han Yunxi replied honestly.
“Could it be that the princess and Lil Thing’s cultivation states are connected?” Gu Beiyue exclaimed in shock.
Han Yunxi had the same suspicion as she nodded her head.
“What else did you sense? Is Lil Thing stuck in Bai Yanqing’s poison storage space? Can it not escape?” Long Feiye asked.
Han Yunxi shook her head. “I’m not sure. I can’t sense it anymore.”
Gu Beiyue was curious as well, but he didn’t probe. Instead, he reminded them, “Your Highness, princess, there’s less than two hours left before the deadline with Bai Yanqing today. If you rush over now, you might make it in time.”
“It’s today?!” Han Yunxi cried.
“Exactly,” Gu Beiyue nodded.
Without a word, Han Yunxi climbed out of bed, but Long Feiye grabbed her hand. She assumed he was going to stop her and grew anxious. “Long Feiye, you should know how important this is!”
Before Long Feiye could explain, Han Yunxi added, “It’s very, very, very important! No matter how big the sacrifice, we have to do it!” She’d long steeled her resolve, so how could she give up now?
Long Feiye had no idea she was so determined, but seeing her reaction, he assumed she was worrying for East and West Qin’s sake. It was rare for them to get both sides to cooperate and to fight shoulder-by-shoulder in public. With so many people watching the events at Hundred Poisons Sect, everyone was waiting for them to be a joke and not show up. He was frightened by Han Yunxi’s words. He hadn’t wanted to acknowledge any of this and preferred to hold her tight and sleep instead. Even if they didn’t show up today, he still had ways to deal with Hundred Poisons Sect. But in the end, he yielded to her.
“Someone come, prepare the horses!”
As Long Feiye and Han Yunxi hurriedly set out, Xu Donglin came to deliver the latest news.
“Your Highness, Bai Yanqing’s there!” He also told them how the man had took the stage and made a speech. How could he so blatant even without Gu Beiyue as a hostage? Did he have other motives in mind, or had his poison storage space already upgraded beyond Han Yunxi’s own? Even so, what of it? Han Yunxi was never planning to fight with him using poisons! Her space was purely centered on defense, so it was Long Feiye who’d be doing the actual fighting. Bai Yanqing should know this as well--he was smart enough! So he had to have other plans in mind!
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye discussed it over as they climbed onto the horse. Gu Beiyue chased after them and cried, “Princess, Your Highness, you must take care. There must be danger afoot if Bai Yanqing’s taking the high ground! He’s targeting the enmity between East and West Qin!”
Long Feiye nodded. “Wait for our good news!”
“Don’t worry, it’ll definitely be good news, I promise!” Han Yunxi sounded even more confident than her husband. Long Feiye held her with one hand while holding the whip with his other. Husband and wife thus galloped off towards Hundred Poisons Sect. Although their horse was fast, they had delayed too long.
Very soon, Long Feiye said, “We won’t make it, it’s almost time.”
Even if they rushed, they couldn’t make it to Hundred Poisons Sect on time. Heaven knows what would happen if they were late? Han Yunxi thought it over before she suddenly grabbed Long Feiye’s hand around the whip. “Turn right, we’ll climb the back of the mountain. It’s easier there! We’ll make it if we kill our way from behind!”
“Good idea!” Long Feiye quickly changed directions and whipped their horse onwards. Like a streak of wind, the pair quickly vanished into the hills.
As the deadline drew closer, the crowd grew more and more silent. Although many were murmuring that Han Yunxi and Long Feiye wouldn’t show up, no one dared to believe it before the time was up. After all, this wasn’t just a challenge to Hundred Posions Sect, but the first time East and West Qin was working together in centuries to deal with the origins of their mutual hatred. Just what excuse could have kept Long Feiye and Han Yunxi behind?
There was now less than fifteen minutes left. Everyone was growing restless, especially Bai Yanqing. The hands behind his back had formed into fists. He too, was feeling nervous. Very soon, a Hundred Poisons Sect disciple brought an hourglass onstage and turned it upside down. Once the sand run out, time would be up!
Bai Yanqing stared at the grains of sands as he silently counted to himself. Five...four...three…
By the time he reached “two,” another disciple suddenly ran out of the Hundred Poisons Sect gates to report in a low tone, “Master, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi are attacked Hundred Poisons Sect from behind the mountain!”
Bai Yanqing’s dull eyes suddenly brightened. “No need to tell the crowd,” he murmured back.
But the disciple hadn’t even withdrawn before someone shouted from the crowd, “The East Qin crown prince and West Qin princess are attacking from behind the mountain!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Not gonna lie but I'm gonna be mad if the congratulatory picture doesn't post. (If it doesn't click the link above to see it okay?)
So here we are folks! 950 done and 420 left to go! As promised, the 12 bonus chapters won by readers in our last PGC quiz are going live too (in two minute batches), so sit back, settle down, and have a long and rewarding reading session. I think I picked a pretty good place to dump them, wouldn't you say?
Lots of action in the chapters ahead, wooooohoooo! P.S. Make sure to check out the announcement post about PGC's Christmas gift to readers! The poll is done and the results are in with an overwhelming majority!