Chapter 121: Disappointment, so that's how it is Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
On Gu Qishao's side, the black-robed assassins fell one by one. Mu Qingwu and Guard Shangguan weren't stupid; they knew that they needed to capture a live prisoner. But the assassins had been thoroughly trained to kill themselves with poison once they saw no way out.
Long Feiye looked on from a distance. If this was the past, he'd be furious. Weren't these men useless if they couldn't even capture a live prisoner? Yet right now he was looking straight forward, preoccupied with other things. Not long after, he withdrew his gaze and turned back to Han Yunxi, only to see her fiddling with her medical pouch while crouched on the ground. Her deathly pale face was filled with concentration despite lacking any color.
It wasn't the first time that Long Feiye had seen her concentrate, but this time he couldn't shift his eyes away. This woman's beauty had surpassed his expectations, but her look of concentration even exceeded her own beauty. As he watched, Long Feiye unconsciously raised a hand to touch the corner of his lip where she'd touched him before.
Finally, Han Yunxi differentiated the three types of poisons and found the appropriate antidotes within her detox system for direct consumption. There was no need to use needles to expel the poison this time. She took three pills from her medical pouch, verifying each in person to make sure she hadn't made a mistake. Heaven knows how nervous she was, and how worried. If there was one, even just one, poison in Long Feiye's body that she didn't recognize and couldn't treat, like the case of the spider darts, then Long Feiye would be in danger. A good thing that these three poisons were all commonplace toxins for her. Poisons like the one from the spider darts should be a seldom-seen weapons-based toxin, probably.
As soon as she got the antidote, Han Yunxi sprang upright and held out her hand. "Long Feiye, here. Antidote!"
Only then did she raise her head to meet his deep, intense stare. Han Yunxi gave a start, only feeling that there was a tangible emotion piercing her from Long Feiye's eyes.
What was wrong with him?
Her hand, which had been in the middle of giving him the three pills, suddenly turned stiff. Long Feiye hadn't expected this woman to stand up so fast and swiftly averted his gaze, resuming his usual cold expression. He cast a glance at Han Yunxi's palm and said, "You're certain this is antidote."
Han Yunxi gave him a doubtful look, but hastened to say, "Absolutely, hurry and take them. You're already spitting up blood, so I'll have to resort to incision next if you don't use it."
Long Feiye nodded and swallowed the pills in one gulp. Only then did Han Yunxi relax to give a long exhale, patting her heart in the meantime. Long Feiye stared and asked, "What is it?"
"Fear in hindsight. If I couldn't treat your poison, it'd be disastrous," Han Yunxi grinned as she spoke easily.
But Long Feiye took her words to heart, his gaze growing deeper. "What are you afraid of? Scared that your lordship will die?"
Han Yunxi didn't think about all that. She was just anxious and grew frightened back then. She met his questioning gaze and abruptly felt ill-at-ease. This fellow was so strange today, not like his usual self. She pursed her lips before teasing, "You risked your life to save me, so of course I need to save you too."
But Long Feiye only coldly replied, "You're thinking too much. Your lordship trusted that you could treat the poison, that's all."
If he didn't know she had exceptional poison treating skills, why else would he charge through the poison powder to rescue her when he so cherished his own life? After all, poisons were his greatest weakness.
Risking his life to save her? This woman wasn't worth that much to him yet.
Of course, Han Yunxi knew that he'd saved her because of his certainty in her skills. Actually, she was already satisfied enough that he discovered the poison mosquito swarm and followed it to rescue her. As for risking his life, she wouldn't dare to make such an excessive demand.
Ignoring the slight sense of misery in her heart, Han Yunxi gave a soft smile. "Chenqie knows Your Highness believed in chenqie to treat the poisons. That's why I was worried that I wouldn't be able to cure you for your needless sacrifice."
Seeing Han Yunxi smile so brilliantly within her indifference, Long Feiye felt a sense of indignation that he couldn't express. He expected this prideful woman to rebut his words, but she actually belittled herself and turned humble.
"Why did you run off to the south mountains if there was nothing to do?" Long Feiye switched topics. If this woman hadn't gone to the southern mountains, the assassins wouldn't have had a chance to move and cause so much to happen.
"I heard that their Red South Peak wasn't too bad, so I wanted to try some," Han Yunxi was still smiling.
Long Feiye cast a glance down at her and spotted a whip injury on her arm. He didn't ask much, but said, "Did those assassins say anything? Leave behind any clues?"
"That masked man is the real master behind the scenes, they call him their lord. His direct subordinates are someone called Heisha and Qingyi, both females. They were extremely tight-lipped, so I couldn't get any info out of them. I just know that Qingyi should be the head of all the spies hidden within Tianning, while Sister Snake was her direct subordinate. Qingyi was the one who created the young general's Ten-Thousand Snake Poison," Han Yunxi said truthfully.
As she saw it, the greatest pity this time wasn't the masked man's escape, but the failure to capture Qingyi! She paused for a bit before adding, "I suspect...that Qingyi has hidden herself in the capital."
Long Feiye's gaze turned vigilant as he queried, "Do you have someone in mind?"
Although Han Yunxi was reluctant to say it, she still had to. This matter involved many different aspects; in addition, it was difficult to hide anything before Long Feiye.
After some hesitation, she opened her mouth to speak. "Qingyi is a middle-aged female, taciturn and prudent in nature. Combined with the clues we've gathered around the Ten-Thousand Snake Poison, I suspect she may be Han Family's Third Madame Li, Li Mingmei." After which, she hastened to add, "Of course, this is only speculation since we don't have evidence of the Ten-Thousand Snake Poison. At most, it's all conjecture."
Long Feiye's lips curled into a cold smile. "Sufficient evidence has already been found, and the results will come out very soon."
"What?" Han Yunxi was shocked. Did Long Feiye find something at the Han estate?
After Long Feiye explained to her how Bilü had stolen some tea leaves, she was even more surprised. Who knew things would turn out like this?! They'd found actual tea leaves when the clues from before were already pointing towards Madame Li and Han Ruoxue. Now there was real possibility that these leaves contained Ten-Thousand Snake Poison, which would crack the case.
It was simple to check for poisons within the leaves, enough that even an ordinary poisons master could detect it. They should know the results as soon as they returned. At this realization, Han Yunxi bit her lip anxiously. Her heart felt torn before the joy of solving the mystery and the heavy knowledge of its criminal. If the responsibility for the crime fell on the Han Family, how many innocent lives would be implicated beneath its weight?
Meanwhile, Mu Qingwu and the rest made their way over. As soon as they arrived, Mu Qingwu kneeled before Han Yunxi.
"Your official deserves death for not protecting esteemed wangfei and having her suffer!"
Seeing this, Guard Shangguan hastened to kneel as well. "It was this commoner's oversight. This commoner is guilty, please have esteemed wangfei mete punishment."
"Young General, Guard Shangguan, please rise. It happened too suddenly, neither of you should take the blame," Han Yunxi said mildly. She lacked the overbearing arrogance of the imperial house and their natural disposition to punish others. If there was any fault in the kidnapping, it was her own for being too weak.
Guard Shangguan was thrilled at her words and prepared to thank her, but Mu Qingwu still hadn't gotten up. Instead he said, "It was this official who brought esteemed wangfei along and had the duty to ensure her safety. Please have esteemed wangfei mete punishment."
Seeing this, Guard Shangguan had no choice but to remain kneeling with his head bowed. Han Yunxi understood Mu Qingwu's personality and bent down to help him up personally. "Young General, if I was really injured then the blame would fall on you. Since I'm all right now, you can gain merit from rescuing me to offset the blame."
Of course Mu Qingwu didn't dare to have Han Yunxi help him up and rose by himself. He paused before yielding to Han Yunxi's intentions. "Many thanks to esteemed wangfei!"
"Guard Shangguan, you get up too," Han Yunxi said.
Guard Shangguan had given his all just to make up for the calamity with his efforts. He quickly rose and smiled. "Heaven really helps the worthy like esteemed wangfei to get through without mishap. The two of us followed His Highness to chase down the mosquito swarm. We were originally planning to ferret out those den of thieves, a pity we just fell short!"
Han Yunxi's expression turned stiff at these words as she unconsciously shot Long Feiye a look. She had been puzzled why it took so many days for anyone to catch up, but now she knew the reason! Long Feiye discovered the mosquito swarm long ago, but chased after it without making a move. He was casting out a net to catch a bigger fish!
In other words, he treated her as bait? He tossed her out like a child to catch the wolves? What a fool she was to want to jump for joy at his arrival, when these were the facts! This bastard, did he know that if it wasn't for Gu Qishao, the masked man would've taken her away long ago? Her hairs stood on end when she recalled his words: 'You're the one I want!' She gave Long Feiye a resentful look.
Guard Shangguan was only telling the truth, but Long Feiye gave him a cold glare that left him at a loss. He only felt killing intent suddenly arise in his surroundings and quickly lowered his head, afraid to say a word. He didn't know where he had gone wrong.
"If that's the case, then it seems I've disappointed your lordship," Han Yunxi said mildly.
"Truly." Long Feiye really was disappointed that they hadn't penetrated the enemy defenses this time. He magnanimously accepted Han Yunxi's gaze as an inexplicable scent of gunpowder rose in the air. At this moment, someone's light laughter carried over.
"Your Highness Duke of Qin, though you didn't find their den, you still glimpsed their leader. Congratulations, this is all esteemed wangfei's contribution."
Gu Qishao strode over in his red robes, wearing a lavish smile and looking every inch a villain! Long Feiye had long noticed his presence and knew he'd rescued Han Yunxi. Coldly he asked, "And just who are you?"
Before Gu Qishao could speak, Guard Shangguan rushed forward to respectfully report. "Your Highness Duke of Qin, this would be the owner of our Celestial Fragrance Teashop, Gu Qishao."
The owner of the Celestial Fragrance Teashop?
Han Yunxi looked at Gu Qishao, startled as all of her questions were answered. So he was the owner. No wonder he'd save her even though they never met. This fellow had probably chased after her right as she was kidnapped.
"Gu Qishao greets Your Highness Duke of Qin," he bowed slightly, hands folded in front of his chest. Compared to Guard Shangguan's respectful deference, he was neither haughty nor humble.
Unexpectedly, Long Feiye's reply was frigid. "Celestial Fragrance Teashop concealed spies that resulted in esteemed wangfei's kidnapping. How should this be punished?!"
At these words, Guard Shangguan's face turned pale. He'd always been the one in charge of the Celestial Fragrance Teashop and what he feared the most was His Highness Duke of Qin meting punishment. Though the Celestial Fragrance Teashop may not have sheltered spies directly, Huo Yang was one of the teashop's people. He was a traitor!
 Li Mingmei () - the name that Third Madame Li goes by in the Han estate. Differs slightly from her actual name, Li Mingyue ().