Chapter 124: Going back, an unfortunate turn of events
After Han Yunxi's six pills took effect, Long Feiye channeled three currents of true qi into her body. Each time, Han Yunxi felt renewed and refreshed, as if packed with energy. Unfortunately, she was still too tired in the end, so the feeling didn't last.
Three bursts of true qi later, her pulse wasn't so weak anymore, though her body was still exhausted. She nestled in the crook of Long Feiye's arm, too lazy to even move her eyelids. Long Feiye didn't move either, but used one arm to support all her weight. Their surroundings turned quiet as the fire leapt and danced before them. The wind beneath the big tree wasn't very strong, but they could hear screaming gales in the distance.
It looked like they'd have to spend the night here.
A long time passed before Long Feiye's brows smoothed out. He looked at Han Yunxi leaning by his side, a complicated look flitting through his eyes as he lost himself in thought. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi had given herself wholly to Long Feiye after treating the poison. Her eyelashes dipped downwards as her eyes slowly closed.
Both of them seemed to have forgotten about the issue with Gu Qishao. Neither of them had brought it up since the afternoon. As the night drew on, Long Feiye returned from his own little world to see Han Yunxi sleeping peacefully. Unconsciously, he moved his hand, intending to brush some hair away from her face. But the moment his fingers touched her, they stiffened. Some time passed before he decided to stop and withdraw his hand.
He didn't like this feeling of losing control.
Once he removed his hand, he released Han Yunxi and had her lean against the tree trunk to sleep. He was sleepy as well, but he wasn't used to sleeping with a woman! Right before he climbed the tree, he stopped again, remembering something. When he went to inspect Han Yunxi's foot bandages, he saw signs of dried blood.
Long Feiye knitted his brows for the nth time that night. He grabbed the liniment that he'd dumped out of her medical pouch and carefully changed Han Yunxi's bandages. After that was done, it was already late night. Han Yunxi was wrapped in a cloak, sleeping sweetly and soundly. Long Feiye smiled softly at the sight. He couldn't fathom why this woman had no sense of self-preservation. Wasn't she worried that he'd abandon her here in the middle of nowhere?
He wasn't interested in such an unperceptive woman!
Early next morning, when Han Yunxi awoke and discovered herself leaning against the tree trunk, the fire before her had already gone out. She was wrapped in Long Feiye's cloak, but there was no sign of the man himself.
Where was he?
Her brain was still a little befuddled. After vomiting out those six pills the first time last night, she'd spent the rest of the time half in a daze. The only thing she remembered was Long Feiye channeling true qi into her three times. As to how she ate the medicine and fell asleep, she'd forgotten it all. Han Yunxi experimentally stretched out her arms before discovering that someone had bandaged her wound. They'd done a pretty good job. In truth, she couldn't remember much of anything that happened before taking the medicine.
Her body had just about recovered, so those three bursts of true qi must have been quite useful. They just took a while to show effect. She exercised her joints as she stood up to look around, not noticing the fact that her injured foot had already completely healed. It didn't hurt no matter how she stepped on it.
Long Feiye had his hands behind his head as he reclined on a tree branch. How could he sleep calmly with this woman beneath him in the middle of nowhere? He didn't sleep all night, but only shut his eyes briefly when day broke before he was woken up by the noise. He cast a cold glance down but didn't say a word. After warming herself up and verifying that everything was all right, Han Yunxi's first reaction was to look up into the tree. She immediately spotted Long Feiye staring at her.
How did this woman know he was here?
Long Feiye was surprised as he met her gaze with a cool question. "Awake now?"
Han Yunxi nodded. She was certain this guy wouldn't leave her behind in the wilderness, so if he wasn't atop the tree, he had to be somewhere else nearby. "Last night...thanks." Though she'd almost been tormented to death, this guy had still saved her in the end.
Long Feiye didn't pay any attention to her thank you as he gracefully descended to the ground. "To the capital."
It was about time to go back. Though they hadn't found the enemy spies' headquarters this time, they did dig up a container of tea leaves from the Celestial Fragrance Teashop. Long Feiye was still looking forward to the results of the investigation. His words reminded Han Yunxi, who reacted with shock as she grabbed Long Feiye.
"What day is it today?"
How could she have forgotten about the bet? She didn't even know for how long she'd been unconscious in the cave, much less how many days she'd been kidnapped. When she went with Mu Qingwu to Celestial Fragrance Teashop, there were still 12 days left in her bet with Mu Liuyue. She wasn't sure how many days had passed since then, but she wouldn't have lost the bet by missing the deadline, right?
Long Feiye creased his brows to stare at Han Yunxi's hands, voice stern. "Let go!"
Han Yunxi immediately released him. She didn't like to drag and pull at this guy either, but she was just too nervous and moved her hands first.
"Today is the 14th," Long Feiye replied anyways. Hearing that, Han Yunxi released a relieved breath. Good, good, she was almost scared to death. The last day of her bet with Mu Liuyue was the 19th. If today was the 14th, she still had 6 inclusive days.
Yesterday, Long Feiye had sped like mad through the forests. With his speed, they should reach the capital within one or two days. While Han Yunxi calculated the time, Long Feiye grew impatient.
"Are you going or not?"
"Going!" Han Yunxi replied immediately.
Long Feiye gave her an annoyed glance before grabbing her waist and, like yesterday, sped through the mountain. Han Yunxi felt his grip around her waist was quite forceful. She couldn't understand why the same guy who ordered her to let go with such a tone of loathing would hold her so tightly now.
What kind of eccentric mysophobia did he have?
She dimly recalled that he didn't seem so ferocious last night, either.
What an opaque and unpredictable Giant Ice Cube!
She stole a peek at him and saw Long Feiye's cold profile. Han Yunxi couldn't resist chewing on her lip. Should she still bring up the matter of Gu Qishao? He hadn't argued with on her the matter since yesterday, so what did he mean? Would he insist on punishing the Celestial Fragrance Teashop, or yield to her opinion? If he did punish them, he should say a few harsh lines to her first. After all, she really did threaten him beforehand.
If he went with her opinion, all right, Han Yunxi rejected the idea as soon as it came up. She'd rather believe that the sun rose from the west than trust in this guy to follow her whims because of her threats. Even though...he'd submitted to her twice, the situation was different this time around.
Where did he stand on the issue?
Why did he silently take her away when she threatened him?
No matter what stance he took against Celestial Fragrance Teashop, just the fact that she threatened him with Emperor Tianhui before all those witnesses was enough to land her into more trouble than she bargained for.
This fellow had no excuse not to settle accounts with her.
Actually, Han Yunxi had just gotten angry yesterday because he used her as bait. She was intelligent enough to see that Gu Qishao hadn't really rescued her out of goodwill, but wanted to use her as bait as well to lure out the master behind the scenes. Otherwise, Gu Qishao could've rescued her long ago in those caves.
Now that she'd stopped being mad, Han Yunxi couldn't help but feel scared
and regretful over her wild threats from yesterday. She tangled with her thoughts before stealing another peek at Long Feiye. After seeing the icy aura emanating from his cool profile, she lowered her head in the end. If he didn't bring things up, could she assume it'd passed already?
As for Celestial Fragrance Teashop, Gu Qishao would have to rely on his own luck.
Long Feiye was indeed very fast. Two days later, they arrived at Tianning's capital in the afternoon, riding a carriage through the western city gates. Long Feiye took a brief rest with his eyes closed, while Han Yunxi lazily curled up, musing over how she'd eat a hot meal and take a warm bath to get rid of the stench of poison when she got back. Then she'd take care of other matters. Unexpectedly, the carriage stopped before ever reaching the Duke of Qin's front doors.
"What's the matter?" Long Feiye immediately opened his eyes.
The driver opened the door curtains, looking slightly nervous. "Your Highness, something seems to have happened up ahead. There's a crowd of people running forward."
"Take a detour from the back," Long Feiye hated when things were lively, and closed his eyes when he finished. Even with an iron-forged body, he could still feel tired. The driver hastily changed routes and headed towards the Duke of Qin's estate's back gates. Han Yunxi lifted the curtains for a look, only to see a crowd of peasants rushing forward to see what the fuss was about. It was only a haphazard glance, but she didn't take it to heart. After stealing another peek at Long Feiye, she continued to curl up lazily.
But after they reached the back gates, she realized the big fuss came from the Duke of Qin's residence! Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had barely stepped in the door when Steward Xia came over.
"Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, you're finally back! Something's happened! Something big!" Steward Xia spoke as if he'd been burned, he was that anxious. It was enough to set Han Yunxi's heart pounding.
"What is it? Speak clearly," Long Feiye was very calm, unaffected by his mood.
Steward Xia looked at Han Yunxi with a difficult expression before speaking. "The Han Family's Xu concubine Lady Xu came to the doors asking to meet esteemed wangfei. Your servant said that esteemed wangfei wasn't home and for her to come another day. But who knew that she'd started kicking up a row before our front gates? Saying something about how she had to see esteemed wangfei today, how this wasn't in the agreement, how even esteemed wangfei was..." Steward Xia hadn't finished before Han Yunxi gave a yelp and ran out the doors.
She knew what was going on!
Dammit! After being kidnapped, she'd been too physically and emotionally exhausted to remember her appointment with Lady Xu and the rest for ten days later! When she went to the Han estate last time, none of them had believed that Han Congan left the storehouse key to her for safekeeping until she chose the heir. They'd forced her as a group to take out the key, so she told them that they could see Han Congan in ten days.
Actually, it was a simple matter to meet him, but she'd wanted Lady Xu and the rest to wait a while longer. Who knew that she'd be kidnapped in the meantime?
Today was the 16th, one day after the appointed meeting. She'd missed it completely!
But ignoring the fierce Lady Xu, even her father, the high official of the Board of Civil Offices, didn't dare stir a fuss before the Duke of Qin's doors. Some eminent figure must be supporting her in the background, or else she wouldn't be so rampant.
Han Yunxi had no time to consider the backer. She had to see Lady Xu right away, or else the fuss would turn into the talk of the town again. Yet Han Yunxi had just left the courtyard for the front gates when she saw Murong Wanru and Grand Concubine Yi come in from the other end. Grand Concubine Yi's face, well maintained as it was, hung longer than a horse's face...