Chapter 245: The final hope appears
A bright moon hung in the late night sky as if covering the entire Medical City in a layer of lunar gauze. Everything and everyone was sunk in slumber. All of Medical City was shaped like the the Eight Trigrams with the medical academy as its center. Behind it was Medical City's tallest mountain, Lotus Mountain. This mountain range had five peaks that combined to resemble a lotus flower. Each peak was extremely steep. There was only one path that led to the top, chiseled into the cliff face like a hanging ladder to Heaven. The stone steps were so narrow that only one person could pass through the path at a time.
When the Medical Sect and Poison Sects had coexisted, the area in front of the medical academy belonged to the Medical Sect, while its back belonged to the Poison Sect. This Lotus Mountain was completely owned by the Poison Sect. Now all of the medical academy belonged to the Medical Sect, but nobody dared to enter Lotus Mountain. It was considered forbidden territory by the medical academy, while the older generation privately called it the Poison Sect's forbidden territory amongst themselves. The rumors said, Lotus Mountain emanated poisonous fumes year round that killed both birds and beasts and even the plants. It was a dead place.
The rumors said, Lotus Mountain was filled with the ghosts of unjustly killed Poison Sect members, whose wailing cries rose one after the other every night.
The rumors said, the poisons warehouse left behind by the Poison Sect was in the center of Lotus Mountain. After all these years, the growth of the plants had continued unchecked, covering the entire mountain range in poisons.
The rumors were both true and false, but one thing Long Feiye could ascertain was that the poison beast Gu Shu was trapped in the Sky Pit in the center of the five peaks. Entering the Sky Pit in the middle of the night, the Poison Sect's Sky Pit at that, was a completely crazy thing to do. Tang Li tried to coax him otherwise the entire way there, but Long Feiye remained indifferent. Currently, the two of them had already avoided the majority of medical academy guards to stand by the edge of the Sky Pit located at the center of the five peaks. The so-called mountain path mentioned before only led up to this point. Tonight, Long Feiye was not only going to barge into the Sky Pit, but take away the poison beast as well!
Finally, the muttering Tang Li sobered up and said, "Long Feiye, does it have to be tonight?"
He was planning to wait a few more days and follow the medical academy's people inside. After they drugged the poison beast, he could make his move. But Long Feiye simply nodded and retrieved a pair of silver thread gloves from his sleeves, tossing one of them to Tang Li. He caught it and turned dumbstruck at the sight. "You're serious!"
This pair of gloves was a treasure that could ward off hundreds of poisons. As long as one wore them, one could touch all sorts of poisons without coming to harm. Tang Li had hung out with Long Feiye since his youth, but this was his first time seeing such items. Long Feiye's birth mother had left him two things, one of which were these silver thread gloves. The other would be the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion currently in Han Yunxi's possession. Long Feiye would never use these gloves lightly unless a life and death situation was involved.
"As Medicine City's Wang Gong understands it, the topography down there is complex like a maze. There are hundreds of poisonous traps, so don't be too careless," Long Feiye said mildly.
Tang Li straight out shook his head. "Long Feiye, there's still time to get Han Yunxi and bring her over now. Aren't you just recklessly wasting resources by not using that woman?"
Long Feiye didn't answer, but put on his own glove before remarking, "She doesn't know martial arts...it'll be troublesome."
Tang Li peered into the Sky Pit and heaved a helpless sigh. "It is dangerous for someone who doesn't know martial arts to go in there."
"Let's go!" Long Feiye didn't continue the topic, but leaped in, his dark figure vanishing like a specter into the blackness. Tang Li immediately withdrew his thoughts to follow. Though he was dressed in snowy white robes, it wasn't long before the darkness of the Sky Pit swallowed him up as well...
Not long after they disappeared, a clear and melodious laugh rang out from the side like the sound of small bells. Two figures appeared from the dense, surrounding forests and flew towards the pit. They were a man and a woman and none other than Gu Qishao and Medicine City's Mu Clan's genius pharmacist, Mu Linger. Gu Qishao's shoulder wound was inscrutable, but his red robes were as luxurious as before. He resembled a night-blooming spider lily. Mu Linger's smile was spritely and strange as well, her large eyes seemingly shimmering like all the pools of water in the world as they glimmered with intelligence, making for an unforgettable sight. This time, the Mu Clan's medicine was going to take center stage for the collaborative between Medicine City and Medical City to drug the poison beast. The Wang and Xie Clans were playing supporting roles, while Mu Linger was both in charge of delivering her medicine to the medical academy's head elder and assisting various Medical Adepts with the concoction of the drug.
This was the first task she'd ever accepted on behalf of her family. Right now, she should be delivering the medicine to the head elder's hands, but she'd actually snuck out to meet with her beloved Gu Qishao. She was a willful sort who was long tired of her clan's restrictions. The position of clan head held no temptation for her whatsoever but was seen as a burden instead. Being together with Qi gege1 made up the happiest moments of her life.
"Qi gege, what are you stealing the poison beast for?" Even now, Mu Linger had no idea what Gu Qishao's motives were. Many people in the world coveted this particular poison beast, but none of them knew how hard it was to control it. Those who weren't careful could be attacked in turn and die a miserable death. Gu Qishao stared at the terrifyingly dark Sky Pit for a long time without speaking.
"Qi gege, I'm asking you a questions!" Mu Linger pushed him.
Only then did Gu Qishao recover with a grin. "I'm going to kill it and make it into a stew. You can have a taste."
"Just one taste? Stingy!" Mu Linger pouted, her sweet self both cute and dainty. Unfortunately, Gu Qishao was too preoccupied to care. He took out a map from his sleeve and used the moonlight to study its contents intently. Mu Linger's eyes widened as she adopted a crafty smile and teased, "I heard your sweetheart's in Medical City as well. How much are you planning to give her?"
Last time at the inn, Qi gege's gaze on Han Yunxi had been markedly different. He even said he had someone in his heart, so Mu Linger couldn't help but suspect until today. She really wished that he was just joking with her. She didn't expect him to answer her questions, but Gu Qishao immediately turned around and grinned devilishly. "I'll give her as much as she wants."
Mu Linger's good mood plummeted at that, her dissatisfaction written all over her face. It was a pity that Gu Qishao didn't pay it much mind. He only kept studying the map while mumbling to himself. Mu Linger felt stifled and stomped her foot a few times, but when Gu Qishao kept ignoring her, she felt on the verge of tears. Even so, she didn't throw a tantrum and soon scooted closer of her own accord. Anyways, even if she threw a tantrum, Qi gege would never comfort her. She'd end up awkward and embarrassed with no one to help her off the stage instead.
But Mu Linger was surprised as soon as she saw the map in Gu Qishao's hands. "How did you get this thing?"
"Stole it," Gu Qishao admitted openly.
As far as Mu Linger knew, the Sky Pit was filled with hundreds of poisonous traps. They weren't set there by the medical academy, but existed from before. A single moment of negligence could kill you before you even realized what had happened. However, the medical academy head elder possessed a map of the Sky Pit. If they followed the path on this map, they could safety walk to the secret cell at the very bottom of the pit.
"Seriously? How did you manage to steal it?" Mu Linger scooted even closer. Sadly, she'd never seen the original map either, so she couldn't tell whether this was real or fake.
"Is there anything your Qi gege can't do in this world?" Gu Qishao asked cheerfully.
"Nothing!" Mu Linger smiled as well. Actually, she didn't understand this Qi gege of hers very well, but as she saw it, how many things were there to understand about a single person? It was better to be happy together.
Gu Qishao seemed to be in an excellent mood as he reached over and grabbed Mu Linger's shoulder. "Let's go. After we capture the poison beast, I'll give you an extra spoonful of soup to drink." With Gu Qishao's expression and their arms around each other's shoulders, they looked like a brother and sister pair. Mu Linger tasted a moment of sweetness and mused, if Qi gege was willing to take her roaming the jianghu, carefree and unfettered, she'd be willing to follow him even if it meant abandoning everything from the Mu Clan and ruining her good name!
Very soon, Gu Qishao and Mu Linger's figures disappeared into the Sky Pit as well. The so-called peaceful looking Sky Pit was already filled with crises from four ends, but turbulent times were stirring at the medical academy as well. Han Yunxi had searched an entire afternoon for Gu Beiyue without seeing a sign of him. Some people said he'd gone out, but nobody knew where to. When night fell, she searched for him again, but there was still no sign of him anywhere. By the time she returned to her room, it was to see Luo Zuishan pacing back and forth in front of her door as if he had urgent business.
"Director Luo, what's happened?" Han Yunxi asked doubtfully.
When Luo Zuishan saw Han Yunxi, it was as if he'd seen his lifesaver. "Qin Wangfei, you've finally come back. Something terrible's happened!"
"What's wrong with Gu Beiyue?" Han Yunxi was terrified. She'd asked Luo Zuishan about the man that man.
"Qi'er's in trouble, big trouble!" Luo Zuishan was so anxious that his face was completely white.
"Gu Qishao?" Han Yunxi grew even more puzzled.
"He...he! Aye! You..." Luo Zuishan worked himself into a fit, but didn't know how to continue. The medical academy head elder's Sky Pit map had gone missing. All of the upper echelons in the academy were holding an emergency meeting. Though news of the loss had yet to spread, Luo Zuishan's connections still caught wind of the information. Nobody else knew why the map had disappeared, but Luo Zuishan could figure out that Gu Qishao had stolen it even if he had toes for brains. He was 100 percent certain that Gu Qishao was in the Sky Pit this very moment.
If Gu Qishao wasn't in Medical City, then it was possible that someone else had stolen the map. But since he was here, then the culprit could be no one else but him. He just knew that damned brat didn't have any good designs coming here in the first place. He never expected his target to be the poison beast.
Even Han Yunxi had turned agitated from Luo Zuishan's incoherent mumbling. "Exactly what's happened?"
"Gu Qishao stole the head elder's map and went to the Poison Sect's forbidden area's Sky Pit to steal the poison beast!" Luo Zuishan could only be blunt.
Before he met Han Yunxi, there was no other person in the world who could persuade Gu Qishao in anything. He figured that only Han Yunxi was capable of stopping Gu Qishao now. He had to be halted before he got his hands on the poison beast. That damned brat was filled with a loathing grudge against the medical academy. It was fine when he didn't come back, but his return led to such a world-shaking act. Moreover, even if he had the map, it was still an extremely dangerous task to pilfer the poison beast. Without assistance from the three great clans of Medicine City, even the head elder and the rest had trouble subduing the beast.
That damned brat was throwing his life away!
"Sky Pit, poison beast?" Han Yunxi was clueless about any of this. But by the time Luo Zuishn finished his explanation, Han Yunxi finally understood the meaning of Gu Qishao's joke that day. He told her to wait for him until tomorrow night, which was the deadline for the bet between her and Third Elder. He knew that she hadn't cured Long Tianmo's Bone Poison yet, so he went to steal the poison beast since its blood could cure hundreds of different poisons.
"That wretched man, he didn't even bring me along!" Han Yunxi might have been angry, but she felt warm in her heart. How could she not remember or notice all the good Gu Qishao had done for her?
"Let's go, take me to the Sky Pit!" Han Yunxi said.
"Quick, hurry, maybe we'll be able to stop him," Lou Zuishan held onto the last traces of hope, wishing that they'd make it in time before Gu Qishao jumped into the Sky Pit. If he really had, then everything was over. It was already a great taboo to secretly infiltrated the Poison Sect's forbidden area, much less its Sky Pit. He himself had never dared to descend to its depths, nor did he have the ability.
"We'll go!" a will to win glimmered in Han Yunxi's eyes. The blood of the poison beast was Long Tianmo's only hope, and the final hope for her and Gu Beiyue. She was determined to claim it!
1. gege () - literally 'older brother,' also used as an affectionate address to refer to slightly older males that the speaker knows well, even if there is no familial relation.