Chapter 286: Tianxin, Mu Xin
Han Yunxi followed Third Elder into his quarters but couldn't help but wonder what Long Feiye was doing now. Had he seen the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion she left on the table? Would he be furious if he knew she'd left without saying goodbye? Because her heart was preoccupied, she didn't notice Gu Qishao hiding in a corner, his eyes narrowed with interest as he stared at her.
When Third Elder heard that she had things to ask him in private, he had all his servants withdraw and led her to a guest hall. There, he invited Han Yunxi to sit down.
"Esteemed wangfei, please have the seat of honor." Third Elder personally brewed some tea, devoid of any airs as he spoke in a familiar tone. This wasn't just because of Han Yunxi's admirable acupuncture skills, but her magnanimous refusal to win their previous bet. Han Yunxi was a little unused to this gentle, moderate Third Elder. If they hadn't started out as enemies, she would've treated him very politely. Now, she hastened to take the tea things from his hands.
"Let junior do this instead. Third Elder can simply call me Yunxi."
"This..." Third Elder hesitated.
"We're not in Tianning. There's not so many rites of etiquette here; moreover, I am a junior," Han Yunxi smiled.
Third Elder nodded, feeling thoroughly delighted. Han Yunxi couldn't help but sigh with emotion in her heart. Although Third Elder couldn't represent the entirety of Cloud Realm Medical Academy, he wasn't anyone ordinary. This was probably one of the first important figures she had befriended on Cloud Realm Continent.
"Esteemed wangfei, feel free to ask if you have any concerns. This old man is tight-lipped!" Third Elder said sincerely. Naturally, anything she had to ask him privately needed to be kept secret. His words encouraged Han Yunxi to get straight to the point.
"I want to know how my father Han Congan became a director back in his day."
Third Elder never expected this of all questions to show up. He stroked his beard and asked, "What do you want to know?"
Since she'd chosen to ask questions, Han Yunxi didn't hide a thing and said, "Judging from my father's skills, it would have been difficult to for him to qualify as a director."
Third Elder immediately understand the meaning behind her words. Directors were suggested by name via the Council of Elders, who then voted to pass a candidate. But unless they were figures like Luo Zuishan or Xi Yubo, who were already Primogenitor Doctors, the Council of Elders rarely remembered them. Last year, Han Congan's director qualifications had been revoked, so Third Elder still recalled his name. He began to mutter to himself, "Han Congan...Han Congan..."
Han Yunxi waited until she couldn't resist asking, "Has elder ever heard of my mother, Lady Tianxin?" Lady Tianxin had a famous reputation in Tianning's capital city, but things might be different in the medical academy or across Cloud Realm Continent.
"Lady Tianxin?" Third Elder thought it over before shaking his head. "I haven't heard of her." Or perhaps, he did but he forgot. After all, Lady Tianxin made a name for herself in Tianning over a decade ago. Han Yunxi remembered that Lady Lianxin had mentioned Han Congan and Lady Tianxin on her first day in the medical academy. Even then, Lady Lianxin had only heard of Lady Tianxin's namesake as well. Back then, she'd assumed that Lady Lianxin was just trying to make things difficult for her. But judging from Third Elder's reaction, Lady Lianxin was telling the truth-she didn't know much about Han Yunxi's mother, either. Yet if Third Elder didn't know Lady Tianxin, how had she helped Han Congan gain the position of director? Did she have connections with other Elders instead?
Han Yunxi was puzzled. "She was the one who help mediate between my father and the medical academy to get him a director position."
Third Elder looked hesitant and tried his best to think back. Unfair things like this had happened multiple times before, so Han Congan wasn't the only exception. He could only be certain that he wasn't involved with Han Congan's appointment. But a while later, he came to a realization and said significantly, "That year, when Han Congan became a director, it wasn't the Council of Elders that suggested the names..."
"What happened?" Han Yunxi asked urgently.
"Two Elders passed away that year, so the director selections were personally appointed by the Vice-Council instead," Third Elder said seriously. Within the medical academy, the Vice Council and its department heads were one level above the Council of Elders. There were four department heads in total. Han Yunxi's heart grew startled at these words. Someone had obviously been pulling strings to allow Han Congan to become a director. She wouldn't be able to get any answers even if she asked the four department heads directly about the events back then, much less Third Elder. The fact that such favoritism existed meant that there was a tacit understanding between all parties involved. They would never reveal themselves, so if Third Elder went to ask around, he'd only be offending the department heads instead.
For now, Han Yunxi could only verify that Lady Tianxin didn't involve the Council of Elders in her methods. However, she might have had connections with the Vice-Council instead. Han Yunxi had been rejoicing over the fact that she had connections with a medical academy Elder, but she never expected her mother was even more formidable. In the medical academy, the Vice-Council was a group that only answered to one authority-the head elder-and reigned over all the rest.
When Third Elder saw Han Yunxi's disappointment, he hesitated before speaking in a low tone, "Yunxi, things like silver can't move those at the level of the Vice-Council."
To put it another way, the Vice-Council had no shortage of money. They wouldn't be easily bribed by silver to do favors. In other words, Lady Tianxin must have had an excellent relationship with the person who helped her. Han Yunxi nodded. She understood the powerful implications behind such a relationship.
"How's this? Right now, everyone in the upper levels is busy with various matters. When enough time passes, this old man will introduce you to one of them," Third Elder was still eager to help. Although he couldn't question anyone personally, Han Yunxi could sound them out instead. Anyone who had a good relationship with her mother should at least leave her some face, right?
Han Yunxi rejoiced. "Many thanks to this Elder!"
Third Elder simply waved his hand. "No need to be polite."
Although she didn't gain much results from this meeting, at least she hadn't come in vain. Now Han Yunxi had prospects to a positive outcome. Otherwise, she wouldn't have any idea how to track down Lady Tianxin's origins. Not only did her mother have no friends in Tianning, she even used a pseudonym in place of her real name. After bidding Third Elder farewell, Han Yunxi picked up her bundle and left. She used a side door of the medical academy after telling Third Elder not to expose her whereabouts. Once she left the main gates of the academy behind her, she realized she had to do some serious thinking. Where to go now?
But she hadn't even decided where to stay overnight when Gu Qishao's teasing laugh sounded by her side. "Poison lass, where are you planning to go by yourself?"
Han Yunxi turned to see Gu Qishao lying lazily on top of the wall, his hand propping up his head. His smile exposed his dimples, while his red robes gave him a bewitching air that set off the beauty of his face. To other people, he might have looked sinister and devilish, but Han Yunxi only saw him as a rascal. She was too lazy to acknowledge him and started moving in his opposite direction.
"Poison lass, you sent your birth father to jail, then went to ask about things related to your birth mother. Isn't that all too interesting?" Gu Qishao asked with a grin. Naturally, he'd overhead everything between Third Elder and Han Yunxi. The conversation had truly caught him off-guard, because he didn't realize that Han Yunxi had no idea about Lady Tianxin's origins.
Han Yunxi stopped and said coldly, "You were eavesdropping!"
"Mm!" Gu Qishao was so frank that it made people want to slap him.
Han Yunxi only smiled coldly. Instead of arguing with him, she turned to leave. Gu Qishao was very surprised. He'd acted like he needed a spanking on purpose just to provoke her. Why did she just smile coldly instead? When he saw Han Yunxi getting farther and farther away, Gu Qishao hastened to chase after her. "Poison lass, you're in a bad mood?"
Han Yunxi didn't answer, so Gu Qishao asked again, "Did Long Feiye bully you? Why did he go to the poison grounds?"
Han Yunxi didn't even look at him. Gu Qishao suddenly reached out a hand to grab her, his face serious as he said angrily, "How did Long Feiye bully you?"
"It's obviously you that's bullying others, all right?! Do you even know the definition of 'private affairs?'" Han Yunxi asked angrily.
"The fault's all mine!" Gu Qishao admitted openly. He was happy as long as she paid him attention, even if it was to curse him to his face. That was the type of person he was. Once he saw someone he fancied, he'd like them without end and spoil them to the skies. In any case, Han Yunxi had cursed him countless times already. All she needed to do was hit him next. Even if there came a day that Han Yunxi really slapped him, it was uncertain whether he'd truly get angry.
Gu Qishao was already smiling and admitting his wrongs, leaving Han Yunxi feeling rather helpless against him. It looked like the best solution for people like him was to ignore them altogether. She took a deep breath and prepared to leave when Gu Qishao smiled and said, "Poison lass, have you ever heard of Mu Xin1?"
Han Yunxi shook her head. She wasn't sure why he'd suddenly asked her about this woman.
Gu Qishao wrapped his arm around her shoulders and laughed. "Come, I'll take you to Medicine City to meet her!"
Han Yunxi immediately pushed him aside. "Not interested."
But Gu Qishao simply pulled her into his arms again. Han Yunxi was about to shove him once more when he whispered into her ear, "Mu Xin is Lady Tianxin. In other words, that's your mother's maiden name. She's from the Mu Clan in Medicine City."
Han Yunxi was stunned and looked at him in disbelief.
Gu Qishao adored the fact that Han Yunxi only had him in her eyes at this moment. He'd started out speaking as a joke, but he couldn't resist tightening his hold on her now. "Poison lass, just come with me!"
But Han Yunxi simply shoved him away even harder than before. He almost fell over from the unexpected force. "You hoodlum!" she cried, "Get fresh with me again and I won't be polite! Am I going to believe you just because you tossed out a random name? Do you think I'm an idiot?"
This man had even suspected Han Congan of being from the Tang Clan when he first saw her assassination weapons. How could he have found out Lady Tianxin's real identity so soon?
Gu Qishao wasn't impatient with her at all. He grinned and said, "How about this? Go back and ask Third Elder if Lady Lianxin's supported by Department Head Lin from the Vice-Council. Then ask him if Lady Lianxin has a older sister that went missing a long time ago."
Han Yunxi grew somber at these words. She remembered Gu Beiyue mentioning that Lady Lianxin from the Council of Elders hailed from the Mu family in Medicine City. She wasn't young, but she was still only a fifth-rank Divine Doctor. Despite this, she was able to claim a spot in the Council. This wasn't only due to the backing of her Mu Clan in Medicine City. Someone higher up in the medical academy had to have supported her. If Lady Lianxin had support in Department Head Lin, then it'd be possible for her to earn a position as a director or an Elder. And if Lady Tianxin hadn't died, her age would be just around Lady Lianxin's own.
In other words, it was very possible that Lady Tianxin didn't have high connections to the medical academy's upper echelons, but her younger sister Lady Lianxin. Han Yunxi stared at Gu Qishao and his brilliant smile, but still found everything inconceivable. "If we go with what you say, then why did Lady Lianxin oppose me at every turn?"
Lady Lianxin had been the harshest critic while she and Third Elder were going through Long Tianmo's consultation.
"That would be something between her and her sister. Besides, no one bothered to protect Han Congan when he lost his director position, either," Gu Qishao countered.
"How did you know?" Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Qishao didn't answer, but he did stop smiling to say cooly, "Let's go. I'll tell you when we get to Medicine City."
Without a doubt, Han Yunxi would go!
1. Mu Xin () - Mu is a surname, while Xin means "heart."