Chapter 287: Wrath, reward offers all over
When night fell, Han Yunxi left without hesitation with Gu Qishao, who silently led them along an extremely out of the way path. Halfway through their journey, Han Yunxi discovered that something wasn't right.
"This is the way to Medicine City?" she said doubtfully. Still, she didn't think that Gu Qishao had swindled her. If he really wanted to do that, he could've done it long before with far less effort and planning.
"This is a path used to transport medicines and other ingredients from Medicine City to Medical City. It's a secret shortcut, so we won't run into any bandits," Gu Qishao explained honestly. The very nature of this road meant that only people from Medical or Medicine City knew of its existence.
Long Feiye had heard of this road too, but he was too frantic to remember it now. When he didn't find Han Yunxi at the medical academy, he assumed that she'd gone back to the inn. But after he returned, he saw the guard collapsed on the ground and the Perplexing Butterfly on the table. The sight nearly made him lose all self-control. He deployed all of his available men to search the four main gates of Medical City. At the same time, he sent troops onto two separate paths. One team scoured through the city streets, while the other followed the four paths leading out of the four city gates. Long Feiye himself had personally combed through the entirety of Cloud Realm Medical Academy. He'd asked Gu Beiyue, Luo Zuishan, Third Elder and even Long Tianmo and Qinwang Rong, all without any results. Fortunately, Third Elder had seen his share of things during his long life. Otherwise, Long Feiye's icy, angry figure might have tempted him to tell the truth about Han Yunxi instead.
Currently, Long Feiye was standing on the tallest roof of Cloud Realm Medical Academy. He allowed the large gusts of wind to buffet his robes and long hair as he surveyed Medical City below him. It was approaching dusk, so the entire city was bathed in a golden glow. Still, the light didn't reach his pitch-black pupils. A frightfully vicious aura emanated from his entire being, making him seem like a demon descending upon the world with the approaching night. At intervals, various black-robed guards would come with reports, but none of them had brought any good news even when night finally fell.
The latest guard came to say, "Your Highness, the men have already traveled 50 li from each of the four city gates. There was no sign of esteemed wangfei. May..." Before he could finish, Long Feiye kicked out with his foot and sent the guard flying into the darkness.
"Useless thing!" he said coldly, seemingly bathed in angry flames.
Han Yunxi, you actually dared to leave! You even left without saying goodbye. Since that's the case, you better not let your lordship find you!
"Someone come, circulate your lordship's orders. Seal up the Han Family and prevent anyone from leaving or entering!" he ordered. That woman probably had no idea that he'd been protecting the Han Clan the entire time they were out of the capital. Otherwise, Emperor Tianhui would've made his move against them long ago, judging by his temper.
Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao had left Medical City behind them in under two hours. She had no idea that Long Feiye had ended up searching for her there for three days and three nights. When there was still no news on the fourth day, he actually had reward offers posted across all of Cloud Realm Continent. Anyone who could give him clues or find Han Yunxi would be awarded 10,000 taels of gold.
Tang Li really couldn't take this anymore. He said with a serious tone, "Big bro, you're basically telling the entire world that Qin Wangfei's gone missing."
"Your lordship wants her to know that she can't be anywhere else in this world, besides at your lordship's side," Long Feiye said coldly.
"You!" Tang Li had no idea how he could persuade him otherwise. "With a personality like hers? If you force a melon to ripen, it won't taste sweet at all!"
"She's the one who kicked the sedan chair door and walked into my gates. Your lordship never forced her!" Long Feiye's temper hadn't abated all this time; instead, it'd gotten worse.
Tang Li hesitated for a long while before he asked, "Could it be that man from the Shadow Clan who took her away?"
Long Feiye didn't reply, but gave Tang Li a penetrating look. Tang Li understood that the Shadow Clan had become a taboo topic. Unfortunately, Aunt Ru happened to be outside the door and heard these very words.
The Shadow Clan! She nearly spoke out loud in shock.
The Shadow Clan? Weren't they destroyed? How could they exist now? Does West Qin's imperial clan still have survivors?
What was the relationship between Han Yunxi and the Shadow Clan? What did Tang Li mean by his words just then? Aunt Ru was about to rush inside when she reconsidered and stopped. This was a huge piece of information, but Tang Li actually had the gall to keep it from her. What would those two say if she charged right in?
"Han Yunxi...Han Yunxi..." Aunt Ru's eyes turned ruthless as she stared at Long Feiye, who'd grown skinnier over the past four days. Then she turned and left. The very same day, she convened all of the forces that Long Feiye had borrowed from the Tang Clan. Using the authority of the Branch Family, she gave them a secret order: if Han Yunxi was found, kill her mercilessly!
Even Tang Li, as the young clan head, had no idea about these matters.
Aunt Ru didn't care who Han Yunxi was, nor anything about her relationship with the Shadow Clan. However, the Shadow Clan represented the imperial clan of West Qin. Anything that involved the West Qin imperial family had to be destroyed at the roots!
News of Han Yunxi's disappearance spread quickly, but Gu Qishao had chosen mountain roads for him and Han Yunxi. Before they reached Medicine City, the most they did was stay at small villages or hamlets, so the news had yet to reach them. Currently, the two of them were each riding a horse to travel on a country road.
"Mu Xin and Lianxin...they were sisters, but why were their fates so different?" Han Yunxi asked curiously. She wasn't sure whether Gu Qishao knew that Han Congan wasn't her real father, or why he'd investigated Lady Tianxin in the first place. For now, she chose to keep some facts to herself.
"It really is a big difference! One carried one with a man who already had a wife, while the other married into the Poison Sect," Gu Qishao grinned.
Han Yunxi was bewildered. "Married into the Poison Sect? What do you mean by that?"
Actually, Gu Qishao had been investigating Mu Xin for a long time. In his youth, he'd heard of a woman from the Mu Clan in Medicine City that had illicit relations with the remnants of the Poison Clan. From then on, he'd been looking into the rumors. The reason he'd gotten so close to Mu Linger was for the sake of Mu Xin. Many years later, he was sure that Mu Xin was the girl who had the affair. She had been the fourth daughter of the Mu Clan who'd been missing for years. If Gu Qishao hadn't seen the Xin () stitched onto Han Yunxi's medical pouch by chance, he'd never make the connection between Mu Xin and Lady Tianxin.
When Mu Xin was living with the Mu Family, she'd mark her things with a Xin () character as well. Following the clue of this symbol, he was able to verify that she'd married Han Congan before changing her name and surname to become Baili Tianxin, also known as Lady Tianxin. Gu Qishao told all of this to Han Yunxi, who was stunned. She couldn't help but quietly be amazed by the fact that her father hailed from the Poison Sect!
Is that why Lil Thing kept sticking to her side?
"Poison lass, say. Are you Han Congan's daughter, or..." Gu Qishao trailed off on purpose as he leaned in close, lowering his voice even further. "Or, are you a remnant of the Poison Sect, too?"
That was probably something only Lady Tianxin herself knew. If Lady Tianxin hadn't told Han Congan she was pregnant to begin with, Han Congan would have been clueless as well. Gu Qishao had obviously asked her because he didn't know. Han Yunxi's mouth twitched. This guy had told her everything, so should she spill...or not?
"Hey, why are you investigating Mu Xin? Do you have a grudge against those in the Poison Sect?" she asked back.
Gu Qishao suddenly laughed out loud. "Poison lass, take a guess."
Han Yunxi laughed as well. "Suppose I really do end up being a remnant of the Poison Sect? You won't kick me out, will you?" This was the first time Han Yunxi had heard of the Poison Sect's survivors. From what she understood, the Poison Sect differed from the medical academy. While the head of the medical academy was chosen via voting, the sect master of the Poison Sect was a hereditary position. Any remnants of the Poison Sect would refer to those carrying the sect master's bloodline. If her Lady Tianxin was really the daughter of the Mu Clan and her father the Poison Sect sect master, that meant she had no connections with the Shadow Clan!
Then that would mean that the white-robed man hadn't come because he wanted to protect her! The weight of such information was enormous. Han Yunxi's thoughts wandered as she processed it all, completely forgetting the joke she'd thrown at Gu Qishao. He, on the the other hand, was seriously considering her jest.
What would he do if she really wasn't a part of the Poison Sect?
Han Yunxi, since childhood, I've never believed in spirits or gods. But today I'm earnestly praying to Heaven that you're not one of them. I hope you have nothing to do with the Poison Sect!
I really hope you aren't a poisons woman!
Preoccupied with their thoughts, the two of them fell into a rare shared silence. Their two white horses trotted along shoulder to shoulder. One of them was dressed in bewitching white robes, while the other looked noble and regal in violet. As they traveled through the mountain woods, they resembled a tender couple who held no envy for others. But in reality, their hearts were filled with sober thoughts about the most critical details of their lives.
By the time Gu Qishao and Han Yunxi had left the forest, the Chu siblings emerged from one side. Although they were dressed neatly now, their bodies were riddled with marks from the aftermath of the poison grounds. The black butterflies in the second passageway hadn't been poisonous, but Chu Qingge had been too nervous and misdiagnosed their toxins. Then she'd used a whole mess of antidotes until it left the current mess of marks on their bodies. Duanmu Baiye had left to hunt for Duanmu Yao, so the two siblings had a rare chance to travel together.
"Big bro, lure that red-robed man away. I'm going to find Han Yunxi for my revenge!" Chu Qingge was still angry, even now. Neither of them had left Medical City. When they got the news that Long Feiye was searching all over for Han Yunxi, they finally set on their way and had the luck to catch her here of all places. Actually, Chu Tianyin had met with the heaviest injuries from protecting Chu Qingge. Still, he didn't harbor a single word of complaint, much less anger.
"Qingge, how about we pretend nothing ever happened? Let's not get involved, alright?" Chu Tianyin said simply.
"Nothing ever happened?" Chu Qingge couldn't believe it. "Big bro, don't tell me you've been mesmerized by that woman too! What else does she know besides poisons?"
Chu Tianyin furrowed his eyebrows but didn't reply. Chu Qingge grew even angrier. She took out her bow and prepared to give chase when Chu Tianyin grabbed her weapon to stop her. "Qingge, you mustn't get involved with anything related to Han Yunxi in the future. When you run into her, yield to her a bit, understand?"
"What for?" Chu Qingge finally sensed something off with her brother's words. Although he had a good temper, he wasn't someone easily bullied or taken advantaged of!
"These are father's orders. It's best if you don't ask any questions," Chu Tianyin said. A complicated look flickered past Chu Qingge's eyes. She was all too familiar with her big brother's words. When father wanted her to study poisons, he'd said the very same things.
These are father's orders. It's best if you don't ask any questions.