Chapter 291: Mute Granny's tears
Late at night, the hazy moonlight shone over all of Medicine City in absolute silence. Gu Qishao brought along Han Yunxi as they headed for the Mu estate. Han Yunxi already had a deep impression of the Mu Clan from her first visit to this city, but she'd never seen their estates before. She couldn't help but try to puzzle out a problem. Why had the Mu Clan and Jun Yixie teamed up to plant all sorts of poisonous plants in the Medicine Forest's poison pond? What were their motives?
The Mu Clan's current strength in Medicine City, combined with talented younger generation, meant that they had no need to ask a tiger for its skin in Jun Yixie-have an evil work act against his own interest to help them. Moreover, Medical City and Medicine City were like one family. Medical City's support for the three great clans of Medicine City had a strong influence on their standing. If Medical City knew that the Mu Clan was in cahoots with the Hundred Poison Sect, it'd only bring extra trouble to the clan.
"Hey, do you know that the Mu Clan and Jun Yixie are working together?" Han Yunxi asked in a low voice.
But Gu Qishao only made a simple noise of assent.
So he knew.
"You're pretty familiar with the Mu Clan, right?" Han Yunxi asked next. She remembered how he'd tricked her and Long Feiye to find the Herbal Tea Tree in Medicine City by telling them it was with the Mu family, when it was actually with the Xie Clan.
Gu Qishao chuckled. "Not familiar. All I know is Mu Linger."
Han Yunxi had a small moment of understanding at these words. This devious man was actually swindling that guileless girl, Mu Linger! If Gu Qishao wasn't using Mu Linger, how would he have found out so many secrets about the Mu family? Even though that girl still owed her, Han Yunxi still looked down on Gu Qishao for bullying a young girl's heart this way. She didn't ask any more questions, but simply gave him a disapproving look.
Unexpectedly, Gu Qishao didn't care at all. Instead, he turned serious and said, "I'll avenge you as soon as I find that lass! We can whip her or tear her to pieces, whatever you like."
Han Yunxi simply chuckled and didn't say a word. As she saw it, she didn't have use any form of revenge against Mu Linger. All she had to do was toss her Gu Qishao's words just then, and she'd probably cry for the rest of her life. How pitiful!
Very soon, Gu Qishao brought Han Yunxi through the back courtyards of the Mu Clan. They avoided multiple guards before entering a pitch-black forest. He was so familiar with the paths that Han Yunxi couldn't help but ask, "How many times have you come here?"
"Mu Linger's brought me over loads of times. If she hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't even know the Mu Clan's back courtyards hid a place like this," Gu Qishao replied honestly.
The forest was so dark that they couldn't even see their own hands in front of their faces, but a whole other world emerged on the other side. There was a sizable lake, upon which rested a bamboo house above the water. No lights came from the house, and it was impossible to see by moonlight whether anyone was inside. Together, Gu Qishao and Han Yunxi landed on its flat roof.
"This was Mu Xin's residence. Inside are things she owned before she died," Gu Qishao explained. At this, Han Yunxi lifted her torch and prepared to walk inside. But she suddenly sensed a poison approaching her from behind! She was about to turn around when the sound of a hand drum sounded as well. Hearing such a noise in the dark made Han Yunxi's hairs stand on end. When she looked back, she had a fright. Somehow, a short old lady had appeared to stand behind her, her expression severe. Her eyes shone with a keen light, made even sharper in the darkness, while her hand held a small hand drum that she kept on rattling. Han Yunxi could sense the old woman's antagonism at once, but Gu Qishao said, "She's a deaf-mute. She can't hear or speak."
Han Yunxi was slightly startled. Then she realized the old woman's gaze was incisive precisely because she could only use her eyes to make up for her deaf ears. She started up her detox system for a careful scan, only to see that the old granny had been poisoned with some sort of unknown toxin. This situation only meant that treating her poison would be a difficult task.
Han Yunxi asked in a low voice, "She's..."
"She's been guarding this place for years. Mu Linger said that this granny's been around since she was a child. She doesn't know who she is, either," Gu Qishao said frankly.
In the beginning, this mute granny had been antagonistic towards him as well. But after coming here so many times with Mu Linger, Mute Granny was used to him by now. She was illiterate and didn't know hand language, making it impossible for her to communicate with anyone. Mu Linger had discovered this place when she was seven years old and had even gotten beaten by the old woman. Later, the girl had slowly grown closer to the woman after secretly bringing her food to eat everyday. Sadly, Mu Linger still had no way to communicate with the old woman after all those years.
"This is the person you wanted me to meet?" Han Yunxi asked, not understanding. Gu Qishao was about to explain when Mute Granny suddenly pointed a finger at Han Yunxi while furiously rattling her drum. She was obviously asking who Han Yunxi was. Gu Qishao grinned and pointed at Han Yunxi's medical pouch. Only then did Mute Granny notice the pouch and gave a violent reaction. She was so moved that she threw aside her hand drum and rushed at Han Yunxi.
Frightened, Han Yunxi unconsciously backed away, but Mute Granny was quick. As soon as she caught up to Han Yunxi, she grabbed her medical pouch and started to tug it off.
"What are you doing?!" Han Yunxi clutched her pouch tightly, but Mute Granny's struggles were strong enough to snatch it her way. Han Yunxi was about to grab it back when she realized that Mute Granny wasn't digging through her things. Instead, she was cradling the medical pouch while softly stroking the embroidered Xin () on its surface. Very quickly, her old face filled with tears.
Seeing this, Han Yunxi stood in place, neither moving nor retreating. She couldn't bear to see the elderly cry! Han Yunxi glanced at Gu Qishao, who shrugged his shoulders helplessly. In this situation, the only thing they could do was wait. A long time later, Mute Granny finally wiped away her tears and looked up at Han Yunxi. However, her eyes this time were full of love and affection. Faced with such a gaze, Han Yunxi could only gave a start, feeling a little overwhelmed. She was defenseless before such a look, so much that even her voice grew soft. "Granny, this item belongs to me. You recognize it?"
After she asked her question, Han Yunxi remembered that Mute Granny couldn't hear her.
"Can I take a look inside?" Han Yunxi gestured towards the house. Mute Granny seemed to have understood. She quickly entered the rooms to light the lamps, Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao following behind. They saw that the inside was neat and tidy without a speck of dust. But besides a few large pieces of furniture, there were no personal articles in sight.
"Everything that Mu Xin left behind is in the inner rooms. Go in and have a look," Gu Qishao said, before Mute Granny actually took out a bag of things from the inner rooms to give Han Yunxi. When Han Yunxi opened the bundle, she found a few handkerchiefs, personal purses and other small things. But each and every one of them was embroidered with the same Xin () as the one on her medical pouch.
Mute Granny busied herself with taking out everything from the inner rooms, before comparing each embroidered character with the one on Han Yunxi's medical pouch. She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but she couldn't make a single sound. Han Yunxi only felt bewildered by the sight. Typically speaking, deaf-mutism in people made them mute because they couldn't hear. In other words, the deafness in the ears made it impossible for the person to listen and learn how to speak. It didn't mean they couldn't make noises at all. Mute Granny couldn't say a single thing, which made her situation abnormal. When Han Yunxi recalled the poison she'd sensed on Mute Granny's body, she blurted, "Someone poisoned her to make her mute!"
Gu Qishao stuck up a finger. "Smart!"
"What's this all about?" Han Yunxi asked.
"She wasn't just poisoned mute, but deaf as well. I haven't been able to figure out the poison, though. If you can cure her, maybe she'll tell you everything about Mu Xin." This was the real reason that Gu Qishao had brought Han Yunxi here.
If even Gu Qishao couldn't determine the type of poison, it was no wonder that her detox system was uncertain as well. Things had gotten troublesome. Gu Qishao was right. The best way to find out everything about Mu Xin, who this Mute Granny was, and why she was guarding Mu Xin's things here, was to cure her and then ask her. Mute Granny looked between Gu Qishao and Han Yunxi. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but she seemed a little anxious. She stuffed a big bundle of Mu Xin's things into Han Yunxi's arms before signaling that they should leave.
Han Yunxi did want to leave, because it wasn't safe here. She carefully tidied up the things and reached out a hand to Mute Granny, indicating that they should leave together. But Mute Granny not only refused, but retreated to the inner rooms instead. Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao followed, only to see a painting as soon as they entered the room. The woman in the painting was dressed like a doctor, and she carried a medical pouch that was identical to Han Yunxi's own. She was a very young woman, with delicate and pretty features. Though she couldn't be considered a beauty, she had a brilliantly sweet smile that evoked a sense of sincerity and compassion.
Perhaps it was the blood flowing in her veins to blame; perhaps the smile itself had infected her. In any case, Han Yunxi felt that the entire world had turned more beautiful upon looking at that smiling face. She noticed the inscription in a corner of the drawing. This woman was none other than Mu Xin, but the inscription simply read, 'It's not enough to simply know your name.'
Could her father have written these words?
"Granny, we should bring along the painting as well, is that it?" Han Yunxi said as she went to take the drawing, but Mute Granny stopped her with a shake of her head. Han Yunxi only understood that Mute Granny didn't want her to take it, but not anything else.
"Granny, I'll take you along and help treat your poison," Han Yunxi said as she gestured with her hands. Unfortunately, even if she could express herself somewhat with sign language, Mute Granny wouldn't understand her. She even tried to force Mute Granny to leave, but she simply hugged a house pillar and refused to go. Finally, Han Yunxi took Mute Granny aside to sit down as she started up the detox system. Since Mute Granny wouldn't leave, she could do a thorough examination first. Maybe she could even treat her poison here.
While Han Yunxi was hiding in the Mu estate, Long Feiye had already arrived with shocking speed to the Wang Clan's Medical Materials Association. Wang Shuchen originally wanted Chu Qingge to stay in a guest room, estimating that it'd take Long Feiye at least a day to show up if he came from Medical City. But Long Feiye had come before the the night was even over.
Currently, Lil Thing was still eating its fill in the cupboard of medicinal ingredients. Wang Shuchen and Wang Ruochen didn't take Long Feiye to see Chu Qingge right away, but led him to the little squirrel first.
"Your Highness, this pet of yours is certainly interesting. It doesn't look very big, but it has an amazing appetite."
Long Feiye had gotten all the details long before he rushed over here. He'd never liked little animals, much less kept pets. The only thing he knew was that he'd given his gold card to Han Yunxi. Without even bothering to shed his dust-covered cloak, he hurried into the Association, his handsome face seemingly frozen beneath a layer of solid ice...