When Han Yunxi had gone to the Mu estate with Gu Qishao that day, she never got the chance to ask him all her questions. Asking Mu Linger today was much more direct, since Gu Qishao had gotten all of his knowledge from her.
"I wanted to find Mu Xin, so Gu Qishao brought me to see Mute Granny," Han Yunxi admitted. That was all she would say, because she wasn't going to bring up Lady Tianxin.
"What do you need to find Mu Xin for?" Mu Linger's expression was guarded as she secretly grumbled. How could Qi gege spill the secrets of the Mu Clan to an outsider? He said that he wouldn't.
"Mu Xin is your aunt, right? Have you ever seen her before?" Han Yunxi asked.
"What do you need to find Mu Xin for?" Mu Linger had a strongly cautious nature. In the past, many people believed that the rumors of Mu Xin's liaisons with the Poison Sect was nothing more than hearsay. Because there was no evidence, the medical academy had never pursued the matter.
"Mute Granny's in my hands, so I ask that you behave and answer me properly," Han Yunxi threatened with a smile.
"You!" Mu Linger was shocked.
Han Yunxi took out a hand drum and waved it a few times in front of Mu Linger, who immediately believed her claims. "Han Yunxi, don't be too outrageous. She's only an innocent old woman, her fate is tragic enough!"
"That's why you should answer me quickly!" Han Yunxi was all smiles.
This drum had been placed together with Mu Xin's personal possessions; otherwise, she couldn't have tricked Mu Linger successfully.
"Mu Xin is my fourth aunt. I've never seen her before because she left the Mu Clan before I was even born. Her innate talent for medicine was excellent. Back then, the medical academy gave the Mu Clan a quota of people who could follow the vice-head of the academy, so she and my third aunt were the ones to go. Everyone thought she'd stay at Medical City, but she disappeared instead. From then on, there was no more news of her whatsoever. My third aunt stayed behind in the academy instead." Mu Linger was still sensible and spoke a whole heap of words.
"Your third aunt is Lady Lianxin?" Han Yunxi asked urgently.
Mu Linger nodded. "Exactly. I heard her skills aren't even equal to half of fourth aunt's." Her disdain towards Lady Lianxin was quite clear.
"What's the story behind her supposed liaison with the Poison Sect's remnants?"
"When she was in Medical City, someone saw her going in and out of the Poison Sect's forbidden area multiple times. There was even one time she was caught meeting secretly with a man near the Sky Pit. That's where the rumors came from. I don't know if they're true," Mu Linger replied honestly.
"Who's Mute Granny?" Han Yunxi asked next.
"I don't know. Maybe she was a servant of my aunt. When I found her, she was already mute and deaf." As Mu Linger spoke, she couldn't help but warn, "Han Yunxi, if you dare to touch that old grandmother, I...I, I'll look down on you!"
How would Han Yunxi ever make a move against Mute Granny? She only replied calmly, "Chu Xifeng ran into a group of killers while bringing Mute Granny to Tianning. Mute Granny fell off a cliff and hasn't been found since..."
"What?!" Mu Linger was shocked.
"It'll be best if your Mu Clan weren't the culprits. Or else this matter...won't be over!" Han Yunxi's tone turned cold. She was about to leave when Mu Linger called her back.
"Impossible! Han Yunxi, the Mu Clan couldn't have done such a thing. My father wouln't employ assassins! Even if he wanted to kidnap her, he wouldn't be ruthless enough to wipe out the lot and force Mute Granny to jump off a cliff! He's always kept Mute Granny in the back courtyard, so he has to have a motive! He would be the last person that wanted Mute Granny dead!" Mu Linger was very convinced.
Han Yunxi stilled her steps. Indeed, Mu Linger's reasoning made sense. Because she'd been agitated by the news, she didn't have time to consider it in detail. Now that she thought it over, she realized it was unlikely for Mu Yingdong to attack the group. Would he have known which road Chu Xifeng took with Mute Granny? After all, those two had left Medical City on that very night.
But if it wasn't Mu Yingdong, then who could it be?
Who else knew of Mute Granny's existence?
Han Yunxi immediately recalled Gu Qishao, but she found that idea absurd. Who knows where Gu Qishao was now? He shouldn't be too injured after getting kicked by Long Feiye, right? Han Yunxi didn't want to talk too much, so she simply said, "Put her into the eastern cells. Pick one of the cleaner ones."
And yet, a guard said softly, "Esteemed wangfei, His Highness had orders to only keep this girl in the little black room."
Long Feiye was avenging her!
Han Yunxi felt her heart warm, but lowered her voice all the same so that Mu Linger wouldn't hear. "Just put her in the eastern cells. And don't skimp on her three meals, either. If His Highness has questions, I'll shoulder the responsibility."
With her words, the guards were naturally willing to do as she said. By the time Han Yunxi had left, Mu Linger was still trying to clear Mu Yingdong's name. She even made a clamor to seek revenge for Mute Granny. Besides locking her up, Han Yunxi had no idea how to deal with the girl just yet. As she walked, she puzzled over the attack on Mute Granny. But before she reached the main hall, Long Feiye came walking over to hand her a letter.
When Han Yunxi opened the envelope, she saw that it was written by Mu Yingdong. He said he'd arrive in Tianning on the first of the month with a precious treasure in exchange for Mu Linger. His hopes were that Long Feiye could give him a chance. Han Yunxi hesitated.
"Tell him to bring two treasures so we can trade Mute Granny back, too."
Han Yunxi was probing out the situation, but Long Feiye agreed to her terms. Five days later was the first day of the ninth month, Mu Yingdong arrived at their door to pay his respects with two treasures in tow. It was still five days away from Tianning's Empress Dowager's birthday. If possible, Han Yunxi would forgo any treasures in exchange for Mu Yingdong telling him about Mu Xin. However, Mu Yingdong had already discovered the Xin () character embroidered on her medical pouch. Moreover, she wasn't sure how much the man really knew, so it wasn't convenient to ask him too many questions.
If she asked too much, she might end up alerting him to Lady Tianxin instead without getting any answers in return. There was no guarantee that he'd tell her the truth even if she could ask him outright.
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi sat in the host and hostess's chairs in the main hall at the Duke of Qin's estate. Both of Long Feiye's hands were resting on the armrests, while one of his leg was crossed jauntily over the other. His gaze was as disdainful as always, just like a monarch overlooking an entire world. In contrast, Han Yunxi looked sluggish and careless, leaning against the chair like a much-favored consort. Each and every one of her movements carried a natural yet elegant air. This husband and wife pair were a perfect match in terms of looks and deportment.
Mu Yingdong sat in the guest's seat while suppressing his fiery temper. He was the upright and dignified head of the Mu Clan, the most powerful of the three great families in Medicine City. It was very probable that he'd be the leader of Medicine City itself in the future. Many of the great powers in the world fawned on him, or tried to appeal for friendly relations. All of them were polite and respectful, but this was his first time meeting anyone as supercilious as Long Feiye and Han Yunxi. Despite this, he had to hold back his anger so he could beg them for favors.
He said politely, "Your Highness Duke of Qin, this one has brought two treasures here as requested. Please take a look."
A few servants brought forward the two treasures for display. The first was a beautiful rounded fan embroidered with a medicinal plant. Han Yunxi didn't know much about fans, but saw at first glance that the plant embroidered on its surface was a very precious and rare incense grass. Supposedly, it only bore a single plant every 300 years. A whiff of its scent could put anyone immediately to sleep for an entire night until day broke.
Han Yunxi lifted it up for a look. When she flipped the fan over to its opposite side, she was stunned. The thin fabric of the fan had a second pattern embroidered on the second side. The details of the needlework was ample enough to make this fan a treasure worth an entire city. Once again, it was yet another precious, rare plant embroidered onto the opposite side called a purple lily. Like incense grass, it was a type of aromatherapeutic plant, but its effects were completely the opposite. The scent of purple lily was very unique. The first whiff would wake a person up, the second would clear their minds, and the third would thoroughly restore their vitality.
Indeed, the Mu Clan was an old and well-established family of medicinal plants. The treasure they brought was completely related to medicine. Han Yunxi was about to put the fan down when Mu Yingdong spoke up. "Esteemed wangfei, since you have the fan on hand, why not give it a try?"
Han Yunxi felt doubtful, but waved the fan lightly a few times. Unexpectedly, something miraculous happened! A single fan had her sniffing the distinctive scent of incense grass. She quickly stopped herself before she fell asleep.
Unbelievable. Could it be that the embroidered plants on the fan are the real thing?
Han Yunxi tried fanning from the other side and immediately caught the whiff of purple lily. Three fans later and she was restored to full spirits. Naturally, she didn't want Mu Yingdong to see how much she'd taken to this fan, but she couldn't help her wonder. "Incense grass, purple lily...truly, they're good things."
"Heheh, esteemed wangfei has marvelous insight! It's indeed those two plants. This fan is none other than the legendary Medicine Fan." Mu Yingdong was quite proud of the fact. For the sake of his daughter, he was giving his all.
Han Yunxi handed the item over to Long Feiye, who simply played around with it in his hands without any reaction. Truthfully speaking, all he did was spare it a glance before treating it as a plaything. Mu Yingdong noticed all this as his face turned gloomy.
"What about the second item?" Han Yunxi asked.
This time, Mu Yingdong personally took out an entrance token. "Your Highness Duke of Qin, esteemed wangfei, this is an entrance token to my Mu Clan's medicine storehouse. You can use it to take away a rare medicinal plant at any time you wish."
Han Yunxi looked at the golden entrance token, then at Mu Yingdong's expression of good faith, and knew where things stood. The ones who'd attacked Chu Xifeng and forced Mute Granny to jump off a cliff weren't Mu Yingdong's hired men. If that was the case, Mu Yingdong still had no idea that Mute Granny had been lost.
If it wasn't Mu Yingdong, then who was it?
Han Yunxi sat down with a serious face. Mu Yingdong found her expression unfathomable. "Esteemed wangfei, can you allow this old man to see Linger?"
If it was any of his other children, Mu Yingdong wouldn't have made a personal trip. But Mu Linger was different. He would never allow any mishaps to happen to her. Before Han Yunxi could answer, Long Feiye spoke up coldly. "Your lordship has no interest in the Mu Clan's two treasures. Please go back."
"Long Feiye!" Mu Yingdong was furious. Han Yunxi found them worthy, but Long Feiye hadn't even spared them much of a glance. Was he fooling around with him?
"Qin Wangfei's life can't be equated with any treasure. Someone come, send the guest away!" Long Feiye's tone was absolutely frosty.
Mu Linger had nearly cost Han Yunxi her life. Moreover, she was the chief culprit that caused Han Yunxi to misunderstand his intentions towards Duanmu Yao. He had never planned to let her go.
"Long Feiye, don't test my Mu Clan's tolerance!" Mu Yingdong raged. He couldn't take this any more.
Long Feiye stood up, his tall, haughty form radiating an icy pressure. He was about to speak when Han Yunxi beat him to it. "How about trading in both these treasures for Mu Linger?"