Chapter 348: Wedding, big news
Chu Xifeng only escorted Gu Beiyue to the gates of the Gu Estate before coming back himself. He really wanted to see his master's reaction upon finding out that all was well with the man. As he saw it, Han Yunxi didn't have to try anything else to make His Highness unhappy. Just the simple fact that she'd saved Gu Beiyue would be enough to test Long Feiye's limits. When he finally saw His Highness Duke of Qin reading peacefully over his missives, he was thoroughly astonished. Carefully, he tried to sound him out. "Your Highness, Gu Beiyue has already returned safely..."
"Mm," Long Feiye replied mildly.
Chu Xifeng was starting to feel doubtful. This doesn't make any sense! His Highness had kept his eye on Gu Beiyue for quite some time before seizing this chance to test him. He even made such a huge sacrifice to ensure its success, only to see it all fail. Isn't His Highness even a little bit mad? Just what happened?
As soon as Chu Xifeng retreated, he went to seek out Zhao mama, who was smiling so broadly that she couldn't even close her mouth.
"Esteemed wangfei certainly has ways to deal with His Highness!"
"Just keep bragging, won't you? What in the world happened?" Chu Xifeng didn't believe it. His Highness had the kind of personality that would keep his cool even when faced with someone he liked.
"Esteemed wangfei had an ultimate technique to turn His Highness completely docile!" Zhao mama was in excellent spirits.
"Zhao mama!" Chu Xifeng grew impatient.
Finally, Zhao mama lowered her voice to explain everything that had happened. Chu Xifeng was left stupefied by what he heart. He couldn't believe that there even existed a woman with the gall to seduce His Highness.
"No wonder he didn't look into anything else..." he muttered to himself. Chu Xifeng couldn't help but imagine other scenarios. If Han Yunxi accidentally burns down the entire Duke of Qin's estate one day, will a single kiss take care of His Highness then as well?
Women were seriously formidable!
The messages from the Tang Clan came in a never ending stream, but it was already too late for Long Feiye to hurry over. Tang Li would only have to rely on his own luck to get out of there. Would Tang Li die from depression if he ever found out the real reason Long Feiye rushed home so soon?
As the night grew darker, both Leisurely Cloud Pavilion and the main sleeping quarters of the Hibiscus Courtyard fell into silence. Han Yunxi leaned against the window, a hand propping up her chin while the other stroked her lips. She was still feeling foolishly happy. He'd taken offense. It was something she could sense intuitively, even if it couldn't be expressed in words. Han Yunxi had once taken offense to him because of Duanmu Yao. She wondered whether Long Feiye had felt the same way about today? It really was a happy occasion when the person you liked for ages took offense because of you. It felt like she'd finally discovered that he liked her just as she liked him.
In times of peace I chat with you; in times of peril I plot with you; in times of prosperity I grow old with you. Since I'm willing to win your heart, I won't leave you even when I'm old!
Long Feiye, the skies will always be clear if you take offense.
Inside his sleeping quarters, Long Feiye held a small wine cup in his hand as he silently stared out the window. It wasn't clear whether he was staring at Leisurely Cloud Pavilion or the crescent moon hanging in the sky. A long time later, he finally opened his mouth. "Any news on the Bear Chuan and Panoptic Red Lotus?"
Serpent Fruit, Bear Chuan, and Panoptic Red Lotus were three ingredients needed to treat Mute Granny's poison. Right now, nothing was more important to him than finding these medicines. He was only certain that Serpent Fruit was in Gu Qi Sha's hands, but he had no idea where to find the other two items.
In the shadows, the guard said, "To reply Your Highness, we haven't found any news of either of them, only that the Bear Chuan once appeared at a large auction ground. We're still looking into the details."
Long Feiye waved a hand to dismiss the guard. He knew it wouldn't be easy to find these ingredients, so he could only wait until Tang Li escaped with the Pear Blossom Rain Needles before they teamed up to get the Serpent Fruit...
The night had grown darker, but a figure still lingered persistently around the perimeter of the Duke of Qin's estate. His seductive red robes looked bewitching in the night, like red spider lilies coming into bloom. It was a mysterious yet elegant sight. It wasn't until day broke that this red-robed landed on the roof of a nearby inn. Few people dared to dawdle so long around the Duke of Qin's estate, but Gu Qishao happened to be one of them. He'd been pacing the entire night, but couldn't figure out a way to sneak past the guards and get inside.
He remembered that he'd made a few trips inside a few months back. Heaven knows when Long Feiye had tightened the security.
"Aye, I miss my Poison lass!" he murmured to himself, his arms lazily crossed behind his head. Of course, it wasn't just that. He actually wanted to sound her out on something of his own. He went to sleep, but it wasn't long before a carrier pigeon woke him up with a message from Mu Linger. She had agreed to his request to search for Bear Chuan and Panoptic Red Lotus. He had no idea where she was going to search, but he never saw her again after their last meeting.
Gu Qishao unfolded the message as he pondered over a question. If he ever told Mu Linger to find an impossible ingredient, would she keep searching and never bother him again? The thought made him grin.
Over the next few days, Long Feiye kept put at the Duke of Qin's estate. Because of that, Han Yunxi rarely went out, either. She saw him practicing his sword skills for the first time, dressed all in white. The silvery-white blade in his hands led his movements as they alternated between quick and slow. His slashes, stabs, dots, piercing, aiming, and raising were all clean-cut and agile. Han Yunxi didn't understand sword techniques, but she felt that he looked extremely dashing. Since Long Feiye practiced for an entire afternoon, Han Yunxi ended up watching him for an entire afternoon, too.
If not for the fact that she couldn't use inner energy, she'd like Long Feiye to teach her sword skills, too. When he stopped, she immediately handed him some water like what a retainer would do. Actually, she had quite some things to do, but it was rare for him to stay at home so she wanted to be by his side.
"Are things going well with Baili Mingxiang and her pills?" Long Feiye asked mildly.
After getting 'offended' that day, he'd more or less reverted to his usual self. Nothing much had changed, so much that it seemed nothing had happened in the first place. Of course, that's what it looked like to outsiders, but Han Yunxi could feel that they were much closer now. At the very least, she could harass him more often without fear.
"It's all going very well, but..." Han Yunxi paused, but ended up speaking her mind anyways. "Your Highness, it hasn't been easy for that girl. I want to try and save her."
Nobody knew what would happen to Baili Mingxiang once the Beauty's Blood was complete. Yet Han Yunxi could judge that she wouldn't survive. However, there was no telling how she'd die, either. When she saw Long Feiye furrow his eyebrows, she quickly explained, "I'll make sure not to affect the Beauty's Blood."
Only then did Long Feiye reply in three words, "As you will..."
To him, Baili Mingxiang was simply one of his many subordinates. He'd almost forgotten what she looked like by now.
"Your Highness, has there been any news of Mute Granny?" Han Yunxi had never forgotten about the old woman. She was concerned about the fate of that white-robed man from the Shadow Clan as well. The origins of her birth had disappeared with both of them. Sometimes, she really wished she was simply Han Congan's daughter by his first wife and not have so many secrets.
The more secrets there were, the more conspiracies would exist. She'd be in much more danger as well. Even now, she suspected that someone had plotted Lady Tianxin's fetal dystocia ahead of time just so she could die in her mother's womb. She couldn't rest easy unless she uncovered the truth about her mother's labor and her real father.
"No news. It's unlikely that we'll find her, so it's best if you don't hold out too much hope," Long Feiye said mildly.
Han Yunxi didn't reply. When she thought of Mute Granny, she was struck with a guilty conscience. "Your Highness, of the three ingredients, I've already found the Serpent Fruit."
Long Feiye's eyes flashed with vitality at these words. "Serpent Fruit?"
Han Yunxi took out the fruit. "Lil Thing brought it. Heaven knows what other treasures it's hiding!"
Long Feiye took the item and examined it. He couldn't ascertain whether this was Serpent Fruit, but he could tell that this one was bigger than the one in Gu Qi Sha's hands!
"Your Highness, why don't you take care of it? I don't think it'll be so easy to find the other two ingredients." There was no way to use the antidote without Mute Granny, anyways. Because of that, Han Yunxi felt too listless and unmotivated to look after the Serpent Fruit. Long Feiye silently placed the fruit in his sleeve without a word. A cold look flashed through his eyes.
Gu Qi Sha, your lordship will definitely play you a round this time!
In the middle of their conversation, Chu Xifeng suddenly ran over. "Your Highness! Your Highness, there's big news!"
Long Feiye hated it when his subordinates lost their cool. He asked unhappily, "How big is the news?"
"The crown prince is in trouble!" Chu Xifeng said, panting.
Long Feiye didn't take it to heart. The crown prince was a clear minded man who knew how to adapt to circumstances. Judging from the current climate, he hadn't done anything particularly remarkable. Emperor Tianhui wouldn't do anything to him in return. The best solution was for father and son to join hands.
"What is it?" Han Yunxi was rather curious.
"The emperor's decreed his hand in marriage to Mu Liuyue from the general's estate!" Chu Xifeng said seriously.
Han Yunxi was stunned. Mu Liuyue. If Chu Xifeng hadn't brought up her name, she would've almost forgotten the girl. Mu Liuyue used to be Princess Changping's best friend, but after all the chaos that had happened and losing a bet she never fulfilled, her reputation had been left in tatters, thus confining her at home. Back then, it had been her older brother Mu Qingwu who'd taken off his clothes and ran around a circle on the main street.
Even if a girl like her had a good background, there was no way she'd be able to marry a respectable man. Noble, established families with good breeding had different criteria when they were looking for daughter-in-laws. It wasn't the same as marrying off their own daughters, because daughter-in-laws had to come from a good family as well as possess a good reputation for behavior and conduct.
Would the crown prince really agree to marry such a girl? No, more accurately speaking, would Emperor Tianhui be willing to accept such a daughter-in-law?
Han Yunxi couldn't believe it!
Undoubtedly, the situation went beyond Long Feiye's expectations as well. Coldly he asked, "What does Great General Mu mean by this?"
"News just came from the palace. I think the imperial decree's on its way to the Mu Estate right now," Chu Xifeng replied truthfully.
"That's right. Your Highness, a few days ago Chu Xifeng and I saw the crown prince at the general's estate with Mu Qingwu." Han Yunxi would rather believe that Crown Prince Long Tianmo had found Mu Qingwu on his own. She didn't want to think of Mu Qingwu allying himself with the crown prince just to get over his difficulties with the soldiers' pay and provisions. It was true that the imperial uncle's household backing the crown prince had the power to give Mu Qingwu the pay and grain he needed.
"The deadline that Tianhui's set for Mu Qingwu is up, isn't it?" Long Feiye asked. He hadn't forgotten about this matter, but under these circumstances, it seemed more likely that Emperor Tianhui would drop the issue. He seemed more eager to pull the general's estate to his side!
"It was due two days ago. Emperor Tianhui didn't seem to have done anything to Mu Qingwu!" Chu Xifeng said.
In any case, Emperor Tianhui's marriage decree was definitely a way to win General Mu to his side. It would be up to General Mu to decide. However, once the general's estate was standing on the same lines as the imperial uncle's household, Long Feiye would be under greater threat! For now, all they could do was watch quietly and wait.
A few days later, Tang Li finally extricated himself from his wedding and arrived travelworm and covered in dust. He was still dressed in his red bridegroom's robes. Heaven knows what kind of death-defying escape he'd managed to pull off. He didn't even glimpse Han Yunxi when he entered the door, because Long Feiye hauled him away.
"To Pill Fiend Valley!" he said.