Chapter 395: Is Your Highness planning a surprise?
The antidote to Mute Granny's poison only consisted of three ingredients: Serpent Fruit, Bear Chuan, and Panoptic Red Lotus. Long Feiye already had the Serpent Fruit in his hands, while the Panoptic Red Lotus had been verified to exist at the Mu Clan medicinal grounds. Only Bear Chuan was left.
A crafty gleam came into Mu Linger's eyes as she grinned smugly. "Qi gege, do you think I'll be even more formidable than that Gu Qi Sha from Pill Fiend Valley one day?"
"Yes!" Gu Qishao was very certain.
"Heheh, there's only a single Bear Chuan in the entire world. Most likely, even Gu Qi Sha doesn't know where it is," Mu Linger said mysteriously.
"You're still not telling me?" Gu Qishao's patience was reaching its limit.
Mu Linger drew close to his ear and murmured a single name. "Northern Li's Duke of Kang!"
"Jun Yixie!" Gu Qishao was extremely surprised. "How do you know?"
Jun Yixie had been keeping a low profile ever since escaping from Medical City in the past. But Gu Qishao hadn't forgotten him. He was someone who bore grudges, and he made sure to pay them back-whether it was his own, or Poison lass's! Even though Poison lass had poisoned Jun Yixie with an incurable toxin, that was only her personal revenge! Gu Qishao had been waiting the whole time to take vengeance on her behalf again!
"That thing's raised in the poison grounds of the Hundred Poison Sect. I bought the info from my friends for a huge sum." Unlike Gu Qi Sha, who was enemies with everyone in the medical circles, Mu Linger had a wide circle of friends and access to their information network.
"Qi gege, when we find the Panoptic Red Lotus, we can invade Hundred Poison Sect together and look through their poison grounds, all right?" Mu Linger was very excited. She hadn't written Gu Qishao the info in their letters because she wanted to tell him in person so he'd agree to her request! She was always most content when facing danger together with Qi gege. Even dying together would be a tragic sort of happiness.
"Jun Yixie, ah..." Gu Qishao rubbed his chin and thought it over. "No rush. Find the Panoptic Red Lotus first." As long as he was certain the Bear Chuan was with Jun Yixie, then he could set his cares at rest.
"Qi gege..." Mu Linger wanted to say something else, but she suddenly sneezed. Her damp clothing had finally caught a chill from the breeze that settled down into her very bones.
"Be a good girl. Dry off your clothes with the fire first, I'll keep watch on your behalf," Gu Qishao's lips quirked up into a smile with his excellent mood. His simple 'be good' really did turn Mu Linger docile.
"Okay!" she cried happily.
By the time Mu Linger tidied herself up and walked back out, Gu Qishao was leaning against the wall, one hand pillowed against his head while the other stroked his smooth chin. His sly, narrow eyes seemed especially crafty as they puzzled over something.
"Qi gege, what are you thinking about?" Mu Linger felt that he was preoccupied with business.
"Nothing much." Gu Qishao lazily straightened. "Let's have a consultation and then split up to do our work."
Mu Linger was thrilled. She'd been together with Qi gege for so long that she could always ask him about his business later. There was time enough for that in the future. Aside from the places she'd already looked into, there was still over half of the Mu Clan's medicinal grounds left untouched. It really was a monumental task. After planning out their respective routes, the two of them spit up to search. They would only reconvene at night with their results. This whole project lasted an entire two months-by which time it was already the end of the year.
The grain given to Tianning Country's disaster regions was almost all used up. Many regions within the country also donated their own grain, but it was like trying to put out a fire with a cup of water. Thanks to Emperor Tianhui's efforts, everyone in the country was preoccupied with the problem of grain stores after the new year. However, His Highness Duke of Qin, who was in charge of all the relief efforts, wasn't even at the disaster regions anymore.
"Your Majesty, the scouts from South Ning Prefecture sent back news. His Highness Duke of Qin left the prefecture!" Eunuch Luo reported.
"Where did he go?" Emperor Tianhui was surprised. He had personally sent the Duke of Qin to the disaster regions, but ended up being most worried about his plight.
"The scouts are still searching," Eunuch Luo said timidly.
Emperor Tianhui lost his temper at those words and slammed his hands on the table. "Useless things! They're all trash! All they had to do was keep their eyes on one man, and yet they've lost him!" This could be considered Emperor Tianhui's final fight against the man, so he had to be extra prudent.
"Your Majesty, could His Highness Duke of Qin have gone to secretly search for grain?" Eunuch Luo asked doubtfully.
But they hadn't! Emperor Tianhui had been keeping an eye on the Duke of Qin and esteemed wangfei for the past two months. He wasn't the only one-everyone assumed that His Highness Duke of Qin and Qin Wangfei would be scrambling to find grain by now. But instead, the couple simply spent all their days at the senior provincial official's estate and rarely came out. It felt like they were on vacation instead!
"They haven't done anything in the past two months, so where could they find grain now?" Emperor Tianhui retorted peevishly. There had been bad harvests everywhere this season, and the end of the year was a prime time for everyone to use up their stores. Grain was scarce all over the country.
"Then...where could they have gone?" Eunuch Luo asked thoughtfully. Emperor Tianhui glared at him, too angry to speak. He dares to ask me? Who am I supposed to ask, then?
When Eunuch Luo met Emperor Tianhui's eyes, he drew back in fright and shut up. Emperor Tianhui smacked the table and roared, "Search! Scour the lands and find them for Zhen! Otherwise, nobody needs to live past the new year at this rate!"
A terrified Eunuch Luo scrambled away to pass on the decree.
Just where was Long Feiye and Han Yunxi? Emperor Tianhui had been spying on them, but Long Feiye hadn't left to avoid him-rather, he was getting away from the Tang Clan. Only ten more days remained until the lunar New Year's Eve. Long Feiye had gotten news ahead of time that Tang Zijin had already taken care of affairs related to Tang Li's escape from his marriage. He was preparing to come to South Ning Prefecture personally to invite him and Han Yunxi to spend the New Year's at the Tang Clan.
The distance between South Ning Prefecture and the Tang Clan wasn't very far at all. The very next night after getting the news, Long Feiye took Han Yunxi and left. He could've found an excuse to turn down the invitation if he stuck around, but he was too lazy to think of any.
"Your Highness, just where are we going?" Han Yunxi was still in the dark and had no idea what had happened.
"To celebrate the new year," Long Feiye said simply.
"So back to the capital? But we won't make it in time," Han Yunxi was surprised. According to the traditions of the Tianning imperial clan, all imperial sons, qinwangs (princes of the first rank), and the kings of various prefectures were supposed to report to the capital during this time-to say nothing of the most respected of qinwangs, the Duke of Qin. But Emperor Tianhui had spent so much effort dispatching them to the disaster regions that he'd never let them back so easily.
There were ten days left until the new year, so they wouldn't be able to make it back in time anyways. Long Feiye was going to tell her, but changed his mind and said, "Sleep. You'll know when we get there."
Over the past two months, he'd been busy researching the fates of the Seven Noble Families and their clansmen in the present. Han Yunxi had been occupying herself in the detox system dimension, researching the hundreds of poisons present in Baili Mingxiang's system. Both of them had cast aside the grain situation completely. To outsiders, they looked like they were on vacation, but they were quite busy with their own tasks.
Because Han Yunxi had been spending all her time in the detox system, she wasn't very lively. Moreover, the cold weather only strengthened her habitual drowsiness.
"Could it be that Your Highness is planning a surprise for chenqie?" Han Yunxi asked in amusement.
A surprise for her? Would this count as one? Long Feiye didn't understand how to ingratiate himself with women, much less give them surprises.
Maybe it does.
"You'll know when we get there," he said again.
"Then chenqie shall be...anticipating it," Han Yunxi stole a peek at him at the same time Long Feiye looked back. When he caught her glance, he immediately averted his gaze. Wrapped in a robe lined with white fox fur, Han Yunxi resumed curling up in a corner and shut her eyes to rest. This man was probably the only person in this world capable of moving her calm heart, leaving her agitated for ages afterwards. Celebrating the new year was a big event. Traditionally, families were supposed to spend it together.
Since it was impossible to return to the capital, was this fellow planning to take her to see his family instead? At the Tang Clan? He'd mentioned that his parents were from there. Although Han Yunxi greatly disliked the disagreeable Aunt Ru, she'd still be happy to spend the holidays with Long Feiye back at the Tang Clan. It would almost be as serious as taking her home to see his parents, and meant that he fully accepted her into his world. But since he wouldn't say, she didn't ask him. All she did was anticipate and hope for the day he'd tell her more of his secrets.
He said that birth origins were a thing of the past that belonged to the previous generation, and that they should be looking ahead to the future. But how was she to understand, dote, safeguard and love him if she didn't know his past? Baili Mingxiang had started nurturing the Beauty's Blood when she was just a child. But what about him? When did he get the ambition to rule the world? Did he ever get tired of it?
Long Feiye, my past belongs to the Han Yunxi whose soul has already die. I don't care about it at all. But your past is something you personally experienced, step by step. Why wouldn't I care about something like that?
Han Yunxi secretly opened her eyes and saw Long Feiye reading a book again, steadily turning the pages. He was dressed in snow-white robes and covered in a luxurious fox-fur robe. Everything was white and free of dust from the mortal plane, making him seem ethereally noble and airy. Such a serene scene carved itself into Han Yunxi's heart like an eternal painting.
Long Feiye, I only hope...that I can grow ever more closer to you.
I'll definitely finish walking those 100 steps.
Their carriage took nothing but the small paths at a slow and sedate pace. By the time they reached their destination, there were only two more days until New Year's Eve. For some reason, they'd gotten into a habit of him getting off the carriage first before helping her down himself. This time, she felt for the doorframe with her eyes closed and nearly tumbled off the carriage until he caught her in time.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Is it the surprise?" she smiled back. She'd kept his words in her memory even though it'd slipped his mind. Han Yunxi was waiting for his answer, but Long Feiye didn't speak for a long time. When enough time had passed, Han Yunxi couldn't help but feel her happy mood fade. Fine, she'd done something unnecessary. This iceberg was so bad at jokes that he'd never be interested in things like surprises.
Since he wouldn't answer, she answered for herself. "Heheh, I'll know when I open my eyes!" She was about to do so when Long Feiye suddenly covered them with his own hands.