"How could I? Wanru meimei, look at these silks and choose some of your favorites," Han Yunxi was extra generous.
"No, no, the emperor gave these to sister-in-law," Murong Wanru hastily refused.
"It's no matter. I can't use so many of these, so pick some," Han Yunxi was quite enthusiastic, even dragging over Murong Wanru by the wrist.
Actually, Murong Wanru had long looked over these treasures. All of Emperor Tianhui's rewards were foreign tributes that were impossible to buy with money. There were a few items that Murong Wanru especially liked, so she couldn't help but choose them when Han Yunxi was so fervent.
But then Han Yunxi spoke. "As for me, I still want to know who spread rumors that I could treat illnesses. I'd give her some of these rewards since she played a part as well."
At these words, Murong Wanru's hands froze in place.
"Wanru meimei, do you know what kind of person spread those rumors? She was probably trying to help me instead of harm me, right?" Han Yunxi asked very earnestly.
Murong Wanru could pretend all she wanted on her face, but her hands gave her away. Han Yunxi was still holding onto one hand when it recoiled as if being shocked. Han Yunxi filed this away and smiled even more brilliantly as she tugged the hand back down.
"Wanru meimei, hurry up and pick. Don't be so polite."
Murong Wanru was all guilty conscience as she forced herself to calm down with a polite tone. "No, there's no need...his majesty, his majesty's awards can't be given to others so easily. Sister-in-law, it's late. You should rest early, I'll go accompany mufei." She didn't say much else, but fled the scene when she was done.
Han Yunxi saw her retreating figure as hostility flashed through her eyes. There were few people who knew what happened behind the scenes, and even fewer who would profit from spreading the rumors. Besides a few possibilities inside the palace, there were only people in this household. If the empress wanted her to treat the crown prince, she didn't need to use such a convoluted method. A simple pillow talk with her husband would work. In that case, Murong Wanru carried the greatest suspicion.
Her again. This time it was still her! White lotus, feel stifled all you want this time. Next time, this wangfei will definitely unveil your fox's tail!
After chasing off both Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru, Han Yunxi finally worked off her grievances. She looked at the large spread of treasure before her and grinned. This feeling was like winning the lottery and getting rich overnight. From now on, she never had to live her days counting the silver again.
She picked up a silver ingot and casually tossed it at a servant girl. "Find some people to help me take these things to the Hibiscus Courtyard."
The flustered servant caught the heavy silver, a little dumbfounded. Did esteemed wangfei really mean to give her so much? Even the grand imperial concubine wasn't so generous.
"Still not going?" Han Yunxi asked.
"Yes, this servant will go immediately! Please wait, esteemed wangfei!" the overjoyed servant hid away the silver and ran out.
Very quickly, she brought back six to seven able-bodied men. These men usually acted arrogant whenever they saw Han Yunxi, but now each and every one of them was reverent and extremely respectful. They called her esteemed wangfei this and esteemed wangfei that, like sycophantic lackeys.
With money, even a ghost can grind a millstone. Such words were true logic here.
The items were carefully delivered to the Leisurely Cloud Pavilion in the Hibiscus Courtyard. Who knew, Han Yunxi was very generous and gave them a gold ingot to split between them. These servants had rarely seen gold in their lives and didn't dare believe it. They treated Han Yunxi with the same respect as a revered forefather and thanked her multiple times before leaving.
"Mistress, that's gold! It's enough to cover their salary for months!" Chen Xiang huffed.
"Little Chen Xiang, do you know a principle of poisons?" Han Yunxi asked. Chen Xiang shook her head, so Han Yunxi smiled. "A thorough poison that seeps down to the organs is the hardest type to cure. It's the same thing when you're buying popular support."
Chen Xiang still didn't understand and shook her head. Han Yunxi had no choice but to say, "Do you think Murong Wanru could be so generous?"
"Even if she was, she doesn't have as much money as mistress," Chen Xiang stuck up her lip. In her eyes, her mistress was a wealthy woman.
"That's the principle. So in the future, these group of people will only side with me instead of her." Han Yunxi smiled.
Accumulated wealth scattered people, scattered wealth accumulated people. Han Yunxi believed that news of her gold ingot would spread quickly among the servants of the household. See who dared to disrespect her then.
By now, the skies were gradually turning light. Han Yunxi didn't feel drowsy, so she counted the money with Chen Xiang while cleaning and squirreling it away. It was just like the saying, counting your silver until your hands cramped up-there was so much. When daylight finally broke, the things were finally put away. Chen Xiang was exhausted when she headed to the kitchens to make breakfast, but just as she left the Hibiscus Courtyard, she saw a servant waiting with a plate full of steaming hot food!
Actually, little Chen Xiang didn't really understand her mistress's logic, but seeing this she knew that having money really was a nice thing!
Han Yunxi ate a bit but was too tired and sleepless to have any appetite. Her entire body felt listless, so she mused for a bit before telling Chen Xiang to check the main sleeping quarters of the Hibiscus Courtyard.
"Mistress, His Highness Duke of Qin isn't back," Chen Xiang reported quickly.
Han Yunxi immediately brightened. She cleaned up her things and prepared to soak in the hot springs. When you were tired like this in wintertime, a soak in the hot springs was the best solution. After verifying that the rooms were empty, she had Chen Xiang stand guard outside while she splashed headfirst into the springs.
Although Long Feiye's hot spring was located indoors, it was still a natural pool. The water was soft and a good temperature, the depth just right. Han Yunxi felt herself relax as she as she sank in. She leaned against the edge of the pool with her head tilted back, allowing the hot spring to cleanse her body as she made herself comfortable. Very quickly, she turned drowsy and fell asleep.
A shadow landed on the right wall of the main sleeping quarters, announcing the return of its master.
Long Feiye was about to walk over when he saw little Chen Xiang sitting blankly by the door. Suspicion flitted past his eyes before he thought twice and remembered something else. Soon afterwards, he leapt noiselessly up to the roof.
If this servant girl was by the door, was Han Yunxi inside?
What was this woman doing in his territory?
Long Feiye's gaze turned dark and gloomy as he carefully shifted a roof tile aside to peek in. Unexpectedly, what he saw was the living painting of a beauty bathing! His cold eyes stilled before Long Feiye quickly looked away. But nary a second passed before he looked down again, seeing clothes scattered messily by the pool. That woman's slender shoulders and exposed back, collarbones and jade-like neck, were all dimly visible through the mist, endlessly enticing...
This woman had the guts to run over here for his hot springs!
Long Feiye's cold eyes turned even more gloomy. It was clear that he was unhappy, but...but as time passed, he didn't move his eyes away. His gaze was icily arrogant and brazen, as if appreciating a piece of artwork. This was obviously a case of peeking that could be seen as obscene, but he treated it as a matter of course. All right, the expression on his face at this moment was someone who couldn't take his eyes off a masterpiece!
Suddenly, a gust of wind blew over. Long Feiye raised his eyes to see Chu Xifeng approaching. Displeasure flashed through his eyes as he waved Chu Xifeng away, before replacing the roof tile. Only then did he land in the backyard to meet with him.
"Master, you..." Chu Xifeng was full of doubts. What was this master doing just then?
Long Feiye didn't answer. "How goes matters?"
"To reply master, it's highly possible that the leader of the Northern Li agent is someone proficient with poisons concealed within the capital. This subordinate tortured and interrogated a few survivors who all said the same thing: their poisons came from the same person. As to who this person is, they don't know." Chu Xifeng replied.
Northern Li Country had arranged multiple spies within Tianning who were good at using poisons to target Tianning's various officials and generals. If Han Yunxi hadn't discovered the toxin concealed within the young general, Long Feiye wouldn't have seized on this clue so quickly.
Recently, he'd been busy with this matter.
"Trace the source of the poisons, but don't alert the side involved with the young general," Long Feiye ordered. The young general's body had hidden a slow-acting poison. He must have been poisoned over the course of multiple years, meaning that the culprit had to be someone close to him. If the young general's poison was related to the matter of these enemy agents, then it meant that such spies had existed in Tianning for many years and concealed themselves deep.
"Yes!" Chu Xifeng respectfully accepted his orders.
When Long Feiye returned to the roof, Han Yunxi had already gotten out of the hot spring. This intelligent 'stupid woman' was completely oblivious to everything that had happened. Her skin fresh out of the water was exquisite and refined, her face brimming with smiles as she walked and talked with little Chen Xiang back to Leisurely Cloud Pavilion.
"Idiot, when will you learn to be on guard?" Long Feiye muttered to himself, extremely displeased.
Actually, this wasn't Han Yunxi's fault. She didn't know martial arts, so how could she be sensitive to movements around her? Moreover, thanks to her profession, she was hyper-focused when she started on a task. Her ability to block out distractions was quite potent, allowing her to overlook nearly everything else around her.
After resting well, Han Yunxi decided to take Chen Xiang with her for a trip to town. Firstly, because she had money enough to buy some things she liked; secondly, because she wanted to see the situation of the Han Family. Han Congan should've been convicted by now and the announcement made public. Emperor Tianhui wouldn't conceal such a thing, but proclaim it with banners and drums to eliminate Han Congan. This was his chance to tell the world that the crown prince was good and well.
But Han Yunxi didn't expect things to get so dramatic. As soon as she stepped foot on the streets, she heard all sorts of commentary on the affair. Proclamation posters were plastered all over the streets. Emperor Tianhui gave Han Congan the dual crimes of deceiving his sovereign and plotting to murder the crown prince. Although it wasn't written than Han Yunxi saved him, this news had long spread between the social circles of the aristocracy. Han Yunxi sat in the private room of a restaurant as she listened to the discussions outside.
"There was chaos at the Han household this morning. I heard a few concubines packed up their valuables and fled!"
"Such a heavy crime, but only Han Congan was punished. I think there's something fishy here!"
"Heheh, Qin Wangfei is closely related to the Han family. I'm thinking she's the one who saved the Han Clan."
"They say the prisoner's going to be paraded through the streets in three days' time. Aiya, Han Congan's still a famous doctor of the times, but now..."
"Why do you think he wanted to plot murder against the crown prince? There's no reason!"
"The imperial family's matters are hard to see clearly. Hard to say!"
Han Yunxi listened leisurely since she didn't take these things to heart. If the prisoner was going to be paraded in three days, she thought she should call on this father of hers in prison and ask him about her mother's difficult labor. When Han Yunxi looked into it, she found that there wasn't any problem with the baby, nor was there any underlying illness. So why would she die from childbirth? Her mother was a doctor in her own right, so she'd be perfectly clear about her body.
Han Yunxi couldn't help but think that there was something suspicious about the whole thing. As the husband, Han Congan should be closest to the truth. More importantly, how did the poison scar on her face come about? If it came with her birth, then it meant that someone wanted to kill her in the womb. This should be investigated thoroughly.
That afternoon, Han Yunxi let Chen Xiang take their purchases home while she went to the prisons.
 meimei () - little sister.
 master () - zhuzi, when used, refers to the master/head of a household.