Chapter 141: Han Yunxi gets taken advantage of
When Han Yunxi asked about himself, Gu Qishao licked his lips in bewilderment. He didn't immediately reply, but sat back down on the warm bench until he was half lying down. One hand propped up his head as he looked at her with interest.
What was this fellow doing?
Han Yunxi leaned against the cupboard on one side, arms crossed as she stared at him with knitted brows. Unexpectedly, Gu Qishao started blinking at her with his enchanting eyes, his long lashes quivering innocently as if he wouldn't hurt a soul. He appeared charming down to his very bones.
What an annoying rascal!
Han Yunxi gave a start, finding it difficult to pull her eyes away. She narrowly avoided being bewitched by the sight; fortunately, she was calm enough to look elsewhere. She picked up a teacup and threw it his way. Sadly, Gu Qishao caught it in his hands.
"Exactly what do you want?" This scoundrel, Han Yunxi was about to lose against him. She was very, very tired, and wanted nothing more than to sleep.
"Answer my question. You were a useless trash since youth and the Han family has no poisons knowledge. Your mother Lady Tianxin was highly skilled in the medical arts, but not poisons. When you entered the bridal sedan chair, there was still a poison scar on your face, but it was treated by the time you alighted. At what age did you start learning about poisons? You've never left the capital and rarely left the Han house, so who taught you?"
Hearing Gu Qishao's words, Han Yunxi narrowed her eyes with a cold laugh. "You've certainly investigated thoroughly."
Gu Qishao wasn't modest at all. "Of course, I even know that you..."
But before he could finish, Han Yunxi suddenly starting shouting, "Ah...! Someone come, there's an assassin!" Since he couldn't get any answers out of her, she didn't want this guy taking up her precious sleeping time!
Gu Qishao was caught unawares as he suddenly jumped up. "You!"
Han Yunxi exerted renewed efforts. "Someone come, quick! The assassin's right here!"
Soon enough, the sound of footsteps came hurrying towards them from four directions. It'd taken Gu Qishao considerable effort to get inside. He narrowed his eyes and licked his lips, before giving Han Yunxi a big thumbs up. A dangerous aura settled around his form.
"You're really not afraid that I'll use you as a hostage?"
But Han Yunxi didn't dread the threat at all. She lazily crawled into her bed with an as-you-will expression before closing her eyes. Of course she wasn't scared of him. If he was really dangerous, she would've been in danger long ago.
Gu Qishao gave a minute start before breaking out into wild, soundless laughter. This woman really was too interesting! He liked it! Although the footsteps outside were getting closer, Gu Qishao still didn't plan on escaping just yet. His figure brushed over and quietly drew closer to Han Yunxi, who only felt a gust of wind drift past her face. She subconsciously opened her eyes, only to see...
At the same time that Han Yunxi opened her eyes, Gu Qishao bent down and lightly pressed his lips against her forehead. It was a brief touch at most, soft and a little ticklish, even lighter than the breath that brushed against her face.
In that instant, she saw the perfect curve of his chin and the slight movements of his Adam's apple. Everything about him was very close. As it turned out, this man who looked more beautiful than a woman had all the angles and curves of a man. Han Yunxi's eyes grew wide as her entire body turned stiff. All that was left was her flustered, panicked heart, pounding wildly in her chest.
Heavens, this evil rascal kissed her!
No, he'd assaulted her!
A light peck later and Gu Qishao had backed away with his bewitching smile. "What are you looking at? I'm just marking my place. This gentleman's taken a fancy to you."
He didn't wait for Han Yunxi to reply before vanishing in a flicker of movement. At almost the same time, three guards rushed inside with Zhao mama. When they saw esteemed wangfei lying on the bed in an empty room, Zhao mama hastily opened her mouth.
"Esteemed wangfei, the assassin? Where is he?"
Only then did Han Yunxi recover her wits before quickly sitting up. "Assassin? Assassin..."
"Where's the assassin?" Zhao mama was worried, afraid that esteemed wangfei had been truly frightened.
"Just then, I was dreaming of an assassin! Lots of assassins, so scary!" Han Yunxi lied. With Gu Qishao's skills, it would probably be impossible to catch him right now.
In an instant, the tense guards and Zhao mama all relaxed their guard. They weren't sure what to make of this mistress who could shout so loudly even while dreaming. However, they didn't hold any suspicions. The security of the Hibiscus Courtyard was very tight, so it'd typically be impossible for assassins to charge in here.
Zhao mama let the guards withdraw as she hurried over to pour a cup of hot tea. "Esteemed wangfei, hurry and drink a sip to calm your nerves."
Han Yunxi really needed to soothe her nerves. She really had been scared! Gu Qishao, that wretch! Hooligan! He actually took advantage of the moment to take liberties with her. She drank as she furiously rubbed at her forehead, trying to figure out if that counted as a kiss. If so, would that count as her first kiss?
"Esteemed wangfei, your forehead...is something wrong?" Zhao mama asked doubtfully.
Han Yunxi immediately stopped rubbing. "N...nothing."
Gu Qishao, you evil man! She decided to put him on her personal blacklist. He better not come back, or else I'll scream every time I see him!
No, I'll poison him every time I see him!
She had been feeling weak all over, but Gu Qishao had thoroughly revved her up again. Han Yunxi sat for a long time before slipping to Long Feiye's quarters for a soak in the hot springs. There were still limits to her body. After she came back, she laid on the bed musing over Gu Qishao's background before unwittingly falling asleep.
One could say her sleeping made her dead to the world. She slept clear through the afternoon, all night, and the next morning before waking up at noon. The first thing she heard upon waking up was all sorts of rumors circulating the capital. Without an exception, all of them were related to last night's events. Not many people focused on Madame Li or her daughter, but much more were interested in laughing over Mu Liuyue's plight after a cup of tea or a meal. Everyone was waiting to see whether she'd honor the conditions of the bet. The news from the general's estate was that Mu Liuyue had fallen ill as soon as she came home with a high fever that made it impossible for her to be conscious of the happenings around her.
It really was convenient for her to fall ill right at this time.
News of her illness intensified the gossip around the capital. Public bets were made on whether or not Mu Liuyue would appear, on whether Han Yunxi would spare her in the end, on whether the Duke of Qin would interfere. In any case, all sorts of bets were going on.
Not many discussions existed about Madame Li or her daughter, or the woman's dying words. It wasn't clear whether someone had led the way to suppress the gossip or whether the popularity of the ongoing bets had drowned out everything else.
As to the security of the Han Family, Han Yunxi couldn't set her worries at rest until Long Feiye gave her a definite answer. The evening of the next day, Han Yunxi had just left Grand Concubine Yi's quarters when she saw the lights shining at Long Feiye's rooms. She stirred in excitement before going over to knock on his door.
Knock knock knock!
Long Feiye was reclining in a rocking chair, his forehead drawn with fatigue. One couldn't help but wonder what he'd been doing for the last few days. He pinched his eyebrows before rising to move towards his desk. Only then did he say, "Come in."
Han Yunxi pushed open the door and entered, making a beeline for the study. Long Feiye took up a brush and started to write accounts, not even bothering to look at her as she came in. Han Yunxi stood before him, separated by the study table as she asked, "Madame Li is Qingyi, right?"
"Mmm," Long Feiye replied indifferently.
Since Madame Li was Qingyi, that meant she was the leader of this batch of hidden spies. Capturing Madame Li meant that they could round up the whole group in one fell swoop.
"That...that day with that terrifying masked man, what about him?" Han Yunxi asked again. The masked man was the true poisons expert. Unless they rooted him out, they'd probably have more troubles in the future.
"Aside from Madame Li, no one else knows of his existence," Long Feiye's tone was very even, but Han Yunxi's mind recalled Madame Li's reticent expression. She couldn't figure out what kind of capabilities that masked man possessed to make Madame Li so devoted to him.
After asking about Madame Li, Han Yunxi hesitated before going on. "Have you found out the background of Celestial Fragrance Teashop's owner?"
At this, Long Feiye raised his head to ask her coldly, "Do you have business with your lordship?"
Perhaps they were standing too close to each other, perhaps his eyes were too cold; in any case, Han Yunxi found herself unconsciously backing away.
Couldn't she find him even if there wasn't any business?
Wasn't she asking him questions right now? Gu Qishao had taken advantage of her!
Well, all right, this wasn't her main motive for coming. She might as well say it outright.
"Regarding the hidden spy, will the Han Family be implicated as well?"
The matter had been publicized simply as Madame Li and her daughter poisoning the young general. But in truth, Madame Li was one of the leaders in Northern Li's spy network. Her crime was grossly heinous since she threatened the security of the entire Tianning Country. Since Madame Li had came from the Han estate, the Han Family had responsibility as well.
"I can't give you a definite answer right now," Long Feiye said simply.
Hearing this, Han Yunxi grew agitated. "Then what about Yi'er? You promised me you'd protect him!"
This was the first time that Long Feiye had seen Han Yunxi so worked up over a single person. Was Han Yunyi her weak point?
He hated when this woman had weak points!
All matters regarding the hidden spies were in the palm of his hand. With his power and authority, it would have been an assured thing to protect Han Yunyi. But Madame Li's dying words that night had angered Emperor Tianhui. Han Yunxi didn't know, but suspicion had fallen on the Han house and herself in equal measure.
A detoxification expert was precisely the foremost authority on poisons. How could Emperor Tianhui not have second thoughts upon these words by Madame Li? Should he use her heavily, or root her out immediately? Either choice was the difference of a thought for the paranoid sovereign. Moreover, Han Yunxi was Long Feiye's wife. How could Long Feiye not have a headache?
This matter required Long Feiye to circle around Emperor Tianhui.
"Your lordship has no way to give you a definite answer right now," Long Feiye replied, still as indifferent as before.
Han Yunxi was astonished and leaned forward. Her voice rose with her agitation. "You clearly promised me!"
Because he'd promised her, she'd taken him to Madame Li's quarters to search for evidence. Why did he say that things weren't certain now? What did he mean? He couldn't protect Yi'er anymore?
This was the first time that anyone had dared to raise their voice at him. Long Feiye's tone turned stern. "Isn't the Han Family and Han Yunyi still all right? Why are you so anxious?"
Han Yunix immediately backed down, but she still wasn't satisfied. "I...I...then you tell me, what do you mean?"
"Exactly what the surface meaning implies. If there's nothing else, you can go," Long Feiye was both vexed and perturbed. When he saw this woman getting restless, he grew even more irritated. He really didn't understand why he wanted to shield her. In any case, she was a woman given to him by Emperor Tianhui. If the emperor wanted her, he might as well take her! What was he so worried about?
On the other hand, Han Yunxi was stunned that this fellow could act this way! She grew angry enough to slam the table. "What you've promised me, you have to see through!"
Long Feiye's eyes rested on her hand before slowly rising to meet her eyes. Very good, this woman had broken another record. Not only did she yell at him, she dared to pound his desk as well.
"Your lordship will say this for the last time. You, get out!" Long Feiye's voice had reached frigid tones.
Han Yunxi didn't fear him at all. She gave him a vicious glare before flicking her sleeves and leaving!