Chapter 200: Interrogation, implicating the Tang Clan
Just like little Yi'er said, Seventh Madame had prepared a table full of delicacies and fine wine to celebrate their deeds. Leaving aside little Yi'er, Seventh Madame had an excellent impression of Gu Beiyue as well. After he took off his white medical robes, he changed into a long gown the shade of crescent-moon white. It made him look like a young master of some old and well-known aristocratic family, as gentle and kindly as jade.
There wasn't much etiquette around the dinner table, but more talk and cheerful laughter. Unexpectedly, their happy conversation was interrupted by a needle that appeared out of thin air to land accurately in Han Yunxi's bowl! Gu Beiyue's eyes grew sharp as he prepared to make a move, but the sight of the needle stilled him in his tracks. It was the five-bladed Plum Blossom Needle, the most low-tier of Tang Clan assassination weapons. Despite its ranking, it was still difficult to get one's hands on one. Judging by this Plum Blossom Needle's make and materials, it had to be a Tang Clan product!
Had people of the Tang Clan arrived?
Various thoughts had flickered through Gu Beiyue's head long before anyone else could react. He had multiple hypotheses in his head, but his gentle countenance didn't betray any of his thoughts. Han Yunxi rose to her feet at the same time little Yi'er and Seventh Madame grew flurried. On instinct, Seventh Madame gathered little Yi'er into her arms and cried out, "Guards! Gua..."
Before she finished the second shout, a red-robed man appeared from thin air and landed into front of Seventh Madame. He lowered his head like a mysterious fox from a dark realm, his entire being emanating a dangerous air. Those long eyes narrowed to study Seventh Madame, scaring her into silence with her mouth hanging open. No sound came out.
On the other side, Han Yunxi adopted a severe tone. "Gu Qishao, it's you again!"
The Han family's guards couldn't deal with a fellow like this. Han Yunxi rushed forward, reaching out her hands to shield Seventh Madame and little Yi'er behind her as she said savagely, "Hanging around like an evil spirit, just what do you want to do?"
Faced with an angry Han Yunxi, Gu Qishao not only didn't get angry, but had his eyes light up. If this woman really wanted to kill him one day, who knew if he'd take offense? In any case, he hadn't held a grudge from the last time she'd poisoned him. His eyes were still narrowed, but his smile was even narrower. "It's not like I'll really hurt you. Why so nervous?"
"You scared me!" Han Yunxi said irritably, her eyes drifting to his right hand. Seeing that it was still there and simply wrapped in a layer of gauze, she was relieved. Gu Qishao didn't miss her glance and felt delighted. He raised up his hand and waved it in front of Han Yunxi's face.
"What, worried about my hand?"
"Why wasn't it ruined? A waste of my poison!" Han Yunxi's tone took on a venomous air, but Gu Qishao just didn't mind. His right hand waved back and forth like a magician's before he revealed a Plum Blossom Needle out of thin air.
"This is yours, right?" There were two Plum Blossom Needles in his possession, things he'd taken during his last visit to Leisurely Cloud Pavilion.
"Stealing my things! Give them back!" Han Yunxi reached out a hand. Though she had lots of Plum Blossom Needles at home, she didn't mind having plenty more. From what she'd found out, it was rare to get official Tang Clan products when you weren't one of their people.
Nobody noticed the astonished expression on Gu Beiyue's face. He'd assumed that the needles belonged to Gu Qishao, but never did he expect Han Yunxi to be their owner! Both the Plum Blossom Needle in her bowl and in Gu Qishao's hands were genuine Tang Clan products! The Tang Clan never had dealings with outsiders, and its weapons were either one-use only or collected and retrieved at the end of battles. Even their most worthless products rarely fell into others' hands!
Does this woman have a connection with the Tang Clan?
The origins of her poison skills were unknown despite being so consummate. If she had connections with the Tang Clan, was it possible that... Gu Beiyue seemed to recall something, because his warm eyes suddenly brightened up like a shining sun, filled with hope!
Gu Qishao had laid in hiding at the capital for days before finally getting a chance to approach Han Yunxi. Of course he was going to ask questions until he was clear. As for the imperial physician by her side, he didn't give him a second thought. His words were very blunt.
"Your biological father isn't Han Congan, right?"
His words caused Han Yunxi's face to plummet. How did this fellow figure out the secret? She thought that Han Congan was the only one who knew! Han Congan couldn't have told him, so did this guy know Lady Tianxin's secrets? Her heart started to pound, though she was still filled with doubts. Her first reaction was to deny the claims. "Gu Qishao, what kind of nonsense are you spewing? Just what do you want?"
Still, Gu Qishao was very serious. "Women of the Tang Clan don't marry outsiders. Lady Tianxin isn't from the Tang Clan, so your father must be it!"
Cough, cough! What kind of reasoning was this?!
Han Yunxi opened her eyes wide, blinking at Gu Qishao until he started to have doubts. He hastened to explain, "The Tang Clan doesn't give their weapons to outsiders, otherwise...how else would you have these things?"
So that was it...
Han Yunxi quietly released a breath. Instead of answering, she asked, "Why do I have to tell you?"
Tang Li had given her the Plum Blossom Needles. He was a fugitive of the Tang Clan because he ran away from his marriage, so she couldn't betray him no matter who asked. Moreoever, Tang Li had given her these weapons thanks in part to Long Feiye. The friendship between Long Feiye and Tang Li didn't seem like something that should be casually publicized, either.
"Poison lass, this matter is very important to me. I risked my life to come ask you. Long Feiye's guards are still standing outside. Do you really have the heart to keep silent?" Gu Qishao said pitifully. It was hard to tell whether he was pretending.
Han Yunxi feigned a sigh. "All right, I'm not afraid of being a laughingstock. These are counterfeits I bought from the side of the road to play around with." She couldn't help but wonder why this fellow was so interested in the Tang Clan's assassination weapons.
"Poison lass, that's too dishonest and unkind, isn't it? These are obviously the genuine article," Gu Qishao was unhappy.
But Han Yunxi only rebutted, "Why are you so sure they're authentic? What's your relationship with the Tang Clan?"
After studying these needles for days, Han Yunxi had naturally compared them with forgeries. Aside from insiders and people like her, who had a point of comparison, it'd typically be very hard to spot the fakes in a short amount of time.
"Because I've studied these weapons! These have to be genuine!" Gu Qishao was completely serious.
"Why are you studying Tang Clan weapons? How is this important to you?" Han Yunxi kept asking.
Gu Qishao was about to reply when he suddenly stopped, realizing he'd been following Han Yunxi's pace. He narrowed his eyes and suddenly drew closer, his voice menacing. "Poison lass, this gentleman will ask you one more time. Are you...going to tell me...or not?"
A dangerous light flashed in his eyes, but inexplicably, Han Yunxi wasn't afraid. She smiled stiffly and raised her hand, revealing her Pointer Needles between the fingers as they aimed at Gu Qishao's face. Unfortunately, Gu Qishao was faster and caught her by the wrist. Han Yunxi kicked out with her foot, preparing to attack Gu Qishao's knee with the Row-Array Needles in her shoe, but he dodged and took the chance to trip her.
"Ah!" Losing her center of balance, Han Yunxi toppled to the right, where Gu Qishao leisurely stuck out a hand and caught her by the waist. He bent over her, an evil and menacing air in his gaze. "Poison lass, you've already used up your last chance. Now..."
Before he could finish, Han Yunxi spat out a needle from her mouth. The surprised Gu Qishao turned his face away to evade it, giving Han Yunxi the chance to grab his injured right hand and attacked it with her Pointer Needle!
Gu Qishao's face turned white from the pain as his hand lost all strength. Han Yunxi struggled free and created distance between them as she spoke coldly. "I bought these weapons off the black market at a high price. I have no connections whatsoever with the Tang Clan, but it's up to you whether or not to believe me!"
Gu Qishao was about to ask more questions when the calm and composed Gu Beiyue suddenly started to shout. "Someone come...someone, there's an assassin! Protect esteemed wangfei!"
No one expected Gu Beiyue to shout now of all times.
Of course, Gu Qishao didn't care about the Han family guards, but these days Long Feiye had sent his men to secretly follow Han Yunxi. When he saw that those guards hadn't entered the Han estate, he'd taken the chance to come inside. Now Gu Beiyue had shouted and exposed him. Reality proved that Gu Qishao's good temper was only reserved for Han Yunxi. A ruthless light flashed past his eyes as he threw the Plum Blossom Needle in his hand towards Gu Beiyue!
"Meddling in other's business, go die!"
His viciousness changed him to a completely different person. As soon as he threw the needle, he turned to leave. Because his right hand was still injured, he couldn't afford to stay! The strength of the Plum Blossom Needle was equal to the speed of its high-level user. Gu Beiyue seemed to be rooted to the spot with fear.
"Dodge it!" Han Yunxi exclaimed. But even she felt that there wasn't enough time. The Plum Blossom Needle was headed straight for Gu Beiyue's heart! She closed her eyes hopelessly, afraid to watch, while Seventh Madame and little Yi'er had long shut their own eyes in fear.
However, none of them saw Gu Beiyue's soft smile. The instant before the Plum Blossom Needle reached his heart, his body overflowed with a quiet, formless energy that calmly shifted the angle of the incoming weapon. Everything happened in an instant, but the five-bladed Plum Blossom Needle ended up piercing to the right of his heart. It went in very, very deep. One could imagine, he'd definitely be dead if the needle had actually hit his heart!
Who knew how Gu Qishao would feel after learning that he couldn't even kill a doctor that lacked the strength to truss a chicken?
In any case, Han Yunxi saw Gu Beiyue holding a hand over his heart as soon as she opened her eyes. When he fell to his knees, she was truly frightened and rushed over without a second thought.
"Gu Beiyue! Hold on! You have to hold on."
Gu Beiyue's face was ashen white, his chest and hand stained with blood. He lifted his head to look at Han Yunxi before fainting away. Han Yunxi had saved countless people both in this life and the last. No matter how severe the injury or illness, as long as she started treatment, she could get into the zone and calm herself down. But not this time!
It was unfathomable how sad she'd be if this medically skilled, gentle as jade man just died like that.
Supposedly, she should check his injury first and stop the bleeding, before assessing the danger of the assassination weapon and preparing backups for massive blood loss. But now she was utterly flustered, her sequence of steps completely out of order as she flipped through her medical pouch to dig out weapons and medicine alike.
Perhaps she wasn't bewildered, but afraid.
Could Gu Qishao really miss when faced with someone so physically weak? His vicious needle was filled with plenty of killing intent. Han Yunxi was even scared to look for the weapon. Just by seeing all his blood, Han Yunxi knew that the wound was very deep. She was terrified because she knew better than anyone else how impossible it was to take a needle out of the heart in ancient times. Even if they managed it somehow, the victim wouldn't survive.