Chapter 204: Hand strength, judged as a waste
At the first glimmer of dawn, Han Yunxi arrived at Long Feiye's courtyard. She was so worried about oversleeping that she had Zhao mama wake her up. She thought that she'd come early enough, but Long Feiye was already there steeping tea when she arrived. Her senses immediately grew more alert after inhaling the scent of green tea in the fresh, pure morning air. Compared to men who drank wine, Han Yunxi very much preferred men who drank tea.
Today, Long Feiye was dressed in loose and comfortable white robes meant for home wear, his hair casually coiled up and held in place with a jade hairpin. It made him seem less colder than usual and more carefree, but he was as self-contained as always. Even after Han Yunxi walked in front of him, she still felt as if they were in completely separate worlds.
"Morning," she said with a grin before sitting down without asking.
He gave a slight nod and poured her a cup of tea. Without wasting any words, he asked, "Have you brought over all the assassination weapons?"
Actually, Han Yunxi wanted to delve deeper into the friendship between this guy and Tang Li. Judging from Gu Qishao's reaction, it wasn't easy at all to procure Tang Clan weapons. Yet Tang Li had not only given her the Pear Blossom Rain Needles, but also gifted her a whole pile of Tang Clan weapons. It seemed as if Long Feiye had threatened him, but it also seemed like he was giving Long Feiye face as well. Still, no matter how good their feelings were, there was no reason to be so generous. Gu Qishao suspected her of having connections to the Tang Clan, but she who knew the truth suspected Long Feiye instead!
Seeing Long Feiye's icy self, Han Yunxi gave up on the idea. One needed courage to ask anything from this guy. She took out the five different types of needles and placed them on the table, dividing them into Plum Blossom Needles, Pointer Needles, Acupoint Needles, Row-Array Needles and Mouth Needles.
"Do you still remember how to use them?" Long Feiye asked next.
Different needles had different uses and different requirements for eye, hand, and inner strength. Han Yunxi earnestly nodded her head, acting like a proper young student as she recited the words Long Feiye had said the other day. Though he had made the first move, she couldn't grow haughty from this fact. Of course, the crucial point was that this guy might be in a better mood if she was more modest. Then, he'd teach her more things.
"Eye strength shouldn't be an issue for you, right?" Long Feiye asked mildly.
"If I had enough hand strength, it shouldn't be an issue to get 100 percent accuracy," Han Yunxi wasn't bragging. Eye strength was one of her strong points. As a doctor, especially one who relied on needle arts to make a living like her, a single glance was enough to find all sorts of acupuncture points on the human body. She was also very clear on its various weak points.
Long Feiye nodded and lightly rolled up his sleeves. He extended a hand and assumed the posture for arm wrestling. Han Yunxi was startled at the sight. "What are you planning to do?"
"Measuring your potential for hand strength. Hand." Long Feiye really was succinct with his words.
Han Yunxi didn't quite understand, but obediently offered her hand. Still, her motion suddenly slowed down as she approached Long Feiye's palm. To arm wrestle, she needed to hold onto his hand. After some hesitation, she inched closer, her motions growing slower the closer she got to him.
"It's just to see how much your hand strength can be trained. What are you afraid of?" Long Feiye asked.
"Oh." She wasn't afraid, just...inexplicably nervous.
Wasn't it just holding hands?!
Han Yunxi silently exhaled as her small hand finally made contact with Long Feiye's big one. Still, she shrank back as soon as they made contact. How cold!
Long Feiye's patience was limited. He was about to urge her to hurry up when he suddenly seemed to realize something. Those deep eyes flashed with a hint of amusement as he said, "You don't dare?"
Afraid to touch him or afraid to test herself, such words were both shady and provocative. The speaker had his own intentions, while the listener had her own interpretation. Both afforded as foods for thought. In Han Yunxi's understanding, "warmth" wasn't a word that existed in Long Feiye's realm. She only assumed that Long Feiye was provoking her. Her heart spurned her actions. She wasn't some sort of lovestruck ditz, so why did her thoughts stray every time she thought of him?
Seeing him act so magnanimously, what was going on in her brain? If he knew the little knot stuck in her heart, he'd probably find her detestable. With a soft cough, Han Yunxi steadied herself and smiled. "Your Highness mustn't yield to me."
Long Feiye's hand had been waiting there the whole time. He raised an eyebrow to express that he wouldn't, and Han Yunxi extended her hand again. This time her movements were nimble as she directly clasped Long Feiye's hand. It was naturally an icy hand. Years of holding a sword had turned the skin coarse. Her slender and white hand with its soft, warm skin that was as smooth as water created a tactile sensation that was very comfortable for Long Feiye. He had a strong urge to own and possess it, so much that his deep gaze shifted until it got even deeper.
His fingers were longer than hers, the contrast between their hands were more pronounced now that they were side-by-side. Han Yunxi managed to wrap her fingers around the space between his thumb and index finger with difficulty. It wasn't a very tight grip. After some hesitation, she tried carefully to shift her grip upwards. Her warm palm lightly brushed against his cold one. All she wanted was to get a higher grip, but she didn't know how provoking it was towards his self control!
That soft caress of her palm was both ticklish and provocative, limp and numbing. A warm current soundlessly rose from below his stomach for the first time in Long Feiye's life. His large hand impulsively grabbed Han Yunxi's smaller one and tightened!
With a start, Han Yunxi lifted her head to meet Long Feiye's dark eyes. Long Feiye's grip tightened as if preparing to pull Han Yunxi towards him. Yet it was right at this moment that she couldn't help but cry out, "It hurts!"
He was holding her hand so tightly that it felt like her bones were about to break. She really couldn't take it anymore. They hadn't even started arm wrestling before she found it unendurable. Just how much hand strength did this man have?!
Han Yunxi's cry immediately pulled Long Feiye back from his loss of self-control. His impenetrable gaze instantly grew alert as he released Han Yunxi's hand. She felt a simultaneous release of a heavy weight, yet emptiness and desolation at the same time. She wasn't sure why that was the case and glanced at Long Feiye, only to find his expression exceptionally solemn.
"I...really was in a bit of pain. Don't hold my hand so tightly. How about I try to move you instead?" she said timidly, assuming he was disappointed.
But Long Feiye only coldly replied, "No need. No matter how much you train your hand, it'll be a waste of time. You can't get much strength out of it."
Han Yunxi was surprised and hastened to ask, "Haven't...haven't we yet to test it?"
"If you can't even endure a grip like this, what else is there to hope for?" Long Feiye said mercilessly.
"But...but..." Han Yunxi grew anxious. She had no understanding of martial arts, much less how to train hand and arm strength. Was it really as Long Feiye had said?
Long Feiye stood up, and Han Yunxi hastened to follow after him. "Then what about inner energy? Can I train in that? Teach me inner strength."
"It's the same principle. Not teaching," Long Feiye said as he turned to leave.
Han Yunxi was left dumbstruck by her shock. She didn't notice how quickly Long Feiye had walked away, it was almost as if he was fleeing. Such news was too sudden, wasn't it? She only felt like she'd been thoroughly denied after looking forward to studying seriously. She stared woodenly at her hands. Even if she didn't understand anything, she knew that hand strength and inner energy were the basic building blocks of martial arts. If she couldn't learn either, was she a waste at martial arts?
Did she really have to be so unlucky?!
Han Yunxi was unable to reconcile to this truth and chased after Long Feiye in a rush, but he was nowhere to be found.
For the next few days, Long Feiye didn't make any appearances. It was as if he'd vanished off the face of the Earth. Han Yunxi mused that he must disdain her completely now. That's why the fellow abandoned her so thoroughly and lost interest. The detox system was still in the middle of upgrading, so Han Yunxi continued her days feeling tired. As soon as she napped, two hours would slip by. When she was conscious, she coated the Tang Clan assassination weapons in poison while feeling depressed. These were such perfect weapons, but it was a pity they and her had no destiny together.
Still, the optimistic Han Yunxi didn't feel sad for long. Heaven had already granted her an innate talent with the poison arts. Even if she was a martial arts waste, she wouldn't demand anything more. But would Long Feiye still take her out to play if she didn't know how to use assassination weapons, only poisons?
Soon enough, Han Yunxi got her answer.
After being missing for 10 days, Long Feiye ordered Chu Xifeng to gift Han Yunxi an item with a very beautiful, unique name: the Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain.
This was a type of assassination weapon that greatly resembled a hand chain bracelet. A shade of enchanting red, the chains themselves were inlaid with red jade stones and rested against Han Yunxi's small white hand, wrapping around her wrist and the back of her hand. It fit very well with moderate tightness, and emanated an inexpressibly noble beauty. Even Chu Xifeng found it hard to shift his gaze from the sight. He couldn't help but wonder whether His Highness had taken measurements of the esteemed wangfei's hand before having it made.
Those who didn't know beforehand, no matter how good their eyes were, would just assume this was an expensive piece of jewelry. No one would ever think it was an assassination weapon. Moreover, the Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain was a formidable weapon newly created by the Tang Clan themselves. It was Long Feiye who'd pushed them to work without stopping for 10 days to create this one of a kind weapon inspired by the Pear Blossom Rain Needles!
Of course, it still couldn't compare to the Pear Blossom Rain Needles itself. The strength and speed were about one-third that of the original product. Even the Tang Clan itself didn't understand all the secrets of the Pear Blossom Rain Needles. For them to approximate its strength to this extent was already quite good. However, the advantage of this bracelet was that it could be refilled with needles after it was used, unlike its predecessor.
"Esteemed wangfei, these 13 jade stones of various sizes can each hide up to three needles. 39 needles should be enough for you to use for awhile," Chu Xifeng smiled.
Han Yunxi fiddled with the bracelet on her hands, finding it somewhat inconceivable. Timidly she asked, "Can I test it out?"
Since when had this mistress been so polite with her words? Chu Xifeng was amused. "This is what His Highness gave you. Once it's in your hands, it belongs to you, use it as you'd like!"
"Then good. Stand further back, I'll test out its strength and speed," Han Yunxi said seriously.
Chu Xifeng narrowly avoided keeling over as his expression stiffened. So she wants to use me for target practice!
Han Yunxi waved a hand to urge him to back up. She'd tasted the strength of the Pear Blossom Rain Needles. This Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain shouldn't disappoint her too much.