Chapter 229: Truth, just who is he
Luo Zuishan seemed disdainful, but his heart was filled with shock. If not for the kidnapping, he'd probably be asking Han Yunxi in the carriage, 'How is that boy Gu Qishao doing?' this instant, right? He had watched Gu Qishao grow up, so there was probably no one else in the world who understood him better, right?
Any woman that Gu Qishao could mention at a moment's notice couldn't be simple!
Moreover, Gu Qishao not only constantly referred to this "Poison lass," but had actually helped her immensely. If not for him, Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue would probably been assigned the death penalty by now.
"What kind of special is 'nothing special?'" Gu Qishao's voice betrayed a rare tone of anxiety. He'd always stuck to his own way of doing things, being an unruly type. Why did someone else's opinion suddenly turn so important?
Luo Zuishan found it unbelievable and couldn't help asking, "Boy, did you take a fancy to her poison arts or the person herself?"
The scatter-brained Gu Qishao seemed to lose his train of thought for a second before giving a serious, determined answer. "Of course it's her poison arts."
"What's so noteworthy about her poison skills? Are they better than yours? When I saw her use those poison needles, it wasn't much to look at," Luo Zuishan belittled on purpose. Though he knew nothing about assassination weapons, he could tell the speed of those poison needles had been uncanny.
"They're average at most, in fact...truthfully speaking, they're nothing much at all," Gu Qishao grinned.
Of course Luo Zuishan didn't believe it. He stretched out his words and spoke in an odd tone as he probed further. "Tru...ly...?"
Only then did Gu Qishao realize he was probing. He instantly rolled his eyes and adopted an indifferent expression. "It's your choice whether or not to believe it. You can forget about it if you don't."
"Hmph!" Now Luo Zuishan was angry. His eyes narrowed as he drew closer to Gu Qishao. "Rascal, for the sake of a trifling girl who knows poisons, you used this old man's title as a director to apply for the command tablet from the Council of Elders. Do you think this is amusing? Just what do you see in that girl?"
Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue had been locked in the imperial prisons for two days when Luo Zuishan had rushed over from the distant Northern Li Country with command tablet in hand. Such speed was all due to Gu Qishao. Now he was really angry. Gu Qishao had not only told him of Xi Yubo's misdiagnosis, but placed his title as director at stake for that command tablet.
No no, to put it more accurately, Gu Qishao had acted first and reported afterwards. First he placed Luo Zuishan's title as director at stake to get the tablet, then told Luo Zuishan about Xi Yubo's misdiagnosis. In the end, it forced Luo Zuishan to have no choice but make an appearance. If Luo Zuishan had no way to confirm that Xi Yubo's diagnosis was wrong this time, then he'd lose his title as director. But he had no idea what was wrong with Long Tianmo's stomach even now.
His confidence that the Council of Elders would overturn Xi Yubo all came from the fact that Gu Qishao would help him. Once they got to Medical City, he could tell him the secret to Long Tianmo's stomach. Though it was reasonable to trust Gu Qishao with such hefty matters, if the latter didn't have any motive besides rescuing that girl, then Luo Zuishan would still feel grieved.
"I've taken a fancy to her poison skills," Gu Qishao replied, the same as before.
Luo Zuishan didn't speak, but his gaze suddenly turned sharp enough to slice through everything as he glared at Gu Qishao. In the end, he still didn't believe his reply. Still, the more he stares, the brighter Gu Qishao smiled.
"Heheh, I took a fancy to her along the way as well."
Could you take a fancy to someone 'along the way?'
As Gu Qishao spoke, he straightened up from his lazy perch on a tree branch and started walking back the way they'd came. Han Yunxi was probably waiting there for him to bring back Luo Zuishan. He'd helped that girl once again. Why did he like helping her so much?
Luo Zuishan watched his retreating figure while deep in thought, pondering over his reply just then. Suddenly, he came to a realization and said in surprise, "Boy, she wouldn't be...she wouldn't be the person you've been looking for all this time, would she?"
Gu Qishao had been looking for a person-female-the entire time. Of all the people in the world, only Luo Zuishan knew this fact. Gu Qishao's footsteps faltered, but he quickly recovered his usual speed. His answer to Luo Zuishan was nothing more than the silent but bewitching figure of his back. He seemed to be walking as he pleased, but his minute steps were very fast. By the time Luo Zuishan caught up, they'd already returned to where the carriage had stopped. However, the scene before them left the inquisitive Luo Zuishan gaping dumbstruck. Even Gu Qishao's expression changed.
How had this happened?
Han Yunxi and Xi Yubo's carriages had completely overturned like the scene of a violent struggle. Xi Yubo and Gu Beiyue had both been injured and were sprawled on the side, while Han Yunxi...had disappeared!
"Where's Han Yunxi?" Gu Qishao asked angrily as he grabbed Gu Beiyue by the collar.
"When you two left, another wave of assassins appeared. These three must have been part of the same group, their target was none other than Qin Wangfei. Esteemed wangfei was hopelessly outnumbered against them," Gu Beiyue said seriously.
When Gu Qishao finally understood, he pushed Gu Beiyue aside. "I've been played!"
These assassins had split up in groups to act. First they'd taken away Long Tianmo, then Luo Zuishan, to split up their forces. This was a ploy to lure the enemy away from his base!
"The third wave of assassins were much more formidable than the first two. All of them knew poisons. This damned girl Han Yunxi, just who did she offend? The black-robed man who took her away had to be a top level expert!" Xi Yubo was frightened to death and couldn't help but blurt out his words. Just then, what had happened was too dangerous. A whole group of masked men dressed in black, skilled in martial arts and poisons, were too much for Han Yunxi to handle. Finally, the black-robed man with the most formidable skills had stolen her away.
"Top level expert?" Gu Qishao could guess who it was and was filled with disdain.
"Yes, and he knew poisons too," Xi Yubo hastened to add.
Gu Beiyue's eyes flickered with a complicated expression, but he didn't speak up. In the chaos back then, he'd seen everything clearly, which was why he'd stayed his hand. Though the wave of assassins had known how to use poisons, he was certain the one who took Han Yunxi away didn't know them. That was a black-robed man who had mixed himself amongst the other assassins.
"Where did they go?" Gu Qishao glared at Xi Yubo.
For some reason, Xi Yubo felt a sudden wave of familiarity when faced with Gu Qishao's long and narrow eyes filled with wrath. Many years ago, there was a youth who had been expelled from the medical academy, the foster son of the head elder who'd been raised with medicine since young. When that son had turned to run out the medical academy gates, he'd looked back with the same fierce, unyielding gaze.
Such bewitching eyes were as brilliant as sunlight when they smiled, but why were they capable of hiding such deepset viciousness?
Could this masked man dressed in red be none other than that boy, Gu Qi Sha?
Gu Qi Sha was only 10 years old when he was driven out of the medical academy. Within a few years, he'd established himself and created Pill Fiend Valley and spent his years dressed in black robes and a facemask. No one had ever seen his true face so that even his foster father, the head elder of Cloud Realm Medical Academy, had no idea what he looked like. Lost in thought, Xi Yubo forgot to reply, but Gu Qishao wasn't so patient. He struck out with his foot and kicked the man as he demanded, "Which way did they go, speak!"
Heaven knows how much strength he used, because Xi Yubo spat out a stream of blood right then and there. He was completely incapable of speaking; fortunately, Gu Beiyue quickly answered, "The forests in the north."
Gu Qishao ran off to give chase without a word. He'd been tailing them the entire way just to make sure Han Yunxi got to Medical City smoothly. Just what kind of trap had lured him away and ruined his good plans? If Luo Zuishan hadn't been kidnapped, he wouldn't have revealed himself at all.
After Gu Qishao left, Xi Yubo looked hastily at Luo Zuishan, not even bothering with the blood by the corner of his lip. "Do you and him...know each other?"
Luo Zuishan had a cold smile in his heart. Their relationship went beyond simply knowing each other, but all he did was shake his head and ask Gu Beiyue, "Does Qin Wangfei know him?"
Gu Beiyue could guess that the masked man was Gu Qishao, but he feigned ignorance and simply shook his head. "This one is unclear."
Gu Qishao spent half the day searching in the northern forests, but didn't find a trace of anything. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi was by the cliffs bordering the forest, the light from the setting sun lengthening the shadows by her feet. The black-robed man stood right behind her, his figure tall, straight, and haughty. Han Yunxi wasn't short, but she only reached up to his chest. A black cloth covered his face, and his entire being emanated with an enigmatic air. By the waning sunlight, he resembled a god of the night who had descended to earth. After kidnapping Han Yunxi, he'd spent the entire trip silent and brought them here, where they'd just landed.
Though he remained mute, Han Yunxi didn't speak either. She stood with her back to him, stubbornly refusing to turn around. When the waves of black-robed poison users had appeared, she knew they had to be the Duke of Kang, Jun Yixie's men. But when this man suddenly appeared to whisk her away, she began to harbor some doubts.
This man wasn't Jun Yixie, but he'd mixed himself amongst Jun Yixie's men and secretly brought her away. Who was this fellow? What were his motives for kidnapping her?
And why was he still refusing to speak?
After a long moment of hesitation, Han Yunxi ended up being the first to give in. "Those three waves of assassins were all part of the same group, but you're not one of them."
"How are you so sure?" the masked man asked mildly.
"Jun Yixie first kidnapped Long Tianmo, then Luo Zuishan. Without a doubt, he was planning to lure out..." Han Yunxi trailed off when she got to this point. Jun Yixie's methods were no doubt meant to lure out Long Feiye. Besides him, who else would make Jun Yixie take such pains? Long Feiye had no need to show himself if Long Tianmo was taken away, but he'd have to take action if Luo Zuishan was kidnapped. Unexpectedly, Long Feiye hadn't shown up, but Gu Qishao had.
Once Jun Yixie had made sure Long Feiye wasn't around, he'd planned to kidnap her. It'd be easy to kill her afterwards. After suffering such a big loss last time, the Jun Yixie who'd wanted to bring her to his side was probably long harboring killing intent. He'd definitely wait for a chance to strike. Had Long Feiye ever considered this fact for her sake?
Han Yunxi realized that her thoughts had started wandering away. She took a deep breath and smiled, but didn't continue the topic. Instead, she turned and said calmly, "Enough with the nonsense and let's get straight to the point. What are your motives?"
But the masked man only chuckled lightly.
Just who was he?