Chapter 273: Meeting a gentleman upon his return
"Don't!" Han Yunxi cried out shrilly, before snatching the box away from the little squirrel. Because she'd used so much strength, the little creature was sent tumbling backwards. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi was so scared that her heart nearly leapt out of her throat. Because she'd argued so fiercely with Long Feiye, she even forget to return this thing to him. No matter where it had come from, it was very important. If the little squirrel ate it, she wouldn't be able to face Long Feiye for the rest of her life.
The little squirrel was scared stiff by Han Yunxi's fierce reaction. He tried to curl up into a ball, but his tummy was too round from eating his fill. There was no way he could tuck it in, so he settled for sticking out his tummy and shrinking back his head and four limbs instead to look pitifully at Han Yunxi. Han Yunxi checked to make sure the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion hadn't been contaminated or eaten in any way before expelling a long breath. She'd really been frightened to death. She didn't even know what this thing was, so where was she supposed to find a replacement bottle to give Long Feiye if it disappeared? After calming her nerves, she closed the rosemary box and glared at the little squirrel.
Master's so ferocious! The little squirrel shrank back even further, its black pupils blinking innocently as it waited for Han Yunxi to pass judgement. Though Han Yunxi was still in the throes of her panic, the sight of the little squirrel acting so adorable made her both amused as well as angry. In the end, she didn't know what to do. How did she end up adopting a chowhound? This was basically collecting living losses! He'd eaten two big bags of her poisons, including much of what she'd made herself from expensive ingredients bought from Medical City's medicine markets. The reserves of the detox system were in imminent danger!
Han Yunxi checked her medical pouch anew, only to discover that all of the poisons inside were gone. However, her needles were kept neat and tidy, completely untouched. Heheh, at least this little thing was tactful; otherwise, she'd find a sack and tie him up inside. Han Yunxi looked at the little squirrel before suddenly coming to a realization. "You recognize this poison?"
If Long Feiye hadn't demonstrated the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion's effects, she wouldn't have known it was a hypertoxic poison. The little squirrel must have realized it, and that's why it wanted to eat it. The little squirrel who had done wrong felt scared again and kept retreating backwards. It didn't seem like it understood Han Yunxi's words. Han Yunxi didn't know how to communicate with the little thing either. She placed the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion in front of it and waved her hand. "Remember, you can't touch this no matter how hungry you are, understand?"
But the little squirrel did understand this time. It stood up with its tubby tummy hanging down and furiously nodded its head, afraid that Han Yunxi wouldn't get the message. Its cute actions caused Han Yunxi to burst out into laughter. Finally, a spot of sunlight broke into her gloomy, cloudy mood. Seeing Han Yunxi smile, the little squirrel finally relaxed. Soon enough, it was climbing onto Han Yunxi's arms and grinning at her. Han Yunxi used two fingers to pinch the squirrel by the neck and deposit it in her hand. She sat back in a rocking chair and placed the squirrel before her. Since there was no one to talk to right now, it was fine if this squirrel could keep her company.
"Of all the people in the world, why did you find me?"
"How many meals do you eat in a day?"
"How old are you this year?"
"Do you have a name?"
In actuality, Han Yunxi was just talking to herself. How could she hope for the little squirrel to reply? But the little squirrel perked up its ears to listen carefully, feeling more and more confused the longer it heard her. It could guess the meaning of human speech vaguely through its tones and speaker expressions, but it had no idea what this big jumble of words meant. Han Yunxi looked at it back and forth before suddenly breaking out into a smile.
"How about I just call you 'Lil Thing?'"
The little squirrel had no idea what was going on, but since Han Yunxi was smiling, it smiled happily in return. And thus, the poison beast Gu Shu's nickname was decided as Lil Thing! Even if Han Yunxi wasn't happy, smiling so often cheered up her spirits in the end.
"Lil Thing, let's go. We're going to find Third Elder!" Hiding away all her disappointment, she was the free and easy, strong and stubborn Han Yunxi once again. There were many things she still had to do. Although she'd been forced to come to Medical City, she still wanted to investigate Lady Tianxin's origins here. Just how had that woman helped Han Congan gain his position of director back then? Han Yunxi had asked Luo Zuishan, but he had never bothered with a doctor of Han Congan's rank. Neither did he recognize the name of Lady Tianxin. Since the title of director was conferred by the Council of Elders, it'd be best to ask Third Elder directly. Han Yunxi was about to leave when she remembered something and sat back down. Then she took Lil Thing out of her medical pouch and concentrated all her attention on the creature before replacing it in her pouch.
What was she doing?
Of course she was refilling the pouch with some necessary ingredients, including some defensive poisons and a bit of antidotes. There were plenty of people with their eyes on her in this medical academy, so it was better to be prudent to avoid conflicts exposed by the detox system. Lil Thing was very confused upon seeing the medical pouch full of poisons again. Where had these things come from? Could it be that its new master was capable of creating poisons out of thin air?
So as it turned out, it'd picked the right master, then?
Lil Thing was very happy and put the memory of its angry master to the back of its mind. Then it started to eat its fill right in front of her face. Despite its large mouthfuls, it ate almost soundlessly with its eyes closed in delight. Fortunately, Han Yunxi had taken a second look; otherwise she'd be doomed when it came time to use her medical pouch! It wasn't long before Lil Thing polished off half the contents in her pouch, making her eye twitch at the sight. Since last night, that is, since a day and a night ago, it'd eaten two full bags but was still going strong. Just how big was its appetite? Would it eat her out of house and home?
Han Yunxi suddenly picked up Lil Thing, who opened its eyes in confusion before shrinking into a white furball in fright. It seemed like master was angry again, but he really didn't mean it. He'd just woken up after sleeping for five years, so his stomach was rumbling. Moreover, after emptying out a bottle full of blood, it really was very, very hungry.
"You're still hungry?" Han Yunxi asked.
Lil Thing chittered a few times, too afraid to speak any louder. Han Yunxi didn't understand, but picked up some poison to feed it. It was afraid to eat but couldn't resist taking a big bite in the end. It made sad chittering noises as it ate, because it really didn't mean it.
She'd completely lost to him!
Han Yunxi simply settled down and placed Lil Thing back in the medical pouch so he could eat as he wished. As soon as her poison reserves diminished, she simply took out some more from the detox system. She'd like to see exactly how much this little creature could fit into his stomach.
But she soon realized that this was an incomparably stupid idea! Hardly an hour had passed before half of her detox system's stores had disappeared into Lil Thing's stomach! Even so, Lil Thing didn't seem full at all, but kept eating whatever was offered to him! Finally, Han Yunxi didn't even dare to withdraw any more ingredients. Her heart ached at the thought! She'd taken great pains to put those poisons and poison-making ingredients into her detox system. What kinds of sins did she commit to take in such a homewrecker? Just when she was at a loss, someone knocked on the door.
Who was it?
This was Gu Beiyue's guest room, but there was no news of him even now. Who could be at the door? Han Yunxi quickly hid away Lil Thing before opening the door, only to see a man dressed in white. His robes were as white as snow, his eyes limpid and clear with a gentle light. One couldn't help but think of a line of poetry at the sight: the youth on the path is one like jade, whose gentleman is this to be so unparalleled!
Gu Beiyue had returned.
Despite this, his face was ashen white, as if he'd gone through a severe bout of illness that left him weakened.
"What happened to you? Where did you go?" Han Yunxi was shocked. It had been a few days since she'd seen him.
Gu Beiyue didn't reply, but asked instead, "Esteemed wangfei, how is the crown prince's illness?"
"Don't bother with so much right now. Just what's happened to you?" Han Yunxi asked urgently. No matter what, Gu Beiyue had been implicated in this mess with her. As one of her only friends in Tianning, she didn't want him to meet with an unexpected end.
"I fell ill and couldn't come back, thus worrying esteemed wangfei." Even when ill, his self-possession was masterful. Han Yunxi quickly supported him inside and personally poured him some hot water.
"I went out to pay a call on a departed friend. Unfortunately, the night wind caused me to catch a chill and sickened me for a few days. I even forgot to send someone with a message, may esteemed wangfei forgive me," Gu Beiyue explained.
"Let me take a look!" Han Yunxi pulled his hand over to take his pulse. Last time this fellow had been the same, falling completely unwell after catching a cold. This was related to his past as a chronic invalid, which made his constitution frail. As it turned out, Han Yunxi's pulse reading this time exactly matched his condition from last time. She never suspected anything of Gu Beiyue from the start, so this pulse eliminated any other thoughts from her side. Since this fellow had fallen sick at his friend's house, it was no wonder no one in Medical City could find him.
"It's good that you're back. I'm just worried that something happened to you," Han Yunxi released a breath before explaining how she'd triumphed over Third Elder.
"But didn't esteemed wangfei lack an antidote?" Gu Beiyue asked seriously.
"Later on, I got one!" Han Yunxi grinned, debating whether she should tell Gu Beiyue about the poison beast. She'd always trusted him more than the others, though she didn't know why. In any case, whenever she used needles to expel poisons, she was used to him being her assistant. As it turned out, the little squirrel chose this time to peek out from the medical pouch and run up Gu Beiyue's shoulder. It wasn't afraid of this stranger at all, but happily pranced left and right between his shoulders.
Gu Beiyue wore a face full of astonishment. "Esteemed wangfei, are you keeping this as a pet?"
Han Yunxi was floored. She really want to say she'd completely lost. But still, it was strange. The little squirrel had kept itself hidden ever since she came back, but it held no reservations towards Gu Beiyue. She couldn't explain it, but looking at how happy the squirrel was, she figured it might just be fate.
"I didn't raise it, but picked it up. It was the one who cured Long Tianmo's poison," Han Yunxi said playfully.
"The poison beast?" Gu Beiyue was surprised.
Han Yunxi was surprised as well. "You know about the poison beast?"
Gu Beiyue nodded his head seriously. "Esteemed wangfei, forgive this subordinate for speaking bluntly, but this isn't a creature you can afford to raise."