Chapter 288: The Long Clan's prize for capture
Long Feiye's reward offer caused unrest in Medical City as well as the rest of Cloud Realm Continent. Near twilight, Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao arrived at Medicine City's south gates, where they spotted a large crowd gathered by the entrance.
"Did something big happen in Medicine City?" Gu Qishao said curiously as he went forward. But instead, he saw a huge bounty poster plastered to the wall! All it had was a single portrait and some text. The portrait itself was very big and took up two-thirds of the poster. The person in the portrait had exceedingly fine features and a tender, charming face, but even that couldn't conceal the innate regality between her brows. Gu Qishao recognized the painting as Han Yunxi with a glance! Two lines of text were written below the portrait.
The first line read: Return quickly, or bear the consequences.
The second line read: Anyone who sees this person should report it to the Duke of Qin's estate. Reward will be 10,000 taels of gold.
There were no details on how Han Yunxi had disappeared. The poster didn't even have the word "Missing" on it anywhere. The Duke of Qin posting rewards to find Qin Wangfei had already created a sensation across the continent, much less his hefty bounty. It'd be strange if it wasn't Cloud Realm Continent's lead story of the moment. The crowd around them was making guesses as to what happened. Some said that Han Yunxi had been kidnapped, while others speculated that she'd wandered off and gotten lost. Still others wondered whether the Duke of Qin was simply putting on a farce for Emperor Tianhui, since he didn't want this woman anymore...
Of all the guesses present, none of them imagined that Han Yunxi was the one who ran away herself. All the women in the world were wracking their brains to get close to His Highness Duke of Qin. How could there be one who ran away from him on her own? Gu Qishao studied the poster until his smile grew bigger and bigger, almost to the point he laughed out loud. He never thought that Han Yunxi would run off on her own one day!
No wonder she never answered his questions regarding Long Feiye, such as where he went or whether he knew what she was doing. Gu Qishao rubbed his chin and admired the poster with interest. The longer he enjoyed it, the better his mood became! What to do now? He was liking this Poison lass more and more. Han Yunxi, even though you've already married into the Duke of Qin's estate, I'll still take you away as long as you want to leave!
Long Feiye's prominent poster could only mean that he hadn't found the person he was looking for. In fact, he probably didn't have a clue as to her whereabouts! Gu Qishao was smiling so widely that his eyes had curved into crescents. He was about to turn and find Han Yunxi when he saw her standing behind him with a white veil to mask her face. In a flash, Gu Qishao's long, bewitching eyes subconsciously softened like water. Even his expression turned warm and gentle as he murmured, "Yunxi, I'll go with you to the ends of the Earth from now on. Let's never part ways, all right?"
Unfortunately, Han Yunxi wasn't even looking at him, much less listening to his words. She raised her head to stared at the wanted poster, her expression extremely solemn! After a while, she shifted her gaze to Gu Qishao, who still looked as gentle as before. It was a pity that Han Yunxi didn't take him seriously. All she said was, "Still not leaving?"
Gu Qishao gestured at the poster and teased, "10,000 taels of gold. How about I bring you back to claim the prize?"
Han Yunxi still wore an expression of severity. "Fine."
"I wouldn't trade you even if he gave me Tianning's entire national treasury!" Gu Qishao said easily.
Only then did Han Yunxi give a start. Gu Qishao's words were very nostalgic. Hadn't she heard similarly touching things from someone else in the past? But reality proved that she couldn't take such words seriously.
Gu Qishao purposely put on a face mask as well before entering the city with Han Yunxi. Once inside, they saw more of the same posters plastered all over the place. If it was like this in Medicine City, one could well imagine the situation in other places.
Long Feiye, that lunatic! What did he want her back for? To keep using her without any explanations? If he was in a good mood, he'd lead her along by the hand, but if he was in a bad mood, he'd be rude and take advantage of her? In the beginning, Han Yunxi would glance at the various posters they saw along the way, but soon enough she pretended they didn't even exist.
Long Feiye, you want to force me onto a dead end? I'm not falling for it!
By the time night fell, Gu Qishao and Han Yunxi settled down at an inn near the Mu Family. They asked for two rooms side by side. Gu Qishao assumed that Han Yunxi would be restless since her face looked so gloomy the entire way, but she wasn't anxious at all. After washing up and changing her clothes, she had dinner before coming over to ask him about the Mu Clan's affairs. There wasn't a single mention of the bounty posters. Gu Qishao wasn't a gossipy type, so he didn't ask what Han Yunxi didn't mention. He was always a person who paid more attention to results than the process it took to get there. It was enough if Poison lass was by his side now. Everything else could go die!
"How can you be sure that Mu Xin's my mother based on what she sewed?" Han Yunxi came straight to the point.
Gu Qishao had discovered by chance that the Xin () on her medical pouch was identical to the Xin () on Mu Xin's personal effects. Making a connection from both words, he followed the clues until he discovered that Lady Tianxin was the Mu Xin who'd abruptly vanished years ago. Gu Qishao had only given her a general summary on the way here, not the details. He said that he'd explain everything once they reached Medicine City.
"Based on what you asked Third Elder. That year, it was Lady Tianxin who had Lady Lianxin help her find Department Head Lin to have Han Congan skip the examinations and become an elected director. The reason that Lady Lianxin helped was because Lady Tianxin was her older sister and the Mu Clan's fourth young miss, Mu Xin," Gu Qishao had no intentions of hiding anything, now that he was explaining things to her.
So that was it!
Han Yunxi knew that she'd find clues in Medical City, but how did this fellow find out what Third Elder couldn't even ask? After all, Lady Lianxin's alliance with Department Head Lin and the latter's favoritism towards Han Yunxi, along with how Lady Tianxin had found Lady Lianxin for help in the past, were all extremely personal details!
"How did you find out? Why do you know everything about the medical academy?" This was the second time Han Yunxi had asked this question. Right now, she really wanted to know about Gu Qishao's origins. Gu Qishao's gaze softened at Han Yunxi's earnest expression. He really liked how it felt when she looked at him so intently.
"How did you find out?" Han Yunxi asked for the third time.
Gu Qishao suddenly reached out to pat her head. "Poison lass, it's not important how I found out. The main thing now is to figure out whether or not you're descended from the Poison Clan."
Han Yunxi was this close to telling him she probably was! But she still held back in the end. Aside from Gu Beiyue, who'd always helped her in silence, who else existed in this world that didn't want to use her for their own motives? She had no idea what Gu Qishao's motives were, but she'd known he had his own objectives ever since the first time they met and he saved her life.
"Suppose I'm really someone from the Poison Sect?" Han Yunxi asked playfully.
But Gu Qishao didn't answer her this time like usual. He smiled and stroked her head again, before giving her a doting smile. "Be good and rest first. I'll take you to see someone at the Mu Clan tonight."
Han Yunxi didn't press the issue. Her mother was already dead. It was impossible to fake dystocia, so who could Gu Qishao be taking her to meet? Medicine City and the medical academy had a strong relationship, while the Poison Sect was the medical academy's taboo topic. The Mu Clan was one of the three great families of Medicine City, so they'd never touch the medicine academy's taboos. Naturally, Lady Tianxin's affair had to be kept under wraps. Hadn't Lady Tianxin disappeared all those years ago? Was Lady Lianxin the only one who knew of her whereabouts, and that Mu Xin was Tianxin? Was it a pure coincidence that Lady Tianxin had a difficult labor, or were there other factors at play? Even though Han Yunxi had stumbled upon a big clue, she still knew nothing about Lady Tianxin or her real father.
When she noticed Gu Qishao leaving, Han Yunxi hastened to ask, "Where are you going?"
Gu Qishao turned back with a smile and a sentimental air. "Poison lass, don't worry. I won't forsake you unless I'm dead."
Unless he's dead?
Many years later, Han Yunxi would find out everything about Gu Qishao, including his inability to die. Every time she recalled the words he said today, her face would be drenched in tears.
Han Yunxi sighed lightly as she saw Gu Qishao vanish out the door. She walked to the window and saw multiple crowds of people swarming around the bounty posters below. Her eyes drooped before she eventually shut the window. What the eye doesn't see, the heart won't grieve over!
She opened up her medical pouch so she could talk to Lil Thing, but Lil Thing wasn't inside. Han Yunxi wasn't sure if Lil Thing had eaten its fill by the time she left the poison grounds. Every day, she'd take out lots of poisons into the medical pouch for it to eat. Sometimes Lil Thing would eat the whole bag clean; other times, it wouldn't make a single move. She didn't understand this little creature, but there wasn't time to study it now. All she could do was feed and hide it. Lil Thing was gone, but her poisons were still inside, untouched. Han Yunxi mused that it must have ran out to play. It'd gone missing multiple times during their journey, but it would always suddenly reappear.
After cleaning up her things, Han Yunxi went back to her room to sleep. But she couldn't have imagined even in her dreams the kind of horror Lil Thing caused during her one-hour nap! Right now, Lil Thing was standing right in front of the doors to the Medical Materials Association in Medicine City. That's right, it was the very Association that required a golden pass for anyone to enter and exit its doors. It was the most high-class market for medicinal ingredients in Medicine City and only sold top-tier goods. When Long Feiye had first brought Han Yunxi here, he'd given her a gold card so she could shop as she wished. Supposedly, Han Yunxi had broken records for private expenditures at the Medical Materials Association that day.
The guards of the Association door were extremely strict. Lil Thing had tried to slip in the wake of someone's heels multiple times, but there weren't many people going in and out, so it had no place to hide. It'd eaten its fill at the poison grounds ages ago, but it wanted to try the taste of different ingredients here. It didn't just subsist on poisons alone. Sometimes when it was in a bad mood, it could even eateateat a completely living human! Since it hadn't been able to eat any meat recently, it might as well try some special, precious medicinal ingredients instead.
The defining traits of a glutton was someone who ate like the seas when hungry, and fastidiously when full!
Lil Thing hid in a corner like a mouse, occasionally poking its head out as it waited patiently. Finally, the scent of the medicine inside made it impossible to wait any longer. Thus, it followed along the wall as it inched towards the door. It was only as tall as a fist, so who would even notice?