Chapter 318: The purpose of the uncle's visit
When Gu Qishao saw Mu Linger looking so disappointed, he asked with interest, "And?"
"I don't know," Mu Linger said honestly. If this was the past, she'd boldly let him deal with him as he wished, but Qi gege was still being so serious even after Han Yunxi had let her go. It saddened her and made things a little unbearable.
Gu Qishao beckoned her over with his finger. "Help me out with something. Once it's settled, I won't dispute the matter with you anymore."
Mu Linger's gloomy eyes immediately lit up as she glowed with a smile. She scampered over and ask happily, "What is it? Just tell me."
Gu Qishao tossed her the antidote prescription for Broomcorn Millet Poison and said, "Help me find Bear Chuan and Panoptic Red Lotus."
Mu Linger was unparalleled with formulating prescriptions and other pharmacy skills. She'd seen all sorts of strange and marvelous prescriptions before, but not this one. "This is an antidote, right?" Mu Linger asked in puzzlement. She recognized the ingredients on this list, but not their effects when put together.
"All you have to do is find the ingredients. Why ask so many questions?" Gu Qishao didn't tell Mu Linger that Mute Granny had been poisoned into a deaf-mute. He wasn't planning to tell her this was Broomcorn Millet Poison's antidote, either. It wasn't that he had reservations against Mu Linger, but that he was simply too lazy to tell her things she didn't need to know.
Mu Linger asked resentfully, "Then what about the Serpent Fruit? That's not easy to find."
Gu Qishao grinned. "I have Serpent Fruit."
"Where did you get it from?!" Mu Linger was astonished. Because she was Medicine City's genius pharmacist, she had all sorts of strange medicines and ingredients from Cloud Realm Continent in her hands. Though she knew that Pill Fiend from Pill Fiend Valley had a Serpent Fruit in his hands, she wasn't sure if it was ripe yet.
"I stole it," Gu Qishao replied carelessly.
"You...you went to Pill Fiend Valley to steal their things?" Mu Linger grew frightened. She'd met Pill Fiend once, but the memory still made her tremble in fear! That old thing was a horrific eccentric and difficult to deal with. If he knew Qi gege had stolen his Serpent Fruit, he'd probably give him no end of trouble.
Gu Qishao didn't answer her question, but threw Mu Linger a tin of tea leaves. "Newly picked tea leaves, for you."
Mu Linger hastily caught the tin, afraid that she'd accidentally drop it and shatter it into pieces. She was a little curious. "I'm not someone who likes drinking tea."
"I do, though." Gu Qishao said as he walked out. Mu Linger opened the tea tin and sniffed doubtfully at its contents. How come she didn't know Qi gege had a hobby like that?
"Qi gege, you..." The next time she looked up, Gu Qishao was already gone. "Qi gege where are you going? Wait up!" Mu Linger chased him all the way out of the inn, but Gu Qishao had long disappeared.
"It's not like you'll die from chatting a bit longer!" Mu Linger pouted, dissatisfaction written all over her face. Of course, she soon returned to the inn and started packing up her things without a second thought. She was going back to the Mu Estate. Bear Chuan and Panoptic Red Lotus were two rarely seen medicinal ingredients. She couldn't remember clearly, but she had to return to check her notes about them both. As to the message sent by her father via flying pigeon, she'd long pushed it to the back of her head...
Han Yunxi returned to the Duke of Qin's estate just after noon. She was planning to go to her study and study the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion while waiting for Long Feiye to return. Unexpectedly, Long Feiye was actually in the flower gardens. She'd forgotten how long it'd been since he was at home during the daytime. While Han Yunxi was walking over, Chu Xifeng was currently reporting on how Aunt Ru had met with Baili Mingxiang at General Baili's estate. At her approach, he withdrew.
Han Yunxi cut straight to the chase. "Your Highness, is Beauty's Blood related to the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion?"
Beauty's Blood was made with the help of hundreds of different poisons. If Long Feiye wanted the blood, it was probably tied up with the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. Long Feiye was about to explain when Zhao mama suddenly came to report, "Your Highness, Aunt Ru's arrive. She's waiting at the Sunset Cloud Pavilion with urgent news."
Long Feiye had purposely blocked out time to stay at the estate today, just to wait for Han Yunxi's arrival. He didn't expect Aunt Ru to come here after she left General Baili's estate. A flash of unhappiness flitted past his eyes before he rose to leave. He left Han Yunxi with the parting words, "Wait for me. I'll find you later."
Han Yunxi had a bad impression of Aunt Ru. She was a bit uneasy as she replied, "Alright, I'll wait for you."
As soon as Long Feiye arrived at the Sunset Cloud Pavilion, it was to see Aunt Ru wearing a stern expression as she asked, "You're even going to tell Han Yunxi about the Beauty's Blood secret?"
"Is there a problem?" Long Feiye countered coldly.
"Ye'er, you've changed!" Aunt Ru rebuked. For the past few days, she'd been trying to find a chance to finish off Han Yunxi, but there had been none. Even though she knew being so direct would only annoy Long Feiye, she still couldn't take it. A girl as good as Baili Mingxiang didn't even have the right to know the secret of Beauty's Blood. What made Han Yunxi any different? Ye'er's simply lost his reason because of he's infatuated with Han Yunxi!
Someone who held the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion held the world in their hands. She couldn't stop him from giving the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion to Han Yunxi, but she'd never let the woman know the secret of Beauty's Blood.
"If Aunt Ru has nothing else to say, I'll take my leave," Long Feiye's cold aura made things all the more hopeless.
But Aunt Ru simply said, "Your uncle wants to see you at the old place."
Long Feiye was much more respectful of his uncle than Aunt Ru. A complicated look passed through his eyes before he turned and left without a word. Aunt Ru had already told everything to her older brother-none other than the head of the Tang Clan and Tang Li's father, Tang Zijin.1 She'd also mentioned how a member of the Shadow Clan was protecting Han Yunxi, a secret she'd overheard on the sly. If possible, she'd kill Han Yunxi right then and there, but she held herself back. As soon as Long Feiye left, she was quick to tail him.
The 'old place' that Aunt Ru had mentioned was located in the western suburbs of Tianning's capital. Aside from Long Feiye's Solitary Enclosure, he had a second hidden residence in the Hidden Pavilion there. True to its name, it was concealed from sight via a natural alcove that curved into the side of a cliff, only exposing a man made balcony. Anyone standing on the terrace could overlook the entirety of Tianning's capital city, including its imperial palace.
When Long Feiye arrived on the balcony, Tang Yijin was in the middle of brewing tea. He was a man approaching forty years of age, with a slight beard, fair and handsome complexion, and an elegant, smart air.
"Uncle, when did you arrive? When didn't you tell me?" Long Feiye asked mildly.
"You clearly knew that Li'er was getting married, but still concealed his whereabouts! Detestable!" Tang Yijin reprimanded.
Long Feiye sat down and calmly poured himself a cup of tea. "Uncle, a forcibly picked melon won't be sweet."
"Is that so? I think your forcibly picked melon isn't half-bad," Tang Yijin was making an obvious reference to a certain someone.
Long Feiye kept his eyes lowered, appearing unaffected by the jab. He avoided the topic and asked, "I take it that uncle hasn't simply come to find fault with me?" If Tang Yijin was saying things like this, then he must have recaptured Tang Li again.
"I heard Aunt Ru say you gave the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion to Han Yunxi?" Tang Yijin asked seriously.
"Mm, she can unravel its mysteries," Long Feiye answered.
"Is this girl reliable? Aunt Ru said her mother's origins are unclear." Actually, Tang Yijin had long found out everything from Aunt Ru, but he was familiar with Long Feiye's temper. He wouldn't act as rashly as Aunt Ru.
"Even if she's unreliable, she won't be able to escape from the palm of my hand. May uncle set your cares at rest," Long Feiye said simply.
"Ye'er, these are matters of monumental importance. Uncle trusts you to have proper limits," Tang Yijin paused a bit before adding, "Your Aunt Ru is simply worried for your sake. Don't hold a grudge against her."
Strictly speaking, Tang Yijin wasn't merely Long Feiye's Uncle, but his subordinate as well. The same went for Aunt Ru. The status of the Tang Clan was even one level lower than that of the Baili Family. Nevertheless, Long Feiye had never treated them as a master and servant relationship. And while Aunt Ru always acted as a senior member of the family, Tang Yijin was far more polite.
"How could I?" Long Feiye said. He didn't say one extra word, making it difficult for Tang Yijin to discern his true meaning. But while Tang Yijin had no patience towards his son, he had patience to spare when it came to Long Feiye.
He took out an invitation card and changed the topic. "I came this time to bring Tang Li back, and to give you this invitation." The bright red paper had to be an invite to Tang Li's wedding.
Long Feiye was surprised. "So soon?"
"If the wedding's not settled, Heaven knows what other moths that brat might stir up," Tang Yijin was serious. Long Feiye flipped the invitation card over as he stayed silent with dim eyes.
"When the time comes, bring Han Yunxi along. Since you trust her, you should tell her everything," Tang Yijin's attitude was the complete opposite of Aunt Ru's, but Long Feiye wasn't surprised.
He only nodded his head and said, "Alright."
After drinking some time, the two of them chatter idly until evening. Tang Yijin didn't bring up Han Yunxi again, and neither did Long Feiye mention her. Anyone listening in to their conversation now wouldn't believe that Tang Yijin had come to speak in support of Aunt Ru. Once night fell, Tang Yijin had someone bring over some fine wine. "It's been a long time since you've spent time with your uncle. How about you drink a few cups with me?"
If this was anytime else, Long Feiye would definitely stay behind, but this time he refused. "I still have things to do. Maybe another day."
A flicker of disappointment passed through Tang Yijin's eyes, but he quickly hid it with a smile and a nod. "Go on, then. Don't delay your tasks."
As soon as Long Feiye left, Aunt Ru instantly revealed herself in a bad mood. "Why didn't you mention anything about the Beauty's Blood? What are you playing at?"
Tang Yijin only replied with four words, "Slow and steady goes."
"Elder brother, we can't delay things like this! That Han Yunxi was protected by the Shadow Clan, which means she's the orphan of West Qin!" Aunt Ru said seriously.
"It's not hard to deal with the Shadow Clan, and even easier to deal with Han Yunxi. Long Feiye is the one who's difficult. You need to remember, we'll have to approach him with strategy." Tang Yijin seemed lost in thought, but he'd long put countermeasures in place. Everything would have to wait until Tang Li's marriage. As long as Han Yunxi dared to step within the Tang Clan, he'd have ways to deal with her.
Aunt Ru sucked in a deep breath. Though she was extremely unhappy, she had no other choices. "Whatever you say!"
Long Feiye didn't head immediately for Leisurely Cloud Pavilion once he left, but went to the Solitary Enclosure instead. He personally sent out ten high-level guards and ordered them, "No matter what it takes, rescue Tang Li before his wedding."
Whether Long Feiye was saving Tang Li to help the man, or to counter Tang Yijin's agenda was something only he knew. Once that was settled, he arrived at the estate late at night. But the light was still on in Leisurely Cloud Pavilion....
1. Tang Zijin () - Zi is a modifier word than can also mean "son," Jin is "enter, advance, promote."