Chapter 379: You can afford to cause a scourge with your lordship
Mu Liuyue immediately froze in place at Long Tianmo's verbal warning. She felt greatly wronged, and wanted to rush over there and have a good row with him. Just how much did I need to do before it is enough? No matter how she tried to please him or flirt with him in the past few days, he never spared her a glance. Originally, she had planned to team up with Long Tianmo to deal with Han Yunxi, but Long Tianmo never gave her the chance. She always thought that her life would change for the better after marrying into the Eastern Palace, but she'd been cast aside and abandoned not even a month into their marriage. On their wedding day, Long Tianmo had vanished before the sun had fully set. What was supposed to be the beautiful scene of their marriage night had turned into a solitary vigil in an empty room that left her in tears.
That could be forgiven, but no one had even come to check for the spot of blood on the white handkerchief the very next day!
She remembered how she and a bunch of other girls had even made bets on Han Yunxi's wedding day to see if there'd be blood on the woman's handkerchief. Both her and Princess Changping had waited to see Han Yunxi humiliated by the empress dowager! But now the empress dowager didn't even bother to check her own status! It was obvious that the woman knew Long Tianmo hadn't touched her, but she silently allowed it to stand! For a woman, what could be more humiliating than that?
If she'd known beforehand that this would happen, she would've listened to her father instead of forcing him to agree to this marriage! The more she thought, the more wronged she felt; the more she thought, the more unreconciled she became. Why did a woman like Han Yunxi, with no background whatsoever, gain His Highness Duke of Qin's intimacy? Her only happiness now was the fact that she had a strong family backing. Because of that, Long Tianmo couldn't really do anything against her! But in the end, Long Tianmo was still a crown prince. One day, he'd ascend to the throne. When that happened, the strength of a general's family might not be enough to keep him in check!
Mu Liuyue grew uneasy at the thought. In the end, my only counter is to have a child-a son! She was faced with the dilemma of getting a child from a man she didn't like and who disliked her in turn. Could this count as Mu Liuyue's karmic retribution? She spent her days nursing her hatred for Han Yunxi, but Han Yunxi had long forgotten all about her.
Cough, cough, that wasn't because Han Yunxi was tolerant enough to forgo her grudge, but because she'd finished getting her revenge already!
Currently, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were riding in the same carriage as they secretly hastened toward one of the severe disaster areas with their 1,500,000 dan of grain in tow. The guards brought over the silver drafts that had been delivered to the Duke of Qin's estate. Although it was but a few sheets, each was worth a sizable sum that added up to at least 1,700,000 taels. Long Feiye was currently reading over secret missives from the Hidden Pavilion, so he didn't spare the silver drafts a look. Instead, he handed them over to Han Yunxi to take care of.
"Your Highness, it's better for chenqie not to be causing more scourges with her pretty face," Han Yunxi teased.
Long Feiye was wholly focused on the secret messages and said offhandedly, "You can afford to cause a scourge with your lordship."
Han Yunxi stared at his coldly handsome profile, there is no other man in the world who could beat him in looks! Since he put it like that, why should she refuse to take care of the money? She assumed a respectable manner and declared, "Then chenqie won't worry anymore."
Han Yunxi accepted the silver drafts before secretly handing them over to the guard named Xu Donglin the next day so he could take care of it. Although all of the guard escorts listened to Han Yunxi's orders, she was only familiar with this one. Despite his young age, he had been very dependable. Han Yunxi began to muse whether she should nurture her own personal bodyguard as well. It'd be better if he was someone who could use poisons, too. Of course, she'd have to wait until they took care of the disaster areas first. For the sake of saving time, they hurried to the area both day and night instead of staying at any inns.
The carriage was quite large and spacious and had beds for sleeping. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi each took a bed on opposite sides, while a short table spanned the length between them. During the day, Long Feiye split his time between reading secret missives and various books. Sometimes Han Yunxi would ask him what was going on, and he'd always reply, though never lifting his focus from his papers. Because of that, Han Yunxi decided not to disturb him too much. Bored, she ended up wandering mentally through the detox system. Thank goodness she'd cleaned everything up before coming out this time. She had prepared every single poison Baili Mingxiang needed to take before leaving. Now she could figure out how to save Baili Mingxiang's life in her leisure.
If it were merely a simple mix of various different poisons, the detox system would only need a minute to produce an antidote for them all. Unfortunately, these poisons weren't just only mixed up with each other, but also with Baili Mingxiang's own blood and body. Han Yunxi had taken a blood sample from the girl to compare against normal blood in hopes of discovering something from the two. She had also brought along the poison orchids from their trip to the Poison Sect's forbidden grounds last time, though there was no time to look into them now. Long Feiye had never mentioned the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion again after returning it to her last time. Still, she'd kept her mind on the matter the whole time. However, Baili Mingixang's situation was currently more pressing.
It took a lot of mental energy to wander about her detox system, so Han Yunxi slept soundly when night fell. Oftentimes, she wouldn't wake up until the sun was high in the sky, only to discover a light bedcover spread over her prone form. She'd gotten used to the cycle, so her first reaction would be to glance at Long Feiye, who was always studying a book or scroll. Sometimes, Han Yunxi would wonder whether she'd find it strange to wake up one day without that familiar profile by her side.
Today, Han Yunxi was going to bed very late as usual. As per habit, she glanced at Long Feiye and asked, "Your Highness, what are you reading?"
"A history book," Long Feiye replied.
"How about lending it to chenqie when you're done? Chenqie's pretty bored," Han Yunxi said sluggishly.
"Mm," Long Feiye assented without even raising his head. He greatly disliked being disturbed while studying his papers. In truth, it was more accurate to say that he'd brook no interruptions from other people while doing anything.
Han Yunxi didn't probe further, and instead left the carriage to wash up and eat. It was then that Long Feiye exchanged the Annals of the Seven Noble Families in his hands for The Complete History of Cloud Realm Continent. The entire way, Long Feiye's attention had been split between observing events at the Hidden Pavilion and studying the Annals of the Seven Noble Families. While researching historical texts, he'd sent men to investigate into the last living scions of each clan. Meanwhile, Tang Li had yet to meet the black-robed man again at the Hidden Pavilion, which only puzzled Long Feiye. For this purpose, he'd specially sent someone to investigate the Mu Clan in Medicine City and seek out Gu Qishao. As to his reasons-that was something he kept to himself.
Han Yunxi returned soon enough with news from one of the guards. "Your Highness, I heard the Chu Clan in Western Zhou has prepared 10,000 fine blood-sweating foals for Chu Qingge's dowry!"
Both Western Zhou and Northern Li teemed with battle horses, with their calvary forces acting as their trump card in fights. Western Zhou's blood-sweating horses were known for thin heads and high necks, long limbs and light steps. They were fleet of foot and possessed powerful stamina! Northern Li specialized in hardy Mongolian horses that didn't fear the cold nor did they startle in the midst of battle. They were bold and full of valor beyond compare! Their raw fighting capacity was superior to that of the blood-sweating horses. In comparison, Tianning had no battle horses of its own, so its calvary forces were rather weak. Their strength was completely at Western Zhou's whims. 10,000 blood-sweating foals was a truly generous dowry. Even Long Feiye was a little surprised.
"What is Western Zhou's Chu Clan planning?" he mused.
Han Yunxi didn't know much about the Chu Clan, but she was very certain of one thing: Chu Qingge didn't want to marry Emperor Tianhui! She was torn between anticipating Chu Qingge's arrival and worrying over the powerful family backing her in Western Zhou.
"Your Highness, could it be that the Chu Clan and Western Zhou's imperial clan are....?" Han Yunxi trailed off without finishing the sentence, but Long Feiye understood her meaning well enough. The Chu Clan had a high position and status in Western Zhou Country, so the Western Zhou imperial clan would naturally take precautions against their might. It was very possible that Chu Qingge's marriage alliance was a way for her clan to seek foreign support. To put it bluntly, if Chu Qingge could become Emperor Tianhui's new empress, then nobody would dare to touch a hair of the Chu Clan in Western Zhou.
"Emperor Tianhui must be deliriously happy!" Han Yunxi said faintly. She somewhat regretting pushing the girl into Emperor Tianhui's lap.
But Long Feiye only gave a cold laugh. "Not necessarily."
Great General Ning was the man in charge of Tianning's cavalry forces. His younger sister was none other than one of Tianning's original four Noble Consorts. Once Chu Qingge came to vie for favor, Noble Consort Ning would be a formidable foe! It is a complicated tangle of relationships. Han Yunxi felt the same after hearing Long Feiye's explanation. Emperor Tianhui was going to have his share of headaches soon.
She didn't know how the marriage alliance would affect the Duke of Qin's estate, either, but whatever the case, it wasn't due to happen for another six months. Right now, it was better to take care of matters at hand. She took out a piece of gauze and some medicine from her medical pouch and said with a smile, "Your Highness, it's time to change your dressing."
Long Feiye had a good body to begin with. Coupled with her meticulous care, his wound had recovered excellently. She hardly needed to wait on him anymore. Although Long Feiye had told her to always serve him in the future, the two of them tacitly agreed to treat it as a joke.
Long Feiye took off his robes as Han Yunxi sat by his side and carefully used her tweezers to get off the old dressing and medicine. After cleaning it off with liquid medicine, she reapplied the gauze and wrapped it anew.
"Has it closed up completely?" Long Feiye asked.
"Mhm," Han Yunxi murmured without looking at him.
"How long before it recovers completely?" Long Feiye asked next, but Han Yunxi didn't reply. Just like how Long Feiye disliked being disturbed during his reading, Han Yunxi disliked being disturbed during her treatments. She kept her head down and eyes hooded as she focused on his injury. Was there anyone else in the world who could blatantly ignore Long Feiye like that?
Long Feiye had gotten used to the process after going through it multiple times. He didn't ask her anything else, but simply stared at Han Yunxi. His eyes rested on her graceful brows, her high nose, and tender pink lips. It was as if he was inspecting each aspect of a precious gem. Of course, by the time Han Yunxi finished and looked up, Long Feiye had averted his gaze elsewhere. The two of them traveled like this for half a month, more than enough time for news of the Duke of Qin's embezzling ways to spread all the way to Northern Li and Western Zhou. Everyone seemed to know that the His Highness Duke of Qin had absconded with the relief funds!
On this day, the caravan of grain stopped north of the South Ning regions. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi left their ride empty-handed before switching to a different carriage to enter the city itself...