Princess Changping looked over, about to speak when the empress cut her off. "Isn't that so? We'll have to give thanks to Grand Imperial Concubine's item for that. Chenqie will definitely tell the empress dowager so she can prepare a generous gift in gratitude."
The empress didn't dare to have the empress dowager find out about this. Yet she knew that Grand Concubine Yi wouldn't leave unless she said these words. She really had enough of this! When Changping recovered, she didn't want to see Grand Concubine Yi or Han Yunxi again!
Grand Concubine Yi was flushed with success as her face lit up with pleasure. "There's no need to be so courteous. Yunxi was given to our house by the empress dowager!"
Han Yunxi noted some details and instructions before returning home with the grand imperial concubine. Seeing mother and daughter holding hands as they left, the empress was angry enough to stomp her feet. Suddenly, she turned to storm into the rooms. Princess Changping was still immersed in her own happy world. How did she know how many petty annoyances her mother had endured to save her?
"Changping, you better do things more carefully for me in the future. This time it wasn't just me, but your imperial grandmother that lost face!"
"Did you see Grand Concubine Yi's smug expression?!"
Seeing the empress so huffy, Changping finally had someone to take the mirror away. "Muhou, you can't blame me for this. Isn't it all Han Yunxi's fault? If it wasn't for her, I never would had to go to a dirty place like the prisons! Of course she should save me, but don't think I'll repay her for it!"
"You're still talking. Can't you do things without worrying your muhou for once?!" the empress roared.
Princess Changping fell into a fright. Her mother had never yelled at her like this before!
"I...I..." Changping changed her train of thought. "Muhou, there's no telling if she was the one who poisoned me! I've long suspected that she poisoned Qingwu gege too. Otherwise, how could a useless trash like her suddenly get so skilled? If it's her own poison, of course she'll know how to treat it!"
These words put the empress on guard. For a useless trash like Han Yunxi to suddenly become a genius really was strange.
"Muhou, how's this? We'll test her one more time?" Princess Changping hurriedly suggested. The empress's cold gaze turned thoughtful as she calculated. Han Yunxi was still one of the Han Family's people even after getting married. She was Divine Doctor Han's daughter, so perhaps she could discuss a countermove with the empress dowager...
Grand Concubine Yi let go of Han Yunxi's hands as soon as they left the palace. Han Yunxi expected this. She knew that being the daughter of the empress dowager's lifesaver naturally made her Grand Concubine Yi's enemy, and didn't demand the grand imperial concubine treat her like family. She just wanted less troubles for herself.
After getting into the carriage, Grand Concubine Yi's first question was, "Where did you learn your medical skills from?"
She answered her the same way she answered Long Feiye, deciding that this would be how she always explained in the future. It was likely that both this woman and her son had looked into her beforehand. They couldn't find her weak points within the Han household, so they shouldn't expect to discover any clues with her, either. As soon as she mentioned Lady Tianxin, Grand Concubine Yi's face turned much darker. She didn't ask any more about her or her time in the prisons.
Murong Wanru was waiting at the gates, her usual docile expression overcast with gloom. Her heart had been stuck in her throat for half the day. The ten-seasons cicada slough was her long expected dowry, but it'd actually disappeared for the sake of Han Yunxi's medicine! In the past, she could smile even in the face of people she despised, but this was becoming almost impossible with Han Yunxi. Seeing her approach with Grand Concubine Yi in the distance, Murong Wanru had to continuously take deep breaths for a long time until she calmed down.
She took sudden strides forward, her face filled with deep concern. "Sister-in-law, how is it? The empress and princess didn't make things difficult for you, did they?"
Han Yunxi's lips curved into a cold smile. "Mufei went as well, so how would they dare? That wouldn't be giving face to mufei."
Looking at her grieved face, Han Yunxi couldn't help but almost feel that she really had bullied this foster sister. Grand Concubine Yi curled her lips in contempt, looking a bit impatient. "Han Yunxi, it's good that you know to consider my pride. From now on, go to the accounting house at the start of every month for your stipend. A wangfei should look like a wangfei, see how shabby you are."
When she finished, she examined her from head to toe before turning to leave. Murong Wanru was stunned into stillness. Mufei was going to give Han Yunxi a stipend? With that, she'd be more free than before. How was she supposed to make things difficult for her in the future? Murong Wanru was highly discontent. She lost her meek expression for a serious one.
"Little sister, I heard that the ten-seasons cicada slough was your dowry? That can't be true, right?" Han Yunxi asked her on purpose.
"You!" Murong Wanru was hoarse with anger. Immediately, tears prickled at her eyes as she gave a cold scoff and ran off.
Seeing this, Han Yunxi laughed out loud. Murong Wanru, oh Murong Wanru, sooner or later I'll reveal your true self!
After settling things with her, Han Yunxi remembered all the precious ingredients she'd brought back from the palace and felt even better. She bounced the whole way back to the Hibiscus Courtyard, but who knew that the first thing she'd see there was that giant iceberg, Long Feiye?
When did he come back?
This shadowy, mysterious man only came back when there was business. Last time he'd come for that antidote, though she didn't know for whom. And how did he get poisoned himself in the first place? From what Han Yunxi understood, Long Feiye's martial arts skills were formidable, so anyone who could hurt him couldn't be a weakling. Unconsciously, she stopped to look at him from a distance, where he was sitting amongst the shrubbery to partake in tea.
Those hard, cold lines of his profile combined with sharply chiseled features to suggest an elegant and imposing monarch even when he was just sitting there casually! One man with his tea became his own world where no one could intrude. Han Yunxi felt herself turning dazed again until those icy eyes looked over, making her recover her senses. With Long Feiye staring at her, Han Yunxi revealed a friendly smile. "So you came back?"
She instantly regretted speaking. So what if he did? What did it have to do with her? Her smile grew stiff as she turned to leave.
"Come here!" Long Feiye commanded sternly.
Han Yunxi ignored him and kept walking.
"Your lordship has been waiting for you for a long time," Long Feiye's tone grew hard.
Waiting for her? Was it to treat poisons again?
All right, Han Yunxi admitted that she was a little curious-and a bit fearful of his mood. She made her way back until she was sitting before him. He opened his mouth and asked, "Did you resolve the matter with Princess Changping?"
Ehh....? He knew?
"Your highness really gets news fast," Han Yunxi replied.
Long Feiye didn't look into it any further, but said, "Rest early. Tomorrow morning, come out with me."
Where did this guy want to take her?
"To do what?" Han Yunxi was curious. If it was a banquet at a friend's place, she wouldn't make a big fuss.
"Treat poison," Long Feiye's said simply.
This again. Han Yunxi really wanted to tell him, Instead of being your wangfei, why don't I be your poison specialist instead? Faced with such a proposition, her manner remained professional. "What kind of poison?"
"You'll know when you get there."
Han Yunxi nodded. "I want to charge consultation fees."
Long Feiye's face turned disdainful. He didn't even bother to answer but nodded his head before turning to walk away. Only two steps later, he said, "I'll find you tomorrow at Yin hour."
Han Yunxi was about to nod back when she suddenly stopped. Wait a minute!
Yin hour was the period of time between three and five AM in the morning. Maybe the ancients considered it morning, but to her it was still late night! Waking up early on a winter morning was more painful than anything else, much less going out. Han Yunxi's face had turned white by the time she caught up to him. "If we're going, let's go tonight! Or at least until after the sun rises tomorrow! I can't go if it's that early."
"Why not?" Long Feiye frowned.
Han Yunxi only replied with a single word: "Cold."
"I'll double the payment for your consultation fee."
Long Feiye was very generous, but Han Yunxi was adamant. "Not even if you increase it by ten times."
Only now did Long Feiye turned to face her. "Han Yunxi, are there any poisons you can't treat?"
Surprised, she nevertheless replied honestly. "That's not easy to say. There are countless varieties of poisons in this world. Even within the same type, there's different subdivisions and classes. Even for the exact same poison, the intensity of the toxin, along with factors like time and health of the victim will affect how to treat it. So there's no way for chenqie to give you a straight answer."
Long Feiye listened carefully before asking, "What if it's not a human that's poisoned?"
"Is it an animal?" Han Yunxi was puzzled. Her first thought was of this guy's horse. What other animals would he keep? But they didn't have to get up so early just to treat his horse, right?
Long Feiye didn't answer, only said, "You'll know when you get there. Rest early, I'll find you at Yin hour." He left when he was done. Though Han Yunxi chased after him a few steps, she couldn't keep up.
"Hey, what's going on? Exactly what's been poisoned?"
"Explain things clearly!"
"If you don't, then I really won't go!"
No matter how Han Yunxi shouted, Long Feiye didn't raise his head. Very quickly, he disappeared amongst the plants. Han Yunxi stood stunned in place, filled with pent up feelings. What kind of poison is it? What kind of non-human thing's been poisoned? Did he have to leave me hanging?
Should she even go?
As a senior poisons specialist, she had a strong professional curiosity. In her own time, she always thoroughly researched any and all poisons to come her way. Now that she was in the past, she was even more curious about ancient poisons that didn't exist in modern day.
What kind of secrets was Long Feiye keeping, and what was the situation? The whole night, Han Yunxi tossed and turned in bed before she fell asleep.
Knock knock knock!
The forceful pounding on the door startled Han Yunxi awake after she'd just fallen asleep. Looking at her hourglass, she realized it was precisely Yin hour. Han Yunxi put on her thickest clothes but still didn't feel any warmer. When she opened her door, Long Feiye's mountainous form blocked out half the doorframe, yet the piercing cold wind still found its way inside through the corners and cracks. She didn't even take a step outside before her teeth started chattering. Quickly, Han Yunxi ducked aside from the door. Her build was already petite, but her huddled form with her hands in her sleeves and shrinking neck made her seem even tinier than before.
From high up, Long Feiye looked disdainfully at her pathetic form, lip curling. This woman was so weak!
"Still coming?" he asked coldly.
Unexpectedly, Han Yunxi lifted her head. Her face was ashen white, but those bright eyes glimmered with a stubborn brilliance. It was cold enough to make her lip tremble, but her voice remained steady. "Yes, of course I'm going! 300 taels and not one less!"
Long Feiye felt his heart gave a subtle jerk in surprise. He couldn't help but admit that this answer went beyond his expectations.