Chapter 528: Substitute for the Grand Medicine Testing Convention
Han Yunxi thought it over carefully. If Gu Qishao was discovered in the cells, the Wang Clan would definitely tell us. But there's been no news. Did something happen to him? With his personality, he'd definitely show up at the Grand Medicine Testing Convention after getting an invitation.
Long Feiye still wasn't back, so Han Yunxi had no choice but to call for Chu Xifeng and have him search for news. Naturally, Chu Xifeng found nothing because the current Gu Qishao was crouched in a corner of Mu Linger's cell, staring at the moon through a skylight. Meanwhile, Mu Linger was crouched in an identical pose right next to him-not to stare at the moon, but to enjoy it. Her face was filled with happiness, making it obvious that she was in love. Unfortunately, Gu Qishao didn't pay her any attention.
Ever since he used the Roundworm Birthing Poison, those jail keepers and Lin Clan members had kept their distance in fear. Aside from bringing Mu Linger her meals three times a day, they didn't approach her cell a step. If he knew they were so easy to deal with, he would've left to find Han Yunxi instead of coming inside this cell. Tomorrow was the Grand Medicine Testing Convention. If he couldn't make it, he should send Han Yunxi a message by flying pigeon, but he still hadn't done a thing. The Council of Elders had excluded Long Feiye from the invitations and given him full reason to accompany Poison lass alone. He was loath to give up on his chance!
He refused to believe that he had such awful luck. Maybe there would be a chance for him to slip away tomorrow.
"Your Excellency Pill Fiend, tomorrow's the Grand Medicine Testing Convention. If I wasn't locked up here, I'd definitely kill everyone there," Mu Linger turned towards him with a smile, her eyes shining.
"You're so happy even saying things like that?" Gu Qishao asked doubtfully.
Mu Linger withdrew her smile and made up an excuse. "Of course I'm happy. I'm not participating in the competition, so those good-for-nothings in the Mu Clan have a chance to humiliate themselves!"
"Heheh, the Mu Clan might have lots of useless idiots, but the Wang and Xie Clans have their share as well. Without you, there's no point in watching the convention at all," Gu Qishao said disdainfully.
Mu Linger was delighted by the compliment. She was about to modestly refuse them when Gu Qishao added, "Of course, without me there, there'd be even less to see!"
Mu Linger burst into laughter instead and seized the chance to ask, "Your Excellency Pill Fiend, how about I learn medical skills from you?"
Unfortunately, Gu Qishao rudely rebuffed her. "Give it up already. This old man will never take a disciple in my life." Then he added, "Aside from one possible exception."
Mu Linger was quite disappointed as she muttered, "I know who that is..." She was about to say 'Han Yunxi' when Gu Qishao actually said someone else.
"Long Feiye!" he declared.
Mu Linger looked up, completely speechless...
Just like that, Gu Qishao and Mu Linger ended up chatting until daybreak, while Han Yunxi woke up to see Long Feiye by her side. He hadn't completely lied down on the bed, but was half leaning against the pillow with his eyes shut in a doze. He was dressed neatly from head and toe and seemed to have just returned recently. Han Yunxi was still thinking about Gu Qishao. She wondered if he'd come by already. Still, her heart favored Long Feiye in the end. Seeing the traces of exhaustion between his brows, she resolved to let him rest longer, even if it was just for a little bit. The Grand Medicine Testing Convention wasn't due to start until the afternoon, so they had plenty of time to spare.
Han Yunxi carefully turned sideways so she could curl up next to Long Feiye, but he quickly woke up and asked, "Do you still want to sleep?"
"When did you come back? You're not going to sleep any longer?" Han Yunxi asked.
But Long Feiye only replied, "It looks like Gu Qishao isn't coming. Your lordship will take his place for the Grand Medicine Testing Convention."
"Did something happen to him?" Han Yunxi asked in alarm.
"He's in jail and can't get out. Don't worry, he can't die. If anything did happen to him, Medicine City wouldn't be as peaceful as it is now," Long Feiye said coldly.
'He can't die,' he can't die... It was only a casual comment, so no one would catch the deeper meaning beyond the words. Han Yunxi didn't notice them at all. She had considered the possibility that Gu Qishao had been imprisoned, so her heart felt at ease with Long Feiye's words.
"The Council of Elders won't agree to have you as a substitute, cough, cough. It's better for you to play your part as a bodyguard instead," Han Yunxi teased. But Long Feiye simply took out a massive black cape and draped it over himself. After that, he looked no different from His Excellency Pill Fiend-even their heights were similar. After coming back from the Wang Clan, Chu Xifeng had given him the latest news. He was quite happy that Gu Qishao couldn't come, so he had Chu Xifeng find a giant black cloak overnight for his use.
If he was pretending to be Han Yunxi's guard, then he could only watch her from afar when the convention began. But by replacing Gu Qishao, he could sit right next to her. He would have to thank Gu Qishao for the privilege later on.
Han Yunxi was at first startled before she burst out into laughter. "Long time no see, Your Excellency Pill Fiend."
"Long time no see." Long Feiye used a technique to change his voice, but his eerie tone didn't match Gu Qishao's at all. Still, this wasn't a problem since he was simply there to watch the show. He didn't have to talk much, especially when he already planned things out last night with Wang Gong. Just like that, the afternoon came by with no further sign of Gu Qishao. Long Feiye put on the giant cloak and accompanied Han Yunxi in broad daylight to the entrance of Medicine Forest. A young medical apprentice led them to the location of the Grand Medicine Testing Convention. By the time they arrived, the place was already crowded with distinguished guests. In the middle of the area was a circular stage, surrounded on all sides by ascending seats. Atop the stage were two pre-prepared platforms used for the upcoming prescription competition. The first ring of guests were illustrious figures such as Medicine City's Council of Elders, other guests of honor, members of the Mu, Wang, and Xie Clans, and elders from Medical City. Han Yunxi was surprised to find that the only Medical City elder in attendance was Fifth Elder Lady Lianxin! It had been two years since they last met, but she was stern and keen-eyed as always. None of her elegant demeanor had changed. With her acting as Medical City's representative, the Mu Clan's prestige only skyrocketed.
Next to Lady Lianxin was an extraordinary white-robed man-none other than Ouyang Ningnuo. Currently, the two of them were laughing and joking together. As expected, Ouyang Ningnuo had extensive connections!
Beyond the first ring sat Medicine City's various juniors who were competing in the competition today. The Grand Medicine Testing Convention was a chance for the younger generation to show off their skills. No one over the age of 25 was allowed to compete. The third ring contained other important guests from Medical City and various famous pharmacies and clinics. Pill Fiend Pharmacy was a new establishment, but its scope, fame, and range of wares for sale put it on par with any of the third-ring guests. Unfortunately, there wasn't a spot for them. In this convention, the first three rings of chairs all had reserved seating, so it was obvious that the Council of Elders were trying to show off their strength against them.
This was probably the first time a big shot like Long Feiye had been so thoroughly snubbed, but Han Yunxi was long used to such treatment. She glanced at Long Feiye and saw that he didn't seem to care, so she went straight for the fourth ring of seats. Long Feiye's large black cloak was very conspicuous, so the two of them attracted eyes as soon as they showed up. The pair walked confidently through the rows, becoming the center of attention despite not sitting in seats of honor.
Lady Lianxin caught sight of Han Yunxi and shot Mu Yingdong a look, while he simply furrowed his brows in reply. The exchange between them was a mystery to any observers beyond themselves. Once everyone was present, Head Elder Xie quickly declared the start of the convention. The so-called Grand Medicine Testing Convention was simply a place for various pharmacists to show off their skills by crafting and testing various prescriptions.
The nature of the competition centered around creating medicines. Competitors were to taste each other's creations and detail the ingredients and quantities used in the other's formula. Moreover, sometimes they had to name the exact amount used between raw ingredients, water, combination process, heating temperatures, etc. The Grand Medicine Testing Convention only happened once every decade. Unless one was a genius from birth, most competitors only had one chance in their lives to participate in the competition.
Ten years ago, a young Mu Linger won first place at the competition, shocking the medical community. The Mu Clan began its rise to prominence from that very day. This year, Mu Linger had yet to reach twenty but was forbidden from participating. Everyone had assumed that she'd win this year's championship as well, but who would've expected her to be locked up in the prisons instead?
Without Mu Linger, it was unclear who the final winner would be. The Wang Clan's fourth son, Wang Shuchen1 was a young pharmacist who was inferior to only Mu Linger. His name was well known, but a few days ago the Mu and Xie Clans had spread word that they would easily defeat him. A few of the Mu Clan sons had even placed bets on him losing. Many rumors grew from this event, namely that that Mu and Xie Clans had to be hiding talented pharmacists of their own to shock the medical community today. After all, ten years was enough to foster such talent.
The competition eliminated competitors through various matchups, but Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were too lost in their worlds to pay attention to the first few matches. After all, their main goal today wasn't to watch the competition. They only started paying attention when the fourth son, Wang Shuchen, took the stage. Unexpectedly, he had just reached the competition platform when a young medical apprentice flew onto the scene with a shout. "Head Elder Xie, bad news! Very bad news!"
Such a racket caused the first two rings of people to stand up. Everyone else was surprised-just what had happened?
"What manner of fuss are you making?" Head Elder Xie scolded.
"Head Elder Xie, there's...there's someone without an invitation outside who insists on coming in. He even brought a whole slew of people with him," the boy replied.
"Impudence! Who has the nerve? Someone come, capture them for me. Once the convention is over, I definitely won't let them off!" Head Elder Xie looked imposing, but Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were secretly smiling at the sight. They had an idea of what was going on. Ouyang Ningnuo smirked as well, and even shot Han Yunxi a glance on purpose. Unfortunately, she just ignored him.
Mu Yingdong knew what was going on better than the rest. He purposely raised his voice and ordered, "Supplement their forces and seize them all. Anyone who dares to disturb Medicine City during the Grand Medicine Testing Convention cannot be forgiven!"
Head Elder Xie only smiled coldly. "Clan Head Mu, these are the rights and duties of the Council of Elders. There's no need for you to get involved."
Mu Yingdong only looked indifferent and ignored him. But it wasn't long before the medical apprentice scampered back again with fresh news. "Head Elder Xie, we can't keep them out. Those people used poison!"
The crowd grew frightened at those words. Mu Yingdong instantly grew uneasy. What is this boy saying?
"Poison? Just who is it?" Head Elder Xie demanded.
The young apprentice had long practiced his lines, and now raised his voice to shout, "The head of the Hundred Poisons Sect, Jun Yixie!"
1. Wang Shuchen () - Shu is "books," Chen is "celestial bodies."