Han Yunxi gave the prescription to Emperor Tianhui, making sure to emphasize the importance of the Life Blood Pill. She secretly mused that no matter how the Emperor Tianhui obtained the pill, it'd take around 10 days to half a month. During that time, she could return to the Duke of Qin's residence and relax. With her bearing such a heavy responsibility, see how Grand Concubine Yi or Murong Wanru dare to treat her then! Moreover, she even had an excuse to find Imperial Physician Gu and freely enter the imperial physicians' courtyard.
There were plenty of medical books there and a great many medicinal ingredients. To her, this was the perfect Taobao warehouse! After delivering the prescription, Han Yunxi released a breath, but...
Emperor Tianhui placed the paper down and looked towards Long Feiye. "Duke of Qin, the Pill Fiend Valley isn't an ordinary place. You should take a trip there personally." Though his tone sounded conversational, anyone who heard could tell that it was an imperial edict.
Long Feiye still had his ice-cold poker face as he nodded. "Yes."
Han Yunxi glanced at him and couldn't help but gloat at his misfortune. Giant Ice Cube, ah, Giant Ice Cube, so much for looking on unconcernedly. Now the disaster's been brought to the fish in the pond. The Life Blood Pill wasn't so easy to buy! If he couldn't get it, then he'd take all the blame!
"Your majesty, the imperial physician courtyard has all the other ingredients needed for this prescription. Yunxi and Imperial Physician Gu can prepare them quickly. When the Life Blood Pill arrives, we'll immediately start treatment," Han Yunxi said sincerely.
Emperor Tianhui nodded his head. "Then we'll wait for the Duke of Qin's good news." After this, everyone scattered. Han Yunxi used the excuse of finding Gu Beiyue to make up the prescription to stay behind, while Long Feiye left without paying her further attention.
The empress departed with the empress dowager, her heart laden with care. "Mufei, this...chenqie's heart is in disorder. Can or can't we trust Han Yunxi!?"
The empress dowager wasn't confident either and remained silent before heaving a long sigh. "If this lass can really cure Tianmo, then I'll definitely put her to heavy use!"
When Lady Tianxin saved the empress dowager's life back in the day, the empress dowager gave Han Yunxi to the Duke of Qin. In actuality, she was leaving a chess piece by his side so Han Yunxi could act as her planted spy. Who knew that the girl would grow up ugly and talentless, or that Han Congan couldn't heal the crown prince?
The empress nodded her head and said no more.
Han Yunxi arrived with an empty stomach back home only when it was very late. As soon as she entered the gates, she was summoned by Grand Concubine Yi. The grand imperial concubine and Murong Wanru had been restlessly waiting all day for news. What did it mean for Han Yunxi to return peacefully home?
"How is the crown prince's situation? Treatable?" Grand Concubine Yi came straight to the point.
Han Yunxi was bewildered. Hadn't Long Feiye returned first? Unless he didn't go back home? She didn't muse on it much and looked at Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru's expectant faces. A flash of disdain swept past her eyes before she pretended to sigh and hesitate.
"Sister-in-law, just what happened? Mufei and I have been worrying all day," Murong Wanru asked in distress.
"Nothing much happened. It is what it is," Han Yunxi replied mildly.
"What is what it is?" Grand Concubine Yi couldn't bear it.
"It's not a serious issue. I have a way to treat it," Han Yunxi finally laid bare the facts. She didn't miss the shock in Grand Concubine Yi's eyes, much less the flash of jealousy in Murong Wanru's face.
Those who wanted to laugh at her expense would always get laughed at instead!
"So you mean that you've cured the crown prince?" Murong Wanru couldn't resist asking.
"I'm still missing one ingredient before the treatment's less of a problem. It's only that this item is very difficult to find, so it must be bought from the Pill Fiend Valley." Han Yunxi was honest.
These words made Grand Concubine Yi release a breath while Murong Wanru curved her lips up mockingly. "I've heard of the Pill Fiend Valley. Its master is His Excellency Pill Fiend, a very unreasonable eccentric. He never shows anyone his face and eight to nine people out of ten come back from him empty-handed. Some people even have to offer up their lives before they can get medicine."
The agitated Grand Concubine Yi calmed down at these words. "Is that so. Then it'll be quite troublesome to treat the crown prince."
Han Yunxi agreed immensely and nodded her head. "That's exactly so, very troublesome!" Yet she soon changed the topic. "However, his majesty sent His Highness Duke of Qin to ask for it. As I see it, it shouldn't be such a difficult task now, right?"
Her words left Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru stunned.
Immediately, Grand Concubine Yi angrily struck the table. "What? He told the Duke of Qin go to Pill Fiend Valley?"
Han Yunxi's expression was both innocent and earnest as she nodded. "If the Duke of Qin goes, he can definitely get the pill. His majesty's decision can't be wrong."
Grand Concubine Yi's stomach knotted itself up as her hands suddenly curled into fists, narrowly resisting the urge to slap Han Yunxi. Yet the words, 'his majesty's decision,' forced her to swallow her anger. By her side, Murong Wanru had already lost all reason.
Everyone knew the Pill Fiend Valley was a bad place where purchasing medicine was difficult. What if the Duke of Qin came to an untimely end there? What if he didn't manage to buy the medicine? Wouldn't he have to bear the burden of this crime?
Why did something that was clearly Han Yunxi's calamity ended up falling to him instead?
If she knew earlier that things would turn out like this, she wouldn't have spread all those rumors to ruin Han Yunxi. Murong Wanru's repentance was enough to turn her intestines green. Even her face had taken on a sickly pallor.
After being tired out for a whole day, Han Yunxi felt her spirits suddenly refreshed by the sight of mother and daughter mute with bitterness they couldn't express. For a while, she forgot all her exhaustion.
"Mufei, the emperor commanded chenqie to rest well these few days in preparation for the crown prince's treatment. It's getting late, so chenqie will take her leave now." So speaking, she made a respectful bow before carelessly turning to depart.
Grand Concubine Yi was angry enough to erupt at any time, her fists exposing blue veins against her skin. But she couldn't do anything to Han Yunxi. The emperor wasn't someone she dared to provoke.
"Just who was it that spread those lies! They deserve to die!" Grand Concubine Yi said in rage.
Murong Wanru jumped, not daring to utter a word.
Han Yunxi's steps were quick and light. This was her first time living in an imperially ruled world where she thought the emperor's power was a really good thing! Once back at the Hibiscus Courtyard, she halted when she noticed that Long Feiye's rooms were dark.
That guy hadn't returned, so where had he gone?
He couldn't have hurried directly to Pill Fiend Valley? Wasn't that too fast?
She chewed on her lip as she mused. That guy's martial arts is so good, he shouldn't have any troubles there. Moreover, his namesake is so widespread that that Pill Fiend, Gu Qi Sha, might leave him some face.
Her thoughts eased her conscience as she elegantly walked towards Leisurely Cloud Pavilion. The chambers were well-lit, making Han Yunxi assume that little Chen Xiang must have worried and lightened the lamps to wait for her return. Even though Chen Xiang was a servant, the thought of someone expecting her at home gave her a warm feeling.
"Little Chen Xiang..." Han Yunxi called out before she even entered the doors. She was starving and wanted Chen Xiang to find her some food. "Little Chen Xiang, you..."
But as soon as she stepped inside, she saw little Chen Xiang standing by the door with her head bowed. By the table was a certain fellow steeping his tea. From this angle, she could see the steam curling up from the teacup as the beautiful figure sat there like a painting.
It really...was unreal.
"Long Feiye..." Han Yunxi couldn't help but mutter. The person inside the rooms was none other than the Duke of Qin, Long Feiye, who seemed to be expecting her.
"Mistress...his highness has been waiting for you for a very long time." Chen Xiang reminded her under her voice before Han Yunxi recovered her wits. Waiting for a very long time? He couldn't have come here right after leaving the palace?
She hastily walked over. "Chenqie pays respects to your highness."
Long Feiye poured himself some tea and didn't even raise his eyes, saying mildly, "You've finished up the prescription?"
"Un," Han Yunxi answered, heart pounding like a drum. She couldn't figure out why this fellow had come. Though she knew he had a sharper mind than the emperor, he still shouldn't know about the true nature of the crown prince's illness. What's he here for?
Unexpectedly, Long Feiye rose and said, "Then get your things ready to accompany your lordship to Pill Fiend Valley."
"What?" Han Yunxi asked in surprise.
Only then did Long Feiye raise his eyebrows to look over. "Is there a problem?"
Yes! A big problem!
It's not a good place, so why am I going?
Han Yunxi had an answer long in her heart, but her face only revealed a difficult expression as she said helplessly "Your highness, chenqie doesn't know the Pill Fiend, so I'm afraid I won't be able to help and would just burden your highness."
"Your lordship doesn't fear you being a burden," Long Feiye said coldly.
Han Yunxi heaved a sigh. "But chenqie still needs to discuss some details of the treatment with Imperial Physician Gu, so I'm afraid that..."
"The crown prince's been ill for seven years. A few days more won't make a difference, so you can discuss things when you get back," Long Feiye said.
"Your highness, what if chenqie meets with an untimely end on the way? It'll be hard to explain to his majesty," Han Yunxi threatened boldly.
Sadly, while this could threaten Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru, it did nothing against Long Feiye. His words were very forceful. "There won't be any untimely ends."
Han Yunxi fell into a slump, but still couldn't rack her brains to come up with an excuse to refuse. As a result, she changed to ask, "Your highness, why are you suddenly thinking of going with chenqie?" At least she could ask for the reasons.
As expected, Long Feiye didn't answer directly, but his voice turned ice-cold and unyielding. "I'll give you the time it takes to drink a cup of tea to prepare. Your lordship will be waiting for you at the back gates." He turned to leave when he was done, leaving Han Yunxi's face to fall as she stood stunned in place.
Long Feiye, you're relentless!
How was a single cup of tea's time enough to prepare? But as it turned out, little Chen Xiang gave her pre-prepared luggage and a helping of light pastries to appease her hunger. Undoubtedly, Long Feiye had ordered her to do these things after steeling his heart to bring her along. Han Yunxi wanted to cry but had no tears, though Chen Xiang was plenty happy.
"Mistress, I heard them say that his highness has never taken a woman out on a trip before. He doesn't even use female servants. You're the first one, you know."
Han Yunxi's mouth twitched. She estimated that she was probably the only woman in the world who understood that going out with the Duke of Qin wasn't good news.
"Mistress, what kind of place is that Pill Fiend Valley? What are you going there for, and for how long?" asked the curious Chen Xiang as she sent Han Yunxi off.
Han Yunxi rolled her eyes. "If you're that excited, why don't you come along?"
A frightened young Chen Xiang immediately ducked back into the rooms, furiously shaking her head. She kept giggling until her face turned red. "If your servant's there, it won't be convenient for you two!"
Han Yunxi looked wordlessly at the skies. This Chen Xiang was still young but such a little devil. Did she think they were going on their honeymoon? She helplessly shook her head, too lazy to explain as she waved goodbye and left. At the back gates, Han Yunxi saw a carriage.
Eh, this guy wasn't flying her over this time? She kind of liked the feeling of flying.
What was she thinking about now?!
Han Yunxi shook her head before getting into the carriage, only to see Long Feiye with his head propped in one hand, leaning lethargically to one side. She found a seat on the side and also leaned lazily against the side, thinking to herself, if we're going, we're going. Who's afraid of whom? Whatever happens, you're responsible for bringing me safely back.
But then Long Feiye lifted his eyes to look at her before ordering icily, "We'll take a shortcut to Snake Gorge first."
Han Yunxi's heart had a bad premonition...
 Taobao (??) - could also mean to dig up treasures, but in this case it's a reference to the Chinese online retailer site Taobao.
 the disaster's been brought to the fish in the pond (????) - yangji chi yu, part of the Chinese saying ????????? chengmen guan huo, yangji chiyu, meaning that disasters with things associated with you will end up bringing you disaster too. It comes from a story where a city caught on fire. In order to save the city, people filled buckets of water from the nearby pond until they dried it all up, killing the fish inside. In this case, Han Yunxi sees herself as the city and Long Feiye as the (uninterested) fish who suffers disaster along with her.