Chapter 431: Very beautiful Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
If this was the past, Han Yunxi would only be suspicious of Long Feiye doting on her in public and assume he had some ulterior motive in mind. Who told her to have unrequited love back then?
But after being with him continuously for half a year, she didn’t think like that anymore. She openly accepted the Duke of Qin’s favors with the full knowledge that the man liked her. As long as both of them liked each other, she could bear anything he gave her! She had stared at his sleeve for so long that Long Feiye finally asked, “What are you looking at?”
Han Yunxi withdrew her gaze and assumed a serious tone of voice. “Many thanks to Your Highness for the rescue.”
Long Feiye arched a brow at her. “Mm.”
That’s it? Isn’t he going to say anything else? Or even attempt to comfort me? Things had gotten dangerous back there, so her heart was still tensed up. “If Your Highness had come a single step later, chenqie would’ve really lost face,” Han Yunxi continued.
Long Feiye replied with the same monosyllable. “Mm.”
“When Your Highness came to find chenqie, chenqie felt really happy,” Han Yunxi probed again.
“Mm,” Long Feiye remained unmoved.
Alright, she knew he’d have this kind of attitude. Even if she gave him a grand bow and thanked him effusively for his grace, he’d probably do nothing beyond nodding his head. What a cold and gloomy fellow!
Han Yunxi stole another glance at his torn sleeve before leaning sluggishly against the window to look outside. Aiya, I’ve been cooped up so long. I really want to go take a walk somewhere!
She was lost in thought when she suddenly felt her hair tie shift. Before she could react, Long Feiye had already tugged off her makeshift tie with a gentle motion, causing her hair to spill down over her shoulders like ink flowing from a tipped over bottle. Han Yunxi looked back, the motion causing the black strands to frame her little face. She looked softer and more graceful, with more of a womanly aura instead of her usual carefree air. Perplexed, she wondered what he was doing.
Her words trailed off into silence when she noticed Long Feiye examining her from head to toe, his eyes dark and deep enough to swallow her whole. Suddenly feeling timid under his scrutiny, Han Yunxi averted her gaze. Inside the carriage, all was silent. Long Feiye didn’t say a word, he just kept staring. Han Yunxi felt her heart grow restless as time passed.
Just what in the world is he doing? She snuck a peek at him with hooded eyes, only to catch him staring back. He’d never shifted his gaze from her for an instant. When their eyes met, his gaze turned even more wanton. Instead of shying from it, she simply wound up her hair and secured it above her head again. Immediately, Long Feiye pulled her hands aside, allowing the hair to cascade down her back again. Han Yunxi once again tried to tie it up, and Long Feiye again let it down.
She was about to try for the third time when Long Feiye opened his mouth and said in a low, somewhat hoarse voice, “Very beautiful.”
Hair is often taken as a symbol of beauty for women. A woman with her hair down was usually half-dressed as well, and either preparing for bed or getting ready for a bath. The only ones with the chance to see her in such a state were either her personal servant girls or her man. By the time Han Yunxi processed his words, a flush had stolen over her cheeks. She coiled her hair up for the last time as Long Feiye finally handed over his strip of fabric without saying a word. She silently mused, Was this guy wicked to begin with, or did he become wicked over time?
The atmosphere around them began to grow strange as if something was about to burst. Long Feiye would never speak under such circumstances, leaving Han Yunxi feeling unbearable. She decided to search for a topic of conversation. “Your Highness, how do you think Great General Mu managed to raise such a stupid daughter?”
In the palace earlier, every one of Mu Liuyue’s tactics had met with disdain in Han Yunxi’s eyes.
“I don’t know,” Long Feiye intoned. It was fine for him as long as he got out of the empress dowager’s palace. He didn’t have the leisure to worry about harem politics. At present, none of those women would affect his end goal.
Since she started speaking, Han Yunxi found it easier to breathe again. She grew serious and said, “Your Highness, Chu Qingge and Chu Tianyin couldn’t have been looking for the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion last time in the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds, right?” That was where she and Chu Qingge had first clashed. If not for that faceoff, perhaps their relationship wouldn’t be so frosty now.
Naturally, Long Feiye was interested in the matter as well, but he’d just never brought it up. A complicated look flitted past his eyes before he remarked, “Chu Qingge’s poison skills aren’t bad. It’s possible they went hunting for ingredients.”
Since those grounds were full of toxic plants of all kinds, it was likely that people from other poison circles would sneak in to steal their share.
“Your Highness, don’t you think it’s strange? The Chu Clan are a family of warriors. Why does a girl like Chu Qingge feel the need to study the poison arts?” Han Yunxi asked next.
“That’s her business,” Long Feiye said, clearly not wanting to continue the subject.
Am I just overthinking things? Seeing Long Feiye’s attitude, Han Yunxi stopped asking questions as well…
That very night at the Duke of Qin’s estate, Han Yunxi alerted Zhao mama who in turn alerted Chu Xifeng to snatch the set of robes with the torn sleeve from that day.
“Esteemed wangfei, stealing His Highness’s things…isn’t so good, is it?” Zhao mama asked carefully. Even though Chu Xifeng said that His Highness would never wear this again, it hasn’t been tossed away either! Taking it without His Highness’s permission just didn’t seem right.
Han Yunxi shot her a look. “When did you see me stealing this?”
Urk… Zhao mama wanted to cry, but she had no tears shed. Of course no one saw you stealing it, esteemed wangfei. It was me and Chu Xifeng who did all the work! Once again, Zhao mama was enlightened to another truth, and that was: never talk back to esteemed wangfei. She’d abuse you to death every time.
Her speechlessness was extremely refreshing to Han Yunxi, whose eyes danced with secret laughter. She hugged Long Feiye’s clothes to her chest and ran up the stairs. She was going to hide both this and her makeshift hair ribbon at the bottom of her drawers for safekeeping!
The next morning found the mood at Long Feiye’s quarters calm and tranquil. Whether or not he discovered his robes were missing, no one knew. After all, who could read the heart of His Highness Duke of Qin?
A few days later, Chu Xifeng arrived with a meter-tall box slung across his shoulders. “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness gave you this as a gift. Guess what it might be!”
Han Yunxi examined it for a long time before saying doubtfully, “Medicinal ingredients?” But the box is so big. Just how many ingredients would be needed to fill it up?
Chu Xifeng shook his head, so Han Yunxi next guessed, “Clothes?”
Chu Xifeng was still shaking his head, so Zhao mama piped up with, “Medical texts?”
Again, Chu Xifeng shook his head. An impatient Zhao mama demanded, “You little rascal, still keeping esteemed wangfei in suspense?”
“Esteemed wangfei, these things are really heavy. Your subordinate doesn’t know what’s inside, either,” Chu Xifeng replied helplessly. He’d exerted quite the effort to lug the thing back from the Hidden Pavilion. Now Han Yunxi was even more curious. She quickly opened the box, but its contents left the three of them all thoroughly dumbfounded.
Here was a giant box full of…jewelry.
The box was a meter tall! But the insides were stuffed full of various ornaments. There were all types of styles and patterns made with every kind of material, impossible to keep count. In Han Yunxi’s words, they were as numerous as the stars in the sky and all absolutely priceless!
Zhao mama couldn’t help but speak the truth, “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness isn’t expressing his passion with this present. He just doesn’t know how to give women gifts!” Nobody gifted people things like this, especially when it came to jewelry. This was more wholesale than a wholesaler!
Zhao mama was right. Long Feiye really had no idea. Han Yunxi only looked at the whole box with a foolish grin. Although she didn’t particularly like jewelry or wear it often, she was still touched by the gesture. She decided that she’d learn how to dress herself up from now on and make herself even more beautiful!
“Where is His Highness?” Han Yunxi asked.
“At the Hidden Pavilion, discussing things with General Baili,” Chu Xifeng said hastily. Under normal circumstances, Chu Xifeng would just say he didn’t know, but he took care to note the details this time. Unfortunately, Han Yunxi was too lost in her pleasant surprise to notice the irregularity.
Chu Xifeng quickly dismissed himself after that. He was in a rush to accompany His Highness Duke of Qin to Pill Fiend Valley! Although the 15th had yet to arrive, His Highness wanted to get there ahead of time. Since esteemed wangfei had gotten knowledge of the deadline with Pill Fiend on the fifteenth during her last trip to save Baili Mingxiang, His Highness was going to tie up some loose ends. If the Duke of Qin was determined to hide the truth of certain matters, he’d conceal it all until the end!
With such a large box of jewelry to organize, Han Yunxi finally tossed off her boredom. Even though she had so many different types and kinds, each and every piece was an exquisite work. With Zhao mama and Su Xiaoyu helping her out, it still took them three days to organize only a small portion of the whole.
“Esteemed wangfei, His Highness must like you a lot,” Su Xiaoyu said.
“That’s obvious,” Zhao mama rolled her eyes at her.
Han Yunxi didn’t speak. As she organized the jewelry, she silently mused over how to temper them in various poisons and conceal needles within their depths. She didn’t know martial arts, so she had to think up more ways to defend herself against her enemies.
“Esteemed wangfei, there’s simply too much. If we put them all away in jewelry boxes, how many boxes will that take?” Zhao mama asked helplessly.
Han Yunxi thought it over for a long while before getting Zhao mama to custom-order a medicine cabinet. She was going to store these jewelry away just like her medicinal ingredients, each in its own little compartment.
“What is esteemed wangfei planning to do?” Su Xiaoyu asked in bewilderment.
“Esteemed wangfei, storing them like that…isn’t appropriate, is it?” Zhao mama didn’t understand either.
Han Yunxi could never tell them that she was planning to convert the jewelry into poisonous weapons in plain sight on her person. If too many people knew about hidden weapons, they wouldn’t be ‘hidden’ anymore.
“What’s with all the superfluous words? Hurry and go!” With Han Yunxi urging them on, Zhao mama and Su Xiaoyu had no more excuses to delay. The medicine cabinet was completed a day later and moved into the study. Han Yunxi didn’t allow Zhao mama and Su Xiaoyu to help her, but she instead marked each of the tiny drawers with characters only she understood. Then she divided up her jewelry and began to put them away.
It was a huge, time-consuming project, and Han Yunxi found herself desperately in need of a helper. Although she trusted both Zhao mama and Su Xiaoyu, neither of them knew anything about poisons. Nor did she have the energy to teach them from scratch. Although there was no rush to put away all the jewelry, this wasn’t some overnight job. Han Yunxi preferred to finish things quickly when she could. As it turned out, she got just what she wanted. When Han Yunxi became so busy that she couldn’t even eat or sleep, Baili Mingxiang arrived at the estate with her luggage.
Because Han Yunxi had made arrangements ahead of time, Steward Luo simply showed her to the Leisurely Cloud Pavilion. Han Yunxi had forgotten all about her impending arrival. When she emerged from her study, she saw Baili Mingxiang standing in the courtyard, dressed in plain servant clothes and with her hair tied up simply. Her hands were crossed in front of her body. She looked much recovered, and her face looked cleanly washed of any traces of powder. Her entire person looked more steady and unobtrusive, her manner and bearing far eclipsing any of the servant girls by Empress Dowager Li’s side!