Chapter 435: This fellow wants you dead Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
What’s going on now? Someone wants to chase out Xu Donglin’s aunt? Han Yunxi was about to ask for clarification when another guard came calling over. As soon as the man entered, he fell to his knees and kowtowed against the ground.
“Esteemed wangfei, please leave my father here! When the Duke of Qin’s estate was first established, my father was the main cook in the kitchens. He and I both serve His Highness Duke of Qin and esteemed wangfei with all our hearts! We definitely don’t harbor any disloyal thoughts! May esteemed wangfei be clear headed!”
Very soon, a third guard joined the others, speaking and kneeling at the same time. Han Yunxi had spent the past few days trying to figure out the mystery of the explosion and was currently in low spirits. All these people attacking her with entreaties only made her cross and uncomfortable.
“Enough! Xu Donglin, speak. What’s this all about?!” she shouted.
Xu Donglin quickly stood up and relayed Chu Xifeng’s orders for the estate. Han Yunxi was shocked. “Change everyone? What a big move from His Highness Duke of Qin!”
Everyone present privately agreed, but none of them dared to express their views openly. They already had the shocking gall to beg esteemed wangfei for mercy, so how could they dare to judge the man who’d decided all this? They had always been trained to do as they were asked with no questions or unnecessary words. There was no telling whether Long Feiye would be angry enough to exchange all the guards too, if he found out about their actions today. None of his subordinates had ever acted this way before.
In truth, if this was the past, none of the guards would have dared to beg for anything. But now that the Duke of Qin had a woman who could say ‘no’ to him, the situation had changed drastically. The guards who shadowed their master and mistress day and night knew the situation best. Finding esteemed wangfei for help would definitely yield results.
Han Yunxi creased her brows but kept silent. This time, she had truly tasted the extent of Long Feiye’s heartless cruelty. There were about 50 or so servants at the Duke of Qin’s estate, most of whom had served him loyally for over a decade. Some, like Zhao mama, had followed him over directly from the palace.
How could he reject them all over something that’s still unresolved? Leaving aside the fact of their feelings, how are these people supposed to make a living once they’ve been banished from his estate?
Who would ever dare to hire someone expelled from the Duke of Qin’s estate? How could they ever have favorable prospects in the capital after this? Even the lowest status servants had their own circle of contacts and personal feelings. Once they were driven out, how many of their peers would be sneering and mocking them for their fall? All doctors had a nurturing heart. Though Han Yunxi didn’t consider herself much of the nurturing type, her heart was still made of flesh and blood.
Finally, she spoke, “Tell His Highness that I’m still investigating the case, and to forget about dismissing anyone for now.”
All of the guards rejoiced and thanked her profusely before immediately delivering her reply. Very soon, Chu Xifeng passed on a reply that the Duke of Qin would follow esteemed wangfei’s wishes. Moreover, the guards were ordered to increase their vigilance many fold. From that day on, a saying began to pass amongst the guards: With esteemed wangfei here, there’s nothing to fear!
There were only a few days left before the 15th, so Han Yunxi asked, “Is His Highness still with General Baili? When did he say he’d come back?”
Xu Donglin shook his head. “This subordinate isn’t clear. That’s something only the people over at Hidden Pavilion know.” Like the Solitary Enclosure, the Hidden Pavilion was a very particular place, one of Long Feiye’s many secret strongholds. All the guards there differed from the guards on the estate. Apparently they were even better trained. Supposedly, there were even suicide soldiers there—guards ready to throw their lives away to protect or defend any given cause.
“Send someone over and make some inquiries, just say that the 15th is approaching. His Highness will understand,” Han Yunxi said simply.
Gu Qi Sha and Long Feiye had made an appointment to meet on the 15th. She wasn’t sure whether the man had found those ingredients, but she figured that Long Feiye would bring her along for another trip to Pill Fiend Valley. Han Yunxi waited for the fated day, ignorant to the fact that Long Feiye and Chu Xifeng were at Pill Fiend Valley already. When she was with them, Gu Qi Sha had clearly been around, but now he’d disappeared from the premises again.
Currently, it was late at night. The moon shone upon Pill Fiend’s estate, making the entire scenery rather dreamlike. Long Feiye and Chu Xifeng were sitting on top of Pill Fiend’s roof.
“Your Highness, isn’t this is a little too convenient,” Chu Xifeng said, suspicious. Before, esteemed wangfei had come to ask for medicine, they’d searched around for Pill Fiend, but didn’t find him. Even the steward said he wasn’t expected back until the 15th.
But as soon as esteemed wangfei had showed up, Pill Fiend revealed himself. Now he was gone again. There was a week left until the 15th, but his master had come ahead of time to avoid answering esteemed wangfei’s questions about the meeting. It was hard to explain without giving too much away. Judging from today’s situation, Gu Qi Sha probably wouldn’t show up until the deadline was here.
Long Feiye remained silent. He was lying on his back with his arms behind his head, staring at the stars, lost in thought. Chu Xifeng didn’t dare to talk much, but went to a corner of the roof to stand on night watch. If there’s anything worrying His Highness, it’s probably esteemed wangfei’s matter. Actually, for a busy guy like his master to spend so much time waiting here was probably all for esteemed wangfei’s sake, too.
Chu Xifeng only wished to acquire the antidote sooner so they could cure Mute Granny and finish the whole business. Then maybe His Highness Duke of Qin would finally be able to set aside his burdens. Those heavy weights of personal and national grudges, that weighty sense of hope, would all have a place to rest in peace.
The skies were still dark when a messenger pigeon arrived from the Duke of Qin’s estate. Long Feiye had spent another sleepless night staring up at the sky.
“Your Highness, esteemed wangfei’s asked about the meeting on the 15th,” Chu Xifeng reported in a low voice.
While Long Feiye was hesitating, the old steward’s voice rang out. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, Your Highness Duke of Qin! There’s been news from my master!”
Long Feiye immediately leapt down from the roof. “Where is he?”
“Your Highness Duke of Qin, this is a letter from my master to you,” the old steward hastily presented a sealed missive. Long Feiye opened it up and read the contents, before knitting his brows and tossing the item to Chu Xifeng.
Gu Qi Sha actually stood me up!
They’d agreed to a one-year deadline before Long Feiye shortened it to six months. If Pill Fiend had found the ingredients by then, the Duke of Qin’s estate would owe him a favor. Gu Qi Sha was willing to agree and even said he’d get the things by the 15th, but he backed out at the last minute. He’d send Long Feiye the Panoptic Red Lotus first instead, because the Bear chuan needed more time to prepare.
“Where is he?” Long Feiye asked the steward coldly.
Seeing his icy expression, the old steward’s legs started shaking. “This humble one doesn’t know.”
“How was this message delivered?” Long Feiye asked next.
“With a messenger pigeon,” the old steward said, before hastily offering up the Panoptic Red Lotus. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, kindly accept this!”
At the sight of the lotus, Long Feiye’s temper ebbed somewhat. It looks like Gu Qi Sha truly hasn’t found the Bear chuan yet, instead of skipping out on purpose. He didn’t take the item, but told the steward, “Inform Gu Qi Sha that he’ll have to shoulder the consequences if he can’t find the Bear chuan within a year!”
Since they were still missing an ingredient, Mute Granny’s situation would have to wait a little longer. Long Feiye could only tell Tang Li to keep standing guard while hiding the facts from Aunt Ru and Tang Zijin, the current head of the Tang Clan. As for why Gu Qi Sha had vanished, or how he failed to find the Bear chuan, the steward had no idea.
But someone did.
In fact, that person had already tracked down the Bear chuan. He was none other than someone who hadn’t been seen in ages, Gu Qishao! It was unclear where or when he’d abandoned Mu Linger, but he was now heading solo towards Fishery Island. The Baili Navy hadn’t forbidden anyone from going to the island, nor did they have the right to do so, but anyone who tried to take Jun Yixie with them would be reduced to a hedgehog by their arrows.
Nobody even recognized Gu Qishao when he arrived at the island, because he had changed out of his usual scarlet robes and cheeky grin. Instead, he was dressed all in black with a face veil to match, taking quick steps through the island’s forests like the specter hellbent on revenge that he was.
He was looking for Jun Yixie!
Originally, his plan was to use Jun Yixie to make Long Feiye stumble, but that was before he had found out that Long Feiye had trapped the man here for bullying Han Yunxi. As soon as the news reached his ears, he felt unwell all over. Who cared about my plans, my Bear chuan, or Long Feiye? Who cared about hitting two hawks with one arrow? He didn’t even bother telling Mu Linger before he was gone, traveling day and night to get to Fishery Island at the quickest possible pace.
What a Jun Yixie! He had the gall to pick on Poison lass!
See how I’ll finish you off!
The island was currently closed for the fishing season, so nobody came here to fish. The entire isle was still and empty, making it a difficult task to track one person down. Yet, what kind of man was Gu Qishao? He could even find specific plants from the place in a matter of minutes, much less a single living person. He tracked down Jun Yixie from the forests while it was still daylight! A sinister gleam passed through his eyes at the sight.
It had to be said that three months of island living had left the man in a wretched state! Long Feiye hadn’t trapped him here in vain. When Jun Yixie and Ouyang Ningnuo had first arrived, they’d brought along horses, men, and rations. Then afterwards, Ouyang Ningnuo had left with the men and animals but left him water and food. Still, supplies were limited.
Northern Li’s imperial clan had once sent men over with food, but the Baili Navy drove them back before they ever reached the island. It was impossible to send in any supplies. Jun Yixie finished the rest of his supplies in under a month, leaving him to drink rainwater and coconut milk and eat only roasted fish. It was such an enjoyment when he was eating it during that wintery day on the lake, but two months’ straight of fish for every single meal was unbearable!
As soon as Jun Yixie saw a fish now, he wanted to throw up, but he had no choice but to eat it! If he didn’t, he’d only starve to death! The current Jun Yixie wasn’t as wild as a barbarian, but he still sported a large beard and ragged, shabby clothes. Baili Mingxiang’s blood sample was still hidden within his robes, but he’d long lost interest in pursuing the matter. The only thought left in his head was the question: why hadn’t Northern Li waged war against Emperor Tianhui yet? Why hadn’t the Northern Li emperor rescued him yet?!
Had something major happened to Northern Li itself? Otherwise, there was no reason for the emperor to abandon him!
The sky was getting brighter as Jun Yixie’s stomach rumbled with hunger. But he was sick of coconut milk and roast fish, so he simply glanced at the skies before shutting his eyes again. Still, it was at this moment that a fragrant scent floated over on the wind.
There was no mistake, it had to be the scent of cooked rice. He hadn’t touched the stuff in over three months. Jun Yixie gave a start and sat bolt upright!