Chapter 481: Halfway through the slaughter, a girl appears Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
As soon as morning broke, Zhao mama came over to announce to Han Yunxi, “Esteemed wangfei, His Highness made an appointment to meet His Excellency Pill Fiend in the flower gardens for tea. He wanted you to come as well.”
Han Yunxi had just woken up and nearly thought she was still dreaming. Long Feiye meet with Gu Qi Sha for tea? Did the sun rise from the west today?
“Really?” Han Yunxi asked her doubtfully.
Zhao mama hadn’t yet replied when Su Xiaoyu cut in with a toss of her head and two hands on her hips like some female boss. “Mistress,” she said confidently, “Your Highness is definitely scheming something! He has nothing but bad intentions!”
Ever since losing her memory, Su Xiaoyu had become even more hardworking at her duties in Leisurely Cloud Pavilion. She even snatched Baili Mingxiang and Zhao mama’s share of chores everyday, finding them both slow and incompetent. Currently, she was helping Baili Mingxiang water the poison plants in the courtyard.
“Impudence! Is His Highness someone you can censure so easily?!” Zhao mama scolded Su Xiaoyu immediately.
Han Yunxi had long gotten used to Su Xiaoyu’s sharp tongue and laughed. “Let’s go then, we shall see what kind of things His Highness is plotting.”
By the time they had reached the flower gardens, Long Feiye was already steeping his tea. His hair wasn’t tied up in its usual knot above his head today, nor was he wearing his usual black robes. A single white jade pin held his hair in place, while he wore a set of white robes with billowing sleeves. It made him seem fresh and refined instead of cold and aloof. He was sitting on the long bamboo seat inside a pavilion with his legs crossed, as handsome as some sort of immortal in an ink wash painting. Every single one of his movements graceful and elegant.
Han Yunxi had forgotten how long it’d been since she last saw him in white robes. She liked this type of Duke of Qin immensely because he looked and felt like sunshine. That, in turn, made him more approachable and less cruel or ruthless. She purposely halted her steps to stare at him, as if by simply stopping her movements, she could freeze time itself to this single moment.
“Mistress, you really like His Highness Duke of Qin, don’t you?” Su Xiaoyu asked.
“Obviously!” Han Yunxi huffed scornfully.
“How much do you like him?” Su Xiaoyu asked her next.
Han Yunxi pretended she heard nothing, but then Su Xiaoyu asked her, “Do you like him enough to want to die without him?”
Finally, Han Yunxi gave her a cold look. “You’re so young but all you talk about is dying left and right all day! You’re not a bit cute!”
“Being cute won’t fill my stomach!” Su Xiaoyu snorted in contempt.
While mistress and servant were talking, Gu Qi Sha suddenly appeared from the side. “Lass, morning!” Both Han Yunxi and Su Xiaoyu simultaneously gave a start. Meanwhile, Long Feiye had rose to his feet to peer at them from the pavilion.
“Morning,” Han Yunxi replied mildly.
Su Xiaoyu examined Gu Qi Sha in his black robes from head to toe, then said coldly, “Never expected to see a monster first thing in the morning!” But she’d hardly spoken when her throat suddenly constricted. At the same time, Han Yunxi’s detox system picked up traces of poison in the vicinity!
Su Xiaoyu clutched her throat, unable to speak; she then grabbed Han Yunxi’s hand to plead for help. The detox system had already determined that Su Xiaoyu had been afflicted with Mute Poison! The terrifying fact about this toxin was that its effects would be permanent if not cured within the length of time it took to burn one incense stick! Han Yunxi immediately took out an antidote prepared by the detox system from her medical pouch and had Su Xiaoyu swallow it. But the girl was just starting to feel better when her legs gave out and sent her falling to her knees.
This time, it was one that attacked the shins. Detoxification had to be done immediately to prevent the victim from being permanently crippled. Once again, the detox system threw out another antidote. This time, the cure wasn’t ingested, but applied directly to the knees for it to take effect.
“Sit down and pull up your pant legs!” Han Yunxi said immediately.
Su Xiaoyu saw Han Yunxi’s solemn expression and instantly did as she was bade. Yet while Han Yunxi was applying the antidote, Su Xiaoyu suddenly burst into tears for no reason as fresh blood came leaking from the corner of her lips. Finally, Han Yunxi lost her temper and sprang to her feet.
“Gu Qi Sha, don’t you understand that children’s words carry no harm? You actually used such severe poisons against her?”
Naturally, all of Su Xiaoyu’s poisons came from Gu Qi Sha. The man chuckled as he replied, “Children’s words carry no harm? Do you take her for some three-year old?”
Han Yunxi ignored him and went back to treating Su Xiaoyu’s poisons. But Gu Qi Sha still insisted on using more poisons. As soon as Han Yunxi caught the scent of toxins in the air, she said coldly, “Enough already!”
Gu Qi Sha darted a glance at the white-robed figure in the pavilion before he grinned cheekily. “As long as she apologizes.”
“You wish!” Su Xiaoyu snapped back. She’d only be suffering losses by apologizing after so many poisonings. But as soon as she finished speaking, more blood trickled out of her mouth.
Han Yunxi handed her yet another antidote and pushed Su Xiaoyu behind her. She stared frostily at Gu Qi Sha and said, “Your Excellency Pill Fiend is not only superb at medicine, but formidable in the poison arts as well! Really, how unexpected!”
Han Yunxi hadn’t seen the man get any closer to Su Xiaoyu before poisoning her in an instant. His dosage had been very exact, a true testament to his skill. From what she understood, few could match such abilities in Cloud Realm Continent. Jun Yixie would count as one person, while Gu Qishao was another.
“Poisons and medicine are of one family, hehe,” Gu Qi Sha acknowledged his skills openly, though he stopped his attacks. He’d gotten heated up and revealed his poison skills on the spur of the moment. That really was a mistake!
He tried to change the topic, but Han Yunxi was having none of it. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend couldn’t have been expelled from Medical City for secretly studying the poison arts, could you?”
Han Yunxi had never been able to figure out why Medical City had been willing to lose such a talented person like Pill Fiend. Just how heavy were his transgressions to force the medical academy to drive him out? Did he violate one of their taboos and get involved with the Poison Sect? Medicine and poisons might come from one family, but his poison skills were atypical.
Gu Qi Sha just smiled, but a sinister look flashed through his eyes. “No comment!”
He had originally planned to cause a row with Han Yunxi by humiliating Su Xiaoyu as an excuse, but he refused to continue the topic any further. Now he turned to walk away with Han Yunxi hastily chasing after him while beating around the bush. “Gu Qi Sha, do you understand poisons as well?”
Gu Qi Sha still didn’t answer, so Han Yunxi grinned and tried, “There’s nothing shameful about knowing the poison arts. Share a little, we can learn from each other by exchanging views?”
Gu Qi Sha still remained mute, forcing Han Yunxi to chase after him some more. Sometimes he sped up, sometimes he slowed down, sometimes he turned to cast her a glance. Occasionally he even burst out into laughter, but he refused to speak. In Long Feiye’s eyes the pair looked like they were doing nothing short of flirting! His eyes narrowed dangerously as his gaze turned intense. The temperatures around him began to plummet. He picked up the cup of Red South Peak he’d prepared ahead of time and threw it out without warning. Heaven knows how much strength he used, but the teacup went flying like an arrow straight for Gu Qi Sha’s face.
He was ready to sit down and have a long talk with the man over Red South Peak tea, but now he’d rather cut to the chase and knock off Gu Qi Sha’s face mask immediately! Gu Qi Sha sensed danger coming his way first, so he swerved to the side. Han Yunxi automatically followed after him, placing her in the path of the tea cup. When she saw the flying object approaching her face, she froze in shock. In panic, Long Feiye was going to shatter the cup with a hidden weapon when Gu Qi Sha beat him to it and simply kicked it out of the way!
He chuckled and turned to Long Feiye. “Who’s blowing their top so early this morning?”
Han Yunxi was too preoccupied with Gu Qi Sha’s poison arts to realize she looked like she was flirting with him by chasing him all over the garden. Now she simply looked befuddled as she stared at Long Feiye. He really does have a short fuse. Why did he call Gu Qi Sha over for tea in the first place?
A silent Long Feiye simply threw another cup of tea at Gu Qi Sha’s face. This time, he effortlessly flipped out of the way and landed on a nearby tree. “Your Highness Duke of Qin, are you sure you asked this old fellow over for tea today?”
“Exactly so. What, you don’t dare to drink the tea?” Long Feiye countered as he sent out another teacup. Gu Qi Sha immediately caught it in his hands. Both of them were skilled martial artists, so not a single drop of tea spilled out of the seven-parts full teacup held between his fingers.
Not everyone had a palate as sensitive as Long Feiye’s to distinguish between different types of tea. Gu Qi Sha only knew he was holding a type of red tea.1 After testing it for poisons, he slowly sipped at the cup. Just when he thought the flavor was familiar, Long Feiye approached him with the teapot in hand.
“How is the taste?” Long Feiye asked.
Gu Qi Sha felt that something was off, but kept a strong front as he jumped off the tree. “Give me another cup.”
As Long Feiye poured the tea, he remarked, “The Celestial Fragrance Tea Plantation has Red South Peak. Last time, you drank some at Pill Fiend Valley as well. What, you’re not familiar with this tea?”
Gu Qi Sha’s eyes turned cold as his stance grew guarded. By their side, Han Yunxi had no way to sense the growing tension between the men, but finally realized that Gu Qi Sha had served them Red South Peak at his home as well. No wonder she felt it was familiar. Long Feiye had long sealed off the Celestial Fragrance Tea Plantation, so he had ownership of all the Red South Peak there as well. It wasn’t sold publicly, so had Gu Qishao started selling another batch from a different location?
Or was it…
Han Yunxi was still puzzling it out when Chu Xifeng suddenly rushed into the courtyard. “Your Highness, a guest requests your audience!”
Long Feiye didn’t even bother asking who it was. “I’m not meeting them.”
That left Chu Xifeng in an awkward spot. He hesitated a bit before drawing closer to murmur something by Long Feiye’s ear. Whatever he said made his master’s expression shift. Then he turned to Han Yunxi and said mildly, “Wait in the pavilion, I’ll be back right away.”
So speaking, he hurried off as if to take care of some emergency. Once he left, Han Yunxi summoned a servant girl. “Wait on His Excellency Pill Fiend well.”
It had to be someone extraordinary who could ask for an audience at the Duke of Qin’s estate. Moreover, Chu Xifeng had looked so anxious that the visitor must be an unusual case. At the very least, it was someone the Duke of Qin had to give face to. Just who could that person be? Did they have urgent business? Filled with curiosity, Han Yunxi secretly went to find out herself. Gu Qi Sha cast a doubtful look at his teacup before a complicated look flickered across his eyes. Then he went to secretly stalk Han Yunxi as well.
But as Han Yunxi reached the guest hall, the first thing she saw was a girl standing extremely close to Long Feiye. And she was none other than the long missing Western Zhou princess, Duanmu Yao!
- red tea (紅茶) － hongcha, note that in Chinese, “red tea” actually refers to black tea leaves. Red South Peak, in short, is a type of black tea despite the “red” in its name. ↩