Chapter 415: Qishao’s out of the loop Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Mu Linger had ground the Panoptic Red Lotus into a travel-friendly powder before placing it into a small bottle. She had suffered much to find the plant, but Gu Qishao accepted the bottle easily without the tiniest hint of thanks. He really had no conscience at all!
Despite that, Mu Linger preferred this to him thanking her. She’d only find him a stranger if he actually seemed grateful. Such was love and its willingness to sacrifice indiscriminately.
“Qi gege, there’s only the Bear chuan left. Let’s steal it from the Hundred Poison Sect!” Mu Linger’s big, bright eyes looked positively devious. The last few months of work had left her thinner than ever before, but her mood was better than ever.
“Steal? Would this gentleman ever do such a thing?” Gu Qishao said disdainfully.
“Haha, Qi gege has a scheme planned out?” Mu Linger smiled even more sneakily.
“Of course I’m going to hunt down Jun Yixie,” Gu Qishao said carelessly. The enemy of a friend was his enemy, and the enemy of an enemy was his friend. Jun Yixie is Han Yunxi’s enemy, so he is my enemy, too. But Jun Yixie was also Long Feiye’s enemy, which made the man his friend. Although he scorned the man, he could consider him both friend and foe. Heaven knows whether Han Yunxi would disdain Gu Qishao if she knew his thoughts just then. In any case, Gu Qishao had already made his choice upon finding out that Jun Yixie had the Bear chuan.
With the ingredients in hand, it’d be easy work to trap Long Feiye. He could even give up the chance to Jun Yixie as long as the man gave him the Bear chuan!
“So does that mean going to Northern Li?” Mu Linger asked him hastily. She had no idea about the blackhearted depths of Gu Qishao’s thoughts; she was more concerned with where her Qi gege was going. Gu Qishao gently stroked his chin. He and Mu Linger had remained in hiding at the Mu Clan grounds for a long time now, but neither of them had paid any attention to worldly affairs. They had completely lost themselves in hunting for the Panoptic Red Lotus!
He had no idea that Jun Yixie had been trapped on Fishery Island, nor the true reason behind his imprisonment. In his calculations, the man had to be in the Northern Li capital or at the Hundred Poison Sect. After safely storing away the Panoptic Red Lotus, Gu Qishao said, “Let’s go, we’ll have a drink before we inquire into things!”
Mu Linger was thrilled. “Alright, let’s make a night of it until we’re drunk!”
But they’d hardly left the Mu Clan and had entered Medicine City when Gu Qishao caught wind of Northern Li’s Duke of Kang being trapped on Fishery Island by Tianning’s Duke of Qin. Moreover, the two countries were now on the verge of war because of that very incident. Mu Linger lay drunkenly on the table in a stupor while Gu Qishao leaned against the window, completely sober as he stroked his chin.
“Would Long Feiye really raise up arms for the sake of a few fish?” he muttered to himself.
“Master, rumors say the entire Tianning navy’s on watch there. They have archers manning the island and stopped a number of Northern Li experts in their rescue attempts,” his attendant replied.
“There won’t be any advantage for Long Feiye if the two countries go to war, right?” Gu Qishao had never been interested in politics, but even he could tell that it was unusual for Long Feiye to provoke Northern Li like that.
“Master, shall this subordinate inquire further into the issue?” the attendant asked.
“Go dig around Northern Li’s capital city,” Gu Qishao said as his eyes turned shrewd. “Could it be that there’s a treasure hidden in Fishery Island?”
“Master, why don’t you go to Fishery Island yourself?” the attendant asked cautiously.
Gu Qishao rolled his eyes at him as he quoted a passage from Sun Zi’s Art of War. “Know yourself and know your enemy, and you will never be defeated, understand?”
Cooperating with Jun Yixie was like asking a tiger for its skin—it had to be accomplished step by step. Any alliance with the man would be useless before he had the full story. Afraid to ask any more, the attendant silently withdrew.
“Aiyaya…” Gu Qishao gave a light exhale. Those who didn’t know any better would’ve been knocked senseless by the sight of such a beautiful man sighing all alone. But those who knew him well would only feel their hairs stand on end. The devilish eyes darting in those sockets were clearing making calculations. Though he wasn’t entirely clear on the situation yet, he knew that this was a perfect opportunity to strike a deal with Jun Yixie while the latter was trapped by Long Feiye.
Gu Qishao sat on the windowsill, one arm resting haplessly against his knee. His languid postures and fiery red robes mixed with his jet black hair as he sat beneath the moonlight, framed his stunning profile in sharp relief. Off to the side, Mu Linger had already started to mumble in her sleep.
“Qi gege…Qi gege…let’s stay together forever, alright?”
Unfortunately, Gu Qishao had turned a deaf ear to her muttering. He stared at the moon in the sky, his lips curved up into a devious smile.
While Gu Qishao was waiting for more intel, Jun Yixie was in a dreary state back on Fishery Island! He had been waiting for Northern Li’s imperial clan to come to his rescue, but there was still no news after nearly a month of entrapment. He was certain that the imperial court would come to save him—and even move their troops against Tianning so Emperor Tianhui could apply pressure to Long Feiye. But the Tianning navy was still guarding the shores to this very day. No matter how formidable their forces were, the emperor of Northern Li wouldn’t be awed by such force. His personality ensured that the two countries would go to war instead!
Jun Yixie had no idea what was happening in the outside world, but his days spent waiting for new updates to be delivered were absolutely tortuous! There wasn’t much water or grain left in his supplies on the island. If this kept on, where was he supposed to find something to drink? On yet another still and star-filled night, Jun Yixie found himself lying on the horizontal branches of a coconut tree as he stared blankly at the skies.
Could something have actually happened to the Northern Li troops?
That would be the only way to quell the Northern Li emperor’s fighting heart. Jun Yixie didn’t think into it too deeply, because any speculation was useless while he was stuck on this island. He took out a bottle and toyed with it in his hands, the very same container that held the blood sample from atop the ice. There was nothing else to alleviate his boredom in a place like this. The blood was most certainly poisoned, yet the toxins themselves were extremely complex and abnormal. All of them were non-fatal, slow-acting poisons that, when combined, could create something deadly. Judging from the sample, Baili Mingxiang had been afflicted with a score of different slow-acting toxins. It didn’t take long for Jun Yixie to realize she was being used to cultivate poison blood. The technique was similar to his own methods for creating Poison Humans, but not altogether identical. The only other possibility he could think of was that they were raising her as a Poison Gu, but one strange detail had made him abandon that theory.
That was because after further study, he had concluded that the blood in this sample was less like a human’s and more like a fish! That day, he’d clearly seen both Baili Mingxiang and General Baili spill blood from their hands. Had I collected the wrong sample and gotten fish blood instead? But he hadn’t seen any other signs of blood on the ice that day. Moreover, how could any of the fish in the pond be afflicted with such a serious mix of poisons? He had tested the lake water that day, too. Compared to the thought of being rescued, Jun Yixie was far more interested in this mysterious blood. He was a poison fanatic to begin with, so such a conundrum kept up him all night. There was also the fact that it could be related some secret of Long Feiye’s. In the middle of his musings, he suddenly turned over and crashed heavily to the ground.
The poison in his shoulder was acting up again!
He remained lying in the sand, clutching his shoulder with one hand as blue veins popped out of his skin. The sight was both shocking and horrific. His shoulder was acting up more and more frequently these days, and each time felt worse than the last. The pain of rheumatism was one of the most tormenting things in existence, but this pain exceeded that by a hundred times. After suffering through an entire hour of agony, Jun Yixie finally recovered his ability to move. He sat up with his hand still clutched against his shoulder.
“Han Yunxi!” he gnashed his teeth and gritted out an exclamation filled with hate! After living for twenty some years, this was the first time he’d remembered a woman’s name so well. It seemed to be carved into his very heart as it were something he’d never forget for the rest of his life.
“Han Yunxi, you had better hope you never fall into this lord’s hands one day!”
Far away in Tianning’s capital city, Han Yunxi suddenly felt a chill and woke up in the dead of night. There was a little more than a month left before Baili Mingxiang’s Beauty’s Blood would be completed. She’d spent most of her days at home, trying to create an antidote! One fortunate thing was that she had already settled on a formula with a few successful trial runs. Of course, she had used her own imitation of Baili Mingxiang’s blood to conduct her experiments. In order to verify the results, she’d have to use Baili Mingxiang’s actual blood. Unable to fall asleep again, Han Yunxi simply got out of bed. She glanced out the window and saw that the lamp was still lit at Long Feiye’s quarters.
“He woke up already? Or did he never go to bed in the first place?” Han Yunxi got dressed and prepared to go downstairs when Su Xiaoyu met her at the steps.
“Mistress, why are you awake?” Standing on the stairs, Su Xiaoyu looked up sleepily.
“How come you’re not sleeping, either?” Han Yunxi asked in concern. When Su Xiaoyu’s head drooped, Han Yunxi got a little angry. “Didn’t I tell you before? There’s no need to keep watch over me like this. The weather’s still cold, so why take such pains?”
Leisurely Cloud Pavilion had never held the custom of servants standing on the night watch, but Su Xiaoyu had insisted on guarding the steps after joining the estate. Han Yunxi had assumed that the little girl had broken her bad habits after coming home from the disaster regions, but she ran into her again tonight. When she descended the steps, Su Xiaoyu immediately moved out of the way, hanging her head like a contrite child. Han Yunxi glanced at her, but didn’t soften this time.
Although she doted on the girl, there was no excuse for the child to keep testing her patience like this. How could I keep around or use a servant girl that refuses to obey my orders?
As soon as she reached the first floor, she called out coldly, “Zhao mama!”
Zhao mama was sleeping right next door to the study, and hastily woke from her dreams to enter the room. As soon as she saw Su Xiaoyu, she knew what had happened.
“Discipline her well. If this happens again, cast her out!” Han Yunxi said mercilessly. Su Xiaoyu immediately fell to her knees without saying a peep, her small, skinny frame trembling slightly.
“This servant understands!” Zhao mama replied calmly. That’s exactly how esteemed wangfei should discipline Su Xiaoyu. Otherwise, who knows what she’ll get up to in the future?
When Han Yunxi stepped outside, she found that it was already breaking daylight. Zhao mama hurried after her to drape a cloak across her shoulders. “Esteemed wangfei, why did you suddenly wake up?” Zhao mama asked her in a low voice.
“When did His Highness come home last night?” Han Yunxi asked back.
Though Zhao mama knew the answer, she feigned ignorance. “This servant isn’t sure. Did His Highness come back last night?”
Han Yunxi was too lazy to acknowledge her reply. She didn’t leave her courtyard, but sat down on the swing. Northern Li still hadn’t gone to battle yet, while Chu Qingge’s wedding day was still approaching. She wanted to take advantage of these calmer days to thoroughly demystify the Beauty’s Blood. Because of that, she’d put the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion on the side.
Seeing that her mistress remained mute, Zhao mama accompanied her in silence. Inside the rooms, Su Xiaoyu lifted her head and looked at Han Yunxi from a distance, her eyes filled with a sinister light unfitting for her age. Chu Qingge’s wedding day is coming soon. Master’s going to return as well, so I’ll have to think up some scheme to get him results!