Chapter 416: I’ll serve you for a lifetime Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The skies were dim and dusky upon the advent of dawn, making everything seem hazy. Han Yunxi had no more desire to sleep, so she pushed herself on the swing while puzzling over Baili Mingxiang’s poison. Zhao mama busied herself with preparing tea and snacks. Esteemed wangfei didn’t use to have the habit of drinking tea in the mornings, but she’d developed the same routines as His Highness Duke of Qin after returning from the disaster regions. Everyday right after she woke up, she had to have a cup of tea. The only difference was that she liked snacks with her drinks as well, while the Duke of Qin never ate anything.
Han Yunxi hadn’t given Su Xiaoyu permission to rise, nor did Zhao mama have time to lecture her personally, so the girl was left kneeling inside the rooms. It was only after daylight broke and Han Yunxi went back to change that she recalled the little girl. When she saw her pitiful form, a helpless look flashed through her eyes before she sent Zhao mama a look and continued upstairs.
Before leaving the courtyard, she caught a glimpse of Zhao mama and Su Xiaoyu working together to clean up the tea table. If this had been the past, Su Xiaoyu would definitely run over and ask to come along, but she played docile this time. Her head was bowed in silence as she focused on cleaning things up. Han Yunxi didn’t say much and simply walked out the door.
Su Xiaoyu watched her retreating form, then looked back at the teacup in her hands. Her eyes took on a cold glint as a sinister plan hatched in her mind.
“She’s gone but you’re still looking?” Zhao mama pinched her cheek. Though her movements looked rough, the action didn’t hurt at all. Su Xiaoyu looked pathetically at Zhao mama before bowing her head.
“Yu’er knows her wrongs.”
“Heheh, little rascal, you’re not bad!” Zhao mama laughed coldly. “I haven’t even disciplined you yet and you’re already admitting your wrongs. Did you think I’d spare you just like that?”
Su Xiaoyu twisted the linen cloth in her hands and whispered, “Then just what do you plan to do?”
Zhao mama immediately grabbed her by the ear and made her look up. “Bad girl, you’re still talking back!? It looks like esteemed wangfei was right, it’s about time to teach you a lesson!”
Su Xiaoyu pouted and stopped talking. Most of the time, she was acting as her true self. She didn’t know how to speak pretty words and often defied her elders, but she knew how to maintain the balance between outright arrogance and doting child. Even an old, experienced court lady like Zhao mama hadn’t spotted any contradictions in her acting. After all, Su Xiaoyu had already passed Chu Xifeng’s background check and was only a young child. Zhao mama hadn’t put up any guards against her at all.
“You won’t admit defeat, will you?” Zhao mama asked her.
“I’ll just never stand guard there again in the future,” Su Xiaoyu replied in an aggrieved tone.
“Heheh, you don’t need to say a thing. Tonight, you’re sleeping with me,” Zhao mama had her ways. Su Xiaoyu looked at her before her head hung as she withered away. Satisfied, Zhao mama urged, “Now hurry up and clean this place up!”
Su Xiaoyu picked up a heavy kettle of hot water as her lips curved craftily. In the next instant, she had smashed the kettle against the ground.
“Ah!” She jumped to the side in alarm, startling Zhao mama into doing the same. Fortunately, there wasn’t much water in the kettle and most of it had cooled off; otherwise, it’d be a bad thing if anyone had been scalded by its contents.
“Your mind’s still wandering elsewhere?!” Zhao mama was very angry.
Su Xiaoyu patted her chest with lingering traces of fear. “Thank goodness nothing happened.”
“Thank goodness esteemed wangfei wasn’t here! If she got scalded, you wouldn’t be able to pay the price even if you had ten lives!” Zhao mama said unhappily.
“Zhao mama, that thing is simply too dangerous. But esteemed wangfei drinks tea everyday. Suppose she…” Su Xiaoyu trailed off.
“Pah! Shut that crow’s beak1 of yours!” Zhao mama glared at her. But she considered the question carefully as her eyes trailed back to the water on the ground.
Both esteemed wangfei and His Highness drank gongfu tea, so they used very small cups. Water had to be replenished constantly, so it was important to maintain its temperature at consistent high levels. His Highness’s tea table had a miniature stove on top and a special attendant who boiled his water. There was no need to boil such a big kettle of liquid ahead of time. Esteemed wangfei didn’t have such convenient means of tea making.
When Su Xiaoyu saw Zhao mama keep quiet, she murmured, “Zhao mama, I saw a little stove at His Highness’s courtyard previously. Isn’t that convenient? Why don’t we have esteemed wangfei ask for one from him?”
Zhao mama laughed at the words. “Do we actually need to ask His Highness for something like that? It’s simple enough just telling Steward Luo to find us one!”
Su Xiaoyu was thrilled. “Then that’s much easier! In the future, I’ll be in charge of boiling the water!”
The seeds of a plot had already been planted, but Han Yunxi was none the wiser. In her mind, she could set aside a hundred cares while within the Duke of Qin’s estate, especially after Long Feiye added guards around the property. There was so much security now that even Gu Qishao couldn’t sneak in.
By now, she had already arrived at General Baili’s estate. There was little more than a month left before the Beauty’s Blood came to completion, so Baili Mingxiang’s body was getting worse by the day. Three days ago, she became completely bedridden.
“How much poison is there left?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Exactly fifteen more portions. If I take one every two to three days, I’ll be able to finish it completely.” Baili Mingxiang’s lips were white and her face devoid of color, but there was no sign of death lingering around her frame. Her eyes were glimmering with quiet tranquility. They weren’t eyes who were resigned to death, but those who had seen a spark of hope beyond the pain. The woman sitting in front of her now was the very source of that hope.
Han Yunxi nodded as she felt her pulse while scanning her body with the detox system at the same time. Baili Mingxiang was very quiet. She had put the thought of her body completely out of her mind, blanking out at the sight of Han Yunxi’s slender fingers. Scenes from Fishery Island flashed, nonstop, past her eyes.
That trip had been worth it.
She saw His Highness Duke of Qin being happy, being angry, and even what he looked like when he kissed someone. Even if it were only tiny details like that, as long as they concerned him, she wanted to know all about it, much less big developments like that. She always felt a little closer to him after getting to know him more.
Han Yunxi was extremely professional during her examination and only spoke when she was finished. “13 days. The Beauty’s Blood will be fully completed in 13 days.” This was an important fact, but Baili Mingxiang was still too lost in her own little world to hear her.
Han Yunxi lifted her head and furrowed her brows. “Mingxiang!”
“Ah?” Baili Mingxiang recovered her senses.
Han Yunxi felt defeated. “Did you hear what I just said?”
Baili Mingxiang felt a little embarrassed. “I…didn’t hear you clearly.”
“It’s possible that you only have 13 days left to live!” Han Yunxi spoke in a strict tone.
Baili Mingxiang only smiled slightly. “Since esteemed wangfei said that she’d save me, she definitely will. The 13 days are only a countdown until Mingxiang’s sufferings come to an end.”
Han Yunxi finally released her hand and rose to her feet. “You trust me that much?”
Baili Mingxiang looked at Han Yunxi with a sweet smile. “Mhm!”
“How come? I still haven’t completed the antidote yet, even now!” Han Yunxi asked curiously.
Baili Mingxiang had far too many reasons to say, but in the end she settled on one. “Because…His Highness’s choice would never be wrong.”
“I finally realized how much of a sweet talker you are today,” Han Yunxi laughed. As a doctor, what she needed the most was her patient’s trust. She sat back down and explained in detail her efforts in the past six months.
Though her explanation was based in responsibility, it served two other purposes. One, to determine the levels of poison within Baili Mingxiang’s body; two, to refine the antidote formula against those very same toxins. She was using the chance to simulate a copy of Baili Mingxiang’s poison for experimental purposes. Though it wasn’t an identical sample, it wouldn’t differ by much.
Because there were only 13 days left before the Beauty’s Blood was complete, Baili Mingxiang’s blood composition had more or less stabilized. There wouldn’t be many fluctuations in her blood by now. She could even take a sample directly into her detox system for further tests. Her system would only need half to a whole day’s worth of work to manufacture a full Beauty’s Blood by combining the sample with the 15 remaining poisons. After that would come the work of matching her antidote to the toxin and making slight adjustments to its present formula, which was simple enough for someone like her.
Though Baili Mingxiang didn’t understand everything Han Yunxi told her, she managed to grasp the general idea. “Esteemed wangfei, why didn’t you just wait until now to take my blood? Doing all those tests with simulated samples seems extraneous,” Baili Mingxiang asked curiously.
“If I took your blood now, I’d have only a dozen or so days to craft an antidote. Even I don’t have skills like that!” Han Yunxi had made incomplete blood samples just so she could save time crafting the final antidote. Taking into account the viable nature of Baili Mingxiang’s blood, her final product would probably differ from the current prescription in only one or two ingredients. 13 days was more than enough for her to find where to make adjustments. Baili Mingxiang only had a hazy notion of what she meant, but she nodded her head all the same and tried to get out of bed.
“Lie down, I don’t need you to get up to take your blood,” Han Yunxi barred her way.
“Esteemed wangfei, there’s one thing Mingxiang has to get up and do,” Baili Mingxiang said with a smile.
Han Yunxi assumed that she needed to use the restroom, so she hastily helped her up. But as soon as Baili Mingxiang got out of bed, she dropped to her knees. “Esteemed wangfei, Mingxiang vows here to never marry and to pledge my life to serve you if I survive the poison!”
Han Yunxi was badly shaken by the revelation, and quickly went to pull her up. “Don’t be like that! I said so already, I saved you to avoid an affront against Heaven! After all, most of the poisons you took came from my hands.”
“Esteemed wangfei, even if you didn’t give me those poisons, His Highness would’ve found them from someone else. It’s all the same in the end,” Baili Mingxiang stubbornly refused to rise.
Han Yunxi was left feeling helpless. As a medical professional, she’d seen far too many cases where patients had swore equally grateful things, only to forget their words and their resolve once they had recovered. Such extremist thoughts came from patients who were willing to offer anything as long as their illnesses were cured.
“Alright, I’ll give you that, so hurry up and get up,” Han Yunxi said as she went through the motions of agreeing. She knew that Baili Mingxiang wouldn’t accept anything else right now. In any case, once the girl’s poison was cured, she could taste the flavor of a normal life. She’d naturally want to live well and marry, then perhaps even bear children. Words like ‘I’ll serve you for a lifetime’ were best taken as a joke with a smile.
Han Yunxi placed Baili Mingxiang’s blood sample in a previously prepared bottle before slipping it into her medical pouch—and then mentally shifting it into her detox system. The system needed two processes to scan the poisons in the sample and conduct tests on the blood itself, but since both actions dealt with the same toxins, the work should be light. Despite this, Han Yunxi felt dizzy and lightheaded the entire trip back. As soon as she reached the Leisurely Cloud Pavilion, she laid down and fell asleep.
By the time Han Yunxi woke up again, it was to discover a strange fact: Baili Mingxiang’s blood wasn’t human blood at all, but closer to that of a fish! The final conclusion of the detox system told her that—this was mermaid blood!
Han Yunxi was stunned. She never expected the Baili Clan to be made up of merpeople! “No wonder! No wonder!” she muttered to herself. “General Baili didn’t have any prior experience, but still managed to create such a massive naval force!”
Does Long Feiye know of this? Too busy to worry about her exhaustion, Han Yunxi made for his quarters right away.
- crow’s beak (乌鸦嘴) – wuyazui, crows were considered unlucky animals, so anyone who made inauspicious remarks were said to be talking with a crow’s beak. ↩