Chapter 417: It doesn’t have anything to do with you Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Mermaids were mythical creatures with fish tails and human bodies, a special and unique species that originated from a combination of humans and fish. They were the only ones who knew how to make jiaoxiao (鲛绡), or shark silk, a type of fabric that remained dry while underwater. Their tears turned into pearls and were considered extremely precious.
Han Yunxi had only heard of such legends from fairy tales. Typically, mermaids lived in the sea, though one could sometimes find them in especially large lakes or rivers. They had very strict requirements for water quality. But from what she knew, mermaids and their fish tails were confined to water unless they ate special pills to make their tails go away. Moreover, they couldn’t remain on land for long periods of time.
But there was no difference between the members of the Baili Clan and other humans. They also spent much of their time on land, so what was going on? Did Long Feiye know about this? What about the previous Tianning emperor, who ordered the creation of a navy in the first place? Using members of the Mermaid Clan to create a navy was defying the natural order! The sea was their domain, so no other navy would ever be able to topple them.
When Han Yunxi arrived at Long Feiye’s quarters, she saw the latter put away his copy of Records of the Seven Clans. Actually, Han Yunxi had long noticed the old and yellowed volume in Long Feiye’s hands ages ago, but she had no idea what kind of book it was. If she recalled correctly, Long Feiye had been reading this book nonstop ever since they went to South Ning Prefecture.
Since he had looked so absorbed by its contents, she asked, “What book is that?”
Chu Xifeng gave a start from his perch by the study table. Fortunately, Han Yunxi didn’t notice, or else she definitely would’ve realized that something was off with the two of them. As Long Feiye’s most trusted guard, he was supposed to be the steady and composed type. A reaction like that was far outside his usual norms, though it was usually because he couldn’t keep his cool in front of esteemed wangfei.
Long Feiye remained unruffled as usual as he asked, “Urgent business?”
His two simple words successfully diverted Han Yunxi’s attention. She really had come with pressing news and had no time to care about the book currently. Instead, she asked him directly, “Did you know that the Baili family is from the Mermaid Clan?”
Long Feiye lost his calm upon hearing those words as his hand resting on the table turned visibly stiff. How did this woman figure out such a deep secret!? He was certain that no one in the Baili Clan had the guts to tell her!
Seeing his expression, Han Yunxi was utterly convinced. “You’ve known all along!”
“How did you find out?” Long Feiye quickly regained his composure.
“Baili Mingxiang’s blood is very unique. I analyzed it for an entire night before confirming the results,” Han Yunxi replied honestly.
“You can analyze things like that too?” Long Feiye was astonished.
It would have been impossible without the detox system. At most, Han Yunxi would have only noticed something peculiar about Baili Mingxiang’s blood rather than being able to pin her as a mermaid. But thankfully, records of such things existed within the system itself.
“Your Highness, you’ve long known that the Baili Clan were mermaids, and that’s why you paved the path for a Tianning navy, right?” Han Yunxi asked him seriously.
Long Feiye was still a child when Baili Mingxiang had first started taking poisons, so it must have been someone else who came up with the idea of raising Beauty’s Blood. In other words, the Baili Clan was set from the start to be Long Feiye’s loyal retainers and source of strength. They had been on his side before the navy ever existed.
“Yes!” Long Feiye didn’t bother to deny it. His mufei had used the Baili Clan as their first chess piece in Tianning, while him becoming Grand Concubine Yi’s son was the second step.
“Your Tang Clan really has grand aspirations!” Han Yunxi couldn’t help but sigh with feeling. It looks like they’ve had their sights on world domination even when the previous Tianning emperor was still sitting on the throne.
Naturally, Han Yunxi had no idea that the Tang Clan were just another set of subordinates loyal to Long Feiye. She assumed that they were his strength in the shadows, and the underlying force that had set up the Baili navy for his sake. She couldn’t be blamed for her ignorance, especially when Long Feiye was the one who told her his parents came from the Tang Clan.
But this…was a huge misunderstanding!
A complicated look flitted past Long Feiye’s eyes before it quickly vanished without anyone seeing it. He showed a rare smile and said, “Are your lordship’s aspirations grand as well?”
Han Yunxi felt that his question sounded odd to the ear. Isn’t he the representative of the Tang Clan himself? She recalled Aunt Ru’s words of censure towards Long Feiye. Wasn’t she worried that a femme fatale like me would only hold Long Feiye back? And ruin the big plans of their Tang Clan?
“If your lordship didn’t have grand aspirations, perhaps someone else would be sitting in your place today. Maybe it’d even be Tang Li,” Han Yunxi teased.
Lies and misunderstandings aside, Han Yunxi had thoroughly misread the situation this time. An uneasy Chu Xifeng spoke up when he saw that Long Feiye had no intentions to rectify the mistake. “The Beauty’s Blood is almost complete, correct?”
“Is Your Highness only interested in the Beauty’s Blood and not the beauty herself?” Han Yunxi joked again. Naturally, she was referring to Baili Mingxiang.
Long Feiye replied conscientiously, “Would you like your lordship to show interest in the beauty herself?”
Despite their warm banter, the ‘interest’ expressed by both held deeper meanings. When the jesting was complete, Han Yunxi grew serious again. “Your Highness, Baili Mingxiang has worked hard even without meritorious service to her name. It wasn’t easy for her to suffer from childhood up to now.”
Although Han Yunxi kept insisting to herself that she wanted to right a wrong by saving Baili Mingxiang from her poisons, she actually admired the girl and was sympathetic to her plight. At the very least, she’d never seen Baili Mingxiang complain while they were together. When Long Feiye didn’t speak, Han Yunxi continued, “Your Highness, it’d be a loss to your person if such a good girl were to simply lose her life.”
If an ignorant party heard this conversation, they might even start to wonder whether Baili Mingxiang and Long Feiye had some sort of relationship going on. Long Feiye only wanted the Beauty’s Blood and nothing else, but Han Yunxi’s words forced him to ask, “Can’t you save her?”
“Your Highness has never expressed interest in the status of the antidote,” Han Yunxi pressed. Even if it was another subordinate—male or female—in Baili Mingxiang’s place today, Han Yunxi would’ve spoken up for them all the same. For Long Feiye to show such indifference was really too cruel and heartless on his part, right?
But he was precisely that kind of cold and detached man. Han Yunxi’s constant questioning began to irk him, and he said unhappily, “It doesn’t have anything to do with you, so why should your lordship care?”
Urk… Han Yunxi was left speechless by his words.
Long Feiye’s words sounded almost sweet, as if he was trying to get on her good side, but his tone was completely serious and unhappy. Han Yunxi stood stunned in place, at a momentary loss for words. Chu Xifeng simply watched on in disbelief. Who said the Duke of Qin doesn’t know anything about romance or expressing his feelings through honeyed words? This isn’t the first time that it’s happened!
Your Highness Duke of Qin, your slips of the tongue always end up sounding sentimental. Are you sure you’re not doing this on purpose?
Well all right then, it was more likely he was just being blunt without realizing how sappy he sounded. Long Feiye arched an eyebrow at Han Yunxi before he murmured, “Just pretend you don’t know anything about the Mermaid Clan. Don’t mention it to the Baili Clan either.”
“Understood,” Han Yunxi had a clear grasp of the situation now. And just like that, both of them had forgotten about Baili Mingxiang. Han Yunxi next asked, “Your Highness, how is it possible for mermaids to last so long on land?”
“The Baili Clan is a subdivision of the main branch of mermaids. They’re not much different from land-dwelling humans. It’s only after they enter the water that their mermaid side comes into play,” Long Feiye replied honestly.
Han Yunxi nodded her head. To be honest, she didn’t find this revelation too strange, as Cloud Realm Continent was full of strange people and events. Most likely, the Baili Navy will end up as Long Feiye’s greatest source of strength. Mermaids not only made up the seas, but the rivers and lakes as well!
It was only after Han Yunxi left that Long Feiye took out his Records of the Seven Clans again. He casually flipped to a page in the yellowed volume and stopped on two words: Baili! After turning another page, he found extensive descriptions of the Baili Clan, one of the Seven Noble Families of old. Once, they had controlled an extensive navy and held sway over all of Tianning’s waterways. Of course, that was all in the past and part of history now. Even the Records of the Seven Clans made no mention of their existence as mermaids. It was a secret known only to select members of the Baili Clan themselves.
“Your Highness, esteemed wangfei is really too…” Chu Xifeng didn’t even know what to say. The secret of the Baili Clan was unknown to even the other six Noble Families. How did esteemed wangfei find out? Chu Xifeng’s trailing remark was meant as a word of advice based on the observation that it wasn’t good to hide too much from esteemed wangfei. His Highness had always been a ruthless and decisive man. He could accept and abandon things at will and was willing to win or lose his battles. What was so hard for him to accept? Even if esteemed wangfei found out the truth, what of it? Esteemed wangfei could make her own choices on the matter, couldn’t she?
Chu Xifeng wanted to attempt to persuade Long Feiye further, but the latter simply changed the topic. “How is the situation in Northern Li?”
“There’s been a lot of activity at the Three-Way Battlefield, but everything has proceeded as directed in the horse fields. Northern Li’s emperor is only making a fuss for show, he won’t dare try anything serious,” Chu Xifeng replied.
Emperor Tianhui was currently wishing for the stars and the moon with his unrealistic expectations. He was hoping that Northern Li would start a war, but no decisive actions had happened at the Three-Way Battlefield yet. If not for Tianning’s disadvantageous geographic position, Emperor Tianhui would have ordered Great General Ning to make the first move long ago. For now, he had no choice but to keep waiting.
“When will Chu Qingge arrive?” Long Feiye asked next.
“A party’s already been sent to meet the bride in the west. They’ll arrive in the capital in ten more days,” Chu Xifeng replied.
Long Feiye nodded before instructing, “Remember to give the emperor a grand gift of on the day of coronation of his new consort.”
Chu Xifeng smiled and nodded. “Your subordinate understands.”
Once again, Long Feiye picked up Records of the Seven Clans and continued to read. The struggles of Tianning’s imperial court were completely irrelevant to him. He had long established connections in the palace, so it was simply a matter of whether or not he wanted to control things from behind the scenes. For him, the issue of the Seven Noble Families was far more important…
Han Yunxi knew nothing of all of this. After clarifying the issue with the Baili Clan, she set aside her cares to continue with her experiments. The sample in her hands was already a rudimentary form of Beauty’s Blood, so the detox system could use approximate ratios to infuse the rest of the poisons and create a true Beauty’s Blood. It took less than half a day before the detox system gave her a bottle’s worth of the precious poison. Well, to be more accurate, something like this could be called “quasi-Beauty’s Blood.”