Chapter 425: His Highness Duke of Qin has his little moods too Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Since Baili Mingxiang had dropped by in person, Han Yunxi lost one more excuse to leave the estate. She wasn’t even allowed to go visit Seventh Madame and little Yi’er at the Han Estate. Despite being a single mother, Seventh Madame had taken the Han Clan firmly in hand. Besides the four medical clinics situated throughout the capital, she’d also opened a for-profit pharmacy. Everything was going very smoothly for the Han Clan.
Of course, much of this was due to the Duke of Qin’s help from the shadows. Otherwise, a fallen house could never have recovered so quickly in the capital city. There were many things that Han Yunxi had no idea about at all.
Although she was fully recovered by now, she still had to live the days of an invalid at home. Long Feiye didn’t go out much these days either, but instead paid daily visits to Leisurely Cloud Pavilion. In the mornings he’d come to have tea, and in the evenings he’d drop by to see if she was sleeping. He was still as taciturn as ever. In the instances when he’d come after Han Yunxi had gone to bed, all he did was tuck her in before leaving again.
After today’s morning tea, Long Feiye was about to leave when Han Yunxi called him back with a murmur. “Your Highness, come to the study, I want to show you something.” She led the way and he followed without a word.
Su Xiaoyu and Zhao mama immediately swept forward in their wake to clean up the tea things.
“Zhao mama, will His Highness always come to drink tea here in the future?” Su Xiaoyu asked curiously.
Zhao mama was all aflutter. “Probably!”
“His Highness isn’t busy these days?” Su Xiaoyu asked next.
“Whether or not he’s busy, His Highness always has his morning tea,” Zhao mama was ignorant of Su Xiaoyu’s treacherous schemes, lost in the joy of seeing her master and mistress in love. There shouldn’t be many steps left before His Highness and esteemed wangfei now.
Su Xiaoyu didn’t speak, but glanced at the little stove by the tea table. She didn’t have much time left. Chu Qingge would arrive at the capital in a few more days, and her master perhaps earlier than that. What was she supposed to tell him then?! It had already been a year, but she’d failed to accomplish something so simple! Aye!
When Long Feiye entered the study, Han Yunxi immediately shut the doors behind him. Besides them, only Lil Thing was present in the room. Recently, it’d taken a liking to high ceiling rafters because it was the safest spot. Papa Long could overlook his entire existence from here. There was no chance that the man would toss him out the window, either.
Long Feiye took a seat at the head of the table like he owned the place and that Han Yunxi was his guest. Her gaze lingered on him for a while, enjoying his posture and air in the host’s seat. It was so much like an emperor, imposing and dignified!
“Perplexing Butterfly Illusion?” Long Feiye asked.
Han Yunxi nodded. “I’m planning to combine the two poisons today, so I invited Your Highness to watch.”
Before this, Han Yunxi had spent extensive time studying the Beauty’s Blood by combining it with highly corrosive poisons. Nothing of note had happened then, so she didn’t know what to expect today, either. As Long Feiye sat watching, Han Yunxi stood on the side with the practice motions of an expert to unload her tools onto the table: glazed plates, spoons, bowls, etc.
There was no helping it. Thanks to the corrosive nature of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, she could only use special glazed instruments to prevent the poison from eating it away. Her face turned serious and concentrated, even a little fierce, as she started her work. Those who didn’t know her would only keep their distance, a little cowed by the sight.
On the other hand, seeing her expression only made Long Feiye feel like interrupting her. He looked her in thought before he suddenly called out, “Han Yunxi.”
Because Han Yunxi was in the middle of taking samples from the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, she didn’t hear him.
Long Feiye’s lips quirked into an amused smile as he called again, “Han Yunxi!”
Still, Han Yunxi didn’t hear him. She had already gotten a tiny spoonful of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion and was now grabbing some Beauty’s Blood, which was started to solidify. Unsatisfied with his efforts, Long Feiye got up and walked closer. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi carefully laid aside her two samples before using the detox system to check their quantities and note it on a piece of paper. Her specialized field of study had practices that she followed to the letter! She remained oblivious even as Long Feiye came to stand by her side.
Unconsciously, he reached out a hand. He didn’t know whether he wanted to brush back her hair or take her by the chin, but his fingers reached for her all the same. However, Han Yunxi chose that moment to finish up and look back at him. “Your Highness—”
Long Feiye froze in mid-movement, his hand hanging in the air. Han Yunxi gave a start and looked between him and his arm before blurting out, “What are you doing?”
Long Feiye’s hand snaked past Han Yunxi to take the bottle of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion from the table. In a cold voice, he said, “Just checking to see how much we have left.”
Han Yunxi hadn’t meant to ask him so directly, but had blurted out her question on instinct. But Long Feiye’s icy answer only made her feel more awkward. Looks like I was over-thinking things… She stole a peek at the man, who didn’t seem bothered by what had just happened, and silently exhaled in relief.
“Your Highness, let’s begin.”
“Mm,” Long Feiye nodded, as natural as natural could be. Both of them restrained their thoughts as Han Yunxi placed the Beauty’s Blood into the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. What happened next was completely unexpected.
Bubbles began to froth up around the blood before it spread across the entire surface of the poison. It looked like the entire sample was boiling over. Han Yunxi had assumed that the Beauty’s Blood would be consumed by the toxin and homogenize into Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, but the opposite had happened instead. The Beauty’s Blood was eating up the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion.
When the reaction finally finished, they were left with a single drop of glistening blood that was exceptionally redder than usual. Han Yunxi waited a bit longer, and the drop of blood solidified. Long Feiye didn’t know anything about poisons, so he simply looked to Han Yunxi to wait for her explanation. Han Yunxi stared at the blood drop as she turned on her detox system’s scanners.
Before the two poisons had combined, the detox system knew nothing of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion. It couldn’t even recognize it as a poison. However, now it was producing results.
“Your Highness, this is a type of slow-acting corrosive poison. Its effects aren’t as potent as Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, maybe only half a strong,” Han Yunxi said seriously. The detox system could categorize anything as long as a record existed of the item, but things like this had no record, so it didn’t offer up a name. It could only based its observations from previous data regarding the record of the Beauty’s Blood’s slow-acting poisons and the highly-corrosive plants that Han Yunxi had shown it before to create a description of effects.
“Is it impossible to tell what it’s made of?” Long Feiye asked.
Han Yunxi could only shake her head. She used a glazed dagger to chip a sample off the solidified orb and mix it into water, before feeding it to a little white mouse. Soon enough, its internal organs began to fester.
“It’s showing symptoms of internal organ poisoning,” Han Yunxi could only explain the situation this way.
The Beauty’s Blood was the key to unlocking the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, while the owner of the latter was destined to take the entire world. To put it another way, if they could solve the mystery of this new blood pearl in their hands, they might get answers to everything else. But how was she supposed to do that?! Was she supposed to investigate its uses or its chemical makeup? And did any of these things have relations to the corrosive plants she’d found back at the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds?
Han Yunxi’s head hurt from thinking so much. “Your Highness, I have no leads whatsoever. This is a really thorny problem.”
“There’s no rush, take your time.” Although Aunt Ru and Tang Zijin were notoriously impatient over this matter, Long Feiye wasn’t anxious at all.
Han Yunxi was clearer than anyone else that solving poisons took time. Some research yielded nothing even after ten to twenty years of work. “Mm, I’ll try my best,” she said as she looked at the pearl. “Your Highness, why don’t you give this thing a new name?”
Long Feiye mused for a while before he suggested, “Beauty’s Tear?”
“Excellent!” Han Yunxi was thinking the same thing. This pearl had come from Beauty’s Blood and was shaped very much like a teardrop, so the name fit to a tee. She cleaned up the Beauty’s Blood and Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, deciding to clear her head for a bit before investigating the two again. Maybe it’s my methods that are wrong. It’s possible that there are other ways to find the relationship between Beauty’s Blood and Perplexing Butterfly Illusion without combining them together.
Although things had stalled with the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion, Han Yunxi still continued to ‘nurture’ her body. For someone as restless as her, staying a month in the Leisurely Cloud Pavilion was pure torture. More than that was the fact that she had to drank tons of different soups and stews everyday. Heaven knows if she’d start looking misshapen after getting so fat.
In the midst of her boredom, Han Yunxi even entertained the thought of going to find Long Feiye for a god argument. Still, her courage only extended so far. Finally, something gave Han Yunxi an excuse to leave the estate: Chu Qingge was finally coming!
Chu Qingge was to wed Emperor Tianhui as part of a marriage alliance between their two countries. Emperor Tianhui had already sent a caravan to Western Zhou to deliver his bride to the capital. They would finally arrive today. Only the crowning of a new empress could be considered a national affair with a grand ceremony to match. Anyone woman who entered the palace after her—even top-ranked Noble Consorts—had their titles bestowed in ceremonies within the imperial harem.
However, Chu Qingge was now a Western Zhou princess, and the significance of the marriage alliance couldn’t be downplayed. Thus, her ceremony would be held at the palace proper. Emperor Tianhui called for Chu Qingge to ascend the steps of the palace in front of all the civil and military officials, then conferred her with the official rank of Noble Consort. Her title would be the Virtuous, and her quarters the Pure Serenity Palace.
Naturally, such grand processions had nothing to do with Han Yunxi, so she wasn’t required to attend. Long Feiye never went to the morning court sessions at the palace either, so he wasn’t planning to show up at all. However, the morning of the next day had Empress Dowager Li summoning Han Yunxi to the palace. According to custom, the Qin Wangfei and the emperor’s Noble Consorts had no reason to mingle at all. If Chu Qingge had been crowned as empress, then Han Yunxi would be obligated to go and pay her respects. Wangfeis were lower in rank than empresses after all, and such a title would make the girl her official sister-in-law. But right now, Han Yunxi was Long Feiye’s official consort and wife, while Chu Qingge was still a concubine despite her Noble Consort status.
Thanks to the Duke of Qin’s power and influence, Han Yunxi’s status wasn’t necessarily inferior to Chu Qingge’s. But with the connections of the imperial clan in place, Chu Qingge wasn’t exactly Han Yunxi’s sister-in-law, either. In short, no matter how glorious Chu Qingge’s wedding was, Han Yunxi was still well within her right to snub the girl. Unfortunately, she couldn’t refuse a direct invitation from the empress dowager.
Because the imperial harem was lacking its empress, the empress dowager had stood in to lead its members in the interim. Now that the emperor had a new wife and the harem a new member, Empress Dowager Li would naturally call all the concubines together to get acquainted with each other. She had long given up hope for the empress cast aside in the western mountains. She was all too clear on the threat that Chu Qingge’s arrival posed to the Eastern Palace of the crown prince. Thus, the first person she thought of using was Han Yunxi.
Han Yunxi and Chu Qingge had a vendetta!