Chapter 450: The facts are like so Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Long Feiye never expected the words ‘Shadow Clan’ to set Mute Granny so much on edge. Her expression wasn’t one of excitement, but anxiety. Bt the Shadow Clan should be the most loyal subordinates to the West Qin imperial family.
“What are they planning? Have they confirmed Han Yunxi’s identity yet?” Mute Granny asked Long Feiye urgently.
“What will happen if they have?” Long Feiye asked back.
Mute Granny grew enraged at his question. “No matter who it is—even if it’s the Shadow Clan—they better not be thinking of using Han Yunxi’s identity for their own ends!”
Long Feiye immediately understood what she meant. There were too many causes that one could raise with Han Yunxi’s identity as the excuse! If news of it became public, it’d be more than just the Seven Noble Families who were interested. Other ambitious types would seize the chance to use West Qin’s name and Han Yunxi’s origins as pretext to gather support for them to grab at power. Most of those types wouldn’t be loyal to the West Qin imperial clan at all, much less interested in restoring the former dynasty to its glory. Instead, they would claim it only as a platform to fulfill their own ambitions to rule with the West Qin heir as a figurehead!
To put it plainly, they would simply use the heir as a stepping stone to power, then eliminate the heir once power was solidified in their hands. It would be impossible for Han Yunxi to have a peaceful life then.
“The man from the Shadow Clan hasn’t yet made any moves and refuses to disclose the truth. It’s quite possible he’s still uncertain about Han Yunxi’s status,” Long Feiye said. Thanks to Han Yunxi’s honesty, he was about to better understand the Shadow Clan man’s movements. If the white-robed man was already sure that Han Yunxi was the heir, why hadn’t he done anything yet? He had only shown up once in the past few months, but without telling Han Yunxi a thing. It was a given that the Shadow Clan would acknowledge their true masters, but the white-robed man had made no such overtures towards her.
Mute Granny’s heart eased at his answer, but she was quick to ask, “Duke of Qin, what about you? Why did you marry Yunxi?”
Long Feiye’s smile turned cold upon hearing her question. “You suspect your lordship?”
“You’re Tianning’s Duke of Qin. If you wanted to, you could use Han Yunxi’s identity as a prime excuse to build a platform of your own!” Mute Granny gave a cold harumph at the end of her reply.
Long Feiye scoffed disdainfully. “Your lordship doesn’t need to step on a woman’s back to claim a trifling thing such as the Tianning throne! Your lordship would rather she wasn’t any imperial heir at all, but just the eldest daughter of the Han Clan!”
In all actuality, Mute Granny’s fears matched Long Feiye’s own list of undesirables. To carry the burden of a royal identity, an imperial duty, as well as a clan’s life mission, hopes, and expectations on one’s back, all just for the sake of fulfilling some glorious destiny in one lifetime while enduring endless criticism and nitpicking was a shackle, not a crowning moment of glory.
At the very least, it only felt like shackles to Long Feiye!
Mute Granny didn’t believe him and chuckled coldly. “Why should I trust your words?”
Long Feiye’s laugh was even more coldly. He rose to his feet and approached Mute Granny before gracefully bending down to whisper in her ear. “Because your lordship is…”
Long Feiye’s last few words were very faint, but Mute Granny still heard them loud and clear. Her face blanched at the revelation as abject horror overtook her and froze her in place.
How can this be? Little Miss Yunxi’s husband is actually…
“Will that be reason enough to believe me?” Long Feiye asked icily.
It was a while before Mute Granny recovered. By the time she spoke, Long Feiye was already sitting back in his chair. “You, you’re actually….you…”
The East Qin imperial clan!
Mute Granny didn’t know how to accept the revelation Long Feiye had dropped on her. Han Yunxi, the last surviving descendant of the West Qin imperial clan, was actually married to none other than the current heir of the East Qin imperial clan—its last imperial son!
Such an ill-fated relationship! Was it merely coincidence, or…a premeditated match?!
Stunned to her very bones, Mute Granny suddenly raised her guard. She rose to her feet and slowly backed away. “I see now. You hid all this from Yunxi so she’d never find out about her origins. Then it’d be far easier to use her for your own ends! You want to use her to revive your East Qin Dynasty!”
There was a loud wham as Long Feiye slammed his hands against the table. He had never bothered to explain himself because he hated explanations, but today had been a noteworthy exception to that rule. Yet he had never expected Mute Granny to react like this. Her assumptions right then were nothing short of an insult!
He stood up, voice frigid. “Your lordship doesn’t need to step on a woman to claim the throne! I haven’t fallen so low as to have to use women to revive my nation!”
Long Feiye’s rage intimidated Mute Granny, who stood, rooted in place, until she asked, “Then what was the purpose of locking me up here? Why are you hiding all this from Yunxi?”
Long Feiye didn’t reply immediately, but went simply back to drinking his tea. It took him quite a long time to calm down his nerves and speak normally. “I want her to be nothing more than the Han Clan’s eldest daughter for the rest of her life. She should never feel hatred, guilt, or shame, but simply spend her days peacefully by your lordship’s side.”
Mute Granny’s heart skipped a beat as she finally understood his meaning of ‘happiness.’ If Yunxi knew the heavy truth of her own origins, what kind of burdens would she have to bear on her heart? If she knew who the Duke of Qin really is, what kind of choice would she make?
Mute Granny grew silent as she thought. After a while, she finally asked, “Duke of Qin, does Yunxi like you?”
Long Feiye smiled. It was a very slight smile, beneath eyes that were filled with a bitter, aching helplessness that nothing in the world could melt away.
Does Han Yunxi like me? She still gets dazed just by staring at me for too long!
Mute Granny found her answer again in Long Feiye’s smile. She finally sat back in her seat and got another cup of tea from Long Feiye as she began to tell her tale.
As it turned out, the last surviving heir of the West Qin imperial clan over 100 years ago wasn’t the male baby that the Nether Clan had killed. Instead, it really was Mu Xin’s mother, Han Yunxi’s grandmother. The emperor of West Qin had died on the battlefield with his sons, leaving behind Noble Consort Qing1 and her newly born daughter. She was ignorant of the current political climate and had no idea that West Qin would meet its end soon. As she saw it, all she had to do was birth a son to become empress dowager and rule in his place. Thus, she had her daughter exchanged for a baby boy, only to lose everything in the coming months when the soldiers reached the palace and toppled the dynasty! The remnants of the West Qin imperial clan were forced into hiding.
At the start, only the Shadow Clan were aware of the baby swap, and had already sent agents to protect the royal daughter in secret. Once the West Qin Dynasty fell, the East Qin Dynasty engaged in wars with the other Noble Families. The entire continent had fallen into a royalty hunting craze, where members of the imperial family were exterminated without mercy. Even infant children weren’t spared from the massacre.
To avoid this, the Shadow Clan shared the truth about the switched heirs to the Nether Clan. They, in turn, faked their betrayal so they could shoot the last ‘male heir,’ thus ending the relentless hunt for West Qin royals. Later, when the East Qin dynasty was extinguished, the Seven Noble Families themselves began to fall into decline. The once splendid and glorious Great Qin Empire became simply a record in the dusty annals of history.
All members of the Shadow Clan buried themselves with the West Qin in a show of loyalty, leaving only one of their number left to watch after the royal daughter. Unfortunately, once the daughter grew up and learned of her identity, she fled home one day and vanished.
“That baby girl was none other than Mu Xin’s mother. She married into the Mu Clan and thus gave birth to Mu Xin,” Long Feiye concluded.
“Exactly. She broke away from the fetters of the Shadow and Nether Clans, concealing her identity in order to become one of the Mu Clan concubines. Mu Xin was the only child she had,” Mute Granny said before she sighed. “I was none other than Mu Xin’s wet nurse. If Mu Xin hadn’t told me all this herself, I wouldn’t have known about it, either!”
“But what of Han Yunxi’s father? Is he related to the Poison Sect?” Long Feiye asked Mute Granny coldly.
“It’s true that Mu Xin once had an affair with a survivor of the Poison Sect,” Mute Granny admitted. “Originally, Miss Mu Xin was meant to go study at Medicine City, but she had a run-in with a Poison Sect member and got caught up in her feelings. Once she left for Medicine City, she never returned to the Mu Clan again. She kept in touch with me via secret messages, and her last one told me saddening and joyful news.”
“She became pregnant?” Long Feiye guessed.
Mute Granny wore a bitter smile as she nodded her head. “Not only that, but the Poison Sect brute she’d met by accident went and had an affair with another woman that was pregnant as well.”
Hearing this, Long Feiye understood why Mu Xin—later known as Lady Tianxin—had forsaken the Poison Sect and changed her identity to hide in Tianning’s capital city, then married below her status to Han Congan.
So Han Yunxi’s mother is from the West Qin imperial clan, while her father hails from the Poison Sect.
“That was the last letter I ever received. Later on, Mu Yingdong discovered my secret communications with Miss Mu. Back then, there were all sorts of rumors about Mu Xin and her affair with a Poison Sect survivor. For the sake of protecting the Mu Clan’s reputation and their ties to Medicine City, Mu Yingdong denied all the claims.” Mute Granny sighed continually as she spoke. “He poisoned this old woman until I was both deaf and mute, then had me guard the house by the bamboo copse just to lure out Miss Mu Xin. He was still planning to use Miss Mu Xin as bait to lure out that Poison Sect man so he could capture him and improve the Mu clan’s relations with the medical academy. But who knew, ah…. Who knew that it wasn’t Miss Mu Xin who came, but her daughter instead…”
“Does Mu Yingdong know anything about the West Qin imperial clan matters?” Long Feiye was most concerned about that particular detail.
Mute Granny immediately shook her head. “No, he definitely doesn’t! His whole focus is on the Poison Sect.”
Long Feiye’s heart finally sank back in his chest. Mu Yingdong’s ignorance would save him a lot more trouble now.
“Duke of Qin, Miss Mu Xin, she… She…” Actually, Mute Granny had wanted to ask this question from the start, but she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to accept the answer! Mu Yingdong had used her as bait, but she had never wanted to leave the bamboo copse because she dearly wished to see her young Miss one more time. She wanted to tell her personally about Mu Yingdong’s evil designs!
Long Feiye knew what Mute Granny really wanted, so he told her all about how Mu Xin had disguised herself as Lady Tianxin to marry into the Han Clan, how she’d saved Empress Dowager Li’s life, then how the empress dowager had then decreed the marriage between Mu Xin’s daughter and himself.
“Unfortunately, Lady Mu Xin died from complications in labor. They were lucky enough to save Han Yunxi,” Long Feiye gave a rare sigh of relief at the statement.
Though Mute Granny knew all the previous signs had pointed to an inauspicious end to her dear Miss Mu Xin, she still couldn’t take the truth. Tears flooded her eyes as she murmured, “Complications in labor…but…but how could…”
What could be more devastating than that?
An old life exchanged for a new, but the baby would grow up with no mother. Mute Granny’s eyes turned red as she broke into low, muffled sobs. “Young Miss…this old servant was waiting for you the entire time.”
The facts were like so. Long Feiye had finally gotten all the details. He waited for Mute Granny to collect herself before asking mildly, “Do you know how many members the Poison Sect still has left? Who could Yunxi’s father possibly be?”
Mute Granny shook her head. “Miss Mu Xin never mentioned him. But it’s unlikely she would have shared something so secret, because even the Mu Clan themselves don’t know.”
Long Feiye nodded at her reply. His long, slender fingers tapped the tabletop lightly as he fell into thought…
- Noble Consort Qing (晴贵妃) – Qing is a surname meaning “clear, fine.” ↩