Chapter 455: Indignant, wanting to claim damages Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Summer mornings were especially refreshing, with pleasant temperatures perfect for a comfortable day out. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had just finished steeping their tea when Baili Mingxiang and Zhao mama arrived with Han Yunxi’s tea snacks. By now, Baili Mingxiang had calmed down enough to remember esteemed wangfei’s birthmark. She personally made sure to serve His Highness Duke of Qin his share of snacks, but the man was too busy pouring his tea to notice her.
After a pause, she bowed and said, “Esteemed wangfei, Mingxiang was wrong.”
“It’s fine. The medicine’s already been applied, so it’ll heal within a few days,” Han Yunxi might have liked to hold grudges, but she didn’t sweat the small stuff.
“Thank you, esteemed wangfei.” After expressing her gratitude, Baili Mingxiang added, “Esteemed wangfei, this servant helped you apply medicine four times already. If the burns still don’t recover, we might have to change to another medicine.”
“Alright, you can withdraw now,” Han Yunxi didn’t want to broach the subject, afraid that Long Feiye would make her lie down again. Her burns hadn’t been infected, so all she needed was time to make a full recovery. A few days’ delay wouldn’t cause any major lasting side effects. Baili Mingxiang’s eyes flashed with a complex expression before she and Zhao mama withdrew.
Actually, she had spoken those extra words on purpose so that His Highness Duke of Qin could hear her. He would now know that she’d seen esteemed wangfei’s back multiple times after applying multiple instances of medicine. If His Highness Duke of Qin knows about esteemed wangfei’s winged phoenix birthmark and its origins, he should be planning to kill me to eliminate any witnesses by now. Judging by His Highness’s lack of reaction, he probably doesn’t know yet.
But the careful and prudent Baili Mingxiang still couldn’t set her fears at rest. That was because she had no way to confirm whether His Highness Duke of Qin even knew about the birthmark in the first place, or if he’d seen it and didn’t know what it meant. Although His Highness and esteemed wangfei had been married for a long time, they rarely interacted. Esteemed wangfei’s cinnabar gecko mark was still intact, so nobody else besides themselves knew whether he had ever seen her back.
She hadn’t been present when His Highness applied the medicine last night, so she wasn’t sure whether he’d seen it then, either. Perhaps he hadn’t, perhaps he had and didn’t know it was a sign of the West Qin imperial clan. Baili Mingxiang creased her brows slightly as she considered all the possibilities. Before esteemed wangfei fully recovers from her burns, I have to get an answer to this issue once and for all.
After all, the implications of such a birthmark weren’t small. As a member of the Mermaid Clan, generations of her clansmen had sworn loyalty to the East Qin imperial family. The enemies of the East Qin were the enemies of the Mermaid Clan as well. Faced with these facts, her best course of action should be to tell His Highness Duke of Qin the truth directly. Even if he killed her as a witness, she was still duty-bound to report what she knew and advise His Highness not to be soft-hearted and befuddled by sentiment.
But esteemed wangfei was her lifesaver. How could she repay her kindness with such enmity? And yet, in her heart, His Highness Duke of Qin was much more important than the East Qin imperial clan. How could she bear to cause him such difficulties? She really had no idea how to deal with this situation. She only knew that she had to get a clear picture of the situation before making a decision.
Actually, Long Feiye hadn’t even seen the birthmark on Han Yunxi’s back at all. While applying medicine, his whole focus was on the two burns on her back. He hadn’t even realized she was wearing a dudou, much less any such specific details. Besides, what could he see when Han Yunxi had the covers all bundled up around her to stare at him? He was so careful with applying the salve and just the salve that he never thought to look down for it.
His Highness Duke of Qin could turn into a wolf too, but he remained perfectly rational when it came to dealing with Han Yunxi’s burns. He took in Baili Mingxiang’s words and said, “Give it one more day. If the medicine isn’t effective, call in the female physicians from the palace.”
Long Feiye respected only Gu Beiyue’s skills in the entirety of the Imperial Physician Courtyard, but things like undressing a patient and checking her injuries could only be done by a female doctor.
“It’s fine, I promise it’ll be better within a couple of days,” Han Yunxi knew her own injuries best. She hastily added, “Your Highness, you must have been busy the past few days?”
“Did you need something while I was gone?” Long Feiye asked.
“Chenqie was thinking, if we really can’t find Mute Granny, we’d probably have to pay the Mu Clan in the Medicine City a visit,” Han Yunxi had actually been wondering about her body’s origins this entire time.
Since Mu Yingdong knew nothing of the West Qin affair, Long Feiye wasn’t afraid of her asking the man questions. He wanted to bring up the Broomcorn Millet Poison issue himself, because he couldn’t be at ease until he’d settled things with Han Yunxi. From his sleeve, he took out a bottle and placed it on the table. “Here, what you wanted.”
Han Yunxi was puzzled by his actions. She hadn’t asked for anything, but after looking at the bottle, she immediately understood. “The antidote to Broomcorn Millet Poison!”
Bear chuan, Panoptic Red Lotus, and Serpent Fruit all had very strong odors, so their combined scents in the antidote was enough for her to verify its identity.
“I received word that Gu Qi Sha had found the Bear chuan while I was out of the city. Originally, I wanted to take you along, but I was worried about any unforeseen accidents in case of delays and went by myself,” Long Feiye said as he raised his tea and feigned a carefree air. “Your lordship couldn’t tell the authenticity of the Bear chuan, so I simply had Pill Fiend create the antidote before my eyes. It looks like this is the real thing after all.”
Since childhood, he had lived in the imperial clan and experienced his share of mutual deception and covert struggles in the court. Making up lies was but a trifling task for Long Feiye, but he still needed to drink tea in front of this woman in order to calm his guilty conscience. And while Han Yunxi was a meticulous thinker, she would never suspect Long Feiye without reason.
She only asked him curiously, “Your Highness knew that the Bear chuan could be authenticated as long as the antidote itself succeeded?”
“Previously, I went to Medicine City to ask the head of the Wang Clan for the ingredients. He had mentioned the fact that fake Bear chuan would never be able to mix successfully with Panoptic Red Lotus or Serpent Fruit to create medicine,” Long Feiye explained.
Han Yunxi nodded. “That’s right. This antidote is real.”
Typically speaking, she should have dumped out some of its contents to check its veracity, but she had faith in Long Feiye’s abilities and silently accepted his verdict without question.
“We can’t find the person, but we can at least hold onto this antidote,” Long Feiye remarked.
A flash of uneasy remorse flitted past Han Yunxi’s eyes before she tucked the bottle in her sleeves for safekeeping. This antidote could only be created with three rare and precious ingredients, so it went without saying that it was a precious commodity. She would have to take good care of it. Thus, Han Yunxi activated the detox system and had it take in the antidote directly. But as soon as it entered her mindspace, the detox system sounded out a warning.
There is a problem with the quantity of antidote!
The detox system’s analysis skills were a hundred times better than that of manual inspections. It immediately recognized the trace bits of extraneous medicinal powder that Gu Qi Sha had scattered in the antidote. Though such powders didn’t affect the potency, smell, or quality of the medicine, it did change the quantity! What looked like a full bottle of antidote was in truth only half a bottle at most!
“Your Highness, you were cheated by Gu Qi Sha!” Han Yunxi cried out anxiously.
Long Feiye’s heart lurched. Mute Granny had taken this medicine without any problems. Had Gu Qi Sha sabotaged the antidote despite everything? He had taken great pains to carry out this deception, so any error was unacceptable.
“What happened?” he asked steadily.
“Shoddy workmanship and inferior materials. At least half of the powder in the bottle is nothing but useless dregs,” Han Yunxi said while the detox system completed a thorough breakdown of the drug. “Your Highness, chenqie might not know the quantities of Bear chuan and Panoptic Red Lotus, but judging from the size of the Serpent Fruit alone, there should’ve been enough material to create a full bottle of antidote on their own, without any filler.”
Han Yunxi took out the antidote and opened it for Long Feiye to see. “The bottle is only seven to eight parts full. Moreover, at least half of the medicine in those remaining parts is nothing but useless medicinal powder. Your Highness, Gu Qi Sha’s cheated you quite a bit!”
Hearing this, Long Feiye only felt relief. If Gu Qi Sha was simply being greedy and had stolen some antidote for himself, that wasn’t too important in the end run. As long as Mute Granny’s existence remained hidden, he was quite happy to give up a share of the antidote.
Despite being tricked for the first time in his entire life, Long Feiye was full of nothing but praise for Gu Qi Sha. “Your lordship was watching him the entire time. His skills are truly impressive.”
But Han Yunxi, who didn’t think much of Gu Qi Sha to begin with, was only further angered by his deceit. In very disdainful tone, she said, “You call that impressive? I could tell at a glance! I know how much antidote he could make just by knowing the size of the Serpent Fruit. We have to ask for the rest of it back! Even the leftover materials from making the antidote!”
If three ingredients of three different sizes were used to make the antidote in different proportions, there would definitely be some leftover from the trio. The customs in the medical community dictated that the pharmacist making the medicine was able to keep the remaining ingredients. But Han Yunxi would never leave them with someone who’d cheated them as much as Gu Qi Sha had!
Seeing Han Yunxi lose her temper, Long Feiye remained unruffled.
“Your Highness, immediately make arrangements. Chenqie will go with you to Pill Fiend Valley! Chenqie wants him to return what he stole and pay us interest! We can’t just let him get away with everything this time!” Han Yunxi was so mad that she forgot all about Su Xiaoyu’s matter.
On the other hand, Long Feiye was more interested in the little girl. His eyes flickered with a complicated expression, but he was quick to agree. “Alright, your lordship will make arrangements.”
He had gotten a full bottle of powder, but used about two parts to cure Mute Granny. Although Gu Qi Sha had kept a portion for himself, he hadn’t taken as much as Han Yunxi said he had. But since Han Yunxi was going to make claims, Long Feiye could only shift the blame for the missing portion to Gu Qi Sha instead. Who told Gu Qi Sha to provoke her ire with his actions in the first place?
Gu Qi Sha wouldn’t be able to escape proof of his stealing, but the question of exact quantities still hung in the air. Of course, it would be Gu Qi Sha that was being put on the spot. Long Feiye trusted Han Yunxi to believe in him. Currently, Gu Qi Sha himself was waiting for Long Feiye and Han Yunxi to show up. He had purposely made sure Han Yunxi would discover the discrepancy in the antidote, so Heaven only knows what kind of trap he’d set for Long Feiye?
Long Feiye summoned one of his guards and had him arrange for a carriage and horses right then, but Xu Donglin suddenly showed up. “Mistress, Su Xiaoyu wishes to see you.”
Su Xiaoyu had been hanging for days now. Has she finally caved enough to compromise her Master?
“Then I’ll have a look!” Han Yunxi said coldly. As the saying went, Gu Qi Sha might have stolen a monk, but he couldn’t steal away an entire temple. They could afford to wait on his issue. Naturally, Long Feiye followed along. He might not have made trouble for Su Xiaoyu, yet, but that didn’t mean he’d let her off easily. He wanted Chu Xifeng to finish his inquiries first, but he wouldn’t object to dealing with the little girl now if she was so eager to spill what she knew.
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye arrived beneath the tree. One of the guards was about to let Su Xiaoyu down when Long Feiye walked over the took the rope into his own hands. It was the same one keeping Su Xiaoyu hanging in the tree, her literal lifeline while she hung in the air. Letting go of the rope would send Su Xiaoyu crashing down a height equal to five stories to the limestone ground below. One could well imagine the consequences of such sudden impact.
Su Xiaoyu was already fearful at the very sight of Long Feiye, but her fear only grew when she saw him take hold of her rope. Yet before she could think twice, Long Feiye actually…