Chapter 489: Searching in all eight directions Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Long Feiye was amazed to see Chu Xifeng, but the latter was equally stunned.
“Your Highness, you’re injured!” Chu Xifeng was shocked by the sight of Long Feiye’s pale face and the blood at the corner of his lips. His Highness Duke of Qin must have suffered a severe internal injury to be left like this. When Chu Xifeng saw that Duanmu Yao was able to take Long Feiye away, he was certain it had something to do with the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect. But he never expected to see Long Feiye so hurt!
If it’s not the old elder who dotes on His Highness that came, then who could it be?
Long Feiye’s cold eyes were starting to burn with impatience, so Chu Xifeng stopped asking questions and brought out the crossbow arrow he’d taken with him. Then he told Long Feiye all about Qin Wangfei’s visit to the Gu Estate and the assassination attempt there. Moreover, the imperial guards had turned on them and a commotion later broke out in the red-light district as well. He hadn’t even finished speaking when Long Feiye crushed the crossbow arrow to pieces. His cold face was frigid enough to drip ice.
“Your Highness, as this subordinate sees it, it’s probably the work of the Chu Clan. Chu Tianyin would have been the only one capable of asking Duanmu Yao for help.”
Chu Xifeng had been repeatedly reviewing the details. Beforehand, they had discovered the Western Zhou royal family’s seven-colored signal flares in Su Xiaoyu’s hands, but the Western Zhou imperial family had no hold in Tianning’s capital. In contrast, the Chu Clan held more influence, so most like they had gotten the flares from Duanmu Yao or her brother. One year ago, Duanmu Yao had left for Celestial Mountain Sword Sect after the Western Zhou emperor cast her aside. Now she had suddenly come down to seek out Long Feiye. Without a doubt, she was cooperating with the Chu Clan to lure him out of his den so forces could target esteemed wangfei.
Long Feiye realized it after some thought as well. But he could take care of those people later—right now, the most important thing was to track down Han Yunxi!
“Transfer all of the Hidden Pavilion guards to the red-lantern district and search the houses one by one for your lordship!” As soon as he barked out the orders, Long Feiye left at a frightful pace, so fast that Chu Xifeng couldn’t even keep up on his horse. But barely time enough to brew a cup of tea had passed before he was forced to stop on a tree branch and spit up another mouthful of blood.
Who was Cang Qiuzi? The second highest ranked member of the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect! Although Cloud Realm Continent’s wulin circles didn’t rank their fighters, Cang Qiuzi’s strength would definitely qualify as number two. Long Feiye had bore the power of his three strikes through sheer willpower. Chu Xifeng finally caught up and saw that His Highness was in a worse state than he thought.
“Your Highness, treat your injury first. Leave the rest to your subordinates!” Chu Xifeng urged.
Instead of replying, Long Feiye suddenly dropped down from the tree. Chu Xifeng immediately yielded his horse to him and watched his master gallop in the direction of the capital city’s south gates. After listening to Chu Xifeng’s description, Long Feiye believed that there was an 80 percent possibility that Han Yunxi was still in the red-lantern district.
Those crossbow archers had used agents to make the imperial guards turn traitor as well, showing that they were determined to kill their target. But choosing to move in the cover of the secluded Gu Estate, then withdraw their forces once their target reached the red-lantern district, proved that they still dreaded the might of the true imperial guards. Perhaps it was better to say that they dreaded Emperor Tianhui and didn’t want to cause a row with the personal assassination of Han Yunxi. They weren’t willing to escalate things to a level where the civilians or imperial palace would get involved.
After the black-robed assassin had charged into the brothel, nothing else much had happened. Either Gu Qi Sha and Han Yunxi had been kidnapped by him in the brothel, or the duo were still hiding amongst its rooms! Long Feiye had never thought much of Gu Qi Sha, but right now he dearly hoped that he had protected Han Yunxi well. Currently, all four city gates of Tianning’s capital city had been sealed off. Without express approval of Emperor Tianhui or the head of the imperial guards, no one was allowed in or out. By the time Long Feiye made it to the entrance, it was already dark.
Long Tianmo and Mu Qingwu had spent half the day promoting panic by circulating the crossbow arrows around the capital and fabricating reports on the enemy’s status to Emperor Tianhui. Emperor Tianhui could tell that the two were seizing the chance to exaggerate things, but the gunpowder explosion at the black markets had truly made him uneasy, so he had ordered the entire capital to be on the alert for assassins. When the watchtower guards saw His Highness Duke of Qin approach, they all fell to their knees. However, no one dared to open the gates.
“Open up immediately!” Long Feiye shouted in rage.
The leader of the guards shouted back from his knees, “Your Highness Duke of Qin, we’ve already sent a message to His Majesty. He’ll return right away, so may Your Highness keep calm!”
Would Long Feiye bother wasting words with the likes of him? Obviously not. He leapt up from his horse and flew towards the walls. Before any of the guards could react, he had already landed inside the city. Behind him, Chu Xifeng had caught up in time to witness the sight and quickly flipped over the wall himself to head for the red-lantern district. Less than an hour later, news of the Duke of Qin’s return had spread throughout the city. Very soon, there were reports that he’d sent a large group of black-robed guards to search the entire red-lantern district.
His Highness Duke of Qin wouldn’t have picked the wrong spot!
As a result, Emperor Tianhui forwent denouncing Long Feiye and sent a large group of men to the district as well. Long Tianmo and Mu Qingwu, who were about to leave, retraced their steps and added reinforcements to the search party. The various other imperial princes, old established families, dukes, marquises, the Baili Clan, capital officials and even the justice courts sent out representatives to scour through the brothels. Some of them genuinely wanted to find Han Yunxi, others wanted to claim credit in front of Emperor Tianhui, while still more just wanted to gain His Highness Duke of Qin’s favor. No matter the case, forces converged from all eight directions all for the sake of one woman. It had to be said that a capital had never been so tense besides Cloud Realm Continent’s historic attempts to steal the throne. Neither had so many eclectic forces gathered together in the history of any of its brothels.
Everyone was feeling like they were on tenterhooks. The entire Tianning capital had begun to seethe with excitement all because His Highness Duke of Qin had returned!
Long Feiye came to the brothel where Gu Qi Sha and Han Yunxi had last took refuge with Long Tianmo and Mu Qingwu in tow. By now, all of the guests had scattered from the building, leaving the old procuress, her girls, and a few little pageboys.
“Imperial Qin Uncle.”
“Your Highness Duke of Qin!”
Everyone greeted him, all of them eager to know what was going on. Long Feiye had rushed all the way back while still sporting serious internal injuries. Right now, his blood qi was churning wildly between his inner organs, causing blood to constantly well up in his throat. Only willpower made him successfully force it back down. His complexion was ashen white, his face cold and penetrating. He ignored the crowd and ordered his guards to surround the brothel and search carefully. Then he stepped inside himself and carefully inspected room after room. Even the storerooms and receiving halls weren’t spared from scrutiny. Seeing this, Long Tianmo and the rest all followed suit to search various rooms of the brothel.
Unlike the noisy stomping of soldiers from before, they were nothing if not quiet, their movements careful and attentive. They were afraid to startle the snake in the grass. The tense atmosphere gradually suffused to fill the entire brothel, but the two people in the corner room on the third floor were oblivious to everything happening outside. They had just managed to catch their breath.
Han Yunxi had finally finished treating all the wounds on Gu Qishao’s back. Because he’d been injured in too many places, it took quite some time. More over, five of the places needed individual stitches. Fortunately, her movements were quick and her blood-staunching medicine of excellent quality. She prevented him from losing too much blood. Of course, Gu Qishao’s physical state was very good, which helped. She had expended quite some effort to bind his wounds because they were so tiny and so numerous. In the end, she ended up using medical adhesive to keep the gauze in place, then bandaged the whole thing over with another layer of bandages to protect the wounds from any external aggravation. Once that was done, Gu Qishao’s normally well built physique resembled nothing more than a fat, lumpy zongzi.
When everything was finally done, Han Yunxi exhaled and patted the zongzi. “Hey, your constitution’s above average. I thought you’d black out before I finished the treatment.”
“Heheh, what do little wounds like this count for? Even a few more stab wounds wouldn’t kill me,” Gu Qishao feigned a boast with his tone.
Han Yunxi snorted. As she saw it, Gu Qishao was already at his limit. If this fellow didn’t die from blood loss with his ‘few more stab wounds,’ then he’d definitely be a freak. She cleaned up her medical pouch and the various bloodied objects before saying, “I heard you were the foster son of the medical academy’s head elder, raised up on nothing but medicine. Is that true?”
Gu Qishao’s eyes flashed with momentary hatred before he joked, “Why else would I have such an excellent constitution?” He was about to turn over at those words, but Han Yunxi lightly pressed him down.
“You’re not allowed to move about!”
“These wounds will heal within two days at the soonest, you shouldn’t thrash about. There’s just too many of them, so even slight movements can aggravate the injury. If you lose any more blood, even the medical academy’s head elder won’t be able to save you.” Han Yunxi’s tone was very strict as she tucked him under the covers.
“Fine, fine, I’ll just lie around for two days,” Gu Qishao was secretly pleased. He’d rather Han Yunxi tell him to lie down for ten days to half a month so she could stay by his side. Of course, he knew they couldn’t stay here long, but he figured that Long Feiye was already gone with Duanmu Yao. The skills of the imperial guard and Chu Xifeng alone would probably have them sweeping this place again tomorrow at the earliest.
That was perfect, because he could stay alone with his Poison lass overnight in this room. He still had to explain to her about the Broomcorn Millet Poison’s antidote!
Once Han Yunxi had made sure Gu Qishao would keep still, she got off the bed, planning to pour him some hot water before she went to find them some food. She didn’t want to go home all that soon. There were some questions she had to ask him—for example, why did he have two identities? Could he help her find the person who bought the last portion of antidote to Broomcorn Millet Poison? And just what was the great enmity he held against Medical City? He had so much medical talent and spent so much time establishing Pill Fiend Valley, so why did he prefer to be vicious instead of kind? Moreover, she still remembered how he’d saved her when Jun Yixie’s Poison Humans had kidnapped her. He had to have a motive back then as well.
But as soon as she got off the bed, Gu Qishao noticed the arrow wound on her other shoulder! Previously, the two had been too busy hiding from the black-robed man to notice. Then Han Yunxi had spent all her time kneeling in front of her, making it impossible for him to notice the injury. She herself had been too focused on his wounds to relax until now, so she’d long forgotten about the pain. She hadn’t even noticed that she was still undressed. Now she was getting off the bed barefoot to pour water. Gu Qishao had no more interest in admiring her collarbones or jade-like feet now.
When he saw her cold and serious little face, a mixture of complex emotions welled up in his heart. Ever since his jokes had made her red-eyed, she’d been nothing but stern and calm. Her coolheadedness had made her completely forget about her own injury.
Once Han Yunxi came back with the water, she tasted a sip to test its temperature, then offered it to Gu Qishao. He suddenly sat up, earning her shock and ire.
“What are you doing?!”
“Be good, don’t move!”
Gu Qishao lightly stroked the injury on her shoulder, but it was then that someone kicked open the door!