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Even Han Yunxi ended up begging for mercy every time she threatened Long Feiye, much less anyone else. But Long Feiye really had taken a step back this time. Was it because Han Yunxi was the “West Qin princess?” Or because Tang Li had an unborn child waiting in the wings?
Long Feiye replied lightly, “I’m giving the whole world face. I hope that the coming spring won’t show any disparities between East and West Qin. This Deputy General Xue is much better at adapting to circumstances than Baili Qiyu. Baili Qiyu should learn a little from him, military men should be able to assert and submit.”
Han Yunxi looked at him for a long time in silence, her face wreathed in a foolish grin. Perhaps it was the truth behind the Great Qin Empire’s breakdown that had banished a portion of the negative notions on West Qin from Long Feiye’s mind. Or perhaps he had grown more magnanimous and broad-minded. Han Yunxi saw both an exalted figure’s dominance and strength along with a sovereign’s generosity in his actions.
She only hoped that East and West Qin’s armies could truly work together in every sense of the word this time.
At this moment, the impatient Gu Qishao finally spoke up. “Now that things are done, can we leave tomorrow?”
If they wanted to make it back before spring while taking into account the travel times, then there wasn’t much time to track down the Qi Sha dagger! Before Han Yunxi could reply, Tang Li blew up.
He shot upright and demanded, “I want to save Jing Jing!”
Ning Jing’s stomach was already five months along. By the time spring arrive, she’d be eight months pregnant. What if Ning Cheng failed? What would happen to Ning Jing and the baby? Tang Li couldn’t accept that–nor was he willing to take such a risk!
Han Yunxi and the rest understood the risks were huge, but rashly undertaking a rescue mission now, or even stirring the Tang Clan into action, would only bring undue danger to Ning Jing.
“Big bro, even at the cost of losing the Tang Clan, I need to save mother and child!” Tang Li said ruthlessly.
But Long Feiye dashed his hopes. “Even if you lose the Tang Clan, there’s no guarantee that you’ll save them.”
Forcing their way in would only lead them to Jun Yixie’s trap. Otherwise, they would have to exchange the Tang Clan’s weapons blueprints, but would Jun Yixie settle for a few dozen of them? He would definitely eat the Tang Clan whole. Furthermore, Ning Jing had additional value compared to Mu Linger because she could be used to threaten both the Tang Clan and Ning Cheng, as well as containing the man’s movements. Even the greatest temptation wouldn’t make Jun Yixie give her up easily!
“Tang Clan Head, don’t be impatient. As long as Jun Yixie sends his troops north, Ning Jing and Mu Linger should be safe until next year. If you act rashly and affect Ning Cheng’s safety, it’ll endanger those two instead,” Gu Beiyue coaxed.
Once Jun Yixie moved his army, he would rely further on Ning Cheng’s assistance and be less inclined to offend the man.
Since everyone was speaking up, Gu Qishao added his piece too. “You should stop worrying. Ning Cheng’s a reliable brother. He wouldn’t just abandon his own sister and nephew, right?”
Tang Li had been suppressing himself for the past few days, but now he finally burst out. “The f**k, Gu Qishao, are you deaf or blind? Don’t you know Ning Cheng used my child’s life to threaten my big bro? Who knows what kind of accidents could happen at Skyriver City? Who knows whether he’ll sacrifice Ning Jing instead?! Won’t he do anything the sake of his crap mission and shitty cause? He’s already sacrificed Ning Jing once when he made her marry into the Tang Clan! What right does he have to use my child as collateral?! Who gives him the right? Huh?!”
Tang Li was both infuriated and anxious. As he cursed and cursed, his eyes grew red with the threat of tears. There was no sign of his usual careless, silkpants attitude. Ning Jing had probably never seen Tang Li like this. Would her heart ache at the sight of him now?
Han Yunxi understood Tang Li’s pain most of all. She had seen Ning Jing’s horror when she’d almost had a miscarriage in the past. For the sake of hiding her child, Ning Jing had sacrificed much as well. She squeezed Tang Li’s shoulder and said outright, “We’ll wait. Wait until Jun Yixie heads north before we leave. It’s not far from Skyriver City here, so if any accidents happen, we’ll do our best to rush over.”
Tang Li turned to hug Han Yunxi. “Sister-in-law…”
Tang Li…was crying.
Gu Qishao was rendered dumb and caught unawares, Gu Beiyue turned aside with a soft fight. Long Feiye didn’t say a word, but patted Tang Li’s shoulder. It had been a long, long time since he last saw Tang Li cry, so long that he’d almost forgotten what it looked like. When Tang Li was very young, he would always ask Long Feiye through his tears, “Big bro, why don’t you ever cry?”
“Big bro, do you have a way to hide your tears? Teach me how.”
“Big bro, auntie says real men never cry. Does this mean I can’t be a real man?”
In Long Feiye’s eyes, Tang Li had always been the little brother that never grew up. Very soon, he pulled Tang Li out of Han Yunxi’s arms and dragged him away. Just like that, the group that was planning to head south stopped and settled down secretly at East Origin Hall. While keeping an eye on developments in Northern Li, they also looked for any news of Bai Yanqing.
Long Feiye dispatched a few agents to scout ahead south and dig up news of the Qi Sha dagger. Baili Qiyu and Deputy General Xue exchanged letters twice before East Qin moved their forces first to attack Tongyang Prefecture. Ning Cheng didn’t write them again, but maintained correspondence with Myriad Merchant Hall. After Tang Li’s repeated entreaties, Han Yunxi personally stepped out to have the Myriad Merchant Hall write Ning Cheng and tell him to take care of Ning Jing well.
Actually, his exact words were, “Warn Ning Cheng that if anything happens to Ning Jing and the baby, I won’t let him off!”
Han Yunxi herself changed the words to “take good care of the mother and child.”
Over the next few days, Han Yunxi alternated between dual cultivating with Long Feiye and self-cultivation with the poison storage space. As her strength grew, she and Lil Thing sensed each other more and more, but it was still impossible to communicate telepathically. There was absolutely no news of Bai Yanqing, which made everyone wonder what he was planning. Long Feiye hadn’t forgotten to investigate why the Western Zhou emperor had gotten involved with the Hundred Poisons Sect affair, either. He left this investigation in the hands of Chu Tianyin.
Gu Qishao couldn’t sit still, so he split his time between searching for the Qi Sha dagger and the Returning Dragon Pill in the black markets for Gu Beiyue. Everyone was hoping for the day Gu Beiyue recovered his shadow arts, because then he’d been an excellent support for Long Feiye and Han Yunxi. Baili Mingxiang wasn’t idle either; she found a concealed courtyard in East Origin Hall to practice hard at her own martial arts.
This afternoon, Han Yunxi had a rare break to find Baili Mingxiang and learn some cooking skills. Long Feiye called Gu Qishao over, and Gu Beiyue followed along. Actually, Gu Qishao had been waiting to get his payback from Long Feiye, so he knew why the man had called him over alone. Seeing Gu Beiyue approach, Gu Qishao shot Long Feiye a glare to send him away.
But before Long Feiye could speak, Gu Beiyue merely asked, “Qishao, just how old are you?”
Gu Qishao almost toppled over. He turned and said, “You…what do you mean by that?”
“There’s a problem with your blood. Lil Thing and I both noticed it. I originally thought you were a Poison Gu human, but you’re not,” Gu Beiyue said seriously.
When he and Lil Thing had made the discovery, they had suspecting Gu Qishao to be the un-aging, undying Poison Gu human. But the records in the secret room behind the wordless stele had made him realize his mistake. The fruits needed to cultivate a Poison Gu human were in limited supply. Bai Yanqing had long eaten them all, while Gu Yuntian had only tested medicines, not poisons, on Gu Qishao’s body. It was impossible that he could have made him into a Poison Gu human along the way. Thus, Gu Beiyue still had no idea what kind of constitution Gu Qishao possessed.
Long Feiye now regarded Gu Qishao with interest, leaving him feeling uneasy. Annoyed, he said, “I don’t know what damned thing I am either! I thought I was a Poison Gu human too, but the information in the secret room said they’d age, and I…don’t think I’ll ever get older.”
There were plenty of legends surrounding the Poison Gu humans. Some said they didn’t age, die, or deteriorate, others said they were impervious to weapons, injuries, and illnesses as well as immune to hundreds of poisons. Gu Beiyue had believed them before seeing the truth in the secret room. Long Feiye had originally planned to get some methods to break through the Poison Gu constitution from Gu Qishao’s body, but that idea was now useless.
He asked, “Would Gu Yuntian know?”
Gu Qishao shook his head helplessly.
Gu Beiyue continued, “Stay with me for the next few days and I’ll have a good look at you. If it’s not poison, medicine’s most likely to blame.”
Gu Qishao felt his hairs standing on end. “How are you planning to ‘look’ at me?”
Gu Beiyue smiled. “Don’t be afraid, I’ll just take your pulse and test some of your blood. It’s very unique.”
Gu Qishao was still full of doubts towards Gu Beiyue. Long Feiye didn’t say much, but prepared to leave until Gu Qishao called after him. “Long Feiye, how about I offer you a deal?”
“Speak,” Long Feiye didn’t even turn around. Just how little did he want to see Gu Qishao?
“If we uncover the power that could kill off the snow wolves one day, leave me the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion and I’ll help you find the source of that strength. How’s it sound?” Gu Qishao was serious.
There was only one bottle of Perplexing Butterfly Illusion that held the possibility of breaking his undying body. If they used it all up, he would be out of hope.
Long Feiye broke into a cold smile. “On what grounds?”
“On the grounds that this old man can protect all of your people!” Gu Qishao proclaimed loudly. He was about to grow mold from staying around Three-Way Black Market all the time. But it was all for the sake of guarding against Bai Yanqing and safeguarding everyone.
Long Feiye only replied, “This is your price for not keeping your word. You can leave at any time.”
In other words, if Gu Qishao left, Han Yunxi and the rest would find out his undying, un-aging secret. Gu Qishao’s face fell. Even after Long Feiye left, his expression was still gloomy.
Gu Beiyue put on a guileless smile and laughed. “Qishao, let’s go.”
Gu Qishao actually liked Gu Beiyue’s smiles very much, but now it only gave him goosebumps. Before Gu Beiyue could approach him, he’d already ran away. Since he refused to cooperate, this matter was indefinitely delayed.
As everyone waited and busied themselves, a shocking piece of news came from Northern Li. Gu Qishao had been sunbathing on the roof when Han Yunxi and the rest were discussing the news. As soon as he heard it, he fell off the roof and flat on his face!
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