The Poison Genius Consort - Chapter 195
Chapter 195: Do you have connections with the Tang Clan?
Han Yunxi was absorbed in her own worries and didn't notice anything peculiar around them, while Long Feiye sat loftily astride the horse like a sovereign that considered everything beneath his notice. It wasn't clear whether he'd sensed the commentary and stares from the surrounding crowds.
One horse and two people created a sensation in the city.
In a roadside inn, Gu Qishao and Mu Linger were currently sitting by the window. Because Gu Qishao had stolen the Xie family's treasured Herbal Tea Tree, he'd been put on a blacklist by the Xie in Medicine City. Only the Mu family's secret assistance had helped him escape. He'd just sat down when he noticed the commotion in the city streets. Even if Mu Linger only had Gu Qishao in her eyes, her sights still lingered a bit upon seeing Long Feiye.
’’Qi gege1, who's that man? He seems very scary.’’
’’That's the thief who was going to rob your family...’’ Gu Qishao replied on the fly. Though his hatred for Long Feiye was unparalleled, he wouldn't let it dominate his life. He kept the grudge against Long Feiye in his memory without getting angry. All of his focus was on Han Yunxi. It seemed like Poison lass had gotten much skinnier since he saw her last! She looked very tired, so had she and Long Feiye just returned to the city as well? What did they go off to do together?
Did Long Feiye bring her publicly back into the city to show everyone he'd acknowledged her status, or was it unintentional?
Thinking up to here, Gu Qishao's lips rose disdainfully. Did Long Feiye ever do anything without a motive? He wouldn't believe the opposite even if he was beaten to death. But still, he couldn't figure out the reasoning behind Long Feiye's actions. Perhaps Long Feiye had taken interest in Han Yunxi as well?
’’Qi gege, just who is he? He doesn't seem so simple,’’ Mu Linger asked as her line of vision followed the people below. She wanted to look for a bit longer, even if it was only a second. That man looked scary at first glance and even scarier on the second, but still he invited onlookers to look for a third time more.
’’Tianning's Duke of Qin,’’ Gu Qishao replied carelessly. Unlike Mu Linger, his sights were set completely on Han Yunxi.
At these words, Mu Linger was greatly alarmed. She spat out her mouthful of tea and exclaimed, ’’What did you say?’’
Gu Qishao gave a loathing look to the table covered in tea before continuing to observe the scene beneath the inn.
’’He's Tianning's Duke of Qin? You...you...if my father knew, he'd beat you to death for sure!’’ Mu Linger's shock had turned her face white. She wasn't alarmed because of the forbidden forest matters, because she had no idea about the top secret alliance between the Mu family and Nothern Li's Duke of Kang. Nor was she aware of the true disaster than had befallen the restricted area of the forest. Despite being the Mu family's foremost talented pharmacist and its most eligible heir, she had never been concerned about so many different things.
She only knew that one day, Qi gege suddenly ran to find her to help set down a trap while he lured someone to the Mu family. She agreed without a second thought and even got her father's consent to assign people and troops to make nets above and snares below. Never did she think that Qi gege had set the trap for Tianning's Duke of Qin!
The Mu family could technically afford to offend the world's number one ice duke, but they couldn't do so casually. If father knew the truth, wouldn't he lock her up for ten days or eight months? Mu Linger tactfully cleaned up the table in response to Gu Qishao's look, before asking, ’’Qi gege, you have enmity with the Duke of Qin?’’
Perhaps Gu Qishao heard and ignored her, perhaps he didn't hear at all;in any case, he remained looking outside without any reaction. Mu Linger followed his gaze and finally realized that Gu Qishao was looking at none other than Han Yunxi. Seeing him lost in a trance, the intelligent and quick-witted Mu Linger instantly knew what was up. Her clear and melodious voice turned low and somber. ’’Qi gege, that woman is the Qin Wangfei Han Yunxi, right?’’
But still, Gu Qishao didn't reply. Once he saw Long Feiye and Han Yunxi pass by the inn, he rose to leave as well. Mu Linger hastened to follow. ’’Qi gege, where are you going?’’
Gu Qishao dotingly rubbed a few strands of her hair as he revealing an enchanting smile. ’’Little Ling'er, you should go back to the city. Be good...’’
Mu Linger anxiously grabbed his hand, asking frankly, ’’She's the person in your heart?’’
This girl might be clever, but she couldn't hide her thoughts, especially when it came to Gu Qishao. Even if it was only half a thought or half a secret, she wouldn't be able to hide it. When she was ten years old, she snuck into Medicine City's Medicine Forest to play and stumbled on Gu Qishao stealing medicine at the same time. At that time, Gu Qishao was only 13. The two children fought a bout and ended up being friends that way.
Despite that, the 13-year old Gu Qishao had long stopped being a child. He possessed a maturity at least 10 years older than those of his peers! Moreover, that meeting wasn't any coincidence, but intentionally arranged by Gu Qishao himself. Of course, Mu Linger didn't know any of this. Ever since that day, Mu Linger always called this older brother who was prettier than herself, ’’Qi gege.’’ She only knew he was an orphan that relied on eating alms to grow up, but she'd never investigated into his origins.
Qi gege had always been natural and unrestrained, cynically thumbing his nose at the world. He kept up an uninhibited, fanciful air so she'd never seen him act seriously. But just then, his eyes had been entranced by Han Yunxi! When Qi gege said he had someone in his heart that night on the roof, he must have meant that woman! Mu Linger stared stubbornly at Gu Qishao with her large bright eyes, but he only smiled even more brilliantly. He was very happy.
’’Ling'er, you're getting smarter and smarter! You guessed right!’’
Immediately, Mu Linger's bright eyes grew dim and lifeless. She subconsciously released him, but quickly grabbed Gu Qishao's hand again, her voice low and sober. ’’You're shameless, liking a married woman! I'll go tell the Duke of Qin right now!’’
A flicker of disdain passed through Gu Qishao's eyes before he suddenly turned serious. ’’Really?’’
Mu Linger nodded solemnly. ’’Right now!’’
Amused, Gu Qishao gave a hearty laugh before pinching Mu Linger's flushed cheeks with a grin. ’’Stupid lass, you're getting easier and easier to trick! What an idiot!’’
Mu Linger gave a start before her gloomy eyes sparkled anew with joy. ’’Qi gege, you're so bad! You tricked me again!’’
’’Stupid lass, why are you so easy to trick? Heheh...’’ Gu Qishao laughed before sighing with emotion, but before his sigh finished, he was gone. Mu Linger was still digesting what she'd heard. She hadn't figured out which part of Qi gege's words were lies. Was it having a person in his heart? Or that Han Yunxi was the person he liked?
’’Qi gege!’’ Mu Linger ran out of the inn, but her target had long disappeared.
By now, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had already returned to the Duke of Qin's estate. After finishing a massacre and rushing about for days, it wasn't clear whether Long Feiye was tired. But Han Yunxi...didn't feel tired at all!
All because of the prospect of learning how to use assassination weapons.
She'd been trying to think of an explanation the whole way, but still didn't know how to explain herself by the time they got home. Again, they reached the part of the gardens where the paths forked left and right to their respective houses. Han Yunxi walked quietly behind until she saw Long Feiye turning for the left and finally spoke up. Instead of explaining anything, she got straight to the point.
’’Your Highness, you say you'd teach me how to use those weapons if I could come back. Does...that still count?’’
Long Feiye turned around, his eyebrows knitted as if in thought. But as soon as he saw Han Yunxi's earnest expression, he felt inexplicably helpless. He had no idea what to do with this woman. Since she'd asked like that, could he really say it ’’didn't count?’’
’’Since when has your lordship's words never counted?’’ Long Feiye retorted coldly.
Han Yunxi suddenly realized that her hasty question had given Long Feiye no way to refuse. How could a dignified and impressive Duke of Qin go back on his words? Seeing his cold and solemn expression, Han Yunxi couldn't hold back and snorted with laughter. Long Feiye's icy face turned three parts chillier as the two of them met gazes in tacit understanding.
Han Yunxi really couldn't resist a chuckle. ’’One word from Your Highness Duke of Qin is worth nine tripod cauldrons2. Starting from tomorrow, chenqie shall learn how to use these weapons from Your Highness. I ask that Your Highness condescend to grant me generous instruction.’’
Long Feiye had never liked women with glib tongues, but he didn't feel repelled by Han Yunxi. Instead, there was even a sense of helplessness against her. Of course, he didn't like this feeling, either.
’’There's no time tomorrow. A few days later,’’ he left her with these words.
’’You've just returned and you're busy again?’’ Han Yunxi murmured to herself. She turned to the right and carried the heavy bag of assassination weapons to Leisurely Cloud Pavilion.
Long Feiye truly was busy. The lights in his sleeping quarters weren't even lit that night. Grand Concubine Yi wanted to find him to discuss getting a post for Zhangsun Che, but couldn't find him. In the days since they'd left, Murong Wanru's wedding had completely passed, along with her visit back to the parental home. Grand Concubine Yi had done her utmost for this foster daughter. Though Long Feiye was absent, she didn't remain idle, but busied herself looking for posts for Zhangsun Che. Han Yunxi saw all this and felt puzzled in her heart. She really didn't understand why the lofty Grand Concubine Yi seemed to be acting like she owed Murong Wanru something. Of course, she didn't put much thought into it either. She was busy studying these assassination needles!
First she had to figure out how to use them before she chose to coat them in specific poisons. Some poisons could be smeared onto a weapon and stay active for a while, while others required repeating soaking in toxic liquids. Han Yunxi privately mused that she'd be very busy during this time.
Today, she was currently in her courtyard testing out poisons on the needles when a sudden gust of wind sent a red figure flashing past her face, his sleeves lightly whisking her cheek like a gentle caress.
’’Who's there?!’’ Han Yunxi rose up in alarm before she collected herself. She saw a beautiful man who could've been the reincarnation of a fox demon, dressed completely in red as he stood on one side. His long and narrow eyes were curved in a harmless smile at her.
Who else could this be but Gu Qishao?
Han Yunxi squinted her eyes as well, a dangerous expression on her face. ’’You again!’’
’’Poison lass, it's not as if big brother killed off your husband. Why don't you like seeing me?’’ Gu Qishao asked very sincerely.
’’Turning up uninvited, are you here for a motive?’’ Han Yunxi didn't show him any mercy. She had no enmity or grudge with this guy, but last time's lesson had taught her that he had no good news trespassing in the Duke of Qin's estate.
’’Can't I come see you for no reason at all?’’ Gu Qishao grinned as he walked over, digging into his spacious sleeves before pulling out a pile of items. Top-tier tonics like ginseng, edible bird's nests, hasma, fish maws and etc. were placed in bags atop the table. There was quite the pile.
Han Yunxi was floored by the sight. ’’What are you doing?’’
’’They're to help nourish your body. It hasn't been long since we last met. What were you doing? You've gotten skinnier all over!’’ Gu Qishao said seriously.
Han Yunxi pursed her lips as she replied, ’’Doing as you please for no reason is suspicious! There's no such thing as a free meal in this world!’’
Gu Qishao pretended not to hear, his gaze sweeping past the needles on the table before a complicated look settled in his eyes. ’’Tang Clan assassination weapons?’’
Han Yunxi just remembered the things on the table. She about to clear them away when Gu Qishao pressed down on her hands to stop her. He asked, ’’Poison lass, what's your connection to the Tang Clan?’’
Han Yunxi had never seen Gu Qishao look so serious. She was even a little stunned in place. However, it was just at this moment that a pebble suddenly flew over to strike the back of Gu Qishao's hand, leaving a splash of blood in its wake!
Who was it?
- gege (哥哥) - literally 'older brother,' also used as an affectionate address to refer to slightly older males that the speaker knows well, even if there is no familial relation.
- one word...is worth nine tripod cauldrons (一言九鼎) - yiyan jiuding, an idiom meaning words of enormous weight, used to compliment a trustworthy person who would never go back on their promises. The nine tripod cauldrons refers to ancient Chinese ritual cauldrons that were used to symbolize the power and authority of the ruling dynasty. Their use was strictly regulated amongst various different classes;only the emperor (Son of Heaven) had the right to use all nine.