Chapter 23: Suspicions without evidence

Ever since childhood, Mu Liuyue had been the precious treasure of General Mu’s house. She was also best friends with Princess Changping and was doted on by the empress and empress dowager. Although she was only a simple young Miss, the capital called her Princess Changping the Second. Even the imperial concubines had to make allowances for her.

What kind of person was this Han Yunxi?!

Just a Qin Wangfei with the title and no power to back it up. She couldn’t even be compared with a servant of the Qin household, but she really thought something of herself. Would she stay put just because she was told to? Han Yunxi didn’t seem to have heard at all. Mu Liuyue’s temper flared as she hurried to catch up, a hand grabbing Han Yunxi. There was no telling if she meant it, but her long nails dug painfully into the other woman’s flesh.

“Did you manage to wake my brother?” Mu Liuyue asked insufferably.

General Mu came out the door, voice cold as he saw the scene. “Liuyue, let her go. Your brother will wake up very soon.”

“So you’re saying he still hasn’t woken up?” Mu Liuyue found it inconceivable. “Father, you really believe her?”

Han Yunxi really felt pained by the dragging fingernails and looked back with a ruthless pair of phoenix-shaped eyes. “Let go!”

“No! She can’t leave until my brother wakes up!” Mu Liuyue refused to release her. Instead, Han Yunxi reached out to pinch two acupoints on Mu Liuyue’s wrist, immediately causing her hand to go limp so she could ruthlessly shake her off. 

“You don’t have the right to restrict this wangfei’s freedom!” She left as soon as she finished speaking. Mu Liuyue was thrown to the ground. Furious, she got up and prepared to give chase, but General Mu held her back. 

“Enough! She wouldn’t dare tell lies.”

Mu Liuyue wasn’t content at all. She wasn’t satisfied that Han Yunxi had left before her brother had woken up, or that the woman had acted like the Qin Wangfei despite that she was. She ran forward a few steps to yell after her, “Han Yunxi, I’m warning you! If my brother doesn’t wake up, I definitely won’t forgive you! Neither will Princess Changping!”

Princess Changping…

This princess was the pearl in the empress and empress dowager’s palm. Her personality was a hundred times more spoiled that Mu Liuyue, and she’d stuck to Mu Qingwu’s side ever since she was young. More or less, she and Mu Qingwu could be considered fresh green plums and horse under bamboo, a man and woman who had affections for each other since childhood[1]. Everyone in the royal family knew of her aspirations to marry Mu Qingwu one day. Too bad the empress and emperor objected to the match, so they hadn’t moved to sanction the marriage.

If she found out that Mu Qingwu was in trouble, Heavens only knew what would happen next!

Han Yunxi heard Mu Liuyue’s warning, but she didn’t take it to heart. Who cared about this Princess Changping or Duanping[2]? She’d never failed in the medical field before, and when it came to poisons, the detox system wouldn’t make a mistake either. After expunging the poison, she’d scanned him again to ascertain that Mu Qingwu’s poison had diminished to a point where it wouldn’t hurt his health. His temperature had started to drop as well, so he’d probably recover consciousness soon.

As long as Mu Qingwu woke up, it’d prove that she had held no murderous intentions. Even the Jade Emperor and Lao Zi[3] wouldn’t be able to do anything to her then! As she left the gates of the general’s house, Han Yunxi gave a long sigh, finally free of this troublesome business. On the carriage ride home, she treated the whip injury again, minimizing its bindings while covering up the wound with a tied handkerchief to hide it from view. She still had to see Grand Concubine Yi and report on the proceedings at court. Yet as soon as she entered the gates, she was told that the grand imperial concubine had left for her western estate and wouldn’t return for a few days.

Did she want to avoid the house that Murong Wanru had dirtied? Thinking of this, Han Yunxi couldn’t help but snort with laughter. 

Perfect. Without Grand Concubine Yi at home, her life would be easier. When a new official took office, they applied strict new measures for everyone to follow, but it was far harder for one to attend to a new mother-in-law. Han Yunxi could admit that she wasn’t a good daughter-in-law, so it’d be best if her esteemed elder never came back. 

When Murong Wanru went out the door, the first thing she saw was Han Yunxi laughing, causing her to break out in anger. After this woman left with the Duke of Qin, Grand Concubine Yi had hurried away too, leaving orders for the steward to replace everything in the rooms and renovate the entire place. She’d given her such a cold shoulder! Murong Wanru had sat in her own filth and yelled until her voice turned hoarse, but no one had paid her any attention. Crestfallen, she’d been forced to walk out on her own and run all the way back to her rooms. When news of her diarrhea spread to all the household help, none of them dared to laugh in her face. But Murong Wanru was sure they were all laughing behind her back.

So vexing, so frustrating! Just thinking of it made her want to cry and seeing Han Yunxi only made her angrier. She didn’t know that Han Yunxi’s poison skills were so refined so thought that she’d used the wrong poison instead. In any case, everything was this woman’s fault! Seeing Han Yunxi look her way, Murong Wanru finally hid her temper.

Mufei went to rest at a different house and won’t be back for several days. If sister-in-law misses mufei, I can take you to see her anytime. If sister-in-law wishes to eat anything, you can tell me as well. I’ll tell the kitchens to prepare it for you.”

She’d take her there? She’d tell the kitchens? Han Yunxi plastered a smile on her face that wasn’t a smile at all. Why did this woman sound like she owned the place every time she talked to her? It made her seem like a guest instead of the family’s new daughter-in-law. 

Murong Wanru walked down the steps to ask, “Sister-in-law, where is my elder brother?” With such a tone, she made it sound as if Long Feiye belonged to her and had no relations with Han Yunxi.

“He didn’t come back with me. I don’t know where he’s gone, either.” When facing someone she disliked, Han Yunxi didn’t want to speak one extra word. She was already taking large strides towards the main courtyard. Murong Wanru actually caught up with her running steps, intimately taking Han Yunxi’s hand. 

“Sister-in-law, did my brother last night, with you, really…”

Han Yunxi stopped walking and worked her hand free, raising an eyebrow. “Real? Fake? Do you have any objections?”

Murong Wanru was all astonishment as she hastily grabbed Han Yunxi’s hand again. “Sister-in-law, what are you saying? Have you misunderstood? Although my elder brother wasn’t happy to wed you, you still entered through our gates. I understand my brother’s type best, so I’m only asking for your sake. If he’s treating you coldly, tell me and I’ll back you up.”

Faker. For her to pretend like this even without anyone watching truly made her an exceptional white lotus[4].

“I was just joking. Why are you so nervous?” Han Yunxi teased.

“Sister-in-law, you can’t make casual jokes like these, you’ll scare me! I haven’t even had time to be happy for your sake! I’m hoping for the day when you’ll carry a little son for elder brother in your stomach,” Murong Wanru explained in a rush.

“Is that so? Heheh, I’m hoping for the day when you’ll marry a good husband and have children of your own. You care for me so much that I’ll definitely take great pains to arrange your marriage well,” Han Yunxi smiled, jabbing Murong Wanru’s weak point with one sentence. Seeing the latter’s face turn rigid greatly improved her mood. “Don’t worry. When your brother returns, I’ll talk to him about it.” An elder brother could hold the power of a father in a household, especially for a man like Long Feiye.

“Sister-in-law, I actually…” Murong Wanru began to explain, but Han Yunxi stopped her.

“It’s fine. I’m tired, so you go off and busy yourself.” She walked off a long way before turning back to add, “Miss Murong, last night we…it was real! So don’t worry about it!”

Murong Wanru came to a sudden stop, finally unable to control herself. Her pitiful little face suddenly turned savage and terrible as her hands curled into fists. Coldly she muttered, “Han Yunxi, there’ll finally come a day when you’re chased out of the Duke of Qin’s gates!”

Han Yunxi originally thought that it’d take Long Feiye a few days to find the antidote ingredients. Yet as soon as she bathed in the hot springs that night, Long Feiye came in.

“Ah…you, wait a second!”

Han Yunxi’s exclamation didn’t deter Long Feiye’s footsteps the slightest. He appeared out of a void before the hot spring, dressed completely in a black that set off his perfect body like the night. His form embodied the mysterious qualities of a cheetah: grave and stern, stately and majestic, radiating with inviolable aggression.

Compared to him, Han Yunxi’s picturesque scene of a beauty leaving the bath was completely eclipsed. The shocked Han Yunxi sank beneath the water until only her head was showing, feeling both irritated and cross. “Long Feiye, what’s the meaning of this? You…you, get out!”

Although she’d married this man, her heart hadn’t married anyone. Men and women should keep their distance, didn’t he understand that? In any case, if he wasn’t going to treat her as his wife and take responsibility, couldn’t he act better and avoid taboos? 

Han Yunxi was already very nervous, but quickly found that her anxiety was only wishful thinking. Long Feiye wasn’t interested in taking advantage of her. In fact, he didn’t treat this as an issue at all. Aloof and indifferent, his voice was as cold as always.

“I brought a sample of a poison. Make me an antidote because I need it urgently.”

An assassin had clearly taken advantage of him before, but his attitude was still so lofty and cold. Han Yunxi suddenly felt like a servant who had offended her master. Come on…Long Feiye’s clearly the one in the wrong!

She finally calmed down enough to give a slight cough and reply. “We’ll speak when I get out. Can you leave for a moment?”

Long Feiye’s face was expressionless, but he silently turned to leave. Han Yunxi finally relaxed, but then he unexpectedly turned back. Out of reflex, Han Yunxi sank beneath the water again, this time even hiding her head. Seeing this, Long Feiye wasn’t startled, but a thread of doubt crept into his gaze. Wasn’t this woman supposed to be daring?

A little thing like this could scare her?

“Han Yunxi!” he called out.

Han Yunxi resurfaced in the pool, wiping water off her face as she cried, “Are you leaving or not?!”

Long Feiye was slightly surprised. No one had ever dared to shout at him before, but she was the first. He didn’t leave, but stood by the water’s edge with his hands clasped behind his back. “Aren’t you the useless trash of the Han Family? Where did you learn to treat poisons?”

Last night, Long Feiye had sent men to investigate this woman. Unfortunately, the results of their search matched the rumors outside. She was the most useless scion in Han Family history. Moreover, none of the so-called medical geniuses in the Han Family were poison experts.

“Can you let me out first before asking questions?” Han Yunxi said word-by-word as she suppressed her temper.

“No,” Long Feiye replied.

Fine. Han Yunxi could sense that this man was suspicious and was now trying to threaten her. If she didn’t talk, he wouldn’t let her get out. She pretended to have no choice and heaved a sigh. “My father felt that I was the one who killed my mother, so he’s always hated me. Every time he’d saw me, it was like meeting his sworn enemy. Add that to my ugly looks, and he gave me the cold shoulder.” As she spoke, Han Yunxi lowered her head in distress.

“Actually, I’m not useless trash. They just refused to teach me. When I was young, I discovered my mother’s medical books and taught myself in secret. I only mastered my skills recently. The truth was, the tumor on my face was actually poison too but I treated it myself. I was afraid that my father would forbid me from learning medical arts if he discovered I’d found my mother’s book, so I never told anyone else.”

Long Feiye half-doubted, half-believed her. Just as he was preparing to ask for details, Han Yunxi added, “I’ve already burned all the medical books because I’ve learned them all.” When she was finished, she looked up to meet Long Feiye’s eyes. By pushing everything onto the late Lady Tianxin, there was no way to validate her claims. Even if Long Feiye didn’t believe her, he wouldn’t be able to find any contrary clues. 

Long Feiye didn’t speak, but his ice-cold eyes seemed to see right through her…


[1] man and woman who had affections for each other since childhood (青梅竹马) – qingmei zhuma, literally green plums with bamboo and horse, symbols to represent a woman and man in their youth.

[2] Princess Changping or Duanping (长平公主短平公主) changping gongzhu duanping gongzhu, a joke that works better in Chinese. Chang means ‘long’ while Duan means ‘short peace.’ In other words, Han Yunxi cares neither for the long nor short of it.

[3] Jade Emperor and Lao Zi (天皇老子) – tianhuang laozi, two important figures in the pantheon of Chinese deities. The Jade Emperor rules over Heaven, while Lao Zi was the founder of Daoism that later ascended to the Heavens.

[4] white lotus (白莲花) – bai lian hua, colloquial for a two-faced woman.

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