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Chapter 504: Pretending for a lifetime

    Chapter 504: Pretending for a lifetime

    Never forgive her!

    That single sentence from him dealt Han Yunxi the killing blow. Her eyes were already red with the tears she had already shed as she stared at him in bewilderment, unwilling to take in his words.

    "Drink your medicine," he urged her again.

    Tianning and Cloud Realm Continent could both collapse for all I care. Right now, the most important thing in the world was the bowl of medicine in his hands. Han Yunxi gave him a long look, her lips pursed tightly as she refused to speak or drink.

    Long Feiye had probably never been as patient as he was being now. "Be good, don't fuss anymore." The bowl was already next to Han Yunxi's lips, but she still didn't budge.

    "Come, drink." His eyelids were hooded, his temper so mild that it seemed like he would never get angry at anyone or anything.

    Finally, she opened her mouth only to speak. "I really didn't do it all on purpose."

    He avoided the subject...

    "Drink your medicine."

    "Are you ever going to forgive me?" she asked plaintively.

    Instead of talking, he simply shook his head. She suddenly grabbed the bowl of medicine and drained it to its last drop. "I've finished drinking it."

    This... Long Feiye was both surprised and stunned. Seeing her down the bowl in one gulp had been astonishing, but his heart only felt more stifled than it was before.

    "I drank it all," Han Yunxi said again.

    "Mm," Long Feiye replied mildly.

    But then Han Yunxi stated, "You can leave now."

    Just...just who was giving whom the killing blow now?

    Long Feiye remained rooted to the spot in shock. Han Yunxi ignored him and lay back on her bed. Then she pulled up the covers and closed her eyes to sleep! The silent room turned ever more still at her actions, the entire space devoid of sound. It was a long while before Long Feiye finally rose to his feet.

    Is he...really leaving?

    Yes, he was. As he turned and left the bed behind him, Han Yunxi stealthily stole a peek. She was about to sit up when Long Feiye suddenly stopped. She quickly shut her eyes again. Long Feiye remained standing in her room for a long while before turning back to the bed and sitting down by her side. But all he did was stare at her without saying a word. Soon enough, Han Yunxi opened her eyes. She was about to speak when he beat her to it.

    "I can leave after you get well."

    Han Yunxi's hands were already clenched beneath the covers, but she replied easily, "Alright."

    Just like that, he stayed. The two of them seemed to have come to a tacit understanding. He didn't mention anything about Gu Qishao, while she didn't probe him for his reasons for leaving with Duanmu Yao. He spent the entire day waiting on her, not only feeding her medicine, but her three daily meals as well. Ever hour, he'd feel her forehead to see whether or not her fever had receded. She lay on the bed while he sat in a chair, but neither of them ever uttered a word. Still, the awkwardness between them had disappeared.

    As night fell, Han Yunxi was still feeling feverish, but Long Feiye couldn't quite gauge her temperature from feeling her forehead with his hand alone. He crept closer and brushed away her bangs, before pressing his face against her own to check again. Then he murmured, "It seems like you're still burning up."

    His smooth chin was resting right above her nose, their current proximity enough for her to smell his familiar fresh scent. She said, "Most of it should have receded. I'll recover after a good night's sleep, don't worry."

    He drew back and re-arranged her hair again, his long, slender fingers lightly brushing through her stray hairs. The movements were so gentle that they didn't resemble Long Feiye in the slightest at all! Although all he had to do was arrange her bangs, his fingers lingered for a long time against her face. She didn't move or speak, but allowed him to do as he wished. In the end, he still had to stop. When he withdrew his hand, Han Yunxi felt empty inside her heart as well.

    "Let me see your shoulder wound," he said, the injury still persisting on his mind.

    "It's fully recovered now, there's nothing but a slight scar left." A little over a month had already passed, but the white-robed man's ointment was truly very effective.

    "Your lordship will still take a look," he insisted. She could only slip off her robes to expose her shoulder. Just like she had said, the wound was now fully healed besides a faint scar. He brushed against it lightly and she turned away, afraid to lose when faced with his gentle hands.

    "I'm sorry, I didn't do it on purpose," he murmured.

    Time passed before she finally replied, "It's alright, I forgive you."

    His fingers stiffened against her shoulder before she wordlessly pushed him aside to get dressed dressed. Then she huddled up lazily beneath her covers.

    "Aren't you going to treat your injury?" she asked.

    "After you go to sleep," he replied.

    Thus, Han Yunxi immediately turned around and slept while Long Feiye went to sit cross-legged in a corner of the bed to mediate. While he healed himself all night, Han Yunxi laid staring at the wall until daylight broke.

    He said he'd leave when I got well. Even the worst colds will recover eventually, won't they?

    When the first rays of the morning sun shone into the room, she turned over and caught him staring at her. Just like last night, he bent over to press his face against her forehead, testing her temperature.

    "It's receded," he was very certain.

    "Mm," she coughed softly a few times. She knew that if she ate her medicine on time, it wouldn't be more than three days before her full recovery.

    "I'll have the doctor come take a look," he said next.

    "Mm," she responded faintly.

    The doctor came and complimented her on such a good constitution, then said she'd be well after another day of medicine. Her originally weak body had been nurtured to full health under Long Feiye's prescribed diet of chicken soup and lobsters. Moreover, the doctor's prescription was full of effective and rare medicines that made it impossible for her to stay sick.

    Han Yunxi had never been patient enough stay put in her bed, but this time she laid around for an extra day even though she was well enough to walk. Once again, Long Feiye personally waited on her for every detail. Not a single servant girl showed their faces. After he finished feeding her medicine, he sat over to one side and continued healing his injury. As she watched him in silence, she suddenly felt like they'd gone back to that long winter again.

    100 steps. Between now and that winter, have we grown closer or farther away?

    Early morning the next day brought Han Yunxi's full recovery. She firmly got off the bed and came straight to the point. "Long Feiye, I've recovered!"

    "Oh." Long Feiye nodded. A moment later, he took out a familiar token from his robes-the very same one that proved ownership over the Jiangnan Plum Blossom Sea, and the one that Han Yunxi had shattered into pieces on that rainy day. He'd personally glued it back together, so despite all the cracks lining the surface, it was now whole.

    He said, "If you won't go back to the Duke of Qin's estate, can you stay at Jiangnan's Plum Blossom Sea instead?"

    Han Yunxi's heart gave a silent lurch. She quietly  stared at Long Feiye, who'd been nothing but silent for the past two days, and suddenly felt her heart ache. Jiangnan's Plum Blossom Sea belonged wholly to herself, but he was the one who'd gifted it to her. Is there any difference between staying here versus returning to the Duke of Qin's estate?

    "Fine!" she accepted the token with her hands.

    Long Feiye's head drooped before he turned and made for the door.

    He's leaving? Just like that?

    You bastard!

    You're really going to leave just because I told you to?!

    Han Yunxi's heart heaved violently before she chased after him without a another thought. Her arms caught Long Feiye in an embrace from behind and tightened their grip around his waist. "If you've decided to never forgive me, can you still pretend you did for a while?"

    He rested his hands on her own as if trying to pry her loose, but she held him even tighter and asked again, "Can't you?"

    Long Feiye still pulled her loose before turning to look at her with a frown. Han Yunxi grew flustered and stifled, finding it hard to even breathe. But he only replied helplessly, "Your lordship, is only going back for your medical pouch... You, don't need to panic."

    Urk...

    Han Yunxi stood there, stunned, not knowing what to say. Her dazed expression made Long Feiye unable to resist playing with her hair again. "If you really want to play pretend...then let's pretend for a lifetime."

    Han Yunxi nearly burst into tears again. You can't bully people like this! I was really scared you would leave me behind !

    Long Feiye, how can you be so rotten!

    Despite her agitation, Long Feiye was still looking at her with a serious and earnest face. "Do you...think that's alright?"

    She looked at him wordlessly and broke into a smile in spite of her urge to cry. Just like before, he took her hand and entwined their fingers together, taking her for a slow stroll amidst the plum blossom trees. Han Yunxi was still feeling rather unsettled, so she strove to organize her thoughts.

    I think I must really, really like this man. Otherwise, why would I still be holding hands with him instead of shaking him off? Why would I still let him bully me to this point?

    She raised her head to look at him and his icy profile. What is he thinking of now?

    "Long Feiye..." she murmured in a low voice. Many years later, she would forget that this was the moment she stopped calling him 'Your Highness' and started using his name instead.

    "Mm," he replied.

    "What are you thinking about?" After their argument, she found herself feeling less timid than she had been before.

    "I was wondering...whether you believed me about the incident with the Broomcorn Millet Poison?" Long Feiye replied.

    Han Yunxi recalled the incident along with Gu Qishao's parting words. With Long Feiye's current attitude, just who was she supposed to believe?

    Long Feiye stopped walking and pressed, "Do you believe me?"

    "Believe what?"

    Abruptly, a familiar voice joined the two. Han Yunxi turned and saw the young, long-time-no-see head of the Tang Clan, Tang Li. He was dressed in his usual white robes and had the aura of an immortal, but as usual, his words ruined the image in an instant.

    "Han Yunxi, you've finally stopped throwing your temper tantrums?" Tang Li asked with a cheeky grin.

    Han Yunxi pretended to neither hear nor see him, tired of acknowledging his existence.

    "Han Yunxi, Aunt Ru was right when she cursed you for being a femme fatale. Do you know just how many people in Jiangnan and the central region want my big bro to establish a new dynasty as their emperor? He..." Tang Li abruptly shut up at Long Feiye's icy glare.

    Han Yunxi's voice was cold as well. "Your big bro won't proclaim himself emperor or establish a new dynasty. You're overthinking things."

    A trifling three prefectures from the central region and 15 more from Jiangnan were nothing in Long Feiye's eyes. If he was really going to establish a reigning dynasty, then that'd be after he took over all of Cloud Realm Continent. Long Feiye looked at Han Yunxi in amusement and asked, "How did you know?"

    "Your Highness, the three prefectures of the central region and the 15 prefectures of Jiangnan have long been under your command. What's the difference whether you make a move or not? If you don't claim these lands, Long Tianmo and Emperor Tianhui will be distracted over seizing the plots for themselves," Han Yunxi smiled as she spoke, then added, "But in every case, people who covet other people's goods are just asked to be used themselves!"

    Long Feiye clapped thrice for Han Yunxi, his actions expressing his views on the matter without words. Aside from this woman, there was probably no one else who read his heart so clearly. He was perfectly capable of dominating Long Tianmo and the Mu Clan to seize Tianning for himself, but he was in no rush. If both Emperor Tianhui and Long Tianmo were gone, who was supposed to help him defend against Western Zhou and Northern Li?

    Tang Li didn't have a brain for politics, but Han Yunxi's words clued him into the big picture as well. He sighed with feeling and remarked, "Han Yunxi, you're not stupid at all aside from the times you're eating vinegar. But you like to get jealous so often that you better watch out, in case it turns you into an idiot!"

    "You!" Han Yunxi lost her temper.

    "Oh, that's right. And you're pretty dumb when you're distracted by men, too," Tang Li couldn't stop ridiculing others when he started.

    "Try and blabber more nonsense again!" Han Yunxi narrowed her eyes dangerously.

    "Who's blabbering nonsense? Weren't you talking about whether or not to trust Gu Qishao? You're so smart, but you still don't get it? Gu Qishao tampered with things on purpose to make a mixture that could dye the insides of a porcelain bottle black. You think he just wanted to hide the fact that he stole some antidote? He obviously planned everything ahead of time, just to drive a wedge between you two," Tang Li said seriously.
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