Chapter 40: Skypath
Ye Yin woke up three days later in the afternoon. The first thing he saw was Rouge’s fatigued face and bloodshot eyes.
“Rouge, were you watching over me the entire time? You must be exhausted.”
His faint words caused Rouge to happily shout, “Are you awake? You finally woke up! Young master Du, young master Du, young master Ye woke up.”
Du Luo?! He’s back? Ye Yin’s pale face brightened up. Soon, he saw the ordinary yet charismatic man enter.
On the bed in plain clothes, Ye Yin appeared more fragile than usual. His face was pale, his lips colorless, but his eyes shone happily. Although his appearance was something to worry about, he did not show any sign of helplessness of a girl. Instead, he appeared resolute.
Seeing Du Luo enter, Ye Yin struggled to sit up, but was stopped by Du Luo. “Don’t move, your wound has not healed yet!”
Ye Yin smiled. In order to make it easier for him to speak with Du Luo, Rouge gently supported Ye Yin as she fluffed the pillow behind his back. “Thank you, Rouge,” he said. Rouge was finally able to speak and act normally.
Rouge shook her head, her gaze filled with worry. Biting her lip, Rouge turned around and said, “I will prepare the medicine.”
After watching Rouge leave, Ye Yin then faintly smiled and said, “Senior brother Du, is everything going smoothly? Have you reconciled with Aman?”
Du Luo silently nodded and gazed seriously at Ye Yin. “Little Qi, I was only away for a few days, yet you’re already in such a state. How are you expecting me to face……”
Ye Yin did not understand Du Luo’s meaning. “What?”
“Nothing!” Strangely, apparently Du Luo also could get angry like normal people. He muttered, “Hua Jianli should have left some people by your side, look at you now……”
Ye Yin interrupted Du Luo with a laugh. “Don’t blame brother Jianli, it was me who did not want them. This time, it was because of my short sightedness. It was my lack of thoroughness that led to today’s consequences.”
Du Luo groaned as Ye Yin continued, “Also, do not let brother Jianli know of this incident. War is near, victory is imminent. Do not let this incident cause him to lose focus.”
“I know, but the battle ended yesterday. The emperor of West Zhi was hung by Hua Jianli at the city gates of An City. In a few days, they will choose an auspicious day for the new emperor to ascend the throne!”
“Really?” Ye Yin’s smile widened. “I did not expect it to be so quick. Fortunately, a few days ago I wrote a few essential government decrees, otherwise there would not have been enough time!”
“Little Qi, what you work so hard for? You agreed to help Hua Jianli to reunite the country, but was there a need to go to such lengths? Look at yourself, was it worth risking your life for this country?”
Ye Yin lowered his gaze. “Senior brother Du, don’t say it like that. I told you before I wanted to see how far I could go, it’s not completely for brother Jianli. I wanted to prove myself. As for this incident, it was a complete unexpected outlier.”
“An outlier? Do you know that this outlier will……”
Du Luo words died down. Ye Yin laughed, looking up at Du Luo. “What will happen? Senior brother Du Luo, will I die young?”
Startled by his response, Du Luo hastily said, “What nonsense! You merely had a slash to the chest, after a few days you’ll be fine. This strike is nothing compared to the strike Aman gave you before!”
Ye Yin laughed lightly then lowered his gaze once more. His long eyelashes casted a thin shadow. His voice calm, he said, “Senior brother Du Luo, don’t lie. You cannot hide it from me, furthermore I am also aware of it. My situation is terrible.”
Du Luo began to protest, but Ye Yin raised his gaze to meet Du Luo’s eyes. “I have poisoned by an incurable poison.”
“You can be cured, but it is very difficult!”
Ye Yin was startled at the clear and melodious voice. How was he here?
An alluring man appeared at the doorway, dressed fancily, a folding fan in hand. His face still possessed the charm to drive anyone crazy with desire. Ye Yin lightly sighed. Could this person be normal for once?
Looking at Nangong Piaoran, Ye Yin asked helplessly, “Brother Nangong, why did you come?”
“Am I not allowed to come?” Nangong Piaoran widened his beautiful almond eyes a fraction, and then said sourly. “This is my second time visiting. I hadn’t seen you for so long, and I wondered what you were doing. Two days ago, I came across brother Du and learned that you and that beauty were quietly hiding here. I originally planned to complain to you, but who would have thought that you…… Little Qi, you sacrificed yourself for love!”
“Brother Nangong, did you come here to joke around?” Ye Yin smiled faintly. He had not foreseen Nangong Piaoran’s arrival. From Nangong Piaoran’s words, it seemed he had come here once before while he was unconscious. Did that mean Nangong now knows that he is…… Who was it that diagnosed him and wrapped up his wounds?
His heart restless, Ye Yin turned to face Du Luo. As always, Du Luo could read Ye Yin’s expression and quickly understood what Ye Yin was worried about. Du Luo silently shook his head slightly.
Witnessing the silent conversation between Ye Yin and Du Luo, Nangong somewhat admired and envied their relationship. His almond eyes flashed with jealousy. “Little Qi, how do you know you’ve been poisoned? This poison is impossible to diagnose, not even the imperial physician would be able to diagnose it.”
Ye Yin replied quietly. “Qi Chengfeng hates me deeply. If he says the sword was definitely poisoned, then there is no need to doubt. If my guess is correct, this poison could have been cured if I acted quickly, but Qi Chengfeng drew away my attention. By the time I noticed, it was too late”
“This poison is known as ‘Skypath’. Those who fall victim to it have only one path to live. If an expert immediately uses their inner Qi, they can expel the poison. However, if one is delayed for even a second, the poison will spread throughout the body,” Rouge said as she walked in the door, medicine in hand. “This poison is not particularly toxic. Those poisoned by it will not die immediately, but their organs will gradually fail. Just like an illness, their health will weaken day by day until their death. Usually, victims of this kind of poison will believe that they got sick, because the poison is very difficult to diagnose.”
Rouge brought over the medicine to Ye Yin’s and handed it to him. “Drink it!”
Ye Yin frowned, eyeing the black tonic. He sighed. “Can this medicine cure the poison?”
“What, don’t want to drink it?” Seeing Ye Yin’s expression, he understood that Ye Yin desperately did not want to drink the medicine. Nangong grinned. “Although this medicine cannot dispel your poison, it can slow the effects of Skypath and give us time to find the antidote for you. Therefore, you must drink it without any protest.”
Ye Yin curled his lip. With no other way around it, he tilted his head back and drank the medicine. He grimaced, then said, “Skypath has an antidote?”
“Yes, but it is very difficult to obtain.” Nangong Piaoran’s expression suddenly became profound. “This poison was secretly created by the royal family of Nanrong for killing officials who they could not kill out in the open. However, a member of the royal family attempted to use it to seize the throne. Therefore, the poison was banned by the current empress and is stored deep within the palace. No one knows the recipe or antidote of this poison.”
Ye Yin smiled bitterly at Nangong Piaoran’s words. As calm as ever, he said, “Is that so. Since no one knows the recipe or the antidote, talking about it is useless.”
“Hey, you view your own death too lightly. How can you say that so calmly? You act as if you aren’t even poisoned. Are you not scared of dying?” Nangong Piaoran was a bit exasperated. His lovely expression was even slightly chilling.
“I do fear death, but I won’t lose my head out of fear. Everyone must confront death at one point, so why can’t I face death calmly? Some things you can resist, but some, you cannot.” Ye Yin calmly met Nangong Piaoran’s gaze.
“You……” Nangong Piaoran hung his head. “Whatever. I won’t try to convince you. But there is an antidote to the poison, it’s just a bit difficult to find!”
“The antidote must be hidden in Nanrong’s imperial palace.” Ye Yin smiled. “Indeed difficult to find. It might not even exist. Even if there is an antidote, the empress of Nanrong and I are not close enough for me to receive the banned drug’s antidote. Furthermore, Nanrong’s imperial palace is a thousand li* away. If I send someone to steal it, I fear that there may not be enough time. Even then, the imperial palace is huge, where would the antidote be located? And what if they simply do not have the antidote?”
*Chinese measurement equivalent to 500 kilometres or 311 miles
“Don’t be so pessimistic!” Nangong Piaoran glared at Ye Yin, but his almond eyes were too elegant to seem angry. They only appeared charming in Ye Yin’s eyes. Ye Yin smiled faintly and shook his head. “Even if there is no antidote, the recipe for the antidote to Skypath exists, though banned. However, this secret has been passed down to each ruler of Nanrong. In fact, I came here today to say goodbye. The empress and I have an amicable relationship. I will ask her for the antidote for you, but you must not die before I get back.”
Nangong Piaoran gave Ye Yin a deep look. Ye Yin met his gaze with astonishment. He was fully away how difficult it would be to ask the empress for the antidote, so why would Nangong Piaoran do such a thing for him? He and Nangong Piaoran had only drank together twice. They were not even genuine friends, and yet……
Seeing the doubt in Ye Yin’s eyes, Nangong’s eyes darkened. “You don’t need to doubt me, I don’t have any hidden objectives. I just do not want to lose a friend is all.”
Ye Yin bowed apologetically as Nangong Piaoran stood up. “Rest well. I will be leaving now. Take your medicine properly and wait for my return.”
Watching Nangong Piaoran’s exiting figure, Ye Yin only frowned. This favor was too big!
“Brother Du, what do you think of Nangong Piaoran?” Ye Yin faced Du Luo, his eyes filled with confusion. It was not that he wanted to doubt Nangong, but rather that he couldn’t help but doubt Nangong. Ye Yin could not afford to lower his guard around a person like Nangong.
“I cannot say. I have travelled many years, and met countless people, but I am never able to see through the men who appear at your side. They always show the side of themselves they want you to see, but their real faces are carefully concealed.”
They? The men who appear by his side? To go as far as to using the phrase “they”! Ye Yin rolled his eyes, discontent with Du Luo’s choice of words. Thinking carefully, among the men he knew, Wen Yuanbo and Hua Jianli were quite simple and predictable people, because those two are definitely not two-faced people.
Only Nangong Piaoran and Yang Han came to mind for men who could not be seen through. However, was there a need to use such a phrase, “the men who appear by your side” with just two instances? Both of them could be counted as only acquaintances!
Ye Yin was a bit gloomy. He shot a glare at Du Luo. “I am not close with Nangong and Yang Han, and I have only met Yang Han once, so do not use such a phrase to describe my relationship with them!”
Du Luo smirked. It seems he had disregarded that person. Did he really pay no attention to that person or was it that he hadn’t seen through that person’s true nature? But regardless, Du Luo is very happy, because he did not like that crafty male fox at all. Although Ye Yin and that man were similar, both of them calculative and good actors, if they truly fought, there would be quite a storm!
Watching Ye Yin’s eyes narrowed, mirroring his own, Du Luo dispersed his thoughts. “Nangong Piaoran gives off a very insolent and unruly attitude. Moreover, he sometimes pretends to be an idiot, but unconsciously, he gives off a cold and lofty aura. That is why I say I cannot see through him. Little Qi, I am not saying to keep your distance from him, but do not provoke him!”
“I did not provoke him! He came here because you brought him here. That day you two even…… How did you two grow close in just a few days?” Ye Yin said disdainfully.
“Nonsense. It was he who wanted to come. But fortunately, he came otherwise your poison……”
“But I fear I won’t be able to return the favor,” Ye Yin said worriedly.
Du Luo curled his lip in disapproval. “What are you afraid of? He’s going to ask for the antidote out of his own volition, not because you begged him to. I don’t get why you care so much. I doubt you care enough to repay him anyways.”
“That is true, but different situations call for different measures. A fox will reveal its tail at one point.” Ye Yin smiled. “I shall way to see Nangong Piaoran reveal his objective. As you said before, true thoughts always slip!”