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Chapter 78: Bet with huge stakes Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Han Yunxi had never interrogated anyone before. Since General Mu had already done the work, she didn’t think it’d be useful if she tried as well. Now that they were sure it had to be someone from their ranks, it was time to find evidence.
Han Yunxi glanced at the list of names before saying, “Let’s go. I’ll look around a bit for clues.”
As long as the general’s estate carried any hint of poison, she’d be able to pick it up. First, she inspected everything in Mu Qingwu’s rooms, including a few canister of tea leaves sent from the military barracks. Then, General Mu and Mu Qingwu led the way to the kitchens, where all the food from the general’s estate came from. This was the place with the highest suspicion. General Mu and Mu Qingwu assumed that Han Yunxi would investigate for a long time, but she only walked a circle around the kitchens before coming out.
“Nothing,” Han Yunxi said simply.
“Qin Wangfei, you’re certain?” General Mu’s face was filled with doubt.
“One hundred percent certain. Let’s go to the washing area.” Han Yunxi was very confident.
Though he couldn’t believe it, General Mu had to believe her after witnessing her poison treatment skills. Mu Qingwu basically held no suspicions towards Han Yunxi. If you ask him why, he’d only say he didn’t suspect the person who saved his life.
The washing rooms were on par with the kitchens. Han Yunxi switched on her scanning systems and walked around in a circle, before going to inspect the three wells that served the household. Unfortunately, there weren’t any results here either. Afterwards, they went to the rooms of the people on the suspect list, even rummaging through their things. All these rooms had been checked and Han Yunxi was about to leave when she saw Mu Liuyue walking over.
She gave Han Yunxi a cold look before curving her lips into a disdainful smile.
“Impertinence, don’t you know to pay respects before the Qin Wangfei? What are you dawdling for?” General Mu reprimanded.
Only then did Mu Liuyue make a reluctant bow. But the ridicule in her lips didn’t fade, only grow more obvious. Han Yunxi had come to investigate the poisoner within their walls, something she found laughable. This woman was only skilled medically. So what if she’d saved big brother and the crown prince? After being praised, she seriously thought she was all that and knew everything? Mu Liuyue was planning to go out today, but she decided to wait after hearing that Han Yunxi had come.
“Qin Wangfei, you’re so formidable. You’ve definitely found some clues by now, right?” Mu Liuyue asked with a cold smile.
There was nothing in the cooking or washing areas, so only the side courtyards remained. Though Mu Liuyue’s tone was acrid, it was true that General Mu and Mu Qingwu wanted to know the results as well.
Mu Qingwu glared at Mu Liuyue before turning to Han Yunxi. “Esteemed wangfei, how is it?”
“Nothing,” Han Yunxi said calmly. She only agreed to come have a look; she never promised she’d definitely find the evidence. Nothing meant there was nothing, what was so embarrassing about that?
But Mu Liuyue laughed out loud before immediately covering her mouth. “Qin Wangfei, I’m not laughing at you. Don’t misunderstand.”
Han Yunxi wore a cold smile but didn’t spare her a glance. She didn’t take it to heart and walked outside. As soon as she left, Mu Qingwu grabbed Mu Liuyue’s wrist and spoke severely. “Damned girl, that’s enough! You have no business here, so go back to where you came from!”
Mu Liuyue wrenched herself free and purposely shouted towards outside. “What, am I not allowed to laugh? If there’s actual ability, I’ll be convinced. Otherwise, what’s with this coming over to flaunt and show off?”
Mu Qingwu muffled her after these words, but Mu Liuyue bit her brother’s hand and pushed him aside to keep yelling. “Afraid to be criticized even if there’s no skill?”
Han Yunxi had already walked far away, but she still heard these words. By her side, General Mu’s face had already turned green. He was about to turn around and discipline his daughter when Han Yunxi held him back. She returned personally. Seeing her arrive, Mu Qingwu forcibly covered Mu Liuyue’s mouth to explain.
“This girl is spewing crazy talk. Please don’t take it to heart, esteemed wangfei.”
Mu Liuyue was still Mu Qingwu’s little sister and General Mu’s daughter. Mu Qingwu’s explanation was to plead leniency for her sake. He was afraid than an angry Han Yunxi would accuse Mu Liuyue with the crime of disrespect. No matter how bad Mu Liuyue was, she was still his sister. No matter how good Han Yunxi was, she was still an outsider.
Han Yunxi saw all this clearly. Since she came today, she wouldn’t part with the general’s estate on bad terms just because of Mu Liuyue’s nasty words. In addition, Han Yunxi was well aware that despite her high status, she had no real power to suppress anyone. Without Long Feiye’s absolute recognition, the title of Qin Wangfei was just an undeserved name. So what if she saved the crown prince? Who would really recognize her as Qin Wangfei?
Don’t mention Grand Concubine Yi, even if Murong Wanru was here in her place, Mu Liuyue might not be so outrageous with her dissatisfaction. If it wasn’t for the fact that she had saved a life, even General Mu and his son might not be so respectful. To live with status and dignity, she still had to depend on herself.
Han Yunxi waved a hand to signal Mu Qingwu to let go. The anxious Mu Qingwu shot Mu Liuyue a few warning glances before releasing his hands. Mu Liuyue wasn’t an idiot and didn’t make any more impertinent remarks to Han Yunxi’s face. She stood before Han Yunxi with a face full of smiles as she thought, Han Yunxi, my father and big brother will still protect me in the end. What can you do to me? Even if it’s just another punishment or penalty, I’m not afraid! I just want to humiliate you today.
Han Yunxi looked at Mu Liuyue coldly, but smiled and asked, “Mu Liuyue, you don’t think this wangfei can find the culprit?”
“Liuyue doesn’t dare. Qin Wangfei is wonderfully ingenious like an immortal, there is nothing under Heaven that can escape Qin Wangfei’s watch.” Mu Liuyue said the opposite on purpose, her words filled with pure mockery.
On the side, General Mu and Mu Qingwu’s faces turned ghastly pale. General Mu couldn’t hold back from roaring, “Mu Liuyue, you have no business here. Scram!”
Mu Liuyue’s words had thoroughly exasperated Han Yunxi. Last time, Mu Liuyue had faced General Mu’s lashes from the whip because she’d gone too far. Unexpectedly, she still dared to go even farther this time. Han Yunxi had a title but no power and didn’t like to quarrel, but did Mu Liuyue really think she was so easy to bully?
Han Yunxi blocked General Mu and smiled. “Mu Liuyue, are you bold enough to bet with wangfei on the matter of the hidden spy? Whoever loses…takes off her outer robes and runs a circle on Xuanwu Street, how’s that?”
These were high stakes!
General Mu and Mu Qingwu were both dumbstruck, unable to imagine that the dignified Qin Wangfei would think up such a bet.
Mu Liuyue was first stunned, then excited. Afraid that Han Yunxi would forestall it, she hastily answered, “Of course I dare! I bet you can’t find the hidden spy!”
The general’s estate had searched for a month already. Since the matter concerned big brother’s life, the emperor secretly ordered a few master detectives from the justice courts to come investigate, but that yielded no results. Mu Liuyue thought that big brother’s head must have gotten kicked by a donkey for him to find Han Yunxi for help. Han Yunxi was only here to show off at most.
Just because she knew some medical arts, she thought she was all-capable? What a joke!
Of course she’d bet. When it came time for Han Yunxi to take off her robes and run around Xuanwu Street, it’d be so shameful that the Duke of Qin would have ample excuse to divorce her! Since it was an arranged marriage, the original wife’s position would stay there forever if the wife had no crimes. But if the wife offended the Three Obediences and Four Virtues or made a grave mistake, then divorcing her meant the Duke of Qin could take another official wife!
While Murong Wanru hoped that Han Yunxi could die, Mu Liuyue wished that she could be divorced.
A sly look flitted past Han Yunxi’s eyes when she saw Mu Liuyue look so confident. “All right. If this wangfei discovers the hidden spy, it’ll count as your loss.”
“Solve it within a month, do you dare?” Mu Liuyue provoked. Of course she demanded a time limit.
A month’s time was a bit short, but Han Yunxi still agreed with pleasure. This time, convincing the eldest Young Miss was more important than finding some secret agent! She had to personally teach this rude, conceited girl a lesson so that the next time they met, the girl would take a detour!
“If you can’t find the traitor within a month, then you lose!” Mu Liuyue said seriously. She wanted Han Yunxi’s absolute agreement.
“Would General Mu please stand as witness?” Han Yunxi glanced towards the other members of the Mu family.
Though she hadn’t found anything in her rounds, disappointing General Mu, he still didn’t want his daughter to lose face regardless of the results. Neither did he want to shame Qin Wangfei!
“Esteemed wangfei, I think we should forget about this bet. Compared to the matter of the hidden agent…”
But Mu Liuyue interrupted before he could finish. “Father, esteemed wangfei said herself that she wanted this bet. We can’t deny the esteemed wangfei’s amusements.”
“You still dare to talk!” an angry General Mu narrowly avoided taking out his whip. Mu Liuyue fearfully backed up a step, but she still glanced at Han Yunxi, worried that she’d take back her words.
“Great General, they all say that a monarch doesn’t make joking remarks. Though this wangfei is but a weak woman, I’m still the Duke of Qin’s official wife. How could my words count for nothing?” Han Yunxi said earnestly.
Now that they’d gotten to this step, Han Yunxi took out the power of status. But General Mu was still anxious. He couldn’t afford for either party to lose the bet!
“Esteemed wangfei, please look on behalf of this old official and…”
And yet he didn’t finish before Mu Qingwu of all people spoke up. “Father, Liuyue already agreed. The subordinates can’t rebel against the superiors and go back on their words!”
Mu Qingwu’s words were even unexpected to Han Yunxi. It looked like he had enough of indulging his pampered little sister. Very good, this guy hadn’t disappointed her. General Mu looked at Mu Qingwu, then Han Yunxi’s cold silence, and had no alternative but to agree. As soon as Mu Liuyue saw her father nod his head, she was filled with cheer. She was almost too impatient to write a letter and tell Princess Changping the good news so she could hurry back and witness the joke. But she quickly realized that she had been happy too soon.
“General Mu, since we haven’t found anything in the estate, there’s only one way left,” Han Yunxi said.
Mu Liuyue knitted her brows at the words. Seeing Han Yunxi’s calm self-possession, she felt inexplicably nervous.
“Please inform us, esteemed wangfei,” General Mu was anxious too.
“Look for the source,” Han Yunxi said seriously.
“The source?” Mu Qingwu didn’t understand.
“The origin of the poison,” Han Yunxi said simply.
Ten-Thousand Snake Poison was a rare poison made from the venom of the world’s top ten poisonous snakes. Though it was called ‘Ten-Thousand Snake Poison,’ it didn’t really hold ten thousand different venoms. It was because the top ten snake venoms combined could overpower the poisons of ten thousand commonplace snakes.
A simple name like this thoroughly expressed its horrific potency.
To create such a poison wasn’t simple. Not only did the poisoner have to know how to allocate the various proportions properly, they had to find the ten most poisonous snakes to extract their venom. Medicine and poison were of one family. Too much medicine would become poison; a little bit of poison could be medicine. Still, this was only under special circumstances. Medicine and poison still had strict differences between them.
But Ten-Thousand Snake Poison was one of those special exceptions. Despite being a hypertoxic poison, parts of it were still good medicine against rare illnesses.
 Xuanwu Street (玄武街) – xuanwu jie, in which Xuanwu refers to the Black Tortoise, a name for the guardian spirit of the north in Daoism.
 Three Obediences and Four Virtues (三从四德) – sancong side, aka the 7 Reasons to Divorce Your Wife If She Ever Breaks These Rules in ancient times, according to Confucian ethics. They are 1) obedience to father before marriage, 2) to husband after marriage, 3) and to son after husband’s death as well as 4) morality, 5) proper speech, 6) modest manner, 7) diligent work.
Original Chapter Teaser:
Mu Qingwu: Liuyue, you’ve really gone too far!
Mu Liuyue: Big brother, I’m only telling it as it is.
Han Yunxi: You might as well let her rant.
Mu Qingwu: Esteemed wangfei…! This is…
Han Yunxi: In my experience, the higher they climb, the harder they fall.
Mu Liuyue: The more they brag now, the less they’ll say later!
Han Yunxi: Hmph!
Mu Liuyue: Hn!
Mu Qingwu: Haahhh…. *sighs*