After dealing with the situation, the Ping County officials took over the management of Yaxing while Su Yanjun and others returned to the post house. 

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After the third watch of the night, everyone was exhausted and went back to their rooms to wash.
Xiyun looked at the small figure in a trance.
This child gave him too many accidents today and the memory of his poisoning and detoxification was still lingering in his mind.
He wanted to ask the child how he did it. 

Mu Xiyun waved at him and led him into his room.

The little child immediately took off his outer shirt and climbed the bed as soon as he entered the room, tucked his tiny body under the quilt, only showing a pair of big eyes, smilingly watching Xiyun as he took off his own crown and his outer robe.

“Xiao Liu,” Xiyun said hesitantly, “When I was poisoned today, did you detoxify me with your blood?”

Gu Qingqiao was shocked.
At that time, as the arrows were approaching, and thinking of being unable to protect Mu Xiyun, in a desperate situation, any method as long as it’s effective, he would do it.
As for how to smoothen things out after and avoid suspicion, he had no time to think about that.
Now that he heard him ask about it, he had no choice but to talk nonsense. 

So he explained, “I don’t know either.
It was my father who said that when I was bitten by a poisonous snake and was about to die, I met an immortal grandfather who gave me a pill.
From then on, I was no longer afraid of snake venom.
I think that maybe my blood can also detoxify you, so I gave it a try…” The voice became lower and lower, Gu Qingqiao pretended to yawn, turned over and pretended to fall asleep.

This explanation made Mu Xiyun speechless and he didn’t really know how to evaluate Xiao Liu.
However, it seemed that the little child had fallen asleep and asking anything appeared impossible.
He had no choice but to go to bed and lie down beside the child.

Gu Qingqiao leaned sideways and listened to Mu Xiyun’s breathing getting longer behind him, then quietly turned around and looked at his quiet sleeping face.
Mu Xiyun’s  sleeping face looked peaceful, with long curled eyelashes, and lips slightly parted.
Looking at his face, he couldn’t help recalling the twelve-year-old boy he saw on the night of the Autumn Lantern Festival.

That night on the bridge, while he was waiting for someone, he saw the child with the rabbit lantern at a glance.
Although standing with a group of senior brothers, his alienation and loneliness could be easily noticed.

There was a deep isolation on that small face.
For some reason, Gu Qingqiao’s heartstrings were tugged hard, and he wanted to go up and hug him impulsively, thinking of ways he could possibly make the child smile and feel warm…

Gu Qingqiao stared at Mu Xiyun’s sleeping face, pondering to himself that he could just about spend the whole night without sleep and just stare at him.

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A small spark ignited within his heart, but soon became ablaze and engulfed it entirely.
He imagined himself reaching out and hugging the person in front of him… His breathing gradually became shorter and shorter, and the fiery longing was churning inside, as if it was about to overflow, but he didn’t dare to move, thinking, as long as he got to look at him, it was enough.

However, resisting but still unable to hold back, Gu Qingqiao finally stretched out his hand, which was a child’s small hand, he carefully touched Xiyun’s face and bitter tears eventually poured out from the child’s eyes.

Early the next morning, when Mu Xiyun woke up, he found that Xiao Liu had rolled into his arms at some point, and his breathing was quiet and long.
One or two buttons of his inner robe were opened, and the little boy’s fleshy face was pressed against his chest, sleeping soundly.
The soft flesh against his skin made his body tingled and made his heart feel like it was scratched by something.

He sat up quietly and carefully, tucked the quilt for Xiao Liu, and after a little wash, he went out.
Xiyun meditated and practiced in the courtyard.

Yesterday’s battle caused the spiritual energy in his sea of consciousness to rush through the meridians.
The blockages in the past few days seem to have melted a little, and the flow of spiritual energy today also feels smoother than usual.
Mu Xiyun felt delighted.
After some time, the spiritual energy between heaven and earth suddenly came and rushed towards his body.

When Su Yanjun stepped into the courtyard, he immediately felt this unusual flow of spiritual energy.
He took a step back and stood guard at the courtyard gate. 

After an indefinite amount of time, Xiyun suddenly felt a movement in his sea of consciousness, and with a clear roar, he rose into the sky, bringing with him a storm.
Because Chi Xia broke and was unusable, what he was holding at the moment was an ordinary long sword Gu Mingshun gave him last night.
As he rose, the sword also swept out an awe-inspiring sword qi.
Su Yanjun shouted good, raised his sword and stepped forward.
The “Gentleman” sword was gentle and breezy and forcibly contained Xiyun’s strong outburst so as not to affect the area. 

Mu Xiyun’s figure was agile.
His sword movements were like twisting dragons and winding snakes.
The sword he was holding shone a blinding light, a burst of sword qi was released but was blocked by Su Yanjun’s constraint.

His sword qi was clear and sharp but was forcibly held down by the other until it slowly deformed.
It became light and flexible until it gradually sank and disappeared.

By the time it was already dusk, the sword light completely dissipated.
Su Yanjun laughed and said, “Congratulations, junior brother, you’ve made a breakthrough again!”

Afterwards, the group rode their horses back to Yiyun Town, and Gu Mingshun took Xiao Liu back to the Yamen with him.
Gu Qingqiao secretly sent a voice transmission through a paper crane to Zhang Jinjin, and after a while, the middle-aged man came and led him out.

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In a room located at the backyard of a painting and calligraphy shop across Fu street, Zhang Jinjin looked at the child in front of him with a suppressed smile.
With the crackling sound of bones, hands and feet gradually stretched out, and in a blink of an eye, the six-year-old child turned into a young man in his twenties. 

Gu Qingqiao was covered in cold sweat.
When he needed to fight the night before, he couldn’t because the effect was still there.
Yet, just this morning, he suddenly felt a surge in his body.
He pressed to maintain his child form so as to not suddenly transform as a young man in front of the Yamen officials.

Looking at Zhang Jinjin, who was gloating at his misfortune, Gu Qingqiao deeply doubted the reputation of this profiteer.

Because Zhang Jinjin still had to manage the business in the painting and calligraphy shop, Gu Qingqiao changed his clothes and walked to Moyun Medicine Hall alone.

Walking down the street, he heard the sound of children’s laughter.
He spotted a  young boy holding a toy crossbow in his hand, simulating the sound of an arrow with a “swoosh” in his mouth and chased a group of children across the street.

When the small crossbow entered his field of vision, Gu Qingqiao suddenly recalled the scene that night: arrows flew fast in the sky, and Mu Xiyun, who was isolated and helpless, held him in his arms without hesitation, and blocked all the incoming arrows with his body. 

“Fool…” Gu Qingqiao murmured, but he was truly afraid at that time.
If Su Yanjun hadn’t arrived in time, if Liang Zheng hadn’t had time to set up a protective barrier, what would have happened to Mu Xiyun?

The picture of falling to the ground on the eve of fifty years ago slowly flashed through his mind, and Gu Qingqiao’s heart clenched fiercely.
Walking into the front hall of the medicine hall to the guest room at the back absentmindedly, Gu Qingqiao sighed and was about to pour a cup of tea for himself placed on the table, when suddenly his eyes narrowed as he detected someone behind him! 

The teacup in his hand was thrown out fast, and the person who came in moved quickly.
The teacup flew out of the door and smashed into the ground with a “pa”.
A long sword was already placed on his shoulder.

Gu Qingqiao turned his head, his heart skipped a beat when he saw that the other person was Mu Xiyun looking at him with cold eyes.

“You…” Mu Xiyun suddenly became hoarse, stared at his face for a while, and the disappointment on his face disappeared for a moment.
Immediately he calmed down and asked, “Who are you? What was your purpose at the Shantang that night?”

Hearing this, Gu Qingqiao was stunned, and then he recalled the conversation with Zhang Jinjin at the inn that night after returning from Shantang. 

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That night. 

Gu Qingqiao held a masked cloth in his hand, holding a half-torn sleeve, and asked leisurely, “Profiteer, are you up for a business in medicinal materials?”

Zhang Jinjin asked without raising his head, “What’s the benefit?”

“Nothing……..
I am just in the mood to do so.”

Zhang Jinjin finally raised his head and gave him a deep look.
“It’s for that little immortal.” Gu Qingqiao didn’t speak.

“Okay” Zhang Jinjin dragged his tone, “It can be regarded as an expression of my sincerity.
After all, I still have a request for you, so it can be considered as an investment now.
But…”

“Huh?”

“Are you not thinking of changing your face? The little stories on the street say that you are the enemy and a murderer.
In case of a head-on encounter,” Zhang Jinjin glanced at the piece of cloth in Gu Qingqiao’s hand, “You can’t always cover your face, can you?”

It was a rare time that Gu Qingqiao felt that the profiteer in front of him was indeed a little clever.

Although there were countless elixirs in the world that could temporarily change the face, Gu Qingqiao still used another method.
The one that he’s familiar with.
Southwest Medical Valley was good at witchcraft, and using a Gu worm was not a problem.
One could easily change the shape of the eyebrows or the length of the jaw, making Gu Qingqiao a completely different person. 

When he came back to his senses, Gu Qingqiao smiled lightly, “I said, I’m not an enemy.” The sound of the teacup shattering attracted Liang Zheng, and when he saw what the commotion was about, he hurriedly rushed to them and said, “Junior brother, wait a minute, this is the medicine dealer with whom I do business with.”

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Xiyun still held the long sword around Gu Qingqiao’s neck, but he relaxed his hand and said coldly, “I met this person in the burnt down Shantang a few nights ago, and his behavior was suspicious.”

Gu Qingqiao immediately cried out in grievance, “What does the Immortal gentleman mean? If you were allowed to break into the Shantang that night, couldn’t I too?”

Mu Xiyun choked, but there was no way to refute what the other said. 

Gu Qingqiao stretched out his hand and slowly pushed the sword away, and said with a smile.
“I am Gu Xiaobo.” 

As soon as the name came out, Gu Qingqiao immediately felt a scorching stare at him, but he did not dare to look up, and continued, “Although my cousin and I are just a traveling businessman, we worshiped in the name of Daoist Baishi when we were young.
When I was still a child, I came to Yiyun Town with my master, and he and an old man in Shantang used to be fellow villagers.
I wanted to visit my Master’s old friend, but I didn’t expect the Shantang to suffer a disaster, so I checked on my own initiative.”

“Shantang?” Liang Zheng was puzzled, “Could it be related to the child abduction case?”

“It’s not completely certain.” Gu Qingqiao answered with a solemn face, “The accident had happened too long ago to be re-examined, but the cause of death of the four children was suspicious, and the gatekeeper Zhang San is likely involved in the accident and might as well be in the case of the abduction too.”

Originally, Zhang San’s crime of kidnapping and selling children had been confirmed, but because of the disappearance of “Xiao Liu”, it cannot be proven true. 

After he finished speaking, he looked at Xiyun again.
Mu Xiyun had already retracted his sword and sheathed it, but he continued to stare at Gu Qingqiao’s face without saying a word, as if he was a little lost.

“Junior brother?” Liang Zheng gently nudged Xiyun.

Mu Xiyun came back to his senses.
At this moment, there were multitudes of questions in his heart, but he didn’t know how to say it out loud.
In the end, he just cupped his hands and said, “I was too impulsive and misunderstood this gentleman.
I’m sorry.” After speaking, he looked away, turned and walked out of the guest room.

Gu Qingqiao looked at his back, not knowing why, but he felt a little disappointed.

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