Chapter 184: Misfortune, the Han family's difficulties
On the morning of their second day, Han Yunxi discovered that Long Feiye had disappeared again. Unexpectedly, Chu Xifeng actually invited Gu Beiyue over to the Hibiscus Courtyard, saying it was Long Feiye's instructions. He wanted Gu Beiyue to examine her pulse and see whether she'd recovered fully yet.
Not only was Chu Xifeng given a fright, even Han Yunxi herself felt overwhelmed by the unexpected favor. This was her first time realizing that the Giant Iceberg didn't have a heart as cold and detached as his face.
After making a thorough examination, Gu Beiyue still couldn't explain why she had been unconscious for so long. He only guessed that she'd been too frightened and exhausted from overwork. Naturally, Han Yunxi was perfectly clear on the state of her own body, so she quickly changed the topic to Gu Beiyue's handling of the epidemic.
With the antidote on hand, curing patients and adopting preventative measures had both gone smoothly. Everyone in and out of the court was very happy except for Emperor Tianhui, who wore a cold face even now. Any servants who made minor mistakes inside the palace were severely punished, keeping their hearts on tenterhooks. Han Yunxi knew that she must have offended the other to death, but she wasn't afraid of such things and took them as a funny story.
"Esteemed wangfei, I heard that that Gu Qishao is the owner of the Celestial Fragrance Teashop?" Gu Beiyue asked casually.
"The Tender Fragrance Teahouse is his too, though it's been sealed off." When Han Yunxi recalled Gu Qishao's defeated self at the inn, she found it very funny. That rude fellow, served him right to get punished by Long Feiye.
"I never thought he'd have the Violet Wormwood on his hands," Gu Beiyue probed. Han Yunxi didn't overthink it and assumed Gu Beiyue was curious, so she told him about Gu Qishao's skills in martial arts and poisons.
A complicated gaze flitted past Gu Beiyue's eyes, but he only nodded his head. "He's quite an eccentric."
Han Yunxi didn't dwell on Gu Qishao, but happily recounted her shopping adventures in Medicine City. Only a "chronic invalid" like Gu Beiyue would understand the joys of grabbing good ingredients. The two of them talked until dusk while Chu Xifeng and Zhao mama watched on the side, both feeling uncomfortable at the sight.
"Guard Chu, shouldn't you take this imperial physician away now?" Zhao mama asked in a low voice.
"You'd chase away an important guest of esteemed wangfei's?" Chu Xifeng shot back.
Zhao mama naturally didn't have the guts, but her words and wishes were sincere. "Guard Chu, don't find Imperial Physician Gu to treat illnesses next time."
When Imperial Physician Gu left, Han Yunxi had a mind to visit the Han family that same day. But when she went to take a rest, she fell asleep and slept all the way until daybreak. This type of exhaustion felt similar to when the detox system used her energy to do work. However, Han Yunxi hadn't started up the detox system at all. In the following days, she even felt a little listless, but her body was fine. She only assumed that she'd really been exhausted from her days in Medicine City, so she didn't take it to heart. In these same few days, there was no news of Long Feiye. That guy seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth.
She always knew his whereabouts were mysterious as an important person with many responsibilities, but she didn't realize when she'd started caring about his movements. She wanted to know what he was busy with, when he'd get back, and when he'd leave. Didn't he plan on taking a trip after the New Year's? Was he off on another long journey again?
With the passing of the poison pestis, Emperor Tianhui didn't find any trouble for the Duke of Qin's estate, nor did he mention anything about the marriage alliance. The Three-Way Battlefield was enough to keep him occupied.
One month later, Tianning and Western Zhou's special envoys met at the Three-Way Battlefield and concluded a cooperative contract. Afterwards, Western Zhou sent back the troops it had withdrawn one after another. Western Zhou actually returned its troops after the marriage alliance fizzled out. Heaven knows how much Emperor Tianhui had yielded in their contract? In any case, the details of the cooperation weren't publicized. Tianning Country must have suffered quite a loss.
Han Yunxi didn't understand affairs of state, but she could tell that Western Zhou's emperor doted on Princess Rongle just by the matter of the marriage alliance proposal. Yet as long as Tianning conceded on other points, the two countries could still work together without a marriage alliance. In other words, Emperor Tianhui didn't have to force Long Feiye to get married; it's just that he paid a higher price in exchange. Everything was a matter of tricks and tools, but the end result was the ultimate goal.
Judging by this logic, what did the high and mighty Princess Rongle need to act so arrogantly for?
How many descendents of imperial lineage were truly able to control their own fates? Thinking up to here, Han Yunxi still felt that she was lucky. Though the Han family had fallen, they had still given her some amount of freedom. Unfortunately, just as Han Yunxi was counting her blessings, the Han family met with disaster-a big one!
When little Chen Xiang rushed over, Han Yunxi was still dreaming. Chen Xiang ignored Zhao mama who tried to bar the way and rushed straight inside, so anxious that she'd started crying.
"Mistress, Seventh Madame was captured by Shuntian Prefecture's people. They say our Han family's clinic caused the death of two lives."
Hearing this, Han Yunxi literally leapt up from her dream. "What happened?"
"Mistress, the Shuntian Prefecture's people weren't polite at all. Hurry, I'll tell you on the way," little Chen Xiang urged anxiously, afraid that Seventh Madame would suffer wrongs at the Shuntian Prefecture.
Logically speaking, the Han family was the wangfei's family. This same wangfei had been rumored to be favored by the Duke of Qin, so if the Han family really did a misdeed, a trivial Shuntian Prefecture still wouldn't dare act so boldly. Han Yunxi felt something was off as soon as she heard Chen Xiang's words, so she immediately prepared some things and hurried over the the residence with her. On the way there, Chen Xiang explained everything thoroughly.
Yesterday, a Madam Chen had brought her old mother-in-law to the Han family's south clinic in the capital city to treat her illness. Madam Chen's husband had long passed away, leaving her with her mother-in-law and a little son. Their family was down on their luck and poverty-stricken and relied on her to make ends meet with a bit of embroidery. The manager of the south clinic, Doctor Li, took pity on the pair and personally examined the mother-in-law's illness before prescribing some medicine. He didn't even take any medical fees for the deed.
Unexpectedly, last night Madam Chen's mother-in-law took the medicine and died soon afterwards.
This morning, Madam Chen dragged her mother-in-law's body to the doors of Shuntian Prefecture, crying and shouting about taking the Han family to court for killing people with their medicine. She wanted the Han family to make reparations. Ever since Han Congan had gotten into trouble, the Han family's medical clinics had more or less all closed shop. In the past, their clinics were all visited by the powerful and wealthy. Many of those families even had private doctors from these clinics. Now that the Han family's namesake had been ruined, their businesses had withered.
The little clinic in the south of the capital was the last one left, one that Seventh Madame had insisted on keeping. No matter what, the Han family was still a medical family. They might have suffered losses, but they couldn't have no clinics at all. Moreover, Seventh Madame had a kind heart and left this clinic to help the poor and impoverished. Those who were sick enough to go door-to-door looking for doctors, who feared death enough to eat whatever medicine came their way, were precisely the poor. It was good enough if they could find treatment at a low price or for free. Which one of them would give the Han family a cold shoulder then?
This was a kind deed in itself, but who expected something like this to happen?
"Was that mother-in-law suffering from an illness? What was the cause of death, are we sure the medicine was to blame?" Han Yunxi asked seriously.
"It was just a cold. Mistress, even I know which medicine to use for a cold. There's no way that Doctor Li could've made a mistake! But that Madam Chen insisted that the woman died from eating our medicine. Shutian Prefecture should be opening its courts now. We had no idea what was going on until they sent people over to arrest us!"
Little Chen Xiang had spent her days in the Han estate looking after little Yi'er day after day, getting embroiled in medical books and medicinal ingredients to learn a bit along the way. She hadn't exaggerated a bit of her words. How could a minor cold kill anyone under Manager Li's watch?
When Han Yunxi and Chen Xiang reached Shuntian Prefecture, the doors were tightly shut, the hearing going on just inside. Seeing Han Yunxi arrive, the governor of the Prefecture didn't dare slight her, but was about to call a recess and pay his respects when Han Yunxi walked into the tribunal.
At this, the Prefecture governor quickly rose from his seat to go down on his knees. "This official greets esteemed wangfei!"
In an instant, the yamen's men all followed suit to kneel and pay their respects. Han Yunxi swept her gaze across them until she saw Seventh Madame and her accuser Madam Chen kneeling before the great courtroom. Seventh Madame secretly shot Han Yunxi a look, but she didn't understand what it meant beyond sensing that it wasn't anything good. Madam Chen was dressed all in white, her hair wearing a mourning headband. She didn't have the courage to look at Han Yunxi as her weak-looking body quivered on the ground.
"You may all rise. This wangfei made a special trip here to attend the hearing. Since the matter concerns the Han family as well as two lives, it definitely isn't child's play. The Prefecture governor need not leave this wangfei any face, just do business according to official principles!"
After clarifying her position, Han Yunxi sat down on one side. The Prefecture governor stood up while nodding his head, a complicated look flitting past his eyes. Still, he maintained a respectful smile and had someone prepare tea for the guest.
"Esteemed wangfei, be at ease. This official will definitely handle things impartially!"
"Then how far have you gone with the questioning? Tell it to us, Prefecture governor," Han Yunxi said.
But the Prefecture governor only replied, "Esteemed wangfei, both the witness testimony and material evidence are complete. I can just about declare the criminal guilty."
"Declare them guilty?" Han Yunxi furrowed her eyebrows.
"Doctor Li accidentally grabbed some poison and mixed it in with the cold medicine, resulting in the patient dying from poison. Although it was simply a mistake, it was still murder," the Prefecture governor replied.
"Manslaughter? Where's the proof?" How could Han Yunxi believe such a thing?
The Prefecture governor signaled with his eyes, and his assistant immediately presented three items with the utmost respect. One was the autopsy report, another was the summary of medicinal ingredients present in Doctor Li's medicine, and the final one was Doctor Li's prescription.
Han Yunxi skimmed over the items. The autopsy report stated that the victim had been suffering from a serious cold, but died from Kuigen poison. The examination of the medicine had been very thorough, going through each of the three packages of medicine that Madam Chen had brought over. There were a total of 11 ingredients listed, each them used for treating colds. The only extra ingredient was Kuigen poison.
Most damning was the fact that Doctor Li's prescription precisely included Kuigen.
As Han Yunxi read through the 11 ingredients, she seemed to have discovered something that turned her gaze complicated. Kuigen did have poison, but it was an acute poison who did double duty as good medicine. Small quantities of Kuigen, when mixed with medicinal ingredients, could cancel out its poisonous properties while strengthening curative effects. However, Kuigen wasn't needed to treat a cold. No matter how muddle-headed Doctor Li could be, he shouldn't be careless to the point of including it in his prescription, right?
Though she was puzzled, Han Yunxi didn't betray her feelings as she asked, "Where's Doctor Li?"
Doctor Li was the one who examined the patient and prescribed the medicine. He should be the chief culprit since Seventh Madame was just the owner of the medical clinic. Whatever the case, they should've brought him here first. Unexpectedly, the Prefecture governor said, "Esteemed wangfei, Doctor Li is already dead."
"How could this be, how did he die?" the calm Han Yunxi burst out at the news.
"While being taken into custody, he bit his own tongue and committed suicide," the Prefecture governor replied honestly.
 Shuntian Prefecture () - shuntian fu, mostly like inspired by the historical Shutian Prefecture, the office (yamen) of a local government where citizens could go to plead their grievances. Shuntian means along the lines of "following Heaven's will, fu is a term (in this case) for a government office, but can also refer to a residence, mansion, or estate.
 dressed all in white - traditional color of mourning in ancient China.
 Kuigen () - literally "sunflower stalk," but kui may also refer to certain herbaceous plants with big flowers.
Original Chapter Teaser:
Gu Qishao: Oi! Way to talk behind my back!
Gu Beiyue: Ah, I didn't mean to offend-
Gu Qishao: Too bad this gentleman finds you offensive!
Han Yunxi: Hey! If you were here, we'd still tell you to your face!
Gu Qishao: *beams* Poison lass, I've always like that straightforward attitude of yours~
Han Yunxi: Harrughh!
Han Yunxi: Gu Qishao, aren't you taking your double standards a little too far?
Gu Qishao: I'd say it's far from enough! Poison lass, when will you elope with me?
Han Yunxi: I'm already married!
Gu Qishao: But I'm your 'happily ever after~'
Han Yunxi: In. Your. Dreams!
Gu Qishao: You said that to me last time, too. Heh, am I dreamy to you?
Han Yunxi: GU QISH-
Gu Beiyue: *quickly hands Han Yunxi a tonic* Esteemed wangfei, let's not raise our blood pressure without reason. After all, the source of your ire isn't even in this chapter.
Han Yunxi: *huffs* Thank you for being sensible, Imperial Physician Gu.
Gu Qishao: But eccentrics are more fun!
Han Yunxi: I've got enough eccentricities going on in my head without it leaking into my real life, too!