Chapter 185: Doubts, but so what?
When she heard that Doctor Li had bit his own tongue and died, Han Yunxi's eyes turned dark and gloomy. Seventh Madame finally felt the urge to speak up.
"Esteemed wangfei, it's impossible for Doctor Li to prescribe the wrong medicine. He's worked at the Han family clinic for ten years without making any errors. He definitely wouldn't make this kind of low-level mistake!"
"Seventh Madame, this prescription was written in Doctor Li's own handwriting. This official tagged Doctor Li with manslaughter instead of murder precisely because I took into consideration his high level medical skills and years of experience. Does Seventh Madame mean to say that this official framed the case against him against such conclusive evidence?" the Prefecture governor was very blunt.
Seventh Madame had no way to refute him but directly shook her head. "Impossible, absolutely impossible! Doctor Li's death was too strange!"
"Doctor Li bit his tongue to commit suicide. As this official sees it, he didn't die to escape punishment, but because he was conscience-stricken and wanted to apologize for his offense," the Prefecture governor was very certain.
"No, there must be a misunderstanding here somewhere! It's not possible," Seventh Madame remained unconvinced as she sent Han Yunxi a pleading look.
The Han family's name had already been disgraced because of the crown prince's affair. Now even a philanthropic clinic had left someone dead. How was the Han family to persist in the medical world after this? What would they use to support and raise their family properties? Doctor Li could commit suicide to escape the consequences, but not the Han family!
Han Yunxi narrowed her eyes as she examined the three pieces of evidence in her hands. Her heart agreed with Seventh Madame's reasoning. Doctor Li's mistake was too out of place, his death too sudden. Beyond a doubt, his death could only force the Han family on the road to ruin.
At this time, Madam Chen finally lifted her head to look resentfully at Seventh Madame, her voice choked with sobs. "No matter whether it was a misunderstanding or not, the person died from eating your medicine so you have to make reparations! My husband's already gone and my mother-in-law took care of my little son. Now that she's gone, how am I supposed to live out the rest of my days?"
Han Yunxi held some worries for this Madam Chen to begin with, so her flustered, timid actions only increased her suspicions. But where would such a poor, impoverished person get the daring to demand compensation by framing the Han family? It looked like the main problem still lay with Doctor Li. Han Yunxi was precisely considering the details that caused Seventh Madame to fret. Even if Doctor Li didn't kill himself, the fault of the case would still be his responsibility. At most, the Han family would pay reparations and be absolved of blame-but such compensation would acknowledge the fact that someone had died from visiting the clinic. It was a small matter if that clinic couldn't do any more business, but a big one if their reputation was ruined!
"Esteemed wangfei, if there are no issues, this official will declare the guilty verdict," the Prefecture governor said carefully.
It seemed like there were no issues. Seventh Madame had nothing to retort either, but Han Yunxi was filled with questions! She sipped a mouthful of tea and prepared to counter, but a yamen runner suddenly burst inside with news. The justice courts wanted Shuntian Prefecture to transfer the case to their side so they could review it in court.
In Tianning Country, ordinary cases were typically handled by Shuntian Prefecture. The justice courts were equivalent to the highest courts of justice. They usually took care of important, weighty cases, including those of the imperial family. Were they too idle and so decided to meddle in a matter between the Han family clinic and a commoner? Or did they attach high importance to the Han family?
"Why do the justice courts want to review the case for no reason?" Han Yunxi asked as she arched an eyebrow. Yet the yamen runner only hemmed and hawed, not daring to answer.
"Speak truthfully!" Han Yunxi said coldly.
"Esteemed wangfei, this humble one...this humble one heard the justice courts' people say, it was a recent order from the empress dowager, the empress dowager said...said the Han family misdiagnosed the crown prince so they have records of previous crimes. If their malpractice killed someone this time...severe punishment is necessary...and they'll revoke the Han family's right to practice medicine in Tianning Country!"
Silence fell upon the scene at his words. Seventh Madame's face turned white as she narrowly avoiding fainting away. What did revoking rights to practice medicine mean? It meant that no member of the Han family could ever examine patients or prescribe medicine anymore; it meant that they would have nothing to do with the medical world; it meant that the Han family could never rise again!
This was humiliation that no member of the Han family could bear. Han Yunxi narrowed her eyes as they turned cold. She finally figured out what was going on! Over the past month, she was even bewildered why the two people she offended from the palace hadn't made a move. As it turned out, the empress dowager had gotten to work after all. Since she couldn't deal with Han Yunxi, she'd turned her knife on the Han family. What did this count for?
Since the empress dowager had moved, then this time she'd let the empress dowager know that her family wasn't something anyone could touch! Han Yunxi smiled coldly as she spoke. "Since these are the empress dowager's orders, the Prefecture governor should do as told."
The Shuntian governor was waiting for Han Yunxi to say these precise words. He immediately adjourned the court and ordered for materials and people related to the case to be immediately moved to the justice courts, where they'd review the case tomorrow. Since Seventh Madame wasn't the primary culprit, she wasn't locked in jail.
As soon as they left the courts, Seventh Madame quickly spoke in a low tone, "Yunxi, Doctor Li must have been bribed!"
Han Yunxi nodded. That much was obvious; moreover, she was fairly certain the person behind the scenes was the empress dowager. But the justice courts would need proof. Since Doctor Li had killed himself, it meant he'd steeled his heart to keep quiet. It wouldn't be so easy to find proof of his bribe.
"Seventh Madame, you can set aside a hundred cares. Even if we can't catch the person behind Doctor Li, this matter won't affect the Han family," Han Yunxi was very certain.
Hearing this, Seventh Madame paused before murmuring, "Yunxi, recently there's been news that the Duke of Qin's favoring you. Is this...true? With his support, I won't have to worry."
Han Yunxi didn't know whether to laugh or cry. What did this have to do with Long Feiye? She hadn't seen him for days, all right?!
Taking a deep breath, she replied, "Seventh Madame, I can take care of this even without the Duke of Qin making an appearance. Trust me!" So speaking, she brushed aside her hair to reveal a pair of lively, sparkling eyes filled with foresight. It seemed that they knew everything and anything, soothing all who saw.
Only then did Seventh Madame realize she'd misunderstood the rumors. But she couldn't help but ask, "Yunxi, then between you and the Duke of Qin..."
"It's not bad, not bad. Seventh Madame, hurry back. Don't make Yi'er worry." Han Yunxi feigned ignorance as she hastily escorted Seventh Madame to the carriage and had the driver drive off! Although the rumors had been circulating for a while now, this was the first time someone had asked her these things to her face. She didn't even know how to reply. As she watched the carriage leave, Han Yunxi finally exhaled in relief until little Chen Xiang started complaining behind her back.
"Mistress, I didn't get on the carriage yet..."
Only then did Han Yunxi remember there was still little Chen Xiang. When she looked back, Chen Xiang spoke again. "Mistress, what kind of good is 'not bad?'"
Immediately, Han Yunxi's ears turned red. She narrowed her eyes and drew close. "Little thing, your mouth is getting smarter and smarter!"
Chen Xiang chuckled and was about to flee when Han Yunxi grabbed her. "Come, go with me to Doctor Li's house."
Although Doctor Li's corpse was at the justice courts, the Li family had already built a coffin stand with a coffin on top. The entire family was dressed in mourning clothes and the atmosphere was very heavy. Han Yunxi didn't startle anyone but went to look for Doctor Li's wife, Madam Hong.
"Sit down. There's no one else here, so there's no need to be polite," Han Yunxi had already said this much, but Madam Hong still didn't dare to sit. She stood respectfully to one side, head bowed in silence.
Because she was afraid of her status? Or was she afraid of being found out?
"After something like that happened...Lady Li1, please restrain your grief2 and take care of yourself," Han Yunxi said mildly.
Madam Hong quietly bowed. "Thanks to esteemed wangfei for your care."
"Lady Li, do you think that Doctor Li could've prescribed the wrong prescription?" Han Yunxi suddenly asked, getting straight to the point.
Madam Hong suddenly lifted her head, but dropped it again as soon as she met Han Yunxi's eyes. Choked with sobs, she replied, "This one doesn't believe it either, but that prescription...the handwriting really is his."
Han Yunxi didn't like talking to people who refused to look at her. "Lady Li, has there been anything unusual about Doctor Li recently? Has he had dealings with anyone?"
Madam Hong still kept her head down, refusing to look at Han Yunxi. She didn't think much before shaking her head. "Everything was fine. Why did something like this happen..." As she spoke, she started to sob. Han Yunxi stood up and walked over, causing Madam Hong to immediately back away, her head still lowered.
"Lady Li, would you say...that Doctor Li had difficulties he was reluctant to discuss?" Han Yunxi asked again.
Madam Hong's body trembled visibly before she hastened to explain. "Esteemed wangfei, what kind of difficulties would he have? Even if he did, he shouldn't hurt others! He's a doctor, so perhaps his hand slipped in the spur of a moment. Then, when he realized his mistake, his guilty conscience led him to...sobsob..." as Madam Hong spoke, she started crying again, making it impossible to continue.
Han Yunxi lightly sucked in a breath and retreated. She didn't cause any more trouble for Madam Hong, but comforted her with a few words before leaving with Chen Xiang. As soon as they got on the carriage, Chen Xiang burst out, "Mistress, why is Lady Li like that? Even an outsider like me thought everything was fine before Doctor Li died so strangely! Why doesn't she find it odd at all?"
"Even you could tell?" Han Yunxi remarked.
"Lady Li must know something," Chen Xiang's expression was serious.
Han Yunxi only smiled wordlessly. She didn't even go to the Han family's south clinic, but went directly to the Han estate...
"Went back to the Han estate? Hehe, she's ran up against a wall, hasn't she?"
When the empress dowager got news of Han Yunxi's movements after she left the Li house, she gave a cold laugh.
"Esteemed empress dowager, even if she investigates Lady Li, as long as Lady Li doesn't tell, her suspicions won't prevent the court from making their verdict tomorrow." The person speaking was none other than Murong Wanru from the Duke of Qin's estate! Though they were in the palace, they had both been observing the homicide case of the medical clinic.
The empress dowager never expected that in lieu of Han Yunxi, Grand Concubine Yi's precious pearl Murong Wanru would find her own way in to offer a way to destroy the Han Clan. Neither did Murong Wanru thought she'd have the day when she turned her back on Grand Concubine Yi to join forces with the empress dowager. Grand Concubine Yi's favoritism towards her was as lofty as a mountain, but this time the grand imperial concubine had forsaken her. So she didn't regret.
In the past, Grand Concubine Yi had said she was going to marry the Duke of Qin as his concubine and stay forever in the Duke of Qin's estate! But what was the result? Not only did she lose her chastity, she had to marry into Marquis Pingbei's house. Besides getting angry, Grand Concubine Yi hadn't done a thing to strive on her behalf!
Before, Grand Concubine Yi had also said they'd deal with Han Yunxi thoroughly after she dared to enter the Duke of Qin's estate. But what was the result? Not only did the Duke of Qin regard her with respect and special treatment, even Grand Concubine Yi had turned possessed and treated her well. She even listened to her words!
Murong Wanru couldn't bear all of this. She would never admit that she had lost to Han Yunxi. She only knew that if she kept placing her hopes on Grand Concubine Yi, she'd have no choice but to obediently marry into another family.
The only person who could change everything was the empress dowager!
1. Lady Li () - Li furen, another way to refer to Madam Hong, in this case outlining the fact that she was Doctor Li's wife.
2. please restrain your grief () - jieai, phrase used to express one's condolences.