Chapter 198: Unexpectedly, he's here to help
Gu Qishao took off the gauze on his hands and saw that it still carried traces of blood. The poison had long been cured, leaving only a pellet-sized injury on the back on his fair, smooth hand. Though it'd formed a scab, it was a level lower than the surrounding skin, proving the depth of the injury. This was the aftermath of Long Feiye's projectile pebble. If he hadn't been distracted and shocked by the spread of Tang Clan weapons on the table, he would sensed Long Feiye long ago. Neither would he need to incur such a heavy injury.
All he did was use medicine to form a scab over the wound so he wouldn't have to bother binding it up. But it'd take a few more days for it to completely recover. During this time, he couldn't use much strength with that hand. Of course, Gu Qishao was less concerned with the injury and more with the needles on Han Yunxi's table. There was no way he'd make a mistake. Atop the stone table were weapons of exquisite make in both details and materials. They had to have come from the Tang Clan and were uncommon goods. The current Tang Clan was well known for their assassination weapons, but their poison skills used to be top-notch as well. Their skills in poisons and hidden weapons ran neck-to-neck until the clan lost the former in later days. Gradually, the number of people who knew the Tang Clan's poison arts grew fewer and fewer.
As luck would have it, he was one of those few!
Where did Poison lass get such things? Or maybe, she had some connection with the Tang Clan? Did her mysterious poison skills come from the clan? But her detoxification style and techniques didn't seem like it. If her mother was Lady Tianxin, was her father really Han Congan?
Could this Poison lass be the person he's looking for?
Gu Qishao wanted to run over to the Duke of Qin's estate right then and there and ask Han Yunxi personally. Unfortunately, he couldn't afford to act rashly right now. Long Feiye had moved fast and stationed more security around the Duke of Qin's estate as soon as last night. Even more hateful, he'd actually started looking into his properties around Tianning to thoroughly investigate him! Gu Qishao might not care about the wound on his hand, but that didn't mean he couldn't hold a grudge. He waved his hand as his bewitching eyes narrowed, muttering under his breath, "Long Feiye, whether it's old scores or new, this gentleman will settle them all with you one day..."
Han Yunxi had long forgot about the question Gu Qishao had asked her before Long Feiye sneak attacked him. In the following days, she didn't leave the Duke of Qin's estate, but busied herself with placing different poisons on her various weapons. At the same time, she diligently trained in different ways of using needles. Since she was familiar with them to begin with, practicing made her quite adept in a few days. She also created variations on the different techniques that Long Feiye had introduced.
Sadly, she didn't have enough strength to use the weapons at long distance. There were only a limited amount of weapons she could use in close range, but they relied on her being faster than her opposition. Since Han Yunxi had never touched these things before, she was highly interested in them. She even dragged over a few guards for drill practice until she frightened them all into seldom coming out.
Meanwhile, Long Feiye didn't have much to do these few days, so he stayed at home. Still, he didn't come to Han Yunxi's quarters. His mood wasn't half-bad, and he'd actually agreed to Grand Concubine Yi's request. A few sentences later and he'd given Zhangsun Che, Murong Wanru's current husband, an important post as a job. The vice president of the the Ministry of Personnel was a fourth-rank position that was but a stone's throw away from third rank officials in the capital. It wasn't truly fourth rank, but this was the Ministry of Personnel. The position of vice president was second to the Department of State Affairs, the highest executive institution of the imperial government. The Ministry of Personnel oversaw appointments, service assessment of officials, promotions and demotions of officials, merit ratings, as well as mobilization of different affairs.
How could anyone look down on a person in such a position? Even officials a rank higher had to treat them politely and avoid offence. Naturally, higher rank officials were appointed by the emperor himself, but who could guarantee that those officials' families and friends wouldn't need favors from the Ministry of Personnel one day? In any case, a position at the Ministry of Personnel wasn't only a cushy job, but one in a high position.
Due of Murong Wanru's unique status, nobody dared to provoke her at Marquis Pingbei's estate. Ever since she married into the family, even Zhangsun Che waited on her like a grandchild treating an elder. Now that her family had given him such an excellent position, Murong Wanru had even better face. She personally came to the Duke of Qin's estate to express her thanks, but Long Feiye didn't even bother to see her. All of this, Han Yunxi heard from Zhao mama. She thought, what else can Murong Wanru cook up now that she's married off? Since the Duke of Qin had given Zhangsun Che such a position, she should be content enough to quit for a while, right?
In the end, Han Yunxi pushed Murong Wanru to the back of her head. She spent her time studying her assassination weapons simultaneously with the poison that Long Feiye had left her. Unfortunately, she didn't make much progress.
Soon enough, the 15th of the month arrived.
The 15th was precisely the day that Han Yunxi would treat patients for free at the Han family's south clinic. The Four-Way Clinics had long spread the news, so people had started lining up at the south clinic since yesterday night. This was part of Han Yunxi's promotion plan for the Han family clinic, and a key factor in spreading the name of the Han family. No matter how busy she was, she couldn't afford to delay. She woke up very early and changed into clean and simple clothes, before arriving ahead of time at the south clinic. Unexpectedly, the line was already very, very long. Han Yunxi peeked through the crack in the doors and found the queue included both poor and rich people. Although most of them had come because of her, Han Yunxi believed that there would be a day when those wealthy people were willing to enter the Han family clinics again. In the middle of her preparations, little Yi'er suddenly appeared from beneath the counter.
Han Yunxi was startled. "Little squirt, when did you show up?"
Little Yi'er cocked his head to one side and looked at her, adorably blinking his eyes. He was very earnest as he spoke. "Big sis, you're sure you've got this by yourself?"
Han Yunxi was amused by Yi'er's cute yet serious expression. She pretended to get angry and narrowed her eyes, asking coldly, "Han Yunyi, you're looking down on me?"
Instead of getting scared, little Yi'er only grew more serious. "Big sis, you're good with poisons, not treating illnesses. What if someone tried to frame you and make things difficult? It's a pretty big crowd outside."
Han Yunxi was instantly on guard. Of course she knew she was a doctor of poisons and no expert in diseases. But there was no stipulation that she had to cure the illness. Untreatable diseases were normal as well, so she could offer tips and advice, or hand the case off to another doctor. Still, little Yi'er's words reminded Han Yunxi that if anyone wanted to make a fuss here, the ramifications wouldn't be good. Just as she was lost in thought, little Yi'er tugged on her sleeve and said sneakily, "Big sis, look behind you."
A pensive Han Yunxi unconsciously turned back and saw a white-robed gentleman standing behind her. He was like carved jade or emerald pine, possessing a singular beauty in all the world. Such poetic words appeared in Han Yunxi's head as soon as she saw him. This person was none other than the Imperial Physician Courtyard's youngest head physician, Tianning Country's authoritative medical expert, Gu Beiyue. His soft smile was very simple, but it was precisely this simplicity that brightened the whole world and made it clean. At least, it brightened Han Yunxi's world.
"Gu Beiyue, why did you come?" Han Yunxi was pleasantly surprised, before she realized that Yi'er's worries must have been pointed out by the doctor. Otherwise, a little brat like him who stayed at home all day, obsessed over his medical arts, would never understand such hefty concerns.
"Treating patients for free is a philanthropic act. How could esteemed wangfei forget to call me as well?" Gu Beiyue was rather serious as he replied.
Without a doubt, he was worried that she'd be schemed against, worried that something would disrupt her treatments, enough to make a personal trip to help her. This fellow, helping her was plain enough, but he'd actually used such a highfalutin excuse to question her back. Though she tacitly understood his intentions, she was now too shy to expose them outright. Actually, she'd harbored thoughts of inviting him long before, but was worried that he wouldn't come. After all, he was an official of the imperial palace. If he helped her and the Han family, wouldn't he be offending the emperor and empress dowager?
She wouldn't expose his intentions, but she still had to remind him of his formidable connections. Half serious, half joking, Han Yunxi said, "Imperial Physician Gu, think it over clearly. If you lose your rice bowl1, you can't get paid for treating patients for free. You'll have live on air, then."
Gu Beiyue smiled mildly. With his personality, there were only two reasons why he'd arrived. One was that he already had a counter plan in place, the other was that he didn't want to overthink it, and followed his truest feelings to come here. No matter which one it was, the end result was that he was here.
"Esteemed wangfei, a doctor works beneath the Heavens. One earns one's meals by looking after his craft, not the faces of other people." He was grinning when he replied, that ever warm and constant smile. Though he was a doctor who lacked the strength to even truss a chicken, he still had the power to soothe others. His words set Han Yunxi much more at ease.
If she spoke too much and kept reminding him, it'd be both doubting and insulting him. She got straight to the point. "Imperial Physician Gu, please proceed!"
When Han Yunxi appeared at the entrance of the clinic, the expectant crowd all prepared to bow and pay their respects. Immediately, she stopped them.
"Today I'm just a doctor, not Qin Wangfei. There's no need for everyone to stand on ceremony. If someone wants to kowtow to Qin Wangfei, please leave because esteemed wangfei won't examine them."
Her words were clean and direct, without putting on any affected airs. Those who heard it admired her in their hearts and recalled the recent incident where the Duke of Qin and esteemed wangfei had rode the same horse through the capital. It seemed that only an honest, free and easy speaking woman was the type to catch His Highness Duke of Qin's eye.
Within the crowd of prospective patients was a good number of spectators who just came to watch. In a nearby teahouse, Murong Wanru was currently sitting alone by a window, coldly observing the scene. Her lip curled up into a mocking lilt. "Han Yunxi, the good show's coming up later!"
Now that Murong Wanru was part of Marquis Pingbei's estate, she was quite satisfied with everything except her husband. In the Duke of Qin's estate, she was only a foster daughter who had to read Grand Concubine Yi's moods, but at Marquis Pingbei's estate she'd turned into some sort of Buddha that everyone else had to yield to. The difference between the two estates was playing the role of guest versus master. Hadn't she always wanted to be a master in her own right?
Still, she was very clear that unless she took care of Han Yunxi, that person in the palace wouldn't let her live a comfortable life. Today's free treatment session was a perfect chance. Unexpectedly, Murong Wanru's plans were suddenly derailed by Han Yunxi inviting out Gu Beiyue.
"Everyone, today the south clinic is extremely honored to solicit Imperial Physician Gu Beiyue to join in on the free treatment sessions. I believe everyone's clear on Imperial Physician Gu's medical skills. Let's not waste too many words and start right now."
Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue had both sat down, but silence still reigned over the crowd. Whether it was the patients queuing up or the spectators on the side, everyone was amazed! Heavens, one Qin Wangfei was already unfathomable, but even the head physician of the Imperial Physician Courtyard had come! This was way too much face for the Han family!
Seventh Madame and little Yi'er watched from inside the clinic, both very happy. It seemed that they could see the future of the Han family from there. Meanwhile in the teahouse, Murong Wanru had long stood up in shock.
Gu Beiyue...Gu Beiyue... Why did he come? Does the empress dowager know about this?
With Gu Beiyue here, how could there be any hard causes to cause difficulties for them? At the very least, Murong Wanru couldn't find one right away. She gave up on watching to hurry back into the palace...
1. lose your rice bowl () - diule fanwan, colloquial meaning to lose one's job, one's livelihood, the thing one depends on to earn one's meals.