Chapter 321: Someone feels distress for her sake
Gu Beiyue went to see Emperor Tianhui first thing that morning. The reason for his visit was precisely Han Yunxi's current treatment of Baili Mingxiang. As the Head Imperial Physician, he'd gotten advance notice from Emperor Tianhui that Han Yunxi was to be sent to the western mountains to treat the empress. Protocol dictated that he should have done that as soon as the empress dowager's banquet ended.
Despite that, he didn't do it. Neither did Emperor Tianhui pursue the issue over the past few days. Gu Beiyue was very clear that it didn't mean the issue was over. Emperor Tianhui was still in fear of the strength that Long Feiye had displayed during the banquet. That was why he hadn't forced Han Yunxi. Meanwhile, General Baili had come to ask him for medical assistance immediately after the banquet concluded. That was Long Feiye's idea. As the Head Imperial Physician, Gu Beiyue had never involved himself in the struggles of the imperial court when possible. He had the wisdom to only mind his own business. Right now, he could clearly see that Emperor Tianhui wouldn't press the issue of Han Yunxi going to the western mountains. Neither would Long Feiye bring it up, so the power to decide lay in his hands as the Head Imperial Physician. If he remained silent while stuck between the two of them, he'd be the one in trouble by the end!
"Your Majesty, here are Miss Mingxiang's medical records. She's been sick for a long time, but none of the previous imperial physicians could cure her. This one was left helpless as well. Thus, General Baili went to seek esteemed wangfei's help. She's diagnosed the girl as being poisoned, but it'll take some time to expel it all," Gu Beiyue explained as he offered up the report.
Emperor Tianhui tossed it on his table as soon as he accepted it. "Gu Beiyue, are you saying that the empress's illness isn't as important as Baili Mingxiang's?"
"May Your Majesty show clear judgment. This subject would never dare to imply such a thing!" Gu Beiyue immediately kneeled on the floor, a flustered expression on his face. "Your Majesty, General Baili had no idea that esteemed wangfei was scheduled to head for the western mountains. He came to ask for a doctor the night of the empress dowager's birthday banquet, and specifically requested esteemed wangfei to check whether the girl had been poisoned."
"So you agreed to his request?" Emperor Tianhui said sternly.
"This subject never expected Miss Mingxiang's poisons to be so severe. I assumed that esteemed wangfei would only need to prescribe the appropriate antidote and cure her. Unexpectedly, she needs a long time to finish the treatment." With his head bowed, Gu Beiyue looked equal parts humble, petty, and nervous. Despite this, his clear eyes were perfectly calm.
"You never thought? Heheh, Gu Beiyue, then tell Zhen, what should be done now?" Emperor Tianhui said as he slammed his table in rage.
Gu Beiyue's head hung even lower. "May Your Majesty calm your anger! Forgive this subject for being blunt, but esteemed wangfei is a doctor of poisons. She is good at treating toxins, not illnesses. Esteemed empress's phoenix body is as precious as gold and cannot tolerate negligence in her treatment. This subject knows of a Divine Doctor who's studied cases of insanity before. They are willing to work in the service of esteemed empress."
Hear hear, how beautifully Gu Beiyue had spoken! He'd boosted the empress and allowed Emperor Tianhui to step down, all in the same breath. Long Feiye had already revealed his stance. If Emperor Tianhui tried to force Han Yunxi to the mountains, Heaven knows what Long Feiye would do in turn? The emperor had no mind to send away Han Yunxi now, but he needed a way to gracefully back out from his words. Of course he knew that Long Feiye had arranged the whole illness thing with Baili Mingxiang. Originally, he had planned to look into the matter and severely punish Gu Beiyue for his dereliction of duty, thus using the doctor as his means of retreat. But look at things now. Gu Beiyue had given him a chance to retreat and secured his own means of escaping punishment.
At Emperor Tianhui's hesitance, Gu Beiyue added, "Esteemed empress's phoenix body is most precious. No mishaps should be allowed to happen to her. May Your Majesty think thrice."
See here, he'd given Emperor Tianhui another step to get off his platform. In the end, Emperor Tianhui would seem like he didn't value the empress if he didn't find a replacement to look after her care. Emperor Tianhui wasn't very happy to release Gu Beiyue just like that, but the physician had set things up so well that he could only follow along with his words.
"Heheh, looks like Zhen overestimated Han Yunxi's skills. Since that's the case, Zhen won't place any hopes on her. We'll do this according to your suggestion!" Emperor Tianhui said respectably, looking every inch...a sham!
Gu Beiyue had long gotten used to such things. He lifted his head with a soft smile and said, "You Majesty is wise and brilliant!"
Very soon, news of the matter reached Long Feiye's ears.
"Gu Beiyue's rather intelligent," Long Feiye said in a rare moment of praise. Neither he nor Baili Yuanlong had ever given the man any instructions. Of course, if Gu Beiyue hadn't arranged things well enough and Emperor Tianhui investigated to their end, Long Feiye would definitely shift all the blame onto the doctor, then kick him out to be the scapegoat.
"Your Highness, when you went to the Gu Estate late time..." Chu Xifeng probed. His Highness had visited Gu Beiyue's estate when the physician wasn't home, but returned without saying a word. Long Feiye could still clearly remember how Gu Beiyue had nearly touched Han Yunxi in Medical City while he was following them both. Gu Beiyue was a man who knew martial arts, and his skill was quite considerable. But this man had never shown his skills. He had to have a motive for staying in Tianning! Even though he hadn't found anything in the Gu Estate during his search, it didn't mean the matter was over.
Long Feiye didn't reply Chu Xifeng. At this moment, one of the guards from the Hidden Pavilion rushed over. "Your Highness, we've found out where to find the Serpent Fruit!"
"Where?" Long Feiye was clearly anxious to hear the answer. Serpent Fruit was one of the ingredients to Mute Nanny's antidote. He had been searching for the goods ever since seeing her prescription.
"It's at Pill Fiend Valley, in Pill Fiend Gu Qi Sha's hands!" the guard reported.
"Pill Fiend Valley..." Long Feiye muttered to himself, before waving at the guard to withdraw.
"Your Highness, it's not easy to deal with that old thing Gu Qi Sha!" Chu Xifeng felt hesitant. He remembered that His Highness and esteemed wangfei had even managed to offend Gu Qi Sha during their last visit there. It wouldn't be easy to wrest the Serpent Fruit from Gu Qi Sha's hands, even if they had something to trade for it in return!
Long Feiye seemed unruffled as he spoke, "Go make an appointment. Just say that your lordship wants to face him in a one-on-one match. If your lordship wins, he'll hand over the Serpent Fruit. If I lose, he can do as he wills."
His Highness Duke of Qin had always been an aggressive type. An excited Chu Xifeng was even looking forward to Gu Qi Sha's reaction after hearing the news. He wanted to see them face off too, and how Long Feiye would thoroughly beat up the other party. Gu Qi Sha was such a proud and haughty guy. How could he ever refuse a request for a one on one duel?
"Yes, this subordinate will go right away!"
Those who want to know Gu Qi Sha's reaction would have to wait until Chu Xifeng returned.
During the next few days, Long Feiye remained at the Hidden Pavilion's secret rooms. Even his guards had no idea what he was doing. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi had gone to General Baili's estate three days in a row. She didn't use any medicine on Baili Mingxiang at this time, but spent the time doing a thorough examination. She looked over all the records of Baili Mingxiang's poison ingestion, then carefully did a full-body analyzation of her body. That was to make sure the written records left by the poisons masters matched the results from her detox system.
Although she didn't want to admit it, Han Yunxi had to face the truth: Long Feiye's request for her to use poisons was equivalent to a slow death for Baili Mingxiang. She wasn't familiar with the girl, and their interactions were scarce, but as a doctor, she couldn't bear to do the deed. If possible, she wanted to find a way to make the Beauty's Blood while preserving Baili Mingxiang's life. Over the course of three days, Han Yunxi discovered that Baili Mingxiang was not only gentle and magnanimous, but a crowning literary talent with hidden depths. Whether it was qin, chess, calligraphy and painting or poetry, prose, and song, she was proficient in all the arts. The works of art collected by her home numbered in the hundreds. In addition, she was familiar with history and military tactics. Daughters of other rich and powerful families liked to form cliques to show off and compete in their skills, but she preferred to brew her own teas, make her own wine, and live a leisurely, self-satisfied life. Of course, that was strictly between her and Han Yunxi!
If a girl like this didn't have to deal with Beauty's Blood, she'd be an exceptionally attractive woman! Leaving aside men, even a woman like Han Yunxi liked her immensely. Right now, she was currently tasting Baili Mingxiang's personally brewed grape wine. She found herself adoring the taste after a single sip. Han Yunxi might not understand wines, but she knew a tasty one if she drank it!
"It's good that esteemed wangfei enjoys things like wine. I've prepared two jugs and ask that you kindly accept this small gift of mine," Baili Mingxiang's smile was eternally gentle and sweet-tempered.
"Then you'll have to accept my many thanks!" Han Yunxi really did like the wine, and wasn't shy to say it.
"Esteemed wangfei, can I start taking the medicine today?" Baili Mingxiang had been waiting for three days already. Though she disliked lodging complaints to His Highness, she'll have to find her father to tell the man if Han Yunxi didn't start treatment.
Han Yunxi arched a brow at her before she said, "Wait until your poison reactions flare up. I'll leave a little later today."
Baili Mingxiang didn't get it immediately, so Han Yunxi said helplessly, "Actually, your poison flare ups aren't all that random. You have a total of 37 slow-acting poisons within your body that will flare up at appointed times. Because they're all mixed together, it's hard for you to get a sense of where and when they're react. One hour later, one of them will cause a reaction."
Baili Mingxiang was stunned. It wasn't because of the poison flare ups, which she'd slowly gotten used to over the last dozen or so years-she used to fear them, but now she'd gotten used to them. She was astonished over Han Yunxi's skills. The woman hadn't even taken her pulse in the last few days, but could pinpoint her case with such detail!
"Don't worry, I'm not lying to you! I've already prepared painkillers for your sake. The poison this time will be Winter Poison. You'll feel so cold that your entire body will ache." Han Yunxi said as she started writing with a brush. She had to list out all 37 slow-acting poisons and give clear indication of their reaction times. Although it wouldn't help Baili Mingxiang much, it could at least let her know when the pain could come.
Naturally, Baili Mingxiang trusted Han Yunxi as well. She knew that all of His Highness Duke of Qin's important people were true talents in their fields. She readied the painkiller pills and sat on one side to watch Han Yunxi write. Yet by the time Han Yunxi finished, there were already tears in Baili Mingxiang's eyes.
Han Yunxi had not only written down the scheduled flare ups for all 37 slow-acting poisons, but every ways to counter the pain of each reaction. Her voluminous detail took up quite a few pages and left her with aching fingers. She shook out her hand as she explained, "Take a look at this when you have time. A lot of the painkilling methods here need to be prepared ahead of time. Every little bit of pain stopped helps."
"Qin Wangfei...actually, you really don't have to stop the pain for me," Baili Mingxiang said lightly, hiding her tears in her heart.