Not a pregnancy pulse?
Gu Beiyue was surprised, but patiently waited for Han Yunxi to explain.
"But there's definitely a life inside that stomach," Han Yunxi continued.
It wasn't a pregnancy pulse, but the stomach still carried life. What did this mean? Gu Beiyue raised his eyebrows but didn't speak, waiting for Han Yunxi to go on. Her entire face turned serious.
"You're the only person I can tell the diagnosis to, do you want to know?"
Only then did Gu Beiyue grow astonished. "What exactly is going on?"
"I need your help, but you have to keep this a secret," Han Yunxi spoke again.
Gu Beiyue nodded without the slightest hesitation. Perhaps he himself didn't even know why he believed Han Yunxi so much. Besides him, there really was no one else Han Yunxi could trust. This secret was too frightening! Even people in the modern era might find it inconceivable, much less those from the past.
She lowered her voice. "The crown prince's illness is called 'fetus in fetu'. Strictly speaking, the child in his stomach should belong to the esteemed empress."
When these words came out, the ever-tranquil Gu Beiyue actually backed up a few steps, his face filled with amazement. But he settled down very quickly. "Qin Wangfei, such words, you can't speak carelessly."
Han Yunxi felt a helpless urge to laugh. Once again, she'd destroyed the calmness of this man. She managed a light chuckle instead. "I know. Just listen to my explanation."
Only now did Gu Beiye draw closer with a nod.
"When the empress was pregnant with the crown prince, she actually carried two babies in her womb. But before the children were born, the crown prince took the other child into his body."
Truthfully speaking, fetus in fetu was a type of parasitic fetus that came one one twin swallowing up the other into its body. As the infant grew, so did the other fetus, absorbing nutrients over the years until it developed into a malformation. Under various circumstances, some fetus in fetu grew quickly and were discovered early on. But some developed slowly and only revealed themselves after a long time. Historically speaking, the longest case took 32 years before the symptoms emerged. Long Tianmo wasn't even twenty years old this year, so his case couldn't be considered long.
Gu Beiyue didn't understand things like cells or embryos, so Han Yunxi could only explain things to him in the simplest terms. "In other words, the empress was pregnant with twins. But before they grew to maturity, the crown prince absorbed the other child. Then the crown prince grew into a baby and was born with the other child still inside him, who survived by leeching off the nutrients in his blood as it slowly grew up."
Gu Beiyue finally understood and shook his head in disbelief. "I didn't think that such a thing existed."
Of course he didn't believe in men having babies, but he'd done research on the crown prince's illness over the years despite never treating him. Although he was shocked by Han Yunxi's explanation, it still sounded reasonable. He lost himself in thought for a bit before suddenly raising his head to look at Han Yunxi with an imposing gaze.
"We can't keep this life! Although all these years we've called it a pregnancy pulse, the emperor doesn't really believe in it."
Han Yunxi knew that they couldn't keep this life, or else she wouldn't have kept it a secret and made up a wild story about stomach sarcomas. A fetus in fetu wasn't a normal, healthy, child. Some of them didn't even have limbs or things like a heart or brain. Even if they extracted the fetus, it wouldn't live for long. Leaving that aside, even if it was a normal, healthy baby, they couldn't afford to keep it.
How could the crown prince give birth to a child?
If he really did, everyone who knew of it would have to be silenced, including the crown prince and the fetus itself. When news of this spread, the Long imperial family would be labeled as monsters, giving rebellious forces the excuse to stir up the populace for an uprising. Of course, Han Yunxi didn't care about all that. She just knew that she couldn't tell the truth, but she had to save her patient in order to live. Seeing Gu Beiyue's imposing gaze, Han Yunxi's voice turned icy.
"So we have to kill it in the stomach."
"Your father prescribed quite a few miscarriage pills without effect," Gu Beiyue reminded her.
Han Yunxi's lips curled up. "Of course his medicine wouldn't work. Miscarriage pills are used by women." Han Congan's medicine only worked on pregnant females. Technically speaking, Long Tianmo wasn't pregnant, so how could it work on him?
"I need a certain poison to dissolve the thing inside the crown prince's stomach to watery blood. Then I'll expel it with my usual methods for poison so all the emperor and the rest will see is poison water. The crown prince wasn't pregnant, but grew a malignant tumor," Han Yunxi's tone of voice was very self-assured.
Hearing this, Gu Beiyue fell silent for a long while before giving her a thumbs up. Beyond a doubt, Han Yunxi's idea was most appropriate. It not only protected herself, but the reality behind this secret forever. Those who didn't know the truth would never feel the knot in their hearts.
"His Highness Crown Prince should thank you," Gu Beiyue smiled.
Han Yunxi just shrugged her shoulders. "I just hope his mother will give me less trouble in the future."
Gu Beiyue knew that poisons weren't difficult for Han Yunxi, so why did she need his assistance? "You found me for..." he trailed off.
Han Yunxi's self-assured gaze suddenly darkened. "That thing's extremely large, so making the incision will be ten times more difficult than what I did with the young general. Before we expel all the poison, there's a risk that the crown prince might lose too much blood."
In fact, Han Yunxi was preparing poison for the crown prince to dissolve the object inside his stomach. She could make up the most efficient, exquisite prescriptions that wouldn't harm the organs and just dissolve the lump into watery blood. But the poisoned blood would have to be quickly expelled from the body. Her biggest problem now was what to do with the body's loss of blood, because she needed enough time to expunge all the poison.
In modern times, a blood transfusion would do the trick, but now all her hopes rested on Gu Beiyue, who understood as soon as he heard the problem. He looked at Han Yunxi with a complicated expression, only speaking after a long time. "I know of a medicine called the Life Blood Pill that can create blood after being ingested..."
Han Yunxi was already delighted before he finished speaking. "Where is it?"
Seeing her so excited, Gu Beiyue couldn't help the affectionate flicker in his eyes. "Qin Wangfei, this pill is hard to obtain."
"The imperial household has plenty of money and power, so what's there to fear?" Han Yunxi said easily. All right, in her heart at least, the imperial family was a incomparable tyrant and thief.
Gu Beiyue looked even more helpless as he replied, "Qin Wangfei, in the Cloud Realm Continent, the Tianning Imperial Family is but one of many powers."
Naturally, Han Yunxi knew that the Cloud Realm Continent was vast and filled with powerful hidden tigers and crouching dragons. But right now she was most concerned with the location of the Life Blood Pill. With it on hand, the crown prince's treatment would only take minutes to complete.
"Then tell me who has it?" Han Yunxi was getting impatient.
Gu Beiyue spoke three words: "Gu Qi Sha."
Gu Qi Sha?
Han Yunxi seemed to have heard of this famous name in the recesses of her memories. "The strange genius Gu Qi Sha who was expelled from Cloud Realm Medical Academy?"
Gu Beiyue nodded. "Exactly so. This fellow's been an eccentric genius since birth and has a natural talent for cultivating medicinal plants. Many commonly used plants today were personally grafted by him in his youth, so people call him the Pill Fiend."
"I heard he was the adopted son of a medical academy elder and ate medicinal plants as his three meals while growing up?" Han Yunxi asked with curiosity.
Gu Beiyue nodded. This was as much as he knew, even though his grandfather was a director at that same medical academy. But a director was one level lower than an elder, so there was no way for him to come in contact with his superiors. Moreover, he hadn't stayed long at the medical academy before following his grandfather to Tianning's capital city.
"So where's Gu Qi Sha now?" Han Yunxi asked in a hurry.
"After the medical academy expelled him, he set off on his own and created Pill Fiend Valley. There he collects and cultivates all kinds of miraculous medicines and sells them based on his moods. If you want to buy the Life Blood Pill from him, it'll be a difficult task," Gu Beiyue said.
And yet Han Yunxi's face relaxed in response. "I thought you'd have to use a lot of effort, but it's something this easy! A single pill's obtainable enough."
"It'll be hard to get!" Gu Beiyue couldn't help but remind her again.
Han Yunxi gave a mischievous smile. "I'm only responsible for the prescription, not finding its ingredients."
Seeing Han Yunxi's crafty smile, Gu Beiyue finally understood her meaning. As long as the prescription was there, the emperor had to find his own methods to get the Life Blood Pill. If he couldn't, then he couldn't blame his two doctors, either. Han Yunxi immediately went to the table and scribbled rapidly with her brush all the ingredients and their prescribed quantities. The curious Gu Beiyue stood to one side as he carefully watched, only growing more and more puzzled by her list.
He recognized all the ingredients in the prescription, but couldn't determine their effects when all mixed together. A prescription that could dissolve the thing in the crown prince's stomach without harming any of the surrounding organs required extraordinary craftsmanship. Very quickly, Han Yunxi finished writing the prescription and placed the Life Blood Pill at the very end.
"Qin Wangfei, this prescription...it's complete?" Gu Beiyue asked doubtfully.
Han Yunxi gave him a significant look. "A secret!"
Of course it was incomplete. Moreover, whoever ended up with these prescription wouldn't be able to tell that it was a formula for poison. She hadn't even written down the three most important ingredients. The prescription was just for show since the real medicine was already in her detoxification system. Han Yunxi had to leave herself a trick. If she wrote down the real prescription and it ended up in the hands of some expert, then wouldn't it expose the true nature of her treatment for the crown prince?
Gu Beiyue observed Han Yunxi's mysterious actions and didn't ask, but his fondness for this woman increased three parts more in his eyes.
With the Life Blood Pill, Han Yunxi's greatest hurdle had been solved. She was almost too impatient to become the crown prince's savior so she could see the empress and empress dowager's reactions. Of course, she was even more expectant for Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru's reactions. Right now, they must be burning with impatience back at the Duke of Qin's house!
Hm, she had to get the Life Blood Pill first!
"Let's hurry and deliver the prescription!" Han Yunxi grabbed Gu Beiyue's arm and prepared to leave. Startled, Gu Beiyue blanked out briefly before quietly pushing her away. He didn't speak, but a surprised Han Yunxi looked back to see Gu Beiyue avoiding her eyes.
Han Yunxi snorted with laughter but didn't explain. All right, she was so happy that she forgot she was in the past. As a married woman, she couldn't have any close male friends.
"Cough, cough..." she pretended that nothing had happened before turning around. "My hand moved too quickly. I wasn't trying to be improper, though."
Gu Beiyue was about to move, but started again at her words. Except this time, a warm grin quietly blossomed onto his face.
Han Yunxi didn't know, but she managed to miss seeing the world's most beautiful smile.
 fetus in fetu (???) - tai zhong tai, a developmental abnormality in which a mass of tissue resembling a fetus forms inside the body. Again, I'll leave the Google-fu to you. Be warned that images can be quite graphic.
 longest case...32 years - the author seems to be a little off here. The longest case may belong to Sanju Bhagat, who was 36 years old in 2006 when doctors operated on his stomach and discovered his partially-developed twin inside him. Before that, he'd carried around a swollen stomach for years.
 Gu Qi Sha (???) - Gu means 'ancient, age-old,' Qi is 'seven,' 'Sha' is to 'stop, check.'
 Pill Fiend (??) - yaogui, Pill could also be translated as 'medicine' or 'drug'; fiend may also mean 'ghost, demon, monster, spirit, apparition.'