Just as Han Yunxi was concentrating, Han Congan's voice carried in from outside. He was pleading with Emperor Tianhui and his voice was quite loud.
Bastard! Gu Beiyue silently cursed, but he didn't dare open the door to stop him. There was the fear that it'd just make everyone outside rush in and affect Han Yunxi even further.
Outside the room, Han Congan was first anticipating inspecting the results of the treatment. But the more he thought, the less he felt it was right. The more he thought, the more anxious he felt. He couldn't just sit still and wait for his tragic end. What if Han Yunxi had bribed Gu Beiyue and really came up with some tricks? Then wouldn't he be done for? No matter what, even if there was a tiny possibility, he couldn't allow it.
He had to go in personally and watch every movement Han Yunxi did.
"Your majesty, let this subject go inside for a look! This subject has treated His Highness Crown Prince for many years and understand his condition better than Imperial Physician Gu."
Emperor Tianhui gave him a cold look but seemed to hesitate.
"Your majesty, let your subject inside. At the very least, it'll be one more person who can see what Qin Wangfei is doing with her treatment and how she's using the medicine. In this way, the inspection afterwards would be more thorough, won't it?"
Han Congan's words were clear enough. Emperor Tianhui still held suspicions towards Han Yunxi and nodded his head after these lines. "Go on in."
Han Congan rejoiced. "Thanks to your majesty. This subject will definitely observe everything."
Han Congan's delight raised his voice even louder so that Gu Beiyue heard everything clearly. But Han Yunxi remained as unmoving as before; it wasn't clear if she'd heard as well. With Han Congan coming over, Gu Beiyue began burning with impatience. They were in a difficult dilemma and he didn't know what to do. Did he refuse when Han Congan knocked on the door? Or, he could go out and block his way. Both methods would greatly affect Han Yunxi!
Gu Beiyue's normally calm eyebrows scrunched themselves together. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi had already heard the fuss outside, but she was rather resistant to distractions and ignored it on purpose. Yet nobody could predict whether she'd hold onto her concentration when Han Congan came knocking.
At the critical moment, Han Congan reached the door.
Gu Beiyue decided to risk everything and pressed his hand against the door, preparing to go out. Han Yunxi became aware of his movement and lost her train of thought for a second. She immediately forced herself to re-focus, beads of perspiration popping out on her forehead. Her back was already long soaked in sweat.
But now it was impossible to regain her concentration. If she kept up like this, she'd make a mistake-a big one!
What to do?
At this urgent moment, an icy voice rose up. "Your majesty, didn't you agree just then not to let anyone disturb her?"
This voice was...the Duke of Qin!
The Duke of Qin was still the Duke of Qin. Hearing this, Han Congan halted his steps. Gu Beiyue's rising heart sank back down at the voice as he withdrew his hand from the door, while Han Yunxi exhaled in relief. This was like the time he'd saved her at the general's house. Back then, she'd been so distracted her hands holding the acupuncture needles had trembled. But the sound of his voice instantly calmed her down, feeling as if the whole world was safe. Her eyes narrowed before she refocused herself, completely blanking out everything around her. It wasn't clear what Long Feiye did outside, but after his speech, even Gu Beiyue couldn't hear half a peep more from his position by the door.
Outside, Han Congan had been gagged while Long Feiye was sitting on the step leading to the bedroom. Though he was sitting at a very low position, his whole body exuded a noble aura that made it difficult for people to overlook him. His every movement had a natural and unrestrained grace.
Since Emperor Tianhui had promised, he had nothing to say, but a complicated gaze flitted past his eyes. He kept trying to figure out Long Feiye's attitude towards this wangfei of his. Such a lofty man had never concerned himself with other's affairs. Did he take action for the sake of the crown prince's safety? Or to make sure Han Yunxi wouldn't make a mistake that'd convict her with a crime?
Within the room, all was still and quiet.
Time slowed at this moment as the sound of gurgling came from Long Tianmo's stomach. The poison was dissolving his fetus in fetu. This sound alternated between soft and loud in waves, before slowly fading away. As it did, the atmosphere of the room rose to the height of its tension.
Suddenly, Han Yunxi's eyes brightened as she murmured, "Prepare the Life Blood Pill!"
Gu Beiyue smiled and immediately prepared the pill, ready to cooperate with Han Yunxi and feed it to Long Tianmo at any time. Han Yunxi waited for a short while longer under her scanners reminded her with a 'ding,'. Her nerves, which had been stretched taut, suddenly relaxed.
The time had come!
She warmed up her hands before starting the incision, her movements experienced, agile, and very beautiful. The sharp edge of the knife drew a cut on Long Tianmo's stomach two cun long, and fresh red blood began to flow out. But once Han Yunxi inserted acupuncture needles, the flowing blood turned black. She alternated between sticking needles in acupoints and observing the flow of blood; very quickly, the entire bed had been dyed red. From beginning to end, she kept her head down, her expression strictly professional and absorbed. Although she was technically skilled, she never lowered her guard in such matters.
"Imperial Physician Gu, use the pill!"
Gu Beiyue cooperated very well. The Life Blood Pill really was a miraculous thing that restored Long Tianmo's ashen pale face back to its pallor until it was ruddy and rosy. Han Yunxi raised her eyes for a peek before measuring his pulse, very satisfied with the results. Then she continued to look for acupoints. Although this process was slow and long, the risk of danger had dropped to its lowest point.
Half an hour later, all the poison within Long Tianmo's body had been thoroughly expelled, so much that there was no need to take medicine to clear out any remnants. Han Yunxi used some medicine to reduce inflammation and bind the muscles before carefully closing up the wound. Finally, she painstakingly straightened out Long Tianmo's clothing and finished things up.
She turned around and let out a long exhale, relaxing her nerves. Afterwards came exhaustion, the combination of pileup from previous days with her hour's worth of exertion. Still she held on, checking his pulse, observing the pallor of his face, and making sure there were no mistakes before sitting down on one side.
"Imperial Physician Gu, go open the door."
Gu Beiyue felt a sliver of distress and didn't immediately go, but poured Han Yunxi some warm water to drink. Then he took out a few slices of ginseng from his medicine chest and said softly, "Keep these in your mouth and rest a bit first. There's no rush."
As soon as Han Yunxi accepted the ginseng and placed it in her mouth, she knew that this was considerably expensive. If it wasn't 1,000 years old, it had to be 500 years old, and a single slice was worth a thousand taels of gold. But he'd given her three big slices in one shot. Maybe her exhaustion was making her see hallucinations, but she seemed to see Gu Beiyue enveloped by a halo of soft golden light as if he was a compassionate archangel.
Seeing that Han Yunxi's face looked slightly better, Gu Beiyue finally opened the door. Emperor Tianhui and the rest were all waiting anxiously in the courtyard. When the say the doors open, the empress was the first to walk over. "How is the crown prince?"
Gu Beiyue smiled slightly as he replied, "Congratulations to your majesty, empress dowager, and esteemed empress. The treatment was extremely successful, His Highness Crown Prince is fine!"
"Really?" Emperor Tianhui abruptly stood up, a little unsteady so that he almost tumbled down again. This movement completely betrayed his own worry.
The empress dowager followed him to rise, looking overjoyed and incredulous. "Is it true? Is it true?"
"The treatment went very smoothly. The poison in his highness' stomach has been dissolved and completely expunged!" Gu Beiyue said honestly.
"Quick...quick, go in for a look!"
The empress really was glad, being the first to walk in. Seeing her so restless, Gu Beiyue couldn't help but urge, "Esteemed empress, slow down. Be careful not to stumble."
"I can't be slow. It's been so many years, but I've never thought of this day even in my dreams! I knew that Tianmo would be all right!"
"Your majesty, didn't I say that Han Congan must have made a mistake in his diagnosis? How could Tianmo have such a strange illness?" the empress dowager said, still pleasantly surprised.
The two women were so joyful that they completely forgot about their ranks, talking and speeding forward at the same time. Emperor Tianhui didn't bother with the details and strode inside as well. Han Congan was the only one left gaping as he sat straight on the ground, perhaps a little too shocked. Even the gag in his mouth had fallen to the floor. Long Feiye was the one person who kept his cool. He darted a glance at Gu Beiyue, still standing by the door, before turning around to leave.
Inside the room, the acrid smell of blood filled the air, mixed with the foul smell of decay. Han Yunxi had cleaned up most of her things, leaving behind the medicine pot and a sheet full of dirtied blood. Long Tianmo lay quietly on the bed, his swollen stomach just about gone. There was only excess, sagging skin caused by limp skin. It was still hard to tell since it was covered in white gauze.
Truthfully speaking, the smell of blood in the room was very unpleasant, but everyone was too happy to care. As Long Tianmo's mother, the empress didn't care for the bed full of blood and sat right on it, caressing her son's face. She was so moved that her voice was choked with sobs.
"He's truly well? Truly?"
The empress dowager stared at his stomach in disbelief. "Good good, good, very good."
Emperor Tianhui was the one who remembered his position and kept calm. "Han Yunxi, so the crown prince should be recovered now?"
"To reply your majesty, it's as Imperial Physician Gu said. The poison within the crown prince's stomach has been completely dissolved and expelled. When the anaesthetic wears off, the crown prince will awaken. I left three types of medicine for him to use once every night to fully recover from his incision," Han Yunxi replied sincerely.
"Then how long before he wakes?" Emperor Tianhui asked again.
Right then, the joyful empress dowager and empress both looked over. Of course, Han Yunxi knew what Emperor Tianhui meant. If the crown prince didn't wake up, then she couldn't leave.
"About an hour or so," she replied honestly.
"Qin Wangfei, why don't you rest a bit in the one of the side halls in cause some trouble arises," Emperor Tianhui said mildly. This wasn't asking for Han Yunxi's opinion, but an outright command. Still, he didn't hail her directly by name. A single 'Qin Wangfei' was enough to show how much his attitude towards her had changed.
Han Yunxi really did want to rest. She gave Gu Beiyue a significant glance before preparing to leave with a court lady, but Han Congan's voice called out from outside. "Qin Wangfei, wait a moment!"
Soon, Han Congan walked in, his goatee sticking up slightly beneath his respectful face. He made a slight bow with hands before him as he spoke, "Your majesty, as this subject sees it, it's still too early to come to a conclusion about His Highness Crown Prince's illness."
Actually, the crown prince's swollen stomach had already disappeared. As long as he woke up, there was no need to pursue the matter of the thing inside him anymore! Even if it really was an infant, Emperor Tianhui would never allow the news to spread outside! But to Han Congan, this appraisal was mandatory. It related to his reputation and his very life.
Of course, without the presence of outsiders, Emperor Tianhui wanted to know the truth as well. He waved a hand to signal the court lady to leave.
 cun () - traditional unit of measurement approximating a person's thumb at the knuckles. Usually used to chart acupuncture points on the body, approximately equal to 1.3 or 1.4 inches.