Chapter 174: Eager, I'm here to save you
A loud noise echoed through the empty imperial study. This wasn't the first time today that Emperor Tianhui had tossed a book aside, but it was certainly the loudest. Gu Beiyue stood on one side as he kept to himself. He'd already passed on Han Yunxi's words.
The empress dowager sat on another side, beside herself with rage. "What a Han Yunxi. What does she mean?"
"Gu Beiyue, don't you have any poison doctors in your Imperial Physician Courtyard that can detoxify the poison?" Emperor Tianhui asked angrily. Of course there were poison doctors amongst the imperial physicians, but it was likely they hadn't even heard of poison pestis before.
"Your Majesty, if they knew how to detoxify the poison, they would've diagnosed the poison pestis a long time ago," Gu Beiyue answered truthfully.
Emperor Tianhui seemed to be beside himself with fury. He stood up with his hands behind his back and started pacing in impatience. Han Yunxi's words sounded nice enough-asking for a discussion with the Duke of Qin before she produced the antidote prescription. But this was actually a threat! How could he allow a slight girl like her threaten him? Moreover, he'd spent so much effort to find a fault with the Duke of Qin. Now that he was in his clutches, how could he easily let him go?
No! He couldn't do it!
"Someone, send out a proclamation recruiting all poison doctors! If anyone can cure the poison pestis, he'll get the position of Head Imperial Physician!" Emperor Tianhui had been driven mad with rage. Head Imperial Physician Gu Beiyue maintained a calm expression without speaking.
Yet soon enough, Eunuch Xue came in. "Your Majesty, esteemed empress dowager, the Imperial Uncle's estate sent news over. Third young master lost consciousness!"
The empress dowager rose to her feet. "What?!"
"He fainted away after spitting up a mouthful of black blood. None of the imperial physicians could do anything. They said...they said to...prepare for the funeral!" Eunuch Xue forced himself to report. The empress dowager felt her vision turn dark as she held onto her chair for support. Emperor Tianhui had long stopped pacing to look over.
Suddenly, the empress dowager burst out, "Emperor, there's no time! We can't wait! Just do as Han Yunxi wants, hurry and have her take a look at him! The Bai family only has this single heir!"
Emperor Tianhui knitted his brows but was still undecided.
"Emperor! Are you just going to watch the Bai family lose their male offspring?" the empress dowager said angrily.
Emperor Tianhui was extremely unwilling, but faced with pestilence and death, he had no choice. "Gu Beiyue," he said coldly, "Go tell Han Yunxi that Zhen will let her see the Duke of Qin if she can preserve Third Young Master's life!"
When Han Yunxi heard the good news, she jumped for joy straight from the chair. Heaven never sealed of all the exits, there was always a way out. This time, she was going to let Grand Concubine Yi see how her own efforts and abilities were enough to contend with Emperor Tianhui. Even if she didn't have Princess Rongle's prestigious background and backing, she could still rescue Long Feiye!
Han Yunxi was so happy that she grabbed Gu Beiyue by the arm. "Hurry, to the Imperial Uncle's estate!"
Gu Beiyue looked at her fine, slender hand, a sense of reluctance flitting past his eyes. In the end, he still gave her a simple smile before quietly dislodging himself. "Esteemed wangfei, come this way. The carriage has already been prepared."
Gu Beiyue's movements were too natural, and Han Yunxi too distracted, for her to notice him escaping her grasp. She didn't even realize her inappropriate actions before the two headed for a side door. There was no awkward moment between them at all.
Only a person with no intentions and a magnanimous personality could ignore etiquette to such an extent, perhaps, Gu Beiyue mused to himself.
As for the poison pestis, Han Yunxi had the prescription but no antidote on hand. Still, she could use her acupuncture skills to preserve the third young master's life for three days! Anyways, even if she had the antidote on hand, she wouldn't use it at this critical juncture without seeing Long Feiye first. The news of their trip had passed on to the Imperial Uncle's estate before they even arrived, so there were people to greet them as soon as they stepped in the doors. They hurried them into the third young master's rooms.
"Imperial Physician Gu can stay, but everyone else needs to leave," Han Yunxi still stuck to her usual habits.
Her words infuriated the old imperial uncle. "Han Yunxi, what do you plan to do to little Third? Something you can't show others? Can you afford it if he dies?"
"Old Imperial Uncle, I can explain to you what I'm doing, but I'm afraid you'll be preparing for your grandson's funeral by the time I'm done," Han Yunxi replied coldly.
"You!" the imperial uncle fell into a gloom. Han Yunxi simply crossed her arms and leaned against a nearby pillar, giving off an 'as you will' air. This made the imperial uncle anxious. "Fine, fine, fine! Do as you want, hurry and save him!"
Only then did Han Yunxi straighten up and enter the rooms. Before closing the door, she said one thing. "Old Imperial Uncle, it's a lèse-majesté to call the wangfei by her name. I'll forget about this time, but don't let there be a second." So speaking, she shut the doors heavily, leaving a gaping old imperial uncle outside.
Gu Beiyue didn't know what to say. This woman really didn't accept anyone taking advantage of her. She appeared to be very delicate, but was dared to speak her mind and go through with her actions. It'd be hard to find another woman like her in the capital-nay, in the entire Tianning Country. He was very happy. If not for Mu Qingwu getting poisoned that time, he might've missed his chance to join her in this room today.
Actually, Han Yunxi didn't need Gu Beiyue to help her. She was fine doing this by herself, but it'd turned into a habit to let Gu Beiyue watch as she worked. Her careful and precise attitude came into play as she verified the presence of poison pestis before starting to work. The best way to detoxify such poison was to use the antidote, but without that, all they could do was expel the poison. That would alleviate the symptoms and delay the onset of poison, thus preserving his life. Truthfully speaking, if Emperor Tianhui had delayed any longer, or if Gu Beiyue hadn't discovered the poison pestis in time, this third young master would've died for sure.
Han Yunxi did her best to expel as much of the poison as possible. One hour later, she cleared away her needles. The deed was done! Gu Beiyue immediately handed over a clean handkerchief to wipe off her sweat. Han Yunxi smiled as she accepted it.
When the doors were opened, the imperial uncle's entire family surrounded her with all sorts of questions. The imperial uncle himself didn't speak, but it was obvious he was nervous.
"His life's preserved for now, so he should be able to hold on for five to six days. To save him, the antidote is still necessary," Han Yunxi said.
"Then where's the antidote?!" the imperial uncle blurted out.
Yet Han Yunxi's answer was unexpected. "That'll have to wait until news from the emperor!"
What did...these words mean?
The crowd was puzzled, the imperial uncle at a loss. Han Yunxi didn't have time to waste here, but gave Gu Beiyue a push while everyone was still stunned to indicate that they should go. She was anticipating the meeting with Long Feiye!
As soon as she entered the palace, Han Yunxi headed straight for the Hall of Regrets. Emperor Tianhui hadn't gone back on his word, though Han Yunxi would've been helpless if he did. The Hall of Regrets was a place to shut up imperial sons so they could reflect upon their mistakes. It wasn't a very big palace, but its four tall, surrounding walls had no windows. There was only a single door leading inside, so one could imagine how boring the place could be.
Eunuch Xue opened the door. "Esteemed wangfei, please go on."
Han Yunxi had rushed over as soon as she reached the palace, but she drew back now, her heart beating fast. What kind of reaction would Long Feiye have when he saw her?
"Esteemed wangfei, please go on," Eunuch Xue repeated himself. Only then did Han Yunxi enter. The door closed as she as she went in. Inside, the courtyard was completely empty except for a small building. The door to the building was shut tight, and everything else was silent. Han Yunxi walked over and lightly knocked on the door.
However, no one answered her.
"Your Highness, are you inside? Your Highness?" Han Yunxi called a few more times, but there was still no reply. The courtyard was small enough for her to take in everything at a glance. If Long Feiye wasn't outside, then he had to be in this room. So why wasn't he responding? Has something happened to him? Did Emperor Tianhui torture him? Or is he sick with the plague as well? Thinking up to here, Han Yunxi had a fright and grew anxious.
"Long Feiye!" she cried as she suddenly pushed open the door. But there was no one in the room.
Where was he?
At the same time, Long Feiye was sitting on the roof, his cold face sporting a slight curve to his lips. Still, he didn't make a sound.
"Long Feiye, where are you? Are you here?" Han Yunxi walked out the room, her heart burning with impatience as she shouted. The more she thought, the more she felt things weren't right. She was on the verge of losing faith. Did Emperor Tianhui play a trick on her? Could it be that Long Feiye was long...after all, Emperor Tianhui was perfectly within rights to execute him for the crime of refusing an imperial edict.
At this thought, Han Yunxi hurried towards the exit, but it was now that Long Feiye finally opened his mouth. "Han Yunxi, who gave you permission to call your lordship by name?"
Hearing this, Han Yunxi stopped abruptly and turned to look at the roof, only to see Long Feiye sitting there in all his glory. Noble, arrogant, mysterious, cold, and stern, he resembled an Immortal high up in the clouds, his deep, profound eyes staring at her.
Her first reaction was shock, followed by a burst of laughter as she blurted, "Long Feiye, you're okay! I was scared to death!" This fellow was actually on the roof. So many people outside were worried for his sake, but he seemed leisurely and at ease.
"What were you afraid of?" Long Feiye asked, raising an eyebrow.
What was she afraid of? Just then...had she really been frightened? Han Yunxi raised her head to look at Long Feiye. A long time passed before she chewed on her lip and teasingly replied, "I was afraid that if you happened to die, I'd be buried alive with you."
At this answer, the curve on Long Feiye's lips immediately vanished. He landed on the ground and asked coldly, "How did you get inside?"
So many days had passed without even mufei coming by, which meant the emperor must have set down some orders. He never thought this woman could come in beyond all expectations. Still, what surprised him more was Han Yunxi's answer.
"I came to help you out of here."
Now Long Feiye was curious, so Han Yunxi went on to explain about the poison pestis. Her eyebrows danced and her face was radiant, glowing with energy as she happily told him everything. She didn't even notice that Long Feiye was staring at her the entire time without ever looking aside. Actually, he didn't need her to save him. The fact that Emperor Tianhui had locked him in the palace rather than the prisons meant that the emperor dreaded him enough to leave a route of retreat. Long Feiye had been the youngest imperial son with the weakest, most powerless relatives. For him to survive the intense succession wars in his past meant that he had plenty of ability.
If Emperor Tianhui couldn't touch him back then, he was even less capable of touching him now.
"Why do you want to save your lordship?" Long Feiye asked again, his eyes full of interest as they stared into Han Yunxi's own. It was a stare that could pierce straight through the depths of her heart. Han Yunxi immediately averted her eyes, her heart beating faster and faster. But Long Feiye abruptly drew closer, shrouding Han Yunxi in his impressive, constricting aura.
Because she didn't want to be buried alive with him if he died?
If this woman dare say that to him again, he'd definitely make her regret!