Murong Wanru's words provoked General Mu into a cold smile. "She definitely wouldn't be reckless, heheh! Someone, take Han Yunxi away!"
Han Yunxi was already willing to go with him, so there was no need for people to force her. Before she could explain, Murong Wanru pulled her back again, speaking sternly. "General Mu, even though Grand Concubine Yi and the Duke of Qin aren't here, don't think you can do as you please!"
These words helpfully reminded the general that the two authorities of the estate were both gone, leaving him to do just as he wanted. He took a step forward and pulled Murong Wanru aside to snatch Han Yunxi's hand. Han Yunxi violently wrenched herself free, voice harsh.
"Enough! I said I'm coming along, so let's go! What are we dawdling for?"
Although surprised, General Mu was quick to recover. "Then we'll go!"
Before departing, Han Yunxi gave Murong Wanru a penetrating look, but the girl actually chased them all the way to the gates with her last words. "Sister-in-law, I don't know when mufei or his lordship will come back, but don't worry! I'll speak on your behalf when they do!" Hearing this, General Mu was confident that no one would be able to save Han Yunxi now!
Heheh, Han Yunxi. You'll have to take responsibility for this to the end!
Han Yunxi didn't want to hear any more of Murong Wanru's voice because it made her ears hurt. If there was a chance, the first thing she'd do was to poison her and her white lotus mouth mute!
They reached the general's estate soon enough. The whole way there, Han Yunxi kept thinking, but couldn't discern where the problem came from. Even after they arrived, she was still certain that her diagnosis had been correct.
Inside the room, Mu Qingwu's face was completely flushed, his lips an unnatural shade of red. Han Yunxi took one glance and knew that his fever hadn't disappeared. She sat by the bed to take his pulse, her pretty brows scrunched so seriously that no one dared approach her. By one side, Gu Beiyue stood watch, not daring to making a sound. After testing the pulse and checking the wound, Han Yunxi asked, "Has he taken the medicine according to my instructions?"
"Esteemed wangfei, even the water was boiled personally by your servant here. There were no mistakes," Gu Beiyue was very certain as he brought over the leftovers of today's decoction for Han Yunxi's inspection. Han Yunxi ascertained it with a glance. Nothing was wrong, and the poison in Mu Qingwu's body had indeed lessened quite a bit. Though remnants still lingered, they weren't enough to affect him much. The wound wasn't inflamed either, but the fever was still there, leaving him delirious...
She lowered her eyes and checked his pulse again. There was nothing out of the ordinary, so why was this happening? For a long time she didn't speak until General Mu grew angry.
"Han Yunxi, say something!"
She honestly shook her head. "I can't be certain, but I can verify that most of the young general's poison has been dissolved. It's not because of excessive toxins..."
"I don't care how much there is, I just wake him to wake up! Right now! Immediately!" General Mu was unusually irascible today. If not for the fact that all his hopes rested on Han Yunxi, he really might've killed her.
And yet, Han Yunxi was even more ferocious as she returned his howls. "I can't diagnose him when you're like this! You be quiet!"
Though he was astonished, General Mu soon clenched his hands into fists. Luckily, Gu Beiyue was able to block him in time. "General Mu, please keep calm. It's not too late to wait until esteemed wangfei's spoken her piece."
General Mu still trusted Gu Beiyue, so he exhaled once before relaxing his fists and backing away.
"Esteemed wangfei, if it's not an issue of too much poison, then there must be another cause?" Gu Beiyue queried thoughtfully.
No wonder he's the Head Imperial Physician, he is definitely experienced. Han Yunxi looked at him before nodding resolutely. "Correct. I don't have the means to figure out what kind of cause it is, but it's probably existed for a long time."
A cause that's existed for a long time?
Gu Beiyue nodded. "Your servant and esteemed wangfei have the same conclusion. Esteemed wangfei, this cause must have been hidden for a long time without ever revealing itself. The young general's weak health these two days may have been unable to suppress it. Or perhaps, the poison drew it to the surface."
When she heard those words, Han Yunxi's eyes brightened. She gave a close look to Gu Beiyue as she came to a realization. "Could it be that there's a second type of poison in his body...a slow-acting poison?!"
If it was just another illness, she might able to tell by the pulse thanks to his high fever. Han Yunxi could treat poisons but was weak in other areas. Gu Beiyue, however, was skilled enough to determine such differences and had found no such sickness. The only possibility was that Mu Qingwu had contracted a slow-acting poison that was hidden so deep that it was never detected. As a result, the detox system hadn't picked it up in her scans. Han Yunxi started up the system again, but found no results. It seemed that the levels of this second poison had yet to reach the lowest thresholds of her toxin sensors.
Even a low level of a poison like that could cause a high fever. If it was allowed to break out completely, how horrific would it be?
What exactly was this poison?
She worried over it quietly. Although there was no way to know now, it was certain that this second poison was a slow-acting agent that caused strong reactions. This was her first time seeing such a toxin in all her years of treating poisons. Faced with such a situation, the only way left was to keep a constant watch over the patient until the poison showed itself. Then, treat the proper acupoints to expel the toxins. If it grew any worse than that, she won't be able to predict the outcome.
"Slow-acting poison..." Gu Beiyue turned towards General Mu, as if to see what he thought. These types of poisons were very sensitive. Being a victim to one meant that someone had been poisoning Mu Qingwu long-term, perhaps even someone by his side. General Mu's furious expression suddenly turned severe. Who would dare try such a thing on his treasured son?
But this wasn't the time to investigate the culprit. He hurriedly asked, "Han Yunxi, what do we do now?"
"Wait," she said with resolution. "The poison can only be treated after it shows itself."
General Mu was half convinced, half skeptical. He glanced towards Gu Beiyue, who nodded his head. "I'll listen to what esteemed wangfei says."
Han Yunxi estimated that the poison would react within a day, but towards evening the next day, she could still find no traces of toxins with her sensors. Even using needles to collect blood samples for analyzation produced no results. Gu Beiyue didn't dare use medicine recklessly, but sought means to bring the fever down. Thankfully, the fever came in and out in stages, or else Mu Qingwu's brain might have been fried even if he woke up. In the end, Gu Beiyue's appeals couldn't hold back General Mu's temper any longer. He suddenly rushed to the side of the bed, his fist rushing past Han Yunxi's head to slam against the pillar.
"Han Yunxi, you lied to me again! It was you who poisoned my son! You're courting death!"
Han Yunxi was completely fearless as she replied with an earnest look. "There's no doctor who's right every single time. I can only tell you that at the very latest, the poison will show itself in three days. It definitely won't be any later than three days!"
"Peh!" General Mu didn't believe her at all.
"If you don't believe it, you can find someone else!" Han Yunxi spoke coldly. She was very clear that General Mu had only come to her because there was no one else.
"At the very least, General Mu, we've found the cause of his condition. There's no harm in waiting one or two days more!" Gu Beiyue advised.
General Mu kept breathing heavily, but seemed to hesitate. Yet right at this moment, someone kicked open the door. Mu Liuyue stepped in with a huff.
"Han Yunxi, you get out! You lying murderer, you won't escape today!"
Here was this annoying girl again. Han Yunxi ignored her rambling, but then another fierce and tender voice suddenly spoke up. "Han Yunxi, her highness the princess commands you to come out right now. If you dare touch my Qingwu gege, I won't let you off easy!"
Mu Qingwu's most unreasonable, infatuated pursuer was here? It looked like Mu Liuyue had ran off to tattle. Han Yunxi gave Gu Beiyue a worried look, her heart turning dim. This isn't good.
The hesitant General Mu immediately walked out to give a respectful salute. "This small official has seen Princess Changping before. I didn't expect to be honored by the presence of the princess, please forgive me for not coming out to meet you."
"Forget it, General Mu. You really have her highness in your eyes, huh. Qingwu gege's met with such a calamity but you haven't told me a peep!" Princess Changping said crossly. Under the gazes of all those present, Changping walked step by step into the room. Gu Beiyue rose to offer his respects.
"Greetings to her highness, the princess."
Princess Changping strutted past as she waved a hand to dismiss him, coming closer and closer to Han Yunxi. But she made no move and remained sitting. When Princess Changping drew nearer and saw Mu Qingwu, her haughty expression softened. But in an instant it had morphed into something sinister and ruthless as she shoved Han Yunxi. "Slut, you dared to hurt my Qingwu gege!"
Han Yunxi didn't expect this and narrowly avoided falling to the ground. She couldn't help but think, What a savage woman!
Immediately afterwards, Mu Qingwu's little sister Mu Liuyue followed inside, pointing a finger at Han Yunxi. "Princess, that's the one! She tried to murder my brother with a knife that day! And she lied to my father, saying that she'd cure him! But...sob...big brother still hasn't woken up!"
Princess Changping flew into a rage. "You useless trash, you dared to treat Qingwu gege? What do you take him as, your test run? Someone, take her into custody!" As soon as she spoke, two attendants from outside the room rushed in. Han Yunxi gave them an icy glare that froze the two guards in place, before speaking in a frosty tone.
"Princess Changping, the patient needs peace and quiet. If there's anything to say, please do it outside."
The princess was shocked for a bit before breaking into loud laughter. "Did you all hear what she said? Haha, a useless trash like her can even say these words! I'm going to die from laughter!" So speaking, her voice turned icy. "Han Yunxi, Qingwu gege's still unconscious. What right do you have to say these things? You're the assassin, you're the culprit who tried to hurt Qingwu gege! What are the rest of you dawdling for? Take Han Yunxi to the justice courts for interrogation!"
Princess Changping must have come to find faults today! Han Yunxi abandoned all courtesy in favor of speech. "Since when has Princess Changping replaced the authority of the justice courts to apprehend others? This doesn't conform with established customs."
Princess Changping was momentarily thrown, not expected Han Yunxi to speak to her this way. It couldn't be that the rumors were true, and that this timid woman had completely changed?
"I...I...the justice courts should be honored that the princess is willing to do these things for them!" Princess Changping replied boldly.
"Then Princess Changping should know that one needs evidence to capture someone?" Han Yunxi asked again.
Princess Changping didn't hesitate at all. "Liuyue and Li Changfeng have eyewitness testimony, Qingwu gege's proof as well, and..."
Gu Beiyue couldn't listen any longer and hastily made to interrupt. "Princess Changping, I can vouch that the young general's on his way to recovery! Why don't you all go outside? If there's anything to say, we can wait until Qingwu wakes up."
Princess Changping narrowed her eyes. "Imperial Physician Gu, you're not allowed to interrupt the princess when she's speaking!"
 gege () - literally 'older brother,' also an intimate form of address for younger females to older males around the same age. (For convenience's sake, I'll only be using gege when it appears with certain titles/names; otherwise, 'older/elder/big brother' will be used instead.)
 Li Changfeng () - as a reminder, he was the guard who first discovered Han Yunxi next to Mu Qingwu's body.