Gu Beiyue's smile was as warm as an April breeze. Suddenly, Han Yunxi realized that he had very beautiful eyes that looked especially enchanting when he smiled. He was just like a neighborly big brother from next door, soft and kind.
"Imperial Physician Gu, you've done much."
Han Yunxi accepted the warm soup, drinking it nonstop. It really was effective, heating up her body very quickly. Gu Beiyue watched Han Yunxi gobble down the offering like a wolf or tiger, then glanced at her ashen face. He could more or less guess at the illegal punishment that had happened last night. Instead of asking her, a hint of compassion flashed through his eyes as he lightly sucked in a breath.
There was a limit to visiting hours. Gu Beiyue didn't have time to wait until Han Yunxi finished, but spoke in a low voice. "Esteemed wangfei, this servant personally went to the Duke of Qin's estate yesterday. I didn't see Grand Concubine Yi but had Miss Murong report to her. I think it won't be long until they release you on bail. This servant will arrange for people to visit regularly so that..."
He trailed off, lowering his voice even more. "So that they won't dare to try illegal punishment again."
Han Yunxi looked at Gu Beiyue and asked abruptly, "Why?"
Why was this man making all this effort? He could completely ignore the situation. Didn't he understand that getting mixed up in this might place him under suspicion as her accomplice?
Gu Beiyue didn't explain himself. "What do you mean, why?"
"Why help me? We're not that familiar," Han Yunxi said simply.
But Gu Beiyue's reply was very earnest. "Esteemed wangfei, a doctor doesn't stop at using medical skills to save others. The young general's life is in your hands..." His tone grew much softer as he added, "But it goes without saying that esteemed wangfei is a human life as well."
Han Yunxi's head shifted slightly, her heart filled with praise for this man. She even felt a bit inferior to him. Murong Wanru wouldn't report to Grand Concubine Yi, right? Han Yunxi didn't want Gu Beiyu to lose confidence, so she didn't explain much. Instead she asked, "What's the situation at the general's estate?"
"Last night, Princess Changping invited a few miracle doctors over, but none of them were able to help. This morning General Mu invited me over again, but the young general's the same as ever. I tried to persuade General Mu, yet..."
"How is the young general?" Han Yunxi was most concerned about that.
"The same as before. I'm afraid...if by chance, the poison is suppressed indefinitely, then won't esteemed wangfei..." Gu Beiyue didn't finish, but Han Yunxi knew what he was worried about. Suppose Mu Qingwu's hidden poison never revealed itself? When the time came, even if Long Feiye appeared, there would be no way to clear her name.
She thought for awhile before asking, "You don't believe me either right, Imperial Physician Gu?"
It wasn't that Gu Beiyue didn't believe her. It was that out of 10,000 possibilities, he feared the one exception.
"One day has already passed. Within two days, the young general's poison will definitely show up. As long as it's expelled, he'll wake up! Help me look after him and tell me when the poison reacts." Han Yunxi's eyes shone with determination as she grabbed Gu Beiyue's hand, serious and earnest. "I wouldn't joke around with my own life at stake. Right now, you're the only one who can help me!"
Gu Beiyue unconsciously lowered his head to gaze at her, feeling things were rather unexpected. Yet Han Yunxi's bright eyes gradually caused him to smile. His large, warm hands covered Han Yunxi's small, icy ones as he replied with equal sincerity, "All right, I'll do my best."
Han Yunxi was thrilled. She would have worried if he was replaced with anyone else. Only now did she let him go as naturally as she'd grabbed him.
"Remember, check on him often. As soon as the poison shows up, bring me a blood sample."
"Blood sample?" Gu Beiyue didn't quite understand.
Han Yunxi took out an acupuncture needle. "Here, just take it with this needle. I want the blood around his navel, near the knife cut."
Gu Beiyue understood the principle of testing blood for poisons, but with no tools or ingredients, how was Han Yunxi to check for toxins? Seeing his hesitation, Han Yunxi only smiled. "Imperial Physician Gu, there's only two days left. If I'm cleared of all my charges, I'll explain things to you."
Gu Beiyue didn't expect Han Yunxi to still be grinning in this situation and admired her from the bottom of his heart. He grinned as well, extending his pinky in offering. Han Yunxi was surprised. Did this person still do pinky promises?
"I really am very curious," Gu Beiyue smiled slightly, looking wonderful as he did.
Han Yunxi hooked her pinky around his. "All right, then it's settled!"
Looking at Han Yunxi, Gu Beiyue could only think that she was an enigma. This woman's medical skills might not be as formidable as old master Han, but she far surpassed her father's skills in treating poisons. Did the Han Family know this?
When he'd left this morning, he heard the servants say the Princess Changping and Mu Liuyue had went to invite the master of the Han house.
Gu Beiyue rushed back to General Mu's house the same day to see that Princess Changping and Mu Liuyue had already returned with the Han Family head: Han Yunxi's father, Divine Doctor Han Congan. When Gu Beiyue entered the room, Han Congan was taking Mu Qingwu's pulse, but stood up to make a slight bow with his hands before him.
"Imperial Physician Gu."
Although Gu Beiyue belonged to the younger generation after Han Congan's, he was also the Head Imperial Physician. Before that title, a commoner like Han Congan had to pay his respects. Han Congan's medical skills were consummate. He'd studied at Cloud Realm Continent's medical academy and became one of its directors last year. Originally, the seat of honor amongst the imperial physicians should have gone to him. Unfortunately, he had failed to cure the crown prince's strange illness for multiple years. In the end, he couldn't even enter the court of imperial physicians and became the emperor's most unfavored medical director in history.
As for Gu Beiyue, his grandfather had raised him ever since his parents died. Grandfather Gu was the previous Head Imperial Physician as well as one of Cloud Realm Medical Academy's directors. Gu Beiyue had been endowed with innate talent since childhood. Add that to his grandfather's devoted instruction, and he truly deserved the position of Head Imperial Physician.
"Uncle Han is being overly formal," Gu Beiyue returned the gesture of respect with his hands, always the modest gentleman. He was neither haughty nor humble, but refined and cultivated.
Han Congan gave up the formalities and sat back down. "You came at just the right time. Tell me about his general condition."
"Why doesn't Uncle Han speak his thoughts first, in order to avoid my influence on your judgment?" Gu Beiyue seemed modest and gentle, but his words always carried the effect of multiple meanings. Since he'd said things this way, Han Congan didn't press the issue, but tugged on his beard as he replied.
"I have a rough idea from General Mu. Only, I think the matter of his poisoning is open for debate."
Gu Beiyue didn't express his opinion, but asked, "What kind of debate?"
Han Congan looked doubtful as he sounded out his thoughts. "I heard...that Han Yunxi diagnosed his poison?"
Actually, before Princess Changping even came with her invitation, the empress dowager already sent out people to notify him. Though they didn't tell him what to do, he was clear in his heart. Han Yunxi was already in prison. As long as Mu Qingwu was unconscious, then Han Yunxi would live one more day in suspicion in jail. This was exactly what the empress dowager wanted. Moreover, Mu Qingwu possessed military leadership and was a close ally and friend to the second imperial prince. He was completely on the second imperial prince's side, but that man was the crown prince's strongest adversary.
If Mu Qingwu remained unconscious or even died, no one would be happier than the crown prince. Since this situation concerned his daughter's life and his family's position, Han Congan didn't mind using the opportunity to help out the empress dowager and the crown prince to frame his daughter.
He examined the patient's pulse for a very long time but couldn't find any signs of sickness, nor traces of poison. Yet, since Han Yunxi was the one who treated him, she'd take responsibility no matter how he died!
"Then what does Uncle Han think?" Gu Beiyue asked again without expressing any opinion.
As a mere servant of the emperor, Han Congan held the powerful connections of court in his heart. He knew that the more connections he had with Han Yunxi, the more he'd be at a disadvantage. Han Congan was an old fox who didn't say what he thought, but only reproached the other. "Aye, this girl never studied and has no skills. What would she understand? I heard she was the one who made this cut to treat his poison?"
Han Congan had examined the cut on Mu Qingwu's stomach before and discovered that it had healed superbly. It wasn't someone just anyone could accomplish. If it wasn't for Princess Changping's claims, he wouldn't believe this was Han Yunxi's work at all. How could she manage this? She was a good-for-nothing who couldn't even tell medicines apart!
"Since Uncle Han examined the wound, you should know that the young general's sickness has no relation with this injury, right?" Gu Beiyue asked in reply.
Han Congan smoothed out his beard with his fingers. "This...might not necessarily be true. As of now, there's no way to pinpoint his illness."
In an instant, Gu Beiyue's mild-mannered gaze flashed with caution. Mu Qingwu's incision was a critical point since it was treated by Han Yunxi. If there was proof that the cut and his current state were unrelated, then Han Yunxi would be guilt-free. But if this wound created any more problems or caused a death, Han Yunxi would have to stay in jail.
Really, many 'thanks' to Han Yunxi's father Han Congan, who latched onto all his daughter's weak points.
"Since Uncle Han says this way, then the matter of Qin Wangfei's guilt will have to wait..." Gu Beiyue's tone was still very warm, but these words were like a needle that drew blood to expose Han Congan's true face. Gu Beiyue checked Mu Qingwu's injury, measured his pulse, and made sure Han Congan hadn't fooled around with the patient before speaking. "General Mu, it looks like Han Congan's medical skills aren't only lacking, but incapable of curing the young general. Fortunately, the young general's condition is still within my grasp. Within these two days, he'll wake up. I'll keep watch over him until then!"
When the broody General Mu heard these words, he unexpectedly rose to his feet to yell. "Get out! All of you, scram! You're all useless trash!" The general's irritable temper was famous throughout the kingdom. There was even once a civil official who'd been beaten with injuries by him!
Han Congan feared death and quickly jumped to his feet to escape the room. However, Gu Beiyue stood up to directly face the raging General Mu. He handed over a sheet of folded white paper covered with black words-a life or death waiver!
"General Mu, I'm willing to pledge with my life that the young general will wake up within two days and that I can save him. If that's not the case, use a death to pay back a death!" Gu Beiyue looked gentle and frail, but his words rang out clearly in defiance.
General Mu's fist was half-raised in the air for a long, long time. Finally, he lowered his arm to grit his teeth. "Fine! This general will give you another chance!"
By now, Han Congan had fled far away. He puzzled over Gu Beiyue's words, wondering if the other suspected something. It'd be harder to try anything against Mu Qingwu with Gu Beiyue there, but if Mu Qingwu really woke up, then everything was over. Han Congan mused as he walked out into the courtyard, just in time to have Princess Changping and Mu Liuyue come over. Princess Changping had been fine this morning, but why was she wearing a veil now?
"Esteemed princess, you...this is..." Han Congan asked doubtfully.
"It's fine. Why did you come out, how's Qingwu gege?" Princess Changping asked anxiously. She didn't know what kind of dirty thing she'd contracted last night in the prisons, but her feet and face had been itching ever since she woke up. Just recently, she'd grown red spots on her skin that looked a bit like a rash.
Her face was her most precious treasure, so she went to see an imperial physician in secret. The physician said it was just a rash and would go away in one or two days. Only then did she feel at ease enough to apply some medicine and hurry over here.
 Han Congan () - Han is the surname, Cong is "follow, comply with, open," or "join", An is "peace, safety."
 Cloud Realm Continent () - yunkong dalu, literally 'Cloud Sky' or 'Cloud Space' Continent. Follows the same naming theme as Tianning Country (Peaceful Skies Country).
 Uncle Han () - Han bobo, Han is the surname. is a term of address for a man of one's father's generation who is older than one's father. English equivalent is 'uncle.'