Chapter 322: She can't be helped
"What, you're not afraid of pain?" Han Yunxi asked in amusement.
"I'm afraid!" Baili Mingxiang admitted openly. How could she not be afraid? She'd been hurting for over 10 years. She'd never gotten over her fear, only used to the agony. Ever since losing her mother in childhood and being sent to the Tang Clan to raise Beauty's Blood, no one had ever asked her if she was afraid or if she hurt.
All her father had said was, "Mingxiang, soldiers have to be like soldiers." Her older sisters had no idea about the Beauty's Blood and were all jealous that her father had placed enough importance on her to send her to the Tang Clan. Not only that, she didn't have to marry, but could stay at General Baili's estate to render services to His Highness Duke of Qin. She never thought that the first person to care about her would be His Highness Duke of Qin's official wife, Han Yunxi.
"If you're afraid, why are you still acting strong?" Han Yunxi smiled.
"I..." Baili Mingxiang suddenly didn't know what to say. Acting strong?
She...alright, she admitted that Han Yunxi's words had struck straight into her heart. Even if she didn't want to face it, she knew that she was putting up a front. But what of it? She'd manage to endure until today, hadn't she?
My life won't be long, she thought. I can probably keep up this front for a lifetime. Suddenly, Baili Mingxiang shivered. She was fine until a fearful chill had taken over her body.
The poison was reacting! She was all too familiar with this sensation. Soon enough, she'd get so cold that her entire body would shudder out of control. Deciding quickly, she said, "Esteemed wangfei, just wait awhile outside. I'll...." Before she could finish, she saw Han Yunxi rise to her feet. The woman didn't leave the room, but quickly lit the stove in the room and poured a cup of hot water, then dissolved the painkiller pills in the liquid. Even though she hadn't shown any outward symptoms, Han Yunxi had seen through her condition at a glance.
"Esteemed wangfei, I'm fine. Go outside first, alright?" Baili Mingxiang could even crack a smile.
Han Yunxi gave her a stern denial. "Not alright!"
Baili Mingxiang simply didn't want Han Yunxi to see her in her most wretched state. But since Han Yunxi wouldn't leave, she only left her a helpless smile. She settled by the stove, her body huddled up against the cold as she rubbed her hands to generate heat. Right now, the cold was starting to spread from her head and toes throughout her entire body. It felt like someone was slowly pouring a giant pail of ice water over her head until the cold seeped into every single one of her pores. As Baili Mingxing curled into a ball, her pale face quickly took on a purplish tinge. She was clearly biting her lips, yet they remained white without a hint of color.
Just how cold could she be? Despite this, she still held onto her reason and stayed there silently. There was not even a single complaint of 'cold' coming from her lips. If it was anyone else, they might not even realized that she was suffering, but Han Yunxi could tell.
She promptly said, "Lie down on the bed, I'll warm you up with acupuncture needles." The cold from Winter Poison came from the inside out, so no amount of external heat could warm up the victim. She could only start from inside the body.
"Esteemed wangfei, it's no use. I know my own body." Baili Mingxiang's lips were clearly trembling, but she could still grin. Gentle and soft, sweet and tranquil, her smile was like the sun in a frozen sky.
"I'm clearer than you are! Hurry!" Han Yunxi was even getting anxious for her. She grabbed Baili Mingxiang's hand before subconsciously withdrawing her own!
It was an infectious chill that seemed to enter through her pores as well. Han Yunxi hadn't meant to take back her hand, but her instincts did it for her.
"Esteemed wangfei, it's fine. It'll be better once it passes," Baili Mingxiang comforted.
"It hasn't passed yet!" Han Yunxi grew angry for no reason. She didn't wait for Baili Mingxiang to lie down, but sat behind her and took out her needles. Though it was difficult to insert needles through the clothes, Han Yunxi's movements were still as smooth as flowing water and rolling clouds. She was a seasoned expert at acupuncture.
Soon enough, Baili Mingxiang's back was littered with acupuncture needles. If possible, Han Yunxi would treat Baili Mingxiang's poison that very instant, but she couldn't. Right now, she could only use these needles to disperse the chill within instead of getting angry.
"Is it better now?" Han Yunxi asked in concern.
Baili Mingxiang expelled a breath and said, "Mm, it's not that cold anymore."
"See? I said it'd be useful!" Han Yunxi exhaled as well. She'd encountered plenty of troublesome illnesses in the past, but she'd never felt so pent up as she had today. How depressing it was to know she could treat this poison, but leave it as it was!
Han Yunxi didn't stay idle. The cold would gradually cause pain to the victim, so she brought over the cup of warm water with dissolved painkillers. Judging from Baili Mingxiang's current state, she'd probably have to increase the dosage. Han Yunxi dissolved another painkiller pill into the liquid. Taking the medicine this way would allow faster absorption into the body, creating better results. But as Han Yunxi was dissolving the medicine, Baili Mingxiang couldn't stop her shuddering anymore.
The needles on her back had no effect at all. She was still so very, very cold. She'd lied to Han Yunxi! The trembling started in her hands, but quickly traveled to the rest of her body. She tightly bit her lips, afraid that her teeth would start chattering as well.
"Drink a bowl first. It'll take time for the effects of the medicine to set in," Han Yunxi said as she lifted her head. Her hands froze in the process of offering the bowl as she finally saw the truth.
"You lied to me!"
"Esteem...esteemed wangfei, it's fine.... You go out first, I...I'll be okay very soon."
"It doesn't have any effect at all?" Han Yunxi was both angry and stunned.
Baili Mingxiang didn't reply, but her wan smile was miserable before description. She rose to her feet with difficulty and headed for the bed. Han Yunxi quickly stood up to support her. This time, she didn't let go of Baili Mingxiang's hand, but the cold was enough to make her fingers shake.
Baili Mingxiang's situation was worse than she had thought! Worse by folds!
Was the girl's special constitution to blame?
There was no time to consider that now. Han Yunxi helped Baili Mingxiang to the bed before taking out all her needles. Only then did she let the girl lie down. Using needles was the most direct way to induce heat within the body, but if that was useless, then the other methods were a moot point. It was the first time that Han Yunxi had felt at a loss while looking after a patient. Baili Mingxiang was huddled up completely in the covers, her shuddering turning more severe as if she'd never stop.
"Esteemed wangfei, excuse me for my impropriety." As Baili Mingxiang spoke, she turned to face away from Han Yunxi. For the next hour, she kept shaking nonstop. The helpless Han Yunxi sat on one side, looking at the thin, shivering figure as she felt a sense of misery and sorrow.
Once the chill receded, the pain would set in. Han Yunxi carefully fed Baili Mingxiang two big bowls of dissolved painkillers. But as before, they had no effect at all. Baili Mingxiang didn't express a single word of pain, but kept her back to Han Yunxi as before. She remained lying down for another whole hour. The pain was so much that she broke out into sweat, that her teeth drew blood from her lips, that she couldn't help but remember her childhood and that pond of lotus flowers with the young boy as silent as ice.
Nobody would ever know that he was the best cure for her pain.
Your Highness Duke of Qin, Mingxiang has no wild hopes. I only hope that once the Beauty's Blood is completed, you'll remember there once was a woman in this world named Baili Mingxiang.
Finally, the pain receded as well. When Baili Mingxiang turned around, her face was drawn with exhaustion and her eyelids heavy.
"Go on and sleep, I'll prescribe medicine for you," Han Yunxi said mildly.
Baili Mingxiang gave a slight smile before she shut her eyes and lost consciousness. Han Yunxi sat by her side, watching over her as she wrote out her prescription. She wrote medicine after medicine, enough so that Baili Mingxiang would have to take a different poison every single day. Long Feiye had said that enduring for an entire lifetime was the cruelest thing of all. But having a cruel life to being with was even more ruthless.
"Baili Mingxiang, either die quickly, or be reborn anew!" Han Yunxi murmured to herself. She had made a decision to use the shortest possible time to cultivate Beauty's Blood in Baili Mingxiang's body. Within half a year, she'd finish the poisons and find a way to preserve her life. After suffering so much, Baili Mingxiang couldn't simply die! She had to live on bravely, to make up for all the bitterness she had experienced before!
Baili Mingxiang was still sleeping by the time Han Yunxi left her with a pile of poisons. As soon as Han Yunxi reached the Duke of Qin's estate, she shut herself inside the study to think. Her soul wandered through the large dimension of the detox system. There were many books on poisons stored within its depths, including some with records of Beauty's Blood. She had to understand it thoroughly before she could figure out a counter.
But Han Yunxi was still lost in her wanderings when Zhao mama came to knock on the door. "Esteemed wangfei, Steward Luo's brought over Su Xiaoyu."
Han Yunxi was so absorbed that she didn't even hear the sound.
"Zhao mama, could esteemed wangfei be sleeping?" Su Xiaoyu asked in a low voice. She'd been dressed in rags when she first entered the Duke of Qin's estate, with disheveled hair and a messy face. But after Steward Luo's teachings, she had transformed completely. Here was a little girl of seven or eight years old, with exquisite features and a neat and tidy air. If not for her servants' robes, others might even assume she was the young Miss of some wealthy household.
"She only came back recently!" Zhao mama was about to knock again when Su Xiaoyu pulled her back.
"Zhao mama, suppose she's really asleep? Then wouldn't we be waking her up? That won't do! It's more important that esteemed wangfei sleeps well."
"You little girl, esteemed wangfei didn't save you in vain! Heheh," Zhao mama rathered like this girl, who was like a little adult of her own.
"Zhao mama, is there anything I can do? Just tell me!" Su Xiaoyu was very proactive.
"You can go rest as well," Zhao mama said, before she went to busy herself with matters. Su Xiaoyu settled herself to sit by the front door. Very soon, she discovered a wide variety of strange plants were growing in the courtyard. She quickly ran to ask Zhao mama about them.
"They're all poisonous plants! You mustn't touch any of them!" Zhao mama said, suddenly recalling the detail.
Actually, all the plants in the courtyard were currently highly corrosive plants cultivated by Han Yunxi to study the Poison Orchids. She wanted to try cross-breeding some plants of her own. If they didn't manage to survive, then she could ask Pill Fiend Valley's Gu Qi Sha for help.
Zhao mama only knew that the plants were toxic, but she didn't understand anything beyond that.
"Oh," Su Xiaoyu nodded. Soon enough, Han Yunxi herself emerged from the study. When she spotted Su Xiaoyu, she realized she'd nearly forgotten about this little girl while she was busy.
"Little girl, you've come?" Han Yunxi asked with a smile.
Su Xiaoyu nodded, pleasantly surprised. "Esteemed wangfei, you woke up! Do you want to take a bath? I can help wash you."
She was perfectly fine, so why would she want to take a bath in the middle of the day?