Chapter 335: Distressed to the point of rage
Han Yunxi had been spending her time researching Beauty's Blood at home. But today, a Imperial Physician Chen1 had suddenly requested an audience, saying how Gu Beiyue had been kneeling in front of the empress dowager's Palace of Heaven and Earth for three days and three nights because he couldn't cure her insomnia.
Han Yunxi felt unwell all over at the news. She barely restrained herself from running to the palace immediately! After all, it'd been raining nonstop for the past three days. The season was just approaching the beginning of winter. Leaving aside how cold the rain must be, there was the fact that the floor before the Palace of Heaven and Earth was paved in white jade. Nobody's knees could take that kind of surface for long. She couldn't imagine how weak a chronic invalid like Gu Beiyue must be now!
"Insomnia!" Han Yunxi narrowed her eyes with a dangerous expression. She knew the empress dowager was aiming at her-or more accurately, at the Medicine Fan in her hands! Instead of asking her outright, she'd used Gu Beiyue against her. How despicable! Even then, the old woman had actually made him kneel for three days and three nights before sending someone to tell her!
Han Yunxi grew more and more furious at the thought before she swept her teacup off the table. It shattered on the ground against Imperial Physician Chen's legs. Despite this, the man still continued on his road of ruin. He feigned anxiety and cried, "Esteemed wangfei, please calm your anger! Please calm your anger! Esteemed wangfei, this official snuck out to tell you the news. You must remain calm and find a way to rescue Imperial Physician Gu!"
Any other imperial physician might have come with true intentions to help out Gu Beiyue, but Han Yunxi didn't recognize this Imperial Physician Chen at all. He was obviously sent here by the empress dowager. She glared at him, and he quickly stammered, "Esteemed wangfei, the empress dowager has always suffered from insomnia. Moreover, she's lost sleep over her missing presents over the past few days, so she's in a horrible mood. I don't know what other torments she'll think up for Imperial Physician Gu!"
"Is that so?" Han Yunxi picked up the teapot full of tea and threw it at Imperial Physician Chen. "Then why did you wait until now? You only showed up after three days and three nights? What do you mean by that?"
Imperial Physician Chen was hit in the stomach, causing his face to distort from the pain. Still, he continued to pretend. "Esteemed wangfei, please calm your anger. There was no way for this official to leave the palace until today."
"You couldn't leave the palace? How convenient!" Han Yunxi humphed.
"That's right, esteemed wangfei. This official has known Imperial Physician Gu for many years, we're-"
Han Yunxi didn't wait for him to finish before she was throwing everything on the table at Imperial Physician Chen. "Many years of what? You still have the face to say it!"
"The empress dowager sent you, didn't she? Tell me what's going on right now, or else..." Han Yunxi paused before she raised her voice. "Someone come, shut the doors and bring in the dog!"
Steward Luo kept a wolfdog in the estate that nobody could provoke, save for the Duke of Qin and Qin Wangfei. Very soon, the large dog was led inside, his sharp teeth protruding from between his drooling mouth. Scared to death, Imperial Physician Chen fell to his knees. "Esteemed wangfei, please calm your anger! This official will talk! This official will tell you anything!"
Han Yunxi exhaled and finally told herself to calm down. Before she went blindly into the palace, she had to figure out just what had happened. Otherwise, how could she fight against the empress dowager? Even since she revealed the Medicine Fan at the birthday banquet, she'd been waiting for the empress dowager to make her move. The empress dowager was an intelligent woman, so she'd never ask Han Yunxi for it outright. Otherwise, Han Yunxi could refuse her with plenty of ready excuses. For example, she could say the fan in her hands was nothing more than an imitation, or that she'd already used the fan as an ingredient in one of her creations, things like that. Then the empress dowager would be helpless to do anything against her.
She always knew the old woman would cause her trouble, but she never expected her to target Gu Beiyue. While Imperial Physician Chen trembled in fear on the ground, an impatient Han Yunxi said coldly, "Why aren't you hurrying up and explaining yet?"
"Esteemed wangfei, this servant has always been in charge of the empress dowager's insomnia medication. Ever since the birthday banquet ended, the empress dowager's been seeking out Imperial Physician Gu to do acupuncture and moxibustion to help her sleep. Imperial Physician Gu says that the treatment has to match with this official's prescription so as to avoid any negative effects. But three days ago, the empress dowager secretly stopped taking her medicine. Then her body began to ache all over, and in a fit of temper she penalized Imperial Physician Gu."
Imperial Physician Chen might not have said a thing without the dog's sharp teeth staring him in the face. He'd rather Gu Beiyue die altogether! That man had become the Head Imperial Physician while still very young. None of the factions in the palace could draw him to their side. Aside from people in the palace, there were plenty of doctors in the Imperial Physician Courtyard awaiting his downfall!
"The empress dowager sent you?" Han Yunxi asked coldly.
Imperial Physician Chen didn't want to admit it, but could only nod his head.
"What has that old woman prepared for me?" Han Yunxi asked next.
"This official doesn't know. Esteemed Empress Dowager only told this official to pass on the message to esteemed wangfei," Imperial Physician Chen replied truthfully.
"Is Imperial Physician Gu still kneeling outside?" Han Yunxi continued to question.
"He's still kneeling, still kneeling." Imperial Physician Chen didn't dare dive into details, but Han Yunxi purposely asked for specifics.
"He's been kneeling for three days and three nights, but has he had a change of clothes? Or eaten or drank anything? Has he been in the rain the entire time?"
"Esteemed wangfei, you should hurry to the palace instead. This official is afraid that Imperial Physician Gu won't be able to hold out for much longer!" Imperial Physician Chen was probably more worried that the empress dowager would be unhappy if Han Yunxi came late, wasn't he?
"Fine, then this wangfei will head for the palace immediately!" Han Yunxi left as soon as she spoke, leaving behind Imperial Physician Chen, Steward Luo, and the giant wolfdog in the hall.
Imperial Physician Chen was about to get up when Steward Luo laughed and said, "Imperial Physician Chen, my family's wangfei never gave you permission to rise!" When he finished, the large wolfdog even barked a few times to back him up. Imperial Physician Chen wanted to cry, but he had no tears. He could only remain kneeling in the hall.
Inside the carriage, Han Yunxi sat with her eyes closed, deep in thought. Her elegant face was drawn into a stern expression. Zhao mama kept shooting Chu Xifeng meaningful looks. She'd been unhappy ever since that Imperial Physician Gu had come to the estate to check esteemed wangfei's pulse and treat her illnesses. Judging from Zhao mama's old, shrewd eyes, Imperial Physician Gu definitely harbored feelings for esteemed wangfei.
Chu Xifeng was too lazy to pay Zhao mama any attention. As he saw it, nobody in the world possessed a charm quite like His Highness Duke of Qin. Esteemed wangfei was so smitten with His Highness that she'd probably never spare another man a second glance.
"Esteemed wangfei, how do you plan to deal with this? Don't blame this old servant for the reminder, but His Highness isn't in the capital. We shouldn't provoke that pair in the palace," Zhao mama said seriously.
Both the empress dowager and Emperor Tianhui had plenty of ways to cause esteemed wangfei trouble. Their noble ranks were already enough to suppress everyone else beneath them. The reason that esteemed wangfei hadn't gotten into trouble already was because the Duke of Qin was blocking most of the pressure. With an adequate handle on the situation, neither the empress dowager nor Emperor Tianhui would touch His Highness, especially after what happened at the birthday banquet. They politely yielded three parts to him-or rather, they fearfully yielded three parts to him.
Han Yunxi didn't speak, but the set of her jaw revealed a face full of discontent. Soon enough, Chu Xifeng had to speak up as well. "Esteemed wangfei, His Highness told you to stay at the estate."
Finally, Han Yunxi replied. "Don't worry. I'm not the one who's going to be in trouble. Only a certain someone!"
Zhao mama and Chu Xifeng exchanged glances. They suddenly realized that their mistress could be just as cold as His Highness Duke of Qin! Was she always like this when she was ruthless? Or had His Highness Duke of Qin rubbed off on her after the two of them spent time together?
Very soon, Han Yunxi reached the Palace of Heaven and Earth. The first thing she saw upon stepping through the doors was Gu Beiyue's thin and lonely back. He was a single, solitary figure kneeling amidst the white jade tiles, red palace walls, and green roof tile. His dark hair and white robes were still dripping with water!
Han Yunxi's heart tightened as she felt too pained to even breathe!
If she could, she'd rush right over to help him. But she couldn't. She had to keep her cool.
Old Dowager, this time I'm going to make you regret until your insides turn green!
Han Yunxi took a deep breath before she strode forward with large strides. She didn't even pause for a second by Gu Beiyue, much less say anything, but went straight on inside. And yet, it was Gu Beiyue who spoke up to her.
"Esteemed wangfei, this official is fine. You mustn't be rash."
His voice was so weak that it sounded almost like nothing! The pain in Han Yunxi's heart intensified. She didn't even dare to look at him, afraid that the sight would make her lose her reason for real. Gu Beiyue was such a good doctor and a gentle man. Where had he ever gone wrong?
"Don't worry, I'll be out very soon. I'll take you with me when I leave!" Han Yunxi's tone was decisive!
She didn't linger, but entered the palace halls. Inside, the empress dowager was taking a doze on a long couch. When Gui mama saw Han Yunxi and the rest come in, she quickly made a silencing motion towards them.
"She's just fallen asleep after tossing and turning!" Gui mama whispered.
"What tossing and turning?" Han Yunxi met a plot with a plot by pretending not to understand.
"Isn't it the same old problem again? Insomnia! Imperial Physician Gu tried acupuncture, but it only caused pain all over her body," Gui mama explained.
"No wonder Imperial Physician Gu's kneeling outside," Han Yunxi said as she sat down on one side.
"Esteemed wangfei, the empress dowager might sleep for a bit longer," Gui mama murmured in a low voice.
How long was 'a bit longer?' The longer she slept, the longer Gu Beiyue would have to keep kneeling outside!
"Let her sleep, then. I'll wait." Han Yunxi wore a beautiful smile, but her eyes were cold. Gui mama stood watch by the couch, while Zhao mama stood waiting behind Han Yunxi. Chu Xifeng remained outside. The entire room was very quiet.
But it didn't take long for the empress dowager to feel restless. For some reason, she felt itchy all over her body, though she couldn't pinpoint exactly where. She was originally planning to wait until nightfall before acknowledging Han Yunxi, but the itchiness forced her to sit up and scratch.
Han Yunxi rose to her feet with a slight smile. "Esteemed Empress Dowager, so you've woken up?"
The empress dowager felt itchy, but it wasn't unbearable yet. She simply smiled back. "Ah, so Yunxi's come? How long have you been here? Why didn't you wake me up?"
"I've just arrived. Yunxi heard that you've been suffering from insomnia for a while, so I personally paid a trip to the palace to call on you," Han Yunxi said before purposely sitting next to her. Those who didn't know any better might even assume they were very intimate!
"Aye, it's still my old ailment. Recently, it's gotten worse!" the empress dowager supported her head with her hands and sighed helpless.
"Is it that serious? Even Imperial Physician Gu can't do anything?" Han Yunxi asked earnestly.
"Hmph, that Gu Beiyue! He used needles on me for a few days and left me wracked with pain! I don't even know how he became Head Imperial Physician!" the empress dowager said hatefully.
But Han Yunxi simply said, "Esteemed Empress Dowager, Yunxi didn't know your insomnia was that severe. Yunxi has something good! It's specially used to treat insomnia!"
At Han Yunxi's words, the empress dowager's gaze turned shrewd. She knew that it wouldn't be easy to ask Han Yunxi for the Medicine Fan outright. Using Gu Beiyue to get it was much better!
Thus, she continued to play pretend. "What kind of good thing? Hurry and let me have a look!"
1. Imperial Physician Chen () - Chen is a surname that means "lay out, put on display, explain."