Chapter 336: Asking you 'til you're speechless
The empress dowager was so anxious to get Han Yunxi's "good thing" that she discarded her sickly state to look energetic. There were still multiple itchy places on her body, which she scratched haphazardly without paying it any attention.
How could Han Yunxi give up her object so easily? She smiled coldly in her heart as she spoke. "Esteemed Empress Dowager, my 'good thing' can't be used on a whim. I'll have to examine your body first."
"I've been tormented by insomnia for ages. Not only am I unable to sleep, but I'm plagued with aches and pains!" the empress dowager complained as she offered her wrist for Han Yunxi to take her pulse.
Han Yunxi carelessly took the pulse. "Judging from Esteemed Empress Dowager's pulse, you've probably used acupuncture treatments for multiple days?"
Imperial Physician Chen hadn't had a chance to report to the palace yet, so the empress dowager had no idea of what happened in the Duke of Qin's estate. She simply admired Han Yunxi silently for her 'skills.' This girl's not only good with poisons, but medicine as well. She can tell I've undergone acupuncture treatments just by taking my pulse.
"Mm, what is it? Were the wrong needles used?" the empress dowager asked leisurely. With Gu Beiyue kneeling outside and Han Yunxi sitting here, she had no need to rush.
"There was no mistake. Judging from Esteemed Empress Dowager's pulse, the needles were used exceptionally well. They shouldn't cause you any pain! I don't know what kind of medicine Esteemed Empress Dowager's been taking?" Han Yunxi would rather take Gu Beiyue away right then and there. She didn't want to waste time with the empress dowager.
The empress dowager immediately had Gui mama come over with her prescription. Imperial Physician Chen had prescribed the medicine, and Gu Beiyue had reviewed the formula before starting acupuncture treatment. The empress dowager would like to see just how much skills Han Yunxi had. Would she be able to pinpoint a problem in the prescription next?
Han Yunxi only skimmed the contents before she suddenly exclaimed, "Aiya! Oh no!"
"What is it?" the empress dowager didn't object to her outburst.
Han Yunxi gave a long exhale. "Things have gotten complicated. Much more complicated!"
Even though the empress dowager knew Han Yunxi might be just pretending, she still felt nervous at the other's imposing expression. Quickly, she asked, "What is it? Is there a problem with the prescription?"
"There's no problem with the prescription, but if it's used in conjunction with my good thing, then..."
Han Yunxi trailed off, and the empress dowager grew impatient. "What? Is it unusable?" She had been searching for the Medicine Fan for years, and naturally knew it was a type of medicine as well. Because of that, it couldn't be used as one pleased.
Gu Beiyue's acupuncture treatments had been done to match with Imperial Physician Chen's prescription. Moreover, Gu Beiyue had clearly told her that she had to keep taking her medicine while undergoing his treatment to prevent any negative effects. She'd secretly stopped taking her medicine two days ago, thus causing painful aches all over her body. Of course, she'd asked Imperial Physician Chen about such effects in secret beforehand, and he said it wouldn't harm her beyond some pain and discomfort. The empress dowager originally thought Han Yunxi would use the prescription to absolve Gu Beiyue of blame, but this very same formula was now hurting her chances at the coveted Medicine Fan.
It would be strange if she wasn't panicking!
"Esteemed Empress Dowager, did you really eat the medicine from this prescription?" Han Yunxi asked with furrowed brows.
"I really did!" the empress dowager grew serious as well.
"This..." Han Yunxi looked worried as she muttered to herself, "It's troublesome."
The Medicine Fan she'd longed for for the past ten years was nearly within reach. If she was going to lose it because of a detail like this, wouldn't the empress dowager be stifled to death? She was truly scared by Han Yunxi and asked, "Yunxi, just what's the matter?"
"It's very troublesome! Esteemed Empress Dowager, how much of this medicine have you used so far?"
Han Yunxi's respectful features emanated an unmistakable air of authority. The empress dowager didn't think twice, but replied truthfully, "I've used it for three days since starting my acupuncture treatment. Then I had two days of acupuncture treatment where I didn't take any medicine at all!"
Finally, Han Yunxi exhaled, "So that's it!"
"Just what's going on? Speak!" the empress dowager was alarmed. Gui mama was worried as well.
"Esteemed wangfei, just stop sighing. Hurry and tell us, what's the matter?"
But Han Yunxi's worried expression suddenly morphed into a face full of smiles. "If you didn't take your medicine in the last two days, then there's no problem! You're very lucky, Esteemed Empress Dowager!"
"That's good then, that's good," the empress dowager breathed a sigh of relief as she smiled at Gui mama. Both master and servant rejoiced.
A cold gleam flashed through Han Yunxi's eyes before she said, "Esteemed Empress Dowager, I expect that Imperial Physician Gu told you to keep taking your medicine during the acupuncture treatment. Otherwise, your body would ache. You stopped taking medicine for two days, yet you still made Imperial Physician Gu kneel outside for three days and three nights. Isn't that a little inappropriate?"
The empress dowager suddenly stopped smiling when she realized that Han Yunxi had tricked her! She slapped the table and roared, "What a Han Yunxi! You actually dared to make a fool out of me!"
Han Yunxi wasn't afraid. She stood up and asked, "How did chenqie trick Esteemed Empress Dowager?"
The empress dowager was left at a loss for words. She never knew all her years of experience at the harem would end with her tripping before this slip of a girl. She was truly discontent, but Han Yunxi's trap was on point. There was no hole for her to poke through the ironclad defense.
"Esteemed Empress Dowager, since Imperial Physician Gu didn't do anything wrong, shouldn't you let him go now?" Han Yunxi asked next.
The empress dowager wasn't so easy to deal with. "I found Imperial Physician Gu to treat my insomnia. If he's incapable of curing me, then he has to kneel outside!"
"Esteemed Empress Dowager, if chenqie recalled, Imperial Physician Gu's grandfather already prescribed a cure for you in his day with the Medicine Fan," Han Yunxi said coldly.
"So what if he did?" the empress dowager knew it. Han Yunxi had taken out that Medicine Fan at her birthday banquet on purpose!
"Since the prescription already exists, it's the medicine storehouse's responsibility to seek out the ingredients. What does that have to do with the doctor who examined you?" Han Yunxi pressed on. She didn't have time to keep wasting Gu Beiyue's life with their small talk!
When the empress dowager saw Han Yunxi's sharp eyes and chilly expression, she couldn't help but be reminded of Long Feiye. Even though husband and wife had different personalities, they were quite similar when they lost their tempers. This was her first time truly witnessing Han Yunxi's glib tongue and it left her speechless.
Still, she was quick to shift the blame. "Han Yunxi, what kind of tone are you using? You certainly have guts speaking to me like that!"
Han Yunxi didn't care about her high-and-mighty attitude. Coldly she replied, "Esteemed Empress Dowager, chenqie's so-called 'good thing' is precisely the Medicine Fan. However, chenqie came in such a rush that I didn't bring it with me. Why don't you send someone to come back with chenqie and take it!"
The empress dowager had said and done so much, but all she wanted was these very words from Han Yunxi's mouth! She cast her unhappiness aside, the delight in her eyes impossible to hide as she cried, "Gui mama, go back with esteemed wangfei!"
"Since Imperial Physician Gu's done nothing wrong, shouldn't he be able to leave as well?" Han Yunxi asked next.
The Medicine Fan was the empress dowager's true goal. Moreover, Gu Beiyue had already knelt for three days and three nights, so she wasn't in the mood to prolong her troubles.
"Let him leave, then. At least I won't be vexed by the sight of him any longer!" she said, disdainfully waving a hand.
Once Han Yunxi left, the empress dowager scratched her arm and thighs. Soon enough, her itchiness disappeared. She didn't notice anything abnormal about it, but waited with an expectant heart for Gui mama to come back with the Medicine Fan.
Han Yunxi rushed towards Gu Beiyue as soon as she left the palace. She wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled him to his feet. Gu Beiyue was weak and listless, but still tried his best to speak. "Esteemed wangfei....this is impermissible...impermissible..."
"Shut up!" Han Yunxi scolded. He's already so weak, but he's still wasting strength to speak?
Chu Xifeng stared blankly, uncertain how to help. Zhao mama caught up and quickly said, "Esteemed wangfei, let this old servant do it! Let me help!"
Only then did Chu Xifeng recover his wits and hurry forward. He was strong, so he quickly wrested Gu Beiyue from Han Yunxi's hands and firmly supported him up. Meanwhile, the ever enduring Gu Beiyue finally lost consciousness.
Zhao mama silently exhaled. Thankfully, His Highness hadn't witnessed what had just happened. Otherwise, both her and Chu Xifeng would come to grief. In the midst of her rejoicing, she noticed Gu Beiyue's thin face, which was ashen white to the point of turning purple. His lips were completely colorless. His silent expression and smooth brows were so still that it seemed like he would never wake up.
Even Zhao mama felt her heart ache at the sight. Three days and three nights, ah. This child, how did he bear it all? Chu Xifeng was a strong man, but he couldn't bear the sight either, and took off his outer robes to drape them around Gu Beiyue's body. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi's eyes had already turned red with tears.
She cast a cold glance at the palace and said, "We're leaving!"
Honorable Empress Dowager Li, so what if you've had insomnia for years? Your nightmare is just beginning!
Han Yunxi brought Gu Beiyue directly back to the Duke of Qin's estate and settled him in a guesthouse. A young pageboy immediately changed him into a set of clean clothes, only to discover that both of his knees had turned dark with bruises. Han Yunxi made Gui mama wait in the hall while she took Gu Beiyue's pulse and made up a prescription. Then she had Zhao mama hurry and make the medicine. Judging by his pulse, Gu Beiyue was not only suffering from a serious chill, but also starving. His reserves of energy were almost completely exhausted! His essence qi hadn't being majorly hurt, but massively injured!
This was the first time that Han Yunxi had checked Gu Beiyue's pulse so seriously. She discovered that this man really had terrible health. Just as he said, he was a chronic invalid. She couldn't imagine how such a weak body had withstood the last three days and nights. When the medicine finally arrived, Han Yunxi ignored Gui mama further to dispel Gu Beiyue's chill with acupuncture needles, thus preserving his vitality.
Lil Thing had spent the past few days sneaking out to play. When it reached the front gates of the Duke of Qin's estate, it immediately smelled a familiar scent. Thrilled beyond words, it shot off like an arrow towards the guesthouse. And yet as soon as it leapt through the window and saw the unconscious gentlemen on the bed, it froze in place. It was a long time before it rubbed its eyes to look again. Then it rushed over and chittered at Gu Beiyue while circling around him.
"Don't make a racket!" Han Yunxi was very stern.
Lil Thing immediately shut up, its face full of confusion. It sniffed Gu Beiyue a few times before glancing at Han Yunxi. Just a few days ago, it'd given medicine to this man, but why was he like this now? This man had been nursing serious injuries for a long time, so he should've recovered with the medicine. He was also supposed to take care of his body after that! Who could tell it just what was going on?
"Chee chee!" Lil Thing suddenly chittered loudly.
"I told you to be quiet, didn't you hear me?" Han Yunxi said angrily. She was so serious that it was frightening.
Lil Thing's mouth drew into a line as it sat watching on the side. Slowly, tears began to stream down its face.
Gentleman, what's happened to you? Won't you smile a bit?