Chapter 341: Truth of the Medicine Fan
The empress dowager stared at the Medicine Fan, her heart stifled to the point her eyes turned red. She couldn't bear to part with it! But soon enough, her wrist started itching again. When she remembered Imperial Physician Huang's advice, she could only hold back her heartache. "Someone come...take this..." After some hesitation, she finally spat it out.
"Someone come, take this Medicine Fan and lock it away in the cabinet!"
The curtain of night fell quickly upon the exhausted empress dowager, who lay on her bed to stare at the tightly locked cabinet. It felt like a knife had sliced through her heart, leaving her bitter and pained. Nightfall would be an unending nightmare for the rest of her life!
Once it grew late, Imperial Physician Huang snuck back to the Duke of Qin's estate. Han Yunxi laughed out loud after hearing his accounts of events at the Palace of Heaven and Earth. Zhao mama and Chu Xifeng were delighted by the news as well. Naturally, all of Imperial Physician Huang's words had spoken on Han Yunxi's instructions! She had poisoned the empress dowager on her first trip into the palace with something called Cicada Incense. This type of poison would only react with the medicinal ingredients sewn onto the Medicine Fan. It had a very low toxicity during the daytime, but it reacted on the scalp when night fell. Thus, one's head would feel unbearably itchy.
Cicada Incense was a rarely seen poison, while the Medicine Fan was a rarely seen medicine. Few people understood them both, much less their combined reactions. Han Yunxi was certain that the empress dowager would start suspecting her and poisons if problems arose, but she was confident that none of the woman's poison masters would be able to detect her poison. If the empress dowager couldn't solve her problem with poison experts, she would only turn to ask the Imperial Physician Courtyard for help again. Besides Gu Beiyue, the the most skilled physician would be Imperial Physician Huang. Naturally, Han Yunxi got to him first to tell him what to do.
"Esteemed wangfei, what a move! This old servant is in admiration, admiration!" Zhao mama had served in the palace for years, but she never knew you could fool with a person like that. Why didn't she know her mistress could be such a black belly?
"Satisfying! Heheh, esteemed wangfei, as this subordinate sees it, the empress dowager won't be able to resist taking out the Medicine Fan again!" Chu Xifeng grinned. When he imagined how the empress dowager would be torn between wanting to use the fan versus afraid to touch its handle in the future, the mental image of her tortured expression was quite cheering!
Han Yunxi turned back to look at the still unconscious Gu Beiyue and murmured, "Gu Beiyue, I've taken revenge in your place. When will you wake up?"
Her words silenced the occupants in the room. Though thoroughly fooling the empress dowager was a cause for celebration, Han Yunxi couldn't truly feel happy when Gu Beiyue still remained unconscious.
"Let me check his pulse again," Imperial Physician Huang said. But before he even sat down, Lil Thing gave a shrill cry from its perch by Gu Beiyue's hand.
"Chee chee! Chee chee!" As it shouted, it pointed at Gu Beiyue's left hand. Han Yunxi glanced over and saw the fingers moving.
"He moved! Imperial Physician Huang, move quick-no, no, I mean, look quickly!" Han Yunxi was so excited that she couldn't even speak in proper sentences.
Imperial Physician Huang was excited as well. He made sure Gu Beiyue's finger was really moving on its own before he pushed open his eyelids to examine the pupils. Lil Thing was the happiest one of all. It jumped right next to Gu Beiyue's face and patted him with its furry paws, hoping to wake him up.
Imperial Physician Huang immediately took out some needles. "Esteemed wangfei, you should all withdraw. This official will try another round of acupuncture and everything should be alright after that."
Han Yunxi was very reluctant. She wanted to say that it wasn't a big deal for a man to go bare-chested, and that she didn't mind the sight since she'd seen plenty of examples already. Yet as soon as she thought of the master of the house, she withdrew with Zhao mama.
Zhao mama couldn't help but say, "Esteemed wangfei, there's something this old servant doesn't know if she should say."
Han Yunxi grew guarded. Zhao mama had always been blunt and straightforward with her. Only Long Feiye would act so cautiously, so what was the matter today? Zhao mama felt helpless before her mistress's expression. "Esteemed wangfei, let this old servant put it plainly. If Imperial Physician Gu wakes up, why don't we send him back home?"
Han Yunxi didn't speak, but continued staring at Zhao mama with arched brows. Zhao mama didn't think she made a mistake anywhere, but Han Yunxi's stare gave her a guilty conscience. She prevaricated for a bit before adding, "Esteemed wangfei, it won't be good for Imperial Physician Gu if news of this spreads under the current political situation. After all, he works for the palace."
Han Yunxi couldn't help but roll her eyes. "If the palace didn't know about our relationship, would they have done this to him in the first place?" She had no idea what Zhao mama was so concerned about. Everyone already knew she was on good terms with Gu Beiyue.
Zhao mama wanted to roll her eyes too. This mistress of hers looked smart, but why was she always so clueless when it came to relationships? Wasn't she worried that the Duke of Qin would be unhappy once he found out Gu Beiyue had been here for days? If it was anything else, Zhao mama would have came out and said it long ago. But this matter concerned His Highness Duke of Qin. She couldn't very well say the Duke of Qin would get mad, could she? Wouldn't that paint her master as an intolerant man? Suppose His Highness Duke of Qin found out she'd said that? What would he think?
Han Yunxi was too lazy to pay Zhao mama any mind. She simply sat on the stone steps and waited while the older woman tried to figure out how to phrase her words. Meanwhile, Chu Xifeng had already helped take off Gu Beiyue's upper robes in the room, and Imperial Physician Huang was currently inserting needles into the patient. Chu Xifeng had also checked Gu Beiyue's hand pulse himself and determined that he wasn't someone who practiced martial arts. Now that Gu Beiyue's torso was bare, Chu Xifeng took the chance to feel around a few more acupuncture points until he came up with the same result: Gu Beiyue didn't know martial arts.
Chu Xifeng had no idea why His Highness Duke of Qin was so fixated on Gu Beiyue, but there was no way he'd make a mistake! How could Gu Beiyue not know martial arts? Chu Xifeng had a hundred unanswered questions, but a few more checks only yielded the same results. In the end, he could only report the truth to the Duke of Qin.
Not long later, Imperial Physician Huang withdrew all of his needles, but Gu Beiyue still hadn't woken up. Han Yunxi was extremely disappointed by the sight when she came in. She assumed he'd regain consciousness immediately.
"How is it?" she asked, worried.
"Esteemed wangfei needn't be anxious. Imperial Physician Gu will wake up by tomorrow morning at the very latest," Imperial Physician Huang was certain. Han Yunxi silently exhaled in relief at his words! Ever since she met the man at General Mu's estate, he had always been helping her out. At the same time, he'd been implicated with her in many things too. If anything happened to Gu Beiyue this time, she would be wracked to death by her guilt.
Lil Thing didn't understand Imperial Physician Huang's words, but when it saw that Gu Beiyue didn't wake up, it jumped onto Han Yunxi and started chittering anxiously.
"Idiot, he'll be fine! Don't worry, he'll wake up tomorrow," Han Yunxi said with a smile.
Lil Thing seemed to understand Han Yunxi's smile, and joyfully leapt into the air. Once again, it darted back to Gu Beiyue's side and started nuzzling him with its head, acting like a spoiled child. Imperial Physician Huang could only marvel at the sight. He privately wondered what sort of treasure this squirrel could be, but he knew better than to ask too many questions at the Duke of Qin's estate.
Han Yunxi was much more relaxed now that they were certain Gu Beiyue would wake. She didn't bother resting all night, much to Zhao mama's pleas, but went to the Han estate's medicine warehouse to look for medicine. Chu Xifeng could only follow behind her as guard. Han Yunxi brought back quite a few nourishing medicines fit for invalids. She tossed a giant bag at Chu Xifeng to carry.
Perhaps Chu Xifeng had been affected by Zhao mama as well, but he grew more unhappy at the sight. On the way back, he couldn't help but say, "Esteemed wangfei, why not leave such good ingredients for yourself?"
"I don't need them," Han Yunxi replied simply.
"Perhaps His Highness Duke of Qin could use them," Chu Xifeng said next.
Han Yunxi grew amused before she lowered her voice. "I kept a lot of nice things for him."
Chu Xifeng had no idea how to continue the conversation.
"Chu Xifeng, you have to stand guard well tonight. Just in case Imperial Physician Gu wakes, you have to tell me immediately!" Han Yunxi ordered seriously. She couldn't help but be prudent with Gu Beiyue so ill.
"This subordinate understands," Chu Xifeng answered absently. Right at that moment, a carriage passed by General Mu's back door, and Han Yunxi took the chance to glance over before she heard two familiar voices coming from inside.
"The crown prince and Mu Qingwu?" Han Yunxi was amazed.
Chu Xifeng quickly turned his back to shield him and Han Yunxi so the occupants wouldn't notice. By the time the carriage was far away, Han Yunxi exclaimed, "Chu Xifeng, just then-I didn't see wrongly, right?"
"It really was those two. Strange!" Chu Xifeng was astonished as well. It was widely known that General Mu was allied with the second imperial son. His display at the birthday banquet had been a blatantly neutral stance. No matter which fact was true, it seemed unlikely that Mu Qingwu would join hands with the crown prince, right?
For what reason had Crown Prince Long Tianmo left the Mu Estate through its back door in the middle of the night?
"Esteemed wangfei, could this be related to Mu Qingwu's task with the soldiers' pay and provisions?" Chu Xifeng guessed. There were still a few days before Mu Qingwu's deadline.
"That's even more impossible!" Han Yunix denied it outright. Mu Qingwu had even come to ask her for help at the estate the other day before they ran into Long Feiye. Long Feiye had already told him critical facts about the situation. It was likely that the imperial uncle's estate had embezzled all the grain and silver from the national coffers. Mu Qingwu should hate the imperial uncle's estate the most-but wasn't the imperial uncle related to the crown prince?
Just what was going on between the two of them? Han Yunxi couldn't figure it out. But she was certain of one thing: if Mu Qingwu and the crown prince became allies, then that meant Long Tianmo would have a trump card up his sleeve. In the struggle between Emperor Tianhui and the Duke of Qin, the crown prince would stand on Emperor Tianhui's side without a doubt.
By the time Han Yunxi and Chu Xifeng returned to the estate, it was almost daybreak. Zhao mama had been personally watching over the gates, and quickly came to receive Han Yunxi as she arrived. "Esteemed wangfei, you've tired yourself out for an entire night. Hurry and go back to rest."
"How is Gu Beiyue doing? Any progress?" Han Yunxi asked in concern.
"He's moved a few times. Lil Thing is keeping watch over him, so it'll know if a wind so much as stirs the grass there. Esteemed wangfei needn't worry," Zhao mama only had one goal, and that was to send esteemed wangfei back to the Leisurely Cloud Pavilion to sleep. Unfortunately, Han Yunxi only had Gu Beiyue on her mind.
"It's almost daylight, I'm not sleeping."
Now Zhao mama lost her temper and blurted out, "Esteemed wangfei, if you keep acting like this, His Highness won't be happy!"