Faced with Princess Changping's yelling, Han Yunxi put on her most serious doctor's expression instead of arguing. It was a face that was both calm and somewhat stern, filled with an authority that gave people a sense of security. Instead of answering the questions, she lightly stroked Princess Changping's face to quiet her down. Even the empress grew nervous and afraid to ask.
Han Yunxi touched the right side, then the left. According to the latest results of her scanners, Princess Changping should have another reaction very soon. She stayed calm as she stroked her for a long time while Princess Changping and the empress grew increasingly anxious. Yet neither of them dared to open their mouths and ask questions, much less make impertinent remarks. Even Gu Beiyue, who was standing outside the bed curtain, was starting to feel a little uneasy. He knew that Han Yunxi could treat poisons, but he wasn't sure if she could cure the one on Princess Changping's face. At most, he'd just recommended her.
In an instant, the atmosphere had turned tense!
And yet, Han Yunxi suddenly withdrew her hand as if frightened, before rising and backing away with a cry of alarm. "Heavens! The poison's changed, it's going to turn contagious soon!"
Hearing this, the empress backed away in fear of her life. All the surrounding court ladies did the same in terror. This was truly horrifying!
Not just the princess, but anyone with an infectious disease (including the emperor) would be taken away from the palace and shut up in a separate hall. If they couldn't be cured, then they wouldn't be able to return for the rest of their lives. Princess Changping gave a jerk before wailing loudly in fright, "I don't want to! Don't want to! Wahh...muhou, save me! I don't want anyone to send me away! I don't!"
The empress was the one that had retreated furthest away, so tense that her face had turned white. "Yunxi, can you treat her or not?"
Han Yunxi avoided the question as her expression turned imposing. "It seems like the poison's going to act up again."
Sure enough, as soon as she spoke, Princess Changping began to struggle. "Itchy! Muhou, my face is starting to itch again! Let me go!"
"Free my hands!"
"Muhou, why don't you help me scratch it instead? I'm begging you!"
Very soon, her legs started to itch too. But they were tied up as well, and no amount of kicking could help her get free. Upon seeing this, everyone was amazed. They hadn't expected Han Yunxi to really have the skills to pinpoint the poison flare-up time. The empress was scared to death and didn't dare come forward. She tugged on Han Yunxi's hand as spoke, "You really guessed the right time! Yunxi, you're too formidable. You must have some way to save Changping, right?"
"Yunxi, a contagious disease is no small matter. You have a way, don't you?"
If news of this got out, it wouldn't be just Princess Changping, but the empress as well who had to be taken far away. Even if the empress didn't catch the illness, it'd take her a year before she could see the emperor again! Within the palace, how many eyes watched and coveted her position? She couldn't afford to lose a year.
"Save me...muhou, hurry and let her save me!"
"I'm going to itch to death, which one of you can help me?"
"Imperial father...sob...I want to see imperial father!"
Princess Changping tossed and turned, too tormented to speak. Only now did Han Yunxi push aside the empress's hand with a serious tone. "I'll try."
"Good, good!" the empress nodded her head.
Han Yunxi walked over to sit by Princess Changping's side. Seeing this, everyone grew anxious and stared. Would this woman really have a solution? Princess Changping was shouting insanely, using all her strength to shake her head and twist her body. When she saw Han Yunxi, she gathered her senses and cursed her. "It's all you! Everything's because of you!"
"You're the one that left me in this state!"
"I'm warning you, if you can't save me then my muhou won't forgive you!"
"Changping!" the empress's tone was severe. "What kind of drivel are you spewing?" She was about to apologize to Han Yunxi when the latter raised her hand for silence. The empress grew quiet, but Princess Changping became ever crazier.
"Han Yunxi, if you..."
And yet before she finished, Han Yunxi placed a salve on her face. In an instant, Princess Changping shut her mouth, her eyes bulging open in disbelief.
The place where it touched was ice-cold and not a bit itchy!
"If I...what?" Han Yunxi asked in a low voice.
Princess Changping was thrown for a second before shaking her head. "No...nothing..."
Han Yunxi applied the ointment on another patch of poison rash, its refreshing coolness better than even turning into an immortal. Princess Changping sucked in a deep breath before exhaling and sighing with emotion. "It feels so comfortable!"
"Right?" Han Yunxi smiled as she asked.
Princess Changping only nodded her head. "I want more! Even more!"
Han Yunxi seemed to hesitate, looking somewhat reluctant. Princess Changping was very nervous as she saw the giant bottle of ointment in Han Yunxi's hands. She didn't bother with pride as she entreated, "Imperial Aunt Qin, I'm begging you, please! I was wrong, I brought everything on myself. I was wrong, please save me!"
The empress grew anxious as well. "Yunxi, Changping's still young and doesn't know how to act. If she's wronged you in any aspect, please don't take it to heart!"
Han Yunxi turned around. "Esteemed empress must be speaking in jest. Why would Yunxi bear a grudge against the younger generation? It's just that there are cuts on her face, so I'm afraid of leaving scars if I use this ointment. That's why I hesitated." She sat at the foot of the bed, applying medicine to Changping as she spoke in earnest. "Let's stop the itching in the legs first. As for the face, I suggest that the princess bear with it for a bit so she doesn't ruin her looks. I'll do my best to create an antidote before the poison turns contagious."
Hearing this, the empress finally sighed in relief. "Excellent, excellent!" She proceeded to tell Changping, "Just endure it a while longer! If your face is ruined, your Qingwu gege won't want you anymore!"
Princess Changping was noticeably tearing up. "Finefinefine! I'll endure, I can bear it...sobs...I've already endured so many times."
She did her best to focus on the cooling sensations from her legs. But even though she said she'd endured, her hands still struggled against their bonds. It really was too itchy to bear!
After applying the salve, Han Yunxi only said one thing. "She might be contagious during this period of time, so it's better not to approach her too often."
Her words undoubtedly sent Princess Changping to the depths of hell. There was no such thing as pure familial affection in the palace. The empress wouldn't come to visit Princess Changping, leaving only a few court ladies to wait upon her. Even Han Yunxi had left her behind. Seeing her retreating form, Princess Changping was filled with hate. But she didn't know for how many days she still needed to suffer.
Before they reached the guest hall, the empress was already asking questions. "Yunxi, what exactly was that poison?"
"Poison rash, probably picked up from the prison. That place is too filthy and filled with toxins." Han Yunxi spoke, pretending to be thoughtful. "Esteemed empress, the princess is the golden branch and jade leaf. If there's nothing to do, don't let her run off to the prisons instead."
Of course the empress knew of the princess's torture methods that night in the prison cells. Faced with Han Yunxi's taunt, she couldn't help it when her face turned red from irritation and embarrassment. Still, she had to grit her teeth and bear it. On one side, Gu Beiyue stealthily shot Han Yunxi a glance as he smiled. This woman really didn't take any losses. Those who owed her would eventually find themselves paying her back.
It was a long time before the empress spoke again. "How long until she recovers?"
"She'll be well as soon as the poison's treated. I'll write a prescription for the antidote, so have someone collect the ingredients immediately." Han Yunxi walked through the doors as she spoke, while the empress quickly followed, ordering someone to bring brush and ink to serve her.
A typical antidote only needed a few ingredients, but Han Yunxi wrote down a whole list of them, enough to fill two sheets of paper. There were quite a few rare and precious ingredients within them as well. The empress couldn't understand it, but Gu Beiyue couldn't resist a smile when he read through the list.
Was this woman really writing a prescription for an antidote?
She was clearly looting a burning house! Many of these items were mutually exclusive ingredients that couldn't be mixed together in the same medicine. In the end, when Gu Beiyue thought that Han Yunxi was finished, she took out a third sheet of paper and wrote down the final ingredient: ten-seasons cicada slough.
These cicada sloughs were skins left behind by molting cicadas and commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine. But a typical cicada only shed nine-season skins. A ten-season skin cicada was a rare thing. The empress didn't understand these things, but the gaze of the experienced storehouse user Gu Beiyue turned momentarily complicated, although he kept his composure.
"Esteemed empress, this is the prescription. Please gathered the ingredients listed as quickly as possible. I will boil the antidote myself," Han Yunxi's face was full of sincerity.
The empress promptly passed on the prescription to Gu Beiyue. "Imperial Physician Gu, I'll leave this to you. Be sure to get everything on the list." The empress had really thought too simply about everything, but it wasn't her fault. Didn't the palace have all sorts of medicinal ingredients?
Gu Beiyue nodded his head and left. The afternoon of the same day, he'd collected all the necessary ingredients on the list for Han Yunxi except the ten-seasons cicada sloughs.
"The palace doesn't have these?" the empress was incredulous. "Did you search carefully?"
"Esteemed empress, this official can verify that we have none in the storehouse." As Gu Beiyue spoke, he looked towards Han Yunxi before continuing. "The ten-seasons cicada slough is a priceless item equal to the worth of several cities. Only two have existed so far, with one in the hands of empress of Northern Li Country, and the other..."
"Where is it?" the empress grew testy.
"This official only knows that it's in Grand Concubine Yi's hands, but I don't know if it's been used yet." Gu Beiyue replied honestly.
"It's with mufei?" Han Yunxi looked astonished.
All right, so she knew long before. Otherwise, she wouldn't have added it to the list. She saw it in Grand Concubine Yi's rooms where it had been mounted as a work of art. Rumors had it that she was saving it for Murong Wanru's dowry so that the girl was happy every time she saw it.
This left the empress in a difficult position. It wasn't easy to get something off of Grand Concubine Yi. After a while, the empress asked sincerely, "Yunxi, why don't you speak with your mufei about it?"
Han Yunxi heaved a sigh. "Esteemed empress, my mufei is honest and kindhearted. She'd definitely help if it can save a life, it's just..."
The empress anxiously waited for her to continue.
"Aye...if I go to demand it, won't I have to let her know about Changping's illness? But neither you or Changping will let me tell," Han Yunxi was really in an awkward position. These words made the empress realize the severity of the situation. A cold look flashed past her eyes as she wondered whether Han Yunxi was doing this on purpose. After Han Yunxi cured Changping and went home, Grand Concubine Yi would no doubt ask her questions. By then, she'd be stuck between two difficult decisions: telling all and offending the empress, or keeping silent and making Grand Concubine Yi unhappy.
If she went to ask for the cicada slough now, then it'd be the same as the empress giving her permission to tell Grand Concubine Yi the truth. Nobody could blame her then. The empress was filled with indignation at Han Yunxi's cleverness. She really had underestimated her.
Seeing the empress hesitate, Han Yunxi waited patiently. Actually, she had an antidote from modern times currently in her medical pouch. She just took the chance to grab some precious ingredients as her consultation fee while resolving the troubles with Grand Concubine Yi, all the better to pave her way for the future.
 looting a burning house (????) - chen huo dajie, to take advantage of someone's misfortune to do him harm, a fish in troubled waters.
 cicada sloughs (??) - chantui, the molted skin of cicadas, a common ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine used to dispel wind and heat from the body.