Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru couldn't wait for Han Yunxi to disappoint the emperor and get punished as a result. It would be best if she was declared useless and never came back. This was especially true for Murong Wanru, who had spread the rumors in the first place to chase her out. Instead, they'd stirred the interest of the emperor. With him here to take care of this woman was the best thing. The emperor had forced Long Feiye to wed her, so if the emperor cast her away, wouldn't that be the perfect scenario?
Han Yunxi unconsciously looked towards Long Feiye, only to see that man sitting as lofty as ever with a cool expression on his face. He was so aloof that it was almost scary. Maybe he was taking pleasure in this misfortune as well, hoping to get rid of this official wife of his.
"Esteemed wangfei, since it was too late tonight, the emperor told his servant to come call on you first and rest well. Tomorrow morning, this servant will come pick you up."
Eunuch Xue stood up as he spoke, with Grand Concubine hurrying to follow. "Eunuch Xue, it took so much effort to come. Why don't you eat something before you go?"
"Many thanks for grand imperial concubine's kindness, but this servant needs to report back to the palace. Esteemed wangfei, your highness, the Duke of Qin, I shall take my leave." Even after this, Eunuch Xue didn't forget to remind Han Yunxi, "Don't delay too much tomorrow morning, esteemed wangfei. The emperor wants to see you as soon as morning assembly is over."
"I'll remember. Eunuch Xue take care," Han Yunxi was natural and at ease, her face full of smiles. But her heart was completely cold.
A man with a pregnancy pulse?
Don't mention the past, it'd be strange even in modern times! She probably couldn't even treat major illnesses, much less odd ones! Han Yunxi could ignore the rumors outside, but she couldn't overlook the emperor's expectations. Just from Eunuch Xue's words, she could tell that Emperor Tianhui had great hopes for her medical craft. If she refused, it'd be not giving the emperor face. But if she didn't refuse and couldn't find a cure, then what happened afterwards would all be up to the emperor's whims.
It was said that Emperor Tianhui had a bad temper.
The empress had made a stormy sea stormier behind the scenes. If she didn't cure the crown prince, she could well imagine the consequences.
After sending Eunuch Xue off, Grand Concubine Yi acted as if nothing had happened at all before pressing, "Wanru, hurry and ask for the meal. Your elder brother must be hungry."
Her mood was excellent as she glanced at Han Yunxi in a rare moment of kindness. "Yunxi, you should eat with mufei as well. Eat well and go back to sleep, you mustn't be late tomorrow."
Although Han Yunxi's heart was cold, she still nodded with a slight smile. Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru wanted to laugh at her, did they? She wouldn't let them! The two of them were eagerly attentive at the dinner table, giving Long Feiye all sorts of dishes and soups. Long Feiye neither ate very much nor said a word from the beginning to the end. The thoroughly neglected Han Yunxi had her chopsticks hanging from her hand as she took large bites of food and soup.
Forget it, fortune and misfortune weren't things she could avoid. She'd act accordingly to the circumstances when tomorrow came...
Han Yunxi ate and drank well, expecting to sleep well, too. Sadly, she tossed and turned all night in the bed before giving up to lean against the window, spacing out while wrapped up in her covers. It was then that she discovered Long Feiye's rooms were still lit. That guy is still awake this late? What could be keeping him up?
Somehow, the words he'd spoken previously suddenly appeared in her mind: 'Your lordship is here and forbids you from being scared!'
In an instant, Han Yunxi felt an impulse to run over and ask him, 'Can you come with me to the palace one more time, just like that time we went to pay respects?'
Except, recalling his icy silence, her bright eyes suddenly turned dark and she gave up the idea. Taking a deep breath, Han Yunxi closed the windows and told herself, 'It's no big deal. Don't be scared!'
Even though she didn't sleep at all that night, Han Yunxi still got up very early the next day. She let little Chen Xiang meticulously dress her up, her whole person appearing energetic. Since she couldn't avoid the matter, then she'd bravely confront it, Han Yunxi told herself. Not only would she have courage, but try her best to do things well.
When Eunuch Xue arrived, Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru were there, as well. On one hand, they were there to give the eunuch face. On the other, they were there to laugh at her. Han Yunxi returned their smiles with an even brighter one of her own. She was the type of person who wouldn't cry even if she saw her own coffin. How could they possibly laugh her away like a joke? After getting on the carriage, Han Yunxi looked back but didn't see any signs of Long Feiye. When she left the Hibiscus Courtyard, his lights were already out and the doors shut tight. He was still in his dreams and wouldn't come.
After arriving at the palace, Emperor Tianhui had adjourned the morning assembly and awaited her in his study. The covered corridor leading to his room was quieter than any other area in the palace. Soon enough, she saw eunuchs and court ladies standing on both sides in rows, not moving an inch as they stood like statues. Han Yunxi and Eunuch Xue's footsteps were very obvious against such stillness.
"Esteemed wangfei, walk faster. The emperor hates to be kept waiting," Eunuch Xue urged in a low voice. Although this was still the covered walkway, he still spoke with the greatest of care. Such a solemn atmosphere made the already disturbed Han Yunxi even more anxious. From what she understood, Emperor Tianhui was halfway to being a tyrant with his irascible temper. He didn't wrinkle a brow when killing people.
Very soon, they reached the imperial study. Eunuch Xue stopped outside the door and spoke in a low voice. "Esteemed wangfei, go on by yourself."
It seemed that even he didn't have the qualifications to know about the crown prince's matters, so he was very proactive. So speaking, he opened his mouth to shout before Han Yunxi could reply, "Announcing...Qin Wangfei has arrived..."
These words gave Han Yunxi no choice but to hurry inside. It was her first time coming to such a place, but she only felt the atmosphere was oppressively heavy. She didn't understand anything about etiquette or where she should walk, so strode straight forward. But the accursed silence in this place was many times quieter than outside. It made her feel that every noisy footstep was a crime. Finally, Han Yunxi saw a curtain of beads before her, beyond which was an indistinct form sitting by a writing desk.
Was Emperor Tianhui here?
Her heart gave a thump as she squeezed her hand a few times and went forward with her head bowed. She carefully lifted a corner of the hanging beads, only to be immediately met with a pair of hawk-like eyes filled with murderous intent.
"You're the Qin Wangfei, Han Yunxi?" Emperor Tianhui asked coldly. He was around 40 years old, with a short beard and a face as cruel as the King of Hell, angry and impressive. This was a different coldness than Long Feiye. Long Feiye's ice came from detachment, indifference, and a certain loftiness. Emperor Tianhui's coldness was both serious and fiendish.
Nerves upon nerves piled onto Han Yunxi, though she kept a calm face and gave a generou bow. "To reply your majesty, chenqie is precisely the Qin Wangfei, Han Yunxi."
Yet Emperor Tianhui suddenly turned stern. "Who allowed you to just walk in so casually? Who let you in?"
These words stunned Han Yunxi in place. She was a time traveler who only knew the basics of etiquette. How would she know there were so many rules associated with the imperial study? Not to mention, hadn't Eunuch Xue announced her beforehand and told her to go in? Han Yunxi kept her body bowed, not knowing where she'd gone wrong. For a while, she couldn't think of an answer and thus decided not to answer at all. Although she was the Qin Wangfei, in the emperor's eyes, Han Yunxi was just a petty and low commoner. Just when she was in dire straits, a familiar voice spoke up from the side.
"Elder Imperial Brother, she was originally a woman without breeding. Why wrangle with her over these things? There's more important business at hand."
That low voice with its particular brand of magnetism was icy enough to make one shiver. Though the tone was sneering, right now it was the warmest thing to reach Han Yunxi's ears.
He's here, Long Feiye!
She unconsciously raised her head towards the voice, only to see Long Feiye dressed in courtly robes of white brocade, handsome and at ease. His honorable form was sitting at a tea table by the side, holding a cup of steaming hot tea as he slowly sipped.
This guy actually came, and even earlier than she did!
Seeing him sit there looking composed and leisurely, Han Yunxi felt relieved of a heavy load. Somehow, she released a breath. Did he come because of her? A wild hope rose in her heart, even against her own expectations. Beyond a doubt, Long Feiye's words carried weight. Emperor Tianhui looked over and didn't say any more, but waved his hand to gesture for Han Yunxi to rise.
It was only a long time later that Han Yunxi learned even the empress had to pay respects outside the imperial study's curtains until the emperor gave permission to enter.
"Thanks to your majesty," Han Yunxi rose, shooting Long Feiye a grateful glance. Unfortunately, he wasn't looking her way.
Although she and the emperor were siblings now, there were still differences between a ruler and his ministers. She couldn't even enter the emperor's eyes. Long Feiye remained sitting while she remained standing.
"Zhen heard the empress say that Mu Qingwu's coma and Princess Changping's rash left all the physicians at their wits' end. Yet, you cured them with a single prescription?" Emperor Tianhui spoke straight to the point, looking disdainfully down at Han Yunxi. It was obvious that he didn't see her as a sister-in-law at all.
"To reply your majesty, such a thing did happen. However, strictly speaking, the young general and Princess Changping weren't ill, but poisoned. Chenqie knows how to treat poisons, but not illnesses." No matter what, Han Yunxi needed to tell the truth. She could take a look at the crown prince, but she had to be honest beforehand.
Yet the emperor only replied, "Medical arts and poison are of one family. Zhen heard your mother once say that the focus of all diseases originated from poisons. You should understand this principle?"
Han Yunxi narrowly avoided choking on her spit. She wasn't sure if Lady Tianxin ever said such words, but they were truly ahead of her time. If you looked at it from the perspective of Western medicine, the focus of all diseases truly did come from various poisons. Unfortunately, this wasn't necessarily her case. Toxins and viruses were two completely different concepts. Most of what she could treat were poisons from nature's plants and animals or manmade toxins. Even ignoring that, Tianhui Emperor's words still put Han Yunxi in a difficult position. She was incapable of denying her mother's words, but she couldn't explain the truth to the emperor in a way he'd understand.
Han Yunxi mused a bit before replying humbly, "Medical arts and poisons are one family in the highest realm of doctors and poison specialists. Yunxi has only learned the surface of my mother's skills."
"Heheh, no wonder the empress said you were modest. The diseases that your father and Imperial Physician Gu couldn't even cure, you fixed as easily as turning over your hand. If this only counts as the surface, then wouldn't your father and Imperial Physician Gu be no better than useless trash?" Emperor Tianhui asked sternly.
"To reply your majesty, Divine Doctor Han and Imperial Physician Gu can treat illnesses while Yunxi can treat poisons. These are two different things, so they can't be compared," Han Yunxi still tried to explain.
But the emperor lost his patience and grew unhappy. "Qin Wangfei, Zhen summoned you to treat an illness, not to see you act modest! Zhen is counting on you to cure the crown prince with a bowl of medicine as well! It couldn't be that you'll keep on hiding your hidden depths?"
With these words, Han Yunxi's heart gave a lurch. Heaven knows how the empress had fed him all this pillow talk. Now the emperor firmly believed the rumors that she was a highly-skilled physician.
 Zhen (?) - the royal 'We,' a personal pronoun used exclusively by the emperor to refer to himself.