Faced with Emperor Tianhui's impatience, Han Yunxi knew that any more explaining would just devolve into a debate. If she argued with the emperor, wouldn't she lose her head? She secretly snuck a peek at Long Feiye. She only knew how to treat poisons, that guy should know this as well. In any case, he should speak up for her.
Unfortunately, Long Feiye was still idly drinking tea on one side, ignoring her matters completely. Han Yunxi almost wanted to laugh at herself. She clearly had thought too much of him-how could this guy help her? He probably dropped by for a look because he had nothing else to do. Since she couldn't explain herself, she wouldn't. Han Yunxi would try her best to treat him and if she really couldn't, it's not like the emperor would kill for her it.
"Your majesty, since Yunxi's been called to treat the illness, then let Yunxi take the crown prince's pulse first," she said seriously.
Emperor Tianhui was waiting for these exact words. "Han Yunxi, don't disappoint Zhen."
The pressure came on thick then, but Han Yunxi did her best to resist as she followed the emperor and the Duke of Qin to the Eastern Palace. There were strict guards stationed by the doors, since few people knew about the details regarding crown prince's strange illness. It was a big secret, so that only Han Yunxi knew it was a pregnancy pulse. If this was the crown prince's situation, she wondered why his illness had never changed. Ever since he had fallen sick seven years ago, he had never left the Eastern Palace.
The crown prince was the empress' son, and had been intelligent since birth. His status was respected and honorable and the emperor doted on him. Ever since he turned three, the emperor had spared no effort to nurture him into what he was today. And yet he ultimately fell prey to a strange illness. If he couldn't be cured, then Emperor Tianhui would have to consider a different heir to the throne. A new crown prince would waste both time and effort as well as incite contention within the court. Competition was cruel and ruthless between imperial sons.
Tianning Country was still developing, and Emperor Tianhui didn't want to imagine the results of an inheritance dispute. Thus, he kept the crown prince in his position for seven years despite the fact there were no changes to his condition. The bedridden prince still kept up daily with court affairs so that he knew them like the palm of his hand.
Walking into the Eastern Palace, Han Yunxi's heart sank another one-third as she saw all the guards stationed outside. She couldn't help but trouble herself over a problem. Of all the illnesses out there, the crown prince had to catch an unmentionable pregnancy pulse. To put it another way, this was the shame of the Tianning imperial family and might be seen as a calamitous sign for the dynasty.
If the emperor decided to give up on the crown prince, wouldn't all the people who knew of his strange sickness have to die too? Han Congan, Gu Beiyue...and herself, on her way to see the crown prince. Although she was the Qin wangfei, she could tell the emperor had no place for her in the imperial family! Han Yunxi kept taciturn the whole way until she approached the sleeping quarters of the crown prince. The empress dowager and empress had long arrived, but not Han Congan or Gu Beiyue. She had fully expected those two to show up.
It looked like Emperor Tianhui had long decided to leave everything up to her.
Beyond the hanging bead curtain was the hazy form of someone covered beneath the quilts, most likely the crown prince. From this distance, the detox system could pick up any poison and alert her to the details. Hearing no alarms, Han Yunxi still held onto a last bit of hope as she leaned a bit closer to perform a full body scan to confirm her conclusions.
Seeing Han Yunxi enter, the empress dowager was especially affectionate and close, pulling her over by the hand. Her face stirred with feelings as if she'd never issued an arrest warrant for this girl.
"Yunxi, ah, you really get into many unexpected things. I used to think that all of my luck disappeared when your mother passed away, but you inherited your mother's medical skills. Good, this is very good!"
It was useless to explain things to the emperor, much less this imperial grandmother. Not to mention, Han Yunxi didn't believe that they really expected her to cure the crown prince. This was all to move the hot potato from Han Congan to herself and find an excuse to add another crime to her head.
Han Yunxi didn't feel like explaining, but put on a slight smile. "I'm not clear about the specifics either, so I'll try my best."
This time, the empress came forward to take Han Yunxi's other hand as if they were very intimate. "Yunxi, don't be modest anymore. I won't allow you to not cure him! If even you can't help him, then...then..." the empress trailed off, raising a sleeve to wipe her teary eyes.
Seeing this, the emperor lost some more of his patience. "That's enough, Qin Wangfei. you better come with Zhen."
"Yes," Han Yunxi nodded. Seeing that neither the empress nor empress dowager were going in, she thought Long Feiye wouldn't, as well. But this silent fellow actually entered ahead of them all. He hadn't spoken a single word to her, making him look quite unpleasant to Han Yunxi's current gaze. She took a deep breath and strode into the bedchambers, where she could clearly see the person on the bed. Only, that person was covered in quilts and lying on his back. She couldn't see his face clearly, but Han Yunxi knew that he was awake.
This was Tianning Country's crown prince, Long Tianmo.
While she was processing this, Long Tianmo spoke up. "Tianmo has no way to get off the bed to pay his respects, so may the emperor excuse me. May Imperial Uncle Qin excuse me as well."
Han Yunxi felt a slight surprise in her heart. She expected Long Tianmo to be mired in hopelessness with a bad temper, but it looked like he still remembered his manners. Though his voice was a little weak, it didn't carry any trace of the aura of a sick person. Seven years, seven entire years had he suffered through this strange illness. It'd be excusable if he didn't talk or even tried to chase them away. This man, how strong was his mental state? No wonder the emperor regarded him highly and still hadn't given up.
As a doctor, the sensitive Han Yunxi immediately sensed his strong will to live even without him expressing it. This was the kind of patient that she admired. Divided by the bed curtains, Han Yunxi sat at the edge of his bed and said, "Hand."
It was some time before Long Tianmo stuck out his wrist without a word. He was obviously dissatisfied and didn't trust her one bit. Han Yunxi wanted to tell him that she was even more unhappy, but she threw away such distracting thoughts as soon as she touched his hand and turned serious. With her concentration, Emperor Tianhui and Long Tianmo also grew reticent and even a little anxious. Only Long Feiye was measuring her up while sitting on the side. Nobody could tell what he was thinking.
Han Yunxi didn't immediately move to take his pulse, but activated her scanning system for an in-depth examination. Unfortunately, the results were disappointing: there was no poison present. She controlled her thoughts before proceeding to take his pulse. Although she was a poisons specialist, she still knew how to examine illnesses, just not proficiently. If there was anemia, rheumatism, acute infections following fever, chronic gastroenteritis, cirrhosis of the liver with ascites or similar symptoms, the body would still have a smooth pulse despite being ill.
Han Yunxi felt a smooth pulse, which made it seem that Long Tianmo wasn't ill at all. It puzzled her for a moment. What kind of pulse was this? Han Congan and those noble directors from the medical academy had all said this was a pregnancy pulse, but what about her? Even if the ancients didn't understand the basics, she had to know them-how could men have the uterus and womb to birth a baby?!
Although modern medical theories put forward possibilities of male pregnancies after surgical procedures, those were just theories, much less established fact. What did this Long Tianmo count for? This could only be the symptom of some unknown disease. Thinking up to here, Han Yunxi released his hand.
Emperor Tianhui noticed and asked, "How is it?"
"Your majesty, can you call for Imperial Physician Gu?" Han Yunxi asked sincerely, as if she needed to consult him.
Hearing this, the emperor's face turned ugly. "Gu Beiyue's already seen him. He doesn't have any methods! What exactly did you see?"
Han Yunxi felt no dread as she replied honestly. "Your majesty, the crown prince has a smooth pulse, but I can't determine the exact condition of that pulse. Yunxi temporarily has no way to draw a conclusion without more examinations, so I need Imperial Physician Gu's assistance."
"Isn't it a pregnancy pulse?" the emperor was surprised.
Long Feiye looked over with interest as well, seemingly astonished. At this point, the empress dowager and empress rushed over from the side.
"It's not a pregnancy pulse? It really isn't?"
"Yunxi, then what is it? Hurry up and speak!"
"Yunxi, I knew you wouldn't disappoint the emperor. Hurry and tell us, what is the matter?"
The empress dowager and empress were both very excited. For a second, Han Yunxi almost believed that they were sincere. Yet right at this moment, Long Tianmo suddenly lifted the bed curtains and pointed at his stomach in a mocking tone. "Qin Wangfei, you say it's not a pregnancy pulse. Then what's this?"
Even with the gauze partition between them, Han Yunxi could see clearly.
She only saw that Long Tianmo's abdomen was very large, like a seven-months pregnant stomach!
Han Yunxi seemed to have thought of something as her face turned ashen-white. She knew what this was. Things are complicated now-extremely complicated!
"She can't even properly examine a pulse. Imperial Father, erchen refuses to let her treat me," Long Tianmo's voice was exceptionally cold. He'd already been completely vexed by Han Congan, so how could he trust Han Congan's useless trash of a daughter? So what if Han Yunxi was the Qin Wangfei? Even though Imperial Uncle Qin, the person he dreaded most, was present at the scene, he wouldn't be any more courteous. He knew that Imperial Uncle Qin would never favor this woman.
"Did she take the pulse incorrectly?" the empress dowager asked in disappointment.
"I thought that a miracle would happen. Yunxi, so you didn't even notice Tianmo's stomach! I thought you...aiya, you can't even take a pulse correctly, how do you think you can save him now?" the empress sighed.
Long Tianmo replaced his covers and turned to lie down with his back facing them. Seeing this, the space between Emperor Tianhui's eyebrows turned into vertical lines. He faced Han Yunxi with indignation and ice in his tone. "Fishing for fame and compliments! Gaining renown by deceiving the public! You...and your father, both of you...someone, take her out for Zhen for 30 beatings with the planks!"
The empress dowager and empress exchanged glances before smiling in tacit agreement. Long Feiye kept seated as he gazed coldly towards Han Yunxi, as if this woman wasn't his wangfei, but someone completely unrelated. The empress dowager and empress were waiting for Han Yunxi to beg for mercy so they could drop stones on her while she was down. They could peg her with the crime of deceiving her monarch. But Han Yunxi's eyes were glittering with a face full of fury.
She was...was actually glaring at Emperor Tianhui, not the least bit timid. Her two hands were clenched into fists, that petite body hiding a burst of strength that could erupt at any second. This woman, what is she planning? Does she realize what she's doing now? Emperor Tianhui looked at her incredulously, his eyes widening. This was the first time someone dared to glare at him!
 Long Tianmo (???) - Tian is sky, the Heavens, celestial; Mo is ink, pitch-black
 erchen (??) - a humble form of self-address for males equivalent to 'your subject' or 'your servant'. Used when speaking to a superior.
 vertical lines - specifically, they wrinkled up until they looked like the Chinese character chuan (?).
 drop stones on her while she was down (????) - luojin xiashi, to drop stones on someone who has fallen into a well, to hit a person when she's down.