Go back on her promise?
Han Yunxi stared coldly at Han Congan before taking the storehouse key from his hand. "You're overthinking things."
Since she agreed, she wouldn't go back on her word. This was no small matter, either. To save the Han Family was the same as saving three generations of the Han Clan. There were around a few hundred people in the Han Family and not all of them were bad people. Plenty were kind hearted innocents. In addition, the Han Family's medical knowledge needed to be passed down to future generations so more people could be saved.
Perhaps Lady Tianxin had chosen Han Congan not because she liked him, but because of the Han Family. Han Yunxi wouldn't place this task as her most important job, but she'd do her best. Han Congan felt much more relieved after he saw Han Yunxi take the key. He was clear that his crimes were so vast that it was difficult to avoid a living punishment even if he escaped the death sentence. He'd probably spend the rest of his life in jail.
Han Yunxi didn't want to talk with this man anymore. She was about to leave when Han Congan called her back. "Han Yunxi, wait!"
She stopped but didn't turn around. "What other instructions will you condescend to grant me?"
"Han Yunxi, the crown prince's illness..." Han Congan trailed off, before growing more determined. "This old man believes his diagnosis wasn't wrong!"
Han Yunxi gave a start and thought, this fellow might be despicable, but his medical skills are still exemplary. But she didn't want to answer him and kept walking. Han Congan caught up and blocked the exit to the cell.
"Since everything's already settled, I just want to know the truth!"
Han Yunxi was full of ridicule. "Divine Doctor Han, consider it carefully. With your extraordinary skills, I think you'll understand the truth very quickly!"
Then she pushed aside his hand and walked out of the cell, personally locking him in.
"I don't understand it!" Han Congan's voice rose a few decibels. He was extremely stirred up.
Han Yunxi's face was all indifference. "If you don't understand it, then keep thinking."
She finished and left. To keep the truth from Han Congan was another form of punishment. He'd probably brood over it indefinitely. Han Yunxi didn't feel guilty over it when everything was what Han Congan deserved. If he had shown even a grain of gratitude and raised her as his daughter, then she'd risk her own life to get him out today. Unfortunately, there were no 'ifs' in this world. Even back then, she hadn't seen a shred of guilt on Han Congan's body.
Walking through the cold halls, Han Yunxi wrapped her arms around herself, head lowered in thought. What is the truth behind my mother's death? Who is my father?
So many years had passed, so where should she start looking? Amongst all the people of the world, where could she start?
Why did Lady Tianxin marry someone else after getting pregnant? Had she given up hope, or did she have no choice?
A remarkable woman like her had shocked an entire era after staying in Tianning's capital for less than a year. Under what circumstances did she conceive her child? Or perhaps she was already married before she wedded into the Han Family?
Was her father still alive, and did he know that she existed?
Many, many questions perplexed Han Yunxi. The more she knew, the more questions she had. Finally, she sighed and stored away the Han Family's key. If there was time, she should pay a visit back home.
Of course, right now the place was in chaos and she was in no mood to get caught up in the mess. She decided it'd be better for those sharp, treacherous, and vicious wives to war amongst themselves for awhile. After leaving the prisons, a depressed Han Yunxi wandered aimlessly on the streets. She didn't go back to the Duke of Qin's until nightfall.
Emperor Tianhui's general amnesty proclamation came out at the same time as the news of the crown prince being cured. Three days later, the crown prince joined the assemblies to participate in affairs of state. He was the heir apparent, so his appearance was sure to cause waves within Tianning's imperial court.
Han Yunxi curing the crown prince wasn't public news, but still common knowledge in the upper social circles. More people resented her rather than thanked her. Of course, even more people saw her with a new level of respect. Han Yunxi had no gauge of such things because she spent the next few days inside the Hibiscus Courtyard. Long Feiye hadn't returned in days, Grand Concubine Yi was angry, but didn't find her any trouble, and none of the servants dared to slight her. Han Yunxi's days were relatively easier than before.
But she was laden with care over the issue of Lady Tianxin. Every time she made inquiries about the Han Family, it was to hear that so-and-so had fought with so-and-so, or that so-and-so had ran off with valuables again. Of course, the three main wives of the Han Family wouldn't flee. They fought over the position of head until they were figuratively bruised and bleeding while thinking of ways to see Han Congan. Unfortunately, without the proper social connections, no amount of silver could show them the door.
Today, Han Yunxi was currently flipping through an introduction to Cloud Realm Medical Academy when Chen Xiang came to report, "Mistress, I heard that the medical academy sent someone to the Han house and revoked the Han Head's title as a medical academy director. They took away his command plate as a council member, too."
Han Yunxi had expected this long ago. She had been looking through the medical academy introduction book for clues. For Lady Tianxin to help Han Congan become a director at the academy meant that she probably had relations with the medical academy. She even went to the prisons to track down this matter, but Han Congan said Lady Tianxin only taught him medical skills before she died. Becoming a director for the medical academy was mostly through his own efforts. Han Yunxi was so angry that she didn't want to see him anymore. She decided to look for Gu Beiyue's assistance.
She thought he'd be too busy and need a prior appointment, but her morning message was returned to an agreement to meet that very afternoon. The two of them made an appointment at Tianning capital's largest teahouse, the Tea Leaf Celestial.
As soon as she saw Gu Beiyue, Han Yunxi was surprised. She couldn't help but remember the words of a poem: The youth on the road had a countenance like jade, which young lord is this to be so unparalleled? He'd replaced his simple and unadorned medical robes with pure white garments that made him especially good-looking. If Han Yunxi hadn't recognized his calm and cool gaze, she might had thought she was looking at the wrong person. The white clothing highlighted his fair skin and clean aura, giving him a natural grace above mere mortals.
He had warmth, but it wasn't soft nor feminine. He carried a nameless scent about him like perfume, but it was nothing like a woman's. Those who smelled it would find it difficult to forget and very much at ease. Han Yunxi once joked that Gu Beiyue gave people the impression of a Buddha, but he just shook his head and smiled, saying he wasn't so chubby.
The devastating beauty and peerless man sat together in the teahouse, instantly attracting the gazes of multiple onlookers. Of course, nobody knew their identities. The pair came to a tacit understanding to keep calm and at ease, especially Gu Beiyue. Han Yunxi deliberated for a while before hiding the secret of her birth. She simply asked Gu Beiyue a few things about Cloud Realm Medical Academy before going into specifics with Han Congan's journey to be a director.
From Gu Beiyue, Han Yunxi learned that that director candidates were chosen based on immediate qualifications, while the directors themselves were selected from amongst these candidates. Three years after Lady Tianxin passed away, Han Congan had his family's prestige to help him and his medical skills into the position of director candidate. After six years, he'd officially become a director. Lady Tianxin had told him within ten years, and he'd really became a director during that time.
"When he became a director, my grandfather and I had already left the medical academy. We didn't know the details, but he was the youngest candidate, then the youngest director, in the history of the medical academy."
Gu Beiyue paused before adding, "The competition for directorship is extremely intense. Even those who become director candidates could spend 10 or 20 years, even their entire lives, without ever becoming directors. Such was the case everywhere."
Though he didn't lay it bare, Han Yunxi understood. Han Congan might have terrific medical skills, but he didn't stand out much compared to the high-leveled experts. Most of the medical academy were filled with elders over 100 years old. Quite a few director candidates were hoary-headed men. Wasn't Han Congan's trip a bit too smooth and easy?
"Who was the person that promoted him back then?" Han Yunxi asked.
Gu Beiyue could only shake his head. "This is a secret. I'm afraid that even Han Congan himself wouldn't know."
So that was it. Looking at it from this angle, she had no way of getting any information from Han Congan.
Gu Beiyue didn't realize that he was smiling when he saw her knit her brows. He said mildly, "I'll try to ask some people to look into it. But there's no chance that we'll find anything."
Aye, this person has his ways after all.
Han Yunxi revealed a smile as she cast her teacup on the table, refreshed and frank. "Then I'll thank you ahead of time. When there's time, I'll definitely take you out for drinks."
Gu Beiyue wasn't used to Han Yunxi's current style of speaking. He only felt that it didn't sound like a wangfei, lacking all the elegance and honor a lady should have. But it was exactly this unaffected attitude that fascinated him. He thought, if Han Yunxi wasn't born in the Han Family and became Qin Wangfei, then she might've flown high. But all this he hid in his heart, smiling without saying a word.
It was rare for her to have a chance outdoors, so the two of them sat until nightfall. Han Yunxi discovered that Gu Beiyue looked like a taciturn man, but could talk without awkward silences. They spoke of medical arts, pharmacology, and various cases of illness. Han Yunxi would something think deeply, sometimes laugh loudly, while Gu Beiyue kept his mild smile and scholarly, refined manner.
Han Yunxi finally discovered that time had gone by quickly when Chen Xiang ran over to remind her that it was getting dark.
"Let's meet again another day, I'd like to consult with you on that illness we mentioned," Han Yunxi had exquisite poison skills but was lacking in the medical department. She was fond of learning, so after catching Gu Beiyue, she didn't want to let him go. She'd even take him home as a private tutor if she could.
"Esteemed wangfei, this is actually going beyond customs," Gu Beiye couldn't help but remind her in a low voice.
After leaving the Duke of Qin's household, all this talk of social etiquette was nonsense to her ears. A big hearted, magnanimous person never feared the dubious. Though who protested loudest had the most monsters hidden in their heart. Her eyes flitted with craftiness before she said, "The fifteenth of every month, we can meet here. You won't be Imperial Physician Gu and I won't be Qin Wangfei. We can just talk about our fields and exchange views on the medical arts, how's that?"
To learn from each other by exchanging views . It seemed like this woman wanted to learn medicine from him without disclosing the secret of her poison skills. Gu Beiyue saw right through her at a glance, but didn't expose her.
The fifteenth of every month, forget their identities and talk about medicine.
What a beautiful thing. Sadly, the warmhearted Gu Beiyue was forever rational. He only smiled softly. "Esteemed wangfei really knows how to joke. It's getting late, you should return home."
"Gu Beiyue," Han Yunxi creased her eyebrows. She thought that he'd agree, but didn't expect this fellow had actually refused her.
"Esteemed wangfei, this humble official can't casually leave the palace. You should go back," Gu Beiyue was still smiling.
That smile seemed warm, but carried with it resolution. Everyone who saw was helpless before it, including the reluctant Han Yunxi. She could only give up and carelessly wave her hand to bid goodbye.
 gongzi () - literally 'prince,' but also used to refer to the son of a feudal prince or high official, a person of high birth and breeding.
 Tea Leaf Celestial () - mingxianlou, Ming is 'tea, tender tea leaves,' Xian is 'immortal/celestial/divine.' Lou is a common term in shop names, and can mean 'a storied building,' 'tower' or 'floor.'
 The youth on the road had a countenance like jade, which young lord is this to be so unparalleled (, ) moshang shaonian yanruyu, sheijia gongzi shi wushuang.