Chapter 24: It takes backbone to ask for money

Long Feiye’s suspicion filled gaze was quite intimidating, but Han Yunxi had a strong heart and didn’t waver. After staring for a while, Long Feiye recognized the calmness in her eyes and turned to leave. When she was convinced he’d gone, Han Yunxi quickly stood up, feeling bewildered. This guy couldn’t have found the three ingredients she wanted so quickly, right? Exactly what kind of antidote was he looking for?

The Han Yunxi who’d gotten out of the bath was like a lotus blossom appearing just above the water[1], elegant and refined. She was just a touch more ethereal than usual, especially with her clean, clear eyes that resembled icy pools from distant lands of snow. Long Feiye looked at her before walking over, his eyes darkening slightly. He retrieved a bloodstained cloth from the study and said, “This blood has poison, come, have a look.”

The detox system alarms had gone off in her head long ago. Han Yunxi accepted the object and took an experimental sniff. She couldn’t tell anything from the smell, so it didn’t seem to be a commonplace toxin. 

“I can’t tell what it is by odor alone. Help me fetch a bowl of clear water,” she said earnestly. Not that that she needed any–it was just a pretext to get Long Feiye out of the way. This fellow was already so shrewd with his suspicions, it’d be nigh impossible to sneak a blood sample past his eye into her detox system dimension for analysis. When she was treating his poison that night, he’d been heavily wounded and less alert. She had also slipped away into the bedroom to get her needles and medicines.

Long Feiye didn’t understand poisons and left without any argument. When Han Yunxi was sure he’d left, she took out an acupuncture needle and collected a drop of blood from the cloth, before placing it in her detox system for chemical analysis. The results revealed that it was a plant-based poison made from various poisonous flowers. Alone, their effects weren’t very dangerous, but in high enough quantities they turned toxic. Very quickly, Long Feiye returned carrying a bowl of water. Han Yunxi made a show of placing the cloth in the water before dipping her needle in the bloody liquid and taking a sniff.

“This is a flower poison, the Confusion Stupor Fragrance,” she said confidently.

“Make an antidote, I want it now,” Long Feiye said callously. She found his tone of voice highly disagreeable. Did he think she was an antidote-making machine? Gathering her wits together, she extended a graceful hand.

“Sure, just give me 50 taels of silver first for your consultation fee.”

Long Feiye’s eyes flashed in annoyance, but he didn’t budge. This woman was flat out asking him for money? When he stared at her in disgust, Han Yunxi knew that she was making a very dirty deal at the moment. But she really was poor! Her own family hadn’t even given her a copper coin when they married her off. The Duke of Qin’s estate was managed by Grand Concubine Yi, with Murong Wanru helping with the money affairs. Even now, she still hadn’t gotten her monthly stipend, and it was doubtful whether she would get one at all.

Although she could live and eat for free here, things such as buying clothes, paying the servants, going out to manage affairs and collecting ingredients for medicines all needed silver. Even without all of that, money was needed to award the servants. The help in a big household were the snobbiest of all types, who loved to wag their tongues and gossip! A smooth and steady life needed her to placate them and control their mouths first. 

Long Feiye didn’t say much, but tossed a pouch of silver on the table. Just by the sound alone, she could tell it was more than 50 taels. Han Yunxi got the bag, took out 50 taels of silver, and pushed back the rest without hesitation. “Your Lordship, I said I required 50 taels for the consultation fee. You can take back the rest.”

She might be poor but she wasn’t a beggar. She still needed to keep her backbone.

When that was done, she picked up the brush to write out the prescription for the antidote. Her face was just like the time when she treated his poison, conscientious and bright-eyed. That delicate body wordlessly emanated an indescribable charm that beckoned her watchers closer, as if to invite them for a look into her world to see just what kind of woman she was. The displeasure in Long Feiye’s eyes faded away to be replaced by a pondering look as he silently took back the money pouch.

When she was finished writing, Han Yunxi handed over the paper with both hands and asked curiously, “Your highness, have you found those three ingredients yet?”

“Not yet,” Long Feiye only said those two words without any further explanation. Han Yunxi wondered where he got the time to worry about other poisons when he was poisoned himself. Just what kind of person had succumbed to the Confusion Stupor Fragrance? Of course, she only remained wondering. Curiosity killed the cat was a logic she understood all too well.

She thought Long Feiye would leave as soon as he got the prescription, but he actually handed it to his guard, Chu Xifeng, to take care of matters while remaining behind himself. If it were anyone else, they’d be working nonstop until they acquired the antidote ingredients. This fellow only had a 10-day window before the poison acted up again, but he didn’t seem to cherish his life at all.

Fine. Since he was here, she’d just have to sleep in the study again.

Except Long Feiye was walking towards the hot springs, not even turning around as he spoke, “Han Yunxi, get out.”

Seriously? It was the dead of night… Where did he want her to go? If he lowered the curtains, then these bedchambers could be partitioned into multiple rooms. She didn’t mind it so why should he? She caught up to him and suppressed her temper beneath an appeasing smile.

“Your highness, how have you decided to arrange for chenqie’s[2] quarters?” Other wives all got their own courtyards, but an official wife like her didn’t even have a place to sleep.

“Go ask the steward to do it,” Long Feiye was indifferent in his reply.

The steward…

Han Yunxi’s lips twitched. Finding the steward was equivalent to giving Murong Wanru another chance at her. All the affairs in the Duke of Qin’s estate were managed by the grand imperial concubine or her adopted daughter. Long Feiye’s Hibiscus Courtyard was the only place in the household where no one dared to control things, so she’d meet with plenty of difficulties if she left this place. Thinking here, Han Yunxi tried another smile.

“Your highness, you can live in the bedroom while I live in the study. We won’t have to interfere with each other at all, how’s that?”

Long Feiye stopped his steps. He still hadn’t turned to look back, and his voice was as cold as before. “His lordship won’t be used to it. Hurry and get out.”

Even though he saved her life, what a cruel and heartless man!

You won’t be used to it? Your auntie, I’m not used to it, either!

But the house belonged to him. Without a choice, Han Yunxi could only leave, carrying along a lantern as she strolled through the Hibiscus Courtyard. After moving in for two days, she hadn’t even gotten the chance to look around yet. Very quickly, Han Yunxi grasped the particulars of this place. It covered a sizeable area but only contained the main sleeping quarters and a small side building. This building was originally built for the servants, but the Hibiscus Courtyard had no such help.

After checking to see that it was unoccupied, Han Yunxi rejoiced and hung her lantern on the wall. From now on, she could just stay here instead! The first floor could be her study and guest room while she slept in the room upstairs. If this was the modern era, it’d be a single-person apartment. After everything else, Han Yunxi had long forgotten the unhappy events at the general’s house. She carried the 50 taels of silver in her robes, musing over how to furnish her rooms before slowly falling asleep.

When daylight broke, Long Feiye had already long disappeared. Han Yunxi wanted to ask after him, but there was nobody else in the Hibiscus Courtyard besides herself. It’d be best if they didn’t meet up. Then they’d wouldn’t have a chance to get sick of each other! 

Very good. He’d live his life while she’d live hers, unfettered and carefree.

Han Yunxi went to move her two dowry chests into the new house. Although they were filled with old things, they were still precious treasure for something who had nothing else. While organizing the items, she discovered a pale purple pouch made from cloth. Upon closer inspection, she realized it was a homemade medical bag, small but filled with all the necessary pockets to allocate different medicines. There was even a special case for acupuncture needles, designed to hold needles of all sorts of sizes. The little pouch was brand new, and a small character for Xin (心) had been sewn in the back right hand corner. Without a doubt, this was something left behind by Lady Tianxin.

It was probably meant for her.

Han Yunxi imagined Lady Tianxin with her round belly, waiting for her child to be born as she sewed the pouch. Her eyes suddenly turned a little red as sadness overtook her heart. After nearly ten months carrying the baby, did Lady Tianxin ever think that a divine doctor like herself would die from a difficult labor? She didn’t even have a chance to see her daughter’s face. For all her aspirations, did she ever imagine her child would become useless trash that was bullied and humiliated in the Han household?

Lady Tianxin, don’t worry. The Han Yunxi of today definitely won’t disappoint you!

Han Yunxi took out a complete set of acupuncture needles from her detox system, along with some commonplace medicines, cotton swabs, gauze and so on, before methodically storing them in the little cloth pouch. From now on, this would be her official medical kit. The detox system she carried around was located in an imperceptible “dimension” that no one else could see. She could take things in and out of it freely, but it’d raise questions if others saw. Modern people would think it was magic, while the ancients might treat it as demon arts or sorcery.

Conveniently enough, this mini medical kit could be her cover while she worked. She placed it in her robes and resolved to carry it on her at all times. 

When everything was organized and put away, Han Yunxi left to purchase some more necessities before making her new house clean and homey. She thought she could have a good sleep afterwards, but trouble came knocking on the door as soon as she lay down.

Mu Qingwu hadn’t woke up, so General Mu came to find her personally!

In disbelief, a shocked Han Yunxi hurried to the receiving hall. Murong Wanru was already there, sitting in the hostess’ seat of honor as she chatted with General Mu. Seeing her enter, General Mu’s temper flared.

“Han Yunxi, you liar! You said Mu Qingwu would wake up, but he still hasn’t opened his eyes! Not only that, his high fever’s back again! Explain yourself or else I won’t be finished with you!”

General Mu had Gu Beiyue overlooking everything. When this happened, even the imperial doctor was at a loss. He couldn’t tell the origin of the illness at all and suggested consulting Han Yunxi again. General Mu didn’t trust Han Yunxi and called in multiple poisons experts instead. Strangely enough, none of them could figure out the cause either. With no other choice, he had to find Han Yunxi again and depend on her.

“Impossible! His poisons were already expelled!” Han Yunxi’s face was a little pale. She refused to believe that she had made a mistake. Murong Wanru had gotten the details of what happened already and hastily rose to her feet. 

“Sister-in-law, when did you ever learn medicine? How come I don’t know?”

Murong Wanru, are you trying to touch a sore spot?[3]

Han Yunxi was too lazy to pay her any attention, but spoke earnestly. “General Mu, I can guarantee that the poison in his stomach has been treated. As to why he’s still unconscious with fever, I’ve never met someone I couldn’t diagnose. Why don’t I go back with you?”

“Hmph, of course you’re coming back with me! I’m telling you, Han Yunxi, if Qingwu doesn’t wake up, I’ll use your life to preserve his!” General Mu’s rage reached to the skies.

Murong Wanru’s face looked both alarmed and stricken. She rushed to pull Han Yunxi behind her back, angrily saying, “General Mu, it was just someone who incidentally saw my sister-in-law pull a knife on him! It was just her trying to wake him and failing! This doesn’t prove anything. Even though my sister-in-law knows nothing about the medical arts, I still believe she wouldn’t act so recklessly!”


Murong Wanru, you white lotus[4], can’t you just shut up?!


[1] lotus blossom appearing just above the water (出水芙蓉) – chushui furong, a saying to depict a beautiful woman, poem, or painting.

[2] chenqie (臣妾) – a humble form of self-address for females equivalent to ‘your subject’ or ‘your servant’. In this case, used by a wife to her husband.

[3] trying to touch a sore spot (哪壶不开提哪壶) – nahu bukai ti nahu, literally “to mention the pot that doesn’t boil”, or to talk about someone’s weak point.

[4] white lotus (白莲花) – bai lianhua, refers to a woman who is two-faced.

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