Hua Zhu Yu kept watch over the little girl the whole night, feeding her two additional bowls of medicine. Early next morning, the girl woke up. Her fever had subsided and she was no longer vomiting. She was able to drink the medicine and appeared in better spirits.
It seems this prescription was indeed correct so Hua Zhu Yu swiftly left to instruct the guards to acquire more herbs.
Hearing that the medicine Hua Zhu Yu prepared was effective, Imperial Physician Zhang no longer dared to underestimate the remedies of the common folks. Casting aside his pride, he prepared the medicine along with her and helped distribute them to those sick.
Though there was medicine to combat the illness, people were still dying and the number of people getting infected was rising. The whole village was enveloped in a heavy atmosphere. The guards veiled their faces tightly with a cloth, unconcerned with small talk. Everyone tried to keep a distance from one another for fear of contracting the illness.
This outbreak left everyone panic-stricken and fearful.
After 2 days had passed, the guards that were assisting in the kitchen with the medicine all fell ill, even Imperial Physician Zhang was no exception, once again inciting panic throughout the village.
Not a single patient had recovered completely, yet new arrivals kept piling in. Hua Zhu Yu was left to do everything on her own, even when the supplies were brought to the village, she had to go out and receive them. She wanted to prevent anyone else from entering and falling sick.
Till sunset, Hua Zhu Yu was still preparing the medicine which she later would have to go distribute by herself. She also had to help feed the medicine to those gravely ill. Going through this cycle everyday, she was thoroughly exhausted. She felt this was more tiring than fighting on the battlefield.
Hua Zhu Yu was adding wood to the fire when she inadvertently turned around and noticed a figure standing silently in the distance.
Due to the flood, the village was a mess but no one had the time nor energy to clean and sweep the area. Amid this disorderly scene, Ji Feng Li still stood as dignified as an immortal with his hands clasped behind his back. Facing Hua Zhu Yu, his eyes were unfathomable with his brows slightly raised.
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Little did she expect for him to come but she did not have the time to attend to him. She had to carefully prepare the medicine, if the fire was too weak, the medicine would not mix well. After adding 2 more stocks of firewood, she opened the lid to take a look. Seeing a white layer of froth on the surface of the medicinal liquid, she quickly extinguished the fire.
Ji Feng Li was still silently standing there, his lips slightly raised in a light smile.
“Left Chancellor Daren, why did you come?” Hua Zhu Yu wondered whether or not Ji Feng Li feared death. Why would he come to this place?
“This Chancellor haven’t seen Bao Er in these past few days so this Chancellor came today. Could it be Bao Er doesn’t want to see this Chancellor?” he said with a warm and relaxed expression.
“Is that so? So to speak Lord Chancellor misses Bao Er?” She raised her head to ask, a provocative charming smile upon her lips.
Seeing this, Ji Feng Li flashed a smile that wasn’t really a smile and replied, “That’s right. This Chancellor intends to stay here for a while, don’t know if there’s still an empty room available? This Chancellor hopes Bao Er can spare a room.”
Startled, Hua Zhu Yu suddenly noticed his complexion was comparatively paler than before.
“You’re sick?” she asked in disbelief. Those who were infected all arrived grudgingly with a frown upon their face. Many had tried to keep their illness under wraps so that others would not catch them. Only when they fell gravely ill were they recognized and forced to enter the village in isolation. To enter with such a calm and collected manner, Ji Feng Li was the first.
Still carrying a smiling expression, Ji Feng slightly narrowed his eyes and asked, “That’s right, could it be Bao Er won’t welcome this Chancellor?”
“Welcome, of course welcome,” she replied with a smile before realizing that this wasn’t really something to bid welcome.
She was still in disbelief. As the Left Chancellor, Ji Feng Li should’ve been protected thoroughly, how could he get infected? Moreover, as a distinguished official, even if he were to get infected, he wasn’t required to come here. He could just be isolated at his own place and that would be fine.
Leading the way out of the kitchen, Hua Zhu Yu and Ji Feng Li followed a small path towards another courtyard. “There is no one staying here so Left Chancellor can remain here and rest. I have to go deliver the medicine to those sick and shall return later.”
When she finally finished distributing the medicine, it was already late into the night. Holding a faintly lit lantern, she made her way back to her room. Only when she returned was she finally reminded of her new patient, Ji Feng Li. She had forgotten to deliver his medicine.
Hua Zhu Yu rolled back and forth on the bed in contemplation. When she saw him during the day, he didn’t appear that seriously ill. Even if he didn’t take medicine for one night, he’ll probably still be fine. Moreover, she didn’t want to treat him either. If she left Ji Feng Li to succumb to the illness, she wouldn’t have to waste time and effort to enact revenge.
Though she did not have evidence that Ji Feng Li colluded with the previous emperor to marry her off, his hands were still stained with the blood of Jin Se’s wrongful death. If it wasn’t for that cup of poisonous marital wine of his leaving her weak and powerless, how could Jin Se have been humiliated and killed by others.
Her mind flashed with the image of that stormy, wintry night and Jin Se’s mournful cries with the blinding scarlet staining the snowy grounds.
Recalling these events, she wasn’t in the mood to go check up on Ji Feng Li. She hated him!
While she was just about to fall asleep, a series of light knocks sounded from the door. She guessed it must be Ji Feng Li so she turned and faced the other direction, pretending to sleep. Yet the knocks on the door continued.
So she could only get out of bed and get the door.
Bathed under the faint moonlight, a man stood in the small courtyard. This person wasn’t Ji Feng Li but Lan Bing fully dressed in all blue. His face was veiled behind a cloth, only revealing a pair of deep eyes gazing at Hua Zhu Yu with a solemn look.
“Yuan Bao, you must cure Lord Chancellor.” Lan Bing said in a lowered, imposing voice, unlike the jesting tone he usual carried.
Hua Zhu Yu furrowed her brows, and said, “I was only lucky to know of the prescription and how to prepare it but I am no physician. I can say I’ll try my best but I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to cure him.”
Lan Bing gazed at her with suspicion, coldly saying, “Wasn’t there someone who’s fever subsided once they drank your medicine?”
“Just because it could cure one person doesn’t necessarily mean it could cure everyone. Can’t you see there are still people dying? Lan Daren, I really can’t make any promises,” she said with knitted brows.
“Nothing can happen to Lord Chancellor. Are you aware, there are movements arising on the Northern border? A few of our soldiers guarding there have already died mysteriously. In the whole land, only Lord Chancellor has the ability to take charge of the current situation . Huangfu Wu Shuang, Huangfu Wu Shang, even that old sick Emperor can’t do nothing. Don’t even mention if something bad happens to Lord Chancellor, if the mere news of him getting sick leaks out, our Kingdom will be thrown into chaos. The fact that Lord Chancellor is sick is something only the two of us are aware of. Yuan Bao, I know you are a person of talent. Lord Chancellor also values your talent. I hope you will understand the gravity of the situation and cure Lord Chancellor. Lord Chancellor isn’t allowing me to remain here. I can only secretly visit him. I hope you will try your best.” Finished talking, Lan Bing gazed at Hua Zhu Yu for a long time before taking his leave.
Hua Zhu Yu was overwhelmed by Lan Bing’s solemn words and imposing gaze. When he finally left, she slowly went back to her room. After contemplating, she decided she would save him. She wasn’t a despicable, vile person like him, so she wanted to defeat him in a just and honorable way. She would save him for now but she still wanted him to suffer. So she decided to lower the dose of the medicine, and treat him later when his symptoms worsened.
There were movements on the northern border? Was that Xiao Yin’s doing? Did Xiao Yin intend to invade south? After the last battle, didn’t the Northern and Southern Kingdoms sign a treaty to end hostilities?