First off I’d like to give a shout out to my most lovely, awesome,beautiful, amazing, avid reader Loullax. Thank you so much for your continuous support and donations as well as advice and appreciation. Your messages, both private and public, always bring a little joy to my day and energy to continue translating. Though I don’t always reply, I always read them so thank you for taking the time to write them~????????????
Though Hua Zhu Yu was a general, she didn’t want war.
Her mind was left preoccupied the whole night and she could not get any sleep. She got up early next morning and went to receive the supplies from outside. Then she went about her routine, preparing the medicine and distributing them. When there was only one bowl of medicine left, she headed towards Ji Feng Li’s room.
Though it was already morning, the village was exceptionally quiet save for the occasional bouts of cough, there were no other sounds. When she pushed open the door, the room inside was dark and gloomy. Going up to the window, she pulled back the curtains, letting in the rays of sunlight which illuminated the figure sitting on the bed.
Attired in a snow white wide sleeved robe, he was staring intently at something on the bed. He appeared to have yet washed his face or brushed his hair which fell freely down his back, shimmering under the sunlight. She wasn’t sure if he was truly sick. Looking at him now, it seemed like he’d still be fine even if he didn’t take any medicine today. Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Ji Feng Li who covered his mouth and coughed with a bent back. He continued on non-stop till it was hard for him to even catch a breath.
Waiting till his coughing subsided, she walked over and said, “Lord Chancellor should take your medicine first.” She placed the bowl on the bed and took a peek at the drawings spread out on his bed. The flood in Xuan Zhou was already dealt with so why was he still examining these maps. After a closer inspection, she realized they weren’t maps of Xuan Zhou but of the northern border, reminding her of what Lan Bing had said last night.
Could it be Northern Kingdom was beginning to have a change of heart?
Ji Feng Li lifted his head to look at her as he drained the bowl of medicine.
“Yuan Bao, why didn’t this Chancellor see you sending medicine last night?” Ji Feng Li asked as his gaze returned to the maps before him.
Examining him now, she noticed his increasingly pale complexion as well as his weary face. This illness was truly something to fear. Even a person with such high martial skills as Ji Feng Li was left in this state.
“There was not enough medicine last night so I prioritized those more ill than Lord Chancellor,” replied Hua Zhu Yu.
Lightly glancing at Hua Zhu Yu, he asked, “Yuan Bao, are you hoping this Chancellor dies?”
Hua Zhu Yu eyes narrowed as she flashed a smile and said, “How could that be? Though I despised Lord Chancellor before, now that I have followed you, how could I still hope for your death?”
“Is that so? Yuan Bao, why aren’t you afraid of getting sick? You remained in this village for so long and you’re not taking any preventative measures, so why aren’t you falling sick?” asked Ji Feng Li with his head raised.
She knew he was getting suspicious but there was not need for her to conceal this matter so she replied, “It’s simply because I have already gotten this illness before and will not get infected a second time.”
“So it’s like that.” He leaned back against the frame of the bed, his deep, unfathomable eyes slightly narrowed.
“Lord Chancellor, why are you spending so much time staring at those maps?” asked Hua Zhu Yu. In the end Ji Feng Li wasn’t a military commander, he was only a civil minister so what use was it to look at those maps.
His lips hooked up in a smile and he replied, “Of course this Chancellor have to study them. If war was to erupt with Northern Kingdom, this Chancellor needs to formulate strategies so this Chancellor cannot die here yet.” Before finishing what he had to say, another bout of coughing interrupted him. If it was another patient, she would have stepped forward to pat their back, but this was Ji Feng Li, she had no desire to assist him.
He used one hand to stabilize himself on the bed while his other hand grasped at his chest as he coughed. He coughed relentlessly until he was out of energy and leaned back against the bed. Hua Zhu Yu was unsettled and decided to make her way over there feel his forehead.
She was startled as soon as she made contact. His forehead was blazing hot yet he was still sitting here examining the maps, formulating strategies.
She helped him lay down and said, “Lord Chancellor should rest first. I shall go prepare the medicine.” This time she did not dare to lower the dosage. After Ji Feng Li drank the medicine he fell into a deep slumber.
Taking the medicine continuously for one day and night, he did not show signs of improvement for his fever did not subside in the slightest.
Hua Zhu Yu began to feel that something was wrong. No matter how sick a person was, once he or she drank the medicine she prepared, their fever would subside after a single night. With such high martial skills, Ji Feng Li was certainly stronger than the average person so why was the medicine not effective?
That night Lan Bing did not visit Ji Feng Li. But hearing what happened from Hua Zhu Yu, he became alarmed and personally headed over to take a look. He also gave orders to his men to invite Imperial Physician Zhang over. After taking Ji Feng Li’s pulse, Imperial Physician Zhang let out a long sigh, his face scrunched in a mournful look.
“Lord Chancellor is not only sick, he is also poisoned. It is really difficult to treat these two things at the same time,” Imperial Physician Zhang reported painstakingly before he continued to cough non-stop.
“What?” Startled, Lan Bing staggered back. Suddenly, a chill emitted from his body, brimming with killing intent.
“Yuan Bao, was it you? Lord Chancellor saw you as a talent and could not bear to kill you yet you actually poisoned him!” Lan Bing exclaimed as he shot her a murderous look..
Hua Zhu Yu callously smiled and said, “Lan Daren, if I wanted to kill him, I don’t have to waste the effort to poison him. I’m also not such a vile, despicable person to use such methods.”
“Lan Daren, it appears Lord chancellor was poisoned before he got infected. Yuan Daren has remained in the village this whole time, he is not the culprit, ” said Imperial Physician Zhang.
Hua Zhu Yu shot Imperial Physician Zhang a grateful look. She didn’t expect this old stubborn man to speak up on her behalf.
Furrowing his brows, Lang Bing quickly asked, “The how do we save Lord Chancellor?”
Shaking his head, Imperial Physician Zhang replied, “I can make the antidote but if the illness is not cured first, taking the antidote would be in vain. We can only try to cure Lord Chancellor of his illness first before neutralizing the poison. But since he is poisoned, the medicine used to treat the illness is not effective. This… this is really difficult!”
Resting on the bed, Ji Feng Li had another bout of cough but this time he was coughing up blood, which was streaming down the corners of his mouth.
Even Hua Zhu Yu was taken by surprise. She feared he would not be able to pass through the night.
Lan Bing approached the bed with heavy steps. He took out a cloth and wiped Ji Feng Li’s lips before turning around, yelling, “You two better quickly come up with a solution. Imperial Physician Zhang, it’s best you think of a way to save him. And you, quickly go prepare the medicine and bring it over!”
She nodded in assent before quickly taking her leave. After she exited through the door, she turned back around and saw Lan Bing assisting Ji Feng Li up. He used a wet cloth to wash Ji Feng Li’s face and used his fingers in place of a comb to brush through the knots in Ji Feng Li’s hair.
The sight of Lan Bing’s desolate back view as he gazed at the unconscious Ji Feng Li lying on the bed left a heaviness weighing down her heart. All of a sudden, she felt bit disappointed, even empty almost.
Sometimes, the lost of a foe was not much different from the lost of a friend. Without that person there to dual and fight against, a sense of loneliness and destitution will arise.
With a heavy heart, she went to the kitchen to prepare the medicine. But deep down she knew this bowl of medicine was useless on Ji Feng Li. He had taken several bowls of this medicine but it was not effective in the least.
The night gradually grew late.
The moon slowly crept up the night sky, illuminating the gloomy village which was packed full of patients. Besides the occasional sounds of coughing, there was no other noise. It was completely quiet, almost dead silent akin to the silence of a deserted city, without a single sign of vitality.
Hua Zhu Yu added more wood to the fire and extinguished it after the medicine came to a boil.
Suddenly, a clamoring noise could be heard outside. Startled, she wondered if something had happened and went out to take a look only to see a large number of people standing there. They were all patients that were being treated in the village. Some were mildly ill while others were gravely sick and needed the assistance of others to stand. Though they were coughing, they stubbornly stood there. Seeing Hua Zhu Yu emerge from the kitchen, they all fell to their knees.
“Yuan Bao Daren, you must save Lord Chancellor! Lord chancellor is a good official, you must cure him! Please sir! Wasn’t your medicine very effective. So many people felt better after drinking it. Sir, please quickly save Lord Chancellor!”