When Hua Zhu Yu left Ji Feng Li’s room, the sky was already bright. After staying awake the whole night, she was feeling quite exhausted.
But the main reason for her exhaustion were those 2 cups of blood. Though she knew martial arts and had internal strength, she still couldn’t cope with so much blood loss. With quick, light steps, she headed straight for her room and succumbed to slumber soon after she got in bed.
Once she finally woke, she felt much better. She finished a quick meal and headed off to prepare the medicine. After delivering the medicine to the other patients first, she finally headed to Ji Feng Li’s room. To her surprise, stationed at his door were two guards, Ji Shui and Ji Yue, who she recognized as the ones that got trapped in her formation back in Qing Cheng Mountain. Blocking her entry, Ji Shui raised his hand to receive the bowl of medicine and said, “Lord Chancellor has instructed that he’s resting and to not let any outsider in to disturb him. Since Lord Chancellor already has us, Yuan Bao Daren does not need to wait on him and can go about your own business.”
Hua Zhu Yu wrinkled her brows, musing over the ridiculousness of the present scene.
She had just hauled him back from the gates of hell yet now she was regarded as an outsider. She ‘doesn’t need to wait on him’? Did he think she liked waiting on him? In any case, this made it much more convenient for her anyways. With a smile, she handed the bowl of medicine over and turned to leave.
Leaning against his bed, Ji Feng Li watched through the screen door as Hua Zhu Yu’s silhouette slowly faded into the distance.
Ji Shui entered with the medicine and brought it over to Ji Feng Li. Staring down at the bowl, he saw the dark brown fluid was still steaming hot. From the smell, he could instantly tell that it was bitter. Taking a small sip of the medicine, he couldn’t help but frown at its extreme bitterness.
Witnessing his frown, Ji Shui quickly brought a plate of candied dates he had prepared over. “Lord Chancellor, since the medicine is so bitter, try a piece of candied date.”
“No need,” replied Ji Feng Li.
Sitting on the bed, he took his time drinking the medicine, a small mouthful at a time. Though it was very bitter, he continued drinking in this way. Seeing this, Ji Shui couldn’t help but wrinkle his brows, saying, “Lord Chancellor, taking medicine is different from enjoying tea. You should squeeze your nose and drain it in one gulp. If you continue to take it like this, it will be very bitter.”
Looking down at the bowl of medicine, Ji Feng Li faintly said, “Is that so? This Chancellor didn’t know.”
Though he didn’t squeeze his nose, he raised the bowl and drained it with his head tilted back and place a candied date in his mouth afterwards.
Ji Shui and Ji Yue slowly withdrew from the room, both slightly puzzled. It’s not like Lord Chancellor had never taken medicine before. In the past, he would just drain it in one gulp. Why then did he say he didn’t know, they wondered.
Five days later, a few people appeared to have completely recovered. Ji Feng Li’s conditions have also stabilized and Imperial Physician Zhang was in the midst of treating his poison.
These past few days, Hua Zhu Yu hadn’t seen Ji Feng Li. Ji Shui and Ji Yue still stood guard outside his door. Whenever she brought the medicine over, they would receive it, saying that Ji Feng Li was resting and not in the mood to receive anyone. It’s not like she wanted to see him either, she thought to herself.
However, on one particular day she wanted to see him to suggest that he pull the soldiers stationed outside the village back a meter and hand the job of receiving the medicine supply over to the soldiers that had recently recovered. By doing this, the contact between the outside soldiers and the patients would lessen, preventing the further spread of the illness.
But Ji Feng Li wouldn’t meet her. He merely let Ji Shui pass on the message of his approval of her request.
Hua Zhu Yu was thoroughly appalled. Originally, when she had witnessed Ji Feng Li working so diligently in order to deal with the flood, the thought that he wasn’t so wicked beyond redemption had crossed her mind. But who on this earth would treat their life savior in the way that he was presently treating her? If it wasn’t for her, he would’ve long been dead.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
But in all honesty, if he didn’t want to see her, it saved her the trouble of thinking of ways to deal with him. Content and at ease, she focused on preparing the medicine for the other patients.
In the village, people regarded her as their life-saving physician, treating her with more reverence than Imperial Physician Zhang. If it wasn’t her that personally prepared the medicine, the people would go so far as to refuse to take it.
In the blink of an eye, ten days had passed. The number of people recovering was gradually increasing while less patients were entering the village. The outbreak was essentially under control.
One day, among the group of new patients that entered, there was a little girl just barely a year old, still feeding on milk. Her mother had fallen ill and couldn’t take care of her. So a furen(1) who had recently recovered decided to temporarily watch over her. This woman was experienced in childcare but she was worried because the little girl wouldn’t take the medicine.
The medicine was very bitter. Even an adult found it hard to swallow not to mention a small child. Refusing to take the medicine, the child would vomit every time it was forced fed. The furen brought the child over to Hua Zhu Yu and sadly explained the situation.
“Yuan Bao Daren, this child refuses to drink the medicine, how is she to get better if this continues?”
Hua Zhu Yu was in the process of preparing the medicine when the furen stopped by. She asked someone to watch over the fire for her before going over to take a look. The child was coughing in between cries and her forehead was burning with fever.
“Furen, I still have a method, I just don’t know if you’re willing to give it a try,” Hua Zhu Yu said in a quiet voice.
“Furen, when you were sick you had taken quite a bit of medicine correct? The medicine has now coalesced in your blood. So you should prick your finger and let the child drink your blood and see if she’s willing or not,” Hua Zhu Yu said discreetly.
This furen had just recovered, her blood should be even more effective than Hua Zhu Yu’s.
Hearing this, the furen nodded and said, “This child is suffering, if I can save her by doing that, I’m willing to give it a try! Thank you Yuan Bao Daren!”
The furen carried the child away and Hua Zhu Yu went back to preparing the medicine.
But when she turned back, she saw a surprise expression on everyone’s face as they exclaimed with reverence, “Lord Chancellor!”
Startled, she also turned around, only to see Ji Feng Li standing at the kitchen door.
Silently standing there, Ji Feng Li nodded slightly in acknowledgement of the salutations. A familiar faint smile rested on his lips while his deep, dark eyes carried the usual temperate calmness. Despite that, the hands clasped behind his back were inconspicuously trembling.
Hua Zhu Yu’s gaze faintly swept across Ji Feng Li. Haven’t seen him in a few days, she noticed that his complexion was much better than before. It seems he had completely recovered and thus was out and about. But looking at this cold, ruthless man, she’d rather turn around and stare at the pile of bitter medicine instead.
Calmly standing there, Ji Feng Li’s gaze fleetingly swept pass Hua Zhu Yu before he turned to leave. He departed in brisk strides; the sleeves of his robes flickering along in the wind. He felt as though there was something screaming to burst deep within him, and similar to the raging flood obstructed by a powerful dam, the resulting collision left him breathless.
- furen means married woman