Joy of Life - Chapter 300[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:11]
Chapter 300: Medicine
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was after midnight on this autumn evening. The moon was gone, but the sun had not yet risen, leaving a grey blue shroud for a sky. In the back of Fan Manor, there were strong coughing sounds echoing with little reprieve. It had been going on for a while and the sounds had rattled the slumbering servants from their dreams. Out in the yard, it began to get busy.
Perhaps it was because of the weather, but it wasn’t just Minister Fan who had a cold. Some of the servants were suffering from the illness as well, and those with snot dribbling down from their nostrils had already been sent away to the countryside. The people that remained did not dare to drop their guard and risk infection, so they made sure to drink the medicine Fan Xian had made. It was an effective serum, so the cold did not spread. The coughing noises were coming from Fan Xian’s home. In the past two days, the master had been the recipient of a strange disease and had been coughing like crazy. Still, he did not visit the palace visit the royal doctors for their medicine, as he was of the firm belief that his own medicine would be more efficient. But after a few days, the coughing had not yet lessened. The servants in the manor began growing concerned over the welfare of their lovely employer; they feared for his health – and his life.
The lead maid Sisi had a red cloth wrapped around her forehead to tie up her messy hair. She looked slightly annoyed as she stood in the kitchen, smelling the nauseating scent of medicine in the air. She yelled at her subordinates to work faster. She was a woman who came from Danzhou, and the future of her status was pretty obvious. So, in the Fan Manor, whatever she had to say was quite important. The sleepy maids around her knew that the mister was suffering a nasty sickness, and hearing Sisi’s orders , they gritted their teeth and continued on working.
Sisi had been watching them for a while, but she was still worried, so she moved a stool to sit near the stove, held a fan in her hand and fanned it gently. Her eyes did not even blink to stare at the medicine, which was steadily boiling and producing steam. Slowly, it steamed her eyes and they became red. She was still on guard and did not want to pull away, however. When making medicine, the fire and the heat it produced was the most important aspect of correct calculation. Since the curative that was currently being created was for the mister, she would not trust him to consume it if she wasn’t one hundred percent sure that it had been made perfectly.
Inside the bedroom, Lin Wan’er was wearing a common, cotton-made robe. She felt sorry and rubbed Fan Xian’s chest, carefully telling him, “Shouldn’t we try the formula given to us by the royal doctors?”
Fan Xian’s face was all red from his coughing. He waved his hand and with a faint, strained smile replied, “I am not that high-born. Besides, I know how my body works. I am not going to die; so I will make the medicine myself.”
Wan’er knew that her husband’s medical skills were most proficient, otherwise she wouldn’t have been healed and be relieved of her lung sickness which she had struggled with for fifteen years. But to hear him keep coughing like mad in the past few days, she couldn’t help but worry. She bit her bottom lip and said, “Even Eunuch Hong could not decipher what this sickness is. Yet you say you know. Uh-huh…” She rolled her eyes before proceeding to say, “How about I write a letter to Master Fei? Maybe I could ask him.”
Fan Xian coughed twice. He knew his wife’s worry could not be quelled and so he sighed and said, “That teacher of mine? It isn’t like you don’t know what’ll happen. In one year, he spent half of it just wandering about. Even if he did choose to return here and tend to me, who knows when that could be?” Fan Xian then laughed. “It could be as long as three to four months. I could very well be a dead man by then. And you…” He lightly prodded her tall nose in a jest and said, “…you will become the most beautiful young widow in the capital.”
Wan’er started spitting on the floor. She said, “Don’t say something like that!”
Fan Xian laughed in amusement. He wasn’t like the others in the manor, all nervous about what was going on. He knew what was happening to his body. The medicine that was cooking right now was to just calm his mind and ease his body, and to soothe the effects of the sickness. And in regards to the real, underlying issues that brought this on, he would have to deal with that by himself, alone. While the two were chatting, he made sure to comfort Wan’er; but as he did so, he made sure to conceal his right hand beneath the blanket.
His right hand sometimes shook. Ever since the fight outside the capital government, it had been the same. It had not improved one bit.
From outside the room, someone knocked on the bedroom door. Sisi then came through, carrying the medicine precariously. The big maid, Siqi, who slept in the same room as her was also awake. She lit the lamp on the desk and placed it in front of Fan Xian’s bed. She took the medicine and put the spoon in the bowl, stirring the mixture. She did this to disperse the heat and bring it to a more comfortable temperature. After she did this for a while, and she had hit the perfect temperature, she brought a spoonful to Fan Xian’s lips.
Fan Xian drank the bitter concoction and waggled his tongue in response. Sisi quickly brought a sugar cube to his mouth which he accepted, and this helped to wash away the rancid taste. He could not help but laugh and say, “I am just a master. Is this service all that necessary?”
Sisi laughed and responded, “Master, when you were young, taking medicine was your most despised thing.” Fan Xian was thinking, The medicine in this world is not as if it were coated in sugar. Of course I initially disliked the medicine here!
Siqi pulled a cloth out from her sleeve and gently dabbed and wiped the corner of Fan Xian’s lips. With seriousness in her tone, she told him, “Mister, you are being quite patient right now. Do not push yourself too hard.”
Seeing these two maids behave like this, even Wan’er felt compelled to avert her eyes. She laughed and said, “Do not spoil him too much!” As she said this, however, her hands were stroking and rubbing Fan Xian’s back to bring him greater comfort.
Fan Xian had grown accustomed this life and enjoyed it very much, and he thought being sick and being able to feel this good was a marvelous thing. He shook his head and reached for the bowl and downed it all in a few gulps. Then, he used his sleeves to wipe his lips and smiled. He said, “I am a part-time doctor, not some little kid.”
The two maids near the bed looked at each other and laughed. They looked out the window and saw the sky, acknowledging the late time. Fan Xian realized that his coughing had kept the servants up and had made the quite busy, as well. For this, he felt somewhat guilty. He told them, “Since I have taken this medicine, I should no longer be coughing. You no longer need to tend to me; you girls should go to sleep. Tell this to the other maids and servants who are up, too. Tell them to get some rest. The nights of autumn can be quite chilling; what are we to do if you all get sick?”
“It will be dawn soon. There is no point in going back to sleep.”
“More sleep is always a good thing.” Fan Xian responded.
This master was being extremely compassionate towards his servants, and the two were well aware of this, but being under his gentle service for so long, they knew he would not change his mind despite their please. So, Sisi and Siqi did not object any further. They agreed to rest and then left the room.
Fan Xian got off the bed and poured some tea to rinse his mouth. Wan’er saw him do this and could not help but say, “You are sick and yet you are still drinking cold tea? That is not good for the body.” Fan Xian laughed in response. He sat back down on the bed and said, “I have already told you that this sickness is different from the norm.” Then, the both of them continued chatting for a while. He did not cough anymore and this made Wan’er feel more at ease. Comforted somewhat, she began to feel sleepy, but did not go back to sleep because Fan Xian didn’t show any signs of wanting to sleep. Fan Xian could not watch this any more, so he quietly reached out his hands to rub and massage her shoulders. With his fingertips, he crawled up her head and she eventually fell asleep.
Seeing his wife, who was now deep in slumber, he knew how just how much she had been concerned for his well-being in recently. It was because of her constant fretting that she had become incredibly fatigued. He could not help but shake his head. He knew that his sickness was not going to be cured by some extra sleep and attentive care, unlike the cold his father was suffering from. The cold Minister Fan had, under Fan Xian’s treatment, was already being alleviated. He guessed that after another two days, he would be fully healed once more. But his father was getting on in age and his body wasn’t as strong as the youth’s, so it took a little longer than it should have.
He waved his hand and turned off the lamp on his table, which was five feet away. The whole bedroom was enshrouded in darkness, but still he could not sleep. And lying there, he opened his eyes wide. For the past few days, he had done little but lounge around resting, and it was because of this that he found it difficult to become tired and sleepy.
He used his fingertips to peel at the leftover medicine bits that had been caught between his teeth, and he mentally reviewed the concoction that he had selected. He could feel the activity of the curative mending his lungs already, and he was able to feel the irritation quell. He looked slightly complacent, and he then lifted the blanket to cover his wife, afterward reaching hand beneath his pillow and pulling out a satchel of drugs. Inside the pouch were a few big round and rough pills.
Although the room was dark, Fan Xian knew that these pills were red. Ever since he was small, Mister Fei Jie ordered Fan Xian to carry this medicine around with him. They were for a failsafe against the possibility there was a problem with the nameless skills Fan Xian had adeptly trained with. If the powerful zhenqi proved to be too much and threatened to burst through his veins and destroy his body, these pills were to be a last resort.
When Fan Xian was young, and still living in Danzhou, Fei Jie noticed a critical problem the boy had. With the nameless skill he had received from either his mother or Wu Zhu, he would have truly become the ultimate zhenqi master if he had kept on training his proficiency and dexterity. If ordinary people tried training with this skill, their bodies would not be able to handle such zhenqi, and so their veins would burst and their bodies would be brought to permanent paralysis.
But comparing Fan Xian to the people of this world, there isn’t a grand difference, save for the size of his veins. They seemed to be much wider. Perhaps this was why, ever since he was a baby, he already started learning these skills. By the time he was four, the zhenqi had already reached the top level and yet his veins did not rupture.
Fei Jie did say it once, however, that the zhenqi in his body would eventually stack and coagulate inside his body. It was only a matter of time before the veins could not manage the zhenqi any more and that would be a cause of great distress for him.
A decade had past since he was told this, and after so much time, he had not been given a reason to fear or anticipate this happening. Although the zhenqi inside him was always powerful, it had always remained under his control. When he was 12, he even finished the first phase of the nameless skill. The zhenqi inside his body was like a hurricane on a leash; as wild as it was, it was tamed and under control, never bringing him harm.
So, over time he dropped his guard and almost forgot about these words. He never even brought the pills out with him, and usually just left them at home. When he left for the Northern Qi kingdom, he did recall the existence of the pills, though. As he would be gone for a long time, unsure of what may transpire in his time there, and so did bring one, but that was it.
Trouble always comes when people least expect it.
Going through the Northern Qi Kingdom, the journey itself may have seemed safe. In actuality, it was pretty dangerous. The zhenqi inside Fan Xian’s body combined with his skills to accelerate and give them the strength equivalent to a ninth-ranked. It had started to reach the highest ceiling of power possible in this world, and the ascension of zhenqi had finally peaked. He could even do battle with Ku Hei’s student Lang Tao. He never expected that after his combat with Xie Bian, the zhenqi inside him would actually start to break down and inhibit him.
In his back, coursing all the way up through his veins, there were two paths of zhenqi that were like circles. They would keep channeling up and down his body ceaselessly. Right now, it seemed as if the zhenqi noticed something different ailing the masters body and it was beginning to rage. They were not quietly remaining within the veins as they should have. They were misbehaving and streaming through places they should not.
Fan Xian’s hands were where he could control the zhenqi perfectly, but it was now where the zhenqi seemed most likely to leak from. Right now, his hands were occasionally being made to shake. The reason this was happening was because the muscles in his body were contracting and not co-operating with the zhenqi inside him as they should.
It wasn’t a grave situation, yet Fan Xian still had things under control, more or less. After his periods of meditation these past few days, he forced his mind to suppress the zhenqi that was wreaking havoc inside his body. But both of these forces came together and damaged his lung; this is what brought on the cough these past few days. If he let this continue, it was only a matter of time before he lost total control of his zhenqi.
Fan Xian tried to learn the second phase of the nameless skill, but he had not made any progress yet. When he was coughing badly, he even thought to hate Wu Zhu, who was always so mystic and obscure. In his mind, he said to himself, Even if you told me about a skill I could learn, one with which I could absorb power, at least give me a clue.
He gently handled the medicine bag inside his hand and furrowed his eyebrows. In the past few days, he had been analyzing and observing what the exact contents of these pills were – these pills given to him by his teacher. It was like a tiger battling a lion; the teacher wanted to help him learn, control and harness the zhenqi within him. This was a great force of effort and took a lot of power to do. The medicine, which served as a failsafe, was equally as powerful. He had no confidence in what would happen if he took those pills. The only thing he was sure of, was that the pills contained a large amount of mayflowers. But this component would scatter and dilute the inherent power of the other ingredients inside. They were curious things.
Was Fan Xian really willing to let his zhenqi go? He had been training and increasing the power of his zhenqi for over a decade, after all. Even if it was not entirely gone, it would mean he would have a considerably less amount within him.
But if he did not eat it… was this zhenqi he treasured so much going to make him blow up like a balloon? It could happen within a month, but it could also happen a year from now. Even if this did not come to pass, to have his right hand shake like this was no good either. He was still so young; was he going to let himself walk around as if he had Parkinson’s Disease?
To eat or not to eat; that was the question.
In the distance, a rooster crowed to greet the arrival of a new day. Everyone else was fast asleep, but only now did Fan Xian realise he had been on the bed, lost in thought for the past half an hour. He laughed to himself a little, admitting to himself that he was still afraid to die. He was caught between a rock and a hard place; and the doubt wracked his mind.
Perhaps it was an opportunity? He comforted himself.
“No matter how broken the pond is, and how much I use the water to wash my body…” He slowly said this out loud and then started meditating once more. He carefully placed the scattered, misbehaving zhenqi that was rampaging inside him back in his veins. He returned them to his back, which was like a broad, snow-capped mountain. He let them sit there, melting the snow.
His heart jumped all of a sudden. Fan Xian opened his eyes and gathered a few random articles of clothing. He rushed to the bedroom door, pushed it open and ran out. He walked to the quietest corner in the yard, where he had tried the poisonous needles for the very first time back in the day. He did not have to search long, but that was where he caught a glimpse of the creepy uncle who veiled his face with a black cloth. He was standing near the fake mountain.
He could not help but shake his head and start complaining. He said, “So you do know how to come back?”