Joy of Life - Chapter 307[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:14]
Chapter 307: The Injured in the Palace
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The curtain in the carriage wailed in the wind that was blowing, parting to reveal the green fields the carriage trotted by. Combined with the long rocky road, it was a timeless picture flick playing, rewinding and playing again.
In the corner of this picture, there was a black cloth that waved on. It turned into a black light that consumed the entire image.
The picture became bright, and the light revealed a scene of familiar flowers. When the petals unfurled, they opened to reveal Danzhou’s cliffsides. A rough but warm hand reached down and picked one up.
The flowers on the rooftop of the residence were dried up by the forces of the sun and seawind. It also flavoured the tea leaves that they poured water on. The tea leaves and dried flowers twirled in the water, which darkened into a deep gold and amber color. Another hand reached out to pick the cup up and bring it to a pair of lips.
“Master, drink this new cup of tea that was crafted by Sisi. This was the first time she entered this place.” Dong’er, who he had not seen in a long time, was bearing a warm smile.
I am not sure why she isn’t being a beautiful tofu-merchant today.
I shake my head and take the tea and set it down on another surface. I see Wan’er sitting down beside me, nibbling on a chicken drumstick. Thinking that it is a strange sight, I say, “That is so oily. How can you eat this? Drink some tea and clear your throat.”
Wan’er did not respond. Instead, my sister who was also present began laughing. The worry that perpetuated her eyebrows had disappeared, and it made me pleased to see her.
Wu Zhu, who had a black cloth upon his face coldly said, “You should go.”
“Where?” I asked.
“Go see the lady.”
“Good.” I did not have any objection, and with excitement, I stood up. I walked to the bedside and picked up the luggage that was on it. There was… a black box. I was unsure why, but the box was extremely heavy. Despite trying my hardest to pick it up, I couldn’t. Instead, I just made myself all sweaty.
Sweat rolled down Fan Xian’s forehead, in his state of blurred consciousness. It dropped onto the pillow. He was drowsy and and his eyelids were only partially open. As if his mind was not all there, he stared at the painting on the ceiling. He knew that he was in a strange room that he had not been in before. Feeling chilled by this revelation, he spoke.
“Is it… over again?”
If dying meant he would have go through all this once again, he would have preferred to remain dead. To go through that world, tirelessly working to improve and survive against the odds that were put against him felt pointless. So much emotion had been spent, and he did not want to let go. And to remember it when he left.
Fan Xian’s vision was scattered and strained, but after a while, it adjusted to the light of the room. He was like a baby, learning how to focus. He was finally able to see who was next to him, clearly. Wan’er’s eyes were swollen and looked to have been burnt out by tears. Pulling the corner of the bedsheets, Fan Xian bit his teeth and did not say anything. It looked like he was still alive, and still in the world that contained the Qing Kingdom. He was just unaware of where he was lying in, exactly.
He found it difficult to lower his head. He felt a great pain in his chest and he knew that the wound he had sustained had not mended yet. There were several Eunuchs around the room who looked kind and thoughtful. They did, however, look frightened as well; as if they were searching for something. They were so busy and sad. At the door, a group of old men had gathered. They wore the clothing of the royal doctors, and they were talking to a middle-aged man in a solemn way.
“Emperor, there is nothing we can do.”
The middle-aged man angrily responded, “If you cannot save him, then you die with him!”
Fan Xian was still hovering above a plane of consciousness, viewing this scene. He felt compelled to laugh, but the corners of his lips could not react to the commands of his mind.
His heart thought that this was a familiar sentence. The Emperor would only become made when Fan Xian was dying. He didn’t seem to be a very kind person. When contemplating the scene, however, he had hoped that it was his father in the Emperor’s stead.
He wanted to reach out his hand and touch Wan’er’s, but he lacked the strength to even do that. His entire body was in pain, and all strength had been exhausted. He forced himself to focus and use his mind, but his brain began to buzz, and he passed out again.
While Fan Xian still had the time to play tricks on the Emperor and comfort his wife, the entire city was in chaos.
The Emperor was almost assassinated.
This was an event that could not be hidden from the rest of the world, and it showed. By dusk, everyone was talking about it. But the Emperor had emerged unscathed, and this brought relief and comfort to the worried populace. Not long later, word had spread of the Overwatch’s Council’s commissioner, Fan Xian, who bravely defended the Emperor through the strength of his loyalty. He prevented the would-be kingslayers from killing the Emperor. And despite a sickness that plagued him, he exerted all the strength he had in chasing the assassin all the way back into the capital on foot. Overwhelmed with fatigue, he was injured by the enemy and collapsed. No one knew whether or not he would survive.
Fan Xian’s reputation in the Qing Kingdom had always been good, so when this news was heard, many civilians delivered food to show the sincerity of their worry. Long queues of people had lined up near the temples, so each person could light a lantern and offer a prayer for his ability to pull through.
In the southern streets, the Fan Manor lit no lantern, and darkness veiled it. With bated breath, the people waited for further news with great fervor. After Fan Xian was injured, the Tiger Guard brought him to the palace. After the Emperor returned to the capital, he kept the heavily wounded Fan Xian there and had the royal doctors tend to him for every hour of the day. In regards to how the Emperor responded, the Fan Manor believed his behavior reasonable. Fan Xian’s wife and sister had stayed there to be with him, but no news was yet to be heard. The rumors spoke of how he had suffered a severe stab wound, and whether or not the doctors could fix him was still up in the air.
Beyond the expectations of all, the Ministry of Personnel’s Minister Fan Jing did not enter the palace. He had simply remained in his study room with a dim face. No one could surmise what thoughts occupied his mind.
When something big like this occurred, Chen Pingping would not remain where he was to watch pretty girls dance. He made a hasty return in his wheelchair to the Overwatch Council and immediately began the investigation into the assassination. They took custody of the young eunuch who was captured, and the body of the ninth-ranked elite.
King Jing went to the palace, while Princess Roujia remained crying in her bedroom.
Swathes of women must have been crying across the capital this night.
The second prince closed his manor’s doors tight. He forbid anyone from trying to obtain information. He knew that his situation was quite precarious right now, for this had been an eventful autumn. All these inappropriate actions could very well bring him disaster.
The eldest prince was guarding outside the Guang Xin palace where Fan Xian resided, being mended. He walked back and forth ceaselessly.
Yi Gui Pin was leading the third prince, and stood in front of the Guang Xin palace. Today, Fan Xian had saved the third prince’s life. It was not due to the relation Yi Gui Pin shared with the Fan Manor. As a woman in the palace, she knew what the Emperor was experiencing after this event and how she should behave in his presence.
The Empress did not come. The prince of the eastern palace came to the Guang Xin palace, pretending that he cared, to comfort Wan’er and Ruoruo a little. Before he returned to the eastern palace, he also asked that the Emperor tend to himself.
It was whispered that the Empress Dowager also learned of what happened, but that she only sent Eunuch Hong to take a look. As an old woman, however, she used incense sticks in the Han Guang palace to pray.
For the news that Fan Xian was heavily injured and had almost been killed, it made everyone in the Qing Kingdom display a reaction most true. It may have looked rather ridiculous, but it was kind of cute.
Guang Xin palace was where the eldest princess once lived. It was also the first place Fan Xian had received the privilege of staying during the nighttime. He had never slept in the palace before, and this is why he was confused and did not know where he was when he woke up.
Although Fan Xian was heavily injured in service of the Emperor, allowing a chancellor to remain in the palace and be tended to by royal doctors was not a very appropriate thing to be done. It was fortunate that he still possessed the identity of the eldest princess’ son-in-law.
The doors of the Guang Xin palace creaked open. The Emperor had a stern look on his face as he walked through. He looked towards Fan Ruoruo, who was still crying, and his eyebrows drooped into tired depression. Eunuch Yao, with a shaky voice, said, “My Lord, you should rest. Fan Xian has these royal doctors to take care of him; he will be fine.”
The Emperor’s eyes flashed coldly. He replied, “Pah! They are but useless!”
“My Lord, I want to take a look.” Fan Ruoruo tried to keep her mind composed, and she bowed before the Emperor. “But… the royal doctor will not let me inside.”
“Hm?” The Emperor furrowed his eyebrows and asked, “Why?” He noticed that by this lady’s foot rested an ordinary-looking box.
Fan Ruoruo bit her lips and said, “My big brother hasn’t woken up. But the Tiger Guards had me bring some antidotes that he himself always used. Before he slipped into his coma, I can only suppose he would have known and accepted their usage. I just don’t think the doctors are willing to believe my words.”
The Emperor was standing on the staircase in silence. The royal doctors had their own programme to follow in the tending of the wounded. For them to refuse Fan Ruoruo’s medicine was nothing out of the ordinary, but the Emperor right now was different from those in the past. He now seemed to realize that out of all the sons he had, it was the one inside that room that impressed him the most. It was he who selflessly thrust himself into this position in a bid to secure the Emperor’s safety.
In the floating temple, within those desperate moments, if Fan Xian had not elected to save the Emperor, he would undoubtedly continue to give him the cold shoulder. But because of this act, perhaps this was Fan Xian finally being given the opportunity to prove his loyalty to the Emperor. And being an Emperor meant you always had to doubt the faith and service of others.
The problem was, Fan Xian chose to save the third prince first.
If they wanted to investigate this deeply, the Imperial Censorate could use this minor detail to impeach Fan Xian for neglecting to prioritise the safety of the Emperor first and foremost. On behalf of the Emperor himself, and how he viewed the situation, he was not like the rest. He could see from this initial act that beyond his strong facade, Fan Xian possessed a kind and compassionate heart within. Just like that woman, back in the day.
The funny thing was, at that moment, Fan Xian did not think of things the way the Emperor was believing them to be. The Emperor did not know the real truth.
When he learnt that Fan Xian was heavily injured and had almost died, that of his, one that had not been moved for several years began to vibrate with emotion once more. He even started to doubt whether or not he had oppressed Fan Xian too much in recent times. Doubting himself, he found himself feeling an un unreasonable jealousy towards Fan Jing. It was an envy he could not allow anyone else to know of. Such a smart and excellent young man.
How could it be his son, he would ask himself.
To judge his own sons, the eldest one was too straight. The second son was too fake and the third was too small. And in regards to the crown prince? The Emperor laughed coldly in his heart, thinking if that little bastard was aware that the Emperor saw him step on the wine cup deliberately.
And so, the Emperor chose to keep Fan Xian in the palace. First and foremost, he wanted to save Fan Xian’s life, yes, but it was spurred by the negative emotions he mulled in his mind – and his envy. Fan Jing, who grew up with him, perhaps he knew his heart really well. So, when his own son was heavily injured, he did not enter the palace. He just quietly stayed in the Fan Manor’s study room.
The Emperor ordered one of the royal doctors to exit the room. The doctor, with a bitter face, said, “My Lord, the bleeding on the outside has stopped, but the knife has punctured Mister Fan’s organs.”
The Emperor lifted his open, agape jaw, and introduced Fan Ruoruo. He said, “Why don’t you allow Miss Fan to enter?”
The royal doctor was still firm in his resolve to defend his stature and routine. He frowned and responded, “I do not know what the ingredients of those pills are, and the assassin’s sword was coated with a poison. A poison that I cannot analyze and whose origins I thus cannot determine! I could not allow the patient to accept this medication blindly. I am afraid…”
“Afraid, my ass.” King Jing, who was sitting on a chair below the steps, was now running up them. There was a noise.
He slapped the royal doctor’s cheek and yelled, “I have given you two hours! Even if you cannot save him, at least wake the boy up. With his medical skills, he could fix himself. He’s better than you wretched old men.”
The royal doctor had just been slapped. He was feeling dizzy, humiliated and angry. Of course, there was nothing he could say in retaliation. The Emperor desired to tell off King Jing’s inappropriate behavior, but hearing these few words, his heart jumped to believe that perhaps his actions were reasonable. Fei Jie was not in the capital anymore. Besides him, no one was better than Fan Xian when it came to the elimination of toxins and poison. He furrowed his eyebrows and said, “I do not care what it takes, just find a way to wake Fan Xian up.”
After he said this, the Emperor realized Fan Xian was a total genius. If he wasn’t worrying for the safety of the Emperor and the prince’s inhalation of toxic smoke by throwing down the antidote bag upon the ground, he was only afraid that even if he was poisoned by the assassin’s sword, things would not be so grave as they were. He thought of some of Fan Xian’s other great deeds, and his heart could not help but sigh once more. He was thinking, if this kid’s mother was not her… that would be tremendous.
He shook his head, and, led by the eunuchs, returned to his study room.
They got the Emperor’s permission, and King Jing led Fan Ruoruo beyond that palace door. They passed by the guards and disregarded the plights of the royal doctor as they marched towards the bed.
Wan’er’s eyes were red and swollen, and she did not say anything. She continued to hold Fan Xian’s hand with a dull expression and looked at his pale face. It seemed as if she did not realize who had just come up from behind her.
Fan Ruoruo’s viewing of this scene made her heart tremble. But her resolve was strengthened in the belief that it would take more than this to kill her brother.
“Wake him up.” King Jing was no flower gardener today; he was more like a general at war. He squinted his eyes and said, “If taking these pills ends up being useless, I will remove one of your fingers!”
Fan Ruoruo acted as if she did not hear those words. She took out a few smaller wooden boxes that varied in size from the big box she brought in.
King Jing said, “Do you know which ones he should take?” He had to be cautious with the pills. After all, the royal doctors weren’t stupid, and what they pleaded did make sense. If he took the wrong pill, who knew what could happen? Maybe Fan Xian, who was barely alive, would die right away.
Fan Ruoruo nodded and calmly removed light yellow pills from one box. The pills emitted an extremely spicy fragrance.
She passed the pills to her sister-in-law. Both of the women were smart, and when Wan’er accepted the pills, she asked no questions. She put them in her mouth and began chewing. She took a sip of the warm water provided by the eunuch and diluted the medicine in her mouth.
The royal doctors who were stood beside them watched the events with great curiosity, knowing that the two brave ladies were preparing to give the medicine. There was nothing they could do to halt it, so one of them approached Fan Xian and used a wooden tool to open Fan Xian’s mouth.
Wan’er lowered her head above Fan Xian and fed him the medicine.
King Jing, who was quietly watching the whole time, reached out his hand and padded Fan Xian’s chest to rub it down. When it was consumed, everyone waited nervously.
A while later, Fan Xian’s long eyelashes quivered. Although the eyelids were heavy and visibly tired, they at long last opened.
“Master Fan woke up!!!”
Several eunuchs sprung to action and began shouting, running back into the palace to inform the Emperor. The interior and exterior of the palace quickly livened up.
After Fan Xian was injured, the first thing he thought of after waking up was that a lot of people must be disappointed.
Then, he took notice of many familiar faces gathered around him. They each wore an expression that suggested nervousness, happiness and shock all combined in one. He softly said, “Pillow.”
Wan’er held her fist and kept her lips shut. She appeared too nervous to say anything. She grabbed the pillow beneath her neck, knowing that Fan Xian would like to see his wound, and so she grabbed another one to help elevate his neck higher.
Ruoruo already brought a bright candle closer, to illuminate the wound on his chest.
Fan Xian closed his eyes and let the spicy medicine do its work and course throughout his body to restore the energy that had escaped him for this entire bed-ridden duration. He then slowly opened his eyes and took a look at his chest.
The wound was not too deep, and its location was a little low. It looked like it had struck his chest, but it was just a little above the stomach. The royal doctors had done a fine job in its treating and dressing; Fan Xian had no qualm with their work on the exterior.
But he knew that on his stomach, there would be a stab wound that was slowly bleeding. The zhenqi inside him had depleted, and so he could not use it to heal himself. He thought that if the internal bleeding was not treated promptly, he would not survive the night. The medical advancements in this world was not yet high enough, and for internal injuries, there was little that could be done. He could not fault the royal doctors for this.
“Wipe it.” He used his limited strength to make a short command.
Fan Ruoruo did not even think twice. She took a cloth that had been boiled, to wipe off the medicine on his chest. At the sight of this, the royal doctors were all shocked.
As expected, the wound on his chest was bleeding again.
“Needle.” Fan Xian softly spoke this one word. The hand that could barely be moved was holding his wife’s trembling hand.
Fan Ruoruo took out a few long needles. Fan Xian’s eyes looked to his side and met with King Jing. He said to him, “Tian Tu, Qi Men, Yu Fu, Guan Yuan. Puncture these locations with the needles, two inches deep.”
Using the needles required zhenqi. For the people present, it seemed as if only King Jing possessed this ability. After Fan Xian woke up, he had guessed it clearly. Earlier, when King Jing rubbed his chest as he consumed the medicine, he could sense that he too possessed a powerful zhenqi, and it was one that had been practiced and honed for many years. King Jing was surprised, he never thought he would be of aid in the medical realm. He followed Fan Xian’s instructions and collected the needles, placing them in the spots Fan Xian had asked him to.
The needles pierced the skin, and the bleeding stopped. The royal doctors around him were speechless and could not believe their eyes.
“The Third Bureau.” Fan Xian was struggling to tell King Jing.
King Jing immediately understood. The Overwatch Council’s Third Bureau was the most proficient in the formulation of poisons. He and the Emperor had been too caring, and so they had forgotten to ask them for their assistance in curing Fan Xian. So, he quickly ran out of the palace to call for the Third Bureau’s leader and their officers to arrive posthaste and save Fan Xian.
Unexpectedly, the Third Bureau’s people were already waiting for this call and had gathered up outside the palace. The leader had even requested entry a few times for the purpose they were now being summoned for. But tonight, the palace had been in chaos. The royal guard’s leaders had been vigorously questioned by the Overwatch Council. No one had dared to inform the Emperor in the leaders’ absence, and it was because of this that no one was granted access.
At this time, King Jing had replaced the Emperor and given the order. The people of the Overwatch Council were relieved, and as soon as the gates opened for them, they ran inside frantically, in the direction of the Guang Xin palace. The Third Bureau’s people had brought with them many things, the clanking of metal objects accompanying their steps. Fan Xian, who was lying in bed, heard these sounds, and he compared it to the sound of jade. It was music to his ears.
The Third Bureau’s leader was a student of Fei Jie, and Fan Xian’s classmate as well. He got along with him really well in the Overwatch Council, and now, to see his junior friend lying poorly in bed, his face darkened. He walked up to Fan Xian and placed his fingers on his waist.
Everyone’s eyes focused on him, especially the doctors’.
After a while, the Third Bureau’s leader gave a firm nod. He looked at Fan Xian and said, “The pills you took were excellent, but the poison that afflicts you is from Dongyi City. Try this pill from the council.”
Fan Xian’s heart leapt. He followed his peer’s suggestion and consumed it. It may have been placebo, but he immediately felt renewed with energy and vigor.
There were three poison-producing masters in this world. Fei Jie was one and Xiao En was the second. The third was a creep that resided in Dongyi. Out of the three of them, Fei Jie’s poisons saw the most widespread use. But between them all, the methodology and ingredients used by each differed greatly. Like Xiao En for example, who used animal fat and toxic glands mostly. Fei Jie used plants and trees, something which Fan Xian followed in his own formulation of poisons. The poison that coated the assassin’s dagger was extracted from poisonous rocks and minerals such as saltpeter. Their methodology in the formulation of poison differed greatly, and as such, the creation of curatives for ailments incurred by such poisons was difficult. And since this poison’s usage wasn’t as widespread, the Overwatch Council rarely stored large quantities of them.
Fan Xian knew that someone was using his classmate’s name to send this medicine to the palace to cure him. Because his classmate was quite simple-minded, and only revelled in the research of poisons, so he never thought of this.
The poison was fading. All that was left was the internal bleeding caused by a wounded organ. The royal doctors were in great admiration of the skills the Overwatch Council possessed in the curing of these ailments, but they were still curious how the Third Bureau and Fan Xian planned to fix the wound on the inside.
“Brother, the tools that you requested the council to craft are here with me. How do I use them?” The Third Bureau’s leader seemed as if he did not know how to use them, either.
Fan Xian looked at the wound in his lower chest and he gasped to say, “I need someone who is extremely brave, and someone who has steady hands.”
The Third Bureau’s leader frequently dealt with poisonous crops, and he had viewed many gory scenes over the years as well; needless to say, he had the courage. And as for a person who had extremely steady hands, there were many officers in the Third Bureau who were capable of filling that role.
But Fan Ruoruo bravely stood in front of the bed and said, “I will do it.”