Joy of Life - Chapter 308[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:15]
Chapter 308: The Candlelight Surgery
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian was lying on the bed with a haggard look on his face. As soon as he heard her words, he rejected her proposal immediately. This was partially due to the fact that he wasn’t confident in her stitching proficiency, and he didn’t want his soft, gentle and weak sister to see a gaping cavity in his chest and then actually touch it.
“Wan’er, you should leave.” Fan Xian, with a dry voice, continued by saying, “Bring my little sister, as well.”
Wan’er did not say anything. She just shook her head lightly. Fan Ruoruo, however, insisted by saying, “My hands are the most steady.”
Hearing Lady Fan say something in such confidence, everyone in the room, the Third Bureau leader included, was surprised.
Fan Xian looked at her. He saw this lady, who had so far led a plain and ordinary life, was starting to beam with self-confidence. His heart jumped, and although his thoughts could not be guessed, a smile crossed his pale face. “It will be a disgusting sight to see, and you are my relative. Under ordinary circumstances, I would not select you for this operation, but if you are insisting in the way that you are, then you can stay.”
Having said this, Fan Xian’s spirits were fatigued once again. This talk was enough for Wan’er to begin shaking her head over, continuing to remain speechless.
A silence creeped into the room. The candle illuminated Fan Xian’s cheeks, but the brightness was quite strange. With a strained laugh, he spoke, “What are you guys waiting for? This is but a minor surgery.”
The Third Bureau had brought with them a box at the request of Fan Xian. The box and its tools were created by Fei Jie, but where did he learn to make them? Aside from Fan Xian himself, nobody knew. But right now, Fan Xian had to be his own director of surgery. Following his instructions, the people who stayed in Guang Xin began working busily.
The palace itself was decorated luxuriously, and it remained lit by an abundance of candles. The group elected to gather as many of them together as they could and have their light focus on the bed to shine upon Fan Xian’s chest as best as possible.
The eunuchs were also busy, hurrying to and fro. They boiled large amounts of water and disinfected their tools as best they could. To keep the area as sanitary as possible, they bid everyone in the palace wash their hands. Ruoruo leaned towards Fan Xian so she could clearly hear and understand the instructions her brother was to give her, including the caution she should heed and pitfalls she had to avoid while operating. There was no doubt that it was the Third Bureau’s leader who was the best anesthetist present. The eunuchs quickly became the diligent nurses.
The royal doctors, however, had become third-year medical students as they looked on at the others performing their tasks ardently. They could do nothing while they watched an operation procedure unfold, one which resembled surgery from Fan Xian’s prior world.
This is not a gynecological examination. Fan Xian thought this to himself. He also cancelled his prior idea of having the doctors removed from the room. And in regards to the disinfection and eradication of bacteria? Forget it. Their palace did not possess the ability.
The sound of struck metal reverberated throughout the now-quiet Guang Xin palace. Fan Ruoruo was nervous, but she nodded to her big brother to gesture that she was ready to begin.
Lin Wan’er was worried, and she looked back at her sister-in-law. She took a clump of cotton that was as white as virgin snow, and used it to wipe the sweat from the Fan Xian’s forehead.
Fan Xian smiled with difficulty. “My lady, you should go wipe the surgeon’s sweat.”
The Third Bureau’s leader, without thinking, went to feed Fan Xian anesthesia. When the scent reached his nose, he shut his lips tight as a demonstration of his refusal to accept it. He then said, “The strychnos is too strong; I will pass out.”
The Third Bureau’s leader replied, “what are we supposed to do if you aren’t unconscious? What if you move when you feel pain?”
Fan Xian did not have the strength of Guan Yu, but right now, he was the only one who knew how to perform this surgery. As a result, he did not want to go unconscious and place his life purely in the hands of his sister. With great difficulty, he said, “Use chloroform. Just a little bit.”
The Third Bureau’s leader then quickly remembered this form of anesthetic. In the springtime, he recommended this chemical to Fan Xian. He made use of it in the north and in the south, but the Third Bureau’s leader himself rarely did. He returned to the corner of the room and searched for it. He found a little brown bottle of the stuff and happily walked back. He opened the cap and waved it under Fan Xian’s nose gently.
A sweet fragrance commanded Fan Xian’s nose, and it wasn’t a while before the drugs began to kick into effect.
Although his vision did not blur, his view was distorted. He was beginning to see double. One image he saw depicted his sister holding pliers as she looked back at him. In another image, he saw a pretty nurse from a magical place called a hospital that had treated him many, many years ago.
His mind was stronger than most people in the place. He immediately knew that he was witnessing an illusion. The real image and the imaginary image began to slowly combine, not providing him much time to savor the moment.
“Begin. Quickly!” He squinted his eyes. “If Ruoruo is unable to see this through, you should take over.”
His courage was immense, and it seemed as if he was using his own life as a way to bolster Ruoruo’s confidence. Under the effect of chloroform, his mind could quite easily fly away from this makeshift operation room in the palace and forget that the patient of this operation was none other than himself.
Fan Xian had used chloroform to deal with Xiao En, Yan Bingyun and the second prince previously. Today, it was his turn.
He turned his head to look at Wan’er’s pale, snow-white face. Her eyes looked even more beautiful after being slightly swollen. He then looked at his little sister, who was staring into his chest, and all of a sudden, he smiled. He was thinking; in the future, if he could get his wife and little sister to wear a pink nurse’s uniform and squeeze in a brief peek, it would be a scene to remember.
When a person is almost unconscious, their truths often surface.
The people outside of Guang Xin palace waited anxiously. They already knew that Fan Xian had woken up and had already wanted to utilise his own methods to remedy his grievous wounds. The Qing Kingdom’s people had long since gotten used to Fan Xian’s surprises; like the 3,000 poems, tricking Haitang, the spring exam, the First Bureau and soft tofu. But everyone was concerned with his terrible injuries and desire to fix himself – could he truly pull himself away from the clutch of death?
The Emperor, who was resting in the royal study room, was apparently extra caring toward this young chancellor. With news of this development, he quickly embarked a carriage to return to the Guang Xin palace. He saw everyone who was quietly gathered outside it. From the room Fan Xian was in, he could hear the low voices and repeated clunking of metal and couldn’t help but furrow his eyebrows. It reminded him of a time, many years ago in the northern battlefields, when he watched a scene unfold in quite a similar way.
“What is it?”
King Jing bowed before the Emperor with a worried expression. He told him, “The royal doctors could not help, but the Third Bureau’s people had no problem eliminating the toxins in his body. The wound created by the blade cut too deep, however.”
The Emperor smiled and said, “With the precious items she left, this should be no large concern.”
King Jing looked surprised when he heard this response, but he stayed quiet and made no reply. He lined up behind the Emperor, where the anger and sadness in his eyes faded to blankness.
It was a long while later when the gate of the Guang Xin palace opened again. Ye Gui Pin cared little for her status, and so she pulled the third prince to look in the direction of the palace. She nervously asked, “What is happening?”
All that answered her was the sound of puking.
It was a eunuch who came out, delivering tools from the palace. He was the first person to have left since the gathering, and so he became the focus of everyone’s attention. But hearing what Ye Gui Pin asked, he could not answer anything. His face was pale and discolored, as if he had just experienced something awful. He held the rail and threw up.
Eunuch Yao yelled, “You little bastard! How can you throw up!?” Before he finished yelling, another person came out to join-in with the hurling eunuch. This person was a royal doctor.
In this peaceful world, the young eunuchs spend their life growing up in the palace. They may witness the occasional lashing, but the sight they had seen tonight was wholly foreign to them. They had never seen such violence. The red, green and white colors; what were those? Do those horrible, squishy mounds of meat truly compose the human body? The Fan’s lady was amazing, with how she fearlessly went to touch it.
The young royal doctor had studied in the medical field for many years, but he had only ever observed his patients. The grossest thing he had ever seen was the sight of an infected tongue or the effects of a sexual disease under one’s arms. But tonight, he saw a person with scissors cutting flesh and needles to stitch up the exposed what was exposed.
After a while, the royal doctors, who had become students on this night, all exited the Guang Xin palace in solemn silence. They did not bear happy expressions. Although most of them were able to maintain composure, they were each shocked on the inside.
The Emperor observed their face and knew that Fan Xian was alright. Still, he had to ask them, “How is everything? Are things okay?”
The royal doctor who had previously been slapped by King Jing was the victim of curiosity earlier. Unable to temper his inquisitiveness, he went inside to observe what was going on there. Now coming out again to hear the Emperor ask this, his face was green and red. He shockingly responded, “My Lord, it is like magic.”
King Jing heard these words and could not help but yell at him. “He asked you about Fan Xian’s wellbeing, not your feelings!”
The royal doctor stood up straight with continued admiration in his thoughts of the surgery. His beard quivered and he said, “My Lord, I have been a doctor for a dozen years. I have heard rumors about this method of opening people up to fix an issue that plagued them on the inside… and today I saw it in action. There is no need for you to worry. His organs are all fixed and he has successfully been stitched up. He is alright. He lost a lot of blood, however, so he is weak and not currently conscious.”
He did not dare to say that after Fan Xian’s surgery, he could not withstand the fumes of the chloroform that was used and began blabbering nonsense during the actual surgery. The things that he had said included crude words used against the nobles and a subsequent plight to not allow the Emperor to hear of what he said. It was fortunate that near the surgery table, there was only him himself, his sister and wife at Fan Xian’s bedside.
At this time, the people outside the Guang Xin palace continued to mull their desire for Fan Xian to pull through. When they heard the royal doctor promise the Emperor that he was going to be fine, everyone felt at ease.
The eldest prince showed a smile of relief and bowed before the Emperor. He no longer waited outside the palace, and instead returned to his manor. He did not want others to think that he cared too greatly for Fan Xian, nor did he want people to think that he was merely trying to figure out what the Emperor wanted. He simply did not want Fan Xian to die. When he heard of his survival, the eldest prince walked back chicly.
The Emperor waved his hand and signalled for Ye Gui Pin to bring the third prince, who was already exhausted, back to their palace. He raised his footsteps to enter the Guang Xin palace, with King Jing following from behind.
All of a sudden, a royal doctor jumped to bar the passage of these two people. With a wry smile, he told them, “Before Master Fan went unconscious, he said it would be best if people did not enter after the surgery to prevent…”
He furrowed his eyebrows to mull and recall the new word he had learned today. “…Infection?”
Fan Xian had asked this so that he could enjoy a few quiet hours to himself. The Emperor and King Jing were quite shocked. They accepted this, and then the royal doctor, with an empassioned look on his face, said, “My Lord, I think Master Fan’s medical skills are quite brilliant. He should be working in the medical field as a royal doctor. He can fix everyone’s sickness in the palace, he can teach students and cure civilians. His knowledge could be of great benefit to the kingdom over the next thousand years.”
These words were a massive compliment to Fan Xian, and weren’t selfish in the least. But it had been a tense evening. The Emperor could no longer hold his anger and yelled before King Jing, “He still didn’t wake up yet? Why are you trying to steal him for yourself? Fan Xian is a smart man; he wouldn’t dream of being caught up in your petty doctor business.”
King Jing was no longer mad. Instead, he was laughing and he mumbled out, “Being a doctor has always been better than being a patient.”
The officers from the Third Bureau now exited, and they bowed before the Emperor politely. After they received their compliments of gratitude from the Emperor, they looked fatigued. They then promptly departed the palace. In Guang Xin palace, aside from the few eunuchs and maids who were serving, there was only Fan Xian, Wan’er and Ruoruo left.
It hurt Lin Wan’er to see Fan Xian in such a position. She looked at her sister-in-law’s pale face and she gently wiped the sweat that had gathered on her forehead. This is what Fan Xian had told her to do earlier. Fan Ruoruo’s hands were steady throughout the entire procedure but now, after it was all done, her hands began to tremble. She knew that she had done an amazing thing, under the guidance of her big brother. Fan Xian’s life had been saved. Her mind had now drawn a blank, and her legs became jelly; she almost fell on the floor.
Lin Wan’er was holding her, and she self-mockingly laughed. She had not yet said a single word, but the smile that she showed was plain to see. The “chickenheart lady” thought that everyone around Fan Xian was able to help him to some degree, but she herself could never do anything except sit and watch as events unfolded.
“Sister-in-law?” Fan Ruoruo had finally taken notice of Wan’er’s profound silence. She caringly asked, “Are you okay?”
Lin Wan’er had been stared at for half a day by this little girl. She had no choice but to respond and with a forced, strained smile she replied, “I’m okay.”
When she said these two words, she mumbled somewhat. Fan Ruoruo looked at her and realized that Wan’er’s lips were stained with blood. In great shock, she prepared to call for a doctor.
Wan’er quickly held her mouth, afraid to wake up Fan Xian who was still under the effects of the chloroform. She spoke again, but not very clearly. She stuttered to say, “I… am okay… I just bit my tongue.”
Fan Ruoruo froze and immediately understood what was happening. With warmth in her heart, she respected, loved and cherished her young sister-in-law more than anything. Earlier, when she was feeding Fan Xian’s medicine, Wan’er did it rushedly. Her only concern was for Fan Xian, and when she chewed the medicine, she bit her tongue in the process. She only cared for the wellbeing of her husband, and because of this, she did not say anything until now.
The Guang Xin palace’s white mantle had already been removed. It was now late, and the moon shone through the clouds, illuminating the world in silver. It was not unlike the mantle in the palace itself, back in the day. The people outside of the palace began to leave, but many eunuchs – who could deliver messages – and guards remained. Inside the palace, a few maids and eunuchs placed their head onto the comforting embrace of plush chairs to rest before they went to check on Fan Xian and see if anything had changed. There were a few maids on their night shift who extinguished candles that did not need to be lit.
The sisters sat on separate chairs quietly. They observed Fan Xian, who was in silent slumber under the dim candlelight of the room. Both of their faces displayed a look of appreciation.
Behind all the walls of the palace, Wu Zhu, who was dressed in ragged clothing, coldly looked in a certain direction to confirm the safety of someone who was special to him. Then, he disappeared into the dark woods.
A few days later, inside the palace, the place was quiet as usual. But today, the number of guards present had increased. The most famous patient in the capital was lying on a sofa talking.
“When can I go home?”
Fan Xian had a thin blanket draped over him as he lay on the sofa. Looking out towards the garden and the new berries that floundered earlier than usual, he thought it may have been because of his presence there. His face, however, looked annoyed.
The resources that the palace possessed were abundant. Swathes of costly medicine was produced here by the royal doctors, and it kept filling up his belly. With such amenities, one’s well-being could not be hindered that long. And as for the services provided by the eunuchs and maids, they were considerably better than the ones in the Fan Manor. Even a simple view of the garden was considerably greater than any sight provided by the windows of his home. His wife and sister had also received permission to stay with him in the palace everyday, too. With the autumn sunlight shining, the cotton blanket that covered him and the beautiful women that accompanied him, it seemed as if there was no difference to him being in the Fan Manoe – save for the absence of a swing.
But still, he desired to return to Fan Manor, for that was his true home in the capital.
After experiencing the first surgery in the Qing Kingdom palace, because he had been training his body over the course of the past twenty years, his recovery came swiftly. His chest had not fully healed yet, but he could still lie down and comfortably observe the view. He felt that the zhenqi in his body was beginning to fade, though, and not an ounce of it had yet returned. His heart was chilled by this concept, and he had a fear in his heart.
Ruoruo had brewed congee in a bowl and used a spoon to feed him. Wan’er placed her hand inside his robes and carefully fixed the location of bag of fabric that was attached to his body. This was done at Fan Xian’s request, in which fabric was used to dress the wound and then more added to tighten and maintain pressure on it. This was excellent for healing.
Fan Xian was having trouble swallowing his congee, and so he complained and said, “Eating congee everyday, my mouth is growing birds. I want to go home! I’m not requesting the food from the Bao Yue brothel, but even some juice from Auntie Liu would be better than this.”
Lin Wan’er then said, “You have been awake for two days, and you are clearly talking a lot more. The Emperor gave you permission to remain in the palace and heal; what are you complaining for? And what does it mean for birds to grow in your mouth?”
Fan Ruoruo did not understand, either. She asked, “What birds?”
Fan Xian’s annoyed expression did not change, and so he changed the subject by telling them, “I am not afraid of others whispering rotten words about me; I miss home, that’s all.”
Now that he was in the palace, he was unable to contact the Qinian Group. The Emperor had also issued an order to prevent him from working. Wan’er and Ruoruo had not exited the palace since their arrival, either. As for the eunuchs and maids? They were out of the subject. It had been a few days since the attempted assassination in the floating temple, and he had yet to learn a single thing. He could not even go and ask Chen Pinping for information about the shadow. His demeanor had grown uneasy and unhappy about the situation, but a foreboding sense of worry and dread is what concerned him the most.