“I would stay in place, and not move a single step.”
A cold voice sounded just directly behind Lu Jing Yi, piercing deeply into the latter’s soul, yet not disturbing the surroundings. Greatly startled, the emperor whirled around to find an old man dressed in a grey robe standing before him.
Clenched within the firm grasp of the aged man’s right hand, was a rather large medicinal toolbox.
“Who are you?” the emperor raised an eyebrow as he inquired.
“Such a threat like that, what exactly are you implying with your words?”
“I mean only what I have stated,” the old man replied in a steady, hoarse voice.
“Do not try to fish in a desert, there simply are no alternative intentions in my words.”
“Really?” the emperor scoffed.
“In this era, who does not speak with two tongues, or preaches the Buddha whilst harboring the devil?”
“Then what do you wish for, young man?” the aged man rebuked.
“Since you are adamant about this old thing possessing an alternative motive, so be it.”
“Then I’ll say to you, move before I blast your family to shreds. Is that convincing enough for this esteemed young scholar before me?”
Lu Jing Yi chuckled, carefully examining the old man before him. The elder was dressed in a clean but unassuming grey robe, one that neither exuded a particularly rich or noble demeanor, but possessed an odd aspect that confounded the emperor.
Although he was not residing in the Wei Manor as the emperor of Great Yong, being a mere ‘important guest’ conferred by Wei Xuan, the words uttered by the old man were worthy of severe punishment.
The statement of destroying one’s family, though it was an arbitrary utterance and without any intention, the courage of the elder was something Lu Jing Yi found admirable.
“Speaking of destroying my family,” the emperor finally spoke, his eyes narrowing and emitting a dangerous glint.
“Don’t you know that such words could ruin you and everyone nearby without any method of recompense? Since you were employed by the Wei Family, then either you or the Wei Family must have a golden face, no?”
“Hehe,” the physician chuckled.
“Youngster, the Wei Family’s face was personally granted by the emperor, proclaimed directly before the citizens of Jiang’an in a conspicuous ceremony. Even if the emperor was on the receiving end of such words, what can he do? He wouldn’t dare rescind those golden words he spoke before the entire empire’s populace, no?”
With that, Physician Gao pushed aside the stunned emperor as he brusquely strode up the steps leading to the study.
By the time Lu Jing Yi had recovered, the elderly man’s words reverberated in his ears like the heavy pounding of a war drum.
“Under the protective shade of an illustrious and tall tree, what does this old thing have to fear? Come, this old physician wishes to see what a youngster can do against the Wei Family’s face.”
Shaking his head, Lu Jing Yi could only wryly smile, thinking to himself that those words of his back then should have been issued privately.
In that case, such a circumstance like the one just then, would not have happened.
The soft tinkle of a lock’s mechanisms binding together entered his ears, causing Lu Jing Yi to abruptly raise his head to glance at the study door.
Finding the doors locked and not budging even after he had infused spiritual essence to permeate the wooden material, the emperor eventually gave up and sat down on the highest step, gazing wistfully at the emerging moon.
…given Little Wei’s temperament, it seemed that he had lost a divine opportunity.
“Please extend the Fourth Young Miss’ wrist. This physician shall measure her pulse.”
Physician Gao quietly spoke to Xiao Wen, motioning for her to place An Fei’s right arm onto the table. The maidservant earnestly complying with a nod, the other servants encircled the old physician, their bright gazes tracking each and every single move he made.
Shaking his head with a wry sigh, Physician Gao quickly pulled a chair to the other side of the table.
Sitting down and covering An Fei’s exposed wrist with a linen cloth before pressing down with two fingers, the old man closed his eyes in an attempt to ignore the hawk-like stares from the surrounding servants.
…Senior Brother was truly overprotective of his daughter. Even his maidservants were giving him a stare as if he was akin to a famed criminal.
Whilst measuring the young girl’s pulse, the physician’s eyes occasionally fluttered as his aged countenance experienced a myriad of expressions during the short period.
Puzzlement, curiosity, fear, and then finally a mixture of astonishment and worry, the transformations of his facial expressions were a sight to see.
Several moments later, Physician Gao withdrew his hand, his brows furrowed as countless thoughts whirled in his mind.
An Fei’s pulse could only be described as extraordinary. Beating twice, then skipping over the interval of which the third was to be present.
Furthermore, the pulse was rather smooth, the small break not causing any discrepancies in the beating’s rhythm except for the subtle feeling of incompleteness.
Even after the fourteen years that he had taken her pulse every week since her birth, the old physician couldn’t help but be perpetually amazed.
“Physician Gao, how is it?”
Xiao Ying anxiously questioned as she stepped forward, the feather duster clenched in her hand starting to deform from the strength of her grip. The gazes of the other maidservants all reflected similar worried dispositions, each staring fervently at the seated physician.
“This…” Physician Gao hesitated, a slight frown displayed on his face.
“The Fourth Young Miss’ pulse is steady, albeit a little weak. The previous incursion’s effects are slowly abating, and should fully dissipate within a week.”
“Then that’s good,” Xiao Wen quickly spoke, her small eyes beaming with joy.
“The Fourth Young Miss recovering like this, it’s truly a relief!”
“Then…please inform this one of the Fourth Young Miss’ diet, activites, and occurrences of any abnormal actions or events since a few days ago.”
Physician Gao spoke in a flat tone. Waving his sleeves, the old physician procured an ink brush, gesturing for one of the maidservants to fetch a sheet of blank paper.
“This…The Fourth Young Miss had a stable diet of light herbal congee, with the occasional dish of bamboo shoots and sesame soup,” Xiao Ying said in a hesitant voice, tapping the feather duster against her palm.
“There haven’t been any unusual occurrences, and…the Fourth Young Miss has been…sleeping all day?”
“Sleeping all day?” the physician repeated.
“Just sleeping all day, and nothing else?”
The maidservants all nodded, their countenances blank. Faced with such a sight, Physician Gao felt the beginnings of a headache. Unsure of what to do, the elder fretted and mused, fiercely gazing at the blank sheet of paper.
After the time of an incense stick had passed, he finally raised his head to face the maidservants’ curious gazes.
“Please prepare the Fourth Young Miss to take an outside stroll,” he finally spoke, heading directly towards the door of the study.
“There are no problems with the Young Miss’ diet. However, it would be beneficial for her to experience some fresh air even she is sleeping all day.”
Exiting the study, the aged man revealed a surprised expression at the sight of the empty courtyard. Just until a few moments ago, the youngster’s presence was pressing against the walls of the study, hence his light-hearted words towards the maidservants.
Only, how did the youngster’s presence vanish in the blink of an eye?
Pushed alongside of the miniature pond in the Flowing Wind Residence, An Fei blearily blinked her eyes as she leaned against a side of the oaken wheelchair. The moment that the physician had left, the maidservants had pushed her into a woolen dress, before dropping her onto a wheelchair.
Having to bear the chilly autumn night and an extensive entourage of chatty servants and one grim-faced physician, the girl soon found it difficult to pretend to be asleep.
“Say, old man, why are you roaming of the courtyard in the night? Weren’t you supposed to be giving medicinal treatment to a mysterious patient that not even this emperor is permitted to view?”
Physician Gao paused, turning to his right to find Lu Jing Yi lounging in the small pavilion, both feet propped against the table as he perused a thin book.
Giving the entourage of maidservants a glance, the emperor leapt from the pavilion, landing directly before Xiao Ying and the other servants.
“Let’s see who this mysterious patient is!” the emperor waved his book.
“Little Wei would never speak regarding this topic, making this emperor rather inter-“
Lu Jing Yi’s voice couldn’t help but trail off, his expression being slack-jawed at the appearance before him.
The book silently dropped to the ground, accompanied by the rushing of wind as an aged palm headed directly towards the emperor’s back.