Chapter 76: To Cultivate, One Should… (10)

When the doors of the study opened before his eyes, Feng Tian Mu’s countenance revealed a glimmer of hope. His gaze immediately filtered through the study towards the inner recesses, but his expression soon dimmed upon noticing the thick layers of curtains obscuring his view.

Though he rapidly hid the changes in his countenance to reflect a calm visage, the Imperial physician’s disappointment failed to escape the maidservants’ eyes.

Two pairs of eyes glared silent daggers at the physician’s back, every move under their scrutiny without revealing their presence.

Following Feng Tian Mu into the study, Wei Xuan flicked his hands at the maidservants in caution, but said no more.

…he didn’t have the good impression of this youthful physician as the one he displayed on his countenance.

“Lord Minister,” Feng Tian Mu abruptly turned around to face the moody Wei Xuan. The pair of beady, intelligent eyes stared at the minister, concealing an unknown intention within.

“Does the Lord Minister know the whereabouts of the Esteemed Senior this one had seen last time? This one wishes to reference notes with the Esteemed Senior as I make a diagnosis of the Fourth Young Miss’ health.”

Wei Xuan cursed in his heart, before displaying a helpless smile.

“Physician Gao departed for Yuzhou Province just a few weeks earlier,” the minister lied through his teeth, his mind whirling.

“He requested for a month-long leave to tend to his injured sister. Unfortunately, due to a series of unfortunate events, his relative’s health severely deteriorated and left this minister with a rather lackluster method of communication.”

“Oh?”

Feng Tian Mu gave a thin smile, before striding towards the rough pillowcase.

The Imperial Physician kneeled on a single knee, his fingers faintly quivering as they rolled the sleeve up, revealing the fragile and fair-skinned arm.

Having turned his back towards the minister, the Imperial Physician did not forget to tenderly massage the exposed arm, before settling around the veins within the wrist.

The two maidservants flared with anger as they observed the scene, Xiao Ying barely managing to restrain herself and Xiao Wen besides her before they blew their cover.

“Well?” Wei Xuan inquired after a cup of tea’s time had passed.

“Imperial Physician Feng, are there any problems?”

Feng Tian Mu shook his head, his countenance tranquil except for the unhealthy shade of confusion. The young physician deigned not to reply, but instead tilted his head to the side, the handsome eyes narrowing in contemplation.

…besides his infatuation with the mysterious beauty before him, the Imperial Physician’s priorities were clear to a certain extent when requested to examine a patient.

Though the occasional thought of squeezing the skin as soft as warm mutton jade crossed his mind, Feng Tian Mu’s attention was focused on the irregular heartbeat pulsing against the pressed fingers.

“…there’s no rebound?” the young physician murmured with a frown, prompting Wei Xuan to lean in with concern.

“Imperial Physician Feng, something wrong?” the minister creased his forehead, glaring at the youthful Imperial Physician before asking in a steely and concerned tone.

“Imperial Physician, did you notice something?”

“Ah? Oh, yes, yes,” Feng Tian Mu hastily nodded his head, the physician’s cap nearly shaken onto the floor by the abrupt action. The Imperial Physician twiddled with his thumbs for several breaths, before opening his mouth to reply.

“This… Lord Minister…” the youthful physician began, the pair of eyes carefully inspecting Wei Xuan’s countenance for any changes before he continued.

“The Fourth Young Miss’s condition… seems rather different than before.”

“Different?” Wei Xuan echoed, his mind making a startling inference that caused him to unconsciously darken his expression.

Had the Imperial Physician before him discover anything about An Fei’s condition outside of cold deficiency? If so, was he to step forth and strike immediately even if Feng Tian Mu was a close subordinate of the emperor?

“Yes, different,” Feng Tian Mu affirmed, before reaching over to take another pulse. Retracting his fingers from the young girl’s arm, the Imperial Physician spoke with an uncertain tone, his words faltering at times.

“The heart of every living existence, be it human or beast, mortal or cultivator, shares a common attribute, which is to possess a cycle of two pulses; one to propel the blood throughout the body, and the second to restore ample vitality to the heart to begin the next cycle. This cycle which one would normally determine even in a patient suffering from the most vicious of illnesses… is missing from the Fourth Young Miss’ body.”

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“As from the examinations this one just conducted…” the young physician scratched his head in embarrassment.

“This one cannot clearly determine. It is impossible for the Fourth Young Miss’ heart to lack a rebound pulse in her heartbeat, which would imply a certain death. However, the interval between each pulse… is far too long to be considered healthy…”

“Does Imperial Physician Feng possess a method of treatment?” the minister frowned, ominous thoughts beginning to gather in his mind.

Gao Yun Zhi had explicitly warned him not to divulge any information regarding An Fei’s heart condition to an Imperial Physician or to the emperor himself. It was acceptable if Feng Tian Mu concluded her symptoms as cold deficiency, but otherwise…

“A treatment?” The Imperial Physician shook with surprise, before rapidly shaking his head.

“No. There isn’t any possible method of treating such conditions where the cause of the ailment is unknown. Lord Minister, this physician can only come to two conclusions.”

“The first, where the Fourth Young Miss has developed a severe case of vital Yin deficiency, is most probable, but impossible to cure without delving into the mysteries of cultivation – a resource no entity in the Shattered Star Continent possesses since the beginning of history,” Feng Tian Mu assured with conviction.”

“The second, where the Fourth Young Miss has developed an unknown illness, similarly bars treatment, but the symptoms align more with the case of vital Yin deficiency except for the extremely odd heartbeat. Anemia, poisoning by Frost Flower, any symptoms sourced from a cold-attributed cultivation or martial arts technique, or possibly a mutated physique attributed towards the cold; any of these and far much more, are probable causes of vital Yin deficiency.”

“Mutated physique…” the minister took a deep breath, before directing an unfathomable glance towards the Imperial Physician.

“Imperial Physician Feng, which in your opinion is the cause for my daughter’s symptoms?”

“This…” Feng Tian Mu paused, an awkward sheen covering his countenance as he glanced at the young girl hidden behind the bedcurtains.

“If the irregular heartbeat wasn’t this extreme, this one would have concluded with either the Frost Fairy Physique or the Boundless Yin Physique, for both match the general symptoms of the Fourth Young Miss. However, this one… is uncertain.”

“Uncertain?” Wei Xuan frowned, gazing at An Fei.

“Imperial Physician Feng, is there a method to wake my daughter up?”

“Absolutely,” the young physician quickly assented, before standing to bow to the minister.

“Lord Minister, to wake the Fourth Young Miss, the previous prescription should be sufficient, even if she has lost a considerable quantity of blood. Given the circumstances, however, it would be best to avoid any consumable items that possess spiritual qi or spiritual essence – for it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.”

“This minister understands.” Wei Xuan nodded in acquiescence. “Then, allow this minister to see you out, Imperial Physician Feng.”

“My greatest apologies.”

The minister and Imperial Physician exchanged greetings, and Wei Xuan hurried to escort Feng Tian Mu out of the Wei Manor.

The mature man retreated back to the Flowing Wind Residence, beads of sweat dotting his brow even in the cold winter weather.

Though Feng Tian Mu did not appear to be aware of anything other than cold deficiency, Wei Xuan couldn’t help but shiver as an uncomfortable premonition struck his back. The minister scowled, but didn’t dare to drive the unsettling thought into oblivion.

He was a cultivator who had spanned eleven tribulations bestowed by the heavens!

If there was something in Great Yong capable of making him feel discomforted, then ample preparations would be required.

“Xiao Ying, Xiao Wen,” Wei Xuan called as he stepped into the study. “Inform Miaolan to bring Chang Feng home.”

“Belch~”

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Patting her stomach, An Fei tenderly placed the bowl onto the ground as an unrepressed burp scraped past her throat. Hearing the sound resound throughout the medicine garden, the girl’s countenance flushed scarlet with embarrassment, before a peal of laughter rang out.

“I’m the only one here, why am I being embarrassed…”

An Fei murmured to herself, making a mental note to avoid displaying such behavior again.

Standing up, the girl dragged the now empty wok, used knives and bowls, and a fabric-covered book the size of her torso to the nearby river.

Eat, sleep, and read in the Archives of Time.

Fourteen days of utter laziness and gluttony inside the Sanctum.

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