Yun Shi Yi looked towards the frail body lying unconscious on the bed. A cold feeling that was hard to withstand suddenly penetrated into his bone marrow. At the same time, an extreme fear loomed in his mind.
He couldn’t let her continue to bleed like this. What could he do? He used a towel to wipe the blood on her □ and then frantically looked through their bags for ning xiang lu. This ointment was separated into two types–the blue was used to reduce swelling, and he had used it on her before, while the red was used to stop bleeding.
He finally found the red one and removed the cork. Spreading it on his fingers, he separated her thighs and inserted his fingers inside. After a while, the flow of blood decreased.
His tight brows somewhat loosened, and his fingers once again scooped up some ointment and spread it inside her.
Ning xiang lu was the panacea of the imperial clan and its value was in several thousand taels. He had spent quite a bit of effort to obtain one set from a person of high rank, but if it could cure her, he would not hesitate one bit to use it all.
It was only at this moment that he discovered he was naked from head to toe. Putting on the clean clothes that Nuan Chun had placed at the head of the bed, he then dressed his wife in soft women’s pajamas and brushed her messy hair that was splayed over the pillow. Glancing at the still pale complexion, his heart twisted as if a large boulder was pressing down on him.
He wasn’t sure how long after until he heard the sound of footsteps on the staircase. It seemed the person was in a hurry, loudly stamping on the steps so that the noise echoed–dong dong.
“Why is it only one person?” Yun Shi Yi’s forehead wrinkled a little. He abruptly felt his brother was hateful–he had told him to do such a little matter yet he couldn’t do it right!
Yun Shi Wei’s yell suddenly came from outside: “The physician is here.”
Yun Shi Yi walked to the door and pushed it open, and saw Yun Shi Wei walk in with an old and gray-haired man on his back.
“Why all the rush? Yes, you, running through the streets like that during the middle of the night while carrying this old one, causing these old bones to become all scattered.” The elderly physician resentfully prattled as he got off Yun Shi Wei’s back and staggered in the direction of the bed. “Is this the patient that requires treatment? Let me see, en, looks like she’s still breathing so she shouldn’t be dead.”
Yun Shi Yi saw that the physician was an elderly man with dim eyes where even walking required strenuous effort. At such an old age, Yun Shi Yi feared the man’s memory and mind was not clear. How could he feel reassured letting this man treat his wife?
He coldly looked towards his own brother.
Yun Shi Wei hurriedly explained: “I asked the inn’s assistant before I left. This physician’s medical skills are very good. I went to the medical hall but there was no one there so then I went to his house and dragged him off his bed.”
“Young man, you still have the gall to say this? You smashed my door and made a mad dash here, really without manners. This old one is telling you now–you’ve gone and snatched me here and I can let it be, but you have to pay me double to compensate for my broken door.” The old physician continued muttering to himself as he reached the bed.
“You can rest assured, old man. As long as you can cure my wife, don’t mention a door, even if you want my life, I’d give it to you.” Yun Shi Wei quickly moved a chair over for him to sit.
“What does this old man want your life for? This old man wants money.” The physician replied irritably.
Yun Shi Yi walked over and bowed respectfully to the old man: “May this esteemed one feel her pulse. If the treatment is successful, this humble one is willing to richly thank this esteemed one.”
“That could be regarded as a tempting offer.” The old physician lifted up a withered, experienced hand and placed it on top of Ruan Zhu’s delicate wrist. As he felt her pulse, his forehead wrinkled. Finished with her right hand, he pulled over her left hand to feel that pulse as well.
Yun Shi Yi stared at them unblinkingly, a heavy look on his face. His eyes were dark pools without a hint of light, revealing his profound distress and nervousness.
“Esteemed one, how are things? What happened to my spouse? Why hasn’t she woken yet, nothing’s happened to her, right?” Yun Shi Wei impatiently asked as he searched for a crack to squeeze through.
The old physician lightly snorted hmph: “There’s something wrong with you but there’s nothing wrong with her.”
“Esteemed One, is my wife’s situation critical or not?” There was a ray of hope in Yun Shi Yi’s eyes. Hearing the physician’s retort against his brother, his melancholy mood had become a little better.
The old physician unhurriedly picked up the teacup on the table by the bed to drink a mouthful of herbal tea, not caring if it had been prepared for him or not. After drinking his fill, he cleared his throat: “This little girl is qi-deficient and yang-deficient, causing her veins and arteries to be sluggish. As her levels of yang are low, her heart is only weakly pumping out blood. Ironically, her yin blood is also lacking and not enough to fill the blood vessels. Her yin and yang are imbalanced, which is another reason why her pulse is so weak; her inner organs are not functioning properly; she experiences dizziness, a ringing in her ears, fears the cold, has a sore back and waist with no strength in her legs; and in general, lacks strength. Rest assured, it can be regarded as you fortunately running into this one. It is not a big matter. She will wake after eating my medicine for a while. But don’t think that with this, all is fixed. She will need to steadily adjust her body and recuperate for many years to fully recover.”[a]
Yun Shi Yi was reassured and a faint smile emerged on his face: “Shi Wei, prepare the brush and ink and wait for the esteemed one to prescribe medicine.”
“All right.” Yun Shi Wei straightforwardly responded and went to prepare the Four Treasures of the Study.
“If Esteemed One could please come this way.”
Yun Shi Yi invited the old physician to take a seat next to the desk against the window. Spreading out fine paper, Yun Shi Wei personally ground ink. Once that was complete, Yun Shi Yi dipped the brush into it: “Esteemed One, my wife’s body is frail, so trouble Esteemed One to write out a few more supplementary medicines. Ginseng, tuckahoe, Chinese knotweed, none of that is an issue. As long as they can cure her, expense is not an issue.”
The old physician looked at him and unhurriedly stated: “There is no rush to supplement her bod. I will first prescribe some fetus stabilizing medicine. In any case, I can’t let the just-conceived child disappear just like that!”
Yun Shi Yi blankly stared at him. His eyes abruptly widened in shock and he quickly stood up: “Esteemed One, what did you say? Conceived child? What child?!”
The wrinkled face of the old physician creased into a smile for a brief moment before fading: “This little girl is expecting, and it’s already been two months. You unexpectedly actually don’t know? Or is it that your wife is pregnant with someone else’s child and you, as the principal husband, was too disinclined to notice, causing her to almost have a miscarriage? Let me tell you, if you have mistreated your wife, this old one will indeed report you to the authorities.”
The women of this era were rare and extremely precious, thus the imperial court had immediately passed down a set of decrees to protect them. If these decrees were violated, the offenders would be punished according to the severity of their case.
Inside Ruan Zhu’s belly was his own flesh and blood. He was going to be a father!
Yun Shi Yi was lightheaded from the sudden joyous news and his face expressed his unfeigned and sincere astonishment. Afterwards, his eyes narrowed into slits and his mouth stretched to his ears, his teeth flashing with the light as he foolishly laughed out heh heh heh.
The old physician gloomily wrinkled his brows. This Mister seemed to be a rather astute man, but why did he feel that this man was currently no different from his brother, a pair of idiots? He thought this in his heart and his mouth continued to jabber: “When the wife is pregnant, you still let her receive such a severe injury, it can be seen that you guys ordinarily are too thoughtless. This old man is telling you now, this time you were lucky and the child did not disappear. If there is another time where the injury is so severe that she bleeds, don’t even mention the child being gone, just saving her little life would be a hard enough feat. Two husbands, a pair of fools, ah I’ll stop. This old one can be considered to be playing the lute for cows[b].”
“The Esteemed One’s teaching is correct, this humble one is to blame. There certainly will not be another time.” Yun Shi Yi happily finished dipping the Huzhou brush pen in the ink and respectfully handed it over.
The prescription was written, the treatment fee was handed over, and the old physician was respectfully sent home.
Yun Shi Wei took the initiative to get medicine. At this moment, it was already very late and all the shops had basically closed, but this was not a problem for him. Even if he had to break open all the shops, he would do so to ensure the medicine was in his hands.
Yun Shi Yi sat by the head of the bed, looking at his wife’s face as he thought about how she was carrying his child but had to bear such pain that he had supported. For the first time in his life, he detested himself. If he had taken note and been a little more attentive, it was possible that he could have prevented such a thing from happening.
He picked up her hand and placed it on his own face, lightly rubbing against it. Starting from this tender and small hand, he traced the blood vessels as they led to her abdomen, and in a split second, a sort of deep, intimate feeling welled up in his heart.
It was the middle of the night when Ruan Zhu regained consciousness. Among the hazy cloud of sleep, she felt a bitter liquid entering her mouth and traveling down her throat. It was indeed bitter, ah, so bitter her tongue went numb. She wrinkled her eyebrows, doing her best to desperately shake her head while keeping her mouth shut to prevent even more of the liquid from entering her system.
She heard a voice from a far away place:
“This won’t do. You hold the bowl of medicine, I’ll feed her with my mouth.”
Another person’s voice sounded in reply:
“Understood, Eldest Brother. You should hurry and feed Spouse the medicine so that she can quickly recover.”
A pair of strong arms picked her up into his embrace and a gentle sensation stuck to her. What a refreshing taste! She involuntarily opened her mouth but received a bitter liquid from the man’s mouth. No, I don’t want to drink this! But the taste of the man was so refreshing. She swallowed the liquid in her mouth, her tongue reaching to lick the man’s mouth. But he actually moved away from her. Though he quickly blocked her mouth again, it was merely to deliver another mouthful of the bitter liquid......
Eventually, she finished drinking all the medicine that the other person kept feeding her. Tiredness attacked her and she once again slept.
Yun Shi Yi stared unblinkingly at the sleepy face for a long while.
“Eldest Brother.” From the beginning, Yun Shi Wei had stood by the side and had had to muster his courage to call out that one phrase.
“En.” Yun Shi Yi turned his head to look at him and insipidly said a word: “Problem?”
Yun Shi Wei stammered: “No......nothing.” He had only been wearing a single pair of trousers ever since he went to ‘invite’ the physician over. During his mad sprint, he had perspired quite a bit, and in addition, had dust all over his body. To be honest, regarding his current situation, if others didn’t know, they’d think he was a refugee that had come from a who-knows-where mountainous region.
“Go wash. If Zhu Zhu were to see you like this, there would be words to say.” Yun Shi Yi paused and then added: “When you’re done, go sleep in your own room. During this period, don’t sleep here.”
“Understood, Eldest Brother.” Yun Shi Wei agreed, not daring to go against him. Before turning around to leave, he gave a lingering glance at the delicate female in the bed, his entire face full of remorse.
Yun Shi Yi got up to blow out the candle. Getting into the bed, he pulled his wife into his arms, feeling perfectly content, falling asleep not long after.
Ruan Zhu slept very soundly and only opened her eyes the morning of the next day. Rubbing her drowsy eyes, she saw Yun Shi Yi reading a book by the head of the bed. She once again looked around the room and with an “Aiya!” sat up on the bed.
Yun Shi Yi was alarmed and quickly put down his book, standing up to steady her, repeatedly saying: “Careful, careful, don’t stretch it. Take your time, you’re a mother in the making. What’s the matter?”
“What do you mean ‘mother in the making’?” Ruan Zhu pushed him away and remembered their situation while she looked for her shoes: “Oh no, it’s already this time yet we’re not on the road. Really, procrastinating like this, how long would it take us to hurry to the destination?”
Yun Shi Yi saw her pushing him away and didn’t want to use strength against her so lifted her up with both his hands, holding her entirely in his arms: “You troublesome little imp, never having an obedient moment. Let me tell you, we don’t have to go there. Properly care for your body for me, consume tonics, and end up white and plump to give me a son, no, the best would be to birth me a daughter. In their lifetime, Father and Mother do not have a daughter so they will definitely be delighted when the time comes.”
Unable to make heads or tails out of it, Ruan Zhu stared at him, her slim fingers poking his forehead: “You haven’t gone silly, right? I’m not pregnant so how could I give you a child? First a son and then a daughter, your daydream is quite wonderful.”
Yun Shi Yi’s lips curved up, his expression a little helpless. His little wife was only fifteen years old, basically still considered a child, so it was still pardonable for her not to know. But as he was a mature adult male, if he also didn’t know, then he would be asking for a beating. He placed his right hand on top of her abdomen, his expression tender: “My wife, you are carrying this husband’s flesh and blood right here. The physician came to see you yesterday and it has already been confirmed.”
Ruan Zhu gaped in astonishment. She put her hand on top of her own belly and felt around, feeling more bewildered with every moment: “But it’s still rather flat here, not like someone who is pregnant.”
Yun Shi Yi rapped her forehead: “It’s only been two months. How large do you want it to be?”
Comprehending, Ruan Zhu nodded her head: “That’s true. It slowly gets bigger and only after the tenth month would it be born.” She carefully recalled the physiology course she took in junior high: “I remembered, pregnant women do not have their monthly cycles. No wonder I thought something fishy was going on during this period! I thought it was just my cycle being abnormal~”
Yun Shi Yi rapped her forehead again, gravely saying: “Problems with your body occurred yet you don’t tell this husband. Say, how should I punish you?”
“Punish me? Don’t, for I have to give birth to your child.” With a bitter face, Ruan Zhu countered but suddenly cried out: “But whose child is this? It shouldn’t be Second Cousin’s, right?” Saying it like this, her face promptly turned white. If it was Yun Shi Wei, it would be awful. She wasn’t willing for her first child to be from someone that was not her beloved man.
“How does your brain function? This husband really wants to open it for a look. You look like a rather intelligent person but sometimes also seem remarkably silly. Didn’t I already tell you that before marriage, Shi Wei ate the contraceptive? Eating it once is enough for a whole year. All secondary husbands of Tian Chu have this kind of rule. How your own mother and her concubines did it, and things from your childhood that you read and heard, you can still forget. This husband can be counted as truly admiring you.”
Yun Shi Yi used an expression of hating iron for not becoming steel[c] to look at her. It appeared she was foolish beyond redemption.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, a dazzling smile on her face: “Husband Lord, I am very happy. This is your child, our child.”
Yun Shi Yi’s eyes were also completely filled with happiness. He silently carried her, full of joy, and finally smiled as he sat next to the head of the bed, placing her on his lap. Reaching out to reveal the covered food on the side table: “This is the food that Nuan Chun just sent in. It’s still warm. This husband will feed you. After you’re done eating, drink some more fetus stabilizing medicine.”
Ruan Zhu initially wanted to say that she wouldn’t drink any bitter medicine but suddenly remembered last night’s hazy matter: “I want you to feed me the medicine.”
“Okay. As long as Wife asks for it, this husband will agree.”
“I......” She extended her fingers and lightly touched his lips, two beautifully red spots appearing on her cheeks: “...want you to use this to feed me.”
Yun Shi Yi’s eyes flashed with a joyous light: “This husband is most willing.”
[a] Qi is the energy that all things are created out of; Yang and Yin are two parts of this energy that are opposites of each other. Yang can refer to the sun; open spaces; masculinity while yin is the moon; overcast areas; femininity. Entire paragraph basically sums down to: RZ’s body is weak so that’s why she fainted.
[b] 对牛弹琴, idiom meaning preaching to deaf ears; offering something to an unappreciative audience
[c] 恨铁不成钢, idiom meaning to feel resentful towards somebody for failing to meet expectations and impatient to see improvement
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