Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Several doctors from the Imperial Medical Bureau were dragged up from their quilts by underlings, and they didn’t even have time to put on their shoes. They put on their robes and were brought onto horses, an underling carried the medicine chest for them, and the group rapidly galloped directly to Shen Manor. Their wives and concubines thought that their own husbands had done something wrong, and they held their doors, wailing and crying.
The doctors cowered as they entered the room. Inside, it was so silent that one could hear a pin drop. Shen Jue was sitting next to the bed, half-hugging someone and not moving. Shen Wenxing saw that the doctors had arrived and bowed as he approached Shen Jue, saying softly, “Father, the doctors have arrived, hurry and let go.”
Shen Jue let go as if waking up from a dream, and the doctors saw his shaken appearance. They didn’t dare to ask further, so they silently crowded around; once they saw that it was a man, they instantly knew what was going on. Some lifted his eyelids and some opened his mouth, and only after checking all seven facial apertures did they retreat and huddle their heads to discuss.
A handkerchief was fastened on Xiahou Lian’s head, and he was lying in the gauze curtains, unconscious. Normally, he was full of energy and vigor, but at this moment he was as soundless as a wood carving. His face was also pale, as if he was about to turn transparent, able to disappear in an instant. Shen Jue’s heart seemed to be tightly gripped, and even breathing was difficult.
Shen Wenxing ordered people to bring over the wine jar Xiahou Lian had drunk from. They scraped out the residuals of the liquor inside and used a silver needle to check, but there was no poison. A doctor used his finger to dab a bit of wine and used the tip of his tongue to taste it. His expression changed and he said, “It’s Trilling Tenderness 1.”
Shen Jue’s expression was gloomy. “Trilling Tenderness can only create arousal, it can’t make someone bleed from the seven facial apertures. You all looked for so long, exactly what is the diagnosis? If you can’t save him, I’ll make you all go to the imperial prison and attend to yourselves!”
The doctor shuddered and took out a handkerchief to wipe his sweat, hastily saying, “This young man is bleeding from the seven facial apertures and is numb in the limbs. Looking at these symptoms, he must have been drugged. Among commonly seen poisons, only anthora and aconite can make someone bleed from the seven facial apertures, but the properties of anthora and aconite are fierce and hot. After taking them, the tongue will be red and have a yellow coating, and the pulse will be strong. However, this young man’s tongue is pale and his pulse is slow, a sign of stagnation of the blood and Qi. Looking at what the young man consumed, nothing else can be found other than Trilling Tenderness. Chief Officer, you serve in the palace, so you should understand Trilling Tenderness very well. Besides creating arousal, this drug has no other use, and taking too much of it will make one weak at most, and it wouldn’t be fatal. This… We…”
Shen Jue clenched his fists so hard his joints cracked. With a wave of his hand, the tea bowls on the kang table clattered all over the ground. Everyone in the room knelt down, shivering. Shen Jue sneered, “After talking for so long, you didn’t even diagnose what drug it was. It looks like you’re all determined to go to the imperial prison!” The doctors repeatedly begged for mercy, and Shen Jue turned his head to look at Xiahou Lian, his heart aching. Xiahou Lian’s seven facial apertures had stopped bleeding, but he was still unconscious. He had known him for so long, and besides the time Mid-July had taken effect in the palace, this was the first time Shen Jue had seen him in such a weak state.
Wait, Mid-July! Shen Jue was shocked and said, “It’s azalea flower.”
The doctors looked at one another, hastily went forward to carefully check his pulse, and nodded. “Yes, yes, it’s Garan’s secret drug, Mid-July. Chief Officer, don’t panic, if it’s only Mid-July, then he can recover after continuing to take azalea flowers. As for the rest, we’ll think of another way.”
“No need, I still have Fang Cunzhen’s prescription.” Shen Jue pointed at Shen Wenxing. “Go and get the prescription and pills.”
Shen Wenxing hastily lifted his robes and ran outside. Not long afterward, he returned carrying a sandalwood box. Shen Jue opened the box, took out the prescription, and gave it to the doctors. The doctors looked over it one by one and all said that it was okay to try. The original pills had already been left out for too long, so they couldn’t be used anymore. Shen Wenxing hastily instructed people to fill the prescription and brew the medicine. There was a small pharmacy in Shen Manor, so the commonly found Sichuan rhubarb, Baikal skullcap, and gardenia could be obtained. However, brewing the medicine was time-consuming, and the pot splashed but just wouldn’t boil. Time trickled past, and Xiahou Lian’s eyes were tightly shut, with only breaths coming out and none going in. Shen Jue was so panicked his entire body was about to collapse.
Usually, he would devise a strategy, having a solution to every problem; what could make him panic? Only Xiahou Lian, only he could make him be at a loss. His hands trembled as he grasped Xiahou Lian’s hands tightly, not caring whether the doctors were on the side, as if as long as he was holding him like this, Xiahou Lian wouldn’t leave him.
Shen Wenxing was also anxious seeing Shen Jue like this, and it seemed that he was so panicked he didn’t have any ideas anymore. However, this was no way to go about it, so he sighed and went forward to remind him, “Godfather, the assailant still hasn’t been caught yet. It’s still not clear where this Mid-July came from, maybe it has something to do with this Trilling Tenderness. The Autumn Dew’s White was personally sent by the bawd of Yunxian Building, we have to go and seize them.”
Shen Jue murmured, “Right, you’re right, it’s me who was muddled, now is not the time to panic.” He stepped down from the footrest and turned into the outer room, where a few lead officers and eunuchs-in-charge from the Eastern Depot were waiting. Shen Jue took a deep breath and said, “Seal Yunxian Building and bring the bawd here, I want to personally interrogate her. The people in the manor also have to be interrogated, and whoever’s hands the Autumn Dew’s White passed through——find out everything for me. Mid-July… really is a good method. Mid-July can’t kill someone for a brief period, so they sent Trilling Tenderness, which poison can’t be detected in, this is like killing with a borrowed saber!”
Shen Jue pounded his fist onto the square table, gritting his teeth.
It was detestable that he still didn’t know exactly where that damned Yama was hiding. He must have another identity, otherwise how could he hide so firmly? Shen Jue’s thoughts suddenly changed——they had checked the powerful officials in the North and capital and the leaders in the underworld, and the Eastern Depot had records of everyone, but they just couldn’t find that Yama they only knew the name of but had never seen.
After receiving their orders, the underlings filed out one by one. The medicine had finally finished brewing, so Shen Wenxing took it and handed it to Shen Jue. Shen Jue lifted his robes and sat on the bed, using a spoon to feed Xiahou Lian. His teeth were clenched so the medicine couldn’t be fed in. Shen Jue determinedly blew on the medicinal soup until it was cold and used his hand to pry open his teeth, pouring the medicine inside. An hour after drinking the medicine, Xiahou Lian still didn’t show any signs of waking up. Shen Jue’s heart became more and more panicked. What had been the circumstances at the time? How long did it take for him to regain consciousness after his mother took him back? No, no, he had remembered incorrectly, Xiahou Lian hadn’t gone into a coma that time.
Every inch of his heart ached, and he turned around and grabbed a doctor, pulling his collar with a ferocious face. “Why isn’t he awake yet?”
The doctor was also grimacing. “I… I don’t know.”
He was practically about to despair. Mid-July was a strange poison; at the time, Xiahou Pei had said that it needed to be taken once every year, but not taking it was also okay and one could endure it, though the consequences were unknown. He later knew these consequences. Out of the Garan assassins and spies he had caught, everyone who didn’t take the medicine on time would sink into a permanent numbness. They would lose all five senses and their consciousness would shut down. Although they still had breaths and a heartbeat, they were as useless as being dead.
Was it delayed too long? he thought anxiously. The doctors were standing with their heads lowered, and the servants were kneeling silently on the ground. He became upset when he saw them, so he drove everyone out and sat back down next to Xiahou Lian. He looked at him in concentration. His limbs were numb and his Qi and blood were blocked, so perhaps kneading would alleviate this.
He started rubbing and rapping from Xiahou Lian’s arm. Before, he had learned many crafts of massaging when he had been a small official. Five-Flowered Fists was the smoothest, and with a series of strikes, one’s body would be relaxed and refreshed. He pressed on Xiahou Lian’s hands, legs, and feet, his skin red and hot from being rubbed, just hoping that he could wake up a little sooner.
He still wasn’t awake, but the lead officers and calvarymen that had gone to make arrests had returned first. The moment they entered the door, they brought bad news: the bawd had already committed suicide by hanging herself from a beam. When they arrived at Yunxian Building, they only saw her corpse, and besides her neck, there were no signs of a struggle or beating, so she had hung herself. His face was cold as he said detestfully, “They sure are fast. In such a large Yunxian Building, I don’t believe that only the bawd is a Garan spy. Screen everyone and pull out their teeth, lest they commit suicide by biting their own tongues. Any torture is fine, as long as it works, you must find out why this happened.”
Shen Wenxing said awkwardly, “Will that girl A-Chu also be tortured? She’s Sir Xiahou’s old acquaintance, and after being in this imperial prison, I’m afraid she won’t even have half of her life left.”
Shen Jue forcibly pinched the celestine pendants on his wrist, so hard that the tips of his fingers paled. “I hate this woman the most. If he hadn’t saved her, how would A-Lian be in this situation?”
Seeing his appearance that he would be satisfied only after destroying them, everyone inwardly understood. On the surface, they were father and son, but in reality, they were lovers. However, this kind of matter was common, and it wasn’t strange for someone in such a high position as Shen Jue to keep an entertainer. Everyone was a confidant, so they knew the principle of pretending to be deaf and dumb. A lead officer surnamed Bai saluted with clasped hands and said, “I also noticed something, these prostitutes in Yunxian Building have all taken Bliss Fruit. Although it’s very common now for people to gather and take drugs together in brothels, these prostitutes said that that bawd had given them the Bliss Fruit.”
“It seems that this bawd is key, it’s a shame she’s already gone.” Shen Wenxing grimaced.
“We also found a corpse in the woodshed of Yunxian Building. It was a servant who washed clothes, his name was Xiahou, and he also hung himself. However, we checked his household registration and discovered that it was fake, he probably bought it in the underworld. It’s extremely likely that this person was a Garan spy, and just like the bawd, he was silenced,” the lead officer said.
“Xiahou?” Shen Jue furrowed his brow. “Did you see his face clearly, what did he look like, was it the same as Xiahou Lian’s order of arrest? Did he have makeup on, or was he wearing a skin mask?”
The Eastern Depot had searched for Chi Yan for a long time, so this lead officer also understood and instantly said, “His face had never been changed, and he also looked different than Sir Xiahou looked before, he shouldn’t be his brother.”
Looking at this, even if Yunxian Building had something to do with Garan, it had been broken off cleanly before their eyes. Shen Jue stepped to the patterned window and closed his eyes deeply. “Continue interrogating, if you make any discoveries then come back and report to me.”
Everyone replied with yes and successively exited the door. Shen Jue stood for a while and suddenly stopped them. “For the one named A-Chu, interrogate her, and if there’s no clues, place her under house arrest in Yunxian Building, she’s not allowed to go out the door.”
The lead officers responded and each went to do their jobs.
It was quiet once again in the room, and Shen Jue went back inside. He lifted the bed curtains and looked at Xiahou Lian; seeing his silent and still appearance worried Shen Jue. Shen Jue touched his hand and then touched his face, sorrowfully calling his name. “A-Lian, A-Lian, why aren’t you awake yet? Hurry and get up, as long as you wake up, I’ll do whatever you want. You can call me Missy and I can also be your wife, it’ll all be up to you, you can do anything you want. Didn’t you still want to take me to your mother’s tablet and kowtow? It’s almost bright out, are you going to break your promise?”
He didn’t move. Shen Jue laid down, putting his face next to his. His breathing was very light, as if it would be gone in an instant. His Mid-July had clearly already been cured long ago, why would he relapse when he had been just fine? Shen Jue closed his eyes, his nose aching.
The night slowly ended, and the horizon brightened, as if a light had been turned on, supporting the light of one area in the sky. Shen Jue had unconsciously fallen asleep after midnight, and he woke up when he heard the rooster crow. Just when he opened his eyes, he was met with a pair of black pupils. He came back to his senses, not daring to believe it as if he was dreaming. He asked with a quivering voice, “You’re awake! How do you feel, is it better? Can you move? Are you thirsty, do you want to drink some tea?”
Xiahou Lian was about to speak, but Shen Jue scrambled to get up and called Shen Wenxing loudly. “Call the doctors, come over again and take a look, see what medicine he still has to drink and if the poison has cleared.”
Shen Wenxing put on his clothes and came in. When he saw that Xiahou Lian was already awake, he beamed. “This is great, you’re finally awake, you don’t know how worried you made my Godfather with this sleeping.” He fastened his belt and rushed outside to send someone to ask for the doctors.
Taking advantage of this space, Shen Jue looked at him fixedly, and only when he saw that he had indeed come back to life did his heart rejoice in hindsight. He embraced him in his arms, and only when he hugged him tightly did he feel that it was real, that he had indeed returned; it wasn’t a dream or a hallucination. The rims of his eyes felt warm, and he was practically about to cry. Xiahou Lian patted his back gently and called in a low voice, “Young Master.”
Xiahou Lian had just woken up, so his body still wasn’t too agile. Shen Jue helped him lean against the bed column and rubbed his hand as he said, “You have to nourish properly this time, you don’t know how much blood you lost before, I even thought that you would go blind, deaf, and mute, but fortunately you’re okay. At noon, drink the medicine and then eat some pork liver, duck blood, and whatnot, to replenish your blood.”
Xiahou Lian made a “mn” and closed his eyes, looking like he still wanted to sleep.
However, Shen Jue was a little afraid he would fall asleep again and not wake up, so he said, “I don’t know what happened, wasn’t the poison already detoxified five years ago? I guessed that you had fallen into someone’s trap, but I checked everything you ate last night and didn’t find anything.”
Xiahou Lian opened his eyes, his two eyes gazing quietly at the pale morning light outside the window. This silent expression wasn’t like his usual one, and there was an indescribable taste in Shen Jue’s heart. Xiahou Lian looked for a while before turning to look at Shen Jue. He said hoarsely, “Young Master, let me tell you something.”
Shen Jue’s heart slowly tightened, and he kept his voice steady with difficulty as he asked, “What is it?”
Xiahou Lian said, “Perhaps there was something wrong with the medicinal tea Shi Xin gave me at the time.”
And here we are, this tea I remember that SX gave him?! The despair is real! I’m glad he is awake! I hope things start clearing up soon! Poor A-Chu caught in the middle of all this
AHHHH at last a-lian is safe and sound, i missed so much (even though it was just one chapter he wasn’t there)
shen jue taking care of xiao lian is the cutest thing ever i love them so much, I NEED THEM TO BE TOGETHER NOW👹
thanks so much for the chapter!!! keep up the good work!!!! ❤️❤️❤️
Thank You for the chapter (•‾⌣‾•)و ̑̑♡
I re-read last chapter, because of the tea; this poisoning happened to CY as well (chapter end).
After DJ’s confession of his master plan and having manipulated all the events from XL’s mother’s death onwards (heard by CY), is DJ worried CY is BY’s weakness, so needs to die?
I mistakenly thought A-Chu had become the Bawd 🙄
What has become of CY though? 😬
I just love this author’s writing style; amazingly descriptive and deep.
It wouldn’t be without exceptional translating; thank you.
I’ve looked and can’t find the part with medicinal tea given by Shi Xin, only tea drank by SJ.
Is it a new part of the story, not actually mentioned ’til now? 🤔 Or I’ve missed it 🙄 Time will tell….
Poor SJ was so distraught that he gave up any pretense of their relationship in front of everyone. Thank goodness XHL didn’t go blind or something from this poisoning! I can’t believe that there was something wrong with the tea that Shi Xin gave him!! Why???
Thank you for the chapter!
What the hell is going on? 😭