The empress dowager was feeling better. She was glad to have such a competent daughter-in-law, who was the first person she thought of when she knew she was sick. She wanted her daughter-in-law to stay with her. Only then could she be at ease.
“You have to visit me every day, Yuguan!”
The empress dowager was tired, but she stubbornly held onto Lin Haihai. Lin Haihai knew old people would often act like children, and they had to be indulged like children. “I will,” she reassured the elderly woman. “I’ll visit the palace every evening to eat and walk with you, but you should rest for now, alright?”
“This Empress Dowager will listen to you! I’m going to bed!” The empress dowager rose to her feet. Lihua hurriedly went up to support her and helped her to the bedchamber.
Lin Haihai’s smile dropped after seeing the empress dowager off. Imperial Physician Shangguan lowered his head, daring not to pose a question. The grave look on Lin Haihai’s face made Yang Hanlun’s heart sink. He hurriedly asked, “What’s wrong with Imperial Mother?”
Lin Haihai gestured at him to silence him before marching out of the room. Yang Hanlun rushed to catch up with her and asked, “It’s serious, isn’t it?”
His face was pale. Imperial Mother had always been healthy. Why would she suddenly become sick?
“Her blood pressure is high, and there’s no telling what complications she may develop. She must not undergo any emotional swings. Otherwise, her blood vessels may pop or she may suffer a stroke. Those are fatal conditions. Even if she survives with treatment, she will be left with disabilities!”
Things were even worse since Lin haihai didn’t have any fast acting medicines.
Yang Hanlun was stunned. It’s that serious? He had thought she was merely suffering from mild diseases of affluence. Perhaps she was feeling heavy after eating too much, or perhaps she had anemia and would feel better after getting nutritious supplements. With great difficulty, he croaked, “Would supplements help?”
Lin Haihai turned to him with a serious look in her eyes. “I told you she must not have any supplementary food. That was why I said Birou shouldn’t brew nutritious soup for your mother!”
Hearing her criticize Chen Birou irritated Yang Hanlun. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier if you knew Imperial Mother was unhealthy? Birou meant well. She isn’t a physician. Naturally she wouldn’t know much about medicine!”
“Didn’t I previously warn you?” Lin Haihai said with all the rationality she could muster, keeping her temper in check. “You didn’t tell her?”
“Tell her what? Am I supposed to blame her for trying to show filial piety?” Ever since Yang Hanlun became convinced that Lin Haihai was a spy, his words had been cutting whenever he talked to her.
“Do you mean she has been bringing the empress dowager more supplementary soup?” Lin Haihai scowled. The empress dowager had lied to her a few days ago.
“Don’t go after her. She meant well!” Yang Hanlun’s expression darkened as well. He had wronged Birou to have married her as his secondary consort already. He wouldn’t let anyone hurt her now.
“I’m not angry with her, but with you!” Lin Haihai raised her voice as she lost her temper. “I told you not to let her bring more soup to the palace. Why didn’t you tell her?”
“You’re the physician here!” Yang Hanlun raised his voice as well. “And you’re in charge of the household. Why didn’t you tell her yourself?”
“How was I supposed to do that?” Lin Haihai said unhappily. “She resents me!”
Yang Hanlun sneered. “Resent you? Birou is a gentle and generous soul. Why would she resent you? How malicious of you to try driving a wedge between us!”
“I’m telling the truth,” Lin Haihai said calmly.
“The truth?” Yang Hanlun snarled with veins popping from his neck. “The truth is that she has made compromises to be married as a concubine, and still she did everything she could to get on your good side. She brewed soup for you tirelessly to keep you healthy. Knowing that you’re too busy to deal with household affairs, she’s also been working hard to keep the Prince Residence in order!”
Furious, Lin Haihai scoffed. “Did she tell you that the soup she served me was poisoned? Did she tell you that she had been instigating the servants of the residence to bully me? You’re right. I am busy. I’ve been too busy to deal with her. I can differentiate between right and wrong. If she truly has been treating me kindly, why would I say anything bad about her?”
Yang Hanlun glared at her. “What are you implying?”
“I mean your Birou is a vicious woman who served me poisonous soup!” Lin Haihai snapped.
In a fit of anger, Yang Hanlun slapped Lin Haihai across the face. “You are the vicious one! You tried to make me turn against my brother, and now you’re tearing me and my wife apart as well as making Imperial Mother distrust Birou! I was blind to have fallen for someone like you! You love money more than anything, and only material gains matter to you!”
Lin Haihai covered her cheek, hurt. Overhearing their argument while standing guard in the Imperial Garden, Zheng Feng and Wangchen rushed over to see Yang Hanlun slap Lin Haihai before shouting at her.
Immediately, they got between the raging prince and Lin Haihai. Wangchen growled, “I won’t let anyone who dared hurt her off the hook!”
Zheng Feng, too, stood stubbornly before Lin Haihai and glared at Yang Hanlun.
“Wonderful!” Yang Hanlun shouted. “You traitors are turning against this Prince?!”
“Let’s go!” Lin Haihai told Wangchen and Zheng Feng.
She unhappily let go of her face, revealing the clear handprint on her skin. That tipped Zheng Feng over the edge. How dared he do this to her?!
He unsheathed his sword and advanced upon Yang Hanlun, who sneered and pulled his flexible sword from his waistband before stomping on the ground to charge at Zheng Feng. Wangchen rushed to join in the fray, but Lin Haihai called out, “Stop it, Zheng Feng! Retreat, Wangchen!”
Wangchen pulled away, but Zheng Feng refused to disengage from the fight, instead striking blow after blow at Yang Hanlun. The light reflected from their crossing blades washed them in a swathe of silver. The two of them were evenly matched in skills, and they got into a gridlock.
In no time, a large group of palace maids arrived, followed by an army of guards. Lin Haihai’s heart burned with rage and concern. Then there was a sudden stabbing pain in her chest. She lost her balance and collapsed.
Wangchen was quick to catch her. Panicked, Zheng Feng leapt away from Yang Hanlun and asked nervously, “What’s wrong?”
Yang Hanlun rushed to her as well. Lin Haihai took a deep breath. The stabbing pain was gone, but she was still feeling lightheaded. It was strange that she kept feeling nauseous recently.
Wangchen massaged her temples and asked in concern, “Feeling better?”
The bruising handprint was in stark contrast with Lin Haihai’s pale skin. She managed a smile and said, “I’m fine. Don’t worry. Perhaps I’m just too hungry. Let’s go!”
Zheng Feng took Wangchen’s sword from her so that she could support Lin Haihai better. The three of them walked slowly out of the palace. Yang Hanlun stared at Lin Haihia’s back with a pained look on his face. Why must she turn out like this?
Dusk came. Dressed in a yellow dragon robe, Yang Shaolun frowned at Chen Luoqing. “The southwestern army has been acting up?”
Chen Luoqing rose to his feet and said slowly, “I’m befuddled as well. The situation isn’t clear yet. He shouldn’t be raising his army recklessly. Why is he attracting attention like this?“
“Has he reached an agreement with Rong?” Yang Shaolun’s eyes darkened with worry.
Chen Luoqing shook his head. “That’s impossible. Rong will not negotiate peace with him until he finds their empress dowager.”
“Has news about the empress dowager staying in Linhai Hospital gotten out?” Yang Shaolun stood up and paced around with his hands behind his back. “She can’t leave yet with the gu poison still in her system, or she will be in danger. Moreover, surrendering her for our own gains is beneath a great nation like ours. What we have to make sure is for Prince Pingnan to not discover her!”
“I’ll keep an eye on Prince Pingnan,” said Chen Luoqing. “Don’t worry. Prince Pingnan won’t make a move unless Rong’s army invades us. Without an agreement, the regent of Rong isn’t foolish enough to work with Prince Pingnan after weighing the pros and cons!”
“Hope so!” Yang Shaolun sighed. “This Emperor hopes to give the throne to Imperial Brother peacefully!”
Chen Luoqing didn’t respond.
Xiao Yuan had been pacing outside the door with obvious concern. Yang Shaolun called out to him. “What’s wrong, Xiao Yuan?”
After some hesitation, Xiao Yuan said, “Sixth Prince and Consort Lin had a fight in Ci’an Palace, and the prince slapped the princess consort!”
Yang Shaolun was shocked. A barrage of questions escaped his mouth in panic. “What happened? What were they arguing about? Where’s Consort Lin?”
“Consort Lin left the palace. The empress dowager is sick as well. No one knows what they were arguing about. They were both furious!” Xiao Yuan relayed what the servants had told him. “Seeing Consort Lin slapped, Commander Zheng attacked the prince. As they fought, Consort Lin lost consciousness. Wangchen and Commander Zheng then hurriedly took her out of the palace!”
“She lost consciousness?” Yang Shaolun’s heart clenched. She’s with a child! Without another word, he rushed for the palace door.
After leaving the palace, Lin Haihai had finally calmed down. She took a few deep breaths and regained her reasons. Her face was still burning with pain. She was resigned by Yang Hanlun’s outburst of irrationality. She didn’t really blame him. Chen Birou had always been a goddess to him, and Lin Haihai had just told him how ugly and vicious his goddess actually was. She would’ve lost it as well if she were in his shoes.
“That bastard used too much force!” Wangchen growled. “Your face is swollen!”
Lin Haihai smiled faintly. “I’m fine. Don’t worry!”
“Why are you still smiling?! I’m going back to kill him!” Wangchen bit out and was about to turn around when Lin Haihai stopped her.
“Forget it, Wangchen. He simply cares about his wife too much!”
Lin Haihai was angry, but she didn’t resent him for what he did.
“His wife?!” Wangchen grew even angrier and snarled. “If he really cares about that woman of his so much, he should’ve let you go so that you can seek your own happiness!”
“Enough,” Zheng Feng said darkly, glaring at Lin Haihai’s face. “Let’s return!”
Wangchen gave Zheng Feng a conflicted look before going back to helping Lin Haihai walk.
Night had fallen when they arrived at Linhai Hospital. The imperial physicians not on shift had gone home. Qing Feng and Ming Yue were cleaning the consulting room and the main hall.
“Qing Feng, prepare some food,” Wangchen said. “We haven’t eaten anything!”
Qing Feng dropped her broom and said, “Will do! Come help me, Ming Yue!”
Ming Yue looked at Lin Haihai’s face, but she didn’t dare voice her question. She went after Qing Feng when she called out to her.
Lin Haihai was tired. She had been feeling tired a lot recently, and her power sometimes vanished without warning, which planted the seed of panic in her heart.
Then a yellow figure rushed in nervously, followed by two people. Before Lin Haihai could take a good look at her visitor, a pair of strong arms wrapped around her, and she found herself surrounded by a familiar scent. It’s him!
Chen Luoqing and Xiao Yuan shut the door immediately. Yang Shaolun tightened his arms around her. He would never lay a hand on her, and yet she kept getting bullied by other people. What made things even worse was he couldn’t be of any help!
Zheng Feng stared at them, stunned. He had always known there was something between the two of them, but seeing them together still aroused overwhelming emotions in his heart.
“What happened? Why did he hit you?” Yang Shaolun caressed her swollen face, the pain in his eyes no lesser than hers.
“It’s nothing,” Lin Haihai said calmly. “Don’t worry. We simply had an argument. He lost control!”
“How does that justify his behavior?” Yang Shaolun was furious. “I’ll go find him!”
Lin Haihai grabbed him. “Don’t! I told you I’m fine! Don’t make something out of nothing!”
Yang Shaolun stared at her. “I won’t let anyone hurt you. Not even a little. It hurts me as well!”
Lin Haihai felt the urge to cry. This man always knew what to say to warm her heart.
Imperial Physician Chen, who was on shift tonight, was surprised to see so many people in the hospital. He was positively shocked when his eyes shifted to Yang Shaolun. Isn’t he holding… As an experienced man who had been through a lot, though, he quickly calmed himself and said respectfully, “Greetings, Your Majesty!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I just... want someone to punch Yang Hanlun in the face. Just once. Is it too much to ask?