The woman chuckled, her arms crossed before her chest. “It’s weird for you to imitate the speech patterns of this era. Would you just speak normal Mandarin?”
A smile bloomed on her face, and joy lit up her eyes, breaking her calm mask.
Lin Haihai widened her eyes. Normal Mandarin? Tears fell out her eyes, and she covered her mouth, watching the woman approach. Yang Shaolun looked at the woman warily until he realized that she was tearing up.
The woman stood quietly before Lin Haihai. The August sun shone gently on her face, casting the shadow of the rustling tree leaves. Her smile was colored by faint traces of sorrow, reminiscent of the way Yu Qing had looked the day she entered school as a freshman with September sun shining on her youthful face through the canopy. Lin Haihai would recognize the soft sorrow on her face anywhere!
“You really are a cry baby, Lin Haihai!” The woman reached out to gently wipe away the crystal-clear tears from Lin Haihai’s fair face. She wasn’t used to seeing her old friend wearing this stunning face, but thankfully Lin Haihai had maintained traces of herself, and she could still recognize her.
“I can’t believe it. Is it really you?” Lin Haihai widened her misty eyes to take a closer look, but her vision was obscured by tears, and she could only make out a blurry contour.
“I have come to you. Are you happy?” Yu Qing wondered if she was acting too calmly. She was actually filled with strong emotions right now, but those born in the eighties had reached an age of maturity now, and wouldn’t cry and laugh without restraint like eighteen-year-olds.
Lin Haihai rushed up to throw her arms around Yu Qing, sobbing, “I thought I would never get to see you again!”
Yu Qing’s tears dropped. She knew that feeling. She had attended Lin Haihai’s funeral, and she remembered the scorching pain like it was yesterday. “I thought the same!”
The others watched as the two women reunited. Yang Shaolun could guess that the woman was from Lin Haihai’s world. There was no greater feeling than meeting an old friend in a foreign land. He was happy for her.
Yang Hanlun’s gaze was on the embracing women as well. So she was from the Linhai Hospital. No wonder she bore a resemblance to Xiao’hai. He wondered who exactly she was.
“Let’s get back first,” Wangchen went up to them and said. “Those in the hospital must be eager to see Master!”
News of her return must have reached the hospital, and those who worked there would be waiting impatiently!
Yang Shaolun smiled when he saw the smile on Lin Haihai’s face, feeling content and happy. True love meant feeling happy when your beloved smiled, and feeling greater pain when your beloved was in pain. Ever since he knew about where Lin Haihai came from, he had been worried about her. Worried that she would miss her family too much. Worried that she would abandon him. Seeing her happy with an old friend alleviated some of his concern.
Li Junyue had been waiting at the door of the hospital, but Lin Haihai still hadn’t arrived. He had heard people announcing Physician Lin’s return while playing gongs in celebration. She was on East Street, ten minutes walk away from the hospital. It had been half an hour. She should’ve come back here even if she had been crawling!
“You should go check if you’re worried, Physician Li.” Imperial Physician Chen teased as he instructed the patient to stick out their tongue.
Li Junyue turned to glare at him. “And you don’t want to go look for her? Worried that she would scold you for abandoning your duty, aren’t you?”
The patient bashfully said, “Why don’t you go check on Physician Lin before coming back for me, Physician Chen? Everyone is eager to know how she is!”
Imperial Physician Chen shook his head, smiling.
Li Junyue did want to go out and look for her, but he remained at his desk when he saw the room full of patients. The patients, meanwhile, were dragged down by illnesses. Since Physician Lin would return sooner or later, they opted to wait patiently at the hospital.
Suddenly, there was a ruckus. Lin Haihai entered surrounded by a large group of people. The imperial physicians were about to bow down to Yang Shaolun when they saw him, but Yang Shaolun stopped them with a glance.
Lin Haihai went up to Li Junyue. He shot to his feet and grabbed his medical kit. “You’ve been away for a long time. Aren’t you ready for work? Visit the palace. The old empress dowager has gone into a coma!”
Yang Hanlun had asked him to treat the empress dowager, but she still hadn’t woken up. It wasn’t Li Junyue’s style to say anything sentimental. It was enough that Lin Haihai was back. Work took priority!
Lin Haihai was stunned. Coma? Hasn’t she woken up? Is it another stroke? Her heart sank. She knew how dangerous a second stroke could be.
“Come with me, Yu Qing!” Lin Haihai grabbed the medical kit and ran outside. Yu Qing was a cardiologist. She would be of great help!
Yu Qing ran after her without thinking and jumped onto the horse carriage the way they had been jumping onto ambulances together. Yang Shaolun’s heart pounded in worry as he watched Lin Haihai’s swift movement. Has she forgotten that she’s pregnant?! “Take it slow!” he hollered.
“It’s true that Imperial Mother had gone into a coma, Imperial Elder Brother.” Yang Hanlun affirmed at Yang Shaolun’s disbelieving look. When Yang Shaolun left the capital, their mother had merely lost her mobility.
Yang Shaolun scowled and jumped into the carriage without a word, feeling lasting resentment for his sixth brother. Why would Imperial Mother go into a coma? Wasn't she fine when he departed?
The rider cracked his whip at the horse’s back, and it went into a gallop after throwing its head back and letting out a neigh. Lin Haihai took Yang Shaolun’s hand and reassured him, “Don’t worry. It’ll be alright. We have Yu Qing!”
“Is this your man?” Yu Qing considered him closely. I guess he’s decent looking. I’ll give him a pass since he loves Xiao’hai so much.
Yang Shaolun gave Yu Qing a curious look. The pretty woman’s way of speaking was similar to Xiao’hai’s. Since she’s travelled through time for Xiao’hai, I’ll let her stay in Xiao’hai’s life!
“That’s right, he’s my man, Yang Shaolun!” Lin Haihai said with a smile. “And this is Yu Qing, my colleague and best friend!”
“Colleague?” Does that mean they worked together? Yang Shaolun was curious. Did women in her time work to earn a living as well?
“We study and work together at the same hospital!” Lin Haihai said proudly. She would never forget their time together as students.
“Do women in your world work as well?” What are the men doing then?
“The feminist movement has made it a common goal to pursue gender equality. Although true equality cannot be reached, women have been proven to be capable!” Lin Haihai wouldn’t call herself a feminist, but she wasn’t against the idea. Men and women were born different, and could never be truly equal. However, the society had done its best to reach a harmonious balance between the two genders.
“How curious. And the men accept that?” Yang Shaolun found it difficult to imagine.
“They don’t,” Yu Qing said mischievously. “We don’t like each other, but we work well together. After all, it’s said that men and women can work tirelessly when paired together!”
Yang Shaolun managed a dim smile. Lin Haihai could tell that he was putting on a brave face despite his worry for his mother. She took his hand and smiled warmly at him. Yang Shaolun’s frown smoothed a little, seeing the same concern in her eyes that she was hiding. She really was much stronger than he was.
The horse carriage went straight into the palace and stopped outside the Ci’an Palace. Yang Shaolun helped Lin Haihai off the carriage, while Yu Qing jumped off on her own. Yang Shaolun took the medical kit for Lin Haihai and was about to hold her hand when she turned around and took Yu Qing’s hand. Yang Shaolun gaped at her in surprise. Is she ignoring me?
Behind them, Yang Hanlun cracked a smile when he saw the stunned look on his brother’s face. Mother’s right. Imperial Elder Brother had never loved anyone until now. I’ve never seen him look so innocent and childlike!
Lihua was wiping the empress dowager clean by her bedside. She turned to see Lin Haihai and immediately burst into tears. “You’re finally back, Consort Lin! You’ll be able to save Her Majesty!”
She sobbed with all her heart. She had been serving the empress dowager for many years, and the empress dowager had always been brimming with energy. It pained her to see the older woman lie unconscious for several days with no signs of waking up.
“Don’t worry, Lihua. I won’t let anything happen to Imperial Mother!” Lin Haihai looked at the old woman’s pale face, her heart clenching and her voice choking.
Yang Shaolun had always been reserved before his mother. He cared about her deeply, but he had never put his love into words. Seeing the empress dowager’s lifeless form made him panic.
Yu Qing checked the unconscious woman thoroughly and told Lin Haihai, “Her condition is serious. We’ll give her medicine to dissolve blood clots for a while. It’s best that you stay here to keep an eye on her!”
Lin Haihai nodded. “I understand. You should stay here with me. I want to spend more time with you!”
Then Lin Haihai remembered the pill she had taken. She would go through two hours of torment every day, and it was about to start now.
“You, come with me to pack up!” Yu Qing said to Yang Hanlun.
After a brief moment of surprise, Yang Hanlun nodded and said, “Alright. After you.”
“Hanlun,” Lin Haihai called out. She didn’t want Yang Shaolun to see her in pain. “Let’s go together. I have to return to the residence to deal with some matter.”
“Don’t!” Yang Shaolun looked up and blurted out.
Lin Haihai gave him a confused look. Remembering that Chen Birou was still in the Prince Residence, Yang Shaolun couldn’t help but worry. “Let Sixth Brother do the work. You’ve traveled far and must be exhausted. You should rest first!”
Yang Hanlun stared quietly at his brother with a mournful look on his face. Slowly, he said, “Birou has been sent to the Court of Judicial Review, Imperial Elder Brother!”
Lin Haihai was stunned. He had lost his temper and even slapped her when she talked bad about Chen Birou, and yet… She looked at Yang Hanlun and the pale look behind his breaking composure. He must be heartbroken.
Yang Shaolun’s eyes flashed with embarrassment. His expression softened, and he said apologetically, “I’m sorry, Imperial Brother!”
“It’s me who should apologize, Imperial Elder Brother!” he said with a smile suggesting a world of unspeakable pain, which made Yang Shaolun ache for him.
Inside the carriage, Lin Haihai clutched at Yu Qing’s hand tightly as excruciating pain spread through her body. Yu Qing had been oblivious until she noticed the sweat popping out of Lin Haihai’s forehead and the tremor of her body. Panicked, she put a supporting hand around Lin Haihai, her nails digging into Lin Haihai’s clothes and her voice shrill as she demanded, “What’s wrong? Tell me! What’s happening to you?”
Lin Haihai looked up with a pale face and struggled out, “I’m… I’m fine… Don’t worry!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Aaaaand she can never catch a break *sigh*