Chapter 24: Returning To The Hospital

"Quick! Let’s go take a look!" Yang Hanlun immediately picked Imperial Physician Shangguan up and dashed out of the door. The empress dowager swiftly followed after them. Lin Haihai stared stupefied as the crowd before her left speedily. The emperor is injured? That empress dowager looks very young, so she is probably not the emperor’s birth mother. Wait. Didn’t the empress dowager say that I should address her as Imperial Mother? That means she is the sixth prince's mother, which means that the emperor is the sixth prince's elder brother. Oh God. I actually thought that the emperor was an old man. Since my brother-in-law is injured, as his younger brother’s wife, should I go visit him? 


Lin Haihai propped her head up and thought about it, feeling distressed. Never mind. There are a lot of patients waiting in the hospital. The imperial physicians will look over the emperor. Plus, he's stuck inside the imperial palace so he probably only suffered from a bit of physical injury. It’s no big deal. I'd better hurry back to check on General Chen! 


Lin Haihai stood up and wore her shoes. The palace maid walked in and deferentially asked, "Consort Lin, are you feeling better?" 


"Uh, yes. Thank you! Can you lead me out of the palace?" Lin Haihai asked politely. 


"Consort Lin, you don’t need to thank me. This servant cannot accept this. Does Your Highness want to leave the palace? It’s better if you wait for the Sixth Prince to come back before leaving," the palace maid said. She was neither servile nor overbearing. It seems like the empress dowager’s people were indeed different. 


"I’m not going to wait. I still have matters to attend to."


"Then I’ll get the imperial guards to escort Your Highness out." The palace maid then left the room. Not long after, she returned and said, "Consort Lin, this way please. This Servant had requested the imperial guards to escort Your Highness out of the palace. Consort Lin, take care."


Lin Haihai waved and said, "I'm leaving now. Goodbye." The palace maid was shocked. This princess consort is really approachable and friendly!


The imperial guards insisted on escorting Lin Haihai all the way to the doors of the sixth prince's residence before they leave. Once Lin Haihai saw that they were out of sight, she immediately ran to the hospital. An elegant and peerless beauty ran on the streets without a care for her image. Sigh, it was really unsightly. However, everyone showered her with kind and understanding gazes for they knew she was Physician Lin. Her actions and words had always been surprising, so everyone was used to it by now. 


Lin Haihai ran all the way to the hospital. Surprisingly, she wasn’t flushed nor was she panting. As soon as she entered the door, the disciples welcomed her and surrounded her, asking her all sorts of questions. Lin Haihai really enjoyed the warm atmosphere. She took the tea that Qing Feng passed to her and drank it in one gulp before downing another three cups consecutively. 


One of the disciples immediately chuckled, "Master, you’re drinking just like a donkey." 


All the disciples laughed and Lin Haihai snorted, "You have only been in class for a few days and you are already trying to show off! However, since you’re applying your knowledge, it’s worthy of praise. Just don’t use it to insult others." The disciple in question immediately stuck their tongue out. 


Lin Haihai looked around and asked, "Why isn't there a single patient today?" Qing Feng replied, "A bunch of patients came early in the morning. I told them that Physician Lin went out, so the hospital will be closed for the day."


"Oh, I see. Is General Chen awake yet?"


"When I went to wash his face, his finger moved slightly. However, he’s still not awake." Ming Yue answered.


"Finger movement doesn't mean anything. Sometimes, it's the nerve that is twitching unconsciously," Lin Haihai muttered. She still didn’t have a fitting solution. She wasn’t certain about whether she should perform a surgery. What should I do? She walked into the ward and carefully examined General Chen. She noticed that his pulse was much steadier than usual. He seems to have some resilience to self-heal. This must be a warrior’s willpower. They would always have a strong willpower regardless of the circumstances. She held onto his hand and cheered, "Keep trying! I will be able to save you as long as you wake up. Hang in there!"


Lin Haihai immediately noticed when General Chen’s hand slightly shook. She knew that patients could hear voices from the outside world, but they wouldn’t have the strength to react. He was trying. Lin Haihai was slightly excited. She thought of the time when Prince Yong helped to heal General Chen through transfusing his internal energy and this might help to push the blood clot out. 


In theory, this solution could work, but they would have to find a pathway for the clotted blood to flow out. This meant that they would need to cut open a part of General Chen’s brain near the blood clot and find someone with strong internal energy to flush out the blood clot. Two people were needed for this operation and the work would have to be divided. It was tough for an individual to accomplish this task by themself.


She could do both tasks, but she couldn’t do both at the same time. This meant that she would need to find someone to perform the surgery or to transfuse internal energy. There was no doubt that Yang Hanlun knew martial arts. However, she would still need to find out his level of mastery. She was left with no other choice but Prince Yong. Even so, he had already transfused a large amount of internal energy to General Chen yesterday and wouldn't recover that quickly in such a short period of time. 


Lin Haihai was slightly vexed and had no conclusion even after much pondering.


"Elder Sister, why haven’t you been home in such a long time?" Tangtang’s unclear and childish voice rang out. Lin Haihai looked up to see Tangtang wobbling in. He was wearing a pair of cute tiger-head shoes. Lin Haihai smiled and carried Tangtang in her arms. Planting a firm wet kiss on his cheek, she asked, "Does Tangtang miss his elder sister?"


"Yes—!" Tangtang dragged his words as he answered. "Elder Sister, I want to eat candy!"


"Alright!" Lin Haihai placed Tangtang’s chubby small hand into his mouth and smiled. "Here. You can eat the candy.[1]"


Tangtang hurriedly took his hand away and pouted, saying, "Bad Elder Sister! I don’t want Elder Sister anymore." 


"Okay, okay. Elder Sister knows that she’s wrong. Let’s go buy candy for Tangtang, okay?"


"Elder Sister, don’t indulge him too much. He always swindles us into buying candy for him every day. Look! His teeth have yet to completely grow out," Xiao Ju said helplessly. 


Lin Haihai glanced at Tangtang’s teeth, causing the latter to hurriedly close his mouth. She pinched his cheeks firmly, forcing him to open his mouth wide. Lin Haihai inspected it and felt that it wasn’t a big issue, so she said, "Then let’s not eat the sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn, okay? Let’s go buy some sugar figurines." 


"No. But I want the sour sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn!"


Lin Haihai smiled at Xiao Ju. As if pleading for leniency, she said, "Just let him eat it for the last time. I won’t buy it for him in the future anymore, alright?" 


Xiao Ju shook her head. "Are you a physician? You’re feeding him a bunch of unhealthy food. No. I can’t make an exception!"


Lin Haihai stared at Tangtang; she was placed in a difficult situation. Tangtang pursed his lips as tears streamed down his face. Yet, he didn’t dare to cry out loud out of his fear of Xiao Ju. Xiao Ju raised her palm and threatened, "Don’t cry. If you keep crying, I’ll hit you." 


Tangtang immediately stopped sobbing and looked at Xiao Ju with a miserable gaze. He cowered into Lin Haihai’s arms. Lin Haihai felt that Xiao Ju was being too excessive and was about to say something when Xiao Ju said, "Elder Sister, don’t mind me. I have to teach him a lesson today, so that I can answer to the madam and the young miss."


Lin Haihai froze as if she was struck by lightning. So Xiao Ju knew all along! Instead of exposing Lin Haihai, she still addressed the latter as "elder sister." At that moment, Lin Haihai felt affection for the first ever time in this unfamiliar world. In the past, she had thought that Xiao Ju was being nice to her because she treated her as the young miss. But it seemed like Xiao Ju already knew, which meant that she sincerely liked her. She was suddenly at a loss of words. Xiao Ju understood her and nodded. She suppressed her tears and carried Tangtang out. 


Lin Haihai pondered momentarily before chasing out immediately. Xiao Ju carried Tangtang to the sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn stall and was about to take her money out when she realized that she forgot her money pouch. She looked awkwardly at the owner when a money pouch suddenly appeared from behind her. Xiao Ju looked back and Lin Haihai waved the money pouch with a bright smile on her face. Xiao Ju also returned an embarrassed smile. Tangtang threw a tantrum and whined, "Buy it. I want to eat. I want to eat!"


Xiao Ju pretended to smack Tangtang’s butt angrily as the owner hurriedly stopped her. "Don’t hit him. I’ll treat the child. Don’t hit him!" Lin Haihai hastily took the money out of her pouch and said, "How can we not pay you? Big brother, you’re a business owner. This won’t do!" 


"Physician Lin, don’t you remember that my son is learning medicine in your hospital? Treating the child to sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn won’t cost much either. I can treat him. If you’re going to insist on paying me, that means you look down upon me! You offer shelter to my son and teach him medicine, and you even give him two silver taels every month. You’re a huge benefactor to our family! My old mother will get angry if she finds out I’m taking your money!"


Lin Haihai recalled that he was the father of her disciple, Zhang Zhenzhong. Therefore, she really couldn’t decline his offer. She thanked and smiled at him, "Visit Zhenzhong when you have time. He was more hardworking at the start. But he had never learned how to write so he only just started learning how to read and write now. On top of that, he has to memorize various medical theories. It is rather difficult for him so he's prone to get tired of learning. As his family, you should support and encourage him more."


Zhang Zhenzhong was from a poor background and had always been doing coolie work. Now that he had to suddenly learn how to read and write, and also learn about medicine, he had a hard time adapting and felt that he could not live up to Lin Haihai's expectations. Hence, he had already started to show signs of weariness. Lin Haihai had wanted to talk to him for a while now, but she wasn't able to squeeze out any time. It just so happened that she bumped into his father today. She would let his family have a talk with him and perhaps they could encourage him to press on.


The owner of the stall wore a worried expression. He anxiously responded, "Physician Lin, I will make sure to talk to him about this. Please don’t dismiss him. Our family is hoping that he does well and makes something out of himself, even if it is only learning to read! Over the past few generations, no one in our family has ever touched a book. Only that boy has encountered good fortune and met you. It’s fine if we don’t take the two silver taels too, as long as you don’t dismiss him!"


Lin Haihai found the store owner’s words to be both hilarious and bitter at the same time. She looked at him and promised, "I didn’t hire him as a worker. He’s my disciple. I won’t dismiss him because we are not in an employer-employee relationship. I also won’t kick a disciple out that easily unless they have committed outrageous acts. But if they’re going to be my disciples, I would definitely hope for them to strive hard and learn medicine well. And I would need their parents' cooperation in this matter too. Do you understand?"


"I understand, I understand! Physician Lin, I understand what you’re trying to say. Thank you for being so kind to him! I’m not good with words so I don’t know what to do in order to express my gratitude," the owner said emotionally. 


"Don’t talk as if we are outsiders. Either way, we could be considered as one big family. I still have matters to attend to in the hospital and I need to head back now." Lin Haihai waved goodbye. She realized that she would have to pay attention to a particular issue after she encountering Zhenzhong’s father today. The disciples and their parents believed that they were working for her, which was the wrong mindset. They were all ten to fifteen year olds, so they weren’t completely mature. She wanted to help them become confident and capable people. She wouldn't allow them to think of themselves as slaves, or to bow and bend their knees for someone of a higher status. Not even for her.


Xiao Ju thought that Lin Haihai was thinking about the "young miss," after seeing that the latter remained silent throughout the entire journey. Therefore, she took the initiative to explain, "In the beginning, it did not cross my mind that you might not be my young miss. But I slowly saw the differences between the two of you. I have been serving my young miss from a young age. She was illiterate and had a weak personality. She trembles at the sight of the first madam. She faints when she sees blood. However, you skillfully bandaged the patients’ wounds while you were at the hospital as if you were used to doing this. My young miss had never done any of these things before besides saving the prince. Most importantly, she doesn't know medicine! I actually felt conflicted before but you are very nice to me and Tangtang. You have never treated me like a servant. I am grateful for this and from then on, I silently treated you as my elder sister.”

1. In Chinese, tang(唐) is the homonym of the word candy(糖).

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