Chapter 26: Lin Haihai’s Story

It was dark by the time Lin Haihai returned to the Linhai Hospital. After her dinner, she proceeded on with her lesson. But before the lesson commenced, she felt the need to talk to her disciples about some things. She instructed the disciples to bring their chairs over and arrange them in circles around her. She sat down and indicated for everyone to sit down too. 


Lin Haihai cleared her throat and said, “I won't be teaching anything tonight. Rather, I would like to share a story with everyone. In a land far far away, there lived a child. Her grandfather was a famous physician who had saved many lives. So, ever since she was a child, the girl aspired to become like her grandfather, a person respected by all. When she was seven, she followed in her grandfather’s footsteps and started learning medicine. At first, her grandfather thought that she was just prompted by a sudden impulse, and only taught her medicinal songs. She diligently memorized these songs and would recite them when guests came over. 


Her grandfather gradually noticed her genuine interest in this field. Therefore, he started to impart his knowledge to her; he was serious and strict. She studied diligently with the hopes of achieving her dream one day. However, medicinal knowledge was difficult to comprehend and it wasn’t as simple as memorizing the medicinal songs. She had trouble understanding some knowledge even after a long time. Thus, she started to doubt herself and wondered if she was truly talented in medicine. She began to lose her confidence and worked halfheartedly on the assignments her grandfather assigned her, wanting to get it over and done with. 


One day, her grandfather sought her out and they had a heart-to-heart discussion. He told her that one needed to believe in themselves and that every miracle in this world was created by humans. There was nothing that humans couldn't resolve. If one believed that they didn’t have any talent, then they would need to work harder to make up for it. They would have to spend twice the amount of time and effort. As long as one wanted to do something, nothing was impossible! The child pondered over her grandfather’s words and found them reasonable. Hence, she persisted and spent more time, sometimes even doubling the amount of time, with her head in the books. Finally, she became a physician! If the child had given up back then, your master wouldn’t be here today because I was that child!”


Everyone went silent. When they first started, they were unable to imagine the hardships of learning medicine. However, they were all early bloomers and knew that they would only have a promising future if they persisted on this learning journey. 


Everyone gritted their teeth and endured the hardships. They did not dare to express their feelings at all, because Lin Haihai was their benefactor and they didn’t want to disappoint her. Also, they did not dare to clarify any uncertainties as they saw that she was moving around nonstop like a spinning top. After she was done with the day's work, she would hold classes for them. Following that, she would climb up the mountains to gather herbs or teach everyone self-defense. 


Whenever Lin Haihai had time to spare, the disciples would rather let her rest than to disturb her. In the beginning, she didn’t realize what was going on because of her dense personality. But after some time, she noticed that everyone’s performances didn’t improve and instead dropped. There were some simple prescriptions that the disciples could not understand. It was then that Lin Haihai realized that their lack of knowledge was causing them to lose their original enthusiasm for medicine.  


It would be a huge issue if the disciples didn’t understand something and didn’t clarify either. While they were in class, she tried her best to make the boring theory class lively and interesting in hopes to increase everyone’s interest in learning. But now… 


“We are learning medicine not for ourselves but for the countless people who are sick. Physicians are different from other professions because their actions concern people’s lives. They must have enough knowledge and clinical experience. We are learning about the past generations’ wisdom through medical books. Besides applying theories to practice, we also need to accumulate our clinical experiences; this is a very burdensome and tedious task. Everyone needs to be mentally prepared. You can’t master the art of medicine in a short period of time. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you have a question, raise it. Please don’t act like you understand it. This is a taboo! 


From now on, every seven days will make up to a week. Today will be Monday, followed by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Everyone can go home to rest on Saturdays and Sundays, and return on Mondays. During this time, I would request for everyone to adjust your state of mind and invest yourself into the arduous task of learning. In the future, there will be more manpower in the hospital. You guys will not need to balance between taking care of the patients and learning. Instead, focus completely on learning. If you don’t understand something, you must ask me. I welcome you to come chat with me as well if you have any concerns or thoughts on your mind.”


Everyone glanced at her incredulously. They didn’t need to work and were still given their monthly salary?


Plus, they could learn medicine and learn how to read for free. They even got two days off every week. Although their master had always been really nice to them, this was just beyond their comprehension. 


Does a kind person like her actually exist in this era? 


Lin Haihai observed everyone’s reactions before she continued, “Starting tomorrow, I will have the imperial physicians from the palace teach you guys, so you guys have to learn properly. This is a rare opportunity and I hope that everyone will value it.” 


Everyone sucked in a cold breath. The imperial physicians from the palace! 


This must be that prince’s contribution. He was actually able to invite the imperial physicians! Everyone was in high spirits. After all, if they learned from the imperial physicians, they would definitely have superb medical skills in the future. 


Lin Haihai felt jealous as she glanced at everyone’s delightful expressions when they heard of the imperial physicians’ arrival. She added sourly, “Although the imperial physicians entered the hospital later than you guys, they are well-known after all. Therefore, you guys will address them as senior brothers.”


“What?!” the disciples roared in unison. The imperial physicians were their master’s disciples? What exactly was their master's background?


Everyone wore an unbelievable and questioning expression while Lin Haihai faintly smiled. She raised her eyebrows and walked off triumphantly. 




Taking advantage of the night, she flew to North Court. Xiao Ju wasn’t asleep yet and was tidying up Tangtang’s toys under the candle light. Liu’er was already asleep with Tangtang in her arms. Liu Haihai glanced warmly at this scene and couldn't bear to interrupt it. Xiao Ju raised her head and saw Lin Haihai. She smiled and asked, “Elder Sister, you’re back. Have you eaten?”


“I have. It wasn't that busy today, so I came back to visit. I miss the high beds and soft pillows at home!” Liu Haihai pulled a chair over and sat down, placing her head down against the table with a dispirited expression. Xiao Ju let out a chuckle and scolded, “You did this to yourself. You don’t make much money by being a physician. Besides, you work yourself to death every day only to lose money. You gave one thousand taels to your disciples and even the money you earned to the poor and sick families. Who can you blame but yourself?”


“I don’t want to work anymore. I want to retire and live in the comfort of my home. I want to wake up naturally every day and then go shopping with Tangtang. I want to grow some bamboo in the garden. As Su Dongpo said, ‘I would rather be a vegetarian than to live in a place without bamboo.’ As a cultured person, bamboos are essential. It’s best if I can plant some chrysanthemums too. ‘Picking chrysanthemum under the eastern fence, I gaze on the southern mountains with tranquillity.’ Lilacs are also necessary. Although it attracts mosquitoes, the flowers would bloom and emit a sweet scent which makes one feel carefree and relaxed. Of course, lotuses are the best. Lotus seeds can be used in medicine and everything about it is precious. Hmm. I can consider planting some medicinal herbs. That way, our hospital can incur less expenses. There’s no way we can plant it in this garden. I need to rent a mountain top to plant the herbs in large quantities. After all, most of the disciples are from farming backgrounds. This can increase their interest and also train their physique. This is great!” 


Xiao Ju watched as Lin Haihai shifted the topic back to the hospital and smiled, shaking her head. She ended up ignoring Lin Haihai, allowing the latter's imagination to run wild.  


Xiao Ju didn’t think that Lin Haihai would actually act on her words. The very next day, Lin Haihai had already instructed someone to keep a lookout for any abandoned mountain tops. Retire? Xiao Ju smiled at Lin Haihai’s energetic rear view. She will only retire if she couldn’t walk anymore! 


In the early dawn, around six in the morning, the imperial physicians arrived to report for duty. Lin Haihai counted and there were only three imperial physicians. She was a bit confused. Didn’t she say that they should only leave three imperial physicians in the palace? Imperial Physician Chen noticed the confusion in her gaze and explained, “His Majesty isn’t in a stable condition yet, so there should be more physicians to look after His Majesty. The Sixth Prince mentioned that Master would be very busy here, so he wanted us to come over to help. When His Majesty has recovered completely, we will slowly implement a system to rotate shifts.” 


Lin Haihai smiled and said, “I see, I understand. You can help diagnose and treat everyone right now. I’m going to check on a patient and prepare the items for the surgery later.”


Everyone obeyed the orders and sat down, checking on the patients. [1] Lin Haihai looked up towards the sky. There would most likely be a thunderstorm today. The sky was dark and the clouds were hanging low. There was no sun which meant that she couldn’t do the surgery since there was inadequate lighting. She was concerned about Yang Shaolun, so she secretly left from the back door and headed towards the palace. 


The imperial guards guarding the palace door recognized Lin Haihai and respectfully greeted her. Lin Haihai looked at the vast imperial palace and felt a headache. She said to the imperial guard, “Brother imperial guard, can you take me to His Majesty’s sleeping chamber?”


The imperial guard responded, overwhelmed by Lin Haihai’s politeness, “Consort Lin, you don’t need to be so polite. Just order us if you need something.”


“Then let’s go. This imperial palace is too big. I bet it costs a lot.” Please forgive Lin Haihai whose thoughts were consumed with money. She was itching to sell everyone’s valuables and then donate every single cent to her Linhai Hospital. 


“Do you think about anything else besides money?” Yang Hanlun’s teasing voice rang from behind. 


“Yes! I also think about jewelry, antiques, jadeites, and lots more!” Lin Haihai responded in annoyance. 


When the imperial guard saw the Sixth Prince, he hurriedly kneeled down and greeted the latter. Lin Haihai immediately reached over to help him up, and said, “You don’t need to kneel to him. He’s not dead yet!” Her actions terrified the imperial guard. The imperial guard kneeled down and kowtowed repeatedly, explaining, “This guard doesn’t dare! This guard doesn’t mean that.” 


Lin Haihai said angrily, “Get up. Don’t kneel to him. I hate it when people frequently kneel down for no reason. It’s not like you’re inferior to him. Why do you need to kneel to him? I hate this damned Confucian code of ethics and feudalism. Yang Hanlun, tell him to get up.”


Yang Hanlun didn’t understand, but seeing Lin Haihai’s disconcerted expression, he couldn’t help but get nervous. He had never seen her upset before. 


He immediately ordered the imperial guard to rise. The imperial guard stood up while trembling in fear. He dropped his hands to his side, not daring to make any noise. Lin Haihai glanced at the shaking imperial guard and felt somewhat guilty. She relaxed a bit and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean it just now. It’s fine. I’ll ask the Sixth Prince to bring me there. You can go back. Thank you!”


“Consort Lin, please don't say that. This guard is fine. Consort Lin, don’t think too much about it.” The imperial guard glanced at Lin Haihai gratefully. His heart warmed up a bit. His masters were usually cold but she was quite the opposite.


1. Traditionally, Chinese Physicians sat down at their tables while the patients lined up to be diagnosed.

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houseau3's Thoughts

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