"Little Sister? You're back! " A gentle and cultured man appeared. Lin Haihai looked at him with a smile and the words came to her mind - Big Brother! Yes, this was Lin Yuhao, the eldest son of the Lin family. Ever since he had taken over the family business, he had been doing business out of town and hadn't come home for many years. Despite having been away from home for many years, he still doted on Lin Yuguan very much.
"Big Brother, you’re back." Lin Haihai felt some familiarity toward him and didn't feel repelled.
"Yes, I've been back for many days. I went to see you at the Sixth Prince Residence, but they said you don't live there. What's going on?" Lin Yuhao asked anxiously.
"Big Brother, let me introduce you. This is my husband!" With that, she pushed Yang Hanlun and commanded him, "Greet your Big Brother!"
Yang Hanlun cupped his fists quickly. "Big Brother, my respects to you!"
Lin Yuhao was surprised and quickly replied, "I'm much obliged to meet Your Highness!" Lin Yuhao was baffled. When had his cowardly sister become so bold? He took another look at Yang Hanlun, who was watching her fondly without the slightest look of displeasure. He seems to love her so much!
"Big Brother, here's Imperial Physician Chen. You've met him before. He's here to help diagnose Father!" Lin Haihai told him.
Overjoyed, Lin Yuhao promptly cupped his fists and said with excitement, "It's my honor to have you here, Imperial Physician Chen! There's hope for my father now!"
"Eldest Young Master Lin, please don't stand on ceremony. Since this official has been entrusted by Her Highness Princess Consort, I will spare no effort to diagnose your father!" Imperial Physician Chen replied.
"This way, please. I'll have my men carry my father over at once. Your Highness and Imperial Physician Chen, please take a seat for a while." Lin Yuhao helped them settle down and immediately ordered the servants to bring tea before heading out.
Lin Haihai studied the room carefully. The furniture and ornaments were extremely luxurious. Some of the details were a display of wealth. It was indeed the usual practice of the nouveau riche!
"Has it been so long since you left the house and gotten married that you don't even recognize your own home?" Yang Hanlun teased.
"Things have remained the same, yet people have changed! A lot of things change in a flash." Lin Haihai's heart suddenly stirred.
"Why did you say that all of a sudden?" Yang Hanlun looked at her, perplexed. Nowadays, she often says one or two sentimental sentences without rhyme or reason. Was it because of that man in her heart? Yang Hanlun felt as if his heart had hit rock bottom.
After a moment passed, two boys came out carrying Lin Yaokuan. Lin Haihai stood up. She hadn’t seen him for several months; her nominal father was much thinner. Lin Haihai felt sad. After all, he was Lin Yuguan's biological father. How could she have the heart to let him spend the rest of his life in bed?
"Father!" Lin Haihai called out softly.
Lin Yaokuan glanced at his daughter. When his gaze fell on Yang Hanlun, he greeted him fawningly. "My greetings to Your Highness!"
Yang Hanlun didn't have a good impression of his father-in-law, but for the sake of Lin Haihai, he reluctantly stood up and offered a return greeting. "I'm much obliged. My greetings to you, Father-in-law."
"Good, good! Please have a seat!" Lin Yaokuan naturally knew how much honor this greeting represented. He was just a commoner. He couldn't disregard the formalities even when he met his daughter. But now, the much superior sixth prince had actually greeted him. It seemed that the news that Yuguan was unfavored was untrustworthy! He stroked his beard and smiled happily.
"Where is the First Madam?" Lin Haihai blurted out just as Lin Yuhao entered.
He answered sadly, "She's been sick for over a month already. We've invited many physicians over, but all of them said…" Lin Yuhao couldn’t go on as his eyes reddened.
Lin Haihai was shocked. That arrogant and domineering First Madam was unexpectedly about to… With a touch of sadness in her heart, she asked, "Do you know what illness it is?"
"It's a confirmed diagnosis - tuberculosis! I don't know why she contracted this disease. She has always lived a comfortable life and has never tasted bitterness, but unfortunately… Little Sister, I know Mother used to treat you badly, but can you not hold it against her for my sake? Please let the imperial physician examine her. I know tuberculosis is incurable, but I want her to go in peace! Your Big Brother is begging you." Lin Yuhao looked imploringly at her.
"Yuguan, why don't you put aside the things of the past for Father's sake?" Lin Yaokuan also chimed in.
Lin Haihai frowned. Tuberculosis was considered an incurable disease in this medically underdeveloped place. She wondered if Stupid Bear had purchased and taken back the cure-all drug. I should go examine her condition first - use my eyes to take an X-ray for her!
She motioned to Ming Yue to bring the medicine box over and instructed the Imperial Physician Chen, "Imperial Physician Chen, can you administer acupuncture to my father first? As for the First Madam, I'll go and examine her."
"Are you sure, Your Highness Princess Consort?" Imperial Physician Chen asked with some concern. After all, tuberculosis was an infectious disease and had no cure!
"It's alright. It all depends on her luck!" Lin Haihai said nonchalantly. Indeed, if the medicine Li Junyue brought back could treat her, she would be saved.
"Big Brother, lead the way. Ming Yue, wait for me here!" Lin Haihai took out the mask from her medicine box and shoved it to Lin Yuhao, asking him to wear it.
"Be careful, silly woman!" Yang Hanlun warned her repeatedly from behind. Lin Haihai answered with a casual affirmative and left. Lin Yaokuan watched Lin Haihai's back, deep in thought. When did she learn medicine?
"When did you begin to study medicine, Little Sister?" Lin Yuhao was outside all year round. He didn't know much about Lin Yuguan's matters, but in his memories, he had never heard anything about his little sister having picked up medical skills.
"I learned it a long time ago, but have never applied what I learned! By the way, what are First Madam's symptoms?" Lin Haihai tactfully shifted the topic.
"She's been coughing all the time. She coughs as if she might cough her lungs out!" Lin Yuhao said sadly. As a son, he was extremely distressed that he was unable to help his suffering mother. Lin Haihai kept silent. The symptoms of tuberculosis were indeed persistent cough, blood in sputum, and fever.
Lin Yuhao took her straight to the door of a small dark room and pushed the door open. A piercing cough sounded from within. Lin Yuhao walked in quickly with a face full of worry.
"*Cough*... Don't. Don't come… over…*cough*, *cough*!" The formerly intimidating First Madam had wasted away. She looked pale and her hair was disheveled. She constantly shrank into the corner while trying to stop her son from approaching her.
"Mother, is it very uncomfortable?" Lin Yuhao stopped; he knew his mother was worried that she would infect him.
Lin Haihai frowned at the dark room. This room was the room that had once been used to hold Tangtang captive. It was damp and gloomy with its doors and windows tightly closed. Lin Haihai went over and pushed all the windows open. The whole room immediately became bright. The sun shone in and fell on Li Meilian's pale face. Li Meilian couldn't adapt to the strong light and immediately hid under the blankets. A fit of coughing broke out.
"Little Sister, don't! Close the windows! The physician said she must not catch a cold!" Lin Yuhao shouted quickly.
When Li Meilian heard the two words 'little sister', she lifted the quilt, exposing her deep-set eyes. She stared ferociously at Lin Haihai. Her cough was relentless; in fact, the more she coughed, the more severe it sounded.
"Ah, my son… *cough cough* Drive her away… I don't want to… see*cough cough*... her!" Li Meilian's face was contorted; her whole body trembled with hatred.
Lin Haihai couldn't bear to see Li Meilian in this state. She had no hatred for the woman. She was a doctor and felt very sad to see a patient in such miserable pain. She walked over slowly, step by step. Li Meilian coughed while keeping her guard up against Lin Haihai. Finally, Li Meilian coughed so much that she was left rolling on the bed in pain.
Li Meilian felt awful, as though her ribcage was going to crack with her coughing. Her chest hurt as if it were being ripped apart. But she couldn't stop coughing. There seemed to be thousands of ants crawling in her throat. She struggled to maintain her dignity and not let her enemy's daughter see her in such despair. But the piercingly painful cough made her forget everything. She even wanted to bang her head against the wall.
"Mother…" Lin Yuhao rushed over to help his mother up, but Li Meilian pushed him away desperately. Lin Haihai grabbed Li Meilian's hand and restrained her. She felt Li Meilian's pulse. Li Meilian could only cough and couldn’t think of anything.
Lin Haihai unfurrowed her brows. Li Meilian's hadn't reached the terminal stage yet. Her hand gently massaged Li Meilian's chest in circular motions. The pain in Li Meilian's chest eased and the cough subsided before it gradually stopped. Li Meilian slowly quieted down. Some peace finally showed up on her deranged face. She looked quietly at Lin Haihai, not saying a word, but tears slowly gathered in her eyes.
"First Madam, it's all right, you will get better!" Lin Haihai comforted Li Meilian. The patient had to stay positive and not lose confidence. Willpower was very important.
"Little Sister, are you serious? There's hope for my mother?" Lin Yuhao rushed forward, his face wild with joy.
"Yes, there's hope for her, but she must heed my instructions!" Lin Haihai said with a straight face. "Firstly, don't shut this window. Also, her diet has to be strictly regulated!"
"Sure, we'll do whatever you say!" Lin Yuhao nodded immediately. "As long as you can save my mother, I'll do it even if you tell me to die!"
Li Meilian hid her face and wept bitterly. She was unwilling to give up her son. She hadn't even had a grandchild yet! Ever since she had fallen ill, her son had invited countless physicians for her. Their answers were identical: they shook their heads and waved! Those physicians, she knew, were famous and highly skilled! When they said it was incurable, then it must truly be incurable. The feeling of comfort right now was perhaps just terminal lucidity!
"Hao'er, drive this woman away. I don't want to see her!" Her weak speech was cold and harsh. Even if she were to die, she couldn't give Lin Haihai any chance to make a mockery of her.
"Mother, Little Sister is here to cure you!" Lin Yuhao said anxiously.
"Nonsense, she doesn't understand medicine. Even if she does, can she be more skilled than those highly-skilled physicians? Mother isn’t confused. She’s just fooling us, giving us hope just so that she can watch us suffer later. Hao'er, drive her away, I don't want to see her! " Li Meilian spat with urgency. A rumbling sound, as if suppressing a cough, sounded from her windpipe. Her face flushed and she looked to be in much pain.
"First Madam, have a good rest. If I say I can cure you, I really can. To me, tuberculosis is not an incurable disease; it’s just a highly infectious disease. Your condition is not very serious now and it isn’t difficult to cure it, but you should cooperate with me." Lin Haihai paused for a moment. "Patients should avoid being discouraged and losing hope; they should have a cheerful and optimistic mood instead. Big Brother, ask someone to come back with me to get the medicine. I will write a list of dietary taboos and daily precautions. The clothes and quilts used by First Madam should be exposed to the sun every day. If conditions permit, it’s better to scald them in boiling water. Wear a mask when entering this room, because tuberculosis is transmitted through the respiratory tract. Put a bucket of water at the door and wash your hands when you come out. Now, to stop the spread of the virus, the patient does not have to stay in bed. She can go out for a walk and breathe fresh air as much as possible!" Lin Haihai was always like a long-winded old woman when she assumed her identity as a doctor.
Li Meilian's eyes emitted an astonished glow as she gazed silently at Lin Haihai with a sense of discernment. Lin Haihai smiled, saying, "Please let go of the past. I think my mother has let go of everything. Things of the past are of the past. There’s no need to brood over them."
Lin Yuhao looked at his younger sister with astonishment; he felt as if he couldn't recognize her. In his memory, his younger sister seemed to be cowardly and inarticulate. Her clear and enlightening speech had truly surprised him. But over the years, he had been busy with his business and his mother had taken care of everything at home. It was possible that his little sister had grown up and her personality had also changed as a result.
"Big Brother, stay here with First Madam. I'll go and take a look at Father first!" Lin Haihai gave some time to the mother and son for them to communicate.
"Alright, Little Sister, take care!" Lin Yuhao looked at her with a grateful gaze.
"Mm. First Madam, please rest, I’ll leave first!" Lin Haihai turned around and left. Li Meilian had a blank and puzzled look on her face. She looked at Lin Yuhao with much worry. She didn’t dare to hope that she could be cured. She only wanted to live for more than two years so that she could see her sons married.
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