Gu Beiyue soaked in the medicinal bath, which wasn't full enough to cover his chest. He was lean but refined, with hard and solid pecs. Although he was a chronic invalid, he didn't look sick at all. Perhaps it was related to his childhood martial arts training. This body hidden under white robes was unimaginably good. He was originally staring at the ceiling in thought, but somehow fell asleep.
If this was any other day, he'd be burying his head in a pile of letters for the next couple hours until midnight. He couldn't sleep, nor would he sleep. Although he hadn't relaxed at all, the steam from the bath and the fragrance of medicine slowly lulled him into relaxation. Gradually, his heart eased as well. In these familiar warmth and surroundings, everything seemed nostalgic. He seemed to have returned to his childhood when he soaked in such baths everyday. Although his body and mind didn't regress to that time, he felt as if he was an outsider observing the youth in the bath gradually grow to adolescence and then adulthood.
An unconscious look of pity crept into his gaze. He had pitied countless people, but this was his first time pitying himself. What kind of maturity did it take to look objectively at his past self with pity? Soaking in the familiarity, he didn't wake until the inn's waiter came in with another pot of hot medicinal bathwater. He poured it in with an ambiguous expression and grinned.
"Sir, what's the relation of that lady outside to you? She's been standing there for a while."
Gu Beiyue immediately looked up, but didn't speak. The waiter thought he misspoke and didn't dare ask, quickly avoiding Gu Beiyue's gaze to continue pouring the bath. After a while, Gu Beiyue finally opened his mouth and intoned, "She is my wife."
The ambiguous tone in the waiter's voice forced him to admit it. Otherwise, why would a woman like Qin Min be waiting outside her door.
"This one's eyes were clumsy! Clumsy!" the waiter was very surprised as he nodded furiously. He couldn't believe it: these two were a couple but living in separate rooms? The gentleman had taken Tianzi Room 2 while the madam was in Tianzi Room 1.
Seeing his doubt, Gu Beiyue thought of the same thing and explained, "We had a bit of an argument yesterday, so she was angry."
The waiter smiled and lost all curiosity. If Gu Beiyue hadn't been perceptive enough and the waiter loose-lipped, there wouldn't have been all this explanation. Those who were too smart and scheming would inevitably lose when paired with someone too simple-minded. The waiter expected Gu Beiyue to elaborate, but when he waited a while with no answer, he prepared to leave.
Still, he stopped upon opening the door to come back and added in a low voice, "Sir, when you went out just then, her ladyship cried."
Gu Beiyue abruptly sat up, thoughts broken as he creased his brows. "What happened?"
The waiter thought that his wife had been crying because of the argument, but realized from Gu Beiyue's reaction that something was wrong. He quickly explained, "This one isn't sure either. When you left, the madam stood there and didn't move. She, she…she seemed to be possessed and didn't react even when others bumped into her. I…"
"Did they bump into her?" Gu Beiyue interrupted hastily.
"No no! Just her shoulder, nothing serious," the waiter explained quickly.
"Then why was she crying?" Gu Beiyue asked. From what he understood of Qin Min, she was a young lady of an established household but not weak at all. There was no reason for her to be a crybaby.
"This one doesn't know either. I was afraid she was hurt by the bump, so I went to see what was the matter. She said she was hungry and ordered a table full of dishes before leaving," the waiter replied.
Gu Beiyue had nothing more to ask after that. His expression grew heavy as he waved him away.
Qin Min had been loitering in the courtyard the entire time. She didn't lose her cool when the waiter emerged, but waited for him to shut the door and walk down the steps before smiling and gesturing him over. Compared to Gu Beiyue, the waiter was more afraid of Qin Min. He still didn't understand why she had cried before and was now smiling at him so beautifully.
Right. A slight smile from this lady was more radiant than broad grins from other people. He steeled his nerves and walked over. "Madam, do you have any instructions?"
"Did he fall asleep?" Qin Min murmured.
The waiter shook his head, but quickly changed to nodding.
"What does that mean?" Qin Min grew serious.
"He was asleep, but this one woke him up when I went in. Later on, he fell asleep again," the waiter explained. He was afraid that if he said the gentleman was still awake, the madam might make him try something. But Qin Min didn't ask anything else or explain herself. She only wanted to know whether he had truly relaxed enough to rest.
If he can still fall asleep, the issue shouldn't be too serious. Delighted, Qin Min rewarded the waiter with a silver ingot, thrilling him as well.
"Remember to change his medicinal bath later. Don't delay for too long, or else it'll be cold," she instructed.
"Yes, yes! This one is keeping watch! This one is also looking after madam's medicine!" the waiter said before Qin Min felt something amiss.
"Who told you to call my madam?" The waiter had been calling her "young Miss" beforehand, but one trip was enough to change his tone.
"Sir said so," the waiter replied.
Qin Min's eyes lit up. She got to her feet and looked at him with interest, but the waiter only felt he must have misspoke again. Startled, he cried, "Madam, the medicine is still simmering on the stove, I'll go check it right away!"
Qin Min stepped in front of him and smiled so sweetly she almost looked foolish. "He woke up just then?"
"I accidentally woke him up when I went to change the water," the waiter admitted.
"He mentioned me?" Qin Min asked next.
The waiter couldn't hold up any longer and told the truth. "Just then, I spoke too much and mentioned you were waiting outside."
Qin Min knitted her brows. She didn't want Gu Beiyue to know this.
"What did he say?" Qin Min asked.
This questioning meant the waiter couldn't be perfunctory anymore, so he simply told her everything. "Sir was the one who said you were his wife."
Qin Min looked bewildered towards the closed door. Of course she knew he was trying to save her reputation, and sighed. "Why be so tiring?"
The waiter took the chance to slip away, but she didn't pursue the matter. Nor did she know he had exposed her crying to Gu Beiyue. In the waiter's eyes, tears pooling in the eyes was just the same as actually crying! But to Qin Min, it didn't count if the tears didn't leave them!
Even though Gu Beiyue knew she was there, she continued her watch. She had to make sure the waiter changed the water on time, or else the chilly winds would make the bath a waste. As she waited, she began to puzzle over Gu Beiyue's prescription. Medical treatment and medicines were of the same origins. Though she studied medicine, she was familiar with pharmacology as well. Still, she couldn't make heads or tails of it after reading it a while.
When she took Gu Beiyue's pulse last time, she diagnosed him with various ailments he'd had since childhood. He had long-term issues with his lungs and heart, which this prescription was supposed to ease at a glance. But many of the ingredient effects she didn't understand at all. After a long time of study, she returned to her own rooms to make a secret copy for meditation later.
Actually, her first thought was to seek out Mu Linger for help, or maybe Gu Qishao. But she dismissed the thought. These were Gu Beiyue's private affairs. The most she could do was to urge him to take more baths.
Soon enough, the waiter came back with a bowl of dark-colored medicine. Qin Min didn't want to drink it since she didn't actually need it. She disliked drinking medicine most days and preferred acupuncture because she was afraid of bitterness. Her original plan was to pour out the medicine, but for some reason she grinned this time and happily drained the bitter concoction dry! In the end, the warm brew banished some of the chilly air and made her warm all over. She brought a chair, set it in front of Gu Beiyue's door, and stepped on it with a lantern in her hand.
The waiter was frightened by the sight when he came back with the medicinal bath. "Madam, madam!"
"Shhh!" Qin Min stood on the tall chair and looked back fiercely. "I'll make you responsible if you wake him up!"
The waiter got closer and coaxed, "Madam, what are you doing? If you fall…our little inn can't afford the damages!"
Ignoring him, Qin Min stepped on tiptoe to hang up the lantern, then jumped down dexterously. Seeing the high-hanging lantern and then the woman below it, the waiter couldn't believe his eyes. He never expected such a soft, weak looking woman to do men's work.
"Go in already, the bath will cool down!" Qin Min urged.
The waiter suddenly shivered and went inside. Gu Beiyue had his eyes shut, but it wasn't clear whether he was really sleeping or just pretending to doze. Afraid to make another sound, the waiter changed the bathwater and hurried out. At the entrance, Qin Min gave him another fright. This time she was sitting by the door and leaning against the wall, studying a medical text. It was a sight that banished all thoughts of disturbing her concentration.
After midnight, the waiter brought back clean hot water and finished Gu Beiyue's medicinal bath. Qin Min stretched and didn't linger, but returned soundlessly to her own rooms and fell asleep.
She still woke up early the next day.
Yet after a long time of waiting, she still didn't see Gu Beiyue leave his room. She knocked on the door a few times and murmured, "Grand Tutor Gu, are you up?"
Gu Beiyue had long gotten out of bed and was currently looking through his letters. He clearly hear Qin Min but chose not to respond.
When Qin Min's knocking attempts fell on deaf ears, she assumed he was still sleeping and didn't dare disturb him. If he could rest more, she would be happiest. She went back to her rooms and continued sleeping. She thought Gu Beiyue would wake her up, but she ended up sleeping until noon. After startling herself awake, she saw Gu Beiyue cleaning up and just preparing to leave his rooms. The sight of him made her exhale in relief and keep mute.
"Eldest Miss Qin, is your body feeling better?" Gu Beiyue asked.
"Much better, we can set off now," Qin Min smiled back.
The two only exchanged these few words before continuing westward. They talked very little during the journey and didn't delay at all, heading straight for Medical City.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
people talk about getting gold fingers or buffs in cnovels but our three male leads are...literally buff, bwahaha. maybe author likes the muscular type? but honestly why is EVERYONE so buff without clothes even if they have different vibes with it on? i'm getting ridiculous mental images in my head...