Originally, the Imperial Physician Courtyard only served the imperial family, nobles, and officials. Their doctors weren't only physicians, but medical officials. Now Long Feiye had kept the Imperial Physician Courtyard and created a medical division in charge of treatment across Great Qin.
The Department of Medicine ranked higher than the Imperial Physician Courtyard and became the highest medical institution in Great Qin. They were in charge of administration over medical halls and medical schools as well as evaluating the qualifications of physicians to practice medicine. They also took charge of selecting doctors for the Imperial Physician Courtyard. Currently, the biggest problem facing them was the shortage of resources for doctors. Thus, their first task after taking office was to open medical school and lower the threshold for admissions. It wasn't easy learning medicine, because one needed to pay hefty tuition fees and have access to good teachers.
With Han Yunxi repeated coaxing and Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue's discussion, they shouldered the financial burdens and lowered the threshold for admissions into medical school. While the schools were opening up, Gu Beiyue undertook a great task personally: he went to every city, county, and town in Great Qin to map out their medium and larger-sized clinics, then stationed a large medical hall in every major county. Only doctors of fourth rank or above were qualified to be the teachers, and only serious diseases or difficult cases were accepted. Regardless of the patient's wealth, the consultation fee was only ten taels of silver.
Gu Beiyue spent three whole years before he finished the medical reforms of Great Qin. The only thing that ensured its progress was the huge support from the national treasury. Any doctor third rank or above were paid by the imperial court. Naturally, Han Yunxi thought up the idea, giving Long Feiye another source of serious financial pressure.
Medical treatments were inseparable from medicine. If the people could find a doctor but couldn't find or afford medicine, it would all be for naught. While Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue worked on reforms, Han Yunxi and her big belly worked with Mu Linger to change the world of medicine. There was little difficulty implementing reforms there since most of the big clans were already in Han Yunxi's hands. Pill King was also one of her people. The pair spent more time establishing the Medicine Supervision Division. Mu Linger felt that their main task should be overseeing the authenticity and treatment method of various drugs, but Han Yunxi said first priority should to be regulate the price of medicinal ingredients. She had the division put forth in strong language that anyone who dared to set higher prices than the court, hoard their goods, or refuse to plant cheaper herbs would have to face her wrath. Both her might as empress and power within Medicine City was enough to make any potential schemers tremble in fright.
Gu Beiyue left Medical City to establish the Department of Medicine, then spent his days wandering all over; Long Feiye remained in Yunning to deal with the financial pressures and multiple objections from various ministers; Han Yunxi spent half a year dealing with reforms before giving birth to a princess for Long Feiye in the palace. Fourth Miss Ren was there to help with the birth while Gu Beiyue was busying himself outside to return to court. The various ranked doctors of Medical City either joined the Department of Medicine or Imperial Physician Courtyard or were deployed to different locations. Fourth Miss Ren had left the Ren Clan to become an imperial physician.
Early morning on the princess's birthday, a miraculous sight appeared over Yunning Palace. Thousands of birds gathered in the skies and hovered in place, refusing to leave. From a distance, it looked like the scene of "one hundred birds paying homage to the phoenix."
Both the people at court and Yunning's common citizens witnessed this spectacle and even Long Feiye was shocked. It wasn't until the baby cried in the birthing room that the birds scattered and flew away. It was currently the beginning of winter, so the swallows were in the middle of migration to the south. They made up the bulk of the birds who gathered here. Amazingly, most of them were house swallows, which had th quirk of migrating south only at night. They were like silent shadows that rarely appeared as daytime flocks.
No one could explain the strange phenomenon, but everyone knew it was an auspicious sign that the princess was extraordinary. Because of this unusual event, Long Feiye simply named the little princess "swallow," or Xuanyuan Yan (轩辕燕).
He was even happier to get a daughter than a son. That very day, he pardoned all prisoners marked for execution. Heaven knows how much he adored the little princess. He even granted her an official title named after the country, naming her "Princess of Great Qin."
Unlike Rui'er, who feared Long Feiye from the womb, this princess was very close to her father. Whenever she cried from fright, hunger, or other reasons, she would stop as soon as Long Feiye picked her up. When Han Yunxi, Zhao mama, the nannies, and servants all had no way to coax her asleep, she would doze off sweetly as soon as she was in Long Feiye's arms. Rui'er didn't even mind. He liked to yield to his little sister, but it was Han Yunxi who ended up eating vinegar multiple times.
Han Yunxi's birth of a daughter verified Qin Min's first diagnosis. She lost her bet this time, but was perfectly willing. Actually, she had told Long Feiye multiple times to give Gu Beiyue a break, but Gu Beiyue kept refusing on the pretense that he'd do it after he finished his work. Since everything coincided with the medical reforms, he was busy running here and here with no time to stop.
During her first month of pregnancy, Han Yunxi wrote a letter to Qin Min and promised that she'd find a way to give Gu Beiyue a long vacation after the reforms were over so he could accompany her and little Shadow. But it was three and a half years before Gu Beiyue was able to relax.
Qin Min never asked about Medical City again after she left. Nor did she look for any news of Gu Beiyue. However, there was one thing she kept her eye on. Every month she would send Gu Beiyue the ingredients for his medicinal bath in a pouch and require him to send back the dregs. Somehow, she'd fixed the pouch so she could tell whether he'd actually soaked in a bath. This happened at the beginning and end of each month. Gu Beiyue didn't refuse, but did as he was told. In the end, this meant Qin Min supervised Gu Beiyue's medicinal baths twice a month, so she always ended up knowing his whereabouts.
In the beginning, Gu Beiyue only sent back the dregs. Then Qin Min started including letters with her pouches, writing interesting anecdotes about little Shadow as he grew. Gu Beiyue began to reply to those letters, even though they were only about Shadow and nothing else.
Finally, Gu Beiyue saw a line of crooked characters in his letter from Qin Min one day. He was so happy he laughed out loud and was in a good mood for days. Little Shadow had written them, so he knew Qin Min had started teaching him characters.
Later on, Qin Min asked Gu Beiyue a question. She wrote, Grand Tutor Gu, since everything's an act, why not extend the lie to one more, a child?
Gu Beiyue creased his brows after the message. Just like that night at the Qin Estate, they remained scrunched for a long time. At first, they intended to treat Shadow as their own biological son and love him accordingly. But Qin Min exposed herself, forcing Shadow to be their foster son instead. He and Qin Min had already tricked so many people about their relationship, so what did it matter if they tricked one more child? Shadow was already adopted; if he knew his foster parents weren't a real couple, he'd be so sad.
They next day, Gu Beiyue wrote back, All right. We'll trick him for a lifetime. In this life, I, Gu Beiyue, will only have him as my sole son.
Qin Min laughed when she received the letter, but in the end her eyes turned so red and teary that they frightened Shaoyao.
"Young Miss, don't be like this! If you want to cry, then let it out! Don't scare this servant ah!"
"Young Miss, just cry! Cry it all out! This servant will leave and not say a word! Go ahead and cry!"
In the end, Qin Min didn't shed tears. She smiled and said, "A mother can't just cry as she likes. I'll go make Shadow something to eat."
Afterwards, Qin Min included another letter with Gu Beiyue's bath pouch. This time, the only thing she wrote in it was: All right.
The little princess didn't have any grand celebrations for her one-month old date or her one-year-old birthday. Gu Beiyue was busy overseeing medical reforms in the north and didn't show up to the banquet. Since he didn't return to Yunning, Qin Min stayed put as well and ended up living in Ningzhou for three entire years.
They said time healed all wounds, but three years probably wasn't long enough. They didn't soothe Qin Min's plucked heartstrings. Perhaps she was destined to never heal in this lifetime. Even if their love was false, her status was true! Even so far apart, they still kept in contact. There was nothing more helpless than this, right?
Qin Min kept wondering why Gu Beiyue had been creasing his brows at the Qin Estate that night. Were three years enough to smooth them out? She formed a habit of looking at the moon each night before she went to bed. No matter how far the skies were or who was watching, they all saw the same moon in the sky. To her, he was there as long as the moon was present.
Late summer three years later, Qin Min sat on an old tree in the courtyard while staring at the moon in the sky. She was holding the medicinal dregs and latest letter from Gu Beiyue while spacing out. At this moment, a tiny figure flew past the roof and disappeared in a flash. Very soon, Xi Yubo's voice called out, "Quick! Stop the little master! Hurry!"
Qin Min recovered her senses and looked towards the roof, only to see black shadows scurrying messily about. But there was no sign of the little Shadow she knew so well. She smiled and ignored them.
Although little Shadow was Gu Beiyue's foster son, his talents for martial arts was outstanding, especially when it came to lightness techniques. When he turned three, Gu Beiyue sent someone to teach him martial arts. Now he was five but capable of shaking off a whole team of guards. More admirably, Qin Min noticed that Shadow's personality was quite similar to Gu Beiyue himself: very gentle, like a piece of warm jade. However, he smiled much more often than Gu Beiyue.
While the guards were still searching, Shadow had already appeared soundlessly behind Qin Min and called out softly, "Mother!"
Qin Min wasn't surprised, because she knew he'd hide here with her. She looked back and and saw him standing on a tree branch with a small grin. The moon shone on his clean and tender face, illuminating his gentle smile. For a second, Qin Min felt that Shadow was a piece of white jade: warm, flawless, transparent, serene.
So, so similar to Gu Beiyue.
"What now, is Uncle Xi forcing you to practice martial arts again? Don't you already know everything? How annoying he is at this time of night," Qin Min was unhappy. She found Xi Yubo especially irritating.
Little Shadow sat down and said, "Don't get angry, mother. Uncle Xi's an elder so I should yield to him. I just have to run away."
1. Also the name of a traditional Chinese song. The phoenix is considered the sovereign of all birds. In ancient China, auspicious signs often accompanied the birth of royalty destined to make a mark on the world.
make-up chapter yo!
idk what they're on but this chapter reads like a worldbuilding exercise and was equally interesting to translate, meaning i spent half the chapter wondering what qin min was up to and why we couldn't play with her in ningzhou instead.
also is it just me or are they turning the dynasty into..a socialist society?
To her, he was there as long as the moon was present.
i laughed at this, because although it's romantic i can't help wondering what Qin Min thinks of where there's a new moon in the sky.
also cnovels love this trend of making children miniature clones of one parent or the other, huh...and don't tell me they'll make Xi Yubo a last minute villain or something, he's been shady since day 1.