Qin Min supervised Gu Beiyue's medicinal bath while she worked out a method of acupuncture. She wanted to discuss with Gu Beiyue whether the combination of medicine and acupuncture could be more effective. Ever since their five-year agreement, Gu Beiyue's attitude towards healing was very positive. He cooperated with Qin Min's supervision and also worked with her to figure out his condition and better treatment methods.
After all, his medical skills were a cut above hers.
Qin Min proposed acupuncture with moxibustion, which Gu Beiyue gladly accepted. Everything went as Qin Min wished while he helped her make adjustments along the way. Thus, they began this treatment plan of one bath, one acupuncture session a day. In the past, Gu Beiyue's symptoms would break out twice a month, but after acupuncture therapy it was only once a month. Qin Min was thrilled while Gu Beiyue just smiled lightly. But very soon, Qin Min was shaken when Gu Beiyue's symptoms occurred three times the next month!
Her eyes were left red-rimmed while Gu Beiyue seemed like the outsider as he comforted her. "It's fine, it's common for illnesses to recur. Let's take another look."
Thus, acupuncture and medicinal baths persisted. Qin Min forgot about gardening and plunged headfirst into acupuncture and moxibustion techniques, pondering day and night. Gu Beiyue divided his time between Qin Min's treatment, teaching little Shadow martial arts, and doing his regular duties. He taught the crown prince how to read, study history, and evaluate politics; he busied himself with the Department of Medicine; he often spoke with Long Feiye's strategists about governance matters.
Time stretched on and his condition repeated, sometimes three or even four times a month, but sometimes not even once a month. Qin Min's mood fluctuated with his condition. Fortunately, Han Yunxi summoned her into the palace when she was idle and also came to the Grand Tutor's Estate to play. Whenever Han Yunxi found Qin Min, she could take out a pile of acupuncture needles, medical books, and her heart to temporarily relax. Shaoyao only felt distressed and wouldn't yield to her a step for fear of her exhausting herself.
How could Gu Beiyue not be distressed either?
He seemed to see his mother working sleepless nights for his father's sake again. But Qin Min was much stronger than her. He didn't know whether Qin Min cried behind his back, but at least these days she never wept in front of him. He only saw her red eyes once.
The days repeated, similar yet not the same. Eventually, two years passed. On Mid-autumn day, Qin Min would cook another bowl of longevity noodles for Gu Beiyue which he ate completely before smiling and telling her thank you. Although his condition came and went, Qin Min was never discouraged. She was always thinking of new needle methods and never once thought of giving up.
On the morning of this day, Qin Min was helping Gu Beiyue apply acupuncture treatment as usual. Like any other day, Gu Beiyue quietly looked at her without a word. After Qin Min applied the needles, she waited on the side. It took two hours before she could take them out. This was their longest time together along in the past two years. However, most of the time they didn't talk beyond discussing his illness. He would lie on the bed while she sat by the tea table flipping through her medical books.
Ever since their five-year agreement, she had kept her distance. He could tell. As Qin Min read her book, she actually ended up sprawling on the table and falling asleep. Gu Beiyue looked back and his gaze softened three parts at the sight.
He sighed softly. "Qin Min, you really are a foolish woman."
Many times, he would wonder if father could've chased mother away if he suddenly left that year? Perhaps then mother wouldn't have followed father in death? He would never forget the moment his mother collapsed with tears of blood. He used to dream about it two to three times a year when he was a child, that same exact scene. Later he grew up and stopped dreaming.
Gu Beiyue looked at Qin Min until it was time to take out the needles. He didn't wake up, but found a medical novice to do the job, then draped some clothes over Qin Min and went out. By the time Qin Min startled awake, it was already late night. She immediately looked towards the bed only to find it empty.
"Gu Beiyue…" she yelled.
Sitting by her side, Gu Beiyue smiled. "Dr. Qin, what did you do last night?" She actually slept from morning til night, so she must have been exhausted.
Qin Min relaxed. "Why didn't you wake me?"
"Shadow accompanied the crown prince out of the city today and won't be back tonight. I saw that you had nothing else to do, so I didn't disturb you," Gu Beiyue replied.
But Qin Min was angry. She slapped the table and snapped, "I have a bunch of things to do! I need to read medical books and still consider a few more acupuncture techniques!"
Gu Beiyue was startled and didn't say anything else. This had to be his first time seeing Qin Min so indignant. Her temper had always been good, but he was the one who forced her to this point. Qin Min realized she'd overreacted and lowered her head.
"It's getting late, you should rest early." She left first, but remembered Gu Beiyue's medicinal bath back in her room. Every day she'd asked him, "Did you soak in your medicinal soup today?"
She immediately went back but heard strong coughing before she even knocked on the door. Panicked, she immediately went inside. Gu Beiyue was kneeling on the ground, one hand on the floor while the other clutched his heart. He was having trouble breathing between his coughs.
Qin Min almost went crazy from anxiety. Everyday she lived carefully waiting in cause his illness broke out. After all, Gu Beiyue had four outbreaks the month before last and none last month. This month she had been carefully steaming until yesterday without a single outbreak from him. There were two more days before the month was over, so she was even secretly delighted last night. She felt that the time between Gu Beiyue's attacks were getting longer, which was a good sign.
But tonight, he…
Qin Min strode over and helped Gu Beiyue to sit before pouring him a cup of water. But Gu Beiyue was coughing too hard to drink anything. Qin Min gave up and took out her needles instead to use on him. She knew how to apply emergency treatment every since his first attack. First was to give him water to relieve his coughs. Next was to apply needles in time to suppress them. If this was the past, Qin Min's needles would ease Gu Beiyue's coughs as she placed them, but this time was completely different! Qin Min's needles only worsened Gu Beiyue's coughing until he was spitting up fresh blood. By the time she finished, he still hadn't stopped, but coughed up three more mouthfuls of blood.
Qin Min was frightened!
But she remained calm. She changed to another acupuncture method which similarly failed. Unwilling to give up, she tried yet another, but that failed too! Gu Beiyue's mouth and clothes were covered in blood as he coughed and spat up more. Qin Min's feet turned to ice as she gave up trying needles on him.
"Gu Beiyue, tell me what I should do? Tell me!"
"I'm begging you, okay? Tell me what to do, you have to have a way!"
"Gu Beiyue, stop coughing. I'll leave, I'll leave you behind and divorce you. I'll never let you see me for the rest of my life, as long as you stop coughing, as long as you're well!"
Qin Min looked at the needles scattered on the ground and truly fell apart. But Gu Beiyue was almost out of breath from coughing, much less being able to answer her please. His organs were all in pain as blood surged nonstop out of his mouth. He could only endure it, there was no other way…
By the time Gu Beiyue calmed down, Qin Min seemed to have lost all her souls. She sat blankly by the side, staring at him. Gu Beiyue was sprawled weakly on the ground, his white robes stained with his blood. He seemed frail enough to die and disappear at any time.
The world was still except for the flow of time. A while later, Gu Beiyue finally caught his breath. His words were cruel and faint as he spoke.
"Qin Min, it looks like your needle techniques failed."
Qin Min felt like something had taken a bite out of her heart, making it extremely painful. She had tried so hard for so long, so why was it all useless?
How could this be?
She crawled up and vigorously assisted Gu Beiyue to the bed. She called for the medical novice to help him change clothes while crouching on the ground to wipe up the bloodstains with a handkerchief over and over again. She only rose to go to the bed after the novice left and said, "Gu Beiyue, it hasn't been five years yet. Can you not draw conclusions so soon? I still have three years left, right?"
Gu Beiyue didn't answer, but Qin Min insisted on his affirmative.
"I still have three years, right?" she pressed.
"Qin Min, you should know that it's impossible to time the development of an illness," he said while looking at her, his gaze frank and ruthless.
In other words, she had three years to treat him, but he might not last that long. She pretended not to hear him and stopped arguing over timelines. She took his wrist instead and checked his pulse, but the results stunned her!
How can this be?
He was clearly fine this morning, not much different than usual. But now less than a day later! His pulse was so chaotic she couldn't tell anything from it. She refused to believe it and tried again, but it was still a mess.
"Gu Beiyue, you…" she was choked up.
Gu Beiyue withdrew his hand with a soft sigh. A long time later, he said, "Qin Min, I've already made arrangements for matters at the Department of Medicine. I've also applied for a vacation from the emperor so I can walk around different parts of Cloud Realm and see the situation of the various pharmacies. I'll leave in a few days, so you…should come with me. Shadow can stay with Esteemed Empress, you don't need to worry."
Gu Beiyue stopped a long time before he continued, "During the last two to three years of my father's life, he spent nearly half of every day soaking in medicinal baths. By the final year, he was soaking in it all day. My grandfather came up with the formula, but all it can do is stop the coughing. It couldn't save his life. That day, the bath couldn't stop his coughing either…"
"Don't say it!" Qin Min covered her ears so Gu Beiyue couldn't continue.
Gu Beiyue stopped. It didn't make a difference whether he said it out loud, because Qin Min already understood.
Not only that, she had become enlightened.
A doctor might not cure himself, but a doctor knew himself!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
ok i know this doesn't fit here but...if the Mysterious Continent is supposed to be super advanced and stuff compared to Cloud Realm, what if they try seeking out a treatment there instead? write to GQS for help? etc etc? if things are getting this bad i'd just say screw GQS's privacy and tell the emperor and empress and get some delegation to explore options north, etc...
argh, it's such a self-contained extra that i have to suspend my disbelief. why is QM doing this alone? for the stability of the country so people don't panic over the grand tutor's waning health? for her own promise to GBY (who in her eyes, has "broken" his problem to her about the baths already?) i'm just...girl, make him a Dept. of Medicine special case if you have to, he's the greatest doctor in the realm yes, but Cloud Realm is Cloud Realm and the Mysterious Continent is something else...and he is LITERALLY still working while he's sick, and will probably work until he dies at this rate ahahahaha it's so GBY
idk i'm just...this has dragged on long enough, i'm tired.