Han Yunxi successfully passed!
Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue had both been so worried that they should be celebrating, but both of them were paying attention to Pill King instead. Nobody with designs on Han Yunxi could escape their eyes. Pill King was too busy feeling delighted himself to realize he had earned a grudge from two of Cloud Realm Continent’s fiercest men. The little novice didn’t even get to speak up before he declared, “Why aren’t you opening the door and letting them pass yet?”
Pill King had long made inquiries into Han Yunxi and knew her poison arts and identification skills were astounding, but her medical skills only average at best. All she could do was treat common ailments and small wounds. Thus, the second trial not only involved medical skills, but medical knowledge as well. She would have no choice but to give up this time! Meanwhile, Gu Beiyue was only a trifling fifth rank Divine Doctor, so Pill King didn’t treat him seriously at all.
He stroked his beard repeatedly to suppress the joy in his heart. He never thought he’d find such a capable, competent disciple. In fact, he was already deciding which tasks to assign Han Yunxi after she stayed with him for good. Giving her a show of strength to start would be best, to suppress that stubbornness of hers. Then he could thoroughly test her identification skills and ask her where she’d learned them. Of course, the most important thing was to pass on all his knowledge to her hands and keep her here for the rest of her life to protect the medicine cottage and develop medicines.
The little novice quickly opened the door behind him. Han Yunxi was filled with nothing but thoughts of getting that Muscle Growing Ointment as fast as she can to fix Gu Beiyue’s leg. She ignored PIll King and walked right through, with Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue following in her wake. Once again, a narrow lane greeted them. With the experience from before, the trio walked forward without reservations, only to reach an open stone door at the end.
What’s going on?
“Could it be that we did the first trial so well that they’re giving us a free pass this time?” Han Yunxi joked.
“It must be a trap!” Gu Beiyue was cautious. Long Feiye simply strode forward directly and stepped over the threshold first. Since they’d come so far, there was nothing to fear anymore. Even if there were mountains of swords and seas of flame, they’d stride forward all the same! If their opponents dared to open the door, then they had the courage to step through as well!
Han Yunxi liked to get to the point as well, so she pushed Gu Beiyue’s wheelchair to follow him inside. But as soon as she did, the stone door shut behind her, cutting off their retreat.
“Perhaps this is when the second trial really beings, esteemed wangfei,” Gu Beiyue remarked. As soon as he finished, he burst into a severe coughing fit that made it hard for him to catch breath.
Shocked, Han Yunix cried, “Are you choking?!”
Gu Beiyue couldn’t talk, but he quickly waved his hands no. Han Yunxi handed him some water and prepared to pat his back when Long Feiye beat her to it. But he’d hardly patted the back when Han Yunxi began to cough violently as well. Although she wasn’t as bad as Gu Beiyue, she too couldn’t stop and had to gasp for breath.
Plenty of people died from just uncontrollable coughing.
Long Feiye grew alarmed. He forgot about Gu Beiyue and quickly picked up Han Yunxi to sit on the side, carefully patting her back and helping her channel qi to her heart while constantly giving her water to drink. He was nothing short of busy. Unfortunately, she coughed the water out before she could even swallow it, and even the patting didn’t help matters. In mere moments, both she and Gu Beiyue had turned into invalids. Even Long Feiye was afflicted by the coughing, though not as severely as the duo. His throat kept feeling itchy, the uncomfortable sensation enough to make him cough on occasion. What was this? He waited for Han Yunxi to recover somewhat before asking, “Is it poison?”
“Not sure, cough cough….it doesn’t seem like it. This has to be the second test! Too crafty!” Han Yunxi coughed until her chest hurt before she managed to stop herself. She gave the water back t Long Feiye and said, “Doctor Gu’s body is weaker and can’t take this much abuse. You have to take care of him, or else we would have come for nothing.”
If Gu Beiyue died from coughing, then what would be the point even if they got Muscle Growing Ointment?
Long Feiye first made sure that Han Yunxi was alright before going to circulate Gu Beiyue’s qi and feeding him water. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi checked his pulse. He had the worst coughing fit of the lot, so the abnormalities should be most present in his pulse. By now, Gu Beiyue was even having trouble breathing and couldn’t bother with anything else. Each cough wracked his body with pain and made his head throb. It was impossible for him to stop and drink any water. He had close brushes with death in the past, but never as close as this. He felt so uncomfortable that he couldn’t even think straight. Even though he tried his best to calm himself down and take his own pulse, it was impossible under the circumstances.
Since he couldn’t drink any water, Han Yunxi could only take out the atomizer she used to fight the poison mosquito swarms and fill it with clean water instead, then spray the contents into Gu Beiyue’s throat to ease his coughs. Still, that did nothing. Gu Beiyue kept his coughing fit without any signs of stopping. In the end, Han Yunxi took out her acupuncture needles and started to treat him with them instead. But even that had no effect, and the coughing kept getting worse.
Although the coughs weren’t continuous, going on like this would make Gu Beiyue asphyxiate for sure. Even the normal cool-headed Han Yunxi began to feel afraid. “Long Feiye,” she asked anxiously. “What do we do?”
Long Feiye knew even less than her. But he remained calm and took Gu Beiyue’s hand before channeling true qi from his body into the doctor’s. True qi was cultivated from a mixture of one’s vitality (essential energy) and inner energy gained from cultivation training. It was one of the fundamental ingredients to preserving life. Long Feiye had plenty of true qi himself, which gave him an excellent constitution in combination with his added cultivation skills. Gu Beiyue seemed to get a new lease on life from the infusion of his true qi. He finally had enough strength to suppress the coughs and adjust his breathing.
Seeing this, Han Yunxi happily fed him some water, which moistened his throat and made him feel much more comfortable.
“Is it better now?” she asked urgently. Long Feiye simply stared at Gu Beiyue with the same cold, expressionless gaze.
But while she had no idea what the transfer of true qi meant, Gu Beiyue was all too clear! He looked at Han Yunxi, then at Long Feiye, and felt his heart flip flop in his chest with all sorts of mixed emotions.
“Doctor Gu, hurry and check your pulse. See what kind of illness we’ve contracted,” Han Yunxi pressed.
But Gu Beiyue’s vision only turned black before he lost consciousness completely.
“Gu Beiyue!” Long Feiye fumed before he continued to channel more true qi. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t wake. “Useless!” he snapped in irritation.
Han Yunxi quickly went to take Gu Beiyue’s pulse, but found nothing. Aside from his usual weakness, she didn’t sense anything unusual. She checked her own pulse, then Long Feiye’s next, but came up with the same results.
“We were perfectly fine, so how could we have gotten sick?” Long Feiye didn’t understand. He might not be a doctor, but even he knew that it was either illness or poison that made a body behave abnormally. Han Yunxi hadn’t identified any poisons, so there was a 90 percent chance that this was related to some sort of disease. As soon as he finished speaking, he coughed a few more times.
“When we stepped past the second checkpoint, we must have breathed something in. That’s why we started coughing uncontrollably. There are things called viruses that infect you as soon as you get in contact with them,” Han Yunxi’s explanation, however, was far from professional since she wasn’t an expert.
Indeed, many viruses existed, but direct contact didn’t necessarily lead to direct infection. That depended on how contagious the virus was, and how much resistance the human body had against its attacks. To explain it in detail would require a deep understanding of diseases, so this was as much as she could offer Long Feiye. Although he had no idea what viruses were, he could understand her general idea.
“In other words,” he said, “We were sneak attacked by a virus.”
The description was too apt, so Han Yunxi nodded in agreement. “Yes, exactly right!” Only airborne viruses could have silently sneak attacked an expert like Long Feiye. Gu Beiyue had the severest coughing fit, so he probably had the lowest immunity amongst them. As they talked, a round of applause came from the darkness. Following that, an old man slowly tottered out. He was dressed in the same robes as the little novice from before, another guard of the Medicine Requesting Cave.
“It’s no wonder that Pill King’s got you in his sight. How interesting,” the old man looked at Han Yunxi in admiration.
In this setting, most people assumed that crooked ways and dishonest means were at work for sudden bouts of illnesses. Perhaps a person had been cursed or possessed. But here was a young girl would could calmly and coldly figure out the reasons behind the cause, making her different from the rest.
“Stop purposely mystifying things. What are the details of the second trial?” Long Feiye said coldly.
The old man was in no rush. He slowly approached them and stroked his beard a few times before he replied, “Young man, you’ve already passed the second trial. It’s just that you’ll have no fate to face the third one.”
He really was a slow and steady sort, enough to drive Han Yunxi and Long Feiye mad. He even took the time to examine Long Feiye from head to toe before adding, “Young man, there’s no use even if you give him true qi. His body is weak, which is why the illness developed so quickly in his system. All of you will die within an hour from the coughing affliction no matter how healthy you are.”
So that was it!
Enraged, Han Yunxi cursed, “What kind of blackhearted bastard set standards like these? We’re just here to ask for some medicine, but it can still take our lives?!”
Naturally, the ancestor of the medical cottage had put down these rules. Although many people had huge objections to these guidelines, no one had even dared to voice them out loud, much less curse at them outright. The old man’s mouth twitched before he explained, “Don’t get anxious, don’t get anxious. There are still ways to pass the test.”
“What kind of ways?” Han Yunxi demanded coldly.
“Admit defeat. As long as you do that, this old man will present the medicine and make sure all three of you are cured,” he chuckled.
“Is this very funny?” Han Yunxi’s face was completely black. Long Feiye simply went for his sword and pointed it at the old man.
“Hand over the medicine, or else your lordship will kill you here first!”
The old man shook and retreated a step. “Young man, don’t be impulsive. Even if you kill me, you won’t be able to get the medicine. Then we’ll...all die.”
“Your lordship will kill you first before searching for the medicine afterwards!” Long Feiye was really going to do it, but Han Yunxi managed to stop him in time.
“It’s not worth it,” she murmured under her breath.
Countless patients had entered these caves for medicine in the past. They had to have ample reasons for setting these terms. Even if they got the cure after murdering this man here, there was no way they could make their way back out. The best way to get past the trial wans’t to admit defeat, but treat their disease. For that, they’d have to rely on Gu Beiyue.
With Han Yunxi’s coaxing, Long Feiye set down his sword and the old man exhaled in relief. He quickly ducked away and cried, “Young man, the two of you only have one hour remaining. Think it over carefully!”
Hidden in another patch of darkness was Pill King, who was already smiling from ear to ear. Han Yunxi and the rest had been afflicted with Halfday Cough. If it wasn’t treated within half a day, the effects would most certainly be fatal. But even the head elder of the medical academy was helpless before it. He refused to believe that Han Yunxi would be the one to defy the fates today!