Chapter 789: Drawing lots, leave it to luck

Thanks to Han Yunxi’s words, Gu Qishao saw Gu Beiyue in a new light. He stopped his scornful stare to rub his chin with interest. Even though the audience was full of whispers and laughs, Gu Beiyue remained calm and self-possessed while standing onstage. He was as light as a breeze and indifferent as a cloud, wearing a faint smile.

Finally, Department Head Huo spoke up as well. “Young man, it’s commendable that you have the guts to step on this stage! If the medical academy had more juniors like you, then our old bones can stop worrying about the future.”

“Such undeserved compliments,” Gu Beiyue remarked modestly without a hint of humbleness.

“Heheh, does anyone else want to come onstage?” Department Head Huo looked at the young members of the medical academy. But none of them had the courage nor will, so they all lowered their heads.

“Since there’s nobody else, then shall we stat?” Department Head Huo shifted his gaze to the judging panel. Originally, the old academy head should be the judge, but since Gu Yuntian was in jail, the medical academy found a few renowned clan heads of Medical City to preside over the proceedings. Of course, the Gu, Huo, Lin, and Ouyang Clans were barred from the panel in the interest of fairness.

Soon enough, the judging panel announced the start of the competition. The medical skills competition, as its name suggested, was a test of medical arts. Competitors didn’t submit reports or research results, but did real life examinations and saved live patients to display their abilities. No one had the skills to find different patients with the exact same ailments for the competition. Even victims of the same disease would have differences based on their constitutions and resistance. Thus, the competition drew lots to choose a random patient for treatment.

Cloud Realm Continent was full of sufferers streaming to the medical academy daily in hopes of a cure for their illnesses. The academy had set up 10 examination halls and assigned a specific party to record the specifics of each patient’s illness along with the difficulty of their cures before delegating them to various ranked doctors. The medical skills competition would be randomly selecting the highest difficulty patients from this very pool. 

Once the panel announced the start of the competition, a young medical assistant brought over a canister filled with 10 sticks. The crowd fell silent at the sight because everyone was looking forward to the three department heads duke it out...as well as watch Gu Beiyue’s failure from overestimating his skills!

Clan Head Ren was the leader of the judging panel. He stood up and proclaimed, “For the sake of fairness, this panel chose 10 patients with the same level of treatment difficulty. May the four doctors please each choose a stick now.”

The silence in the crowd grew more pronounced at his words. The four figures on stage all took out a bamboo stick at the same time. At the bottom of each stick was tied a piece of paper written with the illness case. Each of them reviewed their slip. Gu Beiyue was a habitually quiet man, but he seemed exceptionally still today as he stood upon the high stage. It seemed as if he was a figure removed from this world, free from its struggles and competition. 

Han Yunxi felt a faint sense of uneasiness as she watched him from a distance. There was no such thing as absolute equality in the world. Although drawing lots like this seemed fair, luck played a part as well. All of the illness cases were of the same difficulty level, but that didn’t mean they were equally easy to cure. Each case had different degrees of difficulty from the other. Furthermore, the cases might clash with each doctor’s skill subsets and proficiencies. Additionally, what were the standards of the judging panel? Some illnesses could be treated within a few days, but others needed longer convalescence times. Although the judging panel gave scores based on various factors, subjective judging of a live performance put Gu Beiyue at a disadvantage. As far as Han Yunxi knew, he had no acquaintances amongst the five members of the panel.

Here was a contest where Man proposed but God disposed. Although Gu Beiyue had told them not to worry, Han Yunxi still felt nervous. 

Department Head Huo was the first to hand in his paper strip.

“Department Head Huo has selected a case of strange illness. The patient in question is a 20 year old female who began to grow old about a month ago,” the judging panel announced, before bringing up the girl. 

The crowd broke out into a commotion, because the girl’s face was covered in wrinkles. She looked more like a seven or eighty year old grandma!

“Hahaha! Looks like Department Head Huo is going to have to showcase his skills!” Gu Qishao guffawed. “Old granny, it’s your luck to meet with Department Head Huo. Just wait for his miraculous cure to restore your youth!”

Han Yunxi couldn’t help secretly smiling as well. Just what kind of terrible luck was this? It was a strange illness even by modern standards, to say nothing of the past. Curing it would be difficult, if not outright impossible.

This was progeria!

Department Head Huo remained calm, but it was impossible to hide the despair on his face. He had met with cases like this in the past and found them incurable. Next to him, Department Head Ouyang had an even uglier expression. Very soon, the judging panel announced his case as well.

“Department Head Ouyang has also selected a strange illness, the first ever in Cloud Realm history. The patient is male, 57 years old. One day again, he became unable to ingest any food or water with food dissolved in it. If this illness goes on, he’ll die without exception.”

Everyone exchanged glances in shock. Even Gu Qishao was gaping. No one had heard of this before and found it difficult to imagine.

“Heavens...how do you fix that?” Ning Jing muttered to herself.

“If he can’t even take in a drop of water, it’ll be strange if he doesn’t die in a few more days at that age,” Tang Li said pensively. “It’s possible he’ll pass away before Department Head Ouyang even finds a cure! Would that count as his loss?”

Next to him, Han Yunxi was considering the same question. Department Head Huo had a strange case, but at least it wasn’t fatal. He had time to work out a treatment plan. But Department Head Ouyang was more or less screwed. She remembered reading reports about humans who lived without food. The longest had lasted 70 days. But without water, people would die within a week.

The medical skills competition had a deadline of 10 days. After that, the judging panel would examine the patient’s condition and compare it to the doctor’s analysis and treatment to give them a score. It’d be impossible for Department Head Ouyang to find a cure within 10 days for his case. Moreover, current medical technology lacked IVs or feeding tubes to sustain the patient.

Han Yunxi had once seen a patient who was born unable to eat in a case of Type II congenital disorder of glycosylation. Due to various factors within the body, the infant would vomit any food it took in. But this was the first time she’d seen a case in a patient so old.

“It’s no wonder these are the medical academy’s most difficult cases…” Han Yunxi grew even more uneasy. As expected, luck played a big part in the draw. Who knew what Gu Beiyue got?

For now, the judging panel had announced Department Head Lin’s results.

“The patient is a 30 year old female with a severe case of memory loss that has lasted over 10 years.”

As the crowd quieted down, everyone wore strange looks. Amnesia was a tricky problem. Sometimes it’d recover on its own, while other times even Hua Tuo would be hard-pressed to find a cure. But compared to Department Head Huo and Department Head Ouyang, Department Head Lin had really lucked out! At least he could suggest some probable cures, while the other two men still needed to figure out the status of their illness cases.

None of the trio expressed their opinions on the results, but their hearts were already surging with emotional waves. For now, Department Head Lin had gained the upper hand. Meanwhile, the crowd focused its gaze on Gu Beiyue’s paper strip. 

What did he get?

Han Yunxi gripped her hands while Gu Qishao began to bite his nails. Both of them were waiting for the judging panel to announce the results. Every member on the panel had a chance to read the strip before odd expressions popped up on their faces. They had even bigger reactions to the paper than any of the ones before. 

Suddenly, Clan Head Ren laughed out loud. “Heheh, interesting. Interesting!”

Tension gripped the crowd, and Gu Qishao shouted out impatiently, “What does that mean? What’re you dawdling for?”

Clan Head Ren’s eyes flashed with displeasure before he finally proclaimed, “Doctor Gu’s case is dystocia, also known as obstructed labor. The mother was sent to the delivery room yesterday noon, but her water hasn’t broken yet…”

More silence greeted his words, before the crowd erupted into laughter! A man like Gu Beiyue was stuck with a case like this? How could he endure it? No wonder Clan Head Ren thought it was interesting. Even the other three department heads had to laugh. Is Gu Beiyue going to be a midwife now?

Gu Qishao had been pressing his lips into a thin line, but in the end he chortled twice as well. Han Yunxi couldn’t laugh at all. In a low voice, she muttered, “Little Qi, Gu Beiyue’s in a lot of danger right now, even more than Department Head Ouyang.”

“Isn’t it just childbirth? After two or three days’ worth of pain, the babies will come out eventually, right?” Gu Qishao didn’t understand anything about the subject, though he’d heard about it from his days at the medical academy.

“If it was just an ordinary case of obstructed labor, then why would it qualify as a top difficulty case?” Han Yunxi was sitting too far to see Gu Beiyue’s current expression.

Before Gu Qishao could reply, Clan Head Ren moved onto other announcements. “The stomach of the patient is extremely large, so the midwife expects...expects that it’ll be multiple births. Thus, they sent her to medical academy before daybreak today.”

Han Yunxi’s hands relaxed--not because she’d stopped worrying, but because they’d grown listless.

Multiple births! 

In modern times, doctors would propose Ceasarean section for mothers pregnant with twins in case the second child experienced fetal distress or lack of oxygen. It was also to help the mother in case she ran out of energy to keep pushing. Much mothers had successfully given birth to twins in the past too, but mortality rates were high. It was normal to lose the second child or kill both baby and mother from excessive blood loss.

Twins were already difficult to birth, to say nothing more more babies. Most people only knew childbirth as a painful process, but it could also be a matter of life and death. Moreover, the current mother had been suffering labor pains for over a day, but her water still hadn’t broken. This would exhaust her energy. They had no way to determine exactly how many babies she had in her womb either, much less their respective positions. Even if the mother had enough energy to push them all out, even one fetus in the wrong position could cause a death!

Department Head Ouyang’s patient could at least last for around seven days without water, but Gu Beiyue’s obstructed labor mother might die within the next three days!

Han Yunxi watched Gu Beiyue from a distance as Clan Head Ren’s voice filled her ears.

“The medical skills competition will last for 10 days. May all doctors hurry to the examination rooms now to begin treatment. Good luck!”

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Apologies for missed release! I watched Avengers: Endgame yesterday and got swept up in feelz, then went to type out stuff for a personal project instead. =u= Gu Beiyue really is my curse, I always miss chapters with him in it, haha!