The Eternal Sanctum - Chapter 12
Being called to attend to the same patient for the third time in half a month left Physician Gao brooding over a few questions.
One of them included whether working under the Wei Family was still a great idea as he had once envisioned.
Holding his toolbox and inwardly grumbling to himself, the old physician could only allow Wei Xuan to wheedle him into the Flowing Winds Residence.
The instant the bold signboard entered his gaze, he knew instantly what he had been called over for, causing the physician to sigh.
Shaking his head and coming to a stop, Physician Gao turned his gaze to directly face Wei Xuan, ignoring all established rules of etiquette and social convention to bluntly ask.
“Minister Wei, the patient this time is once again, the Fourth Miss? Am I correct?”
“Yes,” Wei Xuan responded with a despondent expression.
“It’s my fourth daughter again. Please offer your assistance, doctor.”
“You-you! Has my advice fallen onto deaf ears!?” The physician stomped his foot and roared, his beard riling in his rage.
“Only eight days has passed, and I’m being called over once again? Minister Wei, just how are you taking care of your daughter!? Even with her precarious constitution, it wouldn’t garner such a result-“
“Someone attempted to murder her whilst I was performing my duty at the Imperial Palace,” Wei Xuan replied, his gaze becoming steely as a silver glow was unconsciously emitted from his body.
“This minister had rushed my way here after hearing the news, breaking most of the regulations on cultivation and martial arts in Jiang’an.”
“Murdered?” the physician inquired, his countenance aghast. “How can that be? Unable to perform the four professions, five virtues, or even fulfil the duties of an official’s daughter, what effect would murdering the Fourth Miss cause…”
“Hmph! This minister shall see if anyone dares!”
Wei Xuan trembled as he scathingly spoke, constantly attempting to rein in his anger. The silver light continued to flicker in and out of existence, the fluctuations of spiritual essence becoming unstable.
His eyes narrowing, Physician Gao quickly placated the minister, hurriedly pressing a few acupuncture points on his right arm to calm the rampant spiritual essence.
Feeling his body gradually calm itself, his blood no longer boiling and scalding, Wei Xuan nodded towards the physician, gesturing for him to enter. Physician Gao returned a polite nod, opening the door of the study to find the unconscious An Fei laying on the bed.
Looking at the girl tightly wrapped in multiple blankets, the aged physician frowned, stepping forward and setting his toolbox down. Accepting a silk handkerchief offered by Wei Xuan to take her pulse, the physician raised his index finger just below her nose, only to jerk his hand back as his brows furrowed in surprise.
“Impossible,” he murmured, raising a hand to massage his forehead.
“This should be impossible…”
“Physician Gao, what’s wrong?” Wei Xuan tentatively asked as he stepped forward the inspect the physician.
“Is there a problem with my daughter? Has her symptoms worsened?”
“No, nothing of that sort,” Physician Gao hastily affirmed. “It’s just that…the Fourth Miss is in the midst of an acute fever.”
“Fever!?” the minister blurted, his expression one of disbelief.
“But her body was ice-cold when I fished her from the water! How can she be having a fever?”
“Perhaps…she acquired a cold deficiency in the body?” the physician refuted.
“There have been records of patients with cold-deficiency syndrome suffering a drastic drop in temperature during a fever. Nor can I deny such possibility, for there are no signs of anemia within the Fourth Miss’ body.”
“Cold deficiency…” Wei Xuan knit his brows in thought.
“Physician Gao, can you please explain the symptoms and how to treat it?”
“Of course,” the old man replied.
“The primary symptoms of cold-deficiency syndrome include extremely low body temperature, reduced stamina, and a short lifespan. Anything else generally pertains to specific areas of the body remaining at a constantly lower temperature than the rest, including the heart, kidneys, and limbs.”
“As for treating it…this physician had studied that though exercise will indeed stabilize the patient’s condition, attempting to improve their physique…will accelerate the condition. A far more feasible and reliable method would be to provide a thin slice of ginseng or distilled yang fruit to maintain a thin balance of Yin and Yang. However, this method can only provide stability just like the abovementioned, and never should anyone attempt to consume more than a single slice in a day.”
“But you said that something should have been impossible,” the minister persisted, a stern expression obscuring his handsome countenance.
“…just what is it that worries you?”
“The pulse of the Fourth Miss…has changed,” was the dreadful reply.
“At times, it beats every two breaths of three, and at others, one breath amongst four. This condition, I daresay without confidence, but there was a legend-“
“The imperial physician has arrived!”
A servant broke into the study with great haste, forgetting to even bow as he rested his palms on his knees with heavy pants. Before Wei Xuan could frown his brows in confusion, the servant passed alongside a jade tablet to the minister, departing in the same hurry in which he had intruded.
Thumbing the jade tablet and turning it over, the minister found the symbol of ‘Saint‘ in bold characters stamped on the front, with a cast of the imperial symbol underneath.
Realization sinking in after a few moments, both the minister and physician gasped on astonishment, finding the same emotions reflected back towards them.
“Quick!” Wei Xuan hissed towards Physician Gao.
“Do you have a method of disguising her symptoms? Such things, the emperor must not know at all costs!”
“I understand,” the physician nodded, his gaze ablaze with an indeterminable determination.
“I can disguise the Fourth Miss’ condition into one of a simple deficiency of Yin. However, the ruse will only persist for half a stick of incense before an imperial physician with a ‘Saint‘ title can distinguish the difference.”
“I’ll delay the imperial physician for as long as I can. How much do you need?”
“Two minutes. One and a half, if I need to be quick. However, if I rush things, the Fourth Miss may experience some discomfort.”
“Two minutes. Don’t you dare hurt my daughter!” Wei Xuan nodded, flapping his sleeve as he briskly walked out of the study, his back presenting an indomitable figure.
Physician Gao nodded, before opening the toolkit and extracting five blue needles from a hidden case. The needles were of a dull steel, and each emitted a bone-piercing cold aura.
Using the handkerchief to carefully roll up An Fei’s right sleeve, the physician quickly inserted the needles at the underside of the joint of the elbow, at either sides of an obscure meridian behind the wrist, and directly between the major arteries flowing through her arm. When the needles slid into her skin, the girl lightly shivered, her eyelashes fluttering.
Physician Gao quickly massaged her palm through the handkerchief in an effort of calming her down.
“Good girl,” the old man spoke as he gently flicked the tips of the needles at a complex rhythm, his finger covered by a grey layer of light.
“There’s going to be some discomfort for the next few days. Perhaps a little burst of cold here and there, but nothing permanent.”
After a moment had passed, the physician slapped his palms together, the needles shooting out of her skin at the same time to rest in the jade case. Carefully stowing away the case in a hidden compartment of the toolbox, the physician ran a final checkup of An Fei’s pulse, ensuring that it was stable though significantly weaker than before.
Noting that the girl’s temperature had decreased even further, Physician Gao nodded before rolling down her sleeve and ensuring that nothing appeared out of place. Raising his head to the gaze at the ceiling, the aged man released a wistful sigh, softly speaking to an unknown listener.
“Master, master,” the physician cried.
“Disciple has been unfilial. Disciple has been unfilial. The World of Ice’s <Needles of Sealing>, disciple has finally used it to protect his brother. Master’s wish of burying these techniques forever, disciple can only break it…”
“Oh? So it was Imperial Physician Feng!” Wei Xuan cordially greeted the guest standing at the gates.
“This minister did not expect your visit, please do forgive this one.”
“What the emperor wills, we shall obey. There is no need for cordiality.”
The recipient was a young man in his early twenties. His appearance was rather handsome and admirable, with fair skin, limpid phoenix eyes, and a graceful smile decorating his lips. Facing Wei Xuan’s energetic greeting, Feng Tian Mu gave a polite bow in response, neither flaunting arrogance nor humility.
Assessing the young man, the minister discovered that it was nigh impossible to gauge his real thoughts and intentions, the only analyzable result a blank sheet of paper. Not even the smallest ink stain could be found on the pristine paper, leaving Wei Xuan at a deadlock.
Hence, he could only gesture for the two of them to be on their way to the Flowing Winds Residence.
The servants had yet to be forgiven and could only remain kneeling on the ground, the rough surface and nearby pebbles digging into their skin.
A/N: The relationship between physician and minister doesn’t seem… normal?
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