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A short while later, Gu Qing sat the two to the side and served the licorice tea boiled in the clinic. Chen Xing remarked, “We met just yesterday, yet I’ve disturbed you today. That Jiejie, how should I refer to her?”
“She is my Shijie,” Gu Qing whispered.
Chen Xing originally intended to ask for a surname or some other form of address, but the female doctor heard it and casually replied. “Xie Daoyun,” she said, then turned back to the patient in front of her and asked, “What illness do you have? Let me see your tongue.”
Chen Xing suddenly remembered, wasn’t this Xie An’s niece? Only, seeing Xie Daoyun with long eyebrows that tilted towards the temples, no rouge powder on her face, and a cold and severe countenance, looking at her aura, she was just like a female Xiang Shu. He recalled what Feng Qianjun mentioned last night, that Gu Qing and Xie Daoyun were studying under Zhu Jin. He just didn’t expect that after learning so much about medicine, they would rather be diagnosing patients. He observed Xie Daoyun again; she donned a set of partial robes, was full of presence, spoke intelligently, and was rather chivalrous.
Chen Xing observed the diagnosis and found that Jiangnan’s medicinal ways were quite different from the Central Plains, Guanzhong, and other such areas. The medicinal ways of the Central Plains mainly focus on the theory of Yin and Yang and harmonizing the five elements. If there was a problem, then first find the cause; was it a Yin deficiency or a Yang deficiency? Once the cause was found, then let the body restore the balance between Yin and Yang.
Southerners paid more attention to specific symptoms and would prescribe medicine for specific symptoms. Xie Daoyun’s medicinal skills were extremely superb. After watching one round, Xie Daoyun hung up a sign to signal a rest, letting another doctor see to the patients. She went inside to clean up, invited the two inside the hall, and changed into women’s clothes to see the guests.
Chen Xing was only now able to explain his intentions for coming. Xiang Shu stood up and looked at Zhu Jin’s collection in the study. Every time he went somewhere, he would always observe how the owner would furnish the place. Xie Daoyun stated, “Those are all master’s books. If you want to look, then freely take out whichever and read as you please.”
Xiang Shu nodded and took out a transcript about astrology, standing as he flipped through the pages.
“The plague?” Xie Daoyun thought for a while then spoke, “This is the second time this year somebody asked about the plague. Can you tell me why you are curious about such a thing?”
Chen Xing was astonished, “Who else was there?”
“Naturally it is Qing’er’s sweetheart daren.” Xie Daoyun’s words held some dissatisfaction.
“Why do I feel a little sour?” Chen Xing pondered, “Is there vinegar kept in the study?”
Xie Daoyun: “It’s fine if you won’t say, please leave now.”
Chen Xing made a smile and expressed: “I won’t hide anything from you, it won’t make a difference if I tell you anyways. I am an exorcist.”
Xie Daoyun’s complexion suddenly changed: “Exorcist?!”
Gu Qing’s expression suddenly became a little unnatural, but Chen Xing hadn’t detected it yet. He smiled and described it to Xie Daoyun; as he neared the end, Xie Daoyun’s expression became more and more ugly, relying completely on self-control to keep from attacking them on the spot. Chen Xing finally noticed and asked, “Um... Do you have some enmity with one of our colleagues?”
“Scram!” Xie Daoyun immediately yelled, “Scram for me! You bunch of Jianghu swindlers! Deceiving the common folk to not see a doctor and drink charmed water, egg on my fiance and little uncle to never do any proper business, only know how to cultivate...”
“I-I-I..” Chen Xing hastily clarified himself, “It’s not like that! We aren’t with the Jianghu swindlers! Look, look at this...”
“Shijie!” Gu Qing hurriedly defended them, “They aren’t like that! They really aren’t like that!”
“... How much more of Wang’s and Xie family’s people do you want to poison?!” Xie Daoyun continued to ignore Gu Qing’s persuasion and pointed outside the door, screaming, “Get out! Get out immediately!”
“Look at this first! I can emit light, see?!” Chen Xing hurriedly summoned the Heart Lamp and showed it to Xie Daoyun, “Come, check it out, take a look...”
Xiang Shu: “......”
Gu Qing: “......”
Xie Daoyun: “......”
Chen Xing explained, “It really isn’t what you think, we don’t practice medicine. No, sometimes I practice medicine, but I would never make somebody drink charmed water...”
Xiang Shu couldn’t listen anymore, so he turned around and removed the sword from his back.
“Heart Lamp,” Xiang Shu said.
The light in Chen Xing’s hands shone brightly; Xiang Shu then shook his sword and the Acala Blade shone a brilliant light and turned into a longbow. Xie Daoyun immediately stood up and looked at Xiang Shu with disbelief. Xiang Shu shook it again, and the longbow shifted into a rope of light. Chen Xing had never seen the rope of light before, so he was also shocked.
“What is this?” Chen Xing asked.
“You two didn’t conspire this before coming?” Xie Daoyun asked with a puzzled expression.
Xiang Shu once again lifted the rope and brandished it towards the empty space; the light rope circled and winded around his body. Just as the three people thought that Xiang Shu was about to demonstrate tying himself up on the spot, the light rope melted into a knife wheel. Chen Xing instantly became stupefied. What is all this? When did Xiang Shu learn all this? Did he find these methods on the bamboo scroll?
The light wheel shook again and morphed into a long pestle. Finally, Xiang Shu used his palms to press against the light pestle, and the light pestle was shortened, becoming a shining arrow.
Following that Xiang Shu grabbed the arrow, swung it in the air, the light arrow turned back into a sword, and he sheathed it.
Xiang Shu made a hand gesture to signal them to continue, he himself continuing to read.
Gu Qing subconsciously clapped a couple of times, and just as Xie Daoyun was about to also clap a couple of times and cry ‘great’, she felt that something wasn’t right and looked at Xiang Shu with a wary gaze. Chen Xing spoke up, “Let’s sit down and talk properly. I am also at a loss when it comes to Xie-daren who self-proclaims to be my Shixiong Xie An. How about you find a time and let your fiancé have a chat with me? I promise you to dispel his ideas of seeking immortality, okay?”
Xie Daoyun was finally half-believing and sat down again. Her expression was so sullen that Chen Xing curiously asked, “Do all the noble people in Jiangnan like to cultivate so much?”
“How would I know?” Xie Daoyun asked. “Isn’t it still caused by those alchemists?”
Back in the day, Jiangnan was filled with scholars and literati. But since the Jin court moved to the North, they preferred to seclude themselves in the mountains, find ways to inquire the immortals, and were all unwilling to take part in worldly customs; those who refined pills refined pills, and those who drew talismans drew talismans. Xie Daoyun’s fiance Wang Ning was Wang Xizhi’s second son. Every day he would be at home addicted to meditating and comprehending heavenly secrets. If he ever wanted anything then he would take a large tripod and burn cinnabar to refine mercury to eat. Many ‘famous literati’ in Jiangnan practically made mercury pills their meals, eating so much that their seats were covered in mercury. How could Xie Daoyun not be angry?
“Let’s talk about the plague first ba,” Chen Xing spoke sincerely. “With time you will naturally be clear that I’m not faking mystique to make trouble.”
After witnessing Xiang Shu’s demonstration, Xie Daoyun already half believed him but instinctively held some rejection towards supernatural things. Half-believing-half-suspecting, she said, “So? You’re investigating how much this plague has to do with the ‘drought fiends’? There is no such thing as the dead coming alive in this world! If you want to convince me, then you must let me see it with my own two eyes! Otherwise I wouldn’t believe you.”
“It’s better if you don’t see it,” Chen Xing replied. “I completely disagree with this.”
Gu Qing whispered, “Qianjun was also extremely worried about this not too long ago. We haven’t figured it out ourselves, but thinking about it, it may really be as you’ve said.”
Xie Daoyun turned to Gu Qing. “Let me talk ba, this slow-moving character of yours makes people worried to death. Once we’ve finished talking then quickly send them back.”
Xie Daoyun then took out a patient’s verbal records and displayed it for Chen Xing to see. She explained, “This plague has been rampant in Jiangnan since the beginning of this year. After Maicheng was infected, even though the roads were blocked along the way, there would still be some people who left during that time.”
Chen Xing examined the records as he listened to Xie Daoyun’s explanation. He once heard Feng Qianjun describe the patients’ conditions before and it was roughly the same; the infected people would become drowsy, and even getting out of bed would be difficult. Their complexions would be normal with no abnormalities on the skin or tongue were seen, but their pulses were weak.
The state of the illness would sometimes be good and sometimes be bad; during the morning and at noon, they would have a lot of energy. Yet once night came, their consciousness would go blurry and become panic-stricken. This disease gradually spread from Kuaiji to Danyang, Moling, and various places. According to the information exchanged between the medical practitioners’ guilds, it was roughly calculated that there were already around 50 million infected.
“Can the poison be expelled?” Chen Xing thought ‘in this case, maybe it doesn’t have much to do with the drought fiends?’
“Complete expulsion,” Xie Daoyun answered. “The doctors also can’t tell how and can only prescribe supplements to patients.”
Xie Daoyun saw a few patients and found that the patients all shared one peculiarity - their eyes would blur and were often distracted when talking as if they had lost their soul.
The prescriptions the doctors prescribed for the patients were mostly expensive tonics such as ginseng, antler, and such; how can ordinary people afford it? Those who could afford it still barely recovered. They could talk and get out of bed and walk around, but the moment the medication wears off, they would rapidly return to their original state. Thus people in the counties would jokingly call this the “noble illness”.
“These are all strong and dry Yang-oriented medicines.” Chen Xing immediately grasped onto the key points. “Then if the patients are moved outside at noon to bask in the sun, would there be any improvements?”
Xie Daoyun was startled, then answered, “Yes.”
“Yang-deficiencies hurt the soul. Three souls are Yang and seven souls are Yin, this is a Yang soul getting hurt.” Chen Xing observed, then continued to raise the second and also key question.
“What was the name of the first patient? Where were they from? Are there any records?” Chen Xing asked.
Xie Daoyun replied, “This is a good question. The first patient with records was a trader... Wait, your friend... Is he alright?”
Chen Xing turned his head to look behind him then suddenly heard a loud noise. Xiang Shu had a hand pressed against his forehead but had suddenly become unstable, knocking over a row of books on the shelf.
“Xiang Shu!” Chen Xing’s shock wasn’t small, and he hurriedly got up to support him. When Xiang Shu stabilized himself, he waved his hands to express that he was fine.
“What’s wrong with you?!” Chen Xing instantly forgot what he was discussing with Xie Daoyun.
“It’s fine,” Xiang Shu said, “I drank too much yesterday, so I’m a little dizzy today.”
Xie Daoyun got up and pulled aside the curtain inside the study. Xiang Shu violently shook his head, placed the books back on the shelf, and took a look at Chen Xing; that gaze seemed to be a bit inexplicable. Afterwards, with his back leaning against the bookshelf, he slowly sat down.
“Xiang Shu!” Chen Xing suddenly realized that something was terribly wrong. Since he met Xiang Shu, the guy had never shown any weakness before. According to him, he was immune to a hundred poisons, and Chen Xing had never seen him sick before. How could he become like this in such a short time?
Xie Daoyun looked at Xiang Shu with suspicion, suspecting that the two were acting again. She asked, “What happened? Did you get dizzy?”
Chen Xing promptly knelt in front of Xiang Shu and summoned the Heart Lamp, pressing it against his heart. He asked, “Xiang Shu? How do you feel?”
“Suddenly a little tired,” Xiang Shu replied. “It’s nothing, it’ll get better in a bit.”
Xiang Shu stared for a while, then Gu Qing asked, “Are you a little tired?” Then proceeded to open the windows and all the doors, letting the air in. Xiang Shu took a deep breath and said, “I want to rest for a while.”
Chen Xing himself was a doctor; first he felt Xiang Shu’s forehead: no abnormality. Then he felt his pulse: everything was normal. What now? This change happened too suddenly! He was a little at a loss and turned towards Xie Daoyun. At this time, Xie Daoyun realized that they weren’t acting and finally turned towards Gu Qing and said, “Bring him to the yard in the back.”
Ice: Peacock Xiang Shu has returned with his mating dance!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.