Chapter Seven Reunion
Li Yi hadn’t closed his eyes for two days. Ping An was lying on a straw mat, drenched in sweat, his bloodless face as pale as paper. He couldn’t stretch his legs because of cramps and the whimpering in his throat was so weak that it was almost inaudible.
Li Yi told him not to drink raw water outside but Ping An was thirsty and lazy. He always thought that his life was cheap since he wasn’t as noble as Li Yi who needed to boil water over a fire every time.
Li Yi couldn’t explain viruses and bacteria to him, and it was even more difficult to change the ancient way of thinking about nobility and inferiority.
After staying up for two consecutive nights, Li Yi’s eyes were red and his face was exhausted. He turned his neck and arms, relaxed for a while, poured some baijiu wine into his palm and began to slowly rub Ping An’s cramped legs.
“What?” Li Yi leaned closer to Ping An trying to hear what he murmured.
“Lea… leave me alone.” His voice was as thin as a gossamer.
Li Yi’s eyes turned slightly red and he just used more effort to rub Ping An’s legs. There was more than one eunuch that Li Yi had helped in the palace back then, but only Ping An was willing to suffer with him after he was abolished.
At dawn, Li Yi looked at Ping An curled up on the straw mat and knew that he couldn’t drag it out anymore. He couldn’t watch Ping An die for the sake of his own safety and he couldn’t treat his servant like an animal, whether he was a transmigrator or not.
When the sun rose, Li Yi took out clean clothes and wrapped Ping An in them, and walked with him to the city clinic.
The clinics in the city set up several special venues to house people who had been infected. When Li Yi walked to the door, a man looking like a soldier stopped him for questioning.
“Register your name, write if you can write, press your handprint if you can’t, go in and wait, don’t make noise!”
Li Yi registered a random name and walked into a large room that was converted into a temporary settlement. There were many sick people lying on the ground and most of them have yet to receive medical treatment.
Putting down Ping An, Li Yi grabbed a passing servant, pulled out some broken silver and said, “I have some money to spare, please, my younger brother is dying, can you give me some pointers on how to see the doctor soon?”
The servant saw that it was not copper money but broken silver handed over and turned from a stranger into an acquaintance almost in the blink of an eye.
“Young master, to tell you the truth, we only have two attending doctors here but for seriously ill patients, we have more than a dozen of them on good days and several tens of them on bad days. The first ones to be treated are military men, that goes without saying. Rich people are next. If you have money, you need to take it out quickly. If you can slip it to the doctors, you might still be in time to save his life.”
Li Yi hurriedly took out the hidden golden leaves.
When the little brother saw that he had changed from silver to gold, which was something that ordinary people would not have, he hurriedly called out a doctor from inside.
The doctor took a look at the golden leaves and directly ordered the servant: “Take the patient and put him in the booth for treatment.”
When the three of them arrived at the booth in a makeshift earthen hut, Ping An’s condition was checked within a few minutes. The doctor first asked someone to scoop a bowl of hot medicine and fed it to Ping An. Then he said to Li Yi: “There is no doubt that it is the plague. I’m going to write a prescription, please, young master, sit here for a while.”
Li Yi waited in the booth for some time until suddenly hearing a ding dong sound from outside. Without doubt, it was the sound of swords colliding with armor.
Li Yi raised his head and looked at the door. Before he could make any movement, two soldiers rushed in and guarded the door tightly. A tall man who looked like a captain followed them and stood in the middle of the booth.
Outside the door, the doctor pointed at Li Yi and said, “This is the one who brought the eunuch.”
Li Yi knew that the matter was over; how could an ordinary person bring an eunuch? It was useless to be afraid of the things to come; he might as well just accept his death decently. Li Yi calmed down and sat on the chair, motionless as a mountain.
Captain Zhang Xiang looked in the direction where the doctor’s finger pointed and saw Li Yi, dressed in rags and sitting under the gray wall but somehow shining brightly in the thatched earthen hut.
He had seen one or two high-ranked nobles but compared with the one in front of him, they were different, like a hen compared to a phoenix.
Zhang Xiang couldn’t help but feel his heart thud wildly, shocked and delighted at once, thinking that he could catch a big fish now. Obviously, this was a nobleman from the previous dynasty and whoever he was, when he reported it, he would be promoted and make a fortune.
Zhang Xiang chuckled with joy inside, but outwardly he wanted to put on some air and asked, “Who are you? How could you bring an eunuch? Are you the remnants of the previous dynasty?!”
Li Yi looked at Ping An and said to Zhang Xiang: “Let the doctor save him first, and I will tell the commander all the details, ensuring that the commander will make great achievements without the slightest effort.”
Zhang Xiang thought for a while and felt that these conditions were negotiable and to his favor. If the prisoner was unwilling, he would have to spend time and effort to interrogate him and there would not necessarily be a better result.
He looked at Ping An again, turned his head and said to Li Yi: “I can’t imagine that you can still be a generous master when you’ve fallen so low, so I’ll fulfill your master and servant righteousness.”
“Doctor Zhang–” Zhang Xiang turned his head and shouted. The doctor had already heard their conversation and answered outside the door in a timely manner: “Three portions of medicine can save him by nighttime.”
Zhang Xiang nodded, then turned to his subordinates and ordered: “Keep a close watch on him, I’ll come back for questioning when it’s dark.”
By the time darkness fell, Ping An had indeed escaped the danger of the epidemic, had been given medicine and drifted off to sleep.
Li Yi touched Ping An’s forehead and was about to retreat from the couch bed when he heard the sound of the curtain opening behind him. He thought Zhang Xiang was coming and he didn’t bother to look back.
At this moment, outside the earthen makeshift booth used for consultation in a temporary pavilion, there was a long line of people standing in two silent rows. Dressed in official uniforms and boots, solemn and respectful, they had turned the small hall into a court.
Zhang Xiang, who was the first to report the incident, had been squeezed to the last position in the row. He stood there in a daze, apparently stunned by the scene.
It was really hard for him to imagine how big a fish he had caught that he managed to alarm the great Buddha in front of him.
With everyone retreating, Zhao Xi took a few steps forward, respectfully lifted the curtain, and Zhao Yuan walked in slowly.
The light was dim, and Zhao Yuan narrowed his eyes. His gaze couldn’t see the tattered mats in the earthen hut or the sleeping patient. Everything turned into blurred shadows.
Only Li Yi’s profile suddenly zoomed in front of him.
The person in his memory had lost his youthful appearance and the line of his chin and neck became more elegant and appealing.
Li Yi’s gaze was focused and he was retracting his hand from the sickbed, with an expression of relief on his face.
Zhao Yuan frowned. He didn’t like the way he looked at someone else so intently. He felt a lump of ice forming in his heart, coldness enveloping his whole body.
Li Yi’s eyelids were lowered as he turned around to look at Zhao Yuan.
Li Yi was unprepared. When he saw Zhao Yuan standing less than a few steps away from him, his body stiffened. Then he reacted, frightened and angry, his blood surging up. Suddenly, his eyes turned black and he fell down limply.
Zhao Yuan stepped forward and caught the man in his arms. He looked around and found that there was nowhere to sit except the sickbed where the patient was sleeping safely. He simply knelt down on one knee and settled the man against his body.
The curtain was pushed away and an imperial doctor who was at the ready hurriedly came in. When he saw the patient, he knelt down and took his pulse. After a while, he said, “This young man has not been infected with plague. He’s just exhausted, suffering internal and external ailments and was frightened at the same time. His blood and qi are in disorder, so he fainted.”
Li Yi had not completely fainted, and after a few moments of their conversation he was already a bit more awake without waiting for the doctor to pinch him.
Feeling that Zhao Yuan was holding him, Li Yi struggled to get up but had so little strength that Su Wang pressed him down one-handedly.
“Zhao Shen, let go!”
In despair Li Yi scolded him, calling his name without fear.
The imperial doctor trembled with fright hearing this and everyone standing outside was also shocked. Who would dare to call out the taboo name of the late emperor?!
Zhao Yuan’s face was as cold as frost and he didn’t say a word.
Zhao Xi waited by the side, knowing the situation was not right. With so many people hearing them, there was no other way. He bit the bullet and said, “How bold, to dare call out the taboo name of the late emperor! This is His Royal Highness Su Wang, why aren’t you bowing down and admitting your guilt.”
Li Yi recognized Zhao Xi but now he wasn’t in the mood to investigate why he had moved on to follow Su Wang.
He could only hear the three words echoing in his ears ‘the late emperor’.
Zhao Shen was dead.
He turned his head to look at Zhao Yuan, staring intently, but Zhao Yuan who was pierced by Li Yi’s gaze felt his heart ache. Li Yi was looking at another person through his face, thinking of another person.
Zhao Yuan saw Li Yi’s shocked face and his originally tired but still angry gaze turned grey and dull in the blink of an eye, but his expression also calmed down.
Zhao Yuan was vexed. He knew that he could not reveal his identity to Li Yi and his reason also told him that it might be for the best. Then he would not have to explain the past and it would be better for him to start over with Li Yi as Su Wang. But when he really faced Li Yi and found that he didn’t recognize him and only regarded him as a stand-in, he was irrationally angry.
Zhao Yuan waved his hand for the imperial doctor to retreat first, then stared at Li Yi and said quietly, “The emperor passed away many days ago and this lord in front of you is Zhao Yuan.”
Li Yi heard what he said, then came back to his senses slowly. “Why would the noble lord come here personally for the waste of the old dynasty?”
Having said that, he tried to get up but Zhao Yuan still held him tightly.
Zhao Yuan didn’t want to let him go at all. He just stood up and raised him in his arms.
Li Yi was taken aback, wanting to open his mouth to speak.
Zhao Yuan leaned into his ear and said, “Royal Brother told me to take good care of you. If the Emperor’s Grandson wants to reveal his identity now and lose his life, just keep struggling.”
Although Li Yi had doubts in his heart, he was afraid of death, so he had no choice but not to act rashly.
“What does Your Highness plan to do with me?” He couldn’t help asking in a low voice.
Zhao Yuan felt that the man in his arms was as light as if boneless.
D*mn Li Yi. He didn’t suffer blood poisoning once a month just to have him as skinny as bones, he was not even as heavy as he was back then.
Zhao Yuan frowned and said fiercely: “Hold you captive.”
Captive, Li Yi thought for a while. If the Zhao family didn’t want to carry the ill fame of slaying a member of royalty, this would be a suitable way to deal with the abolished grandson of the past emperor.