Chapter 483: So, Imperial Physician Gu knows how to joke Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The gates of the Gu Estate were shut tight for most of the year. Rarely had they opened to show in any guests. Gu Beiyue had a high status at court, but lived alone and kept himself aloof from politics. He hadn’t made any friends in the palace and didn’t even have a single acquaintance. Plenty of influential bigwigs and toadies at court had tried to court his friendship and even tried to pressure him but the Gu Estate gates remained closed to them all. Imperial Physician Gu would always tell them to ask the Imperial Physician Courtyard instead.
Today, he opened the gates himself to welcome in Han Yunxi. Naturally, she had no idea about any of those other details. She had only assumed that Gu Beiyue was being courteous. The doctor did greet her with utmost respect and greeted her with a bow as soon as the doors were open.
“Esteemed wangfei has honored us with your presence. Excuse me for not coming out to meet you, this official is at fault.”
“Excused!” Han Yunxi was long used to Gu Beiyue’s ways. She shot a glance at Gu Qi Sha next and said, “Aren’t you leaving yet?”
“Leave? Go where?” Gu Qi Sha feigned ignorance.
“Imperial Physician Gu doesn’t welcome you,” Han Yunxi answered bluntly.
“Aiyo, esteemed wangfei, go find His Highness Duke of Qin since he’s the one who abandoned you. Don’t pile all your temper on me instead,” Gu Qi Sha sighed helplessly. His mouth was so sharp, it was no wonder Han Yunxi disliked him so.
Her fuming expression grew sullen as soon as she heard his words. “What kind of nonsense are you spewing?”
Gu Qi Sha turned serious. “Lass, this old fellow isn’t joking when I say that Long Feiye’s a no-good rascal.”
“And you’re not?” Han Yunxi retorted.
“Didn’t you see how he and that little junior sister of his—”
“His Highness only had urgent business with his master, that’s all,” Han Yunxi interrupted. “If you keep blabbing rubbish, be careful I don’t poison your mouth!”
“Tsk, tsk!” Gu Qi Sha gave a cold, sarcastic laugh. “Esteemed wangfei is just so tolerant!”
“You’re the no-good rascal!” Han Yunxi blurted back. When she was feeling stubborn, she insisted on defending Long Feiye proudly to the end despite all her depression! Conflicts between a husband and wife should be resolved in private without outsiders meddling in!
Gu Qi Sha seemed to lose his temper. “Stinkin’ lass, I actually sold the last portion of the antidote to—”
“Esteemed wangfei, the winds are high outside the gates,” Gu Beiyue interrupted their argument. “Please come inside.”
How could there be high winds in the middle of summer? But this was enough to calm Han Yunxi down. She knew it wasn’t decent to argue and shout in front of the gates.
“Bar his way!” she said before stepping inside. Of course Gu Qi Sha made to follow, but Gu Beiyue hastened to block his way.
“Your Excellency Pill Fiend…”
“Scram!” Gu Qi Sha barked.
Gu Beiyue maintained his warm and pleasant smile as he dropped his voice. “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, what is the matter with esteemed wangfei?”
Gu Qi Sha was planning to flip over the wall, but instead he found Gu Beiyue’s reaction unexpected. “The hell it has to do with you?”
Gu Beiyue simply pretended not to hear him. “I’ve seen the plans for Pill Fiend Pharmacy. This one has brought it up with esteemed wangfei before to have you oversee the matters of the warehouse. I don’t know if Your Excellency has reviewed the plans yet?”
“You were the one who suggested those other modifications?” Gu Qi Sha asked.
“Exactly so. Compared to Your Excellency Pill Fiend, this one is only a beginner in the field. My inadequacies must have incurred ridicule from Your Excellency.”
As Gu Beiyue continued speaking in an even-tempered tone, Han Yunxi had already entered the building. Gu Qi Sha didn’t realize that Gu Beiyue was stalling for time and simply gave a cold laugh. “You have quite some skills of your own! Why didn’t you go back to the medical academy? Based on your grandfather’s connections and your current skills alone, you’d have to be at least a sixth-rank doctor by now, yes?”
“This one won’t hide it from Your Excellency, but I’m…not very interested in the medical academy,” Gu Beiyue murmured back.
Gu Qi Sha had never thought much of Gu Beiyue, but he saw him in a new light after these words. In his eyes, any doctor with no interest in the medical academy was a good physician! He laughed out loud. “You’ve got guts! This old fellow likes you!”
Gu Beiyue smiled mildly and started talking about the medical academy with Gu Qi Sha. After a while, he added, “Your Excellency Pill Fiend, the winds are high outside the gates. Please come inside.”
Like that, Gu Qi Sha entered the Gu estate on perfectly justified grounds. By now, Lil Thing had already led Han Yunxi to the Gu Estate’s flower gardens. She had come here once in the past, but it was all in a rush. She never expected Gu Beiyue to have so many medicinal plants growing in his own home. All of them had medical properties and flowers of their own. Right now, it was the middle of summer, so flowers of all colors filled the air with a faint medicinal scent. The stone pathways, grass, flowering shrubs and shady trees all made for a peaceful and beautiful sight. Even the more irritated soul would surely feel soothed in such gentle surroundings.
Han Yunxi finally understood why Lil Thing ran over here day after day. She sat down on a swing beneath a tree and began to rock back and forth. A long time later, she finally exhaled and released her pent up feelings. Soon she felt much better. Actually, she had no idea why she’d come to the Gu Estate in the first place. She only wanted to leave the Duke of Qin’s estate for a while to blow off some steam. Aside from Gu Beiyue’s house, she didn’t know where else to go in the capital.
Of course, the peace didn’t last long before Gu Qi Sha’s voice came drifting over. “Heheh, using medicinal plants as flowers. Imperial Physician Gu, you’ve quite the refined taste!”
“It can’t compare to Pill Fiend Valley’s flowering fields,” Gu Beiyue replied modestly.
“Heheh, your place is too plain. Tomorrow this old fellow will give you a few more beautiful flowers so you’ll have spring colors all year round!” Gu Qi Sha seemed to be in a good mood.
Han Yunxi knew that it was impossible for Gu Beiyue to keep Gu Qi Sha out, but she never expected the two men to hit it off instead. As she swung in her swing, she watched them walk closer.
“Esteemed wangfei, this official feels that a few places in the Pill Fiend Pharmacy’s plans needed modifications. Since His Excellency Pill Fiend’s dropped by as well, this official brought them up to him.” Gu Beiyue explained why he let Gu Qi Sha in. Han Yunxi was too lazy to drive the man out again, so she simply swung silently on the swing.
“Esteemed wangfei, this official has prepared tea and snacks. Please come inside the rooms,” Gu Beiyue said next.
Han Yunxi was feeling calm until the words ‘tea and snacks’ made her gloomy again. “No need for tea,” she said mildly. “Water will do.”
Anyone else might have asked her why, but Gu Beiyue simply ordered his servant to replace the tea and snacks with clear water. The three of them settled down to sit in a pavilion. Anyone else might have asked Han Yunxi why she decided to drop by, but Gu Beiyue simply asked, “Esteemed wangfei, did you bring the plans with you?”
Han Yunxi was worried that Gu Beiyue would ask her questions after Gu Qi Sha rambled about Long Feiye and his junior sister at the gates. But it was much less awkward for the man to think she was here for the plans instead. She looked over unhappily at Gu Qi Sha and said, “Where are the plans?”
Gu Qi Sha had been planning to sow discord between the lass and Long Feiye by revealing the secrets of the antidote to Broomcorn Millet Poison. But seeing her less angry now made him reluctant to pursue the issue. He took out the plans and spread them out on the table. The paper was covered with multiple handwritten notes from Han Yunxi, Gu Beiyue and Gu Qi Sha.
“Esteemed wangfei, take a look over here. This one believes that we should change the plans a bit. If we expand this section, it’ll be better,” Gu Beiyue said.
Han Yunxi might not be angry anymore, but she was still in low spirits. She only glanced at the spot Gu Beiyue had indicated before she asked, “Gu Qi Sha, what do you think?”
Gu Qi Sha examined the area for a bit before nodding seriously. “He’s right.”
“Then change it,” Han Yunxi muttered listlessly. Gu Beiyue and Gu Qi Sha pointed out a few more places, but Han Yunxi’s mood didn’t improve. In fact, she even seemed to be drifting off. Gu Beiyue darted intermittent glances at Han Yunxi before he simply changed the topic.
“A few days ago I heard a cold joke1 from the palace. It was very funny, shall I share it with you two for your amusement?”
Han Yunxi didn’t answer, but Gu Qi Sha spoke up. “What kind of joke?”
“Once upon a time, there was a bear. He said, ‘it’s so, so cold! It’s so, so cold!’” Gu Beiyue replied seriously.
“And then?” Gu Qi Sha asked.
“And then that was it, haha!” Gu Beiyue laughed.
Gu Qi Sha was puzzled. “That’s it?”
“Mhm, that’s it. It’s funny, right? Haha!” Gu Beiyue was still laughing.
Who would have ever expected the gentle and warm head imperial physician, ever considerate of proper etiquette, would know how to joke and laugh to his heart’s content? Gu Qi Sha just rolled his eyes, but Gu Beiyue couldn’t stop laughing uncontrollably.
Finally, Han Yunxi spoke up. “That joke’s not a bit cold. I know one that’s colder.”
Gu Qi Sha wasn’t interested, but Gu Beiyue’s expression was filled with expectation. “Really? This official shall listen with respectful attention.”
Seeing this, Han Yunxi bolstered her spirits and said seriously, “Once upon a time, there was a polar bear sitting all alone on the ice. He was so bored that he started pulling his hairs for fun. One hair…two hairs…three hairs…until he was left with no hairs at all.”
She stopped speaking after that.
“And then?” Gu Beiyue asked curiously.
“Guess!” Han Yunxi purposely kept him in suspense.
Gu Beiyue only shook his head. “I have no idea.”
“And then he cried out…it’s so cold!”
Gu Beiyue gave a start at her words, while Han Yunxi burst into laughter. His stunned expression only made her laugh harder. “It’s a really cold joke, isn’t it? Hahaha!”
Gu Beiyue kept his dumbfounded expression even as his eyes sparkled with warmth. The so-called ‘cold joke’ wasn’t meant to make other people laugh, but to amuse oneself instead. Oftentimes the joker would laugh even louder than their listeners.
Gu Qi Sha seriously didn’t find either of the jokes funny at all. But after he saw Han Yunxi laughing so, he pretended to shiver and shake. “So cold, so cold! You’re freezing this old fellow to death, hehe!” Finally, he added, “This old fellow will join in as well! Once upon a time, there was a eunuch. Guess what he had below him?”
Han Yunxi thought it over for a long time but couldn’t figure it out.
“Gu Beiyue, you guess!” Gu Qi Sha said.
Gu Beiyue didn’t say anything, so Han Yunxi asked quizzically, “It can’t be that there’s nothing else?”
Gu Beiyue suppressed his chuckle at that, while Gu Qi Sha laughed out loud. “Han Yunxi, you’re a genius!”
Han Yunxi didn’t catch on right away. She thought it over carefully and tried again, “Once upon a time there was a eunuch that had…nothing else below him?”2
Seeing her perplexed expression, Gu Qi Sha laughed hard enough to make his stomach hurt. “HahaHAH!”
Finally, Han Yunxi got the joke. She picked up the plans and hit Gu Qi Sha with them “You’re shameless!” When she looked at Gu Beiyue, she only saw that he was holding back his laughter and had gotten the punchline long ago.
Fine, this time she couldn’t help laughing as well. Really, Gu Qi Sha had made a clever turn of phrase with that sentence. Just like that, her depression evaporation in a cloud of merriment without her noticing a thing.
But while all of them were enjoying themselves, Gu Beiyue’s expression suddenly blanched. In the next instant, Gu Qi Sha pulled Han Yunxi into his arms at the same time a rain of arrows poured in from all directions!
Assassins had arrived!
- cold joke (冷笑话) – lengxiaohua, jokes that aren’t designed to make the listener laugh out loud, but amusing either in an ironic, sarcastic, or possibly punny way. ↩
- eunuch…below him (太监下面…没有了) – taijian xiamian meiyoule, to put it bluntly, HYX just said that the eunuch didn’t have anything on his lower half, which is true because all eunuchs have been castrated. ↩