Instead of arranging the Empress in the Crane’s Cry Courtyard where he lived before entering the palace, General Dai arranged him in the extremely quiet Ansi Courtyard within the residence. Originally, this courtyard belonged to General Dai’s grandson, the younger brother of General Dai’s eldest grandson, Dai Zhanan. But since Dai Zhanan’s disappearance at the age of five, the courtyard had remained vacant and was renamed ‘Ansi Courtyard.’
People came daily to clean it, and Dai Zhanxiao and Dai Zhanan’s elder brother, Su Chenyi, often came here to sit. The Dai family had never given up searching for this child, who had been missing for over a decade. This place was quiet, close to the courtyard where Su Chenyi resided, Su Chenyi was the only male spouse of this generation in the Dai family so he was also the most suitable companion for the Empress.
Dai Qiyou, the Empress, had been sleeping deeply. He was exhausted, utterly exhausted. Emperor Yongming, on the other hand, remained vigilant, watching over him, waiting for him to wake up. Zuo Jin, who came along, directed the servants from the Dai family to tidy up the room, arranging the things the Empress used as usual. He also arranged the medication and tonic that the Empress took daily.
“Your Majesty.” General Dai, Lady Bai, Bai Suyan, Elder Weng, General Dai Mingge, Lady Dai Yingru, Su Chenyi, and General Dai Mingge’s wife, Sima Yaru, all arrived.
Emperor Yongming stood up, and everyone bowed. Then, General Dai nodded at General Dai Mingge. The latter left and returned with someone behind him. The person wasn’t surprised when he saw Emperor Yongming. After paying his respects, he approached the bed and placed the medicine box he carried in his hands by the foot of the bed before opening it. This person was the physician from the Grand General’s residence and he had gained the trust of the entire Dai family.
The physician first carefully took the Empress’ pulse, then examined his eyes, mouth, abdomen, and so on. His examination was meticulous. Although the other court physicians had said so, Emperor Yongming wasn’t at ease. After the examination, the physician stood up, paid his respects to Emperor Yongming, and said, “Your Majesty, there’s nothing seriously wrong with His Majesty. The residual toxins have been completely cleared, and his abdomen is soft. Unlike the last time when I examined His Majesty for you, this time I couldn’t find any hard objects in his abdomen. The court physicians shouldn’t have been lying.”
Only then did Emperor Yongming release the joy in his heart. The others were equally delighted. Lady Bai clasped her hands together, “Blessed Bodhisattva, this is the blessing of the Bodhisattva.” Bai Suyan said, “Your Majesty, you can rest assured now. We will take good care of the Empress.” Emperor Yongming sat down and held the Empress’s hand. “I’ve always believed that my Empress will recover.”
Lady Bai, Lady Dai Yingru, and Sima Yaru couldn’t handle the atmosphere at this moment. Tears immediately began to flow, and they quickly turned to wipe them away. General Dai patted his wife’s hand and Lady Bai excused the others, leaving only General Dai and Elder Weng behind.
Emperor Yongming… “Zhuo Jin.”
“At your service.” At this point, Emperor Yongming had the energy to sort out some matters. He asked, “Tell me about the events leading up to the Empress’ abdominal pain.”
“Yes.” Zuo Jin recalled, “When His Majesty woke up, I prepared a bowl of honey pomelo tea for him. After drinking it, he said that his abdominal pain had eased and that he liked the taste. He drank three more bowls. After finishing them, he said he was feeling hungry. I quickly had the imperial kitchen send a meal. However, after taking one look at the meal, he said he had no appetite and that it didn’t smell good. Then, he started experiencing abdominal pain again, followed by bleeding. Then I quickly sent someone to find you.”
Emperor Yongming squinted his eyes and said, “You may leave.”
“Yes.” Zhuo Jin retreated. Old General Dai asked uncertainly, “But what’s wrong with that pomelo tea? The old minister drank it and it was quite refreshing, but there was no discomfort.”
Yongming Emperor stood up and walked to the only table in the room. On the table was the bamboo box containing the honey pomelo tea. Emperor Yongming opened it and took out a bottle, and Elder Weng cooperated by taking three tea bowls. Emperor Yongming scooped two spoonfuls into each of the three tea bowls and there was hot water in the room. General Dai reached out and took a tea bowl.
Three bowls of honey pomelo tea, Elder Weng said, “Allow me to drink first.” Without waiting for General Dai’s reaction, he took a sip. Seeing this, General Dai also took a sip. After drinking, he was puzzled, “Hmm? Why does it taste different from when I drank it?”
Emperor Yongming frowned and immediately took a large sip. After drinking, he also looked puzzled, “The flavor does seem somewhat different.”
Elder Weng said, “It’s sweeter than what I had tasted before. There’s a kind of… a kind of… Forgive my lack of erudition. I can’t quite describe it.” General Dai gave him a stern look. “If you’re considered uneducated, then there would be hardly any literate individuals left in the Great State of Yan!”
Elder Weng chuckled and said, “Brother, I truly can’t describe it.” Then he turned serious and said, “Your Majesty, could the ‘suffering’ experienced by His Majesty today be due to this honey pomelo tea?”
General Dai was puzzled, “Wasn’t it said that this pomelo tea moistens the lungs and can detoxify as well?” Emperor Yongming sipped again and Elder Weng explained. “The pomelo tea that Shao Yunan sent, eight bottles were specially designated to be given to His Majesty.”
General Dai asked, “Is that so?”
“Yes… and after His Majesty drank a bottle of pomelo tea, the remaining toxins were cleared, and the flesh and blood in his abdomen were expelled.”
Emperor Yongming had already finished one bowl. He scooped two more spoonfuls of pomelo tea and said, “The pomelo tea that the Empress drank is several times better than what was given to me. No wonder he drank a whole bottle in one go.”
“I dare to try.” Elder Weng handed over an empty tea bowl. General Dai, seeing this, immediately finished the contents and chewed on the fruit pulp, saying, “I dare to try.”
The three of them quickly finished a bottle. General Dai said, “Today the Empress has gone through a great ordeal, but it could be said that he’s suffered to gain sweetness. In the future…”
Suddenly, he stood up, his expression tense, “Please forgive my impoliteness, Your Majesty!” Without explaining further, General Dai left quickly, using his crutch. Elder Weng also stood up, his expression similarly tense, “I apologize for my rudeness.” He turned and ran. Emperor Yongming, holding his stomach, followed closely.
—At this moment, for these three individuals of esteemed status, the most blissful thing in the world was when you were in dire need to relieve yourself and the latrine was right in front of you. The most unfortunate thing was, why were these trousers so hard to remove!
Edited by: Jaisland