Extra: A little unknown incident in the Northern Frontier
Last time talked about how General Shen finally altered his fate and took advantage of when Marshal had been poisoned by vinegar to throw the flower ball to him so that he could draw that note.
If discussing only 'comfort', then Gu Yun had many. Of course, Chang Geng the Beauty ranked first, but apart from him, then delicious food, entertainments, brothers who he had been through life and death with, playing tricks on Shen Yi, Uncle Wang growing flowers, Old Huo feeding the horses - everything in the world that could make him stop to appreciate and smile held a part of his feelings, and naturally they were his comfort.
But what did 'at the lowest point' mean?
When Gu Yun first saw this line of words, he did not think of the days when he was young when he lost his parents and became deaf and blind.
First, these things had happened a long time ago. Second, it had been this way for decades; he's long used to it anyway. Now, when he recalled the years when he was a child and inherited the title in the Marquis's manor, they were all blurry in his memories. Sometimes, when he remembered some fragments, or when he listened to Uncle Wang mention a few words, he felt as if they had never happened to him.
He did not think of the time when the Westerners surrounded the capital either. At that time, he was already a seasoned and strong man. He knew what he should and should not understand. No one dared to add the word 'little' in front of 'Marquis' any longer. When it came to the Black Iron Camp's three factions, people would think of Gu Yun himself instead of the old Marquis Gu Shen. He was the last wall before the fall of the country; he did not have much time to pity himself.
What the words 'at the lowest point' and 'hopeless' reminded him of was, in fact, the time when Emperor Long An first ascended the throne and appointed him to escort the Northern Barbarian Prince Jia Lai Ying Huo out of the pass --
Spring arrived very late that year. It was March, yet there was no vitality in the Northern Frontier. The heaven and earth here seemed to have frozen and could never rekindle again. Carcasses of cattle and sheep were hidden in deep snow pits by wolves. When people walked back against the wind, their noses and lips would crack, the strong fishy odor filling their throat.
Before the horse could come to a stop, Shen Yi in Light Armor had dropped down first and walked with quick steps to the front of the Marshal's tent. Before he could lift the curtain, there was a muffled cough coming inside, making Shen Yi's hands tremble with fright.
In front of the Marshal's tent was the commander of the Northern Frontier garrison, who hurriedly said, "It's not Marshal's, it's Master Chen."
"Yes, it's said that Master Chen is not in good health and never goes out in winter. This year, he made an exception and journeyed all the way here, he was caught up in the snowstorm just after he left the gate. Even the body and bones of healthy people could not withstand it, let alone him? As soon as he arrived, the doctor himself had collapsed first before he could check up the patient."
Shen Yi had ridden in the snow; his body was covered in the cold mist. Afraid that he would make things worse by rushing in, he retracted his hand that was about to open the tent's curtain.
The anxiousness soaked into his calm eyes and features. It had only been a few days, but his cheeks were already sunken. The horse that was handed over to the guard seemed to be connected with its master's mind and was pacing restlessly.
"The emperor ordered us to send the Barbarian Prince back then return to the northwest." Shen Yi lowered his voice and said to the commander, "We should have been on the road already. The northwest road protection office had sent people to ask several times. Although with the Black Iron Camp's three factions there, they would not dare say anything even if we are a few days late. But it's almost a month!"
The commander lowered his voice to almost a whisper, "Marshal is
Shen Yi shook his head.
"What is the reason?" The commander was puzzled and said, "Marshal grew up in the northwest when he was young. Even if he doesn't sit well with the weather in the capital, it should not be to the point where he could not endure the northern wind. Wasn't he still healthy when he arrived? Or was it the barbarian who caused it?"
"No," Shen Yi didn't want to say too much, a hint of resentment flashed past his eyes. He waved his hand and said, "Don't ask anymore."
Just at this time, a young man came out of the tent. Shaken by the wind, he almost was not able to stand firm, only after a moment did he speak with difficulty, "General Shen, my lord invited you to please come in. He will be performing the acupuncture soon."
"Ah..." Shen Yi hesitated. At last, he did not say anything.
Chen Fei Yun, the second son of the Chen family in Taiyuan Mansion, was a skillful doctor, yet he could not cure himself. He was born frail and sickly. For many years, he was unable to go out. Every time he did so, he would be severely ill and bedridden. This time, for him to come to the bitter cold frontier from thousands of miles away, it was the equivalent to 'risking his own life to save another.
Logically, listening to his cough, Shen Yi should tell him to rest for a few days. However, the words "Master Chen, please take care" turned around on Shen Yi's tongue several times, he finally didn't say it out loud.
He truly had no other choice.
The fire in the Marshal's tent was intensely hot; it seemed that there was a little bloody smell intertwined with the heat radiating onto one's face.
"Put out the braziers." Master Chen's voice came from the tent. His face was covered with a layer of gauze to prevent his coughing from disturbing the patient, causing his voice to sound more stuffy. "Are you not afraid of the heat damaging him? When has your Marshal ever been afraid of the cold?"
When he coughed, his hands would shake, he didn't dare to insert the needle himself and could only instruct the medicine disciple beside him carefully. He was even more nervous than performing it himself; he did not dare to divert his focus for even a little, it had only been a moment, but a sheen of sweat had accumulated on his forehead.
Shen Yi didn't dare to approach and only waited at the entrance.
Half an hour later, Master Chen straightened up: "Alright."
Gu Yun seemed to have regained a little consciousness and was helped up by the medicine disciple. Shen Yi was about to walk to him when he saw Gu Yun push the boy's hands away and doubled over to vomit a mouthful of blood at the bedside.
Shen Yi was scared out of his wits: "Zi Xi!"
Gu Yun could not sit up without assistance; his whole body weakly leaned to one side.
Chen Fei Yun said as he wrote the prescription with a flick of his brush: "It's alright; I have just refreshed him."
Shen Yi: "..."
Gu Yun said in a hoarse voice: "Chen-er*?"
* Er() here means second.
Chen Fei Yun was stunned and asked Shen Yi, "You did not give him any drugs for his ears and eyes these two days, right?"
Shen Yi quickly shook his head and reached for Gu Yun's forehead. He felt the cold sweat in his hand, but the temperature had dropped.
Chen Fei Yun thought for a moment, lowered his head and sniffed at his sleeve, then laughed, "Dog nose."
Gu Yun's eyes were blurred; he barely recognized Shen Yi with great difficulty, speaking in a weak voice: "Why did you invite him here? Too troublesome... How can I possibly die."
"Marshal," Shen Yi said with a wry smile, "The large pot of porridge this morning could be placed on you to cook. If your fever continues to burn again, you will become the first human-shaped Ziliujin mine of Great Liang."
Gu Yun already could not hear, and right now, with his ears buzzing, he was not able to hear much of Shen Yi's words; he didn't seem to care about what Shen Yi said either. His head tilted to the side, and his eyes were closed, there was no telling whether he had gone unconscious again or he had fallen asleep.
"General Shen, why do you always appear as if you're mourning every time I see you?" Master Chen coughed again after finishing writing the prescription. His eyes turned red from the cough, but he was still smiling when he spoke. This man was always happy. In Master Chen's words: people such as himself would not be able to live long, that was already miserable in itself; if they're not more openminded than others, would it not make them more miserable?
Shen Yi thought: isn't this bullshit? Eight out of ten people seeking doctors are sick. Should they set off firecrackers to celebrate instead?
But he was not very close with Master Chen, it was not convenient for him to act too familiar, so he bowed his head and said: "We have troubled brother Chen to travel all the way here."
"Don't worry, Marshal Gu has saved my younger sister, and gets along well with me. Wait until he gets better, ask him to write calligraphy on my fan for me."
Shen Yi asked hurriedly, "Then his condition is..."
"General Shen should know what the cause is." Chen Fei Yun smiled at him. "He's young, his body has the foundation of a general. As long as he can eat these three days, it will not be a big problem. Don't worry."
What was the cause of Gu Yun's illness?
A year ago, he rushed back to the bed of Emperor Yuan He with His Fourth Highnesses in a hurry, his heart burning with anxiety, to meet the old emperor on his last day.
He said to the old emperor, "If Your Majesty goes, Zi Xi will no longer have any relatives."
Only now did he know that he no longer had any relatives for a long time.
Gu Yun was not a stubborn patient, as the commander of three armies, he was in no place to act spoiled; he drank the medicine that was given to him; he ate the food that was fed to him. After he regained consciousness, the private guard followed the doctor's advice and cooked for him a bowl of gruel. Gu Yun ate it all without leaving a bite.
Hearing this, Shen Yi was greatly relieved. The words of Chen's family in Taiyuan mansion were always trustworthy.
Who would have expected that until midnight, the high fever that was suppressed by the needles came back again, all the food he had taken was vomited clean.
Shen Yi broke into Master Chen's tent, only to find out by accident that the master in white was already appropriately dressed, appearing as if he was waiting for Shen Yi to come.
Seeing him, Chen Fei Yun was not surprised: "I'm not talking about only eating, I said he must digest it. Let's go. I'll perform another acupuncture. Tch, it's all about treating the symptoms, but not the root cause."
Shen Yi took the lead in getting out of the tent and sheltered Master Chen from the wind and snow. Suddenly, he turned around and asked in a low voice, "If...three days later..."
Chen Fei Yun paused and let out a breath of cold air: "Then, General, i'm afraid you must pardon my lack of ability and knowledge."
Shen Yi's heart sank.
Three days later, Gu Yun, a seemingly cooperative patient, was no better. His body had become noticeably thin as if his spirit had drained. Even more frightening, it was useless no matter what others said. He was deaf in his own world, and no one was able to reach him.
On the evening of the third day, when the teary-eyed guard brought food again, Gu Yun finally tilted his head to avoid it.
The private guard was about to cry; he looked at Shen Yi at a loss.
Gu Yun raised his neck a little, smiled at the young guard, and shook his head - your noodle soup is very delicious, but vomiting repeatedly, my throat is too sore, I cannot swallow it anymore.
"It's alright. You go out first." Shen Yi took over the soup bowl, covered it, put it on the small stove on one side, waved his hand to the guard, then took out the liuli glass from his bosom and placed it on the bridge of Gu Yun's nose.
With the cold metal frame's irritation, Gu Yun woke up a little bit. After a while, he gathered enough strength to make gestures at him: What's the matter?
Shen Yi stood at the spot for a moment with a complicated look and finally appeared as if he had made up his mind about something very grand. He brought out a letter in his arms: "A reply from the capital, you..."
They half coaxed and half lied to Chang Geng, sneaking away from the Marquis's manor. On the way, Gu Yun pulled his hairs out but could not think of a way to coax the boy. He simply forced Shen Yi to write for him, then he would make a copy and sent it back.
Chang Geng had replied.
The child of the former emperor Yuan He and the Barbarian
The reason why Chang Geng lived in exile and grew up in Yanhui Town was that his mother had become a scapegoat for his father's attack on the Black Iron Camp.
Through the liuli glass, Gu Yun and Shen Yi stared at each other expressionlessly. After a moment, he spoke:"...Get out."
Shen Yi lifted a corner of his lip, put the letter tube on the head of his bed, then took his leave, but after a few steps, he couldn't help turning back: "Zi Xi, you..."
A sound answered him - Gu Yun swiped the letter tube to the ground.
Shen Yi suspected that he had made a stupid move, he intended to go to Doctor Chen to see if he had another way. The Marshal's tent was dead silent that not even a gust of wind could enter.
Gu Yun leaned on the head of the bed, his body almost hollowed out by the serious illness. He seemed to have suddenly fallen off a cliff. He had been on the other side of the abyss for the past twenty years, he felt as if he had already passed. Who would have thought that looking back now, it was still far out of reach.
He glanced at the tube rolling on the ground - half a month ago, he was still looking forward to this reply very much. His little Chang Geng just joyfully wished him a happy birthday the day before, he left without bidding goodbye on the next.
That child thinks excessively, he must be very pained.
Gu Yun's hand was so thin that there was only one layer of skin left, green veins visible on the surface.
"Shiliu, take your medicine!"
"...... Don't move. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot porridge!"
"Yifu, you are the best person to me in the world."
"I won't go, I have to practice my swordsmanship! Who will take care of you in the future if you don't learn well?"
"Yifu, don't come in until you have finished your noodles."
There were eggshells in that bowl of noodles which was boiled to paste, similar to the bowl Shen Yi just put on the stove.
The stove slowly roasted the bottom of the bowl, and the subtle smell overflowed from the gap, like on the 16th day of the first month, in the quiet and freezing cold of the capital, the bowl that greeted him at the door.
Gu Yun's chest heaved violently for several times. He suddenly struggled to get up, but his soft knees pulled his entire body to kneel on the ground. He dragged a Wind Slasher in the tent to use as a crutch and propped himself up, grabbing the tube that rolled far away. His hands that were devoid of strength shook violently, only after a while did he manage to open it.
Since you left, there are no relatives in the large capital city, there is only a piece of your armour accompanying me that I can talk to for comfort...
I have nothing beside me, only a piece of your shoulder armor.
The plum blossom in the manor is about to wither. I hope you saw the flower before you left. Otherwise, its heart will be in vain for another year. Even if it will bloom every year, it will not be the same as this one.
Northwest military affairs are plenty, I should not write to disturb you often, should I?
You must be very busy, perhaps you do not miss me... But I'm different
The capital is so lonely. I have no one to miss except you.
Gu Yun's hands couldn't hold the light letter paper, the Wind Slasher fell to the ground with a 'clang! The vibration of the metal spread far away, the frightened guards rushed in one after another.
That night, Gu Yun endured the pain and drank the bowl of noodles soup with the smell of blood. He did not vomit any more.
Master Chen's prediction was very accurate. After three to five days, he could get up from the bed and walk. Half a month later, he had recovered completely. Gu Yun buried the secret of the Northern Frontier here, together with the state of his fragile bones.
From then on, his frivolous youth was left behind; he grew up, becoming invulnerable.
The vast army went westward with thousands of miles of dust.