Next update will be at the end of Nov.
I am still on holiday. I’ve translated this about a year ago so I might as well post it. This is my first ancient novel translation so do give some face😛 If you know Chinese, you can try and find out the title which I will only reveal later😛 I’ve not decided if I want to continue with the translation. It all depends on the response as ancient novel is never my forte but I always like to challenge myself🙂
If you can understand Chinese, you will be able to find the title easily and I encourage you to read it in its original language. Otherwise, do be patient. I strongly discourage people using online translation apps to read ahead. If you want to do that, you can find plenty of other books in shusheng bar.
Chapter 1: The Imperial Physician’s Tragic History
When Yan Xiao Wu always lamented to me about how dangerous and ruthless the martial arts world is, how savage and cruel those so-called swordsmen are, how small potatoes like him live their lives at the edge of the sword full of blood, I’ll scoff at him. Obviously, we imperial physicians are truly the people who have their heads hanging on their waistbands.
According to unofficial statistics, the 3 sentences we often hear are:
1. If you can’t heal her, I (imperial use) want to see your head severed!
2. If she suddenly dies, I want all of you to be buried with her!
3. Even such little illness you also can’t cure, what is the use of me keeping you!
Anyway, we are duty bound to heal people without much remuneration. If we are found to be negligence, the light punishment is that we’ll be the only one who will be sentenced to death. The heavy punishment is everyone will die together. In a nutshell, an imperial physician’s job earns low income but carries high risk. However, we can occasionally moonlight to earn extra income, such as helping Eastern Palace Empress to abort the child of Western Palace Empress. Or maybe, help Western Palace Empress to buy some aphrodisiac medicine for the emperor. But, doing something dirty like these, actually violates our art of healing.
I asked my grandfather, won’t doing this kind of wicked things offend Heaven and reason, contrary to our art of healing of physician with parental heart?
Grandfather said: “Damn the art of healing! Survival is the most important thing!”
After hearing those words, I felt fearful and worried. I thought back and forth, in order to survive, I’ve to take off this imperial physician uniform and leave the imperial palace far away. But who asked me to have a so-called ‘medical saint’ as an ancestor who risked his life to drag the deceased Emperor Gao back from the gate of death. The deceased Emperor Gao was very pleased and bestowed a plaque which read ‘Passing on from generation to generation to practice medicine.’ From then on, the fate of my Song family clan was sealed for hundreds of years.
Medical expertise cannot be inherited. If the deceased Emperor Gao realized this point, I would not be so tragic today.
Yan Xiao Wu runs in from outside, panting for breath. I glance at him and say faintly: “Xiao Wu, is there something wrong with your kidney? In the past, he ran a thousand miles and has never gasped for breath.
Yan Xiao Wu slows his footsteps, both of his hands supporting his waist, grasps for breath and says: “The imperial hospital sent a message to you, an urgent summon to all imperial physicians to go to Xihua Court!”
My eyelids twitch twice, the kind of premonition of imminent disaster.
The emperor’s current favourite concubine lives in Xihua Court. The urgent summon must be either a big matter or someone is sick. I am afraid that it is not a minor illness. In fact, whether this is a big matter or someone is sick, it will not be something which I am able to cure … When grandfather was alive, he often said those people in the imperial hospital are all quack doctors. Being together with them, sooner or later they’ll implicate me.
I am also very disappointed in that group of people who failed to live up to expectations. If their medical expertise were a bit better, then there won’t be a need to bother my grandfather. Then my grandfather would not be so favored by His Majesty. If he was not so favored by His Majesty, I won’t have the great pressure to carry on my grandfather’s work after his death ……
Regarding my indignant feeling at such injustice, my grandfather patted my shoulder to comfort me and said: “Let it be. Even if they are quack doctors, nevertheless they are still doctors. As for you………….” In my terrified gaze, he revealed a painful expression, “is simply a butcher……”
Grandfather made the following prediction of the future of the imperial hospital—— sooner or later all of them will die in my hands.
I think that this moment has arrived. My palms are cold, my forehead is sweating, and my trembling hands are pulling Yan Xiao Wu’s clothes: “That …… Did you manage to find out what happened at Xihua Court?”
Yan Xiao Wu replies in a low voice: “I’m afraid it is not something good. The inside and outside of the court is surrounded by people who were sent by other palaces to go and find out what had happened!”
The current emperor is about twenty years old and has ascended the throne for merely two years. Hence, he hasn’t chosen his queen yet and has no heir. The harem has many concubines vying for the emperor’s affection. Only imperial concubine Hua from Xihua Court is a bit more favored. Seeing such a situation, everyone in the harem is nervous with anticipation. They hope something bad has happened to concubine Hua and are afraid that she is pregnant with the dragon baby.
If something bad had happened to her, I will certainly not be able to save her. If she is pregnant with the dragon baby, why need so many imperial doctors to check on her condition? What I am afraid is that she didn’t know she was pregnant and accidentally had a miscarriage ……
My head really really hurts ……
As the only female physician in the imperial palace, I am duty bound to be a “gynecologist”. Whichever imperial concubine has irregular menstrual period or is not feeling well, she will summon me. I rely on my lousy medical skill and silver tongue to try to cure them psychologically with love. So far, I’ve yet to be found out to be useless.
I just don’t know……..if singing can solve the miscarriage issue.
In such a short time, I’ve thought of all kinds of possible solutions but in the end I still decide to go to the palace: Die, die la!
Yan Xiao Wu has gotten ready a sedan chair earlier, so I just sit on it. He follows at the side by jogging all the way. After arriving at the palace gate, I get down from the sedan chair. He is carrying a medicine box and follows me into the palace.
There are many sedan chairs parked outside the palace gate. I count roughly and think in my mind, those weary old bones in the imperial hospital are really a suicide squad, as they’ve all arrived in such a short while, truly respectable and admirable.
Before reaching Xihua Court, I see people everywhere, looking about and whispering. When I arrive outside Xihua Court, it is rather quiet. The guards recognised me, so they quickly let me enter. I slow down my pace and almost tiptoe inside.
Xihua Court is filled with faint smoke and misty aroma. After walking seven steps, I see many people kneeling on the ground so my heart is beating even faster. My eyes catch a glimpse of a bright yellow figure behind the screen. I deliberate for a while before deciding not to send my greeting but quietly kneel down at the side.
At this moment, an imperial physician has just finished his check-up, kneels before that bright yellow figure and says in a trembling voice: “Congratulations Your Majesty, imperial concubine Hua is pregnant.”
A deep and low voice says faintly: “Really? Check again.” I couldn’t hear whether he sounded happy or angry.
This is something unusual. The concubine is pregnant, so how can the emperor sounded neither ‘happy or angry’? If not happy, then he must be unhappy. If he is unhappy, then it is inevitable …..
My eyelids twitch again! This time out of rhythm! This is clearly an ambush from ten sides!
Even I can figure out the unreasonableness of it all, not to mention those experienced imperial physicians. Several imperial physicians also diagnosed it as pregnancy. Probably this pregnancy is real, as they will not dare to deceive his majesty.
While I am letting my imagination runs wild, suddenly I hear that voice said: “Where is Song Ling Shu?”
In a flash, countless of gazes stare in my direction. I tremble and say: “Your humble servant is here…….”
“You go and check.”
“Okay.” I step forward and out of the corner of my eyes, I glance at the emperor. This one glance is really unlucky, as it so happened that he caught me red-handed. I am very scared so I quickly lower my head, but my mind is still filled with his gloomy face.
I put on an act by pressing on Hua Fei’s outstretched wrist. Her wrist is bright like snow, her fingers like green onion and as for her pulse….so many doctors also had said she is pregnant, then she is certainly pregnant.
I withdraw my hand, stand up, turn around, kneel down, bow and say: “Your Majesty, imperial concubine Hua is indeed pregnant.”
“Pregnant……” He thought for a moment, then says, “Song Ling Shu, lift up your head and repeat what you had just said.”
My heart thumps once, somewhat inexplicable and also somewhat panicky. I comply with the imperial edict, lift up my head, but dare not look straight at the king. I simply stare at the beam in the room and reply with a blank face: “Your Majesty, imperial concubine Hua Fei is really pregnant.”
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could feel his lips curves for an instant. “Really …… Very good ……”
The last two words, make all the imperial physicians there breathe a sigh of relief, but the following sentence reverses it. “In that case, already how many months pregnant?”
This time, it is bustling with noise and excitement. Some people say 2 months, some people say 3 months and also some people say 4 months…..
Really a group of quack doctors ah…….I keep quiet until the emperor calls me again and asks: “Song Ling Shu, what do you think?”
I bend my head and answer: “Your humble servant thinks it should be about 3 months.”
Heehee…… In this case, if it is 2 months or 4 months, it is about 3 months. If it is 3 months then it is accurate.
“Ah.” The emperor nods his head. I am going to breathe a sigh of relief, but he says again, “Then in the future, imperial physician Song will have the sole responsibility of taking care of imperial concubine Hua Fei’s everyday life. This is my first dragon baby. If there is any mishap, imperial physician Song will have her head severed!”
See, I told you it’ll happen again! No matter how many times, hearing this sentence, I also can’t bear it but to feel grief and indignation. I’ve no choice but to reply: “Your humble servant…..obeys your majesty’s command…..”