“Who would buy a servant on their deathbed? Their body will just be thrown to the nameless cemetery covered by a straw mat!”
“Haa...so pitiful! She must have great cooking to be a cook within a famous restaurant. Unfortunately, her condition is too serious. Look at how violently she’s coughing. Could it be tuberculosis?”
“Tuberculosis? That’s contagious! Friends, let’s stay away from her. Only death awaits us if we become infected. I still have a family to support. Goodbye!”
The two people Gu Ye looked at each other before leaving in succession. However, Gu Ye was attracted by the comment, “great cooking.” The woman probably got a cold and because she didn’t treat it in time, it developed into tuberculosis. In this era where antibiotics didn’t exist, it might be considered a fatal illness. But to Gu Ye, it could be treated with just a few prescriptions.
She currently had an income of at least 200 silver taels. She had no issues supporting another person. Most importantly, she didn’t want to force herself to eat the tasteless and disgusting food. She felt depressed!
“For just two silver taels, does anyone want to buy her? A cook with extraordinary cooking for just two silver taels. Even buying a maid from a broker will cost more than this price!” The burly chap looked fiercely at the woman. The audience knew that if no one bought the woman, she’d be dead by tonight.
Gu Ye interjected when she saw the whip being aimed at the woman. “Stop! I’ll buy her!”
The man looked at her inconspicuous cotton-padded clothes and wrinkled his brows. Impatiently, “Shoo! Where did you come from? Go play somewhere else! Have your parents come over if you want to buy her!”
“Why my parents? Can’t I just give you the silver taels?” Gu Ye took out an ingot of silver tael from her sleeves, its weight about two silver taels worth, and threw it at the man.
The fierce man caught it and juggled it in his hands before nodding. “Ok, I received the money. Young lady, don’t blame me for being unscrupulous. I’ll give you a chance to reconsider your decision. If you leave with the woman, I won’t be returning the money even if your parents come.”
“There’s no need to consider. I can take responsibility for my action. Uncle, can I take her now?” After the man nodded, Gu Ye walked to the woman and propped an arm under her shoulder, helping her up.
The woman coughed violently. After the coughing ceased, she revealed a glimpse of despair on her sallow face. “Young lady, my time has come. You should get your money back and leave me alone. Haa…”
“Auntie, this is just a small illness but you just dragged it out which is why it became serious. I know the shopkeeper at the Jimin Pharmacy. Let’s go there and get you checked out by a physician.”
Gu Ye did have medicine to treat tuberculosis but it was stock from her previous life. She needed to cover this abnormality. She decided to let the diagnosing physician at Jimin Pharmacy prescribe some medicine for the woman. Then, she could just add in her stock medicine into the prescriptions silently.
Gu Ye supported the woman. They walked towards Jimin Pharmacy to meet up with Gu Ye’s elder brother. At the same time, at a narrow alley in the corner of a street, the fierce man was talking to two inconspicuous men. “Mission completed. This is the twenty silver taels the woman gave us as well as the two silver taels the young lady paid to buy her. You each get seven silver taels and I’ll get eight silver taels. Any objections?”
“Of course not. We only did the bare minimum yet you had to withstand the harsh wind for a good two hours or so. You should receive the most anyway.” One of them took his reward and said.
The other placed their silver taels away before inquiring, “Elder brother, what did you think that woman’s motive was? That young lady doesn’t seem like a young miss from a wealthy family. Why did that woman want to get close to her? Even more, she poured cold water on herself in an attempt to get sick to the point of near death. Her illness doesn’t seem fake. She’s not going to die, is she?”
“Why do you care? We’re just getting paid to do what’s told. It doesn’t matter what happens. Let’s go. We’ll return to Yan City and have a good one. This worn-down place doesn’t even have a decent restaurant.” The man and the other two slowly disappeared into the corner of the street.
Shopkeeper Fang was in Jimin Pharmacy sorting through the medicine he received from Gu Ye. He then saw the Gu siblings helping a pale-looking woman inside. He asked hastily, “What happened?”
“This auntie is seriously sick. Please take a look at her!” Gu Ye helped the woman sit down. The old physician finished his prescription for his current patient and told the shop assistant to make up the prescription before he was free to take the pulse for her.
The old physician’s expression turned grave and withdrew his hand after a while. He sighed. “It’s a cold that wasn’t treated so it gradually attacked and obstructed your lungs...I’ll write a prescription for you but whether or not it’ll do anything for you depends on your luck!”
“Young lady, even the old physician isn’t certain he could treat me. Don’t bother wasting your silver taels on me.” The woman coughed while trying to stop Gu Ye from grabbing the medicinal ingredients.
“Aunt Yan.” Gu Ye advised, “How do you know it’ll be ineffective when you haven’t even tried? Come with me. My master has great medical skills. I used the emergency treatment method he taught me last time and saved a patient with a heart disease. He might be able to treat you!”
The old physician nodded. “This young lady is right. I’ve seen this myself. She was able to revive a patient who had stopped breathing. Though you have a serious illness, it may be nothing in the hands of a divine physician.”
Gu Ye saw the shop assistant bringing over tea from the inner lounge so she got up to take it from him. While everyone’s attention was on the patient, she quickly grabbed a bottle of medicine to treat tuberculosis in her storage. This was more effective than an antibiotic and there were no side effects either.
She poured the liquid medicine into the tea and gave it to Aunt Yan. “Drink some tea to warm up.”
Yan Qiutong really gave it her all to complete her master’s mission. From the information given, her target knew medical skills. To make it seem real, she took a cold shower for three nights straight on her journey here. Even more, she hadn’t eaten for three days already. This morning, she also stood in the cold for about two hours. She felt like she was half dead!
No, the mission her master gave her wasn’t complete yet. She couldn’t die. She took the cup of tea and gulped it. The warm tea entered her stomach and she finally felt some warmth. She didn’t know whether it was her illusion or not but her abdomen felt warm and it spread through her body. Even her exhausted body felt lighter.
“Shopkeeper Fang, can you let Aunt Yan rest in your back courtyard? We’ll bring her with us once we’re done shopping.” She had no idea how worried her Ninth Uncle and Ninth Aunt would be at this point. They needed to hurry up and purchase the items needed for New Years.
Shopkeeper Fang didn’t reject it as he knew how important the young lady was to the third Lord. Not only did he make sure the woman was comfortable staying at the courtyard, he even had the shop assistant cook the medicine for her. He also had her change into the new cotton-padded clothes that his wife just made.
By the time Gu Ye and Gu Ming encountered the group, the Ninth Uncle’s family was worried-sick looking for them already. The siblings genuinely admitted their faults as they listened to the couple’s nagging and then explained why they were late.
The Ninth Aunt wanted to say something when she heard that Gu Ye spent two silver taels to buy a sick servant and even spent money to treat her illness. In the end, she held back and sighed. “She’s a pitiful woman. Saving a person when you can is important. You guys did the right thing. But with this delay, we’re going to have to stay an extra day in town.”
Gu Li’er smiled. “Mother, it’s not often we get to come to town. Let’s shop some more. A day’s not enough to buy all these items for New Years anyway.”
The Ninth Aunt flicked her forehead. “You make it sound so easy but don’t we need to pay to stay and eat in town? I’ll sell you to pay off the debt if we don’t have the money!”
“Mother, I’m the precious daughter of the family. You might have the heart but my father doesn’t! Right, father?” Gu Li’er stuck her tongue out, hoping to get comfort from him.
Gu Mo nodded. “Right, my daughter is very sensible, hardworking, and considerate. I won’t sell her no matter what.” Gu Li’er smiled happily.
This was how parents should interact with their children. It would probably be hard to find a second father who was as weird and strange as Gu Qiao. Yet, how come he had to be her father? Gu Ye looked at Gu Li’er in envy.
Gu Ming tugged on his sister’s shoulders. His nose stung as he said, “You still have me and grandfather. I’ll treat you even better.”
“Will you still be this nice to me after you married my sister-in-law?” Gu Ye withdrew her gaze and smiled at her brother, asking teasingly.
Gu Ming’s face flushed but he still nodded determinedly. “Yes, no one is more important than you. Even...your sister-in-law is no exception!”
“Sister-in-law? Gu Ming, you’re already thinking about getting married?” Gu Li’er teased him and started laughing out loud when she saw his face turning redder.
“Sister Li, what do we need to buy for New Years? Tell us!” Gu Ye came to rescue her brother, shifting the topic.
Gu Li’er carefully thought about it before saying, “I’m not sure. I just know we have to buy flour and meat for dumplings. We also need to buy rice, red beans, and bean paste buns. Also, buy more meat. That way, we can dry them and keep them preserved to eat during winter.”
“Sister Li, you’ve just been mentioning food. What about the others?” Gu Ye pressed.
“Oh...families in a better condition can buy fabric to make new clothes. Besides that, they can also buy paper to write rhyming couplets and for paper cutting. They also bring out the god of the kitchen, buy joss sticks and candles, candies and refreshments to worship the deities...That’s all I remember. Why don’t you ask my mother?” Gu Li’er racked her brains and only thought of this much.